Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Website Of The Day.

Councillor Terry Kelly of the Scottish Labour Party has a blog. So how does an authentic voice of the Labour Party sound when unfiltered by several layers of spin? Very much like an unreconstructed Stalinist with the economic literacy of Robert Mugabe, the commitment to free speech of Kim Jong Il and the social graces of those baboons that throw their faeces at visitors.

Terry on Milton Friedman:
I think that if the Chilean people thought about him at all, it would only be to wish him a lingering, miserable painful end. Big business and vast profits always came first and people came second with this monetary hoodlum, he was an evil man,

Terry on the USA:
there should be no problem in distancing ourselves from the decision to execute Saddam. Capital Punishment is barbaric and uncivilised, that's why it's so popular in backward societies like the USA
Terry on Israel:
if America pulled the plug today there would be no Israel tomorrow and it would be a good thing
This doesn't quite capture the essence of Mr Kelly though, most of his posts are devoted to "rightwing nutters" who have suggested in his comment box that Communism was bad or that Israel is not the fount of all evil. Most of his critics get banned. However before they do some quite interesting exchanges occur in the comments where he rails against "the cesspit that is the USA" some more "I set out to show Capitalist America in it's true light. That obviously upsets you, good ?". Before boasting of his own "towering intelect" compared to his opponents.

Via Right for Scotland

Monday, November 27, 2006

Alienation, Identification & Ideology.

I have been thinking and reading about what makes a western muslim become a muslim fanatic for a while. My conclusion is that there are at least three crucial steps- Alienation from the society they live in which causes them to define themselves by their religion, a spurious identification with any muslims whom they perceive to be suffering results from this and turns alienation into rage and finally an ideology to harness the resulting emotions. In order to look at the three steps, Alienation, Identification and Ideology, they should be considered separately. Here are my ruminations on the process of alienation. Two other pieces on Identification and Ideology will hopefully be posted later this week.


One of the recurrent themes with respect to westernised Islamist terrorists and their sympathisers is that they never felt themselves to be a part of their host society and that it was not possible to do so. Hassan Butt, a British islamist who rejected even the extremist Shaikh Omar Bakri because he was too moderate, says in a interview with Prospect that:
I experienced it as I was growing up, going into majority white schools and having a problem trying to be a Muslim.
In France jailed islamic radical, 'Ousman', declares
I wanted to conform to the image of the average Frenchman, to be like them, to make myself in their image. But at the same time I had the feeling that this was more or less impossible: ..... Islam was my salvation
Another French Islamist Zacarias Moussaoui testified at his trial:
today. I stand here as a French citizen. I want to make clear that I am not French and have no relation. I’m a sworn enemy of France. So I want to make this in the record that I’m not French, okay? I tell you I am a Muslim, and I have nothing to do with a nation of homosexual Crusaders. And I am not a frog
In all these cases radical Islam is turned to in order to fill a void. The possible causes of this alienation are worth considering. Part of the reason is Islam, a religion which limits social interaction with non muslims. From Britain to Bosnia to India to Malaysia marriages outside the religious community are very much the exception.

The growing influence of the extremists exacerbates this difficulty, the attempt to encourage garments like the burqa and the veil is nominally about modesty but has the inevitable result that social interaction with the wearer is made more difficult. Perhaps this is because Islam encourages adherents to think of themselves as superior to other cultures:
quite a few Muslims who enter the West see no reason for being assimilated. They assume that it is not they who should be guided by the West but they who should guide the West.
However it is not just Islam which causes difficulties, western societies can themselves inhibit integration. Ethnic Turks in Germany cannot easily integrate into a society which largely defines nationality by descent. The modern ethnic based nation state is less welcoming to outsiders than the multi-ethnic dynastic states that were once prevalent throughout Europe. Even in countries where nationality is less ethnically defined such as in Britian there have been attitudes that hindered integration. Politically correct dogma used to be that asking minorities to integrate was racist, during the 1980s a Bradford headmaster, Ray Honeyford, was vilified by much of the left for warning of the dangers of communal separatism that was occurring in his city.

Outside of London many minority communities live parallel existences to the natives even though physically they are intertwined, the riots that occurred in 2000 in Oldham and Burnley are a testament to that, white and asian youths who had grown up within a petrol bomb's throw of each other were virtually strangers. Should anyone have been surprised that the Tube bombers came from Bradford and its environs? If they were familiar with Honeyford's warning of two decades previously then they ought not have been.

Whilst it is important to be truthful about the barriers Western societies put up to those who simply want to belong it should be noted that the West is far more open than the Islamic world and that non muslim minorities appear to find the process far less fraught with difficulty. Societies are not obliged to encourage incomers, but if they do then it is dangerous to allow them to form parallel communities with strong links to dangerous and volatile homelands.

In any case the cause of alienation might simply be the personal failing of the individual involved, as Policy Review notes the aforementioned 'Ousman' complains of the westernisation of his siblings who presumably faced the same barriers which he found insurmountable.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Missing Posts.

I've just discovered that at least one old post of mine from May has simply disappeared into the ether. I can find a reference to it on the blogger search engine but the post has disappeared both as a seperate entity and as part of the May archive. Is this a common problem with blogger and does anyone know if the post is likely to reappear?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thick As Thieves.

It appears that the world thieving community is getting crazier. Crooks in Melbourne have been:
removing high-voltage overhead rail lines on one of metropolitan Melbourne’s busiest lines.
Removing live electricity cables during the rush hour is impressive, but Argentinian criminals may have topped even this when it comes to foolhardy crookedness:
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - U.S. and Argentine media reported that one of
President Bush's 24-year-old twin daughters had her purse stolen while being guarded by the
Secret Service during a visit here.

ABC News, citing unidentified law enforcement reports, reported on its Web site Tuesday that Barbara Bush's purse and cell phone were taken while she was dining in a Buenos Aires restaurant.
The Secret Service may not be the ruthless professionals that we have been lead to believe.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Idiotist Slams Christianist.

The only gay in the blogosphere, Andrew Sullivan, has for the last year or so been trying to popularise his pet phrase "christianist", which means anyone (except Sullivan) who uses their religious beliefs to inform their politics. The phrase hasn't really caught on anywhere outside of Andrew Sullivan and those weird emails, which he certainly doesn't write himself, that feature on his site where people tell him how much they agree with him.

Today he reveals that Mitt Romney, governor of Massachusetts is The Christianist Candidate:
In case you were unaware, it's Mitt Romney. As with most Christianists, the idea of allowing different states to try different solutions to the same problem is dispensable when moral absolutes are involved.
So the candidate of the theocratic "christianists" is some who isn't even a christian! Mitt Romney is well known for his Mormonism except by a well paid political commentator who is bizarrely taken seriously by some people. Still why should Sullivan demean himself with mere facts when he is the conscience of the world.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dead Economist To Blame For All Woes.

Neil Clark attacks Milton Friedman for being responsible for everything short of killing Bambi's mother and asks a series of rhetorical questions:
  • Do you ever wonder why British train fares are the highest in the world?
Half a century of nationalisation followed by a botched privatisation and a botched renationalisation would be my guess. But I'll accept that the fact of the matter is that the UK's rail fares are far too high, though how the blame can be laid at Friedman's door is questionable.
  • Or why gas and electricity bills now take up such a large part of our incomes?
Gas and Electricity prices have actually fallen steadily since privatisation in spite of a recent boom in the price of oil, as even people who are in the business of playing up the issue have to acknowledge.
Yet it is clear that since 1996, the liberalised energy markets has helped bring energy prices down and with it the number of fuel poor, and prices are still cheaper in real terms than before privatisation.
In 1991 there were 7.3 million households that were either fuel poor or were considered vulnerable to suffering fuel poverty. By 2002 this figure had fallen to just over two million.
So if Friedman is responsible for our energy prices then he has lifted millions of people out of poverty.
  • Or why the gap between rich and poor just keeps getting wider and wider?
It is true that the gap between rich and poor has widened, although the poor are still better off than they were. There is very little difference between rich and poor in North Korea this is a good thing in and of itself.

  • Or why British manufacturing industry no longer exists?

If by 'no longer exists' he means producing more than ever before in recorded history then he is right. Otherwise he is completely wrong.

(via Stephen Pollard)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Racism and Fascism

Good column in the Times about racism and fascism or more precisely the conflation between the two. Franco is an exemplar of a fascist who was not racist much to the chagrin of the contemporary left:
The Spanish dictator Franco was a Fascist but not a racist: in the 1930s, the left-wing New Statesman disparaged Franco as a “negrophile” (he employed Moroccan troops with gusto).
To be honest the classification of all non communist totalitarian regimes as fascist despite the minimal ideological connection between them is questionable, the ultra traditionalist Franco was not an ideological soulmate of the radical racial socialist Hitler for example.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wisam Al Wilberforce.

On the subject of Nick Griffin's recent acquital I heard a muslim scholar being interviewed on Radio 5 about the accuracy of Griffin's depiction of Islam. In the course of the discussion the scholar from the MCB called something like Musharraf Hussain (I'm not sure if this is the correct spelling), made this claim about the Koran and when it was written:
when slavery was very common and Islam wanted to remove slavery gradually, it did so in a very powerful way....
Slavery was legal in Saudi Arabia until the 1960s and like most of the world Islamic countries only outlawed slavery in response to western pressure after the abolitionists succeeded here. So in what 'powerful way' did islam remove slavery?

*If anyone wants to listen to the original quote go here, listen to fridays edition of 'Drive' and listen to the interview about an hour into the show.

I Don't Want To Defend Nick Griffin But....

......Many people have been uttering words similar to these in the wake of the failed political prosecution of Nick Griffin for criticising Islam. The attitude of the government seems to be that because the BNP aren't nice people they shouldn't be allowed anything resembling a fair trial. The point is when governments start trying to create laws designed to catch out specific offender there can be no such thing as a disinterested justice system.

The BNP are trying to rebrand themselves by moving away from the thuggish image that the National Front revelled in, it is disingenuous as the long criminal records of some of their leading members would testify, but even so the fact remains that Griffin at least is intelligent enough not to say anything that actually violates the law. So well done to the BBC, the CPS and the police for all their good work in managing to elevate the BNP to the moral high ground in this dispute.

Gender Choice.

New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: November 7, 2006

Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.

So does this mean that if I'm in New York I could go to the gym and hang around in the womens locker room without being arrested?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Virginian.

Although my sympathies regarding American politics lie with the Republicans rather than the Democrats the nature of the USA means that party affiliation is not always a reliable guide to the nature of individual candidates. Jim Webb who won one of Virginia's senate seats
from the hapless incumbent George Allen is a case in point. He is very pro gun and holds the Vietnam 'peace' movement in contempt. As well as this he is very proud of his 'Scots Irish' ancestors and has written a book* about them. The reaction from left wing Amazon customers is hostile to say the least at a "self righteous racist". Funnily enough the hostile reviews tail off towards November 2006 when it is realised that he is a Democrat with the potential to decisively swing the senate.

* The book itself is interesting but verging on the hagiographic.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quote Of The Day.

Today, Americans all across the country, living and dead, will exercise their right and responsibility to vote Democrat.
Liberal Larry at Blame Bush.

By the way, apologies for the infrequent posting this should end by Friday.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Stereotype Or Die.

There is much to admire about Peter Tatchell, sure he's a loon but only because he follows his principles. When compared to someone like Ken Livingstone who's leftism is based on political expediency and a hierarchy of victimhood the difference is plain to see. For example on gay rights both men have long been prominent in pushing for more equality in that area for two decades, but Livingstone's commitment only extended as far as lambasting white middle class homophobes so he finds it perfectly reasonable to invite someone like Sheikh Qaradawi, who believes gays should be executed, to London. Muslims trump gays. Tatchell's support for the free speech of people who oppose him also sets him apart from much of the far left. So I don't dislike the man but this Comment is Free article by shows that a sincere extremist is just as wrongheaded the opportunistic variety:
Bloody prejudice

The National Blood Service is stereotyping gay men as modern-day "Typhoid Marys" by rejecting them as donors.
He seems to be arguing that the function of the National Blood Service is to make people feel good about themselves rather than efficiently providing healthy blood to those in need. Saying that something is a stereotype does not render it untrue, stereotypes arise because they reflect reality to some extent.
The NBS gay ban is based on the unscientific, homophobic presumption that all gay and bisexual men are "high risk" for HIV, regardless of their individual sexual behaviour.
Of course not all gay men are high risk, but the question is whether the cost of sorting the low risk from the high risk donors is worth doing. That really depends upon what extra measures would be needed to accomplish this.
The NBS policy is based on crass generalisations. It lumps together all gay and bi men, without differentiation, as if we are all the same.
Of course it relies on generalisations, there are a limited amount of resources and they can't really be spent on finding out about the complete life and times of every potential donor. Generalisations reduce costs of sorting out suitable donors.
If the transfusion service made similar sweeping judgements about the Jewish community, there would be an outcry. The NBS is promoting the homophobic myth that all queers are the bearers of contagion and death.
Unlikely, whilst the NBS does not filter out jewish donors they do make similarly sweeping judgements about sub saharan African donors and there is little outcry over this. This is because most people recognise that the function of the organisation is to provide as much clean blood to hospitals as they can with the money available but at no point in Tatchell's article does he provide any evidence for the impact of the prohibition on gay donors on this function.