-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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As to be expected, there was a massive spike in trading Thursday morning as people reacted to the announcement. But this does not explain the large increase recorded Wednesday before the Finance Minister made his announcement at 6 p.m. Was information illegally leaked and acted upon? Curious indeed.
More from Blogging Tories member Conservative Life.
The Dogs of War Are Howling
- the talking heads insist AdScam involved only a few Liberal officials
- the talking heads are bragging about the federal budget surplus
- the talking heads insist Canadians don't want a Christmas election campaign
Secondly, I wouldn't brag about that surplus too much. Instead of gloating about the surplus perhaps we should examine just how it was achieved. Geez Louise I'm taking home less money now then I was a few years ago! I guess it's easy to consistently post a budgetary surplus when you tax the shit out of the peasants! Until the Martinites can claim the surplus came about as a result of a strong economy and sound fiscal management don't talk to me about budgetary surpluses.
And then there is the nonsense about people not wanting a Christmas election campaign. I suppose there is no pleasing the apathetic crowd but don't tell me that anyone who has an even slight interest in politics doesn't want a holiday campaign. As I asked a couple of weeks ago, how will an election interfere in the festivities? The actual vote won't even occur until either mid or late January. But even if it took place on Christmas Day itself so what? You only vote once and it's over. Nay, it's the Liberals who don't want the election at this point in time. Reeling from the first installment of the Gomery Report, the Liberals were hoping to stall an election call at least until spring time at the earliest. In the meantime, the game plan would have been to smother us with a feel good budget in the hopes that throwing around some dough would help Canadians forget AdScam. Not likely. Don't believe me? One only has to look at the massive spending increases the Liberals have announced recently. Nice try Mr. Prime Minister but it won't work. There will be no spring time election. There will be no fat-laden feel good budget to smother us with. The day of reckoning is fast approaching.
In accordance with Parliamentary rules Prime Minister Paul Martin must now ask the Governor-General to dissolve the House. After GG Jean announces the dissolution of Parliament, she will set an election date which is speculated to be either Jan 16 or Jan 23.
The first step has been taken. It has begun.
Let's get ready Canada.
Brown and unpleasant land OK?
The English and Wales Cricket Board are worried about the words building the holy city "in England’s green and pleasant land”.
Ironically, a CD of the hymn by the Ashes-winning team is tipped to be Christmas No1 with proceeds going to Pakistan’s earthquake victims.
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Amazing idea: Have 4 kids and you no longer have to work
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The Irish target "racist toddlers"
Racism among Irish toddlers will be tackled at a conference for childcare providers in Dublin later this month. International research shows that children can form prejudices against other races even as babies and pre-schoolers. Workers in creches and childcare facilities will be shown how games and activities can prevent such discrimination forming. The anti-racism initiative is being organised by childcare committees in south Dublin and Fingal who hope it will provide a blueprint for child carers across the country.
Julia Hackett, a co-ordinator on the south Dublin committee, says it is important for children to acknowledge the differences between people at an early age and learn to accept them. "Children from a very early age acknowledge the difference between people. We want to bring together the childcare professionals that are working on the ground to develop practical anti-bias approaches that are active, indeed activist, so that we can challenge prejudice, stereotyping and bias," she said. "Childcare professionals want activities for the children to encourage them to feel comfortable with the differences and similarities between themselves and others. "By listening to the professionals we will be able to find the best way to integrate these activities and plans into the existing curriculum rather than just having them as an add-on." Hackett says the group hopes to be able to provide guidelines to childcare facilities about the inclusion of different nationalities - including providing halal meat on menus.
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Patriotism and nationalism
Internationalism or Weltbuergertum (world-citizenship) as an ideal seems usually to be traced to Karl Marx and that aspect of Marx certainly inspires the small band of Trotskyists who still agitate away worldwide. Yet Marx's co-author, Friedrich Engels, was an unabashed and strident German nationalist. Go through the archives of my MarxWords blog if you doubt it. And Marx himself took sides in various wars of his day. So I think we must regard past Communist sponsorship of internationalism as no more than a ploy.
And the Left in countries outside the USA has generally been patriotic and continues to be so. No-one questions the patriotism of Australian Labor Party politicians, for instance, because there is no need to. They in general sincerely put Australia's interests first, according to their lights. American Democrat politicians, on the other hand, are super-sensitive to questioning of their patriotism because they know it to be well-founded and yet at the same time also know it to be electoral poison.
At this point I think I should digress a little to make a distinction between patriotism and nationalism. The concept of patriotism (love of one's country) is fairly unproblematic but nationalism is a much vaguer and more fluid concept. At its core, I think, is a claim of national superiority. But what follows from that varies. We can see nationalism in the form of invasion and domination of other countries (as in the "Progressive" assaults on Cuba and the Philippines) or we can see it in a non-aggressive form as in modern day France. The French continue to think that their national superiority is unquestionable and do their best to promote French Gloire, distinctiveness and independence but, after the tremendous loss of life that they endured under Napoleon, military adventurism has not been on their agenda to any significant extent at all.
I personally have no problem with either patriotism or non-aggressive nationalism. It is now a mainstream view among psychologists, despite their generally Leftist orientation, that patriotism is a normal and natural part of the human psyche and I myself have argued for that view at great length in the academic literature. Perhaps the most interesting finding that emanates from the psychological literature on the subject is that patriotism is in general totally unrelated to racial attitudes. It was for many years the dominant view among psychologists that patriotism and racial prejudice went together to form a syndrome of "ethnocentism" but careful research has repeatedly shown the two to be essentially unrelated. You can be proud of your country without at the same time looking down on particular racial or ethnic groups.
So why do modern-day American Leftists despise patriotism? I think it is clearly because they in fact despise America -- so anyone who loves America is anathema to them. And why do they despise America? Because they are haters. They hate and despise success and satisfaction in others. They disguise such motivations as a desire for "equality" but tearing down any contented society that exists is what gets their rocks off. And the USA has now become the world's most powerful, successful, important and generally pre-eminent society that there is. It is also a society that gives lots of ordinary people the experience of a full and contented life. And Leftists hate all that. They hate any pre-eminence but their own and they want to scratch the eyes out of all that contentment -- which they demonize as "complacency". So to Leftists worldwide, the USA is the epitome of all they hate and so it is on the USA that their hatred is focused -- whether they themselves are inhabitants of the USA or not.
In the "Progressive" era, of course, the world power was Britain and "British imperialism" was the great Leftist hate-object among the Left of that time, both in Britain and elsewhere.
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Greens Senator Bob Brown announced today he has sent the government’s Anti-Terrorism Bill (No.2) 2005 to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for assessment.
Bully for you Bob. I really hope you get some action on this issue by the time this Bill gets approved. Or at least a letter acknowledging your efforts from the UN.
“Extensive evidence before the Senate inquiry showed how these terror laws breach Australia’s legal obligations under international law”, Senator Brown said. “We will be asking the United Nations to review the laws in light of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.”
Bob 'Snitch' Brown is hoping the omnipotent UN Human Rights Committee will endorse the removal of the government and install one that will implement UN governance. Bob's also hoping to see some more 'fairies' at the bottom of his garden.
Cross posted at Bastards Inc.
"I think it's convenient for the government to constantly keep people fearful about the terrorist threat to this country," said Democrats leader Lynn Allison.
That line was reported verbatim around the world in the BBC, Reuters, ABC News, The Age, Herald Sun, and many more.
What can read into Lynn's remarks? It seems clear that she is suspicious of the timing of the actions against religious nutbags intent on B.S.U. The raids were just one day after various commentators and political hacks accused the government of creating a police state. Senator Allison, clear up this mess. Why should the Australian public believe a word you say?
"I do not accuse the Prime Minister of orchestrating the raids nor was I speculating that he did. I clearly said that I did not have any information to suggest that this was the case. I made it clear that while some people may speculate that this timing was a little too convenient, I was not."
Some people? Lying Lynn, you win this months 'Ultimate Bullshitter' prize. You win a continued term in Parliament to be ridiculed and ignored by the majority of Australians. Another one who should quit while they are behind.
Cross posted at Bastards Inc.
I want my lollies or else..
With no more than a few days to go before the fellow is executed, I would think, leave the family and friends of this man to themselves, let them find some peace or way to deal with it, not give them false hope and not turn their sadness into a farce and opportunity to score some cheap publicity.
But it appears the behaviour of some politicians and leaders in Australia is much like that of insolent children in the local supermarket, when mommy and daddy refuse to buy them the requested unaffordable toy, they pull their faces, sulk, throw a tantrum, shriek incoherently, moving their body parts in random directions, hoping this will make the parents budge. However this behaviour draws attention from bystanders, leading to embarrassment for the parents and is ultimately pointless. The toy cannot be bought.
Nguyen to gallows, PM to cricket: Shrieks the Sydney Morning Herald.
Prime Minister John Howard will attend the PM's XI cricket match on Friday, the day of Australian Nguyen Tuong Van's scheduled execution, and he believes Australians will understand.
These guys should be horse whipped in the city centre for printing such nonsense. Even if the Prime Minister joins these buffoons on the floor of the supermarket and refuses to attend a cricket match, Nguyen will not be spared. The fate of this man is not in the hands of John Howard, but why let some inconvenient facts get in the way of a good ol Howard smear.
"I have a job that involves many responsibilities. It wasn't my decision that the execution take place on Friday," Mr Howard told ABC radio.
Not so, squeals the opposition, who seem hell bent on remaining on the shop floor with the rest of the children. Score some political points. The world must stop, look at me, look at me!!
I mean what do they want Australia to do, send in the SAS, send a warship over there, ask the PM to punch someone in Singapore.
However, Labor senator George Campbell says that the cricket match should be called off. Senator Campbell said it was insensitive for Prime Minister John Howard to attend the match on Friday. Senator Campbell said he had heard Mr Howard's justification for attending the game, describing it as feeble.
"I think it's an outrage that the match should go ahead and if he has any support for the abolition of hanging, then he wouldn't go to the match on Friday," Senator Campbell told reporters in Canberra.
I wonder if any of this outrage and protest and tantrum throwing is displayed when a victim of drugs, overdoses and dies, when a child is born drug addicted, when a parent loses a child, or a child a parent, or when an addict commits a crime to fund his drug habit. Incase these rascals are not aware, Nguyen wasn't caught for trafficking jelly babies or M&M's, it was heroin strapped to his body.
Not to be outdone, the neighbourhood brats have joined the fray.
Australian Democrats senator Natasha Stott Despoja agreed, saying she felt sickened by the prospect that Mr Howard would attend the game on the same day that an Australian would be executed. "I call on the prime minister to call off this game," Senator Stott Despoja said.
Yes call George Bush while your at it, stop the political processes of the world, all must stop, we want to be heard, our protest must not go unheard.
But wait, wait for the loud mouth, desperately in need of Super Nanny discipline, Bob Brown, this delinquent will protest against anything and everything, now this fool wants the Prime Minister of Australia to join him and his band of merry juveniles, waving placards and wasting taxpayers money in front of the Singaporean Embassy.
With the Senate scheduled to sit this Friday, Australian Greens senator Bob Brown said he would prefer to be protesting outside the Singaporean Embassy.
"If I was him I wouldn't go, I would be making Friday a day of reflection on the barbarity of mandatory sentencing for the death penalty and the insouciance of the Singaporean prime minister and government about this whole issue."
A day of reflection he says, well some have even opened their mouths and words have been uttered, that a minute of silence be observed, and the brain was engaged thereafter.
I think they are right, we do need a day of reflection and a moment of silence, these spoilt brats that have made Australia look like a circus of monkeys need to be sent to naughty corners or steps or chairs to sit, stand or preferably squat in silence and reflect on their childish antics.
How to discourage bosses from hiring women
Your boss pats you on the bottom and a male colleague remarks on your breasts. An after-work drink is followed by a series of lewd text messages and, at a male-dominated meeting, jokes are made about explicit email images. For hundreds of Australian women each year, this kind of unwanted sexual attention is just part of the daily grind. Thousands more encounter a far subtler form of sexual discrimination - structural inequity in workplaces where men in dark suits still dominate.
In the past two years, in Britain and the United States, banking leaders and international law firms have been forced to pay millions of dollars to women workers treated differently because of their gender. In Sydney, a $10 million landmark sexual discrimination case due before the Federal Court in February for the first time alleges that a culture of systematic discrimination exists at the nation's largest accounting firm. Senior PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Christina Rich claims she was sexually harassed by several partners at the firm, and that her career and those of other women were stymied by a "culture of discrimination, bullying and harassment". The 41-year-old also says partners discouraged her from speaking out and victimised her when she made a formal complaint. Rich says she was labelled "scatty", "emotional" and "high maintenance" by a senior partner.
It may well be years before the case concludes, but it has prompted predictions that a flurry of lawsuits will ensue from senior women fed up with hitting their heads on the glass ceiling. University of Sydney academic Associate Professor Catharine Lumby believes that by demanding financial compensation for discrimination, women are finally talking the sharemarket's language.
"Money is what will make people listen," Lumby says. "It's not as simple as a whole lot of men walking around saying 'we hate women'. It's that the worlds of work and private lives are still absolutely separate and for many women that means that issues that matter to them, such as child care, are deemed irrelevant." That sexual discrimination still thrives is because women are seen as "sexual beings", Lumby says.
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Virginia: A nice little win for real educational tolerance
Warren County Community College adjunct English professor, John Daly resigned last night before the school's board of trustees began an emergency meeting to discuss the professor's fate. On November 13, Daly sent an email to student Rebecca Beach vowing "to expose [her] right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like [Rebecca's] won't dare show their face on a college campus." In addition, Daly said that "Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors."
School president William Austin said that he will incorporate tolerance seminars for professors during the next faculty in-service day to shield students from this type of harassment, as requested by Young America's Foundation. Rebecca Beach has called for Austin to select Young America's Foundation President Ron Robinson as the one to teach leftists how to be tolerant toward conservatives. Robinson has dedicated his career to defending free speech on college campuses. "More colleges and universities need to follow the lead of WCCC and integrate tolerance training for insensitive leftists," says Young America's Foundation Spokesman Jason Mattera. "John Daly is yet another Ward Churchill. Academia is filled with intolerant leftists who openly show hostility toward conservatism."
Daly's email to Rebecca came after she sent a note to faculty announcing the appearance of decorated war hero Lt. Col. Scott Rutter to discuss America's accomplishments in Iraq.
Young America's Foundation will continue to monitor and expose similar instances of leftist intolerance through our online service, "Activist 411 - Activism Made Easy." This resource helps students, like Rebecca Beach, by providing them with advice on how to advance conservative ideas effectively and reveal intolerant professors, administrators, and other left-wing elements who attempt to intimidate and silence young conservative activists.
As the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement for 35 years, Young America's Foundation introduces thousands of young people to conservative ideas through national conferences, campus lectures and activism programs, internships, and seminars at the Reagan Ranch. Young America's Foundation preserves the Reagan Ranch as a premier presidential property and living tribute to Ronald Reagan's life and ideas.
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Socialist Germany: The old is new again
"A multimillion-dollar campaign to boost Germans' low self-confidence has backfired after it emerged that its slogan was coined by the Nazis. The $34 million "Du Bist Deutschland -- You Are Germany" -- campaign was devised to inspire Germans to stop moaning and do something good for their country. Beethoven, Einstein and the sports stars Franz Beckenbauer and Michael Schumacher have been cited in advertisements encouraging Germans to take more pride in their homeland.
But a historian from Ludwigshafen has provoked an uproar with his discovery that the same "Du Bist Deutschland" cry was used at Nazi rallies in the 1930s. Stefan Morz uncovered photographs of a 1935 Nazi convention in which soldiers display a banner reading, in Gothic script, "Denn Du Bist Deutschland (Because You Are Germany)." The slogan was topped with the head of Adolf Hitler. Leading Nazis such as Hermann Goring and Joseph Goebbels attended the event."
(Excerpt from here)
The Nazi connection is not as obscure as the article excerpted above pretends. One of Hitler's favourite slogans was: "Um uns ist Deutschland. In uns marschiert Deutschland. Und hinter uns kommt Deutschland!". Like much of Hitler's rhetoric it cannot be translated in a way that gives much idea of the impact of the original but it literally means: "Around us is Germany, In us Germany marches and behind us comes Germany". So the basic idea behind the modern slogan and Nazi thinking is pretty similar: Identifying the individual with the nation and making Germany a sort of mystical icon. All very Hegelian!
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Fascinating – Is the Nazi as Leftist Debate Going Mainstream?
It started like this (with a comment from a guy called Mark):
You are right in claiming that communism and fascism have much in common. Sibling rivalry is an excellent description. I find it more accurate to think of political ideologies located somewhere on a circle rather than a straight line, with moderates at the top and totalitarianism (fascism and communism) at the bottom. Fascism and communism arrive at the almost the same place but from different directions.Then this guy (called Richard) wrote:
Mark said: "I find it more accurate to think of political ideologies located somewhere on a circle rather than a straight line, with moderates at the top and totalitarianism (fascism and communism) at the bottom. Fascism and communism arrive at the almost the same place but from different directions." Thanks, Mark - this is precisely the currently accepted model. As an Economics Professor of mine once said, find an exception to a model (even one), and your model fails; start again. So, try and fit Anarchy in the model you have just described. . .Then a fella' called Mike responded to that:
Andrew - Richard M seeks to demolish Mark's concept of political ideologies ranging in a circular, or clocklike fashion, whereby the otherwise 'opposites' of fascism and communism are joined by their common means of implementation - totalitarianism. I agree with Mark, and have often seen the ideological spectrum set out in just the manner he describes, rather than in a linear form ranging from the right to left. Richard M, in seeking to disprove Mark's concept, introduces anarchy into the equation, and challenges Mark to place anarchy into his circular spectrum.Then this appeared (from someone called Werner - I’m still scratching my head):
This is where Richard M is in error. Mark was writing of a circular arrangement of ideologies - and anarchism is NOT an ideology, but merely the state which exists in the ABSENCE of an ideology, and, consequently has no place amongst a range of ideologies.
Then the Richard guy responded:
Andrew, it was disappointing to see you dismiss John Kriesfeld's comments about global theories of political ideologies so flippantly. There is much that you could take from this theory and incorporate into your own writings, given they draw from, and interact with, socio-political thought and policy in Victoria and Australia so heavily. With ideologies fanning between poles of the global (and spherical) political spectrum and your writings spanning the arcs between the traditional "right" and "left" there is an obvious convergence that you must better harness if you are to take your ideas and theories and make them truly palatable to the whole community. However, with convergence occurring in a curved environment it is much harder to plot than if it occurred on a plane.
One last word of advice, Andrew. As John was trying to warn you (if only you would see...) beware the Moon of Anarchy, with its power to warp the political fabric of the global ideological environment. You must carefully consider the stage of the Anarchy tide with each utterance and success in this area would certainly allow wider acceptance of your transcendental views.
Andrew replies: Werner, let me respond to those parts of your post I understand. First, it is impossible to make any political or ideological idea, let alone my own, "palatable to the whole community", and you'd have to be megalomaniacal to even attempt it. Second, there is no arc between Left and Right - the extremes of both tend to huddle together at the collectivist end of a line that has anarchy at the other. I'm somewhere in the middle, moderate as always, trying to balance the claims of individuality and freedom with the ballast of the collective.
Mike (17/11), I wasn't trying to 'demolish' Mark's concept, nor was I being facetious when I thanked him. I was grateful he'd raised it; it's a conversation I rather enjoy. You said: 'I agree with Mark, and have often seen the ideological spectrum set out in just the manner he describes.' I reply: indeed you have, and it's wrong. A spectrum, by definition, is a presentation of a range of component parts. You said: 'Mark was writing of a circular arrangement of ideologies'. I reply: sure, and it does not represent the full range of those parts. You said: '. . .anarchism is NOT an ideology.' My reply: try telling that to an Anarchist. An ideology is a principle, Mike, a thought, belief or creed. One who actually believes in having little government (for example) as the theme central to their 'polity' holds these by definition. This is an ideology.Then the Mike guy shoots back:
I think you miss my point, though. Look at it this way: just how well is the ideological spectrum (as such) served by the `circular? model? For example, where does someone who believes in even greater laissez faire/minarchism (for example) than the currently accepted moderate 'midpoint' suggests (that vague'mix' of moderate 'left/right' that the 'circular' model has us currently inhabiting; the opposite 'extreme' to the meeting of Communism/Nazism) actually fit? They don't. The 'circular' model fails.
To Richard M - I do get your point, but disagree with it still. You said that the circular diagram of political philosophies fails because Anarchism cannot be placed in it. OK, where would you place Anarchism in a linear scale ranging from right to left, then? To the left of the Left? Or to the right of the Right? In the middle somewhere? Doesn't fit, does it? Not on a linear scale nor a circular one. You were off target, even in your own terms, in introducing Anarchy as an essential component in a scale of political philosophies, when anarchy is not a political philosophy, but the state which results from the practical absence of any political philosophy.Then the last word from the Richard character that Mike is finding so annoying:
What the extremes of Left and Right share resides in their common mode of implementation - Totalitarianism. Totalitarianism, like Anarchy, is not a political philosophy, but refers to government by oppression. I, pardon the pun, am not going to talk this round in circles any more. The error of your comment is obvious enough. Have the last word if you wish. Mike Hodgson.
Andrew replies: I think if you think of the scale going from total control of the individual to not the slightest, even by the claims of family, tradition or morality, you end up with a scale that goes from totalitarianism of both the Left and Right, to perfect anarchy. The trick is to find exactly where in the middle is best.
'Into the valley of death. . .' Dear Mike, Andrew has pretty much nailed it, but I will answer your question (at grave risk of boring Andrew senseless, I fear). 'Where would I place Anarchism in a linear scale ranging from right to left, then?' First, we need to accept that a part of the 'circular' paradigm is quite correct: Nazism and Communism, and their collectivist totalitarianism, are actually expressions of the same thing. In that much, the 'model' is indeed right (forgive the pun). Then, however, we need to entertain the difficult notion that Nazism was never an ultimate expression of the 'right' (so-called), as is the accepted premise. I mentioned laissez faire and minarchism quite deliberately, as examples of political philosophies that entertain what the further extremes of the 'right' are actually all about, and represent an antithesis to what the Nazis (and Communists) were all about.Here's the really fun bit, though. Andrew Bolt then came out with a column on Friday (25/11): Fascism puts Left foot forward, where he said (among other good stuff) this:
If we must use the left/right analogy, then let's: Nazism was and is, albeit an extreme, expression of the 'left' (along with the various other '`leftist' political philosophies that, in brief, pursue the collective and its control). The ultimate expression of the 'right' is its opposite (call that what you will, though Anarchism does me fine). Voila - working model. . .
Fascism is in fact an ideology of the Left, as Hitler (the Nazi Socialist) and Mussolini (the former editor of Italy's official Socialist newspaper Avanti) showed.Apart from the fun that will be the usual crew of seething Leftist nutjobs who inhabit Bolt’s forum going stark raving bananas over this one, I’m expecting a really interesting forum response. Keep an eye on it.
Should be entertaining. . .
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"Disabled" correctness runs amok in New Zealand
Ngai Tahu Tourism acting general manager Rick Tau said providing electric or mechanical lifts to get disabled people up and over sets of steps built into the walkway would add more than $100,000 to the cost of the project. "It could put the kibosh it," he said.
More than $50,000 had already been spent on design and planning. Electric lifts would require a power supply, and self-operated mechanical lifts could be a problem if people were severely disabled, Mr Tau said. The tribe had asked the Department of Building and Housing for an exemption under the Building Act, but was turned down.
It's not the first time Ngai Tahu's tourism ventures had come up against disability laws, Mr Tau said. "Some of it is idiotic. We have lodges that take two days' walking to get to, yet we have to provide wheelchair access to toilets."
More here (Hat tip to Kiwi Pundit)
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A small personal anecdote
Nonetheless, statistical generalizations do NOT seem to be very persuasive to most people. Not unreasonably, people tend to be much more influenced by observations and events that they know personally or that people they know have told them about. So generalizations will not usually gain much traction without illustrative examples. Anecdotes are at least as persuasive as well-founded statistical generalizations.
So what I want to do below is give two small anecdotes from my life that do in my view illustrate at the personal level two generalizations that I believe are well supported by other historical and psychometric data: That many Muslim populations are emotionally immature and that the Chinese are innately a highly civilized people. There are exceptions to every rule of course but what I want to do is give examples that illustrate the rule.
I often eat out for breakfast. And in highly multicultural Australia the providers of breakfasts are ethnically highly varied. And the "ethnics" often do not understand English well. So getting a breakfast from them can sometimes have its communication difficulties. On one such occasion, I was having difficulty getting what I had ordered from a Muslim (Iranian, I think) business. After communication had repeately failed, I began to get a bit irate. When I did so, however, the Muslim owner got irate with me and accused me of insulting him. At that point I simply turned on my heel without another word and walked out -- and I never went there again. He went broke a few months later.
On a second more recent occasion, a similar situation transpired in a business run by a Chinese man. Did his "honour" get besmirched by my annoyance? Not a bit of it. He was apologetic and conciliatory. I did not walk out of HIS eatery. I enjoyed my breakfast when I eventually got it and I will eat there again. I shook his hand as I left by way of apology for my bad temper. And I am betting that he won't go broke. Give me the Chinese any day. I have known Chinese people since childhood and have had umpteen opportunities to observe their behaviour here in Australia -- and the example I have just given is absolutely typical of them in my experience: Truly smart, patient and civilized people.
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Unpredictable outcry over Asian executions
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More proof of global warming ... err ... cooling from Britain
The Met Office conducted an unprecedented emergency briefing to its industry clients yesterday on the prospects for this winter. Wayne Elliott, a Met Office forecaster and spokesman, said that the briefing to industry, which was closed to the press, was just a precaution. "In the first event of its kind, the Met Office today met leaders from business and central Government to brief them on the prospects for the coming winter," he said. "Society has changed since the last time we had a cold winter of any magnitude, so this is an effort to get the business energy customers and the Government prepared."
Western parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland were hit by the heavy snow and blizzards yesterday and forecasters confirmed their prediction that this winter is likely to be colder than average. The last time that happened was in the winter of 1995-96, but a spokesman said yesterday that this year could be even colder. The heavy wintry showers were then due to spread into West Wales and North and southwest England by this morning. The blizzards are then expected to move East during the day and into the weekend, according to the Met Office. Mr Elliot said southern parts would be most affected by the departure from normal temperatures, because they are not used to it.....
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EU sugar reform: Great news for Australia
"Britain has brokered an agreement to reform the last remaining fully protected area of European agriculture, cutting sugar prices, phasing out quotas and bringing an end to sugar mountains. The first reforms since the postwar period to the EU's much criticised sugar regime will cut prices by 36 per cent, destroy 100,000 jobs in Europe, end sugar farming in countries such as Ireland and Greece, and lead to economic devastation for Europe's former colonies in Africa and the Caribbean, which also benefited from the rigged market.... As well as European consumers and taxpayers, the reforms will also benefit efficient sugar producers such as Brazil, Thailand and Australia, who had taken successful legal action against Europe to force it to end its protectionism. It will also help some of the poorest African countries, who will get far better access to the EU market from 2009.
Under the reforms, prices will be cut by 36 per cent over the next four years, but the world's producers will not get free access until 2020. European sugar farmers and processors are being given billion euros (4.8 billion pounds) in compensation to help them to adjust to the new industries. Former colonies that lose out will be given 40 million euros next year.
Under the reforms, Ireland will be forced by quota cuts to shut down all its sugar beet production, while Italy will give up half its production quotas. Official estimates predict that European sugar production will drop by one quarter, and that 90,000 of Europe's 325,000 sugar workers will lose their jobs. With Europe's pampered and inefficient farmers largely unable to compete in the global market, the Commission predicts that all sugar exports from Europe will stop, and the EU will turn into a major sugar importer.....
The Common Agricultural Policy kept sugar prices in Europe at more than three times the world level. It led to huge sugar surpluses, which were dumped on the developing world, often undermining local farmers. However, sugar cane farmers in former European colonies, mainly in Africa, had preferential access to the European market, enabling them to sell at well above world rates...."
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At least 30 people were killed and 27 wounded when a car bomb exploded outside a hospital in a town south of Baghdad, officials say. The bomb was detonated as two Iraqi police cars drew up near the general hospital in Mahmudiya, about 20km (12 miles) outside Baghdad.
A US military convoy passing by was also hit by the blast. Several Iraqi policemen were killed in the blast. Women and children were also among the many civilian casualties, including at least one medic at the hospital's emergency centre.
"I was leaving the hospital with my one-and-a-half-year-old son in my arms when the explosion happened," Huda Ali told the AFP news agency. "I was knocked down by the force of the blast and when I came to, my son was no longer in my arms. I found him among the dead."
The democrats and leftists, demand exit strategies, shoot off clever one liners like "Bush lied, thousands died", shed tears over the treatment of terrorists and flushed korans, vote against the war and support it, ask for a withdrawal and vote against it and how else we can bend over and weasel our way into surrendering more.
The odd fool will tell us that we need to know our enemy, we need to see it from their perspective, that the above murderers are not evil, just demonised and irrationally hated by a war mongering American cowboy. He and others probably laughed when that cowboy went to the bastion of liberty, China, and pleaded with them to allow more religious freedoms for 'their' people, they laughed when he couldn't open a locked door and broadcasted it around the world with glee. The odd buffoon will tell us George Bush and America are no better than these extremists, the terrorist threat is just stirred up, and muslims are being targeted.
But time and time again the extremists have displayed their eagerness to murder as many as they can.
Not content with the 200+ killed in Bali, the scum were planning to kill their loved ones as well, whilst attending the memorial service.
Jemaah Islamiah mastermind Azahari bin Husin was planning a suicide bomb attack on the memorial service held in Kuta last month for the 202 people who died in the Bali nightclub bombings three years ago.
George Bush must be sitting there in the oval office, speechless, holy Moses lord, I've been telling them this for the last.. I can't even remember how long it has been!!
Its starting to get through, though painfully slow.
King Abdullah of Jordan has called for a relentless war on Muslim extremists in the wake of the suicide bombings in Amman earlier this month. He said the attacks increased Jordan's determination to stick to its reform and democratisation process.
King Abdullah said Jordan's reforms were "irreversible" and the suicide attacks would not halt them. "At the same time, it reaffirms our need to adopt a comprehensive strategy to confront the Takfiri culture," he said. Takfiris believe contemporary Muslim society has reverted to a state of unbelief (kufr) and thus consider legitimate both rebellion against the state and acts of violence against Muslim citizens.
The king wants Mr Bakhit to "not only deal with the security dimension, but also the ideological, cultural and political spheres to confront those who chose the path of destruction and sabotage to reach their goals".
While we in the west, fall over ourselves to allow the radical cleric to preach hatred of us, in the name of freedom of speech. His next statement is even more encouraging.
He also called for a "relentless war on all the Takfiri schools, which embrace extremism, backwardness, isolation and darkness and are fed on the ignorance and naivety of simple people."
He said fatwas, or religious decrees, issued by Takfiri schools constituted a threat to Jordan's society and its interests.
While we are at it, can we get some fatwas issued against the above child murderers and their supporters, can we get some Islamic leaders to tell these virgin mongerers that they are hereby banished from Islam and will spend eternity caring for pigs, something to that effect.
Well it may be a few years late but the Arab world is starting to wake up, I wonder if any of this would ever have been possible if that unsophisticated cowboy has decided to navel-gaze, reflect, refer to the impotent UN, learn French, fire the odd cruise missile somewhere, make foreign policy decisions based on the latest opinion poll or what was written on the placard of the professional protestor.
What we need now is not exit strategies and throwing away all that has been won with blood and sacrifice, but a hardening of resolve, no quarter, no room to breathe, no voice, no rest for these wicked extremists; and support for America, the Iraqis, Afghans and now the Jordanians.
Play from the Shakespearean era censored
It was the surprise hit of the autumn season, selling out for its entire run and inspiring rave reviews. But now the producers of Tamburlaine the Great have come under fire for censoring Christopher Marlowe’s 1580s masterpiece to avoid upsetting Muslims. Audiences at the Barbican in London did not see the Koran being burnt, as Marlowe intended, because David Farr, who directed and adapted the classic play, feared that it would inflame passions in the light of the London bombings.
Simon Reade, artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic, said that if they had not altered the original it “would have unnecessarily raised the hackles of a significant proportion of one of the world’s great religions”. The burning of the Koran was “smoothed over”, he said, so that it became just the destruction of “a load of books” relating to any culture or religion. That made it more powerful, they claimed.
Members of the audience also reported that key references to Muhammad had been dropped, particularly in the passage where Tamburlaine says that he is “not worthy to be worshipped”. In the original Marlowe writes that Muhammad “remains in hell”.
The censorship aroused condemnation yesterday from senior figures in the theatre and scholars, as well as religious leaders. Terry Hands, who directed Tamburlaine for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1992, said: “I don’t believe you should interfere with any classic for reasons of religious or political correctness.” Charles Nicholl, the author of The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe, said it was wrong to tamper with Marlowe because he asked “uncomfortable and confrontational questions — particularly aimed at those that held dogmatic, religious views”. He added: “Why should Islam be protected from the questioning gaze of Marlowe? Marlowe stands for provocative questions. This is a bit of an insult to him.”
Marlowe rivalled Shakespeare as the most powerful dramatist of the Elizabethan period. He died aged 29 in a brawl over a tavern bill. Tamburlaine the Great was written not later than 1587. It tells the story of a shepherd-robber who defeats the king of Persia, the emperor of Turkey and, seeing himself as the “scourge of God”, burns the Koran....
Park Honan, Emeritus Professor at the School of English, University of Leeds, and author of Christopher Marlowe: Poet & Spy, said: “It is wrong to tamper with the play, wrong to shorten it and wrong to leave out the burning of the Koran because that is involved with the exposition of Tamburlaine’s character. He’s a false prophet. This is meant to horrify the audience.
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Problem: Greenie policies destroy rainforests
The rush to make energy from vegetable oils is being driven in part by European Union laws requiring conventional fuels to be blended with biofuels, and by subsidies equivalent to 20 pence a litre. Last week, the British government announced a target for biofuels to make up 5 per cent of transport fuels by 2010. The aim is to help meet Kyoto protocol targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Rising demand for green energy has led to a surge in the international price of palm oil, with potentially damaging consequences. "The expansion of palm oil production is one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction in south-east Asia. It is one of the most environmentally damaging commodities on the planet," says Simon Counsell, director of the UK-based Rainforest Foundation. "Once again it appears we are trying to solve our environmental problems by dumping them in developing countries, where they have devastating effects on local people."
The main alternative to palm oil is soybean oil. But soya is the largest single cause of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon. Supporters of biofuels argue that they can be "carbon neutral" because the CO2 released from burning them is taken up again by the next crop. Interest is greatest for diesel engines, which can run unmodified on vegetable oil, and in Germany bio-diesel production has doubled since 2003. There are also plans for burning palm oil in power stations.
Until recently, Europe's small market in biofuels was dominated by home-grown rapeseed (canola) oil. But surging demand from the food market has raised the price of rapeseed oil too. This has led fuel manufacturers to opt for palm and soya oil instead. Palm oil prices jumped 10 per cent in September alone, and are predicted to rise 20 per cent next year, while global demand for biofuels is now rising at 25 per cent a year.
Roger Higman, of Friends of the Earth UK, which backs biofuels, says: "We need to ensure that the crops used to make the fuel have been grown in a sustainable way or we will have rainforests cleared for palm oil plantations to make bio-diesel."
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We have no Thanksgiving or other harvest festival in Australia but the original white Australians also had an ambiguous relationship to private property. Most of them were convicted thieves -- including two of my ancestors.
And the Puritans have descendants:
The secular Puritans of modern-day Massachusetts: "The Puritans of Massachusetts have been dead for 300 years, but their authoritarian ghosts haunt us to this day. Consider the plight of Whole Foods Market, an international chain of natural and organic food stores, which found itself accused of planning to engage in criminal activity in its 14 Massachusetts stores this week. What high crimes and misdemeanors was the upscale grocer plotting? It was going to open its doors for business on Thanksgiving. Shocking but true: It was going to sell fruit and vegetables and milk and desserts.... In short, Whole Foods was going to make its wares available to Massachusetts customers on Thanksgiving -- just as it does for customers in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and more than two dozen other states nationwide.... The attorney general of Massachusetts looked at it and saw a crime. In a stiff letter to Whole Foods last week, Attorney General Thomas Reilly noted that under Chapter 136 of the Massachusetts legal code, "the performance of work on legal holidays is prohibited, unless permitted by a statutory exemption." If Whole Foods opened its doors on Thanksgiving, the letter warned, it could face "criminal and equitable enforcement actions to enjoin violations of the Blue Laws." Ah, yes, the blue laws -- those rules and regulations imposed by New England's 17th-century Puritan theocrats to govern moral conduct and ensure proper observance of the Sabbath."
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An Israeli civilian hang glider was inadvertently swept by heavy gusts of wind into southern Lebanon on Wednesday afternoon and was rescued by IDF forces. Adam Wexler, 26, narrowly escaped attempts by Hizbullah gunmen to take him captive before the army safely returned him home.
Three Hizbullah gunmen riding in a vehicle spotted Wexler landing and opened fire as they advanced towards him. Soldiers returned fire, and Wexler reportedly sprinted over a minefield and headed towards the border fence gate, with Hizbullah gunmen following hot at his heels.
Since their initial reaction was to open fire on the poor fellow, one would have to assume Hizbullah was not inviting the fellow for supper. Maybe the gunmen thought it was batman flying in, however I don't recall batman ever expressing a dislike of muslims. So I don't think I would be exaggerating if I said they wanted to trade the fellow for some prisoners or behead him and release a grainy video later; so you can hardly fault the IDF for saving this fool from the virgin mongerers. But look who has to defend their actions.
The IDF Spokesman later denied media reports from Lebanon claiming that IDF forces had encroached on Lebanese territory. "Under no circumstances did soldiers cross the blue line [the international border between Lebanon and Israel]; they opened the gate to allow the Israeli through while engaging in gun battles with the Hizbullah," a source in the Northern Command said.
I wonder what would have been the reaction if a Hizbullah foot soldier or Lebanese civillian stumbled into Israeli territory and was promptly beheaded and sent back in pieces?
You bet there will be an outcry, condemnation from all parts of the globe, burning and pillaging, demands for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and drive the Jews into the sea.
The kind of outrage that was displayed when a muslim suicide bomber killed mainly muslims in Jordan, little of which is displayed when men, women and children are being blown apart by suicide bombers every other day in Iraq.
Following on from this, the UN has decided to go shopping at the local sports shop and get some balls, for the record, not willingly. Unfortunately they weren't convinced to throw in a plastic spine as well; the US might be able to cajole them into that purchase when the Christmas specials are on.
Following intense US pressure, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday issued an unprecedented condemnation of Monday's Hizbullah attacks on northern Israel.
This condemnation - slamming Hizbullah by name for "acts of hatred" - marked the first time the Security Council has ever reprimanded Hizbullah for cross-border attacks on Israel. The condemnation followed by two days a failed attempt to get a condemnation issued on Monday, the day of the attack, when Algeria came out against any mention of Hizbullah in the statement.
When asked what changed from Monday to Wednesday, one diplomatic official replied: "John Bolton," a reference to the US ambassador to the UN. Bolton lobbied vigorously for the passage of the statement.
The condemnation expressed "deep concern" over the attack, and called on Lebanon to exercise its sovereignty and authority in the south according to relevant Security Council resolutions.
Not that this condemnation would spur the radicals into a state of intense navel gazing and self reflection, but I suppose its a start.
Hat tip LGF
Melbourne man deported after 36yrsOf course it has.
LABOR has criticised the Federal Government for leaving a Melbourne man stateless after deporting him from Australia, despite having lived here for 36 years.
Robert Jovicic was deported to Serbia last year on character grounds because of his long criminal record involving burglaries to support his heroin habit.Not our fault, really. He wasn’t stateless when he was deported to the country he was born in. So why aren’t the usual suspects screaming ‘horrid, horrid’ at the Serbians, who subsequently pulled the rug after he arrived there over a year ago?
But the 38-year-old, who arrived in Australia when he was two from France with his Serbian-born parents, is now stateless and destitute because Serbia has refused to recognise him as a citizen.
Labor's immigration spokesman Tony Burke has criticised Mr Jovicic's deportation, saying it was too harsh a punishment for the crimes he had committed.Deportation is not actually a punishment, Tony. It’s society’s way of saying ‘you’ve well and truly worn out your welcome’. The man is not a citizen. He never has been. And I can entirely understand how someone in immigration might, after reviewing his vast criminal record, say: ‘Australia has given this non-citizen about a bazillion chances to mend his ways - time to say bye, bye, really.’
"Nobody should ever be rendered stateless," he told ABC TV's Lateline program.Agreed - so go piss and moan at the evil Serbians, who apparently refuse to recognise the citizenship of someone born there, and to Serbian parents, at least one of whom apparently lives there still.
Mr Burke said while in some cases it was appropriate to deport criminals, the fact Mr Jovicic had spent most of his life in Australia should have been considered.Oh, I entirely agree with that one, too! How did this useless creature (and non-citizen) manage to stay here as long as he did!
He called on Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone to acknowledge there was a genuine problem of deporting people who had lived in Australia for most of their lives.No problem, Tony. They did it fairly easily, from what I can tell.
Mr Burke said the Immigration Department should acknowledge that Australia owed some kind of obligation to Mr Jovicic given he had spent so much of his life here.Oh we do, do we? What do we owe this man? Once again, a non-citizen who spent most of his life doing harm to our community. And we owe him? Well, here’s a clanger for you to consider, Tony: I think he owes us. . .
And a grovelling apology for the life of crime he undertook, while living in a country in which he was essentially a guest, would be an excellent start.
How Australian bureaucracy protects you from terrorism
The parliamentary committee re-opened its investigations into aviation security after issues were raised in the Schapelle Corby drugs case and a leaked report showed Customs concerns about crime at airports. Mr Askew told the committee Qantas was concerned by the large number of unaccounted for cards. "(But) we would be concerned if we lost a laptop or any other piece of equipment as well," he said.
Mr Askew said the airline filed a police report once it was aware a card was missing. It then disabled the card so it could not work in the control access system. But a spokesman for Sydney Airport later confirmed the card could still be used to get into areas that were manned. "If they were going through a gate they would not need to swipe the card but a security guard would be expected to check their photographic ID," the spokesman said.
Sydney Airport Corp's airport security manager, Ron Elliott, told the inquiry the Federal Government needed to establish a national centralised ASIC database. This would help to weed out loopholes and address the system's shortcomings, he said. "It would be a matter for the government to do ... through the attorney general," Mr Elliott said.
In October, two former Qantas contractors were able to use their ASIC cards to access an area of Sydney's international terminal where they were not authorised to work. The workers, who face court next month, were arrested and charged with breaching security regulations but they claimed it would never have happened if they had been given the correct security passes in the first place".
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Rebellion at White Settlement
"Eighteen people bent on overthrowing the government of White Settlement met Saturday night in a makeshift war room at Best Western Fort Worth Inn and Suites. Two weeks after voters resoundingly defeated a measure that would have changed the city's name, the group agreed to devote its time and effort to a new election -- one to recall the mayor and one City Council member of this small suburb west of Fort Worth.... Although some business experts supported the name change and the proposal attracted national attention, many residents were outraged at the suggestion that outsiders might consider the city's name racist. The city was named after the historical location of an Anglo settlement amid Indian settlements in the mid-1800s. Residents turned out in record numbers to overwhelmingly reject the proposed name of West Settlement."
It's about time people were called to account for false accusations of racism.
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For the Left, abuse trumps logic every time
My talks at university campuses sometimes occasion protests featuring Leftists and Islamists who call me names. A favorite of theirs is "racist." This year, for example, a "Stand up to Racism Rally" anticipated my talk at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I was accused of racism against Muslim immigrants at Dartmouth College, and pamphlets at the University of Toronto charged me with "anti-Muslim racism."
Anti-Muslim racism? That oxymoron puzzled me. Islam being a religion with followers of every race and pigmentation, where might race enter the picture? Dictionaries agree that racism concerns race, not religion...
Thus understood, the term racist cannot be ascribed to me, as I neither believe that race defines capabilities nor that certain races have greater capabilities than others. Also, my writings and talks never touch on issues of race.
Does that mean the word racist merely serves Leftists and Islamists as an all-purpose pejorative, a magical insult that discredits without regard to accuracy? No, the evolution of this word is more complex than that.... Note the evolution: As belief in racial differences and racial superiority wanes in polite society, some parties expand the meaning of racism to condemn political decisions such as worrying about too much immigration (even of poor whites), preferring one's own culture, fearing radical Islam, and implementing effective counterterrorist measures.
This attempt to delegitimize political differences must be rejected. Racism refers only to racial issues, not to views on immigration, culture, religion, ideology, law enforcement, or military strategy.
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One eyed umpire
'When Rumsfeld became Gerald Ford's White House chief of staff, he again tapped Cheney as his deputy. Now they set out to destroy detente, the fragile new relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Dismissing detente as moral relativism, Cheney so believed in Cold War bipolarity that when it began to melt in the late 1980s, he tried to refreeze it. As George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense, Cheney was key to America's refusal to accommodate the hopeful new spirit of the age. Violence was in retreat, with peace breaking out across the globe, from the Philippines to South Africa, Ireland, the Middle East, and Central America. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Cheney forged America's response -- which was, little over a month later, to wage an illegal war against Panama.'
How does James know all this about the current US VP? Interviews? Guesses? In the late 80's, peace was apperently breaking out all over, and a new wave of religious terrorists was being formed.
Dance of the Demons
'The clearest instance of this phenomenon today is unfolding in Iraq. ''Wars generate their own momentum," Robert McNamara once wrote, ''and follow the law of unintended consequences." George W. Bush must be held accountable for the consequences of his fateful decisions, from the 2,000 dead Americans to the American embrace of torture to the igniting of a clash of civilizations. But the ease with which the United States embarked on Bush's unnecessary and illegal war -- with huge popular, political, and pundit support -- was evidence of an already established momentum that predated Bush, and even his father.'
Must be held accountable. What's good for the flu-ridden goose, must be good for the plastic turkey.
Disasters we can prevent
'That is why the recent cluster of tragedies, from nearby and far off, must be the occasion of more than regret and worry. Neither should ''disaster fatigue" be allowed to dull the sense of urgency with which news of catastrophic suffering is normally received.
Absolute primacy belongs to the alleviation of such suffering, and when disaster strikes, nothing matters more than the rush to help. But help must be constructive and consistent. When it is not, every mistaken choice must be the occasion of criticism, learning, and reform. If dams (or levees) have been neglected ahead of time, and subsequently fail, those responsible must be challenged -- for the sake of safer dams. If relief efforts after the fact are slow or inept, those responsible must be called to account. Deeper sources of carelessness or corruption are often exposed during disasters, and they must be confronted.'
There's that 'call to account' thing again. How James expects to prevent the catastrophic events of earthquakes and hurricanes is not made clear, but it most certainly is somehow the fault of that evil bastard Cheney or devil incarnate Rumsfeld.
The fall of Bob Woodward
'So also that season's grief. Like frightened and heart-sick scribes looking to Marines to protect them on the battlefield, and therefore unable to write critically about their protectors, the news media, with rare exceptions, simply embraced and passed along Bush's purposes and justifications, not matter how palpably dishonest. Judith Miller was the public captain of this enterprise, but Woodward was her secret co-captain. This time, he was his own Deep Throat.
Your naiveté consisted in the belief that, after Vietnam, your nation would never again embark on a criminal and unnecessary war. After a popular movement, inspired by tribunes of the free press, stopped the Vietnam War, you believed that the government would be responsive to the will of the people, forgetting that the people can surrender that will.
The finger-pointing in Washington now -- who voted for what, when and why -- is truly pointless. The merest glance back at the prewar debates shows that the justifications for war were all made of tissue. If the press treated them as substantial, that is because the nation itself, which still includes you, needed the tissue to cover its shame. The tissue of lies is yours.'
The lead line of the last paragraph is worth the price of admission to this crazy show, ladies and gentlemen. When the chips were down, the table turned, and the money was finally on the barrelhead, James' side of politics folded like a cheap suit. His response? No point in finger-pointing now. He then blames the public for not heeding the press call for Republican blood. The hypocrisy of James Carroll is shameless. He truly believes that his occupation, as a denizen of the fourth estate, gives him some special power over the wider public. James Carroll sees himself as the very thing he accused Bob Woodward of being. An inside player, able to shape events and wider opinion. The lies, the deceits and the untruths are his alone. The best thing the Boston Globe could be used for is to wrap your kitchen scraps in and throw it out with the other garbage.
It's just that good.
Cross posted at Bastards Inc.
Calling the UN Bluff
The atomic agency passed a resolution in September and called on Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities before the IAEA meets on Thursday. The legislation must now be approved by Iran's ruling Guardian Council. Analysts expected this to happen today.
The Iranians have seen what happened next door in Iraq, Saddam invaded Kuwait, was driven back and left to his own devices, he played games with the UN inspectors, thumbed his nose at the international community, threatened death and mayhem, supported terrorists, butchered hundreds of thousands, profited from the oil for food program, and what happened.
Was it 10 or 12 years, that it took the international community to decide that it still could not decide, an angry Texan decided enough is enough, the US threatened war, millions around the world protested against the war but insisted they did not support Saddam with a straight face. The Iranians need only tune into CNN or any news outlet to see the infighting still continuing in the United States and around the world, voting for the war but not supporting it (and vice versa), the regret expressed by so many because millions are free in Iraq, support for the war depending on the next suicide bombing, squealing from all sides over exit strategies, the fair treatment of terrorist vermin, and the fussing over the fair trial of a butcher.
Its pretty obvious to the Iranians, by the time someone decides to make a decision on them, the current group of leaders will be long dead and the nukes will be undergoing routine maintenance.
Do not be ashamed
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said that too many people were embarrassed about being English. "Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains," he said.
The failure of England to rediscover its culture afresh would lead only to greater political extremism, he said.
Dr Sentamu, a former judge in Uganda, called for the English to rediscover their cultural identity by properly marking celebrations such as St George's Day on April 23. "I speak as a foreigner, really. The English are somehow embarrassed about some of the good things they have done," he said. "They have done some terrible things but not all the empire was a bad idea.
"Because the empire has gone there is almost the sense in which there is not a big idea that drives this nation."
The archbishop, who fled Idi Amin's regime in 1974, said he would not be where he was today were it not for the British Empire and the English teachers and missionaries who worked in Africa.
Read the rest here.
Australian bureaucrats don't give a damn about how much harm they do either
The launch of the ICS - a computer package that processes Customs declarations for imports - sparked a month of chaos on the wharves across the eastern seaboard, with importers struggling to clear goods through the system. Customs was forced to put on additional staff to speed up the processing of imports for an as yet unrevealed cost. Cargo began to pile up on wharves in NSW and Victoria, with retailers running short of goods in the lead-up to Christmas.
While Customs has blamed importers for not submitting the correct details to process cargo, internal documents show the agency was aware of serious problems well before it switched on the system. "The projected capacity requirements to September/October 2006 suggest that there is a major capacity problem imminent," an August Mainframe Capacity Review report reads. "Further mainframe performance savings ... must be found and implemented ASAP." ....
The problems on the wharves continue to reverberate through the business community, with customs brokers and freight forwarders estimating the crisis has cost their industry $78million. Some importers have already retained lawyers, with several firms understood to be exploring the possibility of a class action".
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Bill Gates invests in ethanol
Bill Gates seems to want a piece of the action when it comes to renewable energy. The billionaire's investment company, Cascade Investment, has agreed to invest $84 million in Pacific Ethanol which will help it finance construction of several planned fuel-additive plants on the West Coast. Cascade's investment gives Gates a 27% stake in Pacific Ethanol. Gates will be sharing the company with petroleum distributor SC Fuels, which owns the majority stake in the ethanol producer and is one of its biggest customers. It could be a lucrative investment, since federal law requires that the U.S. nearly doubles the amount of ethanol it uses annually to 7.5 billion in 2012 from 4 billion gallons in 2006.
For background on ethanol as a solution to the "peak oil" non-problem, see here
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The Dutch are enjoying the fruit of multiculturalism too
In the parliament in The Hague, inside the airport-style security, two besuited bodyguards stand erect outside the office of Geert Wilders, Ali's political rival, checking closely anyone who has permission to enter. "I have been deluged with death threats," said the maverick right-wing MP, who has called for the deportation of Islamic extremists. Across town, police are investigating the shot fired at the window of Rita Verdonk, the Immigration Minister, who has become a hate figure among Muslim communities for introducing some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe, and insisting that Muslims should integrate.
Amsterdam councillor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Dutch-Moroccan who has said that Moroccans who do not like The Netherlands should leave, is also under permanent protection. "He never gives interviews on that issue," a spokeswoman said. Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen has tried to build bridges with the Muslim community but, as the country's highest-profile Jew, he also needs 24-hour protection.
At Leiden University law school, professor Afshin Ellian, an Iranian refugee who has called for reform of Islam and even suggested that comedians should make jokes about it, is hustled through the electronically locked doors to his office by two bodyguards. "In The Netherlands, terrorists want to threaten not only the public ... they also want to kill public figures, such as artists, academics and politicians," he said. "It is not special in terms of Islam -- in Iran, it is normal to kill people who criticise Islam, as in Egypt and Iraq. It is legitimised by Islamic political theology, which says it is all right to kill someone if they are an enemy of Allah. But this is happening in Europe."
Academics and authorities in The Netherlands are trying to understand why, in their country, Islamic extremism has gone down the path of assassination, while in Britain and Spain it has produced bombings. The rise in the death threats started in 2002 when Pim Fortuyn, a flamboyant, gay, right-wing maverick, called for a halt to Islamic immigration. He complained that police did not take the death threats against him seriously. He was killed not by a Muslim, but by a left-wing activist who said he did it "for the Muslims". It was the first political killing in The Netherlands for three centuries and was seen as a one-off. But the murder of van Gogh two years later convinced people that the threat of political killing had become permanent.
A study by Frank Bovenkerk of the University of Utrecht confirmed the rise in death threats across the country, and their seriousness. "They are under real threat -- they would be killed without protection," he said. "We have a type of provocateur which is unprecedented in The Netherlands. They claim it is about freedom of speech, but it is about freedom of cursing." Even if the would-be assassins are foiled by the intelligence services and the protection squads, the death threats are already having some success in silencing criticism. "People are very afraid of saying things now," Professor Ellian said. "There is self-censorship."
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"In a wide-ranging speech to Adelaide Rotarians, Senator Vanstone dismissed many commonwealth security measures as essentially ineffective. "To be tactful about these things, a lot of what we do is to make people feel better as opposed to actually achieve an outcome," Senator Vanstone said. Unaware that a journalist from Adelaide's Sunday Mail newspaper was in the lunchtime audience last Wednesday, Senator Vanstone complained about being forced to use plastic knives on aircraft and revealed a bizarre discussion with John Howard about the potential to hijack a plane using a pencil...
During her Adelaide speech, Senator Vanstone implied the use of plastic cutlery on planes to thwart terrorism was foolhardy. "Has it ever occurred to you that you just smash your wine glass and jump at someone, grab the top of their head and put it in their carotid artery and ask anything?" Senator Vanstone told her audience of about 100 Rotarians. "And believe me, you will have their attention. I think of this every time I see more money for the security agencies."
The Immigration Minister also told of a grisly conversation with Mr Howard during a discussion on increased spending on national security. Senator Vanstone said: "I asked him if I was able to get on a plane with an HB pencil, which you are able to, and I further asked him if I went down and came and grabbed him by the front of the head and stabbed the HB pencil into your eyeball and wiggled it around down to your brain area, do you think you'd be focusing? He's thinking, she's gone mad again." ....
Qantas has backed Senator Vanstone on the reintroduction of metal cutlery on planes. "We have been advised that the Government is reviewing this particular measure and we support that," Qantas's head of security Geoff Askew said".
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Nuclear power gets the nod in Britain
Britain will start building new civil nuclear power stations under plans backed by Tony Blair, The Times has learnt. Less than two years after a government paper called nuclear power an unattractive option, the Prime Minister has become convinced that building nuclear power stations is the only way to secure energy needs and meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions. In a controversial move, he wants planning procedures to be quickened so that the first stations could be under construction within ten years, far earlier than expected, advisers have told The Times.
After first promising a decision on new stations by the end of this Parliament, then by the end of next year, Mr Blair will face down critics and set up a government review within the next two weeks, asking it to reach conclusions by the early summer.
The stations would be built on existing sites in the hope of reducing public opposition and swifter planning and building procedures. They would involve the latest technology expected to be adopted soon in France and the US. Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary and the Cabinet's leading opponent of nuclear power, hinted yesterday that even she would back the move. In an interview with the BBC's Politics Show, she said that, although there were many problems with nuclear power, "I've always accepted we can't afford to close the door on nuclear."
But Mr Blair, who has been given private preliminary studies, believes that all the arguments point to nuclear power and has effectively made up his mind, according to authoritative sources. His decision is a remarkable U-turn.
The review, though headed by a senior figure from the Trade and Industry Department, will report to the Prime Minister and Alan Johnson, the Industry Secretary, and contain members from other departments and, crucially, from the Downing Street strategy unit. Critics will suspect that membership will be chosen to ensure a different conclusion to the last energy White Paper in 2003.
Britain's 12 nuclear power stations provide 22 per cent of the electricity. Unless they are replaced there will only be three stations left by 2020. Studies prepared for Mr Blair by Sir David King, his chief scientific adviser, and other advisers have convinced him that renewable forms of energy, such as wind and wave power, cannot fill the gap. As coal-fired and nuclear stations close they will have to be replaced by gas-fired electricity stations and Britain will soon become a net gas importer.
Mr Blair's advisers maintain that the debate should not be seen as a competition between nuclear power and "renewables", which the Government is committed to boosting.
The nuclear option is unlikely to be opposed by the Conservatives. David Willetts, the Shadow Industry Secretary, said at the party conference: "We must make the case for civil nuclear power to tackle the energy crisis with least damage to the environment.
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