Monday, July 31, 2006


I've been updating my links section a little bit, with categories and the like. When I've finished learning the alphabet I will rejig it a bit more to put them in some kind of order within their category. I'm sure there are a few good blogs I intended to put in but have temporarily slipped my mind so if anyone wishes to make suggestions in the comments please feel free, if anyone whose blog is already up there feels that they are in the wrong category then ditto. One of the blogs I've added is 'The Beirut Spring' which currently has a good post answering questions about Lebanon put by outsiders.

Going On & On.

After a long period in opposition a party chooses a new leader, one man stands aside for his rival on the understanding that if they win the leader will stand down at some point to be succeeded by the erstwhile rival. The other man takes over the economic portfolio and for a while the partnership seems harmonious. After many years in government the Prime Minister shows no signs of standing down and the other man is visibly impatient, supporters of the two men brief against each other but the PM prevails and it is accepted that the departure will be later than originally predicted. More years pass and the Prime Minister appears to indicate that he plans to continue in office even longer than before.

So far this is a description of both British and Australian politics, Blair/Brown and Howard/Costello. Today the Australian Prime Minister announced he was going to contest the next election despite Peter Costello saying explicitly that there was a pact for John Howard to stand down. In Britain Tony Blair has constantly pushed back his departure date as well, leaders don't give up power volutarily they need to be pushed out, unfortunately for Brown and Costello the person doing the pushing usually ends up with nothing to show for it. There are differences between Blair and Howard, Howard is far more popular than Blair and has more leeway but I'm willing to bet that if Labour's poll ratings improve in the next year Tony Blair will announce a similar U-turn and there is nothing Brown can do to stop him without wrecking his own chances of succession.

Gay Marriage.

The issue of gay marriage is one of supreme indifference to me. There is no great necessity for it, the few injustices gay couples may suffer can be dealt with on an individual basis, I would probably vote against it if I had to make a decision but I'm really not that bothered and I doubt that allowing them would cause any great harm. However despite this indifference I am absolutely delighted at today's court ruling that the UK is not obliged to recognise the lesbian marriages carried out in other countries, for the simple reason that it is a defeat for the concept of legislating from the courts. If the couple wish for gay marriages to be recognised in the UK they have every right to campaign for Parliament to amend the law but what they were trying to was short circuit Parliament and get a judicial diktat instead which has to be completely unacceptable.


After the fall of Iraq it was noted that Saddam's supposedly numerous body doubles were nowhere to be found. That is until now:
Mel Gibson?Saddam Hussein?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sherlock Lives.

SEATTLE - At least five people were shot, one of them fatally, Friday afternoon at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and one person was arrested, authorities said.

The assailant told building staff members before he began shooting that he was "a Muslim-American" who was "angry at Israel," the Seattle Times reported, citing Amy Wasser-Simpson, a federation vice president.

FBI Agent Frederick Gutt declined to confirm a motive.
Now we'll never know.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My First Fisking- John Pilger.

John Pilger has a piece up at Comment is Free titled 'Hizbullah Are Heroes' (I'm not making that up).
Remember Kosovo and the rest of the stricken Balkans? Remember the Kurds in northern Iraq? What moving dispatches those crises generated in the West, together with such damnation for their tormentors. According to my memory, they were each called "the most moral cause of our generation." There was no question, said the crusaders, of right and wrong; they were firmly on the side of right, along with Blair and Clinton and their generals. How silent are these crusaders now, their selective compassion reserved demonstrably for causes of state, "our" causes.
Yes John I do remember Kosovo, where thousands of civilians were being intentionally killed, I also remember that unlike your response to a few hundred civilians being accidently killed in Lebabnon by Israel in pursuit of a terrorist group, you were rather relaxed about Milosevic's actions.
Before our eyes, the Israeli regime (it is never called a regime, of course)

Googling ;Israeli regime' brings tens of thousands of results.
is set upon destroying an entire country, deliberately killing civilians, almost half of whom are children

So how come the casualty figures are so low, just a few hundred deaths. If Israel wished to kill civilans they could have killed the sort of numbers Pilger excuses when it happens in Bosnia or Kosovo.
and the crusaders are as quiet as mice or they are busy toiling in the great quarry of obsfucation

Crusaders, mice, quarries?
I spotted one of them yesterday contributing to a report about Condaleeza Rice - the modern Ribbentrop

The inevitable USA- Nazi Germany comparison gets made, we all knew it was coming.
she was said to have "embarked on a mission to the Middle East to stitch together a peace plan". I read that twice and asked myself how was it was possible for Rice (or "Condi") to achieve her "mission" when the unabashed mission of her government was to aggressively back and collude with the Israelis

It is quite simple, you achieve peace by defeating the organisation which launched the war by kidnapping and mudering Israeli soldiers in an unprovoked attack.
I spotted another crusader seriously debating whether the Israeli army was still a "moral army". I read that one twice.

I'm glad that he likes to reread things but he doesn't need to keep telling us. Of course Israel can't hpe to match Hezbullah's high moral standards but it is something to aim at.
In Vietnam long ago, in explaining why "we will win", a member of the National Liberation Front told me, "They (the Americans) can't kill us all." The invaders (the word was almost never used in the West) did their best and killed or caused the death of up to three million people.

It's funny how there were no boat people fleeing Vietnam whilst Amerikkka was there but as soon as Bilger's mates took over there was an exodus.
The paradox is that resistance to rapacious power, to epic crimes of invasion (which the Nuremberg judges called the "paramount" crime) is humanity at its noblest; yet no resistance is pretty.

Nuremberg, another Nazi comparison by Pilger, you see everyone is a nazi- Israel, USA, Britain, in fact everyone except the organisation which explicitly wishes to kill all jews world wide*. Again Pilger ignores the fact that it was Hezbollah who violated Israeli territory to murder and abduct Israels soldiers, and Hezbollah who could end this by simply returning the two soldiers.
those faceless, despised Iraqis who have succeeded in pinning down the American homicidal machine in their country.

So they are supposed to be a resistance yet Pilger is praising them for keeping the invaders in their country? Is this man even capable of keeping his bullshit internally consitant?
Now, in Lebanon, after all these years of terrorising an occupied people,
Er no, after six years not occupying an inch of Lebanese territory. If the facts don't support your case Pilger just invents new ones, no wonder he is such a revered campaigning journalist.

*If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.
--Hassan Nasrallah, the Lebanon Daily Star, October 2002

Thursday, July 27, 2006

100 Today.

Rejoice! Rejoice! This is my 100th blog post since resuming blogging after a four year absence back in May. I'm not sure how many people read this but thanks to all those who do.

I wish I was able to think of a title for the blog which was witty, erudite or memorable rather than the mundane but descriptive "Brief Notes". Damn my dismal imagination.

Still More Balanced Than Jeremy Bowen.

The superb Egyptian blogger the Sandmonkey highlights how the Arab media works:
"There are times when I am forced to suppress a voice
that rises within me, and which wants me to tell the Israeli
interviewee: shut your mouth, you barefaced liar," says Mai
al-Sharabani, a newscaster on the Al-Arabiya network, in an interview
with Ibrahim Totanji, a reporter for Al-Hayat, the Arabic-language
newspaper published in London.

"The newscaster has to always
be ready to make the Israeli interviewee uncomfortable, to pin him down
in the narrow alleys of his lies," declares al-Sharabani

There's more:
"Newscasters understand the magnitude ofthe responsibility placed on them in interviewing Israelis. Millions of Arabs watch them, waiting to see how we will embarrass them or crush them in an interview." says Mohammed Abu Obeid, another al-Arabiya journalist

In the UK we are lucky because thanks to the unique way the BBC is funded we can learn how Israel destroying bridges are war crimes! Clement Attlee once gave as a definition of Socialism as being "what a Labour government does" the BBC now defines war crimes as "What Israel does."

Monday, July 24, 2006


The excellent BBC programme (see I can praise the beeb when they do something good) 'Tribe' returned for a second series last night. For those unfamiliar with the premise it involves the presenter Bruce Parry living amoung a pre modern tribal* group for a while, usually his stay revolves around a particular task or event, and interacting with them. One of the best aspects of the programme is that it doesn't pander to the idea that groups are only interesting if they are very similar to us, celebrating diversity by accepting that diverse cultures are diverse is a major breakthrough.

Yesterday's programme involved him staying with an Ethiopian group called the Hamar in the run up to a 'coming of age' ceremony which involved the young man jumping over a line of cattle and his sisters being whipped (see what I mean about diversity). Naturally the man is naked during the cattle jump which is possibly why Bruce Parry wanted to try it as well. Antway it is an excellent show but three things occur to me:
  • Isn't it possible that some groups are just taking the piss with their wacky customs?
  • Outside the developed world animal rights are not a big concern, as anyone watching the Hamar women bleed the cattle could tell you.
  • Parry is trying to have it both ways, simultaneously deploring the intrusion of modern life on traditional cultures but framing some of the less pleasant aspects of the culture (like woman whipping) as something which the more urbanised and educated population won't tolerate.
* The word 'tribe' is sometimes used inappropriately to describe large ethnic groups numbering millions who happen to live in poorer countries, often it makes no more sense to describe them as a tribe than it does to describe the Dutch as a tribe, however in this programme the usage seems fair enough.

Confetti Seeking Missiles

The Israel Hezbollah conflict has been going on for about a week, so we should expect hear about the traditional wedding party massacre anyday now.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Good Day For Apemen. 2

Prescott gets off, anyone surprised?

A Good Day For Apemen. 1

So now that scientists are working on the genetic code of the Neanderthals it would appear that there is a real possibility that England could field 11 Wayne Rooneys. The ethics of cloning them are murky to say the least because of how close to human they would be, if we wish to clone extinct species the Dodo, the Mammoth or the Tasman Tiger would probably be safer to begin with. I suspect that the more significant reason for not bringing them back is that they would die out almost immediately from the 30000 years worth of diseases we have become immune to.

"Peace" Activists.

Quote of the day:
If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent.

From Thomas Sowell.

Terrorism In The Middle East.

In the Corner John Derbyshire writes:
I think I'm pretty familiar with all sides of the argument about the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem 60 years ago this month. I don't particularly want to get into the pros and cons there.

What I would like someone to explain to me is the current celebration of this terrorist act by Israeli officialdom.

I have been steadfastly pro-Israel, as my archived stuff amply shows. The most common reader reaction to my opinions on the Middle East and its problems has, in fact, been accusations of anti-Arab racism. This Israeli celebration of a terrorist atrocity is, however, shameful and disgraceful.

Especially given Israel's current woes, might not wisdom have dictated that this particular anniversary be passed over in discreet silence?
He is quite correct, the Irgun who carried out the atrocity were pioneers in the field of terrorism and although neither side would admit are on some level. an inspiration for both Hamas and Hezbollah. There would be an element of poetic justice if a stray Hezbollah rocket were to land amidst that vile celebration.

No country can account for all it's lunatics and the Israeli government does not appear to be part of this, but a former Prime Minister is involved so it isn't simply the Israeli equivalents of George Galloway who are involved.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

They're Not Laughing Now.

In the Times Magnus Linklater writes:
Can you imagine Bremner allowing a line like “Yo, Blair, how are ya doin’?” into his script? He’d be laughed off stage.

Rory Bremner is a comedian, so isn't that kind of the idea? Bob Monkhouse's old joke springs to mind:
They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well they're not laughing now!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Go Lex!

Superhero films are not something I'm into, some individual movies are ok but the overwhelming sillyness* of the cental conceit means that they have to be extremely good in order for me to look past that and enjoy the film. So I'm probably not the right person to appreciate Superman, but why would anyone root for a character who has been given far superior natural abilities to any villain he faces, shouldn't you be cheering the plucky underdog who uses only his wits in the fight? It's like backing Goliath against David or Chelsea against Southport.

* It isn't the supernormal abilities I find silly, I can suspend my disbelief for that, it is the fact that the first reaction of someone with these gifts is to dress up in a ridiculous spandex outfit and give themselves a really crappy nickname.

Israel, Lebanon and 'Hezbollahland'.

Israel is morally and legally justified in going to war in response to the unprovoked kidnap of two of its soldiers and the massacre of several others. The fact that Hezbollah hides amoung civilian sympathisers means that they are responsible for those deaths. However I am uneasy about Israel's attacks outside Hezbollah controlled territory, whilst it is true that the Lebanese government neglected their agreed duty to disarm the terrorists and Hezbollah has bases in Beirut, it is also true that Lebanon was until this week the only Arab country with a significant proportion of the population who liked Israel or at least disliked the regional despots and religious fanatics more. Surely Israel would have been better off trying to make allies out of people who hate Hezbollah and their Iranian and Syrian backers, rather than causing them real suffering. Michael Totten is very well informed about Lebanon, having lived there, says:
What should the Israelis have done instead? They should have treated Hezbollahland as a country, which it basically is, and attacked it. They should have treated Lebanon as a separate country, which it basically is, and left it alone. Mainstream Lebanese have no problem when Israel hammers Hezbollah in its little enclave. Somebody has to do it, and it cannot be them. If you want to embolden Lebanese to work with Israelis against Hezbollah, or at least move in to Hezbollah's bombed out positions, don't attack all of Lebanon.

Israel should not have bombed Central Beirut, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed my old neighborhood, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed the Maronite city of Jounieh, which was not merely anti-Hezbollah but also somewhat pro-Israel.

Israelis thinks everyone hates them. It isn't true, especially not in Lebanon. But they will make it so if they do not pay more attention to the internal characteristics of neighboring countries.
Hezbollahland Delendra Est, but not Beirut surely?

Jew On The Loose At Comment Is Free.

So what is the response of CiF readers to a post by Maureen Lipman about nothing particularly contraversial or interesting. Why a torrent of antisemitic abuse:

She appears to be a Jewish supremacist. -Says Letigre.
I'm suprised she didn't have a spare brown shirt to put on. -Resistor opines (Resistor may be familiar to anyone who read the comments at Harry's Place as quite possibly the stupidest man alive)
Here is Lipman whinging about anti-semitism. - says InDisguise.

They appear to have already deleted some comments, so these are probably amoung the saner ones!

From what I can tell the hate campaign against Maureen Lipman has started because she suggested that people who send their children off to be suicide bombers don't value life very highly. To any sane person this might seem like a contender for a "Stating the Bloody Obvious" award but for the rancid, totalitarian and anti-semitic kooks out there it is evidence of racism.

Monday, July 17, 2006

That's The Nicest Thing You've Ever Said.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran says:
The Zionists think that they are victims of Hitler, but they act like Hitler and behave worse than Genghis Khan
Coming from a man who hosts holocaust denial conferences, a comparison with Hitler is in all likelihood meant as a compliment. Plus it's nice to see world leaders who share my distaste for Genghis Khan.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Private Life For Me But Not For Thee.

Being a professional New Labour apologist is a lonely task nowadays so maybe David Aaronovitch does deserve a certain amount of sympathy. That said this whinge about the BBC's questioning of Prezza about its private life. Aside from the arrogance of his central argument which is dissected elsewhere, the sentence which sticks in my throat is this:
it would be quite possible (indeed it seems obligatory) to mention the DPM’s embarrassments without it being in any sense necessary to fish for more revelations. If it isn’t, then the gloves are off for everybody. Humphrys himself, as a public (and publicly funded) figure who has raised the question of the sex lives of others, is now fair game to have exactly the same question asked of him.

Has he had affairs, as rumoured? Has Michael Grade? Jonathan Ross? Ceri Thomas? Me? You? Or is it only Mr Prescott who is fair game for this kind of intrusion — until fashion suggests another candidate for the treatment?

Here's the thing, New Labour has long regarded other people's private lives as fair game, even members of the public, this is the party that leaked 94 year old Rose Addis's medical records to the press to try and humiliate her when her family complained about her mistreatment. Where was New Labour's respect for privacy then? Hell Aaronivitch was joining in the smear campaign! His scruples over privacy deserted him when it was not a convenient way of defending New Labour. 2Jags sex pest exploits and his affair with Rosie Winterton are off limits but a 94 year old's medical records are there to be dissected by tame Blairite scribes whenever they feel like it.

Via Blognor Regis.

PS. I had forgotten just how disgusting Blair's behaviour over the Rose Addis case was, here is an extract from the BBC's report at the time which is worth remembering when you hear Blair defending his minister's right to a private life:
After a heated clash in the House of Commons, Downing Street went to unprecedented lengths to rebut the story of Rose Addis and two other patients whose relatives complained about their treatment at the same North London hospital.

To reporters' astonishment, the prime minister's official spokesman gave intimate details of the patients' medical histories, including that of a 13-year-old boy, outlining treatments and conditions.

The spokesman admitted he did not have permission of the patients or their families to disclose the details, some of which were revealed, he said, in letters from the hospital to the newspaper.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quote Of The Day.

Can you blame them [Israeli's] for thinking like that?

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course we can! They are Jews. We blamed them for the Tsunami. We can blame them for everything!

Via the Sandmonkey.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Blaming The Victim.

The ludicrous furore over Zinedine Zidane's headbutt and what may have prompted it appears to be over now and Zidane has confirmed that Materazzi did not racially abuse him. Why so many people were desperate to make out that Zidane must have been the victim of a heinous provocation is a mystery to me, Zizou is a great player but losing his temper has been a fairly regular occurance over the course of his illustrious career. He has been sent off more times than Vinnie Jones! Yet the media dragged Materazzi's reputation through the mud for the crime of being headbutted. I agree with the excellent Gabriele Marcotti when he writes:
Those people should be apologizing to Materazzi, the people who blackened his name by throwing out baseless accusations, the people who -- in their frenzy to figuratively burn someone at the stake -- accused an innocent man without a shred of credible evidence (and no, those lip-readers' fantasies do not constitute credible evidence), the people who ignored Zidane's teammate and possibly the French team's most intelligent and sensitive player, Lilian Thuram (a guy who knows a thing or two about racism), when he categorically said there "was no racial slur."

I hope Materazzi sues their behinds off and donates the proceeds to organizations that are serious about fighting racism in all walks of life.

The instant rush to condemn Materazzi on the basis of no evidence whatsoever was despicable. Thankfully not everyone blamed the Italian for getting attacked, the Los Angeles Times's Patt Morrison put the blame where it belonged, on George Bush:
Zinedine Zidane, who is of French and Algerian ancestry, head-butted an Italian player who insulted him. Although Zidane in an interview Wednesday would not say what words provoked him, a lip reader hired by the Times of London claims Marco Materazzi called Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore.''

That's pure trickle-down politics. From the White House to the soccer pitch, "terrorist" has "cooties" and "your mother wears combat boots" flat beat as the top playground potty-mouth slur for the 21st century.
Are there no limits to the Chimpenfuhrers wickedness?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Levy Arrested, Blair Next?

The Labour Cash-for-Peerages scandal looks likely to embroil much of the Labour leadership and may end up with Tony Blair being prosecuted. I wouldn't be surprised if Labour try to force a prison reform bill through very soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It Isn't Just British Judges.

It is a well established fact that Britain's judges are wankers, it seems that this is not just a British problem:

A retired US judge is himself before the beak in Bristow, Oklahoma, "on charges he used a penis pump on himself in the courtroom while sitting in judgment of others", AP reports.

The trial of Donald D Thompson, 59, has reportedly provoked much courtroom merriment as the jury has been entertained by both a defence attorney and prosecutor indulging in "pantomime masturbation"

Time Heals.

How much time has to pass before it becomes acceptable to honour mass murderers? I'm wondering because of this story here:
A festival has begun in Mongolia to honour the nation's most famous emperor, warrior Genghis Khan.
I admit emotionally I don't feel revolted by this in the way that I do when I see some slack jawed socialist wearing a Mao t-shirt or when neo-nazi's march to celebrate Hitler's birthday. However judging by the number of deaths he is responsible for, he was a monster on the same scale as those two. If the Russians, Chinese, Iranians etc have no objection there isn't any harm but it is a little bit disturbing to think that when survivors of the Holocaust die off someone like Hitler might undergo some kind of rehabilitation in the public eye.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Idiot Found Via The Internet.

I realise that finding an idiot in a newspaper letters page is not difficult, but this letter to Australia's Sunday Age (found via 'percypup' in the comments of Tim Blair's blog) is a wonderful example of the sheer ignorance of the reflexive anti American, not anti-Bush but anti-American, mindset.
AMID all the huffing and puffing over North Korea letting off a few rockets that didn't work very well and the end of civilisation as we know it, let us

consider a few points. Has North Korea recently invaded a country on the other side of the world on trumped-up evidence? No? Does it run international "snatch squads" that roam the world kidnapping people who they then hold incommunicado while they are interrogated under torture? No? Let us have no more humbug and concern ourselves with the real rogue nations.
Gerard R. McEwen, Glandore, SA

Gerard R. McEwan is evidently unaware of the hundreds of Japanese and South Koreans that the DPRK abducted and holds to this day but is quite happy to bemoan the sufferings imposed on terrorism suspects by a "real rogue nation". Real abduction and torture isn't nearly as important as the supposed short comings of AmeriKKKa to these idiots.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Race Nut Watches The World Cup.

I wrote a long critique of this Martin Jacques article before blogger malfunctioned and deleted it. I'm not going to redo it, suffice to say the man is an obnoxious race baiter and a statistical illiterate.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Terror and the Media.

A year ago as I watched the footage of people streaming out of the London Underground an uncomfortable thought running through my mind was that by watching the footage I was in effect dancing to the terrorists tune. The rolling news broadcasts of bloodied survivors and shocked passersby are what the perpertrators wanted. As military attacks the impact of any terrorist atrocities bar the destruction of World Trade Center have been pretty small. Only by magnifying the event through the media, in particular television, can terrorism have any real impact on then of millions of other people. In short terrorists in London last year, and in Bali, Beslan and numerous other locations before that, have harnessed television as a weapon and television news programmes are not merely observing events but are part of creating them. Before I go any further let me be clear, I am not accusing television news reporters of supporting terrorism, whilst I am not necessarily a fan of certain news organisations I have no doubt that the people involved abhor mass murder as much as I do, I am not suggesting that malice on their part is a motivation in this.

If a natural disaster occured killing the same number of people as these terrorist incidents the coverage would be justified, natural disasters are no more likely to occur because of the reporting. However by responding in a predictable manner to major terror events they are vulnerable to being exploited as tools by Al Qaeada and other sympathetic. Often very little information is conveyed in the news immediately after an event but the same images are seared into the consciousness of the viewer creating fear and horror where rationally there is very little chance of any particular person knowing one of the victims.

If an attack on the scale of the July bombings occurs again in Britain I hope the television networks will have the courage to exercise great restraint about how much coverage they give.

Water, Water Everywhere.

Ofwat's decision not to fine Thames Water for being useless raises an interesting problem, or rather their reasoning does, that fining them would mean that there was less money available to repair the leaking pipes. This creates a dilemma, if bad water companies can't be fined because they need the money to improve their performance then there is little incentive to actually do a good job. The solution though seems rather obvious to me, if a water company doesn't do a good job give Ofwat the right to spend the money raised by fines to pay subcontractors to sort out the problems Thames has been unable to perform. Am I missing something? because this seems to be an obvious solution but one I haven't seen elsewhere.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Do You Want A Chicken Supper Sean Penn?

It is all too easy to mock celebrities when they do things like this:
Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a 'rolling" fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade.

Although it is still worth it. All I can say is that if hunger strikes work then one look at Keira Knightley should convince world leaders to global peace immediately.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Greg Palast- Master Of Logic.

Yay, more fun from Comment is Worthless, this time from veteran conspiracy nut Greg Palast. Palast has uncovered electoral fraud in Mexico. His 'reasoning' appears to be:

a) It is a close election.
b) The right wing candidate won.
c) Er, um, Bush, Florida disenfranchisement er.

Honestly even the Observer's hit piece on Hans Rausing looks sophisticated by comparison.
The PAN-controlled official electoral commission, not surprisingly, has announced that the presidential tally is too close to call.

Yes Greg, that's because it is er close.
Calderón's election is openly supported by the Bush administration.

This sentence is actually a stand alone paragraph, I assume this is meant to be damning evidence.
On the ground in Mexico city, our news team reports accusations from inside the Obrador campaign that operatives of the PAN had access to voter files that are supposed to be the sole property of the nation's electoral commission. We are not surprised.

Of course you aren't surprised, what else are they going to tell someone who claims electoral fraud at every opportunity? Palast is a gifthorse to anyone who wants to throw mud at their opponent.

as in the US, first in Florida, then in Ohio, the exit polls are at odds with "official" polls.
This is because they are 'polls' ie surveys with margins of error and a reliance on accurate self reporting by the respondents. The idea that a small discrepancy between exit polls and election results is evidence of fraud is patently absurd.
In November 2004, the US Republican Senator Richard Lugar, in Kiev, cited the divergence of exit polls and official polls as solid evidence of "blatant fraud" in the vote count in Ukraine. As a result, the Bush administration refused to recognise the Ukraine government's official vote tally - proving once again that republicans are incapable of irony.

Mexico, Florida and Ohio were all predicted to be very tight races with little separating the candidates. In Ukraine the candidate who was 11 points behind in the polls won by 3%.proving once again that Palst is incapable of counting (and of course the accusations of fraud were not based soley on the polls). In fairness to the Guardian most of their readers seem to recognise Palast as a clown, particularly the Mexican ones.

Of course Mexico has had a history of electoral corruption, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party*) was in power for over 80 years before Vicente Fox won six years ago. Naturally Palast doesn't touch on the gross fraud of the Mexican left staying in power for most of the 20th century. If anyone was ever in need of a good Turkey slapping it is Palast.

* As PJ O'Rourke once said, Institutional Revolutionary Party just sounds like a list of bad things.

Turkey Slapping.

A new phrase I learnt today is 'Turkey slapping'. It appears to be a delightful way of breaking the ice much practiced in Australia.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Secretive Billionaire Industrialist!!!!!

So what to make of this story?-
Dr Hans Rausing, the secretive Swedish billionaire industrialist who created the Tetra Pak packaging empire, has given £100,000 to the Westminster office of Oliver Letwin, the shadow Home Secretary.

Despite throwing around words like "secretive" and "billionaire industrialist" you can't make someone who manufactures milk cartons sound scary. Media moguls and computer tycoons can sound sinister because they have an impact on the dissemination of information, but the thought of someone dominating the supply of milk is really not very frightening.
Rausing, who has faced questions over his complex tax-avoidance arrangements,

He's "faced questions" BURN HIM!!!
Rausing's tax affairs were the subject of scrutiny four years ago when he was estimated to have had an income of around £4m but was paying little British tax.

"Scutiny" by whom, embittered socialist lumps who have contributed nothing to society perhaps? £4m doesn't seem very much income for a "secretive billionaire industrialist", it is about the same as a certain compatriot of his.
Rausing legally makes use of a loophole by which wealthy foreigners living in Britain avoid paying tax.

So in essence he pays what taxes he should, but doesn't feel compelled to spend any more than that. So the Absurder are trying to imply that he is greedy. Which is somewhat undermined further down the page by the acknowledgement that:
Rausing has donated more than £146m to charities over the past 12 years.

So his income is $4m a year and he gives more than £12m a year to charity. How miserly of him.
Rausing is the latest in a growing list of foreign-born tycoons to support David Cameron's Conservatives......Cameron has still not revealed which mysterious foreign backers have lent the Tory party money.

"Wealthy foreigners" "foreign born tycoons" "mysterious foreign backers", anyone noticing a theme here? Of course the Observer and the Guardian are forever lecturing the benighted masses on how we should accept immigrants into our society and how much they contribute. This apparantly doesn't include wealthy, productive philanthropists. So who are the good sort of immigrants if the likes of Rausing are so sinister?

Update: Iain Dale notices an even bigger clanger in the article which really I should of picked up myself.

Were The KGB Unavailable?

Revealed: how the BBC used MI5 to vet thousands of staff. So the Beeb:
had a list of "major subversive organisations", which included the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers' Party, the Workers' Revolutionary Party, Militant Tendency, the National Front and the British National Party.

That would remove about half of the News Quiz's regular panelists if applied nowadays.

Well Worth £20 million.