Saturday, September 03, 2005

Prediction Time Again:

I suspect that Bush will be vindicated in his approach to the Gulf Coast disaster- as Hugh Hewitt clearly believes and others are helping to back up (that trusty Bush phone expertise again- via Instapundit). Secondly that the left are once again over-egging the pudding in ways exemplified by this blogger's post. Thirdly that New Orleans will recover, and could be a far more hopeful place in the future than it was in the past.

The Truth according to Matt Wells

'The truth was simple and apparent to all. If journalists were there with cameras beaming the suffering live across America, where were the officers and troops?'

The BBC's true colours shine through in this article. We find an enraged and ideologically inflamed writer swallowing every one of the so-called 'fitting metaphors relating to the New Orleans debacle.'

That is what journalism is not about, yet here we have a BBC journalist in full pursuit of his ideologically chosen enemies.

Perhaps the BBC is fed up of people thinking they don't care about the States (my most charitable thought). Perhaps there's an element of the Michael Moore theory that disasters shouldn't happen to Democrat voters, as it has in New Orleans. Perhaps this is intensified by the BBC's utter lack of balance when called upon to report the old colonial victims, the blacks. Perhaps too the BBC has been listening to US broadcasters tearing their hair out (for some similar reasons) and has been lured into thinking they are reflecting a genuine consensus- just another victim of the US MSM. Add to that the gnawing anger they feel that the purest capitalist society around has become the most admired and feared, and one can see the need for emotional breakout.

But the caricature offered by the BBC journalist is a disgrace. A disgrace.

First we have the predictable dig at the 'home-spun myth about the invulnerability of the American Dream.' This was so predictable, and so unnecessary- and stupidly wrong (think of John Edwards' Dickensian depiction of the girl who had no coat and you'll see that immediately). The whole first three paragraphs are utter bilge- but I notice so cunningly put together that though they appear to unequivocally indict President Bush, they could be read differently as a more general comment.

Then we get the BBC's patent 'metaphor' approach- involving a series of assertions about a 'heroic Mayor' (who is certainly a savvy enough political individual to see that his skin's safety depends on deflecting blame), an 'extraordinary complacency', Federal agencies staying 'tucked up at home', and no 'official' plan. Again, this is lightly veiled- but an utter attack on the Bush administration.

The really extraordinary thing is the disingenuousness of this writer. Take the representation of New Orleans vs the US Governement:

'The Bush administration, together with Congress, cut the budgets for flood protection and army engineers, while local politicians failed to generate any enthusiasm for local tax increases.

New Orleans partied-on just hoping for the best, abandoned by anyone in national authority who could have put the money into really protecting the city.

Meanwhile, the poorest were similarly abandoned, as the horrifying images and stories from the Superdome and Convention Center prove.'

He covers himself with the comment about 'local politicians'- but notice how the population of New Orleans is abandoned by central government, who also abandon the poorest. What, do these party goers have a sovereign right to party, with central government picking up the bill. Notice that it's central government, not local politics, that's responsible for local concentrations of poverty. Nothing could be further from the US political philosophy enshrined in the Constitution. The attitude displayed by the BBC journalist is truly extraordinary, attempting to condemn all of this political culture through a condemnation of the Republican ascendancy over it. Not for the first time I am left wondering what a Beeboid is on.

But perhaps, as I intimated, there is a rational explanation- the BBC's colonial grievance culture. He explains himself:

'The neglect that meant it took five days to get water, food, and medical care to thousands of mainly orderly African-American citizens desperately sheltering in huge downtown buildings of their native city, has been going on historically, for as long as the inadequate levees have been there.'

He doesn't seem to realise- having accepted every caricature floating around in the aftermath of the hurricane, he can't escape his own mentality, bloated with historical caricature.

'In the workout room of the condo where I am currently staying in the affluent LA neighbourhood of Santa Monica, an executive and his personal trainer ignored the anguished television reports blaring above their heads on Friday evening'.

Laughable, isn't it? The whole of the US is in the grip of delusion but our man in the USA, the noble British Broadcasting journalist, is a lone survivor, valiantly doing his serious journalism from the workout room of a condo in LA.

It stinks of utter bovine stupidity.

As a final slander he comes out effectively accusing US citizens, and he means the average Joe here, of being tax evading criminals:

The uneasy paradox which so many live with in this country - of being first-and-foremost rugged individuals, out to plunder what they can and paying as little tax as they can get away with, while at the same time believing that America is a robust, model society - has reached a crisis point this week.

Was there ever such a stupid response to a crisis (certainly when one considers the extraodinary generosity of the US people that is unfolding and will continue to unfold. Hugh Hewitt's response, dignified and practical, shows just how far left this BBC journalist is)? I don't know; but I do know the BBC should consider this man's future very seriously, and they could write a nice note of recommendation for his next job interview to help him on his way. (cross-posted at B-BBC)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Wise words on the Gulf coast disaster from David Frum.

Sorry about the post overload below. I experienced blogstipation recently and was storing up a bit too much. I also reserve the right to cross-post at B-BBC as seems fit, since it seems I'm focussed that way just now.

I earlier mentioned (not for the first time, slipped shyly in the end of a post) the superior blog 'BlameBush'. My guilty secret is that it's this 'young Liberal blogger' who keeps me sane(ish). I've been inwardly fulminating about the Beeb's idiot reporting of the Ugandan Aids story- producing no fewer than 17 search results for 'Uganda condoms', and producing headlines like 'Uganda: 'No shortage of condoms''. Some ideologues are suspicious, it seems, that others might be even more ideological than them- that's the story, in a nutshell. Fortunately Liberal Larry can fill you in even more pithily:

'thanks to his primitive views against casual sex and abortion-on-demand, Bush is withholding millions of life-saving prophylactics from the peaceful, yet incredibly horny people of Uganda'

I do not support President Putin- but I have been keeping a weather eye on the BBC's Beslan coverage. There are many questions that remain concerning Beslan- many good ones- but BBC World chose to concentrate on the idea that Putin's responsibility revolves around his Chechnya policy, and invited guests in to discuss this as well as reporting it themselves.

I've also been watching Sky's excellent Laurence Lee reporting, and he elicited the grievances of the Beslan families against the headmistress of the school, against the local authorities- for colluding in lies-, against the border police, for being corrupt and accepting bribes, and against the military for being incompetent and vicious in their atrocious 'final showdown'. I think that's called the reality on the ground- starting with those most closely involved and moving to those whose hands were bloodiest, discounting of course the Islamofascist killers who almost all perished. In fact analysis of the disaster offers a cross-section of the disaster that's modern Russia + satellites. (Sky's Online coverage is less impressive- but there are notable differences to the Beeb's account. For instance, Sky highlights the corrupt border officials, whereas the BBC highlight Putin's apparent refusal to negotiate. In this we can see the Beeb ingnoring on the ground reality in favour of pet theories about terrorism)

The BBC World reporting was all about root causes- nothing at all to do with the victims whose day was supposed to be remembered. BBC Online was slightly better, but they really miss the wood for the hysteria. The Beeb reporter says 'Many in Beslan believe most of the victims were killed by the Russian assault forces, after Mr Putin had refused to talk with the gunmen'... and ...'They want to know how so many gunmen made it into their school in the first place, and why officials refused to negotiate.' Of course they quote one of the leading women saying '"The government is supposed to guarantee our lives, take responsibility for our lives, and they haven't,"', and another saying that that Putin '"is responsible for what happened in Beslan".'- but compared to Sky they really miss the interesting things by chasing the big bad Kremlin wolf. The specific points that Sky brought out are fascinating; the one the BBC majors on is banal and blatantly political. It's logical I suppose that the women should seek to use the British Broadcasting Corporation to embarrass Putin, ahead of some of them meeting him, but that's precisely why the Beeb should not be taken in but should report the real story of Beslan and the heart rending real issues that consume the people involved. Do they really imagine that the local Beslan people put their suffering in a full geopolitical context? I think not- but the Beeb is so strong in its own political philosophy that they hardly need to report the story, they just work out what they want to the story to be to further their reputation as a politically powerful organ.

I think it's working

Well, after a fashion. It appears that visiting Biased BBC has had some effect on Paul Reynolds- either that or the warm weather. Today, a day when the New York Times said '"George W Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday", Paul Reynolds said 'Mr Bush returned to Washington from his holiday in Texas and made a speech whose rhetoric, unlike his first effort on 9 September 2001, did rise to the occasion.' [Post-script, but before posting, I notice that Reynolds has updated his article, and indicated it in writing in the article: 'Update on Thursday evening London time: One has to say that reports indicate that the intitial response has not been as fast as might have been expected....' . This is interesting, once more indicating the influence of bloggers on a BBC correspondent. I have to say, in dealing with Mr Reynolds I've found him a very respectworthy person. But I knew that already. The points about BBC bias are usually collective in nature, rather than personal- though see below, for it can get a little personal].

Lest anyone get too excited, I notice the dig at Bush tucked within the compliment (yes, balance, balance- but it's only pro-Bush comments which are reliably punctuated with digs at the Beeb.). Also, maybe someone can inform me of the significance of 9th Sept 2001, as I am at a loss over it- shark attacks maybe? [edit- Paul reynolds noticed this mistake too and edited as part of his overall edit. Maybe I should have emailed him rather than sniping...] As for his claim that Hurricane Katrina will be as big a test as 9/11, I think that's to give way too much credit to the global warming thesis, as though the hurricane is among a tide of disasters rising like the terrorist threat has risen. The questions he introduces his article with seem to be more fitted to a film maker's brainstorm than to the real world.

The media quotes come from the Beeb's own roundup of US newspapers- somewhat snappily titled 'Papers hail heroes but blast Bush'; strong, considering the article points out newspapers who are not critical of him. However, one can understand: if the Gray Lady blasts Bush, then he is a blasted Bush. That's the world according to the sophisticated etiquette of Media of Record. [Also post-script but pre-posting, I notice an interesting fact- the headline's been changed without acknowledgement, to 'Bush under fire from press', and the balance of the coverage has been moderated. I think that's poor. If the press really was against Bush initially, that's an important documentary fact, and if it's changed its tune, that's important for the same reason.]

In other news, Justin Webb is a disgrace too great for me to cope with. However the Rottweiler Puppy put together a very insightful post which analyses the strategy of a man like Webb, a man who specialises in a line of spin which combines the surreal and the spiteful to create the America you never knew:

'Yet now, they have a "troops out" movement incubating in their midst, within spitting distance of the holiday home of the Lone Star state's favourite son.

There are earth mothers talking about love, hugging each other, swapping recipes for organic stews. (what, on earth, was Webb on when he was writing this?- or, I suppose, what are they on?)

Americans - even Texans - are rethinking the Iraq war, indeed rethinking war itself as a tool of foreign policy.'

Webb/Sheehan antidote, combined with much else, here. Yes, it might be surreal too, but has the crucial advantage of self-awareness.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Two small dreams to chalk on a wall somewhere:

This man wins. I know; he's dubious; but I like him.

These people lose. Well, they deserve to.

It must be said that this fellow is rather cool-

'And after taking the match into a final set he broke early before suddenly being sick on court....

"That's my best win, or the one that I've enjoyed the most," the Scot said afterwards.'

Intellectual looting at the Beeb

The Beebonline have so far (so far- it's very early yet) been wise enough not to carry an article linking hurricane Katrina to global warning. Unfortunately BBC World were not so circumspect this morning. I saw one presenter saying to a US environmentalist (invited in apparently to advance the thesis in question) that there was a growing consensus in the US linking hurricane Katrina to global warming. This was not an implication, but a direct comment encouraging a thesis that Katrina was linked to global warming.

So, while many are concerned with doing the constructive things that might help the people on the Gulf coast, the Beeb take time to scour the hurricane newsscape for what it can do for one of their favourite themes.

I can imagine so many people will agree with them, yet again and again trendlines contradict the trend in reporting ever more vociferously and loudly the global warming-world disaster scenario. Here is another one, showing frequency and magnitude of hurricanes hitting the US mainland in the last century and more. (via Instapundit).

The context of the BBC's alliance with greenish NGOs gives me a chance to link this priceless article from Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic. When you're at a loss to describe the kind of thing (the socialist mentality which is hard to identify, hard to pin down) that repels you about the Beeb, just run your eyes over lines like these:

'Illiberal ideas are becoming to be formulated, spread and preached under the name of ideologies or “isms”, which have – at least formally and nominally – nothing in common with the old-styled, explicit socialism. These ideas are, however, in many respects similar to it. There is always a limiting (or constraining) of human freedom, there is always ambitious social engineering, there is always an immodest “enforcement of a good” by those who are anointed (T. Sowell) on others against their will, there is always the crowding out of standard democratic methods by alternative political procedures, and there is always the feeling of superiority of intellectuals and of their ambitions.

I have in mind environmentalism (with its Earth First, not Freedom First principle), radical humanrightism (based – as de Jasay precisely argues – on not distinguishing rights and rightism), ideology of “civic society” (or communitarism), which is nothing less than one version of post-Marxist collectivism which wants privileges for organized groups, and in consequence, a refeudalization of society. I also have in mind multiculturalism, feminism, apolitical technocratism (based on the resentment against politics and politicians), internationalism (and especially its European variant called Europeanism) and a rapidly growing phenomenon I call NGOism.'

It would be hard to give a better summary of the BBC's mentality- but anyway, do read the rest (also via the prof.). (cross-posted at B-BBC)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's late in the day (no, not literally, but for Britain), but I do think that Charles Moore, as so often, has some good things to say:

Teach English, Restore Parliament, Look again at the word 'Britain'.

Yes, and we could forget the Notting Hill Carnival without loss (no offence to people of African or Carribean origin, but it's a farce, isn't it, which will dwindle by itself being contentless already?). In addition to reviving Parliament we could give some teeth to the law by reviving the death penalty for murder. It's not really that radical to suggest that we take ourselves, our language, our society, and, yes, our 'communities' a little more seriously.

Monday, August 29, 2005

It'd be heartening, if I had the remotest trust in IQ tests, to hear that men were cleverer than women. But an unhealthy kind of heartening, I think.
Anyhow, if it's so that these men are right, we should also consider that, with a five point IQ gap between men and women, and a six point gap (according to the man who ran the research) between East Asian people and Europeans, then a European man would just, but not quite, be a match for an Asian woman.

''Assassin' Bush''

It's an old chesnut for me by now, but I posted recently on Biased BBC about it. I appreciate not everyone has seen the significance of the Beeb's headlining of Chavez's 'swipe' at Bush recently. Actually it's not just the headline, it's the angle that flows from it.

The point was reinforced for me by this introduction (I'm not a subscriber, but I got the general idea) to a Johann Hari column at the Indy, which was linked by Scott from the Ablution. As Hari put it:

'Venezuela is living in the shadow of the other 11 September. In 1972, on a day synonymous with death, Salvador Allende - the democratically elected left-wing President of Chile - was bombed and blasted from power. The CIA and the US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had decided the "irresponsibility" of the Chilean people at the ballot box needed to be "rectified" - so they installed a fascist general, Augusto Pinochet.'

This contextualises the Chavez comment and the BBC reporting of it nicely. What it suggests is that the BBC is giving some considerable credibility to the Chavez perspective on world affairs. I don't think it should be.

Meanwhile, more BBC reporting of Chavez's grandstanding. I know how the Beeb despise Margaret Thatcher's comment about the oxygen of publicity, but if they had anything but reflex leftism in them, they'd think about this more carefully. It's not even as though Robertson can be pinned down definitively as having called for Chavez's assassination- it was more like, 'maybe we should give the guy what he thinks we want to give him'. To quote:

'If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it'

Note to the world- this was a conditional sentence, conditional on Chavez's own views. It's also not so stupid, even if a mite evil. The problem with the Left today is that they think the US is the root of all evil. They ought to look in the mirror for more than admiring their daring left-wing jawlines. The truth is that the idiocy and paranoia of the Left is the visible manifestation of the problem the world has today- the need to blame the bogeyman for their inability to organise themselves responsibly. Chavez is not only at the forefront of that, he's also, like so many at the head of political leftwing or fascistic movements, totally cynical in knowing that it isn't so, but using it to maintain power and authority.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


'So they went up to the mountains, to behold the gardens and orchards, the vineyards and fountains of water; where also they drank and washed themselves, and did freely eat of the vineyards' (on the Delectable Mountains of Bunyan's Christian odyssey.)

It's holiday time, and it seems the columnists I most admire, Steyn and Hitchens, are using it to take a step back and reflect on Iraq. Steyn is focussing on the Iraqi constitution. He takes on the glass-three-quarters empty crew who are obsessing that, among other issues for BUsh's legacy, 'Iraqi women were better off under Saddam'. Killer point-

'So what do we find in Article 151 of the Iraqi constitution?

"No less than 25 percent of Council of Deputies seats go to women."

I'm not a great fan of quotas but for purposes of comparison, after two-and-a-quarter centuries, in the United States Senate, 14 percent of the seats are held by women.'

Indeed. But, speaking of killers, it's worth saying that the argument that women were somehow protected by Saddam is a fairly stupid one. I recall seeing a C4 documentary chronicling the mass beheading of a group of women in Baghdad central by Saddam's henchmen- as an example to society. This report I think refers to many similar incidents (not, I think, as I thought initially, that particular one- I thought it a hopeless task searching for one of the few pro-Iraq war Channel Four broadcasts). Even the BBC reported, from a part of the Governement's dossier that seems undisputed that 'Under Saddam Huseein's regime women lack even the basic right to life. A 1990 decree allows male relatives to kill a female relative in the name of honour without punishment.

Women have been tortured, ill-treated and in some cases summarily executed too, according to Amnesty International.'

While this is straightforward stuff, it's been largely forgotten. That doesn't put Steyn off much though- an overwhelmingly positive article.

Meanwhile, Hitchens pulls off that rare feat- an article with which I hardly have a point of disagreement. Simply a wonderful defense of the case for the Iraq war- though not always the case that has been presented to us. Rather simlar to a case I attempted to make in a recent post at Biased BBC, basically the opponents of the war must assay some realism in their view of what the world would be like now without the Iraq war more than two years ago. Hitch nails it excellently:

'Anyone with the smallest knowledge of Iraq knows that its society and infrastructure and institutions have been appallingly maimed and beggared by three decades of war and fascism (and the "divide-and-rule" tactics by which Saddam maintained his own tribal minority of the Sunni minority in power). In logic and morality, one must therefore compare the current state of the country with the likely or probable state of it had Saddam and his sons been allowed to go on ruling.

At once, one sees that all the alternatives would have been infinitely worse, and would most likely have led to an implosion--as well as opportunistic invasions from Iran and Turkey and Saudi Arabia, on behalf of their respective interests or confessional clienteles. This would in turn have necessitated a more costly and bloody intervention by some kind of coalition, much too late and on even worse terms and conditions. This is the lesson of Bosnia and Rwanda yesterday, and of Darfur today. When I have made this point in public, I have never had anyone offer an answer to it. A broken Iraq was in our future no matter what, and was a responsibility (somewhat conditioned by our past blunders) that no decent person could shirk. The only unthinkable policy was one of abstention.'

Strange, to return to Bunyan, that Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. Truly it's a postmodern world, but with some seriously real battles to fight.

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