Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where the **** have you been?

'The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another.'

During the 2008 election, I studied Barack Obama, as did most other sane individuals. I tried to suss out what kind of man he was. And what struck me, as someone who has lived as a foreigner in the United States, was that Obama was a foreigner. During my stay in the US, I often bumped into things in American life which were obviously deeply meaningful to those around me, but which to me seemed like nothing. As a consequence of my bad form, it was not hard for me to get a good feel for just how profoundly Americans value themselves, their culture and their folkways. For all his basketball playing and burger eating (has anybody got any Grey Poupon?) Obama is not really American. Being American is much more than a birth certificate or a passport.

It is one of the reasons I don't live there. Americans don't tend to like people who are not 'with the program', and I am just too ornery, contrary and sceptical to sign up to Americanhood. Therefore, I have a unique insight into the special situation Obama is in. He is, in my view, less than half American. I don't mean biologically. I mean in the sense of all the strands of thought, feeling, belief, association, belonging and sympathy which go to make up a persons rightness in a particular land, among a particular people.

Where would Obama rightfully fit? Perhaps nowhere. Certainly not Indonesia, certainly not Kenya. But not really America either.

And that is becoming a big problem. In the crazy busy job of President, instinct becomes the best friend of efficiency. Instinct informs you what is important, and what is trivial- what really requires your attention, and what can be left to underlings. But Obamas instincts are terrible. His instincts about what is important are totally out of sync with the nation. So, back to Peggy...

What I don't understand is this: I am no genius. Ask my wife. So how was I able to figure out what Obama was, and what he was like in mid-2008, but it has taken 75% of Americans until about yesterday to do so?

Monday, May 24, 2010

The absence of any discernable Character or Principles

'I detect an ideological similarity, too — these leaders aren’t political zealots. They might, like me, opt for a pick’n’mix belief system to suit the purpose and the practicalities of the day. And they don’t do God — not because it would be divisive in PR terms, as it was for Tony Blair, but because they just don’t (other than for weddings, christenings, funerals and to shoehorn their kids into the best local state schools).'

These are the people marxian mass education turns out. They don't think they have religion or ideology- but they are extremely heavily laden with both.

Eco fanaticism: religion

Despising Christianity: ideology

Despising money: ideology

Regarding the concrete knowledge of politics as unnecessary and suspect: ideology

Proletarian uniformity: ideology

Ahistoricality: ideology

Regarding personal ambition as criminal: ideology

What a banal, dismal Godless mass of idiots. What a dreary puritanical funless horde of drabs. Yeeuuuuuuuchhhhhhhhhhh!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm not opposed to Draw Mohammed Day


'I'm glad to see Taranto do what I was challenging my commenters to do. (I said: "If you don't think the 'Piss Christ' or the American flag hypos are sufficiently on point, then make a better hypo. That's my challenge. Make a hypo that is the same but without the Muslim element, and seriously test your thinking on the subject.")'

This is an interesting controversy. Here is a summary of my knowledge of the relevant facts:

Certain more conservative schools of Islamic thought, esp the Wahhabists, believe that any likeness of anyone, even Mohammed, can be considered an idol. Some schools of Islamic thought aren't bothered, and in many places where Moslems live there have always been likenesses of Mohammed, just like there are millions of likenesses of Jesus in the Christian world. These likenesses are expressly not to be worshipped, as that would make them idols, and therefore against the express command of God. But apart from that, they are ok.

So, forcing Moslems of a conservative persuasion to create likenesses of Mohammed would certainly be rude and unpleasant, by any reasonable standard. But given that many Moslems make likenesses of Mohammed themselves, presumably those Moslems would have no problem with non-Moslems making respectful representations of Mohammed. And if they did have a problem with it, it would be unreasonable and hypocritical.

Let us now consider the Mohammed cartoons from Jyllands Posten. Most of them were perfectly harmless, gentle representations of a man in Arabic garb. A few were intentionally insulting, and a very few were gravely insulting. The ones which were respectful would presumably cause no concern to the many millions of Moslems who have no issue with pictorial representations of Mohammed in general. The insulting ones would certainly provoke anger amongst any Moslems.

But the response to the Jyllands Posten cartoons was not organic. If ordinary Moslems outside Denmark noticed the cartoons, they didn't seem to mind them. The crazed response was ginned up after a concerted campaign by hard-core Danish Wahhabist imams who toured the Middle East and Egypt showing the cartoons to people, and posted links to them on Islamist websites. They conducted this campaign to further their religio/political agenda, which is the expansion of Wahhabist Islam and its eventual domination of the earth.

According to the Ann Althouse view, then, being polite and not 'hurting the feelings' of conservatively-minded Moslems trumps our history of robust oppositional religious and political debate. I must respect your sacred cows, no matter how stupid I believe them to be, and no matter how much they conflict with my own beliefs.

You can tell from the differing views about the pictorial representation of Mohammed among the worldwide population of Moslems that there is no clear-cut black-and-white prohibition of it in the historical Islamic body of learning. And yet, on the authority of the Wahhabist conservatives, Ann Althouse doesn't just want the Wahhabist/conservative view enforced on believers in Islam but on non-believers too.

That isn't being nice- that is alienating yourself from your own world view so far that you don't really have one anymore. It also exalts your own importance to millions of unknown and probably unknowable Moslems in countries you hardly know the name of.

It may be that a large-scale campaign to demonstrate how little respect many people feel for Moslem shibboleths will provoke some thought among the 1.3 billion Moslems on the planet why their religion is getting such a shellacing, and why normal, sane people hold it in such low regard.

Islam is getting a very bad name because of Wahhabist/Salafist violence, bullying and blackmail. This is not an issue for us. Islam needs to clean house, and disassociate itself from the people who are blackening its reputation. If Moslems don't do that, we can all assume what many believe already- which is that most Moslems secretly agree with the agenda of the Wahhabist/Salafists, but find it inconvenient to say so publicly. Whether people like Ann Althouse like it or not, that is the rule of public engagement. If it were the Republican Party, rather the Moslems of the World, who had a militant wing chopping off heads, blowing up Markets with bombs strapped to twelve-year-old girls and driving trucks of chemicals into villages and blowing them up, what would you be saying to Republicans? Would your politeness, and your generosity of spirit extend to them?

Whether we like it or not, guilt-by-association exists. If it doesn't, explain to me why the Turkish government still deny the ethnic cleansing/holocaust of Christian Armenians in 1915/16?


'If you were really a conservative, you would think where there is a problem and the only solution so far is a bad one that the right answer is first, do no harm. The default is nothing. (The Party of NO!)

There's a problem, so we must do something, and here we have something, so we must do it. That's the reasoning I have heard over and over from President Obama, and it is something I truly loathe.

Do you defend it?' (Ann Althouse in the comments of the same blog post).

That depends if you believe that Everybody Draw Mohammed is a bad 'solution'. I don't believe it is a solution at all. A solution would stop the Wahhabist war on modernity and everthing in the world which isn't Wahhabism. It is a declaration of intent, like the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenberg Church. We intend to not be browbeaten into modifying our lives every time Wahhabists threaten murder, mayhem and boycotts. And as such, the Everybody Draw Mohammed idea works as well as anything I've heard of.

Shouldn't that be 'When the Euro fails...'?

'Ms Merkel believes that the EU should have stronger powers to organise the “orderly insolvency” of countries such as Greece that set giveaway budgets with no means of paying for them. After announcing a ban on speculative share trading in Germany’s top financial institutions and the bonds of eurozone countries until next March, she warned: “This challenge is existential and we have to rise to it. The euro is in danger. If we don’t deal with this danger, then the consequences for us in Europe are incalculable . . . If the euro fails, then Europe fails.”'

Quite funny really. I said this here, and mentioned the same thought to a number of people, who all scoffed and pooh-poohed the idea that that things were this serious. Well, news flash to those people who haven't been paying attention- not only is the Greek Problem extremely serious for the Euro, and by extension the EU, if the Germans stop playing this particular game, there is no game.

Without German, French and British participation, the EU would simply be another transnational talking shop, of which the world has untold numbers already. German productivity is about half of what makes the EU viable. If the Germans decide that playing sugar daddy to lazy socialists from Lisbon to Lodz is not the future they really want for themselves, the game is well and truly up.

"...If the Euro fails, then Europe fails". True, if you mean by Europe the great socialist European project strapped to the relatively unwilling European peoples for the last sixty five years. How many would mourn its passing? The EU is increasingly seen by Europeans as one of those terrible cranky old nineteen fifties ideas which has bizarrely managed to maintain a zombie existence into the twenty first century. How many would be happy with a free trade zone, and in every other way run their own affairs?

That is the question the European elites dare not ask.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Britain is a Stalinist State, says Noam Chomsky

'Chomsky Calls Israeli Government ‘Stalinist’ for Refusing Him Entry'

Well, ok, he didn't call Britain a stalinist state, but someone should have. Just last year, Britain denied the Dutch MP Geert Wilders entry to Britain because it didn't like the things he said. And I don't remember plangent cries of grief from the left over it. But then consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. Apart from when the left want to make a point about western hypocrisy. And then consistency is VERY VERY important.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Me and My MP

This is the person I voted for. Through bitter tears...

News just in: Most people not very interested in politics

'With party leaders hammering out a coalition deal, Westminster was abuzz. But outside the bubble, did the rest of the country share the political class' fascination?'

What motivates articles like this? The 'Woe is me' language, the constant seeking out of evidence (very scant if this article is anything to go by) to support the a priori beliefs of the author, the inability to process any information which might contradict the a priori beliefs- these are all so horribly familiar.

Why didn't the author mention that turnout in the last two elections has risen, from 59.4% in 2001 to 65.1% this time? OK, it isn't the 77.7% of electors who showed up in 1992... but its better than a poke in the eye. While I do meet people all the time who parrot the cliches about how all the politicians are as bad as each other, and they are all corrupt, the statistics say that almost two thirds of electors do think it is worth voting.

This evidence is proffered of 'a community to whom [the countries leaders] appeared utterly alien':

'In The Oddfellows pub, lunchtime drinkers muttered into their pints about the mediocre form of Watford FC, not the relative merits of a "progressive alliance" versus a Conservative-Lib Dem pact.

Along the Victorian and Edwardian residential streets surrounding the town centre, the only leaflets being delivered were for a local pizza restaurant.

The Conservatives had an office at the far end of Watford's High Street. But otherwise, in a town so recently bombarded with election propaganda, the sudden absence of party colours adorning windows and lamp-posts was strangely unsettling.'

It really is the most shoddy argumentation. If the point being made is that the Westminster elites are irretrievably alienated from the hoi polloi, the evidence given here doesn't remotely prove it.

Are people who are interested in politics a small minority? Yes. Does that matter? No. Is it any different in 2010 than it was in 1910 or 1810? Almost certainly not. What matters is that those with knowledge and power do the right things, and govern the country well. The punters in Watford will appreciate that.

How's that multi-culturism thing working out for you?

Actually, multi-culturism is probably ok as long as none of them are muslim...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Be afraid, very afraid

'Concern that European leaders will need to bail out more countries than just Greece flared from New York to Sydney last week, prompting investors to shun all but gold, dollars, yen and the safest government securities. Led by Italy’s $126 billion, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy have a total of $215 billion of debt coming due in the next three months, according to JPMorgan.

‘‘When we’re told something’s contained, it almost never is,” said Brian Yelvington, head of fixed-income strategy at broker-dealer Knight Libertas LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut. “There were a lot of people who didn’t realize how fully interrelated and large this is.”'

Living a plush lifestyle as one of Europes pampered millions? Think the gravy train runs on into infinity? There is a brick wall approaching, whether you like it or not.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

No, Virginia, there is no Jack Bauer

'Despite governing a city that had a vast hole blown into it by Islamic terrorists, Mayor Michael Bloomberg could hardly imagine Muslim extremists targeting innocents in the “crossroads of the world.” Not when there are more congenial would-be mass murderers. On CBS News, Bloomberg speculated that the plotter would be “homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health-care bill or something.”

Bloomberg must be watching too many TV shows and movies, where writers always strain to create terrorist threats that have nothing to do with Muslims. But even they haven’t yet come up with a plotline involving terrorists convinced that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the Congressional Budget Office score of the health-care bill is too rosy.

Usually, the government is in the position of knocking down irrational conspiracy theories; it has never quite convinced everyone that the Kennedy assassination was the work of a lone gunman. But here is an active global conspiracy, and it’s the government that irrationally wants to see a series of lone gunmen. The Pakistani Taliban must have been frustrated in the initial days after the attempt, when so few in the U.S. government would believe that, yes, it might send someone to bomb Times Square.'

Not only is there no real-life Jack Bauer who, in spite of being shackled by idiot bureacrats and half-wit ACLU lawyers, saves the day; there exists a learning curve gradually reaching genuine threat levels. When the Taliban started using IED's about three years ago, they were pretty hopeless. They are now extremely accomplished. Ask any squaddie who has done a tour in Afghanistan lately. Americas home-grown terrorists are climbing the same learning curve right now.

Apparently, Napolitano and Holder have got everything crossed hoping that something or other will crop up and save the US from successful jihadi terrorism. Nice one, guys! Way to stay on top of the situation. I'm sure their response would be that some people must be sacrificed so that America can hold its head high in the world, and be consistent with its own nicey-nicey no-torture happy-clappy principles. I want Janet Napolitano to say that while looking the mother of some poor kid blown up or minced in some terrorist atrocity in the eye.

This is not a TV show. This is not some fiction where somehow in the 24th episode everything gets resolved nicely, and Jack takes a well-earned vacation. Young, determined men will come along who are technically accomplished, who are utterly dedicated, and then we won't be laughing about silly, inept terrorists any more.

And here is my prediction. The anger and the desire for revenge, stoked up by 9/11, will pour out the next time there is a big successful attack on the U.S. You will NOT want to get in the way of that, let me assure you.

Why you should think long and hard before you let twenty million Mexicans into your country

'About 85 mostly Hispanic students staged a noon protest march through Morgan Hill on Thursday, one day after five students at Live Oak High School were sent home after showing up in clothing with American flags on Cinco de Mayo.

The protesters supported the school's decision, while the parents of the students sent home blasted it and the school district's superintendent called the entire incident "extremely unfortunate."...

"While campus safety is our primary concern and administrators made decisions yesterday in an attempt to ensure campus safety, students should not and will not be disciplined for wearing patriotic clothing," Smith said.

Kathleen Sullivan, a school board trustee, said Live Oak experienced problems on Cinco de Mayo last year. She said some students had complained to the principal and vice principal that they had felt intimidated by students waving American flags.

In response to those complaints, school officials had asked students not to provoke other students by wearing or waving flags this year, Sullivan said.

"The district's position is that that is not in our policy," Sullivan said. "But the underlying reason for it was student safety."'

Let us imagine a time in the future when the United States goes to war with Mexico. Neighbor countries often go to war, much more often than countries who are not neighbors, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Who would the Mexican immigrants fight for? How many of them would be a fifth column for the Mexican forces?

As usual, the left sees no danger. They never see danger as long as the situation can be manipulated to help the cause of the left. Which in this case it most decidedly can. Mexican immigrants now vote overwhelmingly Democrat. That is why they don't want a border fence. And why in a fight between patriotic Americans and very unpatriotic immigrants, they will support the latter.

Very dangerous dynamics are being created. But those who create these dynamics will never accept responsibility for it.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Beautiful, just Beautiful

'"I've got it!" he shouted, foaming at the lips with enthusiasm. "Quickly, Holder, what group of deranged conspirators now constitutes the greatest potential threat to the republic?"

"I believe you are alluding to the anarchists of the Tea Party," I said.

"Precisely, Holder!" he shouted, amorously embracing a rubbish bin. "Look at the facts all around -- they square only with one conclusion -- that this was the handiwork of Tory extremists, driven to blind violent rage by His Majesty's Heath Care Reform Act. I would wager my last farthing on it!"

"By Jove, you're right Holmes!" I replied, finally catching on to his brilliant syllogism. "The proverbial dogs who did not bark. It's all right there in the report of Lady Napolitano."

"Lady Napolitano?" Holmes asked, momentarily stunned.'

Remember, folks, only IowaHawk can guaruntee you at least three, often many more, belly-laughs per satire.

Now, if the subjects of these satires were only educated enough to understand them...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Are the Greeks the least self-aware people on the planet?

'Chancellor Angela Merkel urged MPs to back the emergency loan package agreed by European finance ministers at the weekend.

It requires Germany to pay the largest proportion of the loans.

"Quite simply, Europe's future is at stake," she said.

The EU has agreed to provide 80bn euros (£69bn) in funding - of which around 22bn euros would come from Germany - while the rest will come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).'

Really? Europe's future is at stake? No it isn't. The future of the Euro, and by extension the EU are at stake. The Euro always had feet of clay. Many bankers and economists privately expressed the opinion that should the Eurozone come under significant pressure, the inherent weaknesses would make it quite likely to fail. The small socialist countries (and not so small Spain) would inevitably put pressure on the large capitalist countries to allow them to run with much higher public debt and deficits than the Euro rules allow.

I just watched coverage of the riots in Athens, where three people have been murdered in a bank, by people calling them pigs and thieves. Here is the essence of the situation- Communists who believe that by threat of violence they can force the few remaining capitalists to continue funding their non-productive existences through government salaries and pensions. Of course, because they are idiots, they don't realise that it isn't Greek bankers and capitalists (of which there are vanishingly few) who are funding their cushy jobs, but German ones. German bankers and capitalists who are completely immune from fear of rioting in the streets of Athens.

Indeed, it probably brings to some of their minds Baader-Mienhof and Red Army Faction. One hilarious comment from some Greek pundit said the Germans had to pay because of World War II. Wasn't that seventy years ago? Most working Germans are at the least grandchildren of the Germans of that war. They should pay for the grandchildren of the Greeks of the 1940's why?

Listening to the clapped-out bollocks being passionately spouted by the lefty morons of Greece took me right back to 1979. All the same conspiracy theories, desperately incoherent economics and patent absurdities. It is like listening to the village idiot pontificating on international affairs. The lefty hate-object this time: the IMF. Which is quite funny really. Greece can opt not to take IMF money if it wants. There is no law that says it must.

So, will the responsible adults of Germany and France bail out the petulant, deranged children of Greece? I hope not. They are spoiled brats already, and giving them more allowance is only going to make that worse.