Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bring on fluffy government

I would like to thank samizdata for pointing out one of the most appalling bits of self-serving nonsense it has ever been my misfortune to read. To think that the nation which but a century or so ago produced Winston Churchill can produce this arrant knave makes me want to weep.
It would be unfair to the equine race to describe this man as a horse's ass. Dogs would puke if forced to break their fast on this fare. It is pure mashed potato. It is worse than vacuous. It is a farrago. A tissue of lies . A spiel of porkies.

He writes (I would rather have my teeth extracted with a lawn mower than quote this, but someone has to do it):
Since 1997, Britain has changed in some ways more fundamentally than new Labour promised. It is a different country - richer, fairer, more confident. I also think it is being driven forward by a new spirit. I call it the politics of "I can". The era of "I can" is the culmination of the long decline of deference and automatic authority. It is the late flowering of individual autonomy and control.

This from someone who might most kindly be described as a New Labour apparatchik. A man who salivates at the idea of automatic authority. An intellectual runt. A man who could give a goldfish a run for its..whatever it had a minute ago but has now forgotten. A spavined mule in the horse-race of intellectual creation, a moped amongst racing cars, a sway-backed, gap-toothed ninny, dribbling and mewling and saying `I can' when not only can he not but the contemplation of the independence of mind and spirit necessary to honestly make that claim would leave him shivering and white with fear. The man is a skipjack, a witless jack-in-office with one eye to the main chance and the other on the lowest common denominator of the voters' aspirations. I say to him `a pox on your ambitions, a pox on your sententious drivel and a pox on your asinine article!'

Iran continues with a rerun of 1979

A second letter from `Faye Turney'. I very much doubt it.

Meanwhile some form of condemnation has been forthcoming from the UN.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iran and the Geneva conventions

It's so gratifying to see Iran breaking them one after another. No film of prisoners, no charges of spying when in uniform, no interrogation of captured soldiers, no hostage taking.
No doubt it's all ok because it's Iran, not some ghastly western power.

Why I'm not a Tory

I may have quoted this before. If so, I don't care. If a thing's worth quoting, it's worth quoting a lot.
The quote is from the `Standpoint' section at wayofthewest: an extraordinary resource that Keith is building. There are so far twelve essays about the history of western civilization which everybody should read.
Anyway, here's the quote:

In 2000 AD Britain was not the core of an Empire, and it was a Monarchy in name only, being a crypto-republican province of the European Union. And the EU is not a Western-style constitutional polity, but a post-Enlightenment Socialist -- and therefore anti-Western -- State.

Several decades back the people of Britain were conned by their rulers, fraudulently persuaded into agreeing to a profound constitutional change: the handing over of national sovereignty to the European Union, whose remote and unelected committees now make most of the rules and regulations which increasingly and minutely constrain our lives.

The grandees of the Tory Party and the Civil Service were the agents of this demise of British sovereignty, and the consequent nationwide diminution of individual selfhood. ('Treason' is the appropriate word for this kind of action.) Their motives were manifold, but all were covert and none were admirable. With many of them it was a case of après nous le déluge -- but meanwhile the good life, as hedonistic members of a nomenklatura.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The biter bit

Whilst we're on the subject of the BBC, they don't seem to like being on the receiving end of FoI requests:

The BBC has been accused of "shameful hypocrisy" over its decision to spend £200,000 blocking a freedom of information request about its reporting in the Middle East.

The corporation, which has itself made extensive use of FOI requests in its journalism, is refusing to release papers about an internal inquiry into whether its reporting has been biased towards Palestine.

The Grey Lady stabs Auntie

When the editorial pages of The New York Times accuse the BBC of anti-Western bias it is worth taking notice. It is a little like Osama bin Laden accusing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of being a bit harsh on the Jews. It suggests that in other, even pretty unlikely, parts of the world, people are waking up to the menace to our values represented by the BBC. The British sadly, seem curiously content to remain in thrall to it.

This is from a lovely little piece by Gerard Baker in the Times Online.
Hat tip: Spiced Sass.

More on Iran

The BBC reports

Dr Ali Pahlavan, the executive editor of Iran News - the only independent paper in Tehran - told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the "ultra conservative" Revolutionary Guard believed that Britain and the US needed to be challenged.

"This could be part of the strategy to challenge British and American supremacy in this part of the world - which is troubling, because this could lead to confrontation and this could be a trigger and could lead to escalation".

Here's a link to an interesting JWR/Political Mavens article by Dr Walid Phares. Phares sees the kidnap as planned as part of what he calls `chess playing' by Iran i.e. an integral component in its strategy to deal with the last few months of effective power by Tony Blair and George Bush.
The capture of British Navy servicemen by Iranian forces is not simply an incident over sea sovereignty in the Persian Gulf. It is a calculated move on behalf of Teheran’s Jihadi chess players to provoke a “projected” counter move by London and its American allies. It is all happening in a regional context, carefully engineered by the Mullahs' strategic planners.

Here is how: The Iranian regime’s master plan is to wait out the remainder of Tony Blair’s mandate (few more months) and the remaining “real time” of President Bush (till about the end of 2007). For the thinking process in Tehran, based on their Western consultants, believe that Washington and London have reached the end of the rope and will only have till 2008 to do something major to destabilize Ahmedinijad regime. As explained by a notorious propagandist on al Jazeera today the move is precisely to respond to the Anglo-American attempt to “stir trouble” inside Iran.
This contrasts strongly with the BBC journalist's take that it was essentially an impromptu act by the Revolutionary Guard:
Our correspondent said in part this could be because the personnel were taken by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and the Iranian government as a whole may not yet have developed a unified position on how to proceed.
Why am I more inclined to believe the Iranian commentator?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Eat my car

This gives us all food for thought!

A very slow escalation

And slowly it escalates:
Iran's detention of 15 Royal Navy personnel is "unjustified and wrong", Prime Minister Tony Blair has said...

Iran says they were trespassing in its waters, but speaking at an EU summit, Mr Blair denied this was the case.

"It simply is not true that they went into Iranian territorial waters and I hope the Iranian government understands how fundamental an issue this is for us," Mr Blair said...

Students belonging to the paramilitary Basij group, which is close to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have called for the Britons to be put on trial.

I wonder how long before the hostages (for that is what they are) are displayed on television.

Iran seems to specialise in hostages; I wonder what in their culture encourages them to do this?
It doesn't seem very healthy or honourable.

Meanwhile I hope the (Royal) Navy has had a very quick review of its rules of engagement.

I am not a slave-trader...

so I don't see why I need to apologise for slavery:
Slavery predates writing and evidence for it can be found in almost all cultures and continents.

We live in nearly the first times in recorded history when slavery is internationally banned. The slave trade was stamped out by the Royal Navy. Thanks to the 200th anniversary of abolition we nearly all know that.

Why then, has the Archbishop of York
...called on Britain to make a formal apology for the slave trade?

Why then does the BBC propagate this piffle:
As a 14-year-old black British male, Reece Gittens is vulnerable. School exclusions, gang culture, knife and gun crime, and mental illness all disproportionately affect black boys in their early to late teens.[?]

It's the old victim-culture rubbish. It's demeaning, obstructive and patronising. It's disempowerment at its worst, and the media love it.
People often attribute things to the legacy of slavery, for instance. But many of the things that are attributed to the legacy of slavery really were not as bad a hundred years ago as they are today. In the book I mention marriage rates and rates of labor-force participation.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

An enthusiast speaks...enthusiastically

You might try out the following post (or many others) from The Devils' Kitchen.

Rage against the baby machines?

Where did that title come from?

A new wave of anti-feminism is taking hold of Germany. Former career women-turned-housewives are spreading the word about a "new femininity" which encourages women to stay at home and embrace motherhood...

With the birth of her son ten years ago, the three-times divorcee transformed herself into a devoted wife and wannabe mother of the nation. Since then she's been spreading her new-found wisdom in literary oeuvres like "The Joy of Breastfeeding" (2003) or "My Child Sleeps Through The Night" (2005).

Last year Herman graduated from child-rearing to sociology with "The Eva Principle" -- and became the target of scorn from all sides of the political spectrum. Critics accused her of sending women back to the 1950s and said that she, as someone who successfully combines her career with child-rearing, was guilty of hypocrisy. Several German women have written their own books in response, damning Herman's thesis.

Hmm. Children need love, stability and stimulus in their early years. The mother is an obvious source. But provided child-care is stable (i.e. not more than three different carers and no `disappearing carers') I don't think it has to be the mother. Having said that, the state usually provides creches or similar forms of childcare and it's appalling. No stability, inadequate communication, an emphasis on socialisation with and by other infants when they need adult stimulus. All in all a rolling disaster. But it's all about your ideology, not about bringing up healthy children. So let's keep all the mothers out at work and let them come home late, tired and above all guilty about the crap care their children are receiving. Better still, let's not have any children. After all, in the UK we need both people in a couple to be in paid work in order to afford the tax and mortgage payments.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sick as a canary?

`The canary in the coalmine.'
That's how many commentators refer to Israel when it comes to the health of western democracies.
Here's a list of the problems, raised by David Harris at the Jerusalem Post in response to the usual ignorant maunderings by an NYT columnist.
Let me just quote the closing paragraph:
When a serious and determined Palestinian peace partner emerges as the examples of Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Jordan's King Hussein amply prove, the Israeli people will not need coaxing from an American journalist. Rather, they will embrace that partner in their deep and abiding quest for peace and an end to the decades-long conflict.

Iran kidnaps British sailors

The title says it all. The BBC reports 15 sailors from HMS Cornwall abducted in Iraqi waters by Iran:

The Ministry of Defence said: "The group boarding party had completed a successful inspection of a merchant ship when they and their two boats were surrounded and escorted by Iranian vessels into Iranian territorial waters.

"We are urgently pursuing this matter with the Iranian authorities at the highest level.

The last time this happened, the Iranians wanted the sailors for a "hostage swap" (according to MEMRI). One wonders how closely related this is to the claim this morning by the British Army, that their operations in Basra were entirely against Iranian funded, supplied and advised militias:

Col Justin Masherevski told BBC News that Iran was providing "sophisticated weaponry" to insurgents.

"Iranian agents" were also paying local men to attack British troops, he added.

PM Tony Blair has previously said weapons used were of "Iranian origin". The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says any Iranian links are "unacceptable".

Col Masherevski said "local information" indicated that "the vast majority of the violence against us is inspired from outside Iraq"...

The standard of weapons being used against British troops was such that it could only have come from outside Iraq, he said.

"These are not old munitions being used from the Iran-Iraq war, they're much more modern - some of them produced in 2006.

"The locals are telling us these are coming in from Iran."

I notice that, in the spirit of joined-up thinking, this item has now disappeared from the News front page on the BBC site. I suppose they're just trying to avoid causing a panic. After all, the 300 has already hit relations with Iran badly, the last thing we need is this on top.

No further news on the sailors and marines, but Freedom Fighter at Joshuapundit has many more details.
Even the BBC thinks this might be a ploy by the Iranians! Will wonders never cease?
UPDATE 24th March 2007
The BBC says they've been taken to Tehran. It's clear that the Iranians are following form by claiming that the sailors and marines were in Iranian waters. It's equally clear that the seizure was planned. The sailors were picked up by six boats!
The main worry now is that the Iranians are claiming that the sailors have admitted to being in Iranian waters. This means they stand to lose a lot of face if the sailors are released and then deny it.

24th March 2007 11.50 GMT
And now the UN vote for further sanctions.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We, the people

Here's a link which combines two of my favourites: Joshuapundit on a Fjordman post.

We, the citizens of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, (fill in the blanks) demand that the following steps are taken immediately:

We demand that our national governments should immediately and without delay pull their countries out of the European Union, which should be dismantled entirely. European citizens pay up to half of their salaries in direct or indirect taxes to their nation states. If these nations do not control their own borders nor their policies, and they don't as long as the EU exists, those taxes are a scam. National taxes require national borders. If our national borders are not enforced, we have no obligation whatsoever to pay national taxes.

We demand that all documents regarding the Euro-Arab Dialogue and the creation of the Eurabian networks for "Euro-Mediterranean cooperation" between European countries and Arab countries since the 1970s, as documented by Bat Ye'or's work on Eurabia, are published and explained in their full significance to the general public. Those chiefly responsible for this - one of the greatest betrayals in the history of Western civilization - should stand trial, followed by a period of general de-Eurabification of our laws and regulations.

There's more.

Bolton confuses the BBC

I've just read one of the most confused articles I've ever seen on the BBC website.
Prepare yourself for some shocking revelations!
A former top American diplomat says the US deliberately resisted calls for a immediate ceasefire during the conflict in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.
Have you got that? It didn't accidentally resist calls for a ceasefire, it did it deliberately.

Britain joined the US in refusing to call for an immediate ceasefire.

In other words, as you might say, Britain also deliberately resisted calls for a ceasefire!


The war began when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers, but it quickly escalated into a full-scale conflict.

Of course the Israeli soldiers must have been doing something terrible in Lebanon when they were `captured'.


BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall says the US-UK refusal to join calls for a ceasefire was one of the most controversial aspects of the diplomacy.

Controversial indeed, to fail to call on your ally to arrange a ceasefire with a terrorist organisation sworn to destroy Israel and America. What weird hayseeds these Americans are! Oh! I was forgetting. And the British.


Mr Bolton, a controversial and blunt-speaking figure, said he was "damned proud of what we did" to prevent an early ceasefire.

Also in the BBC programme, several key players claim that, privately, there were Arab leaders who also wanted Israel to destroy Hezbollah.

"There were many not - how should I put it - resistant to the thought that the Israelis should thoroughly defeat Hezbollah, who... increasingly by Arab states were seen as an Iranian proxy," said UN special envoy Terje Roed Larsen.

What Mr Bolton seems to fail to understand is that anyone calling for a ceasefire, no matter how advantageous to the aggressor, no matter how deleterious to the innocent party in a conflict, is a saint, I tell you, a saint! If they happen to be in the media as well, then they are divine.

And lastly:

More than 1,000 Lebanese civilians and an unknown number of Hezbollah fighters were killed in the conflict.

How do we know that? Since we can't tell how many of the so-called civilians were Hezbollah terrorists, how do we know that over 1000 civilians were killed? Oh, I'm sorry. We're not supposed to check such facts. Convenient assertion is entirely adequate. I must have lost the plot briefly there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

EU funding for Hamas to resume?

EU Referendum has an excellent post on this topic.
First the author (Dr Richard North) excoriates France:
In his latest book “Betrayal”, David Pryce-Jones, the eminent and much disliked by the FCO expert on the Middle East shows in some detail how the self-deluded French policy in that area and the Gulf has led to a completely intractable situation, not least because succeeding French politicians pressurized the EC (later EU) and other transnational organizations to recognize and give succour to the PLO (later PA) and, in particular, is monstrous leader, the late unlamented Chairman Yasser Arafat. This has led to a situation where peace in the area and freedom and prosperity for the Palestinian people have become well-nigh unattainable goals.

then he moves on to Italy:
Yesterday, Open Europe referred to an article in El Mundo [general link in Spanish supplied by OE], which seems to say that Italy intends to “break ranks” with the rest of the European Union and resume political ties with the Hamas-led Palestinian government...
the Palestinians cannot be left without aid, it is assumed, whether that aid ever reaches those who might need it or not and whether it does anything useful or not. Even if we assume that the aid reaches the Palestinians, the inevitable result will be that the Palestinian government will be relieved of its welfare responsibilities, leaving it with more money to spend on extensive military equipment and the payroll of militias. Is any of that helpful to the Palestinian people in this “delicate period”, as Foreign Affairs Commissar, Benita Ferrero-Waldner puts it?

And finally, Norway:
Allowing for some linguistic problems, however, this seems clear enough, unless the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will deny any of it:
Following the meeting, Johansen told the reporters that Norway decided to normalize its political and fund aids to the Palestinian people that would be presented through independent Finance Minister Salam Fayyad.

He also called on Israel to release frozen tax revenues to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), while Haniya thanked Oslo for its support.

Mr. Hohanson said that his country sees the political platform of unity government live up with the triple conditions of the international community and called it to deal with the unity gov't.
Well, that should make Salam Fayyad’s job slightly easier. As he himself has pointed out the Palestinian budget, in so far as it exists, is a considerable mess with no money left in the kitty and no evidence as to where it has all gone.

Mr Johansen (here described as Hohanson) might also like to explain to those of us less enlightened than himself and his government how are those triple conditions being met. After all, Hamas has not changed its article of faith that Israel must be destroyed. When Hamas (and, to a great extent, Fatah) refer to occupied territory they mean the whole of Israel.

North concludes by quoting extensively from
an article that was published in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Its author, Khaled Abu Toameh, himself as his name implies, a Palestinian, is the Palestinian Affairs Editor of the Jerusalem Post and a very knowledgeable commentator on matters Middle Eastern.

He seems to think that five European countries are prepared to do business (rather a one-way business that would be) with the new “unity” government. He, further, points out that the statements made by both Hamas and Fatah are far too equivocal to amount to show any intention of living up to the “triple conditions of the international community”.

I urge you to read the whole thing.

Why do the names Mussolini and Quisling come to mind?

Some links

A couple of nice links I picked up from The Bookworm's post You Ain't Never Had A Friend Like Me are here.
First, Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker:
Sometimes a serious proposal emerges which is so stupid that it stuns me. Other times, proposals anger me. Rarely, both qualities are combined in one legislative proposal, but the California State Senate currently has such a bill, introduced with bipartisan support.

The idea: give $500 to every infant born in the State of California, regardless of immigration status of the parents. The aim: supposedly to encourage habits of savings and thrift...

It makes me think of something similar in the UK.

Secondly, this rather nice debunking of a BBC AGW scare story:
"Man-made global warming!?" When was that proved? No qualifications? Really? Was not even a teensy degree of it caused by well-established natural climatological cycles?

Then, a couple inches down, this:
The southern polar ice sheet holds 90% of the world's fresh water.

If it all melted, global sea levels would rise by 200 metres. (650 feet).
Ninety percent? 650 feet? Just in Antarctica? Never having heard those stats before, off to I went. It didn't take long to find less sensationalistic stats...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Salmond leaps at independence for Scotland

Alex Salmond is still talking big about the 100 days after the SNP win the election! And Gordon Brown is still worried:
Chancellor Gordon Brown said the SNP's policies were not properly thought out

We'll see soon enough, I suppose.

BBC continues waffling

In further coverage of the lying about the Blue Peter 'phone-in, the new Director General, Mark Thompson claimed that
there had been "serious errors of judgement", but there was no "intention to deceive".
You could have fooled me. It seems like an intent to deceive when a visitor to the programme is passed off as a 'phone-in caller.

Further lies have also been spoken in relation to another 'phone-in:

Cookery show Saturday Kitchen is also under investigation by the premium phone line regulator Icstis, following an incident last month which Mr Thompson attributed to "sloppiness".

Viewers were encouraged to call in for a chance to appear on the following week's show - even though it was being recorded minutes after the live programme went off air.

Perhaps I just don't have proper understanding of what words mean. I would have described it as `lying, but perhaps inadvertent lying'.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

BBC: sustaining the image of class warfare

Here's an article supposedly about faith schools from the Beeb. Let's look at the lead:
Faith schools get competitive
School playground
Competition could raise standards - and widen social divisions
Faith schools which operate their own admissions get better results when they have competition, research suggests.

An institute at the London School of Economics has published a study of school choice, using a sample of 200,000 pupils in England.

Faith schools - outside local authority control - were compared with community schools to measure the impact of parental choice.

Where did that caption come from? Is it just standard BBC kneejerk? No, here's the quote , from about half way down:
The research is published as the ATL teachers' union attacks faith schools for a lack of accountability - and calls for them not to "discriminate" in their admissions process.

God, I hate it! The constant knocking of what the left doesn't like. The trotting out of the standard attacks on education (oh ,sorry, I mean divisive education). The self-satisifed relegation of a significant proportion of the UK population to an underclass simply to satisfy some Fabian agenda. The complete lack of concern for the academically able in favour of what? A vicious, anti-education, beer-swilling, soap-watching, self-reinforcing anti-culture.

Raise the Jolly Roger Blue Peter

The BBC has been caught out again.
The hosts of BBC children's programme Blue Peter have apologised to viewers after the results of a competition were faked last November.

A technical problem meant viewers calling for the Whose Shoes contest did not get through to the studio.

Instead, a visiting child was asked to pose as a caller live on air.

Host Konnie Huq said: "We'd like to say sorry to you because when this mistake happened we let you down." The BBC did not profit from the calls.

Don't you just love that distancing `when this mistake happened'. Not `when we lied to you' nor even `when we made this mistake' but `when this unexpectd and gratuitous act of God which no- one could have foreseen came to pass'.

The contest, on 27 November, was raising money for children orphaned by Aids in Malawi.
Callers were asked to phone in and identify a mystery celebrity's shoes. More than 13,800 people entered, with calls costing 10p each, including 3.25p for the Unicef charity.

What do they do about it? Well first they investigated
An internal investigation confirmed the error and a separate independent review will be carried out into the circumstances surrounding the competition.
OK? Just an error. Not an error of judgment.

Then they
"...apologised directly to the child involved and her family for this incident."

The poor traumatised child.

The poor traumatised presenters.

Mr Deverell called the faking of the competition an "exceptional incident", and said the person responsible had acted "in a panic".

But speaking to Radio Five Live, he refused to rule out the possibility that staff would be sacked over the incident.

I should jolly well hope not! Lying to the public is not what the BBC charter is about.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Melanie Phillips-speech

Here's a link to a rather good speech by Melanie Phillips. Here's a nice section:

There is a persistent refusal to accept that we are in the throes of a holy war waged upon the western world for more than 25 years without our even recognising it because it doesn’t fit our definition of war. It is a world war being fought in many disparate theatres with many proximate causes, but all with one single coherent aim: to defeat western civilisation, establish Islam as the dominant power in the world and restore the medieval Islamic caliphate.

We can see the outcome: in the daily violence in the French suburbs, sanitised by the French government but described by French police as a permanent intifada; in the similar violence in Belgium; in the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the terrorisation of Dutch politicians who speak out; or in the global riots, kidnappings and murders after the re-publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

Yet little of this is reported, and when it is, it is generally presented as the fault of those being terrorised. Thus the French riots are blamed on French prejudice towards immigrants; the cartoon riots on media insensitivity towards Muslim feelings; and moves by the ultra-liberal Dutch or the Danes to ban the burqua or restrict immigration as racism or xenophobia.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Beeless in Gaza

This could be important. We're much more dependent on bees than most people realise.
All over America, beekeepers are opening up their hives in preparation for the spring pollination season, only to find that their bees are dead or have disappeared.

Varroa has not turned out too badly so far but could get much worse. Look for an almost complete absence of fruit in that case.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

C4 and AGW

Not having a television, I didn't see the C4 programme: The Great Global Warming Swindle. Here's another reference.

My own view is that it's all going to last another 5 to 10 years. Then the scare will be over but the taxes will remain. So will the indoctrination at school. Of course, by then the EU will be unable to produce anything at a cost at which anyone else wants to buy.

Hat tip: Brian Micklethwait. He has a great take on the programme maker.

Five a day

Have you eaten your chicken today?
The sacred cows are obviously coming home to roost.
Hat tip: Done With Mirrors.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Snake-Oil and self-esteem

A Polly Toynbee article from long-ago. But I'll bet nobody remembers it!
Occasionally a new piece of research demolishes a myth with one fell blow. It does not happen often (social research tends to run along familiar tracks), but once in a while an iconoclastic study changes ideas. No one reading Self-Esteem - The Costs and Causes of Low Self-Worth by Professor Nicholas Emler of the LSE, should feel quite at ease again using a modern piece of psychobabble that has infused the language of sociology, criminology and education without real scrutiny until now.

Here is the whole thing.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ethical living-it's all about Gaia

Spurred on by Ethical Man, I give my own top ten tips for ethical living:
  1. Fly less - scientists have shown that flying kills many plants each year and is cruel to others.
  2. Use washable nappies. This means you will go to the lavatory less, thus reducing your use of precious water.
  3. Also, use wine instead of water. Jesus started this, of course: an early and unrecognised green, and a martyr for the cause!
  4. Insulate your mind - even a small chink has exposed many right-thinking people to disturbing ideas about morality entirely unrelated to the environment. Keep it green, cocoon it now!
  5. Kill unwanted friends - it's amazing how large people's carbon footprints are. Turn them into a green whole-body outline instead.
  6. Start composting unwanted portions of your anatomy. Meat makes really good compost and you'll never miss your left foot.
  7. Eat babies, not plants. You know it pollutes less. Farm them in isolated and uncontroversial places that the UN has no interest in, like Darfur.
  8. Eat more vegetarians. There are lots of recipes available and remember, the more people you eat, the more room for you on this overcrowded planet.
  9. Use conventional, not nuclear, explosives. Much cleaner!
  10. Try emulating the Khmer Rouge. They rarely used bullets (as they are highly polluting) preferring to bludgeon people to death with their rifle butts.

  11. Remember, if you're ethical, Gaia will Lovelock you!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The SNP are flexing their muscles

In response to criticism of independence plans by a Scottish businessman, Alex Salmond says:
"The growing numbers in the business community who are positive about the SNP and independence shows support is gathering ground significantly.

"And poll information indicating an SNP lead among AB voters, as well as every other category, points to very substantial business support."

Marriage and the Tory politician

Dave's wrong of course. He always is. Family breakdown is not the central factor in social breakdown in Britain. It's a symptom, not the root cause. This is not to seek to minimise the knock-on effects, but this post gives a better clue as to what is at the root of such phenomena.

Conservative leader David Cameron is expected to strongly defend marriage at the party's Welsh spring conference in Cardiff later

It is understood he will warn that family breakdown is the central factor in social breakdown in Britain.

Closing the conference, Mr Cameron will warn that 70% of young offenders are from lone-parent families.

He is planning to say that he does not care if some people say singling out marriage in this way is wrong.

Mr Cameron will say that he is not suggesting single parents do a bad job, just that "kids do best when mum and dad are both there for them".

That is not to say that there hasn't been a sustained and virulent attack on the family. After all, families are about consideration for others-a willingness to put their interests above yours. It's all so Victorian, so 1950s! Honestly, Dave. Don't be such a tired old hack.

Multiculturalism and entitlement

This is fascinating:
Members of the Cherokee Nation of native Americans have voted to revoke tribal citizenship for descendants of black slaves the Cherokees once owned.

Opponents said the amendment was racist and aimed at preventing those with African-American heritage from gaining tribal revenue and government funding.

One half of me says `sad', the other half is jumping up and down shouting `no honour among thieves, no honour among thieves'.

The right to sexual freedom

I have so many things I could say about this:
A German brother and sister who live as a couple and have four children are going to Germany's highest court to try to legalise their relationship.

The 29-year-old brother has already spent more than two years in prison for sleeping with his sister, and could be incarcerated again, his lawyer said.

The pair are currently drawing up an appeal to take before Germany's constitutional court.

They argue they are being denied the right to sexual freedom.

Modern attitudes seem to hold that laws against incest are merely the relic of outmoded attempts at eugenics, so they should go. It's a victimless crime, right?



There is a longstanding (and despicable) tradition in the UK of knocking the Americans. It is almost entirely restricted to the ruling classes (journalists, politicians, chattering class, celebrities) but there it is widespread.

The trick is to focus on a small number of ingenuous and unrepresentative (and preferrably loud) Americans and to pretend that they represent the whole of America (perhaps with the exception of a few righteous but tasteless denizens of Hollywood). It's a totalitarian trick, and maybe that's why the right plays it in public slightly more than the left (nobody does it more than Labour party voters in private).
Richard North at EU Referendum is particularly good at spotting and skewering this phenomenon.
Here are a few of the latest examples:
Said Hague, "supporters and opponents of the Iraq war must make sure the lessons of the invasion and its aftermath were learned", which then became criticism of Tony Blair's "sofa style" of foreign policy decision-making. As an alternative, the Tories were examining proposals for a National Security Council.

But what seems to escape Hague is that, as far as the aftermath of the Iraqi war goes, we are, in a sense, facing unknown territory. As such, we are facing a steep learning curve and are not in a position to talk about "lessons learned". Some we are still devising and, for others, we have not even completed the lesson plan.

Thus, while Hague is talking blithely about doing "our utmost to ensure that lessons are learned for the future," we need to be learning lessons now, and applying them now. If we do not, we may well not have a future.

And like it or not, the single nation most engaged in this issue is the United States. Mistakes the Americans most certainly have made but, when it comes to "learning the lessons", nowhere is the debate and the experimentation more vibrant than in the USA and in the US sectors of Iraq and Afghanistan.

It thus seems wholly inappropriate for Hague to be talking about the need for better "management" of the UK's relationship with the US. Even less appropriate is the suggestion that we need to "recover the art of managing the relationship well and making it one of permanent friendship coupled with honest criticism."

Given how far behind the curve we are in our prosecution of the war in our sectors, it seems that we are not really in a position to offer much by the way of criticism, honest or otherwise. Rather, we might be better served if we spent some time in criticising our own performance. We might perhaps benefit from a little more listening and learning, and much more humility, before we rush to the White House to offer our views.

That "collective realization", however, barely extends to the British military, and has completely eluded the British media, whose defence correspondents seem blissfully unaware of a military revolution going on right under their noses. Thus, in the fullness of time, the US military will have replaced every one of its Hummers engaged on tactical duties with a new breed of vehicles, without the media even noticing.

And still, I suspect, the British politico-military establishment - as it continues to send young men to their deaths in wholly inadequate vehicles - will be preening itself on its intellectual superiority over those crass Americans.


It is rather typical of the left-wing press to salivate over the prospect of a Vietnam-style meltdown in Iraq, hence the enthusiasm displayed by The Guardian this morning in elevating to its front page the comments of "an elite team of officers advising the US commander, Gen. Petraeus" that they have six months to win the war in Iraq.

But if that is the case, at least the United States is still looking at a recoverable situation, where it is working for a winning solution. It is prepared to put the resources and, as importantly, the intellectual capital, into beating the enemy. And, amongst the tangible measures the US is planning to take, we learn from The Guardian is that they are preparing for the possible southwards deployment of 6,000 US troops to compensate for Britain's phased withdrawal and any upsurge in unrest.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Disasters made to order

Here (hat tip: Samizdata) is a wonderful article on military (non-) intelligence by William Lind.
Sometimes, single words can say more than whole essays. The Swedish captain in the Fourth Generation War seminar I lead at for the U.S. Marine Corps at Quantico, Va. recently introduced me to such a word. It is the Swedish word for military intelligence: underrättelser. The literal translation of underrättelser is "correction from below."

Now there's a principle that could be applied to almost all management. Learn to listen to the people who see what's happening. The world might be an awful lot better if our politicians worked like that too.
Can you imagine how education could improve if politicians talked to the countless people who had not learned to read at school?
Now, what about this:

The question facing any military is how to deal with the inevitable difference between what military intelligence thinks about the enemy and what is actually the case. Our approach, the wrong one, is to seek ever-increasing amounts of "information." That information is funneled into various intelligence "functions" and "fusion centers," almost all of them remote from the fight, where the intel weenies sit around in their purple robes embroidered with moons and stars, staring into their Palantirs. They wave their wands labeled "IPB," and presto!, out comes -- well, for the most part, garbage.

Regrettably, in this Second Generation War model, the garbage cannot be acknowledged as such. The motto is, "Garbage In, Gospel Out."
Again, do you know a single politician who doesn't (at least sometimes) practise `Garbage in, Gospel out'?

Making the news (not reporting it).

That says what's wrong with modern journalism, doesn't it? It's from the BBC main news page.
Why should I complain? After all, the BBC is a crusading, news-generating, left of centre machine, isn't it? That's why all its reporters joined. They wanted to change the world for the better, not put up with that crappy right wing Thatcher/Reagan swine.

Friday, March 02, 2007

A worthwhile rant

Apologies for the light posting. As I said before, I got carried away by commenting on post at Done With Mirrors. Let's see if I can tempt you (this is from the comments):
I am a power-mad, convert-hungry, cloak-snatching, sheep-denuding, one-person, vast, right-wing, conspiracy. I also make house-calls.

All I really want to do is to spend my waking hours watching vast lines of sweating, worshipful acolytes count my cookie-cutters, build my pyramids and stoke the flames of my wrath (think LGF’s Charles Johnson with attitude).
I have no true interest in politics beyond the pursuit of power. My long-maturing plans for world domination will shortly come to fruition, just as soon as I can convince people that `conservatism’ (or whatever else I decide is more appealing), coupled with the aim of making me world president, is the one true path.

Lunar eclipse tomorrow

I don't need to say much more: there'll be a lunar eclipse on Saturday.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Conservative? Up to a point, Lord Copper

I have recently been involved in a discussion of a post by Callimachus at Done With Mirrors. The post, entitled All Liberals Now, explains why Callimachus thinks that for most of us, it's impossible to describe ourselves as conservative now:
What would a conservative manifesto call people back to? Standing astride the path of history and shouting "stop!" appeals to everyone on one issue or another. But very few want to take it as an overarching philosophy of politics or life.

The problem, as I see it, is that, whatever labels we choose to use for ourselves and one another, we're all liberals now, in one or another of the the philosophical senses of liberalism -- and we all believe in changing the world for the better -- as we define "better."

Or, to put it more bluntly, what kind of idiot would want to conserve the ghastly state of the body politic now?
I urge you to read the post and the comments as I think both are illuminating.