Saturday, January 27, 2007

Light entertainment

BlameBush is fantastic; so good in fact it's well capable of outlasting the Bush presidency (which many now feel they can outlast, unfortunately).

But, I was thinking about the website, and something about it struck a chord, and I remembered who it reminded me of- Peter Simple, the Michael Wharton column.

In the persona of LiberalLarry, we get such gems as this:

"Putting aside for a moment the severe physical trauma a grown adult’s open hand can inflict on a little baby’s backside, a child who is spanked can also develop serious psychological disorders, such as self-discipline and respect for authority. As studies have further shown, parents who were disciplined as children are 78% more likely to discipline their own kids. It’s an endless cycle of abuse that no one has had the courage to fight until now."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Items of Interest

Paul Dacre (Daily Mail editor) weighed in against the BBC recently. Some quotable quotes ensued but I have to say I disagreed with plenty in his arguments, especially in the latter part of his speech.

Still, I agree with this:

The BBC "is hostile to conservatism and the traditional right, Britain's past and British values, America, Ulster Unionism, Euro-scepticism, capitalism and big business, the countryside, Christianity and family values"

Perhaps better is an academic blogger at the Augean Stables (great blog for occasional reading at least), transcribing an address he made to an Israeli audience on the bias of the media against it.

"There has been much discussion of whether or not the MSM has been unfair to Israel, including formal investigations into particularly obnoxious organizations like the BBC, and, by and large the answer is, “well, maybe… but it’s not so bad.” And Israelis, like the protagonist in Richard Farina’s novel, have been down so long it looks like up to them. “It could be worse… it has been worse… it’s getting better.”

But all of this is not nearly good enough."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"the right-wing blogosphere stands revealed as what they are -- a pack of gossip-mongering hysterics who routinely attack any press reports that reflect poorly on their Leader or his policies, with rank innuendo, Internet gossip, base speculation, and wholesale error as their most frequent tools of the trade. The operate in packs, constantly repeating each other's innuendo and expanding on it incrementally, and they then cite to each other endlessly in one self-feeding, self-affirming orgy of links, as though that constitutes proof."

Ooh, I love it when they get nasty!

The above quote is from Glenn Greenwald, who waxes verbose at just about anything.

The topic at hand is the "Jamil Hussein case". Capt. Jamil Hussein of the Iraqi police force was the named source for a large number of AP reports. US bloggers like Michelle Malkin and especially Patterico began to be suspicious of the veracity of the AP's source, and upon enquiry got the response from both the Iraqi Government and the Coalition authorities that they had no record of such a man's existence within the ranks of the Iraq police in Baghdad- a response that was later rescinded on the Iraqi Government's part.

You would indeed expect that a Captain in the Iraqi Police would be known to the authorities, but the key issue was not his existence- that was just the shocked afterthought, that maybe the source was somehow fabricated. The main concern was the truth of the reports he was giving. Michelle Malkin has confirmed the validity of that concern while in Iraq recently.

Greenwald and friends get in a lather over the acceptance of the Iraqi government's word over the non-existence in the Iraqi police of the AP's source. Which rather begs the question as to why they are accepting it now.

Of course they think it shows the authoritarianism of the right that they would accept the Iraqi Government's initial word. Au contraire, amis, it shows that the right doesn't discount the authorities when it suits them, and accept them when they please- unlike the left. The left loves authority when it's their sort. Other sorts, not so much.

There has never, to my satisfaction, been an analysis (let alone a good one) demonstrated by the MSM of their approach to on-the-ground sources in Iraq (and elsewhere in sensitive regions)- a hugely complicated scenario where everyone may have political purposes. Being a partial war zone, the other means of action (war taken as being politics by other means) is political; and both are rife in Iraq. Yet the MSM wants us to gaily take its word for it time and again without regard to the political context, where we know "insurgents" and "police officers" can be sometimes interchangeable. There is no sense in trusting everything a potentially incompetent Iraqi Govt or partially sighted coalition says- there is equally no sense in believing even the ordinary Iraqi in the street as being without political motivation, let alone the sort who in a sense risks his life providing information.

For a man like Jamil Hussein, there has to be something in it for him, and there have to be ways he is retaining his security while providing a news feed to the West. How does that work- not by adopting a pseudonym, apparently. Then how? How? How?

Questioning minds (and creative ones), of which there are many on the right, would like to know.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

World as Stage

My previous two posts were a nod to the Czech political reality- which probably you knew very little about. Sorry for the irrelevance, but I actually think it should be relevant. After all, if Europe can't raise a mite of interest in the futures of 10 million of its inhabitants, what counts for anything? Big Brother and Jade's little outbursts?

Mark Steyn has a brilliant article in today's Chicago Times asking questions of the parochialism of US politics.

His main target is the Barak Obama love-in in the US media.

But, if the US is displaying a strong tendency to prefer talking about Iowa over Iraq, for instance, this at least has some apparent self-interest going for it.

However, quite rightly and incisively he speculates, amidst all this all-America dramatizing : "Whether the rest of the planet will be content with a non-speaking part".

And one just says, "quite".

I'm led to reflect on the fact that the world's most incisive columnist is a theatre critic. If we never go beyond the theatre concept in our understanding of the world we will be in trouble. This is no criticism of Steyn- he always points beyond the theatre but few are interested to follow his gaze.

It's what happens stage right that should concern, and the European media is not just parochial- if only- it's balkanised to a point where it cannot interest itself in its neighbours sharing its own interests.

Failure to support (maybe even school), for instance, the emerging Eastern democracies is a factor in their low birth rates (nb. the exception of Albania being above replacement level) which cannot be excused by conventional explanations of civilisational maturity etc. Eastern Europe has lowest low birth rates which endanger its emergence as a set of allies for a european future.

Here of course the EU is far more hindrance than help, entrenching outmoded social systems above economic necessity.

Failure to make due note of Imadinnerjacket's foray into South America, and Chavez's declaration of self-rule, and the trend towards formalising axes of evil, could lead to some pretty painful twists in the plot, rather than Shakespearian comedy.

And these are just two of the unfolding dramas that either never reach the limelight or only in the form of rough comedy for the lower orders.

Maybe Ahmadinejad will meet his Waterloo at home, but maybe that's not the fundamental drama anyway on the part of Iran.

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