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The Righteous

Redefining Diversity

Goldsmiths University London

[TRIGGER WARNING: The following blog post contains irony and may be triggering for special little snowflakes]

A student group has been accused of sexism and racism for banning all men and white people from attending an equality event.

Goldsmiths University student union have been slammed after refusing to allow anybody that isn’t a non-white female from attending the event – organised to protest against inequality and celebrate racial unity.

White people and men told ‘please don’t come’ to student protest against inequality

Just when I thought the legions of Social Justice Warriors (aka SJW’s) couldn’t get any worse, they keep proving me wrong. It’s a bit like the old adage, “If you make something idiot proof, god will just make a better idiot”.

(more…)

Chuckles – the gift that keeps on taking…

So, Prince Charles has been to Washington DC (as have I) but whilst I flew steerage in an American Airlines A330 (and had to change at Philly – the most confusing airport this side of Mars) he went in style. He went on a chartered A320 configured as a private jet that costs GBP250,000 a hop. Or approx. 800 times what I paid (hard to say exactly – there were several hops on that hoilday which included Key West). Well, I guess it evens out because he got to meet Obama and I trogged the Smithsonians until my feet hurt – badly. He got a gong for his tireless crusades (or whatever) on the environment. He almost certainly clocked more CO2 than I can manage in a fecking lifetime. And then he delivers a lecture on the environment… Because the A320 normally carries just over about 160 passengers and not just a dickhead and his moll.

But that’s OK because it is only the little people who deserve to be taxed out of the air and not the nobs and he is a nob in every sense.

A Distaste of Israel.

A Waitrose magazine showcasing the food of Israel has been hammered online for ignoring what activists regard to be the ‘illegal occupation of Palestine’.

The supermarket chain’s monthly food magazine ‘Waitrose Kitchen’ contained a 32-page brochure called Taste of Israel.

But the glossy advert, sponsored by Israel’s Government Tourist Board, has sparked outrage among campaigners – with some claiming it ignores what they believe is an ‘apartheid regime’.

Yah what! This is about food and tourism. Does anyone honestly expect the Israeli tourist board to include a disclaimer along the lines of, “The shakshuka is to die for but if you lived in Gaza we’ve already killed you. Sorry.” Or “Come see our historic sites, dine on our cuisine and we chuck in a side of ‘genocide’”. This is ludicrous. I have Chinese, Iranian and Russian cookbooks. Does this endorse their governmental actions? Of course not! So why are the “activists” so het-up?

Rabid anti-semitism is part of it. The politics of displaced envy from the bien pissants of the West is part of it. By that I mean they are projecting their own feelings on politics onto the Palestinians and further assuming (often correctly) there is a great deal of envy from the Palestinians for a rich and advanced country next door. It is a form of redistributive fantasy which is of course a subset of the pernicious fixed wealth fallacy. Basically if Israel didn’t exist or “shared” then Gaza City would look like Tel Aviv. Yeah, right. The Intel i5 in this laptop was designed in Israel. He has a demon-ridden laptop – avert your eyes children! It may take on other forms!

Like become a MacBook Air or something?

Let’s call a spade a spade here. Israel is prosperous and (generally) reasonable (nowhere is perfect) because since 1948 Israelis have moved heaven (and a lot of earth) to create that and I have never blamed them for fighting like a cornered tiger to defend that. I know it is more complicated (and the settlements were wrong both morally and strategically) but… I take the Randian view here that if it is a choice between civilization and the building and inventing things that flows from that.

Israel has just had an election. It passed over quite peaceably. On the other side of the fence though…

When the Hamasites took power they took it upon themselves to storm their opponent’s offices, wreck the place and defenestrate anyone they found. They also stormed his private residence and stole his Nobel* and… I am not making this up… Someone stole his toilet. They stole his fucking toilet. One day it may be found and authenticated and placed in a museum with people solemnly shuffling past it in awe like it was the Grail or something. One day there maybe a cult of the One True Holy Aracrapper or they could go to B&Q and look at the many false Aracrappers. Well, as long as ISIS doesn’t get there and smash it first as an idol. I could say more on ISIS on this sort of score but that will have to wait.

Anyway, Israel is a civilized place that grows, makes and does things people want. What have Hamas ever done for the general (or their own) good except (sporadically lethal) amateur rocketry and furious Islamist rhetoric? I’ll stick with my computer and a Jaffa orange but thanks for the offer Hamas but just do fuck-off. As a Brit born in 1973 I grew-up through the slings and arrows of the IRA and I’m bored of this game now. I can’t imagine what it is like for an Israeli. I can’t imagine it is much fun for a normal Gazan – living in a continual bullet festival. Gaza could be a really nice little city state (the beaches look great) – a sort of Monaco on the other side of the Med. Who is stopping this? Well, according to the ludicrous response in the West to a British supermarket issuing a load of Israeli recipes** it ain’t just the Kings of Jihad*** even if they sit upon the Porcelain Throne of the Arafat****.

*Dear Gods what a sick joke that was! It is still to be located. I guess when Dr Jones is mended he can go on a quest for it.
**Which deeply ironically are not entirely dissimilar to those from the rest off the Eastern Med from Turkey round to Egypt.
***Not to be confused with the Kings of Leon.
****Not to be confused with “Game of Thrones”.

Davie Rottenbore Red(e)ux

Will this “people are evil for wanting to live the same decent life I enjoy” twerp ever learn that the climate isn’t doing anything it hasn’t done before and that people are not a disease?

Sir David Attenborough is calling on global leaders to step up their actions to curb climate change, saying that they are in denial about the dangers it poses despite the overwhelming evidence about its risks.

Curb climate change? Srsly? Why not stop the Earth in its planetary orbit as well? Or bring about the halt of time itself? How about chastising the Mighty Sun Dragon for going into a deep funk this last solar cycle or two and making all those ghastly, rent seeking climate alarmists look silly?

The only overwhelming evidence Rottenbore should be concerned about is his own denial of reality because his “evidence” of man made climate catastrophe doesn’t actually exist outside of a poorly programmed computer model and his own addled belief.

The TV naturalist said those who wield power need to use it: “Wherever you look there are huge risks.

Yes, because there are horrid, black smog monsters hiding behind every bush and lamp post waiting to devour poor ickle childruns if we don’t do what the nice TV naturalist says.

“The awful thing is that people in authority and power deny that, when the evidence is overwhelming and they deny it because it’s easier to deny it – much easier to deny it’s a problem and say ‘we don’t care’,” Sir David said.

Because the Climate Change Act 2008 that is currently impoverishing millions is a figment of our national imagination? Because the EU’s desire to legislate us back to pastoralism is nothing more than a rampant leap into a bleak future ruled by uncontrolled, planet slaying techno-terror? Because Obama’s credentials as a foaming at the mouth “green warrior” who wants to kill the tyrannical XL pipeline is clearly a smoke screen for his latent tendency to eagerly suck Big Oil Koch?

I think you doth protest too much, Davie.

In terms of climate change, “we won’t do enough and no one can do enough, because it’s a very major, serious problem facing humanity; but at the same time it would be silly to minimise the size of the problem”, he told Sky News.

We’ve been dealing with the problem since before we swung out of the trees and trespassed on Gaia’s verdant lawn. We’ve survived far worse, and will no doubt continue to do so unless idiots like Davie get their way and succeed in shutting civilisation down.

Later this year, a crucial UN climate summit will be held, at which world leaders have pledged to agree to tough cuts in their carbon emissions, to ensure the increase in global warming does not exceed 2°C – beyond which its consequences become increasingly devastating.

What global warming? There are teens who will vote for the first time this year who have never seen global warming.

We should be concerned of a devastating rise of 2 °C? So how the Scammelling heck did poley bears and every other living creature survive the Holocene Climate Optimum that saw temperature rises up to 8 °C higher than those of today? Gosh the elephant poo building up in the room is really beginning to smell rank (but at least it’s organic so it can be ignored). Take that weapons grade peg off your nose, Davie, and smell the crap you’re depositing all around. Why should we be the only ones to suffer?

Although that meeting is not scheduled to take place until December, the scale of the task ahead is huge and world leaders are already working towards the summit.

And will end in the same, obscenely expensive failure because the likes of India, China and now Germany will not play ball. But there’s a silver lining in every extreme weather cloud – the airlines really love you alarmist types as you fly higgledy-piggledy across the globe on your self-righteous mission to re-invent the Mesolithic hunter gatherer society.

However Sir David is concerned that, despite the increasingly obvious scale of the threat climate change poses, leaders are not taking the matter as seriously as they should.

Er…didn’t he say that already?

Oh, wait. Not quite We’ve done “overwhelming”, “increasingly devastating” and “very major serious”. “Obvious scale of threat” was missing but you cleverly managed to fix that. Well done.

“Never in the history of humanity in the last 10 million years have all human beings got together to face one danger that threatens us – never.

The “history of humanity” is ten million years old? Who knew? Typical of those lazy Australopithicines to miss the boat by about six million years. They really should hang their brow-ridged, hominid heads in shame. They should have organised a mass rally, lined up to be eaten by the local top predators of the day and saved the Earth a lot of grief the selfish swines.

Then there’s that troublesome “one danger”. The one danger that threatens us with an increase in plant food that will expand all those naughty, carbon sequestrating forests we intend to burn in the furnaces of the Drax power station. Personally I believe the ginormous, Scammel-off asteroid floating around out there that has our name written on it is, on reflection, something we should all worry more about especially if Bruce Willis isn’t around to save us all.

“It’s a big ask, but the penalty of not taking any notice is huge,” he said.

Yes, it means the greenie gravy train will come to a grinding halt. Due to the wrong kind of climate on the rails if nature pulls yet another one of her amusing, ironic tricks.

Sir David’s comments come two days after a separate warning – on the dangers posed by the booming human population.

Ah yes, the spectre of Malthus rises once more from its deepest depths of greenie gloom and doom. Davie’s love affairs with the ghost of Eden past and the ghoul of homo mass extinctus (but not him or his, naturally) is getting very stale.

“It’s desperately difficult, the dangers are apparent to anybody,” he told The Independent.

“We can’t go on increasing at the rate human beings are increasing forever, because the Earth is finite and you can’t put infinity into something that is finite.

“So if we don’t do something about it – the natural world that is – we will starve,” Sir David said.

Forever? That’s a long time, Davie. But not as long as your knickers wetting hyperbole, eh?

And now we’ve added “desperately difficult” to the list. When all else fails, alliterate. It’s what I would do if I was desperate.

Last month, a newly discovered species of beetle was named Trigonopterus attenboroughi, in honour of Sir David Attenborough. Alexander Riedel, the researcher who discovered the 2.14mm-long species, said he called the beetle after Sir David because he enjoyed watching his television programmes so much as a child.

Soon to become extinct due to Davie’s feared CAGW armageddon? So sad. Too bad.

This is not the first time he has had a species named after him. In 2009, a flesh-eating pitcher plant, so large that it can swallow and devour rats whole, was discovered on Mount Victoria in the Philippines and named Nepenthes attenboroughii.

But he has yet to find one big enough to digest people. Take heart, Davie. I’m sure the dying Earth will oblige you.

Two years later, a one-millimetre species of goblin spider was discovered on Horn Island, off the coast of Australia, and named Prethopalpus attenboroughi, or Attenborough’s goblin spider.

But the most nasty of spiders is nowhere near as ugly or as poisonous as Davie Rottenbore and his alarmist, anti-humanity rants.

Dolores of — Lures? A “What I Should Have Said” Story

Over at Libertarian Home, Rocco has put up “The Parable of the Lures and Fishes.” This reminded me of a hook that has been stuck in my craw for some years, and I find myself lured into venting. Hence this infuriating tale. Fellow Felines, sharpen your claws and gather round.

For close to a score of years I have had occasional bouts of war with hordes of vandalistic raccoons who think it clever to tear holes in my roof and set up housekeeping in my attic, destroying whatever is up there, including the insulation. This would have resulted in Total War, except that there are very important laws prohibiting Total War against raccoons, the poor defenseless things. I mean, I certainly feel for the homeless, some of them anyway, but, well, think 410 A.D. & ff.

As a result, there are ongoing great waves of invasion. At one point the Licensed Trappers put a trap (enclosure trap, cage snaps shut if critter isn’t careful, no harm to coon, who then enjoys a pleasant stay of several days at a lovely Sanitarium and Spa — observation, medical treatment if necessary, company’s own water, meals free, all mod. cons. — before being released into the wild, at least 50 miles away) — Ahem. Yes, put a trap right next to the entry the latest gang had torn into the roof. One of them took the bait and was trapped, I tell you, TRAPPED!!! He disapproved of this and sent a loud SOS to Dolores Umbrage, who has resided next door for a quarter century (seems like a quarter of a millenium) and whose raison d’être is to Snoop & Snitch. Antennae quivering with excitement, she got it loud & clear, and when the trapper came to remove the raccoon, she came over and gave him jolly what-for.

I discovered this as she was walking down the driveway toward her own place. I asked the trapper what was going on. He explained.

As this was the third or fourth instance of Dolores’s executing her mission at our expense, and creating entirely unnecessary legal troubles — one of them seriously damaging — I thought I should have a talk with her. I went and asked her wotthehell. She said, I kid you not:

“That poor thing was screaming in that cage, which is too small for it, and the trap was put there to LU-U-URRE him! He wouldn’t have been there otherwise. It never should have been up there in the first place.”

This left me utterly nonplussed. I wish I could report that I replied assertively with something intelligent, but as she is a vindictive b**** who loves causing real trouble for people (and not just us!), I didn’t want to tell her exactly what I thought of her. I should have told her the obvious: The trap was THERE because it’s directly in front of the door to the current Raccoon Hotel. “How about I send ‘em over to your house, honeylamb? How about you house the poor dears for awhile. I hope you know a good roofer.” Good grief!

I delivered a brief statement on the necessity of tolerance when people must live close to one another (well, it IS related!) and went back home. The trapper was just finishing up. He says their company gets calls every day from Animal Control, who have been notified by one or another of Dolores’s spiritual brethren of just such dreadful acts by the trappers. He said Animal Control is used to this and doesn’t take it seriously.

What a relief.

Obamacare Architect: Passed by Voter Stupidity

Now this remarkable piece of left, or Dim, or both, honesty, 52 sec., from The Blaze. Video of the commentary, 52 seconds’ worth, is there too; per Blaze, it’s been pulled from UT.

If anyone anywhere on the globe doesn’t see that these slimeballs think they have the perfect right to absolute rule because of their moral superiority (and, of course, way superior smarts) — he or she needs to check into a home for the severely retarded.

Obamacare Architect: We Passed the Law Thanks to the ‘Stupidity of the American Voter’
Nov. 10, 2014 9:47am Zach Noble

One of the architects of Obamacare said the law was written in a deliberately “tortured” way and relied on the “stupidity of the American voter” to ensure its passage.

In a newly unearthed 2013 clip, Jonathan Gruber, the MIT health economist who helped craft parts of the Affordable Care Act, got fairly candid about the tactics used to get the Affordable Care Act passed during a panel at the Annual Health Economists’ Conference last year.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber said in one 52-second clip. “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.”

Gruber then trumpeted the value of a “lack of transparency” — and called American voters stupid.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass.”

Better for the American people to be saddled with a law they don’t understand, Gruber claimed, than for them to understand the law and rally against it.

“Look, I wish … we could make it all transparent,” Gruber said, “but I’d rather have this law than not.”

[Original introduction edited slightly. --J.]

Carbon Legacies

There is an industry which concerns itself with helping to create these when Mother Nature isn’t quite doing her job. But it needs to be regulated, you know. It really does. Even Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of whom more below, says so, though he otherwise disagrees with Ms. Cristina Richie, whose views are our topic today. (The gentleman’s remark rather sounds as though he approves of “regulation,” and disapproves of its lack, on principle.)

Anyway, it turns out that Carbon Legacies, even when naturally occurring, are not an unmitigated good. Indeed, one might question whether they are a Good Thing at all, even as others are delighted with theirs, or with the prospects of acquiring such.

Here is the abstract of an article from the Journal of Medical Ethics by Cristina Richie, Theology Department, Boston College, which argues that since every human “emits carbon” into the environment,

Evaluating the ethics of offering reproductive services against its overall harm to the environment makes unregulated ARTs unjustified….

“ART” stands for “Assisted Reproductive Technology.” It includes such things as fertilization in vitro and artificial insemination, as well as methods of having babies where the child might be born with AIDS, surrogate pregnancy, and more.

(WikiFootia has a good overview.)

From Ms. Richie’s article:

A carbon footprint is the aggregate of resource use and carbon emissions over a person’s life. A carbon legacy occurs when a person chooses to procreate. All people have carbon footprints; only people with biological children have carbon legacies.

(I have had some non-biological “children,” but only in a figurative sense, such as patterns of words set down on paper or sent into cyberspace. But it seems to me that actual non-biological children are probably rather rare.)

Now ask me what I think. C’mon, you know you want to! *g* Well, lest the multitude of Kounting Kitties hereabouts get to yowling from the suspense….

Views in which “the environment” is seen as of higher moral value than human beings as such — whether conceived in delight or after a fight, or both, or neither — are perverse in the strongest and most serious sense of the word. (Compact OED, Print Ed., 1971, = 1933 OED plus addenda, gives various definitions, several of which boil down to “turning away from right to wrong.”) To me, the word has a connotation of DELIGHT in turning from right to wrong, and a deliberate inversion of right and wrong, so that the evil is embraced as good and the good, as evil.

All I can say is, I place a very high value on my own personal Carbon Legacy, who in early middle age continues to provide joy, light, and warmth to my life. Besides, this person grows houseplants and, in summer, tomatoes and peppers, so I figure that offsets the inevitable “emission of carbon.” (Whatever does Ms. Richie think that means? There’s a huge variety of carbon-containing molecules that are “emitted” by a huge variety of sources, most of them “natural.”) Personally I think that once we’ve gotten fluorine out of the way by banning it (per a suggestion by some doofus over here), we should simply ban carbon. That would solve everything. At least from the human point of view, which would no longer exist.

. . .

I will let Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of LifeNews.com, have the last word. He has a piece on this entitled “Population Controllers Call Babies ‘Carbon Legacies,’ a Threat to the Environment.” Per Mr. Smith:

And Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little carbon legacies to come onto me’….

Free apologist with every rape

Rotherham Child Abuse Scandal - Ring A

“Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”

Rotherham child abuse scandal: 1,400 children exploited, report finds

There is a reason that “Lady Justice” wears a blindfold, it is so that both prejudice and favour are ignored in the legal system and one of the reasons why the Anglo-Saxon legal system has established itself around the world.

Unfortunately, the same rules do not apply to the politically correct who see a “narrative” at every turn, indeed is a “Social Worker” not the very epitome of the Fabian state writ large?

The net effect of such deliberate and wilful ignorance was that a significant number of children were subjected to violence, sexual abuse and coercion because the public appointed and empowered enforcers of the law were colour-blind to their actions because they were Muslims.

Without committing acts of outrage myself, it is impossible to continue, but suffice to say that until political correctness and random acts of racism are removed from both law and public service – for what else is “Child Services” – or whatever the current politically correct euphemism?

There may well be a place for social workers, but it is within the voluntary sector of the 19th century rather than the state enabled child abductors of the 21st.

Sam Harris in Defense of Israel


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

Not a Sam Harris fan, as I dislike and mistrust militant atheists just as much as other militantly religious or anti-religious folk. Particularly when they seem to believe it’s they themselves to whom the phrase “from God’s mouth to your ear” applies.

But this piece by Mr. Harris is an op-ed that by me deserves great praise, particularly as it probably offends most of his natural audience. (Of course, I don’t agree with every word, nor every implication.) And I know why he put in all those parentheticals: It’s to try and cut off at the pass the obvious accusations with which we’re all too familiar.

Audio at source, from which the following are excerpts. The whole is a fair bit longer, and of course better integrated.

July 27, 2014

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?

gaza

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT [Note: This is a verbatim transcript of a spoken podcast. However, I have added notes like this one to clarify controversial points.—SH]

The question I’ve now received in many forms goes something like this: Why is it that you never criticize Israel? Why is it that you never criticize Judaism? Why is it that you always take the side of the Israelis over that of the Palestinians?

I have criticized both Israel and Judaism. … I’ve kept some sense of proportion. There are something like 15 million Jews on earth at this moment; there are a hundred times as many Muslims. I’ve debated rabbis who, when I have assumed that they believe in a God that can hear our prayers, they stop me mid-sentence and say, “Why would you think that I believe in a God who can hear prayers?” So there are rabbis—conservative rabbis—who believe in a God so elastic as to exclude every concrete claim about Him—and therefore, nearly every concrete demand upon human behavior. And there are millions of Jews, literally millions among the few million who exist, for whom Judaism is very important, and yet they are atheists. They don’t believe in God at all. This is actually a position you can hold in Judaism, but it’s a total non sequitur in Islam or Christianity.

I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [Note: Read this paragraph again.]

Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state.

[Note: It is worth observing, however, that Israel isn’t “Jewish” in the sense that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are “Muslim.” As my friend Jerry Coyne points out, Israel is actually less religious than the U.S., and it guarantees freedom of religion to its citizens. Israel is not a theocracy, and one could easily argue that its Jewish identity is more cultural than religious. ....]

More civilians have been killed in Gaza in the last few weeks than militants. That’s not a surprise because Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Occupying it, fighting wars in it, is guaranteed to get woman and children and other noncombatants killed. ….

Whatever terrible things the Israelis have done, it is also true to say that they have used more restraint in their fighting against the Palestinians than we—the Americans, or Western Europeans—have used in any of our wars. They have endured more worldwide public scrutiny than any other society has ever had to while defending itself against aggressors. The Israelis simply are held to a different standard. And the condemnation leveled at them by the rest of the world is completely out of proportion to what they have actually done. [Note: I was not saying that because they are more careful than we have been at our most careless, the Israelis are above criticism. War crimes are war crimes.]

It is clear that Israel is losing the PR war and has been for years now. One of the most galling things for outside observers about the current war in Gaza is the disproportionate loss of life on the Palestinian side. This doesn’t make a lot of moral sense. Israel built bomb shelters to protect its citizens. The Palestinians built tunnels through which they could carry out terror attacks and kidnap Israelis. Should Israel be blamed for successfully protecting its population in a defensive war? I don’t think so.

there is an obvious, undeniable, and hugely consequential moral difference between Israel and her enemies. The Israelis are surrounded by people who have explicitly genocidal intentions towards them. The charter of Hamas is explicitly genocidal. … [Note: Yes, I know that not every Palestinian supports Hamas, but enough do to have brought them to power. Hamas is not a fringe group.]

The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking. Not only is there Holocaust denial—there’s Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. The only thing more obnoxious than denying the Holocaust is to say that it should have happened; it didn’t happen, but if we get the chance, we will accomplish it. There are children’s shows that teach five-year-olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews.

And this gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. And this is something I discussed in The End of Faith. To see this moral difference, you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it.

The truth is that everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does.

Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we’re talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be. It is morally abhorrent to kill noncombatants if you can avoid it. It’s certainly abhorrent to shoot through the bodies of children to get at your adversary. But take a moment to reflect on how contemptible this behavior is. And understand how cynical it is. The Muslims are acting on the assumption—the knowledge, in fact—that the infidels with whom they fight, the very people whom their religion does nothing but vilify, will be deterred by their use of Muslim human shields.

There are reports that Israeli soldiers have occasionally put Palestinian civilians in front of them as they’ve advanced into dangerous areas. That’s not the use of human shields we’re talking about. It’s egregious behavior. No doubt it constitutes a war crime. But Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit.

If you’re going to talk about the conflict in the Middle East, you have to acknowledge this difference. I don’t think there’s any ethical disparity to be found anywhere that is more shocking or consequential than this.


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

Diplomacy amidst the wreckage and the rhetoric

Malaysian PM Najib on MH17

Although not a fan of Malaysian PM Najib Razak, his approach to the MH17 disaster has been more diplomatic than the angry rhetoric of both the US and the UK. Indeed I would go further and say that it demonstrates the difference between Cameron and Obama, who are simply politicking and the governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands who are attempting to recover the bodies of their citizens and understand why MH17 is spread across 8-miles of a Ukrainian war-zone.

(more…)

The War against Eastasia: Theatre: The Paranoid Style in Libertarianism

Single Acts of Tyranny proposes to tyrannize us by destroying our fondest dream, which is that hell is the creation of the Devil which takes the form of bringing to Humanity that most desirable of conditions, happiness and joy — O hell, World PEACE, happiness and joy — by denying us everything that any human being could possibly need or want. In this case, the sense of physical sweetness that sugar brings us.

Now along comes Perfesser “Nudge” Sunstein, who says, “No such thing”: It’s all the woolly-minded Paranoid Libertarians, who broadcast to us the Sirens’ wail in the form of warnings against such things as slippery-slope arguments, plus four more dreadful paranoid ploys.

On the other hand, the Comments to the articule (what an apt typo! think I’ll leave it) seem to be running rather heavily against what they see as the Prof’s muddying of the waters.

Actually, it’s my observation that as soon as you let the meaning of words (that is, their meaning in Standard English, since there does have to be a standard for interpretation somewhere or “it’s deuces wild”) — as soon as you let the meaning of words become unmoored from their core meaning in Standard English, you are deep into the territory of the Slippery Slope and worse. Mr. Whittle did a wonderful illustration of how this works, on a Trifecta a few years back. If you have a “standard” as opposed to “basic” (but still paid) membership, I think it is, you can still watch it.

But I’m O/T there. The point is that ANY argument can, in my experience, be stretched to prove anything whatsoever, if you have just the teensiest bit of imagination. And Lefties are loaded with it, as long it informs them that their plans will work so well that they should just naturally have the final say.

Go, read — including the Comments, until you get bored: there are 288 of them so far, some meaty — and be Enlightened.

PS: Acts, no offense. That first line is my idea of humor. I do like your idea of putting 5 kg. of sugar in jail, though. Maybe it work to help me lose a little around the hips. :>)

The Overhead.

The Internet c.1800s...

That was the semaphore system built by Claude Chappe in France around the time of the French Revolution. If the idea of big semaphore machines connecting a nation (indeed internationally) reminds you of the “Clacks” on Discworld then you are in the right ball-park – almost. There is a key difference which we shall come to though and it is a biggy.

Anyway, this is the size of the network…

... and its reach.

Now here is the big difference. What is the modern, electronic, internet as we know it used for? It is a chaos of chatter and (in)sanity, logic and weirdness, bank transactions, Christmas greetings, pornography, blogging, tweeting, facebook, gaming, terrorist plots and how to build a bomb or how to cook a risotto. It can be anything from an interview with One Direction or a seminar on quantum entanglement. It is humanity in toto.

The French clacks wasn’t (that is the “biggy” I mentioned) and neither could it technically be nor was intended to be. The inventor had this rather disingenuous thing to say,

“Chappe once claimed that a signal could go from Toulon to Paris – 120 stations across 475 miles – in just ten or twelve minutes. But he could not make that claim for a full message, even a relatively short one. Three signals per minute was the most that could be expected of even the fastest telegraph operator.”

In modern terms that is 1/20 bit per second (roughly – the Chappe code had a signal space of 98 symbols (2 beam positions and 7 positions each for the “arms” = 2x7x7=98) which is near enough the size of the standard 7 bit ASCII code – 128 symbols – to compare with allowing a bit of wiggle on human factors). Difference is the first common(ish) home modems worked at like 2000 bps or 40,000 times that speed. Sending a signal as simple as, “Advance at noon, reinforcements will meet on your left flank by 1pm.” would be nightmarish. And that is assuming absolute accuracy in transcription at all stations along the way. It need not be said that 2000bps is dismal. A slow ADSL line is over a thousand times faster and if BT Reach-Around has deemed fit to bother with laying fibre even ADSL on Cu is laughable. Sky (my broadband, TV and landline provider keep on trying to get BT to get us into the C21st – to no avail so far). There are always BT vans prowling and doing nowt. I’m not surprised. I used to work for BT and trying to get them to do anything to the porpoise is like assaulting Broadmoor with soft fruit. They might technically be private but they still behave like a state monopoly. Utterly complacent Bertram Blunts plus ultra.

Anyhoo, back to those old French folk. Not only was the system technically very limited (in that it was fast but with abysmal bandwidth) and therefore unsuitable for general communication but it was never intended for such use. Chappe again,

“…took it for granted that the telegraph network of which he dreamed would be a department of the state, government owned and operated. He saw it not as an instrument of knowledge or of riches, but as an instrument of power. ‘The day will come,” he wrote, ‘when the Government will be able to achieve the grandest idea we can possibly have of power, by using the telegraph system in order to spread directly, every day, every hour, and simultaneously, its influence over the whole republic.”

Chilling but not a million miles away from how our Lords and Masters see the internet. Fortunately they don’t really understand TCP/IP and all that jazz and I don’t think they understand the importance of a technology they simply don’t understand (they don’t understand much tech stuff). But they try, hence such things as the unbelievably poorly thought out violent and extreme pornography bill or assorted attempts around the globe to make pornography an “opt-in” service (for the sake of the children, naturally). And will it stop at porn? Does it ever stop? No, of course not!

Now obviously, there is a difference here – almost an inversion. The old French mechanical “clacks” was a way to govern and the modern internet is a way to keep tabs on the governed. This morning for the first time ever I used my bank card contactless (I’ve forgotten my PIN!!!). Some bugger at the NSA or GCHQ now knows what toilet paper I buy, the brand of ciggies I smoke and that I drink semi-skimmed milk. And yeah, I know they could harvest that from the chip anyway but… as a true believing physicist I find action at a distance, “spooky” ;-) That’s a quote from Einstein by the way though Newton himself was not 100% happy with gravity working like that. General Relativity is at least a locally realistic theory. It may be (usually) more mathematically complicated but Relativity makes far fewer metaphysical assumptions than did Newton. Newton has a fair few mad old dears stashed in the attic clad in their wedding dresses. But I digress…

The simple truth is that by hook or by crook any advance in comms will be seen by our Lords and Masters as a potential means of control. Whether it is owning the entire shooting match or just spying on it is a mere matter of tech to the L&M. Tech they will, thankfully, cock-up profoundly but they do try, bless ‘em.

All quotes from “The Information” by James Glieck.

On the worship of little tin gods

St. Edward of Snowden, patron saint of whistleblowers

In part this comes down to SAoT’s recent post on the death of Nelson Mandela, but mainly from an argument with Perry de Havilland over at Samizdata who appears to be so utterly blinded by the “what” of St. Edward of Snowden’s revelations that he is unable to ask the fundamental question of “why” did he do what he did.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that the truth has come out about the NSA’s activities and if Snowden honestly felt that the way he did it was the only way that it could have been done then fair enough.

The problem is I find that the way that Snowden has gone about his revelations has been distinctly dubious.

This may be just the capricious nature of fate ruining the best laid plans of mice and men, but I consider that Snowden’s deliberately outing himself on the front page of the Guardian (when he could have revealed the necessary information without doing so), to be somewhat questionable.

I am uncomfortable with the fact that he is hiding under the coat tails of a country which would probably have killed him if he had committed the same offence there (as they did with Alexander Litvinenko)

I am uncomfortable that he has potentially carried US state secrets into Russia and, if so,  potentially revealed them to their state security apparatus in return for asylum in Russia.

I am uncomfortable about the sheer volume of information that he has in his possession, which he now appears to be either releasing in dribs-and-drabs to keep himself newsworthy or alternately holding back in some vain attempt to keep out of the clutches of the US Government by blackmailing the NSA from a safe haven in Russia.

Now I am, as some of you will know, a paranoid and suspicious son-of-a-bitch by nature and so it is entirely possible that my natural scepticism is preventing me from seeing the inherent beatitude of our glorious brother Snowden who shines his light of truth into the dark corners of the world.

If the general consensus is that I am being unreasonable, I promise to make amends by wearing a tinfoil hat and sitting in the corner murmuring quietly for a week (as if! Can you imagine…? :-) )

Mozzer strikes again…

If you know The Smiths that’s quite witty.

Morrissey has attacked President Obama and the tradition of turkey-eating on Thanksgiving, in a blog post on his website entitled ‘Thankskilling’.

My sides nearly split with mirth.

Morrissey described the annual lighthearted turkey ‘pardon’ ceremony that Obama takes part in, where turkeys are saved from being slaughtered, as “embarrassingly stupid”.

Well. apart from describing Mozzer as an ageing Ted with a chronic masturbater’s complexion. Yup, the greatest export Manchester ever made… But traditions are “stupid” (aren’t they?) and traditions (pretty much by def don’t include the presidency of Barack Obama – a tradition going back to 2008 is not exactly traditional is it?) It is is silly but then so is wearing a paper crown on Christmas Day. Very silly but Mozzer, we is just trying to have fun – which appear to be something Mozzer who once wrote that real upbeat ditty, “Girlfriend in a Coma” fails to get at any level.

Otherwise I would drone endlessly about the wit and wisdom of Chairman Mao over a buggered tannoy whilst some fucker arse-vogeled a 1980s Casio keyboard to accompany. Without Johnnie Marr you are nothing. Just a (poor) voice wandering alone in the wilderness…

“Please ignore the abysmal example set by President Obama who, in the name of Thanksgiving, supports torture as 45 million birds are horrifically abused; dragged through electrified stun baths, and then have their throats slit. And President Obama laughs. Haha, so funny!”

Do I detect the voice of a left-winger betrayed?

Furthermore, “As Ingrid Newkirk from PETA points out, turkey ‘meat’ is one of ‘our nation’s top killers’, causing heart-attacks and strokes in humans due to saturated animal fats and cholesterol. And President Obama laughs.”

A very strange use of quotes around ‘meat’. Either it is or it isn’t meat. The moral discussion about eating it (or not) is not furthered by scare quotes any more than PETA’s dismal attempt to rebrand ‘fish’ as ‘sea-kittens’*. And in any case eating turkey and having a heart attack is one’s own choice. I can’t stick turkey anyway. Dry and insipid, much like chicken and roast pork.

Morrissey has long been a campaigner for animal rights, vociferously promoting a vegetarian diet – and sometimes tipping into controversy. He said that the 2011 Utoya massacre by Anders Breivik was “nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried shit every day.”

The news that he is now scheduled to play a Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo has upset some in Norway, given his earlier comments.

Well, the Nobel Peace Prize is not worth a penny-weight of Arafat’s giblets really but that is offensive. I am now deeply tempted to obtain a moose burger just for the hell of it!

In 2009 he left the stage at the Coachella festival saying: “The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I can smell burning flesh . . . and I hope to God it’s human.”

Would Mozzer have been happier at Auschwitz than in the vicinity of a hot-dog stand? I’ve been to both in my time. I have also been a vegetarian (sort of – I could never make a chilli that really worked) and am married to a vegan but that casual moral equivalence is appalling. Utterly wrong. It is that sort of attempt at making a KFC the same as a NAZI death camp the reason I fear for the future. That it can even be said is very scary. Killing 6 million Jews is not on the same moral map as getting a hot dog. It is indeed chilling rather than chill dog. Animals of course require our care but they are not us. Up to a point they are moral agents (my cat knows he’s done a bad thing when he pukes on the duvet) but they are not the same. Very similar in many ways but not the same. We once lost Timmy. We were moving and he fled the house due to the disruption at something like the speed of heat.**

He came back after a tense while. We spent an extra day sitting on orange boxes (so to speak) with not even the telly waiting for him. My wife was in tears – there were a number of kebab shops in Levenshulme. Then a paw scratched at the door. That night he insisted on sleeping between us in our bed. So, stick that up your arse-trumpet Mozzer. I do care for animals. And Timmy has a lovely big garden to prowl and get into fights with other cats who invade his territory. He also eats meat for a certain value of meat. He only likes the cheapest stuff in terms of pouches. He’ll go insane if I have fish. I once got some smoked mackerel from Aldi (and very good it was too) and had to exfiltrate the kitty from the bin for he’d gone in head first after the skin. I was alerted by a terrible mewling and the sight of a tail. Daft bugger.

“Bring me the head of Elton John… which is one instance in which meat would not be murder, if it were served on a plate.”

Now, I’m no fan of the Rocketman but might it be apposite to say he’s sold more records than Mozzer? That he isn’t a total twat? And perhaps more to the point, whilst I might want to eat a nice sirloin, Mozzer wants, for whatever obscure reasons (mentioned above) to eat Elton John’s head which is a bit too Heston for me? You’d have to get through the rug first apart from anything else. But you do have to wonder if John’s success over decades in the pop business doesn’t irk the Salford One? Or the fact his HIV/AIDS charity has done more good than Mozzer’s sanctimonious posing? I mean I was never a Smiths fan (and the solo stuff is drivel) but to the extent the Smiths were good was down to Johnnie Marr and not the gladioli-wielding bard of Salford.

At a moral point why is it not allowed to eat critters but OK with people you don’t like? All totalitarianism (and Morrissey is a totalitarian – well, a wannabe one anyway) is about this.

Morrissey is a sort of eternal recurrence of DH Lawrence. The sort of quasi-socialist who hates the “little people” who don’t get him. Lawrence once wrote (and this was published, I think) about how he wanted to set-up a circus big-top and have the lumpen proletariat shoved through to be exterminated to the sound of a band playing popular songs. Yes, he did. I lack refs for it but yes, he did. Is this much different from Mozzer? No it isn’t.

They are both utterly overrated. Check!

They both have chips on their shoulder you could sink battleships with. Check!

They both despise the people they allegedly seek to help. Check!

So that’s that. The quotes are from here.

*An odd one as my little cat loves to eat his sea-kittens. More interestingly, if I have a sea-kitten then we have a Rommel v Patton situation. He’ll lurk then strike but then I am smarter being H sapiens sapiens and he’s Felis silvestris catus. He made an elaborate encircling manoeuvre round the back of the sofa last night whilst I was eating pizza.
**USAF fighter-jockey slang for anything between the speed of sound and that of light.

Greenwald and Canada?

The headline speaks for itself. –Speaking of Leaking, Var. Newspaperiensis, did you-all know Mr. Bernstein (of Watergate, Woodward-&-Bernstein fame) was also a red-diaper baby?

Glenn Greenwald’s Next Spy Leak Target: Canada

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