Aug 28, 2008


I'm not going to be around much until Monday. No, I haven't got a job yet, I'm just going to busy and not really have the time to be online much. But hopefully by Monday I will be back in action. And yes, I will deal with Tim Montogomerie's ridiculous website, as promised.

Brown is mad?

Liberal Conspiracy discusses the "Brown is insane" meme.

I think that we should learn to love, cherish and adopt the term "concern trolling".

Aug 24, 2008

When will Tim Montgomerie stop beating his wife?

No srsly.

I mean, if we're gonna play that game it would be, lets at least do it properly. Going by the site, pretty much everyone who is not at least centre-right hates America.

And while it would be both amusing, and very easy, to make fun of Montgomerie's almost sycophantic website, instead I am putting on my "Internet Is SRS BUSINESS" had and I'm going to have some fun with his sources. Because his sources for some of the anti-Americanism briefings are some of the most disgusting and divisive Americans in recent history, whose absolute hatred at anyone with a worldview that differs from theirs is far more hateful of the Americans who hold those views than many of the descriptions of anti-Americanism on the site.

Firstly, I'm reading about Anti-Americanism and Hollywood, a delightful little playbook taken from the American right, about how Hollywood is undermining all that is good and true about America. And whose name should I see, but Michael Medved.

Medved is not what I would call a good source. In fact, he is a terrible source. This article here, I think, sums up everything that is wrong with his worldview. Historical inaccuracy and naievete are the hallmarks of his thinking. Taking it apart would be a lengthy work for a historian, there is so much wrong with it. Furthermore, his cultural conservativism shows in his contempt for liberal, homosexual and non Judeo-Christian Americans, which is the main point of pretty much every article he writes.

Medved will go to nearly any length to smear liberal, gay or non-Jewish or Christian Americans (in fact, he will smear them too, if they are too liberal for his liking). Why does Medved's contempt for his fellow citizens not disqualify him as a source? Because Montgomerie's site is not about anti-Americanism, its about using anti-Americanism, the concept, as a foil to attack left-wingers with.

This pattern repeats itself with some of his other non-political/NGO sources, who are invariably the worst examples of right-wing Americans, that conflate everything which isn't in line with their worldview as anti-American. As such, it becomes all too easy to claim that everything except one's own worldview is not filled with secret hatred and disgust for the USA. How convienient.

Next on the list is Michelle Malkin. Ah, the Malkin Monster. Where do we start with her? Ezra Klein probably says it best:

To visit Michelle Malkin’s cave is to see politics at its most savage, its most ferocious, its most rageful. They say they’ve spent the past week smearing a child and his family because that child was fair game — he and his family spoke of their experience receiving health care through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. For this, right wingers travel to their home to inspect its worth, they insinuate that the family is engaged in large-scale fraud to receive government benefits, they make threatening phone calls to the family.

Lovely, right? There is plenty more to hold against Michelle Malkin as well. Hold on tight, because its a nasty and sordid little trip we will be taking.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon goes one further:

On a daily basis, Michelle Malkin's hate sites promote violence, rank bigotry, jihad against Muslim Americans, imprisonment of Democratic Party leaders. The comments are not deleted and are virtually never opposed. Her hate sites traffic in content which is the hallmark of white supremacism and violent groups targeting Muslims. And once she is done promoting that, she goes on Fox News and demands that corporate sponsors cut their ties with Daily Kos due to the comments left on that site.

And it gets better (or worse):

David Neiwert does a take down of her book, Liberals Unhinged, her pathetic whining about how American liberals are out of control radicals trying to destroy the country and intimidate conservatives. As David points out:

The only people who will find this book useful are blinkered ideologues who just want more grist for their liberal-hating mills, the facts be damned. Certainly, it will be of little to use for any serious-minded person who is concerned about the state of the national dialogue -- except, perhaps, as Exhibit A regarding the source of the problem.

There is also her book on internment, accurately described throughout much of the American media as historical revisionism and little more than a screed to justify racial profiling against American Arabs, and their possible internment without trial. A full takedown, by two historians with expertise in the case of Japanese internment, can be read here.

We could go into her tedious hatred of illegal immigrants. Or how she enables the harassment of people who she disagrees with. Or her conspiracy theorism. But I simply do not have the time to document all of Malkin's insanity.

On Will Anti-Americanism End if Barack Obama becomes President, I see Robert Kagan, of the infamous Kagan family, making an appearance. Robert, like many of his relatives who, inexplicably are listened to by the American media and foreign policy establishment, was one of those pushing most strongly for the Iraq war, and has continued to support it strongly. As Greenwald points out:

No rational person would believe a word Robert Kagan says about anything. He has been spewing out one falsehood after the next for the last four years in order to blind Americans about the real state of affairs concerning the invasion which he and his comrade and writing partner, Bill Kristol, did as much as anyone else to sell to the American public.

In April, 2003, Kagan declared the war over and said we won. Since then, he has continuously claimed that things were getting better in Iraq. He is completely liberated from any obligation to tell the truth and is a highly destructive propagandist whose public record of commentary about Iraq ought to disqualify him from decent company, let alone some sort of pretense to expertise about this war.

And we should take his word on American foreign policy at face value? I think not.

David Frum gets a mention on the topic of Strategies to Combat Anti-Americanism. Frum is of course most well known as the man who helped coin the phrase Axis of Evil, but there is a lot more to him.

For example, we have his (obvious) implication that those who blame Feith and Michael Leeden for forging evidence to help the case for the Iraq war are anti-Semites. Gary Kayima also has an enlightening review of the book he co-wrote with Richard Perle:

Here are some of the authors' policy recommendations:
  • Preparing to launch a preemptive attack on North Korea, after moving our troops out of range of their artillery and missiles.
  • Taking direct action to topple the regime in Iran, by providing aid to Iranian dissidents.
  • Being prepared to invade Syria, of whom the authors write, "Really, there is only one question to ask about Syria: Why have we put up with it as long as we have?"
  • Being prepared to invade Libya. "The illusion that Muammar al-Qaddafi is 'moderating' should be treated as what it is: a symptom of the seemingly incurable wishful delusions that afflict the accommodationists in the foreign policy establishment." (Now that those accommodationists in State have been proven right, don't expect an apology from the authors: They'll claim Qaddafi got rid of his WMD programs only because Bush invaded Iraq. All other answers, no matter if they're true, don't fit with their Manichaean, evildoers-respond-only-to-force worldview. Besides, those who are always right must never apologize. It is a sign of weakness, which our evil Muslim terrorist enemies (TM) will exploit with evil terror.)
  • Taking a superconfrontational line with Saudi Arabia, including letting them know that if they don't reform we would look with favor upon a Shiite uprising in their oil-rich Eastern Province.
  • Abandoning the Israeli-Palestinian peace process altogether. In a radical departure from U.S. policy, they say the Palestinians should not be given a state. Creating a Palestinian state out of the West Bank and Gaza, they write, will not bring peace to the region, because the Palestinians and other Arabs are only interested in vengeance, not justice. Instead, the Palestinians should "let go of the past" and content themselves with becoming citizens of the Arab countries in which they now live. The authors do not say what should happen to the 3.9 million Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories: Presumably they should either agree to become second-class citizens like the other Israeli Arabs, or leave.

Their domestic policies are equally arresting:
  • Requiring all residents to carry a national identity card that includes "biometric data, like fingerprints or retinal scans or DNA," and empowering all law enforcement officers to enforce immigration laws. The authors admit that such a card "could be used in abusive ways," but reassure us by saying that victims of "executive branch abuse will be able to sue." Those who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear!
  • Encouraging Americans to "report suspicious activity." Apparently alone among Americans, the authors lament the demise of the TIPS program.
  • Changing immigration policy so that the U.S. can bar all would-be visitors who have "terrorist sympathies." The authors define "terrorist sympathies" so broadly that this would rule out a high percentage of visitors from Muslim or Arab countries.
  • Reforming the CIA to make it more hard-line on the Middle East.

Fascinating stuff. But should we really be taking advice from frothing militarists on how to make people hate America less?

Here is another insight into Frum's worldview, this time in his own words, quoted handily by John Holbo:

The great, overwhelming fact of a capitalist economy is risk. Everyone is at constant risk of the loss of his job, or of the destruction of his business by a competitor, or of the crash of his investment portfolio. Risk makes people circumspect. It disciplines them and teaches them self-control. Without a safety net, people won’t try to vault across the big top.

In short, capitalism is good because it keeps people in their place. It makes them easily controlled, because they are in constant fear of losing everything. It creates social order, by threatening people with losing their jobs, investments and businesses, and thus making sure they do not try and make it too big. Well I'm certainly feeling the love in that argument.

I'll deal with some of the claims actually made another day. I just wanted to point out that anyone using the above people is probably not the sort of person who wants to make a serious effort, and instead is interesting in shutting down debate with accusations of being an irrational hater.

Aug 23, 2008

Oh, this is beautiful

My favouritest Pagan website on the planet, MysticPricks, has sunk to a new low. Not content with promoting woolly thinking, historical inaccuracy, superstitious dogma, sectarian hatred and allowing cryto-racists to have the run of the site, they've now stooped to the level of pimping The Church of Scientology!

As usual, click to view a larger image.

The question is, of course, is what to do with such information? Apparently, the site owner's wife has already stated that to take it down would be to discriminate against Scientologists. You know, in the same way that arresting and incarcerating Al-Qaeda members is discriminating against Muslims. I know only a few weeks ago at least one member on the site made a detailed post listing the wrongs of the Church, so either they didn't read the post (in which case they are bad admins, but then we already knew that), or they just don't give a shit, and are more than willing to promote the Scifag cult because of the filthy lucre it brings in.

Knowing Mol's addictions, I have a good idea of which of those theories I prefer.

Aug 22, 2008

Headlines that don't make sense until after your first coffee #1

Paedophile Glitter arrives in UK

I swear I was thinking "what, glitter for paedophiles? Glitter that attracts paedophiles? Is this a new episode of Brass Eye? WHAT THE HELL IS THE BBC TALKING ABOUT?"

Which just goes to show how necessary coffee is in my life.

Aug 21, 2008

This is not the broken society you were looking for

And thus, Jedi Master Boris Johnson overturns the idea that he may be off message.

I like his style though. It reminds me of a certain fictional lawyer (whose name eludes me), whose tactic was to allege the most preposterous things, then say "withdrawn" before the Judge could punish him, knowing full well that the original statement is out there, and no amount of denial will have the impact of the initial allegation.

Good old Boris.

MI5 state obvious, media goes into shock

The Guardian has the info.

Am I terribly shocked? No. But then again, I studied terrorism using something other than Parliamentary statements and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam. You know, with people who have spent their entire lives studying terrorists, mapping personalities, conducting interviews, modelling radicalization etc.

Marc Sageman in particular has been noting and publishing the trends MI5 have produced since the publication of his Understanding Terror Networks, if not before. Nothing in this report is really new from that. Religious novices? Check. Socially excluded or removed second or third generation immigrants? Check. Low incidence of mental illness? Check.

I'm surprised any of this is even considered news. Anyone who has been following the academic terrorism literature knew this stuff a long time ago. We have reports going back to the Red Brigades and UVF that rule out mental illness, or a particular personality type.

Other background details are interesting, highlighting the difference between the old Al-Qaeda (the professionals in their late 20s to 30s, who have families etc) and the new Al-Qaeda, the kids in their late teens or early 20s. The diversity of background, from sober, nearly areligious (until recently) professional family man with no criminal background, to the kid who has been caught taking drugs and possibly served a sentence for a violent crime, who cannot even read Arabic, is enormous.

And those are just two of the many profiles one could come up with. Factor in racial background, gender, educational history, geographical location etc and you quickly lose anything that resembles a useful description of a potential terrorist.

Even worse, terrorists often tailor their recruitment methods to avoid profiles. By concentrating on certain segments on the population, you just increase the evolutionary adaption of an organization. As the 7/7 bombings show, anyone who had been looking for foreign born, or all Pakistani radicals, for example, would have been caught out. And yes, you could argue the converse, that in fact some lives might have been saved, but the true mark of terrorism is targeting weak points, taking advantage of the unexpected and unconsidered. As soon as you focus on one area, and it becomes obvious (and believe me, with the internet, it will), then terrorist groups will regroup and attack from unexpected directions.

The best way, as Sageman notes, is to map the relationships between known violent radicals, facilitators of violent teachings and those who are involved in activity which is linked to terrorism. Target the smugglers (people or otherwise), the money launderers, the radical Imams with links to training camps in Pakistan or Indonesia or the Middle East. That is how you deal with Islamic terrorism.

And lets not overlook the possibility of a resurgence of rightwing, nationalist terrorism either. Its picking up in the USA, currently, and there could be international implications, when we consider how many have adapted themselves to narrative of the War on Terror, and the persistent Eurabia bullshit.

Anyway, a welcome report, and I am glad to see MI5 seem to know what they are doing.

Aug 20, 2008

Reasons to not drink coffee while reading BBC News

Tories 'best' to tackle poverty

George Osborne is set to claim that the Tories are best placed to tackle poverty and create a fair society.

I mean, seriously, are you trying to kill me here? I could have choked...

Oh dear, it looks like Boris is "off message"


Boris Johnson has described David Cameron's claim that Britain is a 'broken society' as 'piffle'.

In an intervention likely to dismay Tory HQ, the London mayor claimed our success at the Olympics proves youngsters are far from 'aimless, feckless and hopeless, addicted to their PlayStations'.

'If you believe the politicians, we have a broken society, in which the courage and morals of young people have been sapped by welfarism and political correctness,' he said.

'And if you look at what is happening at the Beijing Olympics, you can see what piffle that is.'

Oh dear. It would be terrible if this were the start of the unravelling of the Tory party message, and still 2 years from when the election is due. They'd have to come up with a whole new meme to explain why their plans for radical social reform (hang on, I thought it was the left who did the social engineering?) are so necessary.

Aug 19, 2008


Drop everything, its time to protest!

Today, Littlejohn is bemoaning the lack of protests over Georgia and Russia's recent tangle.

I know in LJ's mind, bands of anarchists and communists sit around the streets of London, promoting terrorism and rape and knifecriming and Islam while the government pays them dole money, and so in theory they should be able to take to the streets and express their hatred for the enemy du jour at the drop of a hat, making their lack of current protesting suspect...but back here, in reality, things don't work like that.

Because, you know, things like permits and buses and placards and, oh I don't know, telling people to turn up, takes time, and by the time people considered doing that, the war was already over.

Of course, we could ask why Notorious RLJ hasn't bothered organizing a protest either, but he is likely too busy quivering from fear of the outside world, in his gated community in Florida, to comment.

Aug 18, 2008

Amy Alkon, the emails: Part 1

I woke up, feeling like something had crawled into my mouth and died sometime during the night. It was no relief to find out it was tongue. Did I say night? Early morning looked more plausible, the light seemed to be coming from all directions, giving me a splitting headache.

Worse, this wasn't even my flat. My heart sunk as I realized I had spent another booze-induced sleep session at the office. Clearing the sleep from my eyes, I managed to sit up straight, feeling the stiffness in my back. I put the lid on the cheap scotch from last night – Glenmorangie – and finished the half empty glass.

It burned as it went down, but I was feeling more alert, more alive. I rocked back on my chair, and looked out the window. Another soulless day, the too bright sun shining off the reflective, all too familiar buildings.

Oh how I hated it here.

I put my feet up on the desk, pulled my fedora over my eyes, and made myself at home with the silence. It was relaxing, and peaceful. In my office with no work to do, no pressing engagements and half a bottle of low quality single malt to get me through the afternoon.

And then she walked in. Rolling off the streets like some primeval force, a whirlwind of passion and destruction.

“I'm sorry”, I said, “I think you have the wrong room. The drag queen's make up class is three doors down.” It was, too. This was a cheap neighbourhood, and you took office space where you could afford it.

“I'm NOT a drag queen! And anyone who says otherwise, or edits my Wikipedia to say so is nothing more than a filthy and childish liar!”

An American. And either in hysterics or denial, possibly both. This wasn't going to end well, I could tell.

“I'm'am” I answered, cautiously. This met with no outburst, so I continued on, “what can I do for you this, uh, fine day?”

“Are you Cain?” she asked.
I looked around discreetly for any recording devices or other listeners. I saw none.
“Yes”, I replied, in a bored, drawn out yawn. “What's it to you?”
“I hear you're a dick. I need someone to be a dick for me.”
I thought about this momentarily. Her jaw looked like it could crack open a man's skull, and there was something disconcerting about that Adam's Apple...
“I assume you mean a Private Detective, of course. Then you have come to the right place. What exactly can I do for you? In a professional capacity, of course.”

She withdrew a sheet from her handbag, and placed it on my desk. Swinging my legs down, I grabbed the paper and had a look. It was a printout, of a Wikipedia edit history page. Some numbers were circled, and highlighted with a marker pen.

“My name is Amy Alkon, Cain”, she said, “and I need you to find a man for me. I need you track down and bring me Gary Ruppert.”

Drug companies are a boon to stockholders, and those who say otherwise are our enemies

Unfortunately, not a very funny entry for this one, since I can find little humour in someone who so obviously overlooks the role of drug companies in enforcing intellectual copyrights so that they may profit off of human suffering.

Stephen Pollard, on the other hand, has no problem with this. And to do so, he uses the single weakest fucking strawman ever. And I am no stranger to weak strawmen, employing several as useful punching bags when I cannot be bothered to read a ridiculous argument from the BNP before mocking it.

But like I keep pointing out, I am not a serious writer getting paid for my work.

Anyway, back on topic. No Stephen, people don't care about pharmaceutical companies making profits, per se. What they care about is when people like Dr. Yusef Hamied are charged for making affordable generics, because most people in the Third World cannot afford the inflated prices of Western drug companies, and then companies like Dr. Hamied's get dragged over the coals because they violated an intellectual copyright.

Profits over lives. People cannot pay the prices of the best drugs, but hey, who gives a fuck about them, they're poor and foreign, right? Almost not really people, in a way, right? And someone does come along, and does give a fuck, and violates a couple of laws in doing so, and he's suddenly a fucking criminal. Yeah, right. Fuck that noise.

Copyright is the elephant in your article, the thing you dare not mention. Because if intellectual copyright in the arena of drugs research and production was reformed, then these companies wouldn't have such a strangehold over the worldwide production, less people would be dying of perfectly curable illnesses, and more people would be profiting. Admittedly, those profits would not be especially high, being spread out as they are over several companies, but they would still exist.

But that might affect share prices, right? And we couldn't ever have that now, could we?

Oh ho, this is precious!

Over at The Home of Paranoid Black Helicopter Spotters, johnofgwent has discovered a horrible truth about the recent Policy Exchange report


Of course, long-time Green Arrow readers will ask "what isn't, according to these lunatics?" And they have a point.

However, are we talking about the Policy Exchange that:

And so on and so forth. I can really see Policy Exchange wanting to shack up with Islamic militants, no, honestly...And in other breaking news, Johann Hari has joined the Nazi Party.

Of course, I can no doubt expect another lovely dose of BNP link-spamming on this blog entry, because riling up the natives gets them restless and angsty. But then again, if they were not engaging in hilariously wrong-headed conspiracy theories, I would not make fun of them so much.


Probably not actually, but I'd least take them somewhat seriously, instead of treating them like the borderline mentally ill, online entertainment system that they truly are.

Aug 16, 2008


Gah! Can't restrain my derision gland any longer! Baron Zemo over at Gates of Vienna is engaging in some world class paranoia today. Apparently a Muslim cemetary in Austria is now a sign that tEh mIgHtY mOoSlIm hOrDe iS tUrNiNg eUrOpE iNtO eUrAbIA or something. But then again, for Baron Zemo so is practically everything, up to and including letting people whose skin looks darker than that of a holiday tan into the continent.

Does it make me a bad person that I consider this sort of thing entertainment, instead of suggesting he seek professional help?

Aug 15, 2008

Hitler was a sensitive man too

A picture of Italian Prime Minister,
Silvio Berlusconi, after the comments
were published

The Italian government is apparently upset by the "fascist" label applied to some of its policies by the Catholic Famiglia Cristiana magazine.

To quote a great American blogger, if they're so upset about being labelled fascists, perhaps they should stop acting like them. Maybe they should stop treating the Gypsy population like congenital criminals, and then perhaps people wont go around drawing obvious conclusions.

Come on Berlusconi, man up. What would Mussolini say if he saw his modern day disciples crying? A disgrace to the movement no doubt. The Blackshirts didn't get infamous by emulating the emo crowd, after all.

Tory Party Election Slogans

Because I feel it is my civic duty, as a good citizen-to-be, I have come up with several dozen slogans the Tories can use to secure victory in 2010. Additionally, to keep them down with the kids and their crazy internet lingo, I have added a special 4chan meme-slogan compendium at the end of this list.

  • “Tories: We won’t fix things but we’ll give it a shiny coat of paint!”
  • “Vote Conservative: Who knows when the next time we’re going to look so appealing will be?”
  • “Vote Conservative: After the last 13 years of this shit, your standards really can't afford to be all that high.”
  • “Tories: let us play the Good Cop for once.”
  • “Unhappy with the status quo? Tough shit. Suck it up and vote Conservative.”
  • “The Conservative Party: A Better Class of Sex Scandal.”
  • “Vote Tory: It Will Make Polly Toynbee mad.”
  • “Tories: We’re not competent either, but at least we might sell you out to someone who is!”
  • “Vote Conservative. If you can’t hold your own nose, we’ll deduct the cost of a clothespin from your wages.”
  • “Vote Conservative: We promise to keep Iain Dale away from anything important.”
  • “Tories: Shit is better than Radioactive Waste.”
  • “Vote Tory: I’m serious, like when will the Lib Dems will ever do anything?”
  • “Tories: because money-grabbing opportunists are STILL better than well-meaning psychopaths.”
  • “Vote Conservative, before we forget how to do corruption properly.”
  • “Tories: The Other Rich Elite!”
  • “Vote Tory! What Did Having A Conscience Ever Do For You?”
  • “Tories: We’re marginally less likely to march the whole country down the slow road to becoming Airstrip One.”
  • “Conservative Party: When You Like Freedom, But Don’t Like, Like Freedom.”
  • “Tories: Like you have a choice anyway, so just shut up and vote.”
  • “Tories: Because you want to believe there’s a difference.”
  • “Vote Tory! Like you’d really want Gordon Brown to listen up on your phone calls?”
  • “If you’re ready for slightly less of the same, vote Tory.”
  • “Tories: With us in power, Labour will be outraged by civil rights violations again!”
  • “Vote Tory: You may as well, now that Sarkozy has won in France!”

And now, the 4chan/meme-speak version:

And last, but most certainly not least:

Aug 12, 2008

I gotta start reading The Nation more often

Because if I don't, I'm going to continue to miss out on gems like this.

Corey Robin's piece is a fascinating insight into the intellectual heritage of the American right. However, he also says things that can apply more universally, and those are what really interest me.

For example:

While John Locke, Alexis de Tocqueville and David Hume are sometimes cited by the more genteel defenders of conservatism as the movement's leading lights, their writings cannot account for what is truly bizarre about conservatism: a ruling class resting its claim to power upon its sense of victimhood, arguably for the first time in history. Plato's guardians were wise; Aquinas's king was good; Hobbes's sovereign was, well, sovereign. But the best defense of monarchy that Maistre could muster in Considerations on France (1797) was that his aspiring king had attended the "terrible school of misfortune" and suffered in the "hard school of adversity."

Emphasis mine. As always, I'm eager to point out most of our Tories are quite good in that respect, the majority are most emphatically not wingnuts. However, what we might call the socially conservative populists, those shrill writers who infest the comment pages of many online publications do seem to fall into this category, often making such arguments in order to prop up the socio-economic status quo.

This is the driving force behind ridiculous claims like speeding fines being a stealth tax, or that New Labour are persecuting "the middle class white, hetrosexual male" (I always want to add "sexually frustrated" and "virginal" to that list, for some reason). Its a drive to claim victimhood and wield it as a weapon - cynically or subconsciously carried out by what is usually a fairly privileged class of people.

And it is a somewhat powerful weapon - most people have an inherent sense of fair play, and they do not want to pound on the underdog. Incidentally, the converse also illustrates something important for the British wingnut mindset - the idea of immigrants, foreigners and other groups they disagree with getting "benefits". Usually these benefits are laughably small, but nontheless they justify what would otherwise be the reprehensible attacking of less powerful group in society. Its not the wingnut hates immigrants, so the arument goes, oh no. They just want a level playing field.

Suddenly they're not whiney little pricks, they're valiant freedom fighters and activists, don't you know?

Anyway, moving on:

But how do they convince us that we are one of them? By making privilege democratic and democracy aristocratic. Every man, John Adams claimed, longs "to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired." To be praised, one must be seen, and the best way to be seen is to elevate oneself above one's circle. Even the American democrat, Adams reasoned, would rather rule over an inferior than dispossess a superior. His passion is for supremacy, not equality, and so long as he is assured an audience of lessers, he will be content with his lowly status.

And doesn't that hit a few nails on the head? Instead of fighting, say, for greater equality for all, which may result in some of the best off statistical outliers being brought closer in line with the rest of society, but with major benefits, instead the hope is to retain privilege by subordinating oneself to a hierarchical power structure, even though it may not be in one's best interests. One isn't at the top of the hierarchy, but equally one is not at the bottom either. And so it works because the desire to have someone else to kick around, blame and feel superior to is more powerful and addictive than "dispossesing a superior".

Unlike the New Left, however, Goldwater did not reject the affluent society. Instead, he transformed the acquisition of wealth into an act of self-definition through which the "uncommon" man--who could be anybody--distinguished himself from the "undifferentiated mass." To amass wealth was not only to exercise freedom through material means but also a way of lording oneself over others.

This could very well explain the obsession with Glibertarian talking points, such as the aforementioned speed cameras bullshit. The thinking isn't that of "taxation is inherently immoral" that a more usual libertarian or even anarchist may take. Its that taxing me is wrong, because then I cannot use my wealth to lord it over others.

Mannheim also argued that conservatives often champion the group--races or nations--rather than the individual. Races and nations have unique identities, which must, in the name of freedom, be preserved. They are the modern equivalents of feudal estates. They have distinctive, and unequal, characters and functions; they enjoy different, and unequal, privileges. Freedom is the protection of those privileges, which are the outward expression of the group's unique inner genius.

This ties into the previous statement - inequality is bound up in the wingnut concept of freedom. Presumably unaware of the problem of massive inequality being de facto a danger to freedom. In short, positive freedom is entirely ignored - or derided as against freedom, while negative freedom alone is exalted above all (note: I'm not a fan of either being favoured - I believe a balance of the two is necessary for actual freedom). The Feudal analogy is also very interesting, given the Mail article I posted the other day.

And finally, I just wanted to point this out:

Reactionary theologians in eighteenth-century France mobilized against the left by aping its tactics. They funded essay contests, like those in which Rousseau made his name, to reward writers who wrote popular defenses of religion. They ceased producing abstruse disquisitions for one another and instead churned out Catholic agitprop, which they distributed through the very networks that brought enlightenment to the French people.

Tell me that does not sound like the Spectator Coffee House. I defy you to try. I wonder if that is the first recorded case in history of wingnut welfare?

Pot, kettle, geek...

Nyeah, human rights nerds!

You know, it may just be me, but I wouldn't go around calling other people "Trekkies" if I looked like the archtypal basement dwelling virgin.

But then again, I'm not an MP sitting on the Joint Committee on Human Rights, referring to my colleagues.

Douglas Carswell, MP for Cardassia Harwich and Clacton, is upset about all these human rights geeks ruining his street cred, hanging around him when all he wants to do is watch Kirk thwart Khan in the second Star trek film.

Obi Wan Doug seems to hold the rather strange notion that the Human Rights Act is simultaneously a useless piece of legislation that does nothing, yet can mystically free terrorists, rapists and murderers all at the same time. The force of stupidity is strong in this one, clearly.

In fact, its so useless and outdated he wants to get rid of it and replace it with another "authentically British" (whatever that means. Printing the paper the report is published on from UK paper-makers?) Bill of Rights, which will somehow, magically, be super accountable, in addition to raising and reducing the cost of beer to a penny a pint. Because, of course, the last time the Tories suggested that, their ideas weren't ridiculous at all.

But apparently, people "resent" these acts. Yes, we know, and they're usually the sort of people who think that Richard Littlejohn is a serious political commentator, that Quentin Letts is funny and that Melanie Phillips isn't completely batshit insane. They're also the sort of people who think a speed camera fine is a steath tax, that Labour are socialist and that the Muslims are going to take over any day now.

Of course, we could just make judges more accountable to the population, but then that would just be silly. Why do something genuinely democratic when you can call for gutting the Human Rights Act all over again?

Moral of this story: I get cranky being up early in the morning...

Oh shit, I know I shouldn't laugh...

But I did, so there.

Encyclopedia Dramatica's take on the South Ossetian crisis.

In particular, the reference to Dmitry Medvedev as "Putin's altar boy" probably made me wake up the neighbours. Some prescient commentary, hidden among the cursing, memes and general mocking.

ATTN World: I am blogging at 3am

And do you know why I am blogging at 3am?

Because I was ill on the weekend and spent all Saturday sleeping, thus beautifully fucking up my sleeping patterns.

Oh well, at least I can beat everyone else to the morning news. Blah blah Olympics, Georgia, house prices, murdered couple named, Milliband, tourists, Darfur etc etc. There, happy now?

Aug 10, 2008

Time to scalp a wingnut, part 3: Anthony Browne, Culture Warrior

I realized I had promised some more commentary on Browne last weekend but, for various reasons such as illness, apathy, war-watching, sleeping, drugs, sex, rock and roll, aiding the eventual victory of the Caliphate over Europe etc etc I had simply not gotten around to doing it.

So I will now, while the ibuprofen is still kicking in.

The thing that most comes to mind about Anthony Browne, when he is not talking about EU politics or the environment, is how American influenced his viewpoints seem to be. I know I am one to talk. When I was St Andrews, I hung with a mostly American crowd, and my classes were typically consisted of an American majority - and since my subject was International Relations, I no doubt got a very good grounding in US politics, both internal and external. Also some of my online haunts are American too, and no doubt that does have an influence on me.

However, there is picking up bits and pieces from American politics, understanding the context and the flavour of the political climate, and then there is importing entire concepts and trying to apply them to another country.

I am, of course, referring to the Culture Wars. If you're unfamiliar with the term, the link I give is a quick primer, but you can better understand the divide by reading Daily Kos for a week, then reading, say, Michelle Malkin, or the Pajamas Media crew. In short, it is the irreconcilable culture divide between those who consider themselves progressive and left wing, and those who consider themselves traditionalists and right wing.

The problem is that of boundaries, or the parameters of political debate. The debates have polarized, and each side tends to believe the other is both wrong, yet unmoving in their position. In short, they do not believe the other side is competent as a political actor.

This view tends to be far more prevalent on the American right, which has become increasingly militaristic, nationalist, contemptuous of debate or the rule of law and politicized since 2000. It does not take long to find well known and public commentators who advocate civil rights groups or political leaders be arrested for treason - or worse. Naturally, there is too much of this on the American left as well, especially amongst the more militant groups and ideologies, but it is nowhere as much within the mainstream as it is within the right. The most outspoken on the American right do not just disagree with the Democrats or the American left - they quite literally believe they are not competent to be leading the country, because of their ideologies.

And therein lies the problem.

When you look at some of Browne's statements over at the Spectator, you can see elements of this being alluded to within his writing. Such comments as:

"Only in the last few years has it dawned on the government how dangerous the Left's war on Britishness really is."
Saturday, 23rd July 2005, The Spectator


"The support of Islamic fascism spans Britain's Left."
August 1, 2005, Times Online


"Many of the politically-correct left - including the Guardian, the Independent, most of the BBC… - have chosen to champion those who are deliberately trying to murder innocent civilians."
The Retreat of Reason, page 11

all seriously suggest rather than disagreements with policies or ideology, Browne believes that the left is an actively hostile force within the country, who should be tarred and feathered for their hatred of British culture, love of criminals, politically-correct censorship, promotion of immigration and multiculturalism and support of Islamic terrorism.

Browne's own retreat from reason accuses a good proportion of this country as actively or tacitly seeking to undermine and destroy it, by using lazy tabloid strawmen and grand sweeping statements he cannot back up. The fact that he is treated as a serious political commentator on any subject beyond the environment or EU continually amazes me. And yes, you could easily go back through this blog and find me using lazy strawmen and bad arguments to attack people, but the difference is:

1) I'm funny
2) I'm not paid for it
3) As much as I mock Labour, the Tories, the Lib Dems etc I don't suggest that the ideologies behind them, or a vague, nebulous grouping like "the right" is trying to destroy Britain. Well, except the BNP, but they're fascist scumbags who can choke and die on my magnificent penis if they have a problem with it. Also, while they might be trying, the BNP are comedy fascists who couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery, let alone a concerted campaign to undermine the country.
4) My arguments are not designed to be serious political commentary. They are meant to mock and belittle idiots who try to carry out serious political commentary while having no appreciable talent or knowledge about politics.

The thing is, Britain does not have a culture war like the USA does. There is not that deep divide stemming from the Vietnam War, the resurgence of religious belief in a legally secular nation, that polarization of issues. If anything, politics in Britain is converging, with all parties desperately trying to claim the centre, instead of trying to fight at a cultural level to move society in their favour. That has been the overall strategy of the American right in particular, which is why the proliferation of alternative conservative outlets, think tanks, political action groups, education and reference guides is a worry. Home-schooling, Conservapedia, the Christian rock scene, Pajamas Media and so on are all excellent examples of groups whose aims are to supplant the traditional outlets and politicize content in favour of the GOP and "movement conservatism".

Browne in fact has praised elements of this strategy, namely the American rightwing think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute or Heritage Foundation who:

have helped push the whole political centre of gravity way to the right of that of the UK. The AEI is (in)famous for promoting the invasion of Iraq, while Heritage has kept social conservatism and the importance of religion high on the policy agenda. Cato has helped mute the siren calls of protectionism.


It would be far healthier for democracy and debate in Britain if our ideas industry managed to step up to the American level."
Wednesday, 14th May 2008, The Spectator

Uh-huh. Because it has been so healthy in America recently, and has not turned their political culture into a slanging match where loudmouthed brownshirts like Michelle Malkin and Charles Johnson are considered serious thinkers.

Oh, wait.

Oh, and another thing, anyone who thinks that the AEI is a centre-right group is seriously out of whack. Any group which has Irving "I love wars of national greatness" Kristol and John "yeah, torture is fine" Yoo, not to mention Fred Kagan, John Bolton, David Frum, fascist sympathizer Michael Ledeen and Newt Gingrich is not, by any sensible measure near the centre. Unless the centre-right now stands for wars of aggression, unchecked executive powers, torture, suspension of haebus corpus and other nasty policies we have come to know and despise all over again, thanks to the Bush administration.

And I, unlike Browne, who would certainly assert such a thing was a feature of the mainstream left if our roles were reversed, do not believe that to be the case.

The attempt to start a culture war in the UK has always been the preserve of crazies. Look at the sort of people who try it, honestly. We have the BNP, Melanie Phillips, Anthony Browne, RESPECT, those Christian nutters on Channel 4 recently, the Muslim crazies like Abu Hamza...

Sensible people across the political spectrum do not want such a fight. It is pointless, wasteful and nasty. It does nobody any good, it degrades the political culture and ruins politics as a means to a better life. It makes enemies of otherwise decent people and sets the entire politically aware population against each others throats.

Its really not worth it. Not to say its not worth fighting, especially in the case of the USA, where the political culture swung scarily to the right for a while (2002-3), but it is certainly not worth instigating. And I have to question the motives, or indeed fitness for the office of political advisor, of someone who chooses act like there is one ongoing.

Dogwhistles working? Check.

Some interesting news here. An American has been charged with plotting to kill Obama because he is the AntiChrist.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An Indian Trail accountant is in jail, charged with threatening to kill senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

According to court documents, Jerry Blanchard called Sen. Obama the anti-Christ and said, "If he gets elected, we have a problem."

Then according to the federal affidavit, Blanchard, a father of two teenage daughters, spells out his plan -- all while sitting in the Pineville-Matthews Road Waffle House.

Secret Service agents say Blanchard told two others eating at the restaurant on July 15 he planned to buy a handgun from Hyatt's Gunshop on Wilkinson Boulevard. He also planned to buy a rifle and a laser scope, saying "I’m worth $50 million. Obama and his wife are never going to make it to the White House. He needs to be taken out... that man will never know what hit him... I just may do that, I’ve got the money and the clout."

Now, I wonder where he could have got the idea that Obama is the AntiChrist from?


Just realized while that I had the good people at Chaos Marxism added to the Verwirrung blogroll, for some bizzare reason I had not added them over here. Rectified that bugger now.

Being ill seems to have bought out some sort of bizzare work ethic in me. Or at least made me go through my many links to strange and wonderous sites and wonder if I had added them to the sidebar yet or not.

What part of "bomb" don't you understand?

Via Greylodge:

GPOD has an excellent radio inteview of Rachel North by Jon Ronson. I highly recommend you check it out at the following link. I also second Pale Rider's comments at the bottom of the entry, about her treatment at the hands of certain conspiracy theorists.

Aug 9, 2008

Fucking the corpse of irony...again.

No comment.

Armchair Generals - Russian edition

Lets see what the erudite and great strategic minds over at the Daily Mail have to say on the terrible conflict that erupted in the secessionist Georgian regions yesterday:

Well if they have Russian passports then they know where to move to. Georgia has every right to evict them out of their sovereign lands.

- Neil, Frankfurt, Germany, 8/8/2008 11:54

I hope Germany throws you the fuck out, you hideous little cretin.

Nato will defend Georgia - in which case Russia stop meddling unless you want a bloody nose. This whole problem is the Kremlin's making.

- Terence, UK, 8/8/2008 13:42

Yeah, a bigger war will make everything better! Now, we just have to figure out if Russia can overrun Europe before the troops get back from Iraq and Afghanistan...fuck it, Risk was never this difficult.

Why does John think that it is Ossetians desire to be free?!it is Russia who wants to appropriate the land of Georgia.Ossetia and Abkhazia had been georgians too long time ago.And when Russians conquered Ossetia, 80 percent of population were georgians,that is diffference between Kosovo and Ossetia.....Russia has 50 auonomies and if they all bee free like Kosovo there will be no Russia any more.And if we do not know history we do not have right to speak such things!

- maritucka-15, georgia tbilisi, 8/8/2008 14:29

Yeah, Russia started it by making Georgia invade South Ossetia! Those uppity South Ossetians should have abandoned their homes or been killed back in 92, the ingrates.

It wouldn't have something to do with Russia wishing to get control of the nearby Baku Ceyhan Pipeline, the only one which feeds Caspian Oil to the west, which does not pass thru Russian territory, the one that was blown up by "Kurdish Dissidents" a few days ago ???? Perhaps I am being a little cynical. Anyhow let the games begin and forget the fact that one of the wests major energy arteries is about to be cut.

- alan wilson, London UK, 8/8/2008 14:37

Again, the nefarious hand of Russia forced the Georgian invasion. If only they could use their vast influence to control the Georgian government to give them all that oil...

Russia needs to know that it is insignificant in the face of NATO - it no longer has any real power. The EU & US should secure Georgia and access to its vast oil reserves. Then on to MOSCOW!

- W, UK, 8/8/2008 17:31

I mean, seriously, invading Russia as winter draws closer? What could possibly go wrong?

What a situation to develope! And here everyone was concerned about Taiwan/China.
Will Nato come to the rescue?Will the US/UK prosper from equipment sales/service?
Will the US send troops there also? Could this eacalate to Nuclear war? I wonder what Bush is thinking, while 'enjoying' the games! Will the 'Cabal' send in their UFO's?, to fight the Russians? Maybe it will be a fight between USA Cabal UFO Force and Russian UFO Force. How will China respond? These are surely 'interesting' times

- James Cesan, Wardsboro,Vermont,USA, 8/8/2008 17:57

But what if China responds with its own UFOs? And the reptilian conspiracy ally with them? Do we even know where the Bavarian Illuminati stands?

Poignant questions indeed.

Normally I would never be caught dead giving thumbs up to the Russians, but Georgia has no right to blaightantly kill Russian peacekeepers AND civilians and then call for help from It's bigger brothers (the west).

Besides, at the end of the day, Georgia incuring the wrath of Russia is like a rat spittng in the face of the bear.

- Anthony, Erith, England, 8/8/2008 18:37

Thumbs up you Russian dudes! Great job on bombing those Georgian civilians in retaliation.

Good way to try "our" systems against "theirs" without any one important getting hurt. Look forward to the analysis.

War is fun when someone else is playing it.

- Tim Phillips, Tilburg, The Netherlands, 8/8/2008 18:42

REMF. Capische, chickenhawk?

I see that many people are misinformed that Georgians had started this war,Russians said this too.but it is a lie.2 days ago "Ossetians" began the war,our prezident begged them several times to stop it and offered to negotiate, but they refused.and we have our dignity!

- marituca 15, georgia tbilisi, 8/8/2008 19:17

Again, the dastardly hand of the Ossetian/Russian conspiracy, forcing the Georgians to invade and kill them. Is it just me, or does this sound like the sort of excuse a wifebeater would give? "Look what you made me do" and all that.

It was inevitable that this would happen. Russians have always been the same. Unlike China in its political disagreement with Taiwan, Russia always goes for blood. Its the nature of the beast.

- Phil de Buquet, Newport England, 8/8/2008 20:13

Phil understands the Russian mind, from having read Tom Clancy novels.

I never trusted Russia, they still have the same USSR ideals and their presidents have too much power, I hope a ceasefire can be reached soon before Russia tries to claim back all of Georgia which would have the west get involved and restart the cold war

- Connor, Oreogn, USA, 8/8/2008 20:17

So unlike your own dear President, who has limited his power massively and made clear his hatred of war as a part of foreign relations.

Back to the Old Russia, how cynical while the World watches the Olympics they again abuse their power.

Reminds me of NU Labour, "Hide bad news amongst the good".

Seems thay have killed more civilians than the allies did taking the whole of Iraq.

- John, Creigiau, Cardiff, 8/8/2008 20:29

I totally see the New Labour connection. No, really...

With everyone looking at China right now it is a good day to bury bad news.

Russian democracy in action - Putin style.

- peter, Germany, 8/8/2008 20:49

Because the Georgian President would never order crack down on peaceful protests, or spend 70% of his GDP on his military, oh no....

"150 tanks and other armoured vehicles" is not much of an "invasion", especially not by Russian standards. That's about the bare minimum I would need to take control of some fourth world banana republic or to mount a raid into Zimbabwe for 72 hours.
Ask the Czechs and the Hungarians (or even the Afghans!) what a Russian "invasion" looks like....

- Robert, Worcester UK, 8/8/2008 20:51

Gosh yes, when I was playing Civ III the other day and I tried to invade with 150 tanks, I just got slaughtered....

Sorry, how is it that Georgia started this fighting? Are they the ones who amassed an army at the border and invaded Russia? Methinks it was the other way around. Russia planned this long ago as part of a well thought out military strategy. Everyone has the right to defend the country against a rolling parade of tanks and aircraft bombing their land. If you believe that you don't have that right - then it's no wonder your country is being taken over by immigrants, knife-weilding yobs, and religious consorts who say that Sharia law is the way to go. You don't know how to take a stand - at least Georgians in their young democracy do.

- Marilyn, USA, 8/8/2008 21:06

Ah, another American lecturing us. Pray tell, how did Russia invade if their troops had already been in place for 16 years? Is this like...geological style invasion or something? As for your comments on the UK....enjoy the Reconquista, bitch. I hope you like burritos.

The same Russhian tactic: they give Russian passports to some people, and later they are sending the army "to protect them", and " to avoid" further killings, or to "assure peace keeping".

Let face it: this is the Russian method to keep different war conflict zones and to control different areas.

Poor Georgian people, I admire them for their standing. On the other hand if Putin understands to continue under any means the politic of " Peter the Great", then he has to assume all consequences.

And that will drag Russia in bad political relations and bad economic situation. The oil and the gas will be finished in the future.... After that what will they sell more ? What they are trying to steal from different small countries like Georgia ? "Creating" Russians communities in order to have what "to protect" ?

It is a dirty game, and is cinic that they are playing this game with the lifes of the Russians they are saying that are protecting...

It is regretable

- Petre, Bucharest, 8/8/2008 22:04

Yeah, remember how those Russians gave out tons of passports to facilitate the invasion of Germany in WWII? Moron.

It's far to easy to blame the Georgian authorities for this flare up. Yes some of the SO population want to be part of a greater Russia. But a foreign power (Russia) handing out thousands of it's passports to citizens in a foreign country (Georgia) only then to claim that they are threatening military force to protect their 'new' Russian nationals is tantamount to usurping the national government. The anology is simple if pro French Scots, of which there are still a lot, were handed thousands of French passports would that give France the right to invade Scotland to protect it's newly acquired 'nationals'. Of course not the UK Government would object and take action to prevent such an invasion.
The case for an independant Scotland via the ballot box however is another matter.

- pat, South of England, 8/8/2008 22:09

Dont ask why it is different, it just is.

And something more:

I quote:

Medvedev warned: 'I as president of Russia, am obliged to protect the lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are located.

'We won't allow the death of our compatriots go unpunished.'

So where are located the next Russiand to be protected.... You all know the list...

- Petre, Bucharest, 8/8/2008 22:17

Dear god, you mean....Russia might invade Moscow next?

You can't paint every conflict with the same brush, this is nothing like Kosovo. Russia is the aggressor here, Georgia taking back S.O & Abkhazia is no different then we took back the Falklands or Northen Ireland. The problem is Russia dosen't want Georgia becoming an democratic indepant wealthy nation, hence its step in support of the sepratists since Georgia attempt at NATO memebership in April this year.

Russia dosen't give a dam about the 'Russian Citizens' in S.O, its a message to Western leaning nations (Ukraine and other former USSR States) of whats instore if they don't follow suit with the Kremlin and a big middle finger to the US/Nato.

- Jay, UK, 8/8/2008 22:48

Russia is still aggressing by not invading. How dare they???

Once the EU military forces are up snd running, if Britian tries to pull out of the Marxist EU State, the British people will come under fire. We need to leave EU now!

- Catherine Walker, South Kensington, London, UK, 8/8/2008 23:40

One tin-foil hat for Ms Walker, please....

Once the EU takeover is complete, the EU armies will fight the British and Irish, so we all need to pull together and all leave EU now! Do not forget that the English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh are seen as niggling minorities that need to be crushed by EU!

- Patricia O'Rourke, Dublin, Ireland, 8/8/2008 23:49

Make that another, for Ms O'Rourke as well...

Voland of France has hit the nail on the head. International intrigues as ever are behind the scenes . . . . and in our so-called democracies (dumbocracies) all are totally oblivious to the real string pullers. God knows where this will end. All we can be sure of is that the opinionsts of both sides will suffer. And each will blame each other. Man is still a primitive.

- michael, liverpool, 8/8/2008 23:55

Fuckit, make that three....

Who on earth would want to live in Russia it seems they have all got a bit of Stalin in them the way they keep fighting No consideration for human life what ever just keep riding rough shod over anybody what a nation

- Brian Stanier, Stourbridge West Midlands, 9/8/2008 0:24

If only the USSR had an enlightened Georgian ruler, instead of leaders like Stalin...

Where the U.S.A to help the georgian people?

Where the sense of justice from U.S.A?

- Roy Jones, Island, 9/8/2008 3:38

The American military is too busy playing kinky sex games with Iraqi prisoners to help. Sorry.

Aug 8, 2008

Russia and Georgia "essentially at war".

BBC News:

Russian forces are locked in fierce clashes with Georgia inside its breakaway South Ossetia region, reports say, amid fears of all-out war.

Moscow sent armoured units across the border after Georgia moved against Russian-backed separatists.

Russia says 12 of its soldiers are dead, and separatists estimate that 1,400 civilians have died.

Georgia accuses Russia of waging war, and says it has suffered heavy losses in bombing raids which Russia denies.

Is there even any point of making fun of Labour anymore?

I'm seriously starting to wonder. With the Parliamentary summer recess here, and Labour in an absolute shambles, it just seems a waste of effort now.

And this is coming from someone who spent a lot of time, online and off, attacking Labour from about 2003 onwards. Maybe if they experience a resurgence, it might be worth it...but right now, attention should be paid to the front-runners in this two horse race.

Which, incidentally, is something that really annoys me about the cowardly press in this country. Beyond the usual suspects moaning about "PC Brigades" and "ZaNu-Labour" the spineless bastards in the press waited until Blair was gone to start sticking the dagger in. What a bunch of wet, useless bastards, whose alleigance to opinion polls would put even a spin doctor to shame. "We can't attack teh Blair, he is sooper popular!" And now the country is sick of Brown, rightly or wrongly, they've suddenly found the backbone to kick a party while its down.

Wow. Impressive.

Naturally, of course, this has resulted in more positive attention being lavished on the Tory party. I have nothing in particular against the Tories, except for the fact that I believe their Thatcherite economic policies are unjust and that the social conservatives are a fucking embarassment to the party. Honestly, the more centrist Tories are much more to my liking than, say, the American Republican Party. But come on, seriously. The Daily Mail, just the other day allegedly held an editorial meeting where reporters were told to push the "broken Britain" meme. The same "broken Britain" which is a central plank of the Tory re-election policy.

Its going to be the same shameful shit all over again. The press will only offer token resistance to Cameron in the way they did to Blair. Not because they are necessarily ideologically rightwing, just as the press was not ideologically leftwing during the Blair years (moaning from certain people about "teh librul press!" aside). No, its because reporters are too close to their sources, and believe they have a greater duty to their "friends" within the political system than they do to the public and truth.

And that is where the system is fucked. A good journalist should be treating every statement from a public figure as he might a turd being dropped into his drink. Regardless of political convictions, a politician is the natural enemy of truth, and should be treated as such. There is a price on their head and everything they utter is suspect. Fawning idiots, be they Polly Toynbee or Daniel Finkelstein, are the reason why the press is treated with utter contempt by most intelligent people.

We don't need ideologically charged propagandists. We don't need contemptible, spineless cowards too afraid to upset some politicians writing for national papers. What we need, and sadly lack, are people who care about the truth more than point-scoring Westminster-bubble bullshit.

Unfortunately, very few of those seem to exist.

Aug 7, 2008

Surprise! The Daily Mail is in favour of Feudalism.

No, really. This is getting beyond parody now. The Daily Mail must be charged with killing satire and fucking the corpse.

Aside from the cows, there isn't much in the way of traffic here. There is a bus service, but it comes only once a week and goes as far as the bright lights of Blandford Forum. If you find yourself here for no reason, you are well and truly lost.

The traditional cliche for pretty little villages such as this is 'sleepy'. But there's nothing bleary-eyed about the Dorset backwater of Chettle.

This is a village which defies every statistic and market trend. It has zero unemployment. Its businesses are booming. It has no problem with outsiders buying up second homes - because they are simply not allowed. Rents are way below the market rate.

This is the village the credit crunch forgot. Young couples are not driven out by property prices and there are as many children (22) as there are pensioners.

Everyone knows everyone and crime is virtually non-existent. The last intruder was driven off by a lady pensioner with a pick-axe handle. So what is Chettle's secret? The answer is enough to make a sociologist or a Labour MP weep.

For the past 1,000 years, this entire village and all the land around it - every last square inch of it - have been owned and controlled by the lord of the manor. And that is just how everybody likes it.


Paris Hilton's "policies" are just as stupid as the other two candidates.

As you were.

Aug 6, 2008

2 minute BNP blog roundup

Home of the Green Arrow - "when one darkie steals your money, ALL darkies are stealing your money."

Sarah Maid of Albion - "If only Obama had been white, a failed painter, really right-wing and with a funny mustache, then I'd be swooning over his Berlin speech."

Battle for Britain - "Doing something different from the Green Arrow is too much like hard work, so I'm going to show you the same video of a benefit scrounging Muslim AGAIN!"

Colonel Buckshot - "If I post an article which has plenty of "race" ALL IN CAPS and little else as content, hopefully no-one will realize how pointless and weak this article is."

English Rose - "Cut and paste from the Daily Mail, because commenting is just too much work."

Simon Darby - "ZOMG LABOUR THUGS! As you well know, the BNP despise the violent and hateful nature of the political process. Wait, what do you mean "evidence"?

Swindon Nationalist - "Man with a non Anglo-Saxon name and dark skin commits a crime. Deport the bastard!"

Red Squirrel - "OMG OMG some Muslims looked at me the other day! Hold me tight, Nick Griffin."

Sheffield Nationalist - "Deport faster, or we will all die, DIE do you hear me???"

Up Pompeii - "If only we could be as illiberal and bigoted as Saudi Arabia, its SO UNFAIR!"

And that's your 2 minutes of hate for today, folks! Come back next time I'm feeling masochistic, or have an overwhelming desire to mock fascists, for more wholesome fun!

Aug 5, 2008

Discordian torrents

Just so you know, thanks to the kindness of Iason Ouabache, several Discordian e-books have all been uploaded to The Pirate Bay. Naturally, all these books are Kopyleft and thus free to download or distribute as you see fit.

The full listing is:

Principia Discordia
Aeternus Ille Discordia
Apocrypha Discordia
Apotheosis Psycherotica
Black Iron Prison
Book of Eris
Condensed Chaos
Discordia - A Little Game about a Lot of Chaos
Metaclysmia Discordia
Principia Entropius
Summa Discordia
Wise Book of Baloney

Aug 3, 2008

Tories finally learning from their mistakes

Shorter Conservative Home:

"We're now social progressives because we don't call our dates "slappers" and "tarts"."

Presumably this is meant to be some sort of metaphor, though with the Tories one can never be sure. If it is though, doesn't it suggest that previous Tory leaders have been the moral equivalents of that disgusting drunk at the bar going "heya darlin', fancy givin' me a kiss?" while trying to grope her?

Of course, it would be much easier for me to make some sort of snarky comment about this explaining why Tories never get laid, but even I'm not that low. Oh, damn it...

The Shorter Concept was shamelessly stolen from Sadly, No! and Elton Beard.

Oh, well thats us told then!

Jonathan Swift once wrote "When a man of true Genius appears in the World, you may know him by this infallible Sign, that all the Dunces are in Conspiracy against him."

Going by this standard, those of us posting at Mailwatch must be the smartest posters on the internet, given the conpiracy of dunces offered against us.

Looks like we upset some morons by daring to criticize their favouritest paper ever! You know, for a group of people who blather on about self-reliance and PC idiocy and the like, the people posting at Don't Start Me Off do seem to be some of the whiniest little bastards on the internets. "Oh no, they made fun of the Mail! Oh no, someone on the site was nasty to me! Oh no, I can't refute them, so I'm going to call them all cunts and think I'm being really clever doing so."

See what I mean? I cringed even at writing that, so just imagine how annoying people who think like that all the time are.

Its not so much the criticism, mainly because their isn't any, its just that they both fail to, you know, either actually make a valid point or be funny about blasting us. In fact, they seem to share those characteristics with Mail and Have Your Say commentators, who think that things like "Gordon Clown" is the height of wit.

Look, I know its probably hard for you, being as you are people blessed without any sort of sense of humour or intelligence, but if you are going to have a go at us, try and at least make it interesting. Replicating the sort of tedious monotony one normally finds in a Peter Hitchens article is not going to get our attention beyond a couple of chuckles at your expense. Also, saying "There is nothing wrong with the Mail" in a non-ironic fashion probably did not help your case either.

Hell, even Quentin Letts is funnier and more cutting than this, and if thats not a damning indictment, I don't know what is.

Anthrax, ANTHRAX!

It seems at long last the anthrax case in the USA may be coming to an end and the FBI have their man.

Too bad he's dead.

The FBI's lead suspect in the September, 2001 anthrax attacks -- Bruce E. Ivins -- died Tuesday night, apparently by suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with responsibility for the attacks. For the last 18 years, Ivins was a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Government's biological weapons research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, where he was one of the most elite government anthrax scientists on the research team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).

The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters -- with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 -- that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax -- sent directly into the heart of the country's elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets -- that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks.

Ivins added bentonite to the samples of the spores that were used, a chemica that was only used by Iraqi biowarfare specialists. That was how the lie was planted. Unfortunately, the bentonite did not detract from the fact that further analysis showed the spores were grown in Ft Detrick labs.

The letters sent out read:

We have anthrax.

You die now.

Are you afraid?

Death to America.

Death to Israel.

Allah is great.

Implicating Islamic terrorism in addition to Iraq. There is no doubt in my mind that this was part of the campaign to shore up support for a war in Iraq. The anthrax came from Ft Detrick. Ivins worked at Ft Detrick. Reports leaked to ABC implicating by name Iraq as the source of the anthrax came from Ft Detrick. Link Iraq to Islamic terrorism. Link the anthrax attacks to 9-11. 9-11 = Iraq. Osama bin Laden and Saddam are working together.

The narrative is obvious and bears no real repeating.

The most interesting thing though is that the piggybacking technique of this act of terrorism is an idea that originated on the far-right of the US political spectrum, among the militias dreaming of destroying the Federal Government. There are papers that have been circulated among such groups calling for anonymous follow-up attacks in the case of foreign terrorism against the USA - a grassroots strategy of tension designed to throw society to the far-right while dealing some deadly blows to their establishment enemies (notably centrist and left wing politicians).

I tried doing some looking around on sites that track the far right to see what they had on Ivins, if anything. As it turns out, extremely little. His political affiliations do not seem to be listed, only that he has a very violent temper and apparently came up with a plan to methodically murder all of his co-workers just a month before he offed himself.

However, it is worth noting that, attacks on the media aside (which I suspect were done for publicity), the real attacks on political figures were done on those on the left, Daschle, Leahy and Feingold's office. It is also worth noting that the person who sent fake anthrax letters a few years later - piggybacking off the piggyback terrorism - was none other than Chad Conrad Castagana, a Freeper, Michelle Malkin fan and extreme Christian Nationalist who once said:

Liberals and Lefties everywhere in America's institutions are trying to slowly but increasingly ban Christianity from America, from our site, from our discourse !
They have already succeded in banning any sign of Christianity from ourPublic Schools ! !

If THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST were released today for the first time, it would be slapped with an NC-17 rating !

So there is no conclusive evidence of this being militia orientated....however the links in methodology are disturbing, especially when we consider how this came from within high ranks of the US military (Maj. Gen. John Parker perpetuated the lie that the USA did not have powder anthrax, only liquid) and also apparently served the interests of the government of the time - well before most manouvering on the Iraq war had even begun to take place. Of course, some figures within the US administration, notably the Pentagon neocons, were pushing for an attack on Iraq immediately after 9-11 (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith etc) but that was not public knowledge at the time.

This raises a lot more questions than it solves, it seems.

Aug 2, 2008

Trolls on the internet! Oh my!

I suppose I better mention it, since people will be wondering why I didn't if I don't.

Yes, I have read the New York Times article on internet trolling. And firstly, is it just me, or is really fucking embarassing when you have someone writing an article when:

a) they really don't have a clue what they are talking about, and
b) the topic is removed entirely from its natural environment and dissected in the sterile lab of the mainstream media?

Its not just me, I hope.

So anyway, yes, I was alerted to this article by a compatriot troll, Ten Ton Mantis. And now I have finally read through it. The above quibbles above, I'd just like to make some minor points:

  • Trolls existed before /b/. The first paragraph implies otherwise.
  • /b/ is not the be all and end all of trolling. In fact, in the last couple of years, it has been downright embarassing.
  • At least you mentioned Usenet. Thank fucking god. However, the naive-noob tactic was just one of many used back in the day, and really only an entry level tactic. alt.syntax.tactical, for example, favour the longer term, infiltration and sockpuppet approach.
  • Lulz is not how trolls "keep score". Its an abstract concept, and a massively overused word, when considered against actual instances of lulz. It can be excuse, justification or result, as well.
  • The troll got it dead on. Article over, amirite?
  • Um...Anonymous and the trolls were one and the same, at least originally. I understand there was a something of a split between the /i/nsurgents and moralfags, but lets be honest, for the most part, its the same people who took part in both.
  • The fact that anonymous communications allow for people to be more sociopathic is not new nor interesting. Learn2sociology, plz.
  • Jason Fortuny is a fun guy, but he doesn't speak for me.
  • You probably got suckered by one troll or another in the course of your research. Live with it son.
  • Not all trolls are emotional fuckups. Some of the most extreme ones probably are, but I wouldn't generalize, or imply in the way you did.
  • Sometimes trolls are social hackers, its true. And literal ones as well. Anyway, the point is, sometimes they illustrate things people tend to overlook, either in their social interactions online, how they present themselves, the amount of information they give out. Something like that. Better to get burned for it by a jerk with an inappropriate sense of humour than by the next Ted Bundy. Its not always a perfect justification, and sometimes a line should be drawn, yes, but thats a very grey area and another debate.
  • Don't take it all so seriously is pretty much the message I try to relate as well. Sometimes the internet is useful for important stuff, but 99% of it is going to leave a very poor and shallow cultural legacy. I like to think I am doing my bit for people who think "OMFG MY MOM WONT BUY ME A FURSUIT FOR MY BIRTHDAY" or having their "artwork" criticized is a crime against humanity. Twits with no perspective and big mouths are far too numerous.
  • Weev was trolling you dude. He does have a point though, about certain bloggers. Those few suckup artists who the media like to go crawling to in order to pretend that they are keeping up with the new internet culture and soliciting feedback from voices that would normally be excluded. Like Iain Dale for example. Real fucking excluded, isn't he? Lets try a single mother blogger who is working while trying to raise her three kids. Oh, thats right, people like that don't have time to blog. And even when some people in some part of the world where dangerous and interesting things are happening (such as Iraq) people would rather get their views from the likes of Charles fucking Johnson than someone who actually lives there. Because, God forbid, they may contradict the media narrative.
  • I like this Kate chick. She has style. Kate, if you're reading...well, you know how to get in touch, I'm sure.
  • Hatred? I wouldn't go that far...of course, I would expect a MSM hack from somewhere like the NYT to give that line. But I wouldn't try to look too deeply into a troll's motivation. Mine, for example, the above aside, comes from my trickster and showy personality. I like to be the centre of the attention, and yet at the same time, display certain ambiguity. There are also certain people I like to upset, and if you've read this blog for any length of time, you can probably guess what type they are.
  • I would say trolls are the internet. The interesting parts at least. Just as pirates where the ones who innovated much of our modern world, economy and culture (where would commercial radio be without pirate stations? What about the US government, who stole patented technologies throughout the 18th century?) trolls push the boundaries and in doing so create new online realities. The internet may not be so much the Wild West as a number of armed enclaves among a sea of anarchy. Sure, if you stick to places like Myspace or Facebook or your politically chosen network of blogs you'll be mostly safe...aside from the occasional raider. But in other areas, the only things that exist, from your identity upwards, are those you choose to invent. That anarchy, while terrifying to some, is also a lab for inventing, tampering with and altering all number of social events and processes.
  • Those state legislators are idiots. You can't police the net, at least not in the way you hope to. Hell, people cant even stop copyright infringement, and "Spartacus actions" among legally threatened bloggers are frequent. Try it with people who know how to conceal their identity and enjoy games where the roles and characters are not as substansial as they may appear, and you're entering a policing nightmare.
  • Precisely. The law is not your hug-box. I am not responsible for your hurt feelings. I'm sure you could do something more productive with money spent on trying to police jerks on the net, such as nearly catching Bin Laden and then letting him go in order to justify the invasion of Iraq Iran.
  • Fortuny is right. OpenID and similar schemes for multiple site IDs are doomed to failure because so long as you can get more than one account, you are back where you started. So you either charge for everything, and create a gated community (urgh), or you don't take everything so seriously. Pretty simple, really.
  • Fortuny's morals are not everyones. Again, there are different motivations.
  • What a delightfully hopeful note to end your article on. It still doesnt change the 99% of the net which is different, however.

I think that is all I really have to say. I probably shouldn't have had a couple of beers while writing this either, but oh well, too late to worry about that now.