Friday, August 31, 2007
Mandela's record as a pragmatist is more impressive than as a secular saint, contrary to the view promulgated elsewhere the ANC inherited an economy that was moribund and turned South Africa into an economic success story with a growing middle class. The horrific murder rate that afflicts South Africa has actually been declining pretty steadily since the end of Apartheid, from 70 per 100 000 in 1994 down to 40 per 100 000 in 2005, the crime rate was not a problem created by Mandela's rule. If the Mandela boosters were simply claiming that he was a pretty competent president then I would have no objections. They go further than that though and treat any criticism of the man in much the same way that the Spanish Inquisition treated criticisms of the Pope.
This isn't to say that I have any great objection to a statue being raised in his honour, he compare perfectly well to the other recipients of this honour, except for not being British, but his nomination for canonisation is on rather shakier ground.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
a) Accept that it is a misguided policy and that the money could be better spent elsewhere.
b) Ignore the report if possible, but if you need to respond claim that the benefits can' t be tested empirically in the short term, so we should spend even more money on it.
The answer is of course B, there is no such thing as a failed project, merely one that needs more resources. Comparable schemes elsewhere have tended to have moderate benefits for the first few years but not much in the long term, Sure Start hasn't even achieved the first stage.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
When the Mont Pelerin Society first met, in 1947, its political project did not have a name. But it knew where it was going.I won't discuss the entire thing because that has already been done elsewhere, so I just want to look at this paragraph.
The first great advantage the neoliberals possessed was an unceasing fountain of money. US oligarchs and their foundations - Coors, Olin, Scaife, Pew and others - have poured hundreds of millions into setting up thinktanks, founding business schools and transforming university economics departments into bastions of almost totalitarian neoliberal thinking. The Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and many others in the US, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute in the UK, were all established to promote this project. Their purpose was to develop the ideas and the language which would mask the real intent of the programme - the restoration of the power of the elite - and package it as a proposal for the betterment of humankind.I've commented before on the ability of many on the left to believe that events that occur in the future can influence the past. So it is here, Moonbat gives the founding of the conspiracy as 1947 and claims that the institutions that he lists were established in order to promote this project. However there is a tiny problem with this line of 'thinking', the American Enterprise Institute was founded in 1943 and the Hoover Institution was set up by Herbert Hoover in 1919.
Of course the more fundamental problem with the line of argument being advanced is the infantile inability to accept that there is such a thing as honest disagreement, instead people who disagree with Monbiot are 'masking their real intent' and generally moving in the shadows to accomplish their nefarious objectives. Rather than accept that his opponents have advanced their ideas by winning the arguments he has to create a fantasy whereby his supporters are being silenced and starved of money. In actual fact liberal causes have received oodles of money both from the state agencies and the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation among others, whether it has been spent wisely is another matter of course, but to acknowledge that their is no great neoliberal monopoly of money and political influence would put Monbiot in a position where he would need to ask why his favoured causes have made such little headway.
Monday, August 27, 2007
I hesitate to offer my humble advice to such eminent astronomers, but when I discover a complete void when looking through my telescope, I usually check to see if I've left the lens cap on. That usually does the trick.
Astronomers are scratching their heads over a puzzling non-discovery, an enormous hole in the universe measuring nearly a billion light-years across.
There really is nothing to the void, which is empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies, and gas, and the mysterious, unseen "dark matter" that astronomers detect by its gravitational pull.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
If you compare the figures for Colombia and Venezuela over the last decade you can see the difference competent and honest leadership makes, bear in mind that the Socialist demagogue Hugo Chavez took office in 1999 and the much demonised Alvaro Uribe in 2002. The murder rate for each county is per 100 000 people.
Year: Colombia Venezuela
1995 66.0 23
1996 67.8 25
1997 63.3 19
1998 56.6 22
1999 58.6 20
2000 62.7 37
2001 64.6 40
2002 65.8 49
2003 51.8 59
2004 44.6 45
2005 39.3 42
It shouldn't really be a surprise by now that when leaders come to power preaching revolution that you should start preparing the body bags.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
That does not actually seem absurd to me. Rich men are getting away with murder every day on building sites, railway sidings and in factories. They don't even go to prison for one day most times over heinous industrial accidents. Premeditated profit over care for fellow human beings. Not to mention murder with cars and 2-year-bans from driving. Arguably far more culpable than the rage and foolishness of youths excluded from society.Knifing someone = Foolishness!? Meanwhile another left wing blogger, Unity at Ministry of Truth fulminates against the real villain of the piece, the newspapers who are portraying Chindamo as some sort of killer. If I understand his argument correctly because Chindamo is likely to 'overact' in response to media interest in him it proves that the problem is that the media is likely to be interested in the outcome of a particularly notorious murder from the 1990s, rather than a murderer who is liable to lose his rag. Although happily experts have concluded that he is unlikely to reoffend, presumably in much the same way as Russian roulette is unlikely to damage your health.
One of the few pluses to emerge from all this is that the doctrine of supreme moral authority of grieving relatives appears to have been ditched by the left. Indeed Frances Lawrence appears to attract more ire than Chindamo:
Mrs Lawrence has become The Black Widow. She certainly sucked the likes of Iain Dale into her web of deceit.The same blogger, with an interesting history, previously had a post 'Philip Lawrence/Learco Chindamo: What a waste of life all round', as though the two are remotely comparable.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
On the stump, the helmet-haired Mrs Dole conceded that she wasn't happy with the legal drinking age of 21 that she'd forced on the nation. No, these days Nurse Ratched thinks it should be 24. Twenty-four! It would make more sense the other way round: instead of starting drinking at 24, you should stop drinking when you're 24, sober up and start going to work.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Are you in North Korea? Have you witnessed the floods? Have you been in touch with people in the affected area? Send us your comments using the form below.I'm guessing there won't be a huge response to that.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
* I should point out though that contrary to that post my name is not Ross Fountain, the 'fountain' in the url refers to a very early title of the blog which I ditched rather than a name.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Karen ChouhanSo why are they still flogging the horse long after it is dead and at the glue factory? As Phil Taylor has discovered, the first three signatories receive
The 1990 Trust
Black Londoners Forum
Operation Black Vote
Islamic Human Rights Commission
British Muslim Initiative
Along with his political achievements, such as working towards the Kyoto protocol on climate change, his memoirs would be expected to tell the inside story on other events that had pushed him into the headlines.His political achievements! Holding on to grace and favour properties despite being sacked from the functional aspects of his job is an achievement of sorts I guess.
And his memoirs will be scrutinised by political analysts wanting to understand the relationship between former prime minister Tony Blair and present incumbent, Gordon Brown.Or trying to understand what on earth he is saying, reading hieroglyphs is easier work than comprehending a Prescott sentence.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Neil Clark is known both for his extreme stupidity and his perverse support of the war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, but going from denying the the guilt of a war criminal is a whole other thing from actually encouraging war crimes as he does there. I haven't previously commented on the campaign to ensure the safety of Iraqis who have worked for the British army to try and rebuild their country because I doubt that I have enough readers to make it worthwhile, but it is obviously the right thing to do both morally and pragmatically.
In Simon Schama's 'Rough Crossings' he relates the story of black slaves who joined the British army during the American War of Independence in order to fight for their freedom. Obviously that war was lost but the behaviour of the British Commander in Chief in New York after the surrender showed moral courage that deserves to be remembered more than 200 years later. Sir Guy Carleton was steadfst in his refusal to return the human 'property' of of the victorious republic even when it looked as though war might break out again because of this. In the sick mind of Neil Clark and his thankfully tiny band of supporters this protection for the 'Quislings' would have been 'nauseating'. However to most decent people deserting those who have stood by you to the perils of mob retaliation is despicable and not something to strive for.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Last year Livingstone said of two Indian-born entrepreneurs involved in the London Olympics: "If they're not happy, they can always go back to Iran and see if they can do better under the Ayatollahs."This isn't quite right, the two businessmen who Livingstone said ought to go bacl to Iran were not Indian, but Iranian born Jews. So the supposed even handedness of his offensiveness amounts to him being willing to insult Jews and other Jews.
Any allegations of racism are hard to make stick, though, because Livingstone is indiscriminate in his discrimination. In 2005 he was accused of anti-Semitism after an altercation with a newspaper journalist.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Ross F compared Mrs Lawrence to an American mother campaigned against the Iraq war after losing her son, claiming: “Doreen Lawrence is the Cindy Sheehan of race baiters. Judging by some of her other comments it is clear that she has a rather fascistic mindset.”Maybe there is in fact nothing fascistic about her criticisms of Boris Johnson:
"He felt that people should be entitled to say what they want. It sounds to me that what he believes is that because something is said and done in private it is acceptable, but clearly it can never be acceptable to hold those views.If demanding people be prosecuted for their own homes and demanding that objectors to this policy be driven from public office isn't fascistic then what is?
* Inevitably there are some genuinely obnoxious comments that are thrown in to discredit the more reasonable objections to Doreen Lawrence. The accusation that her son was a drug dealer is a claim that appears to be entirely without merit and is being made to minimise the impact of his murder.
Update: Just been looking through some of Mr Holloway's previous output (he appears to be a professional race baiter) here are some of his own not in any way fasistic views:
Identity should never be boiled down to a question of individual choice. Politically, black people cannot afford the luxury of seeing an SDP-style breakaway by those of mixed-race.
Monday, August 06, 2007
A teenage science student has been banned from applying for a training programme with the Environment Agency because she is white and English....Ethnic minorities in this sample included those oppressed minorities the Scottish, the Irish and the Welsh! Actually Diane Abbott is probably not the right woman for the job because the student is blonde and blue eyed, though thankfully not Finnish. Of course the big issue here isn't some hypocritical champagne socialist but rather the perversity of racist recruitment practices in the public sector, which is illegal in theory. Here is what the CRE report about how the Environment Agency conducts its race relations:
...Three days later, PATH recruitment officer, Bola Odusi, replied: "Thank you for your enquiry unfortunately the traineeship opportunity in <\[>sic] targeted towards the ethnic minority group to address their under representations in the professions under the Race Relations Act amended 2000."
The Environment Agency is responsible for protecting and managing the environment in England and Wales. ..
Beyond 'value for money', the procurement objectives of the Environment Agency include 'best practice' and 'least impact on the environment'. For the Environment Agency, 'best value' does not always mean lowest cost.
'We're a complex organisation and we ask for a lot more now from our suppliers, not just in relation to price and quality but, for example, health and safety and environmental criteria. If we take on new suppliers, it is critical that they understand what we are looking for and we understand their requirements and limitations.'
Being a government organisation makes the agency accountable for public money. At the same time it has a statutory duty under the Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA) to promote race equality in all its activities, including procurement. The Environment Agency does not see these as conflicting demands.
'As a business, to succeed, we need to ensure that our supply base reflects the population and businesses we serve.'
In other words, "we might completely fuck up little things like building flood defences, but at least our incompetence is delivered in a suitably diverse manner". Exactly why it is important that their suppliers reflect the population is left unexplained, personally an awful lot of my purchases of late have been made in China and the nearest I get to being Chinese is a fondness for Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
But the favouritism that they've historically shown the left is missing. It's not that liberal fans shouldn't see The Simpsons movie - it's still a very enjoyable experience. But don't expect to leave the theatre feeling that the film did something larger,The evidence for the political leanings seems to depend on Adler taking mockery of liberal beliefs as gentle teasing whereas mocking of conservative beliefs is hard hitting and for real. Anyway at the risk of spoiling the film, apparently making fun of environmentalists is all wrong and shouldn't be done. Although as the second comment in the thread puts it:
The very fact that environmentalists think that no one should laugh at them is what makes laughing at them so easy and inevitable.Quite, Adler comes across as the kind of person who would really enjoy the leaden humour of a Radio 4 panel game featuring Marcus Brigstock and Jeremy Hardy.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Doreen Lawrence, the mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, yesterday launched a fierce personal attack on Boris Johnson, saying he would destroy multicultural London if elected mayor, and that no informed black person would vote for him.
Ms Lawrence, who does not normally become involved in party politics, said she had been moved to make the criticisms by her anger at Mr Johnson's attitude to the Macpherson inquiry in 1999 into the Metropolitan police's failure to bring her son's killers to justice 14 years ago.
Mr Johnson was especially condemnatory of a "weird recommendation that the law might be changed so as to allow prosecution for racist language or behaviour 'other than in a public place'."Support for free speech is a bad thing?!
In his articles - mainly in the Daily Telegraph - Mr Johnson also made it clear that he believed there had been "grotesque failures in the Lawrence murder case, and they may well have originated in racism", adding the police officers "may have jumped to the wrong conclusions due to a racialist mindset".
In another article, presumably for stylistic effect, he has referred to children as "piccaninnies" and described the "watermelon smiles of black people".
His assessment of Macpherson is spot on, and I would dearly love to see the context of the latter two remarks which sound distinctly un-Boris-like.
Ms Lawrence, who is highly respected in the black community and was awarded an OBE for her campaigning, insisted the Macpherson inquiry, for which she had long campaigned, had radically changed police training and recruiting,Yes they no longer stop and search knife wielding thugs like the ones who murdered her son.
.. albeit much more slowly than she hoped. "There was no hysteria,"No hysteria! Yeah it isn't as though the entire police force was labelled racist and bizarre theories of institutional racism were invented.
she said. "I would have thought anyone of his intelligence would have understood more of what we as a family were going through and have realised that something is seriously wrong in this country. The large majority of people did sympathise and were in fact shocked by what emerged from the inquiry. Apparently, he was not."I was shocked by what emerged from the inquiry, a shoddy report devoid of anything approaching analysis or rigourous logic.
She added: "He felt that people should be entitled to say what they want. It sounds to me that what he believes is that because something is said and done in private it is acceptable, but clearly it can never be acceptable to hold those views. Anyway, what is said in private normally manifests itself out in public."In other words Doreen Lawrence is a totalitarian who wants to punish people for their private opinions. Glad we got that sorted.
Harriet Harman, the Labour Party's chairman, has secretly discussed with senior colleagues ways of stopping Lord Ashcroft from using his private wealth to win more seats for the Tories by using a loophole in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. The wording of the Act allows support for candidates between elections to go uncapped. Sir Hayden Phillips, who is carrying out a review of electoral law, is expected to call for donations between general elections to be capped for the first time in a report to be released in autumn.Firstly it violates the principle of free speech to prevent somebody campaigning effectively for the candidates they support. Secondly incumbent MPs are given phenomenal resources to run de facto permanent propaganda blitz, whereas anyone who is usefully employed elsewhere cannot devote even all of their own time for the purposes of campaigning.
Hayden Phillips is the same patsy who produced the report demanding that political parties be funded by the tax payer, another proposal that is of great benefit to established candidates in general and the Labour Party in particular that has mismanaged its own affairs as badly as it has the country's. The Labour Party has nominally spent less than the Conservatives in General Elections, although usually the Trades Unions run simultaneous campaigns which would push Labour's figures much higher.
Labour MPs are now enjoying the spoils of office so much that they genuinely see nothing shameful about rigging the system even more heavily in their favour and are in fact sincerely outraged by someone trying to unseat them:
One Labour MP with a marginal seat said: "The trouble is we don't know what effect this is having. He could be funding mail shots but we won't know until it's too late. I'd love him to be closed down, but we can't get the legislation through until the end of next year."Not mail shots surely!? It isn't as though sitting MPs have access to unlimited mail facilities courtesy of the House of Commons is it? Oh it is.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Not riveting stuff so far as I'm sure you'll agree, however it does get interesting, the left wing blog Harry's Place put up a post going into the debate and suggested that journalists who develop a reputation for making things up, as Hari clearly did, will find that it damages there careers.
I would link to the post or the follow up, but that is sadly impossible as they have been threatened with a libel suit by the fraudster It is a disgusting attempt to stifle criticism and it is noticeable that many others who have brought up Hari's penchant for fiction have not been sued. They include:
a) Documented his lies about taking ecstasy
b) Ditto about seeing a protester being shot dead in Genoa
c) Talking to the Iraqi public before the war when in fact he admitted elsewhere that he couldn't get anyone to talk him, well hardly anyone.
"I've never admitted, or even merely stated, any such thing - and note that that's an attributed statement, not a paraphrase. To advance his criticism, Johann has just made up the evidence.".
Counterpunch's Carol Lipton: "
"Joseph was "explaining that his trip had shocked him back to reality". Yet Hari never states to whom Joseph did the "explaining", or where. He recounts Joseph's story as if it were his own"
National Review's Jay Nordlinger:
Highlighted the similarities of Hari article to an old Stephen Glass piece who was later exposed as a fraud. Suggested The New Republic's editors had been worried about it.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting:
a) Reported distortion by Hari about Palestinian infant mortality rates, Hari implied that they had risen dramtically under Israeli occupation when in fact they had fallen substantially. As they say "facts do not get in the way of Hari's need to tell a good story about alleged Jewish callousness.".
b) They add "For Hari, a gripping story trumps a truthful representation of the situation. He relates how the Islamic Jihad terrorist he interviews “described how he slashed the throats of four female Israeli soldiers in an illegal settlement in 2002, and he chuckled as he described how they cried for their mothers.”
However, the terrorist’s gruesome deed appears to be an idle boast; no such incident occurred. "
"My book What’s Left? is about deceit and the rich world’s left, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the most deceitful piece to be written about it in any journal in any country should appear in a magazine of the intellectual left produced in New York (“Choosing Sides,” by Johann Hari, Dissent, Summer 2007)."
All of these people have made accusations about Hari lying that are far clearer and unambiguous than anything that was said at Harry's Place. All of them have access to the funds needed to fight a frivolous libel action. Therein lies the difference, this is an attempt to bully critics into silence and it should not succeed.
Hari not only lies a lot he even lies about how he conducts libel suits on people who highlight his lying. He claimed that " I'm glad the site accepts that what they said has abolutely no evidence for it at all, and had to be withdrawn immediately". He knew full well that they removed the post because they could not afford to defend a frivolous suit. He even lies about his attitude towards libel laws claiming that "I've always defended the libel laws if they are used properly - to prevent people saying outrageously, howlingly untrue things about you.". In fact less than a month prior to this contretemps he had written that "The only legitimate restriction on free speech is where it involves a direct incitement to kill.". Sadly Harry's Place have made no attempt at causing Hari physical harm.
I'm not particularly worried about suffering a libel suit myself for the simple reason that there is a 99% probability that he is lying about that also.
Update: Dumbjon has also written about this, including Hari's boasting about getting people to drunk to refuse sex.