As of yesterday evening, I've moved house. Well in blog terms anyhow. From now on, I'll mostly be posting at Harry's Place, where I'll be throwing my two-penneth into the mix.
Consequently, things might be a bit quiet here, unless I feel the urge to post on something for which HP wouldn't be appropriate. I'm not sure exactly what that might be, but we'll see.
Thanks to all who commented, emailed, lurked and so on and I'll see you in the comments boxes over there some time.
Tata for now, Dan.
PS I'm not sure on the protocol here - do I offer up sale of this pitch to the highest bidder? Or do I keep it replete with old cookers and fridges in the front garden until the internet police send the council round to condemn it? Just wondering.
Joe Lieberman made an interesting remark during his interview with Roger L Simon this time last week. From Politics Central:
SIMON: [I]f you do win — and you’re doing well at the moment — if you do win as an Independent, you will still then become a Democrat, stay as a Democrat and caucus with the Democrats.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah. The critical thing is to caucus with the Democrats because if you don’t caucus with a party, you don’t have the opportunity to hold your seniority in the committee assignments that you’ve got and that’s important to the folks back home.
But, you know, I want to go back. Your question surprised me and it’s an interesting one. So, I’d say, I remain a Democrat but disappointed not to have been nominated by my party and believing that, as much as I am a Democrat, that being a Democrat is not my highest loyalty. My party is not my highest loyalty. My highest loyalty is to the people of the State of Connecticut who were good enough to elect me. It’s to the country.
And that’s why I continued the fight as an Independent candidate. I basically want to give everybody the opportunity to decide whether I should be their senator. I feel strongly that I can do a much better job than either the Democratic or Republican candidates, but in the end it’s not up to me. It’s up to the voters and I want all of them to have a chance to decide in November.
SIMON: Forty-three percent of Connecticut voters, according to one survey that I read, are Independents, which makes them the plurality. In a certain way, by remaining an Independent, like Weiker did —
SIMON: — you’re essentially representing the plurality of the citizens of Connecticut.
LIEBERMAN: Well, that’s true. I mean, there are about forty-three percent of — the registered voters in Connecticut are unaffiliated. They’re Independents. Democrats are somewhere around thirty some odd and Republicans, twenty some odds. So, you can see, it’s the largest party in the state.
I’ll tell you, there’s something else here, if you’ll allow to just take off from this point. The fastest growing political party in America is no party, which is to say, that the fastest growing group of voters are unaffiliated with either party. And, to me, that’s a market statement, if you will, on the two major parties. People are getting disenchanted with the parties. I think, mostly, for two reasons. One is that each party seems certainly in the primaries to be dominated by the extremes ideologically. And then when they get to Washington, each of the parties seems to basically feel that they’re in some kind of duel in which it’s Democratic against Republican. But then they forget something that’s even more important, which is the national interest, or the interest of their constituents back home.
So, I will say, Roger, that not by choice — my choice was to win the Democratic primary but that didn’t happen. And, therefore, out of necessity, I have become an Independent in this race. I will tell you that I find it to be very empowering and even liberating. And we’ll see where we go from here.
I wondered whether Lieberman was simply spinning furiously by re-emphasising Simon's point and stating "about forty-three percent of the registered voters in Connecticut are unaffiliated." During the ensuing web ramble, I found my way to this at PajamasMedia:
When Pajamas Media was just forming, a fair number of bloggers were uncomfortable with the conventional left-right, liberal-conservative dichotomized pigeonholes of the mainstream media.
We wondered how others felt, so in the fall of 2005 we looked for research on this area. Not being able to find any, we commissioned in October 2005, a poll with Princeton Research. Question 21 of that poll (hence the “X21”) asked if the respondents felt that the labels “liberals” or “conservatives” applied to them. Not entirely to our surprise, an awful lot of people said “no.” A full 43% of those responding felt that the liberal nor conservative labels did not really apply to them, a percentage vastly greater than those who identified with either polarity.
But we also found these people aren’t actually centrists in the conventional sense of that word. They have passionate feelings from all sides of the spectrum, not just the middle ground. Someone could be a complete social liberal while being an adamant war hawk. Or the reverse. In other words - these people are “blends” with some values from the liberal side and other values from the conservative side. They are not 100% partisans that are glued to a typical ideology, and they’re not just watered-down colorless individuals with no strong views.
We’ve been calling these blended people “X21s” in honor of the poll question. But it’s not exactly catchy, so we are now running a contest. Find a new name for X21 – those political hybrids or blends – and win the first pair of official Pajamas Media logo-emblazoned PAJAMAS. Your new name will also replace X21 on our site.
Well they've finished taking submissions but you can now cast your vote here for one of the following:
PHI (Politically Hybrid Individuals)
Some are pretty awful: 'Centrocrats' kind of misses the point of the exercise and sadly 'Flexocrat' is a trademarked pulsation dampener (whatever that is).
'Purples' is a nice touch though. Better than being yellow.
Clive Soley has a piece in this month's issue of Muslim News that's worth a look. In response to their editorial he writes:
If you don’t recognise the importance of the internal religious struggle it will play into the hands of racists and your other opponents who can easily claim that Muslims only blame the West and believe that everything within Islam is peace and harmony. That is not what the Muslims who came to me about Finsbury Park Mosque said.
The majority of British people are tolerant and anxious not to stereotype Muslims. But this large and supportive section of British society needs help from the Muslim community too.
Failure to acknowledge a religious aspect to the current wave of terrorist attacks around the world defies common sense. France was not involved in Iraq neither was Indonesia. Many of the attacks have been against Muslim states and accompanied by supportive statements from groups claiming Muslim legitimacy for the attacks. Osama Bin Laden states that his aim is to reclaim the sacred sites in Saudi Arabia.
These attacks and planned attacks do have a religious content as well as a political one and both need to be addressed in equal measure. The Muslim News is well placed to lead that debate.
Will you rise to the challenge?
A far cry from John Reid's heavy-handed pronouncement of the other week.
Two comments on similarities between suicide bombers and high school shooters, here and here, courtesy of Hak and Sunny respectively.
The first is top notch so here it is in full (for those to lazy to click):
Seeing the footage of Mohammad Sidique Khan again, during the David Aaronovitch program on Channel 5 the other night, it occurred to me that there is no difference between Khan and those of similar kidney, and the sociopaths who shoot up Colorado schools. So, if it's possible - or indeed reasonable - in some quarters to mbunderstand Khan and relativise his actions as some sort of legitimate 'discourse', then it's logical that the same is true of others who seek to redress their 'grievances' against society by taking the lives of random students, co-workers, or pedestrians.
I will not allow that either constitutes 'legitimate discourse' and most, if not all, of those who permit the first would not allow the second, which seems to leave us with a bit of an inconsitency, in that some sociopathic fanstasies are more mbunderstandable than others.
I guess that's the beauty of mbunderstanding: at its heart is faulty reasoning so applying it in a haphazard manner is in keeping with the spirit of the damn thing.
Not that Sunny is engaging in mbunderstanding, you understand. But if someone's going to write an article mbunderstanding the motives behind the recent high school shooters, they'd do worse than start from the premise behind his most recent post:
I believe there are some interesting parallels to be made between high-school killers and suicide bombers. Putting aside the global element to the latter aside for a moment, could it be that the media coverage, moral panic, wild statements by politicians and bungled police raids exacerbate the danger we face?
Think about it. Every time John Reid makes a bid for leadership with a speech telling us how suicide bombers are the greatest threat ever ever and ever, you can bet some kid is sitting there thinking of the potential power and attention they could be afforded.
Everytime George Bush says the threat of Muslim terrorists is greater than anything the west has ever faced before (put aside the absurdity of that statement for now) he only gives Osama Bin Laden and co-conspirators the encouragement they need.
Everytime the media release a poll showing how scared Londoners are of sitting next to brown kids on the Tube the discord that the terrorists wanted to spread is bearing fruition. Remember the four wanna-be suicide bombers of 22nd July? They saw the reaction to July 7th and wanted it for themselves.
Nice theory, but it all hangs on "Putting aside the global element to the latter aside for a moment". Sure, there may be copycat elements to both. But thankfully there isn't a bastardised form of religion promoting high school shootings being funded by rich fuckers who hate the West. Not yet.
In addition, the copycat element will vary from case to case. I doubt very much the media storm over naming and shaming paedophiles caused anyone to think "Aha - now that's how I can get famous!" but I wonder whether the same could be said of happy-slapping.
It would seem to me that yes, kids do copy each other. But the problem for Sunny's argument is that there are other forces at play and that not all suicide bombers are kids.
Nevertheless Sunny does make a good point:
It isn’t unreasonable to ask of our media and politicians that a sensible and measured reaction should be part of any armoury in dealing with the threat of terrorism.
But a little naughty of him to claim "a slightly edited version is on comment is free". Slightly edited in that it didn't include this part:
Robert Baer’s ‘Cult of the Suicide Bomber’, a recent documentary showed how suicide bombers were regarded as celebrities in the Occupied Territories
But Sunny posted that on PP at 5.01pm after Cif commenter graemewilliams had replied to Sunny's post at 4.47pm stating:
Robert Baer's Cult of the Suicide Bomber showed how in the Occupied Territories that suicide bombers are regarded as celebrities.
And it's hardly as if Sunny can say he didn't notice as he replied to that post at 5.26pm.
Tut tut. Credit where it's due Sunny! Honour amongst bloggers and all that...
UPDATE 05/10/06 2:00am: Sunny has changed his post to read
[a shorter version is on comment is free]
Shorter in that it doesn't contain a rewritten paragraph by one graemewilliams.
Curiouser and curiouser...
UPDATE 05/10/06 4:00am: Sunny finally added his hat-tip. I didn't think he was that shifty. Apparently too much effort to do at the time. Must have taken ages. Good on him.
Something that might be of interest if you're free next Monday:
Engage and UJS invite you to a public meeting with Israel's education minister Yuli Tamir MK (founder member of Peace Now, former member of Ratz, "The Movement for Civil Rights and Peace") to discuss the academic boycott of Israel and antisemitism on campus.
Panel discussion followed by Q&A
Monday 9 October 6.30-8.00pm
St John's Wood United Synagogue, 37/41 Grove End Road, London NW8 9NG Please RSVP to: email@example.com
So from now on, in the UK, if I even so much as sniff a dumbass anti-war demo, the appropriate t-shirt will be donned:
and a can of abusive whoopass cracked open. The gloves are off.
Get the t-shirt and more at Camden Market or online.
As PublicGriefJunkies' sales pitch says:
Link arms! March together! Because apparently the price of candles, beads, henna tattoos and Bob Marley merchandise is going to skyrocket unless everybody everywhere stops shooting and starts dancing, or something. When the shrill, hysterical, and desperate-to-feel-guilty people start talking, you’d better be listening – because they know better than you, about everything. Submit NOW by owning this t shirt.
It is now exactly a year since a Danish newspaper published a series of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which Muslims found so insulting that 140 people died in the ensuing violence.
No. That's wrong, and it's a misleading way of putting it. Some Muslims found the cartoons 'so insulting', and a much much smaller number found them 'so insulting that 140 people died in the ensuing violence' - that is, to interpret that foolishly meaningless phrase, either found them so insulting that they caused lethal violence or found them so insulting that they thought the deaths of 140 people made an appropriate response. Not all Muslims found the cartoons insulting at all; not all Muslims who did find them insulting found them also worthy of protest or criticism of the act of publication; not all Muslims who found them worthy of protest also found them deserving of outright censorship or government action; and so on.
Why do so many people - especially, of all things, well-meaning liberal people who (clearly) see themselves as being kind to and trying to help 'Muslims' - equate some Muslims with all Muslims that way?
Why do they chronically and repeatedly assume that if some Muslims feel insulted or offended then all do?
Why do they not pause to remember that as a matter of fact there are some Muslims who are insulted or offended not by cartoons or papal speeches or operas but by their insultable co-religionists and by liberal columnists who assume that all Muslims are offended by what some Muslims are offended by?
Why do they not also pause to remember that there is, in fact, something quite searchingly insulting about assuming that all people in a particular group think exactly the same thing, particularly on a controversial and contested issue?
Why are they so fokking patronizing?
And why are they so fokking patronizing while thinking they are being kind and empathetic and helpful?
Why don't they think a little harder and look a little farther?
Move over, Jesus. Make room on the dashboard for Mohammad ... Bobblehead Mohammad.
A former Marine is hawking the nodding Mohammad doll at his Web site, www.dashboardmohammed.com at $22.99 a pop . . . expect two to four weeks’ delay in shipping due to high demand, 10 percent of all sales to go to Tim Ames’ beer fund.
At $22.99 a bobber, I'm guessing the man is going to be drinking quite a lot of beer over the next few weeks...
Being a Glass-Half-Fuller, I was being wildly optimistic when I suggested I might be back over a week ago. Have had tons of stuff to deal with, which I have, and now find myself with tons more stuff to deal with, albeit at my own pace. So, as you were then.
Whilst I've been away there was much ado about the Labour Party Conference, summed up rather nicely by Anatole Kaletsky:
So in the end it wasn’t Brown versus Blair. It wasn’t even Gordon versus Cherie, or Ed and Damian versus Alastair and Peter. It was the journalists against the Labour Party or, more precisely, media sensationalism against dull truth. ... The only real “story” I heard, whether on or off the record, even from the most partisan sources was about unity: that the feud between Mr Blair and Mr Brown was essentially over and that, after a largely symbolic leadership contest, the party would back the overwhelming winner, Mr Brown. Call me naive, but this seems to me a full and accurate description of all the important events in Manchester this week — and of the outlook for British politics in the coming months as the transition from Mr Blair to Mr Brown continues its inevitable and stately progress. ... What is my evidence? The strongest evidence of unity was ironically, the Cherie Blair “that’s a lie” incident. Manchester this week was crawling with resourceful and aggressive political journalists who left no stone unturned to find some new casus belli with which to reignite the Blair-Brown war. So what did all these media bloodhounds bring home? An almost inaudible comment, supposedly muttered under her breath by the Prime Minister’s wife, who is not even a politician, and overheard not by some eminent BBC, Sun or Guardian pundit, but by a US wire-service reporter on her way to the loo. If this was the strongest “Blair-Brown feud” story that the best and brightest of British political journalism could come up with, then surely the Labourites have beaten their swords into ploughshares and the ultra-Brownites can now lie down with the über-Blairites. The fact is that, apart from that one eavesdropped remark, the really extraordinary story from Manchester was the absence of a single aggressive statement from either the Blair or Brown camp against the other.
What a load of hypocritical tossers (pardon my language but it's what they are) those Labour members are. They've spent the past decade bitching about Blair, and now that he's off into the sunset they cheer him to the rafters. Well live with it, you idiots. You're the ones who wanted rid of him, forced him to announce his departure, and rendered him impotent. Ha-bloody-ha: now you're going to have to live with the consequence:
If Pollard's views accurately reflect the electorate, Labour could well be in trouble. But a YouGov poll for the Telegraph suggests British voters are as cynical about the current Tory party as they are of backstabbing Labour Ministers. Gordon can breathe a sigh of relief. For now.
If the Tories get a big conference bounce he'll have to start looking over his shoulder. Welcome to Tony's World.
In other news, there was a big hoo-hah over the NIE report into the bleedingly obvious and a PIPA poll of Iraqi public opinion. Predictably, the devil is in the details, a lesson to all who jumped to premature conclusions based on reports they might have read that emphasised only certainaspects of each story. Two breakdowns I found useful were at HP and over at the Boston Herald where Jules Crittenden summarised things rather nicely:
Also in the news last week, poll results from a University of Maryland public policy institute found that 94 percent of Iraqis hate al-Qaeda. But two-thirds of Iraqis want U.S. troops out within the year. A majority of Iraqis believe the U.S. presence fuels the violence, which is interesting because most of the violence is now Iraqi on Iraqi, Sunni vs. Shia. This remains the most difficult part of the Iraqi equation. Saddam Hussein’s answer to it - the murder of hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shiites - only fueled the current strife.
Curiously, the poll found a majority of Iraqis believe the departure of the United States will boost support for the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his tough-on-militias unity government, which Americans fought and died to establish, has the approval of six in 10 Iraqis. Two-thirds of Iraqis believe Iraq will still be one country in five years. Iraqi confidence in the U.S.-backed Iraqi forces is rising. Apparently, America’s unwelcome presence is producing results.
When the eventual withdrawal does come, will the Stoppers be claiming victory because they've been calling on Blair and Bush to bring the troops back home since Day One? I wonder.
Next up, in a blog-ramble chasing reaction to David Aaronovitch's excellent No Excuses for Terror on Channel 5 (check ModernityBlog for some tips on how to download the whole lot), I came across this rather nice advert over at MPACUK: 58 years, eh?
As Charles says, with this poster not only do MPACUK reveal their hatred of Israel but they show their general stupidity as well:
The Chinese and Japanese text on the sign reads, “End your job.” Not “End the occupation.”
And the Russian text reads, “Finish your homework.”
And shame on the University of Chester for advertising their Muslim Youth Work JNC on the MPAC website. I've no problem with the concept of Muslim Youth Work - after all, before the Daily Mail pick up on this I ought to point out that Chester offer a Christian Youth Work JNC as well. It just seems a little rank that an institute of education is helping to fund such an ignorant organisation.
Finally, remembering that MPAC are affiliated with the Stop the War Coalition, it was with some interest that regarding Darfur I read on the MPAC website:
Currently the situation has reached stalemate with the Sudanese government digging their heels in and many more civilians will continue to suffer. It makes it our job to continue to lobby our leaders to move quicker and further towards resolving the conflict, much as Bob Geldof did today by calling for Superpowers to acknowledge their role in helping to resolve the conflict. The conflict will only be resolved when the Sudanese government is forced to back down and the UN must be pressurised into acting swiftly.
That seems a bit out of kilter with what the Gorgeous One has been saying recently (hat-tip: Disturbingly Yellow). And let's not forget Galloway's stance on Hezbollah differs markedly from North Koreaphile Andrew Murray's. Maybe it's time for the Stoppers to have a Euston moment and reveal what they do have in common. Here's a suggestion to get the ball rolling:
"Despite being an anti-war organisation, many of us were not opposed to Hezbollah rockets shelling civilian targets in Israel."
And completely unrelated to everything else, I'm not sure which of the following has cheered me up more:
Webb and Mitchell coming up with the funniest sketch show I've seen in years:
or Solskjaer putting two past Newcastle in yesterday's training session:
And just as a reminder of just how good the fella was in his prime, here's him coming off the subs bench and scoring four goals in ten minutes against Forest:
Let's just say the past four years haven't been in vain.
Now to sort out work shenanigans.
Back on Friday.
PS You'll notice things only go a tad crazy when I'm too busy to blog (or attend Darfur rallies).
PPS Would now be a bad time to publish a quote about "pigs and monkeys" out of context? If people are going to get upset and start killing nuns over the words of 14th Century Byzantine Emperors, why not pull for the Big Daddy and get the supposed words of God out in the open?
I notice the usual suspects (see HP comments around March 06) aren't asking for the press not to reprint what the Pope said for fear of "poking a stick". Not this time. After their hysteria about the Danish cartoons I'd have thought they would, at least for consistency. Hypocrites.
True to form, Chomsky's chum Norman Finkelstein reacts in predictable fashion to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in the UK.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm snowed under at the moment so don't have time to give the article the thorough fisking it deserves. Perhaps one of the heavyweights over here could do the honours?
Here's my two-penneth for starters.
Disclaimer: Muscular Liberals is not responsible for any damage to any computer equipment as a result of visitors reading the following - you have been warned...
A central thesis of my book Beyond Chutzpah is that whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle its apologists sound the alarm that a "new anti-Semitism" is upon us. So, predictably, just after Israel faced another image problem due to its murderous destruction of Lebanon, a British all-party parliamentary group led by notorious Israel-firster Denis MacShane MP (Labor) released yet another report alleging a resurgence of anti-Semitism.
An All Party Parliamentary Report that was started last year was published to deliberately coincide with the ending of hostilities of a war begun by Hezbollah and finished by international pressure, to draw attention away from the results of Israel's actions in Lebanon? This Zionist Lobby is more powerful than I thought.
Quite how the All Party group knew in advance when the war would end is a mystery, unless Finkelstein is suggesting that the Zionist Lobby told the group to hold off and wait for a nod and a wink before publishing.
As Malachi who tipped me off on the article writes:
On this basis it sounds like MacShane and his committee were better informed than the Israeli cabinet!
In summary, Finkelstein appears to be saying
End of Israel's war with Hezbollah
Report on antisemitism in the UK
What are the odds of those two things occurring in the same month?
It's a conspiracy!!!
No doubt he'd have said the same had the Report been published during the war or even before it. That's the beauty of conspiracy theories - one size fits all.
The man is beyond parody.
More on conspiracy theory loons here, courtesy of David T at HP.
I've never bothered with Premiership Fantasy Football - blogging and whatnot already takes up far too much of my time.
But last year Doughnut Boy Andy suggested I have a go at the UEFA Champions League equivalent. No transfers to worry about until the knock-out stages and the system takes care of injuries and bans for you automatically if you can't be bothered.
Well worth a go.
Any readers who are up for it are welcome to set themselves up a team, drop me a line and I'll sort out a league.
From start to finish it took me about 30 minutes to sort out. Bear in mind that last year I came either 6th or 7th out of 8 teams, so the competition's not too hot. Something to do with me starting a week late and blowing my cash on what seemed to be a cheap Dennis Bergkamp, forgetting that, like Mr T, he doesn't do the plane thing. That was the away games gone then. Dang.
If you're up for it, start here but be quick - the matches start tonight...
If the Greenham women’s influence on disarmament was nil, their political effect was marginally greater. With other protesters, they tied the Labour Party to an electorally suicidal anti-nuclear policy for a decade, and debased feminism by associating it with bizarrely traditional sexual stereotypes. Whereas in 1914 the suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst had urged a “women’s right to serve”, the Greenham campaigners emphasised women’s virtues as nurturers and listeners.
Brian Walden on ITV asked one campaigner how a Soviet military assault should be countered. Her answer — “through love” — replaced what should have been ethical reflection with mawkish anti-intellectualism.
The Greenham women undoubtedly paid a personal price and endured public derision for their stand. Both were of their own making, and the second is well worth reviving.