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the sunni die-hards try to cling to their old dominance page 1 page 2

“[...] Both the strategy and the message must be: America will not leave Iraq until the Sunni Arabs, and all other groups and ethnicities, have abandoned the hope that violence will lead to political advantage. This condition is the definitional requirement for any peaceful state, and the job Bush started will not be completed until this condition is met, no matter how many Iraqi soldiers or police are on the job.”

“The nature of the targets the insurgents are choosing also speaks volumes about the problems the coalition faces. With few exceptions, the rebels are attacking Iraqis, both Sunnis and Shiites, with the aim of destroying support for the nascent Iraqi government. CENTCOM rightly argues that this shift reflects the insurgents' recognition of their inability to hurt American forces seriously, but that argument misses a more important point. If the insurgents are willing to focus their efforts on attacking Iraqis, then the real aim of the insurgency cannot simply be getting the Americans to leave. It must also be to prevent the establishment of a stable democratic government in Baghdad. Who has an interest in such a fight? Sunni Arabs who are unwilling to see a Shia-dominated government have such an interest. Why are they willing to kill Iraqis to prevent that from happening? Because they think it will work.

“THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION has always said that convincing the Sunni Arabs that they have a bright future in the new Iraq is an essential component to success, and that is quite true. There is, however, a precondition for the success of that endeavor: convincing them that they cannot hope to improve their bargaining position through force. But the coalition reaction to the continued terrorism in Iraq has been a mixed message. Repeated coalition statements about our intention to begin withdrawing as soon as possible, and about the need to turn the task of security over to the Iraqi forces, have tended to send the message that the insurgents can wait us out. President Bush's periodic statements that we will stay for as long as necessary have been drowned in the much louder noise of withdrawal-mania from below. And the absence of coalition forces from many of the cities in the Sunni Triangle has reinforced the message that the U.S. presence is fleeting and will lighten as the weeks go by.

“The real danger lies in the months ahead. So far, the Sunni Arabs in Iraq have proven unwilling to accept the possibility that they cannot control the country's destiny any more. They have manifested that unwillingness through violence and through a failed political strategy of boycotting the January elections to delegitimize them and now unsuccessfully trying to vote down a constitution that many Sunni Arabs feel leaves too much power in the hands of the Shiites and the Kurds. What will they do now that that effort has failed?”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#sunni_iraq_311005

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“democratic islam is like fried snowballs” Three GoldenYak(tm) award

An analysis of the fundamentalist dictatorship of Iran.
Interesting reading.

“I also got a taste of life behind the high garden walls of the houses of the middle and upper class, where the hijab immediately comes off and opinions are scathingly contemptuous of the aging revolutionary Islamic zeal of the country's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Within minutes of my arrival at one such house, bikini-clad women were teasingly inviting me to come naked into the swimming pool, while the men offered me a drink from a bottle marked "Ethanol 98% proof." ”

“ Khomeini was both the Lenin and the Stalin of Iran's Islamic revolution. The system he created has some similarities with a communist party-state. In Khomeinism, the Guardianship of the Jurist is an all-embracing political principle that is the functional equivalent of communism's Leading Role of the Party. Here, too, you have parallel hierarchies of ideological and state power, with the former always ultimately trumping the latter. The Islamic Republic's ideological half is almost entirely undemocratic: the Supreme Leader is assisted by a Guardian Council, an Islamic judiciary, and an Assembly of Experts. All of them are dominated by conservative clerics.The state institutions are more democratic, with a genuine if limited competition for power. However, the Guardian Council arbitrarily disqualifies thousands of would-be candidates for parliament, the regime controls the all-important state television channels, and security forces like the Basij militia can both mobilize and intimidate voters, so one cannot seriously talk of free and fair elections.”

“[...] It was Rafsanjani who this summer declared that "the system [nazam] has decided" on the resumption of uranium reprocessing. When leaders use that specific term nazam, "the system," everyone knows they mean the ideological command hierarchy right up to the Supreme Leader-God's representative on earth.”

“[...] Islam, Rezvani said, is "anthropologically, theologically, and epistemologically" incompatible with liberal democracy. Anthropologically, because liberal democracy is based on liberal individualism; theologically, because it excludes God from the public sphere; and epistemologically, because it is based on reason not faith. [...] ”

related material
socialist religions
islamic authoritarianism

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#democratic_communism_311005

the new two nations britain of socialism

“In "Sybil", Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th century Tory Prime Minister of Great Britain, famously described the British as "two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets: the rich and the poor." Today, the country remains starkly divided into two nations, though the causes and nature of this divide are radically different from Disraeli's time: there is the Britain of the South and East, which includes London and its Home Counties' hinterland as well as the East of England - a wealthy market economy which is individualist, cosmopolitan, internationalist and incredibly open and diverse - which we shall call Wealth-Creating Britain; then there is the rest of the country - a big-government collectivist society rather than a market economy, which has pockets of wealth generation (eg Edinburgh and its environs) but is overwhelmingly reliant on state spending and jobs, paid for from the taxes of Wealth-Creating Britain, to maintain its upkeep - which we shall call Dependency Britain. Let us look a little closer at both.

“Wealth-Creating Britain, which takes up only 16% of the British landmass, nevertheless generates 42% of Britain's economic annual output with 35% of the population. Wealth-Creating Britain is the country's California (without the sunshine but with more than just Hollywood culture): it is where the private sector generates most of the country's wealth, where most folk work for the private sector, a bulwark of the new knowledge industries, a key region of the global economy and a magnet for capital, migrants and university graduates from around the world. London is now the undisputed economic and cultural capital of Europe, the City of London the most powerful global financial centre in the world. Like California, Wealth-Creating Britain has problems, including a crumbling infrastructure, terrible state schools and serious pockets of poverty; but like California (and unlike Dependency Britain) it is also being driven by a dynamic market economy. Without Wealth-Creating Britain, the United Kingdom would not qualify for membership of the G7 or OECD, the two leading clubs of the world's richest nations. If London were an independent country, its gross domestic product (GDP) per person would be the fifth-highest in the world, almost as high America's and beaten only by special cases Luxembourg, (oil-rich) Norway and Switzerland. The average person in Wealth-Creating Britain generates £36,717 of gross value added (a good measure of economic output) per head compared with a pathetic £9,525 in Cornwall and £10,524 in the Scottish Highlands."

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#two_nations_britain_301005

porkbusters: coburn bringing the corrupt further into the light

coburn has brought a series of fiscal conservative ammendments before the us senate, almost all of them have been rejected, the following was not:

“The Senate did accept three Coburn amendments. One amendment required that all earmarks be included in the bill’s conference report. This amendment helps lift the veil of secrecy that conceals the process of inserting special projects into appropriations bills. Similar amendments have been attached to the Agriculture, Military Construction and Department of Defense Appropriations bills.”

one more step in making it harder for the bastards to hide their corruption?

Lead from the auroran sunset. More commentary from tas at that link.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#porkbusters_241005

movement in us-china co-operation and transparency

“Rumsfeld and Cao agreed to take a "personal initiative" to boost military educational exchanges, a senior Pentagon official said. Such contacts were key to "promoting the growth of our relations as a whole", Chinese President Hu Jintao told Rumsfeld in the presence of reporters.

“Rumsfeld used his first visit to China since taking office in 2001 to urge the Chinese to be more transparent about their military and to open up their political system to dispel fears about their intentions and ensure future prosperity.”

For all the scaremongering and hype, this is the obvious rational direction for US-Chinese relations. Nor do I have great expectations that either power is directed by either maniacs or fools.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#china_usa_201005

turkeys do not vote for christmas - socialism and the attenuation of responsibility

It is vital you realise the UK Bliar government, as with all socialist governments, is red in tooth and claw. Step by step, PM Tony Bliar and Chabncellor Gordon Brown are making an ever increasing percentage of the population into clients or dependents.

Dependents who are raised as slaves to the state are no different from any other domesticated stock. Their greatest fear is they may someday have to shift for themselves, to stand on their own feet Naturally; socialist power seekers will exploit this and offer the sheep a free ride any time any ‘reformer’ suggests opening up and freeing the economy. No dole queue addict is going to vote for independence.

Hence the desperate drive of Bliar and co to get as much dependency into the system as possible to bolster their electoral chances.

Socialists, who ever encourage fools to believe that a free ride is available, inevitably undermine the freedom and prosperity of any country where they gain any power.

Thus, dependency becomes difficult to remove in a society where the dependents are given a vote. Socialism is a dangerous social disease.

“The same holds true for police officials, public surgeons, public school teachers, etc. All mistakes that are made by public employees are often paid for by others. The bill is paid by taxpayers, by people sent to jail mistakenly, by people killed in public hospitals, by Iraqi citizens, etc. Not even people who earn private salaries are fully responsible under the State. Under the larger and larger safety nets created by the state, firms get more and more dependant on public help in order to survive. Big companies lobby for subsidies, duties on imports, and other kinds of help. Banks and large industries such as airlines hope to be declared "too big to fail." ”

“When democratic or communist institutions have been established for several decades, the way back to liberty is very difficult. People become used to safety nets and responsibility shifting. The transition process must be very difficult. We do not know what the transition would be like from partially responsible societies (under democratic regimes) to fully responsible societies (libertarianism). This has never happened before.

“But Eastern European countries have experienced in recent years the transition from irresponsible societies (under communist regimes) to partially responsible ones (under democratic regimes). From these transitions, we've learned that people cannot learn to be responsible overnight. The more a society loses touch with mechanisms of cause and effect, the more there is going to be a demand for shifting blame. This demand might take the form of votes to Communist Parties.

“Freedom is not easy to cope with once people have become accustomed to slavery. I recall a movie (I cannot remember the name) about people who had been set free from prison after 40 years. Their reintroduction in the free world where people expect you to be responsible for what you do was not easy. Similarly, when you have lived for 40 years under communism, the way back is tremendously difficult.” [Quoted from mises.org]

And in Germany (with the curse of proportional representation):

“The perverse result is that these people exercise the decisive influence over a whole country and prevent the parties that have a will for reforms from doing anything at all. The roots of this evil situation are again in the welfare state: after 1990 the government brought the welfare state to Eastern Germany and prevented economic development under free-market conditions. The result was high unemployment and inefficient production.”

“[ ...] In Eastern Germany more than 26% of the people voted for the Communists, almost nobody did in Western Germany.” [Quoted from mises.org]

Of course, Schroeder is, and has been, the master of offering the free lunch; as seen by his previous ‘victory’ to the detriment of Germany and the West.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#responsibility_121005

freedom of speech and heckling

The author looks like a market fundamentalist, but the article has an interesting, if shallow, point of view.

The following quote from the article would make a lot more sense in a world where the media and political machines were not deeply enmeshed, corrupt and inaccessible to those without money and power. Fortunately, that is a world that the net is steadily making more accessible.

“The anarchic concept of freedom, of course, is present in the assertions of Communists and socialists that their freedom of speech is violated because they are threatened with arrest for attempting to disrupt the speech of an invited speaker by shouting him down or by speaking at the same time. This assertion by the Communists and socialists neglects the fact that their action constitutes the use of someone else's property against his will - namely, the use of the meeting room against the will of the owner or lessee, who wants the invited speaker to speak, not the disrupters. It is thus the action of the Communists and socialists which is a violation of freedom in this instance - a genuine violation of the freedom of speech.

“It follows from this discussion of the erroneous claims of the Communists and socialists that a prohibition on arbitrarily shouting "fire" in a crowded theater should not be construed as any kind of limitation on the freedom of speech. Arbitrarily shouting "fire" constitutes a violation of the property rights of the theater owner and of the other ticket holders, whom it prevents from using their property as they wish. When one holds the context of the rational concept of freedom, it becomes clear that it is no more a violation of freedom of speech to prohibit such speech, than it is to prohibit the speech of disruptive hecklers, or the speech of an uninvited guest who might choose to deliver a harangue in one's living room. Violations of freedom of speech occur only when the speaker has the consent of the property owners involved and then is prohibited from speaking by means of the initiation of physical force - in particular, by the government or by private individuals acting with the sanction of the government.”

Link from a correspondent.

related material
socialist religions

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#heckling_111005

another sound speech from george bush

The most foolhardy response is to imagine the jihadist/socialists do not mean exactly what they say.
Hiding under the bedclothers or seeking appeasement is not a sane response.

“They achieved their goal for a time in Afghanistan. Now they've set their sights on Iraq.

“Bin Laden has stated the whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries: It's either victory and glory or misery and humiliation.

“The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity, and we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.

“Third, the militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.

“With greater economic and military and political power, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to assault the American people and to blackmail our government into isolation.

“Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. Well, they are fanatical and extreme, and they should not be dismissed.

“Our enemy is utterly committed. As [Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi has vowed, "We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life."

“And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history.

“Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply.

“Defeating a militant network is difficult because it thrives like a parasite on the suffering and frustration of others.

“The radicals exploit local conflicts to build a culture of victimization in which someone else is always to blame and violence is always the solution.

“They exploit resentful and disillusioned young men and women, recruiting them through radical mosques as the pawns of terror.

“Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses.

“Osama bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers.

“He assures them that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride.

“Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life.

“Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be in an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies.

“In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination, and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves.

“Under their rule, they have banned books and desecrated historical monuments and brutalized women.

“They seek to end dissent in every form and to control every aspect of life and to rule the soul itself.

“While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing for a future of oppression and misery.

“Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent.

“Second, we're determined to deny weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes and to their terrorist allies who would use them without hesitation.

“Fourth, we're determined to deny the militant's control of any nation which they would use as a home base and a launching pad for terror.

“Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision. And they end up alienating decent people across the globe.

“Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure until those societies collapse in corruption and decay.

“Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent until the day that free men and women defeat them.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#bush_speech_on_terror_071005

rank dishonesty in the fossil media - picture essay

The commentary with the pictures is far too generous.

[Picked up by the auroran sunset].

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#media_dishonesty_041005

why the soft headed dogmatists both do not understand bush - and revile him

Recommended reading, but not an easy ride!

“Bush's formulation to some extent echoes Hamilton's. Neither Bush nor Hamilton emphasizes imminent danger, as would Daniel Webster. Quite to the contrary, the point for Hamilton, as for Bush, is distant dangers. Hamilton recommends a preventive war stratagem to meet "the gathering storm" - just as Bush over two centuries later would justify his preemptive strike on Iraq to meet "a grave and gathering danger." It was a policy Bush would reaffirm in his otherwise "idealistic" Second Inaugural, calling it his "most solemn duty" to protect the country from "emerging threats." Similarly, Bush's emphasis in his Second Inaugural on tyranny's universal threat is, in its way, a reflection of Hamilton's warning against dangerous maxims. Both Bush and Hamilton show a keen awareness of the role ideas play in shaping reality and, ultimately, in determining the fate of nations. Today's realists, it is true, claim Hamilton as one of their own, but their realism is pinched by comparison. More so than their classical forebears, modern-day realists emphasize stability above all else while overlooking the powerful role ideals play in the shaping of human affairs. In his "Fourteen Points for Realists," Owen Harries argued that America's "principal concerns should be to maintain regional equilibrium and stability," and he cautioned against "listen[ing] to those who sneer at the maintenance of stability, order, and equilibrium." After America's Iraq intervention, Harries lamented that America "has become the greatest revisionist force, the greatest agent of change, in the world." Similarly, the liberal realist Zbigniew Brzesinski, in his book The Choice (2004), described the Bush policy of preventive war as "strategically regressive" and complained that it "lacks a balanced concern for order and justice." To modern-day realists, the Bush Doctrine with its emphasis on democracy-promotion and preventive war seems destabilizing and dangerous: never mind that the doctrine itself was a response to the shock of September 11. That realists cleave, still, to a nonexistent pre-9/11 status quo bespeaks a certain naïveté, or even a certain kind of idealism. Perhaps this is one reason Bush in his addresses so often charges that those "who call themselves 'realists'" have in fact "lost contact with a fundamental reality." ”

marker at abelard.org

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson 1841

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#dogmatists_300905

david davis, top contender for uk tory party leadership, on british foreign policy

The UK Conservative Party continues its marathon quest for a serious leader.

Now, a cut from a speech of one of the main contenders, David Davis, on foreign policy:

“We must be able to defend our land and our people. We must ensure unhindered access to our supplies and our markets. We must keep strong alliances in Europe, America and other like-minded nations.” [Quoted from guardian.co.uk]

I could almost feel comfortable with this fellow. Too much on Europe, but sensible stuff. I s’pose he will have to keep that out of his more public inane speeches. His bow to ‘drugs’ looks like appeasement to the old fools, but it could be taken as a comment on the criminalisation idiocy.

Davis seems to have a memory and to study, instead of embracing vacuous-bliar-speak. I can not see how any Tory can take on Bliar while copying his inanities. Bliar is designed for the inane. Removing the pest will have to take a positive path, not an attempt to out-inane him.

Internationally, Davis seems very generally sound:

“Doing the right thing and doing what is in your own interests more often than not point in the same direction - particularly in foreign policy.

“So we need to promote both democracy and development, because these lead to stability and security for us - as well as benefiting the countries that currently languish in tyranny and poverty.

“And we have to promote the rule of law and good governance, because these are the precursors of democracy and development.

“Today it makes sense to be concerned for sub-Saharan Africa - not just because of the unacceptable tragedies of suffering, poverty, and disease, but because glaring global inequalities breed instability. So we must use every lever at our disposal to attack corruption and advance property rights.

Time to add one to his score.
Next to see a similar text on his attitude to the domestic situation.

marker at abelard.org

And a speech from Malcolm Rifkind, with acres of verbiage-

I liked this bit!

“Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson while they were on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."

“ "What does that tell you, Watson?"

“Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Holmes?" Holmes was silent for a minute then spoke. "Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent!"



“ This has been a powerfully entrenched image. But it no longer applies as it did. We will continue to struggle unless we understand that New Labour's electoral success has been based on a ruthless determination never to be outflanked on the right; that is, never to leave free for us any part of the line that we traditionally occupied.”

Which amounts to oldnewoldlabour is running scared while surreptitiously they eat at the foundations of a free law-based society. Meanwhile, the Tory old fogeys are distracted by the nonsense. In many ways Tories like this are caught in their own idiotic cliches.

Heavens, Rifkind waffles and says nothing - a typical lightweight academic. He looks to be sinking to me. Time to take another full 1 off his score. I cannot see him recovering, but he has a last chance to say something, anything!

All this history from Rifkind is fine, and I am glad I saw Holmes’ practicality quote, but where is this speaker headed if anywhere. This should not be a history lesson for a dull 5th form by a dull ‘teacher’. This is supposed to be about the real world, politics, getting Bliar out of Tory House in Downing Street.

Rifkind seems a harmless caring sort of cove, with his heart in approximately the right place. I can see him as a minor minister in the Home Office [Interior Ministry] or some such, but I cannot see him near to handling high office effectively, let alone being Prime Minister! Can you imagine him taking on Bliar, I can’t - he’d start waffling.

One-nation Tory indeed, he is living in his history lessons. How many would even know what he was talking about? Rifkind has spent too much time with the old men and far too little on the streets. Send him a Beatles cd, or even a Stones one, he might get up to date - for 1970. And he will still be 35 years behind the parade.

More cringe-making from Rifkind:

“We are in the middle of a great debate about the future of the party. Some of our opponents will attempt to mock that debate and to ridicule those who are taking part in it. If we are wise we can demonstrate that we are behaving as mature, sensible adults determined to give the public a real and attractive choice so that Labour can be removed at the next election.”

He would be ignored or even mocked at the students’ union, not seen as a “mature, sensible adult”.

marker at abelard.org

Latest account on the current eight contenders for the Conservative Party leadership!
So I raise David Davis 1 point
and sink Malcolm Rifkind 1 point

    Scores out of 10:
  • Clarke: 0 or minus
  • Rifkind:1.45
  • Cameron 2.2
  • Davis 5.6
  • Fox 3.6
  • Lansley 1.1
  • Leigh 2.0
  • May 2.0

Davis moves past half-way, so maybe he is a serious leadership candidate. I am not seeing much competition for him so far.

At least we have the good news that the socialist coup in the Tory Party has lost the vote in their latest attempt to gerrymander the leadership selection procedure.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#tory_leadership_290905

ye gads! blair gets philosophy! - the auroran sunset

Don't tell me blair is starting to think his way out of socialism!

“The pace of change can either overwhelm us, or make our lives better and our country stronger.

“What we can't do is pretend it is not happening.

“I hear people say we have to stop and debate globalisation. You might as well debate whether autumn should follow summer.”

Taken from his party conference speech. What with doing the right thing with Iraq and speeches like that, one could almost start to grudgingly respect the bastard, despite the compulsive lying and breakneck destruction of British rule of law! Quite incredible. Is this really Blair?!

A large part of the speech is dedicated to in turn telling different groups in Britain and its Labour Party to grow the fuck up. It is well worth a read and/or watch.

People get the government they want/deserve. The British have made it very clear that they are unwilling to stand up for their liberty or take responsibility for their lives. The inevitable result is a Blair and a government determined to make it impossible for them to not behave as they 'ought'. If you behave as a child, you will be treated as a child. Britain made its choice over a decade ago and continues to reaffirm that choice every day they fail to take their lives into their own hands and rejoin the adult world.

The British, however, seem to be incredibly lucky to have got themselves a largely benevolent dictator, one who seem determined to look after the sheep rather than just fleece them. He even seems to think that one day he'll get them to grow up and stand on their own feet:

“One day when I am asked by someone whose neighbourhood is plagued with anti-social behaviour; or whose local school is failing or hospital is poor, "what are you going to do about it?", I want to be able to reply: "We have given you the resources. We have given you the powers. Now tell me what you are going to do about it." ”

Good luck to him!
Of course someone like me might change that to "we haven't stolen your resources, all power remains in your hands, now what are you going to do about it?", but then i am no socialist, nor am i running a kindergarten.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#blair_speech_280905

the we-are-victims-of-our-goverment mentality versus let’s-just-do-it reality

The 'Stuff Happens' Presidency, The Washington Post
“[...] The problem goes beyond the fact that we can't count on our government to be there for us in catastrophes. It's that a can't-do spirit, a shouldn't-do spirit, guides the men who run the nation [...] ”

“The radical-capitalist conservatives of the past quarter-century not only haven't supported the public expenditures, they don't even believe there is such a thing as the public good. Let the Dutch build their dikes through some socialistic scheme of taxing and spending; that isn't the American way.”

This is a very silly shallow article which, never the less, is interesting.

Walmart has been giving rescue equipment away in the region and has been keeping supplies in stock without gouging, while the government is not taking over and forming the socialist paradise beloved of the “government should do something” brand of sheep.

Bush is even talking of one of the biggest public spends of all time for rebuilding New Orleans. This is a stupid proposal, but surely what people like the Washington Post are bleating for?

Meanwhile, it is the USA that remains the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth, while every socialist paradise either slowly fades away or gets into killing by the millions.

It is true that, in the USA, people are expected to shift for themselves. It is also true that the levels of charity there are very high.

It is that manner of open self-reliant society that has made, and keeps, the USA rich. It does also mean some of the weakest fail and fall.

In the socialist paradises, like the socialist Russian empire, it is estimated that about 2% of the population ended in gulags of one form or another, often as a form of slave labour.

In the USA, such people have often ended on the streets. This is a problem for every society bar none. It is not a special problem of the USA.

In the UK, the government even pays the feckless and incompetent to have children for the benefits. Much of Europe makes ‘work’ for government parasites, and still has 10% un-‘employment’ rates.

The American system, in fact, appears to work better in terms of outcomes. Socialism is merely a braindead theory that does not, in fact, work at any level over any reasonable time-scale.

Societies, in general, have the problem of increasing numbers who cannot keep up, or prefer not to work. In the USA, the choice is to starve. In the serious socialist paradises, it is the gulag. In the evolving socialist paradises, it is gradual reduction of wealth and removal of responsibility - a slow corruption and breakdown of society and ethics.

These are choices societies make...

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#victims_action_270905

reforming the un

It would be more relevant, than most current suggestions, for the aspiring four and the permanent five members of the Security Council to drop the Chinese dictatorship and work to form a new united democratic organisation with clear civil rights standards, meanwhile allowing the UNO to either rot, or set about making serious reforms.

Criteria for membership could be developed along the lines currently being used by Freedom House and others. See first three entries on world information and data resources.

Clearly this is the direction in which the serious world leaders are moving:
see
bush, blair’s speeches to the un.

“Nonetheless, the so-called Group of Four - Brazil, Germany, India and Japan - that aspire to permanent seats on an expanded council have not given up.”

“[....] five permanent members with veto power - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.” [Quoted from washingtonpost.com]

Here is a somewhat cynical, but realistic, summary of the corrupt heart of the UN by Mark Steyn. It is worth a quick read if you are unaware of the depths of the corruption.

“So I hope that by the time you read this the deliberations at Turtle Bay are poised somewhere between paralysis and meltdown. The polite fictions of Kofi Annan really belong to the lost world of 10 September 2001. It was very agreeable if you were one of the bespoke chaps cruising from summit to summit - UN, EU, G8 - mediating the cares of the planet. And it was all terribly sophisticated, as sophisticated as an urbane Paris boulevardier from the fin de siècle, impeccably coiffed and coutured but riddled with syphilis. Since Osama bin Laden blew apart those polite fictions, the effective international relationships - America and Australia, America and India - have taken place without the construction of permanent secretariats. Let's keep it that way. The best way to avoid having to 'reform' transnational bureaucracies is not to have them in the first place.”

marker at abelard.org

“Japanese officials said earlier Tokyo would negotiate a reduction of dues. Japan pays nearly 20 percent of the UN administrative budget of $1.2 billion, more than any UN member except for the United States, which pays 22%.” [Quoted from tvnz.co.nz]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#un_reform_200905

katrina, more fossil media and politician’s baloney

“Such reporting as I have seen from Europe also seems distorted, although for a different reason. Candidate Gerhard Schroeder in Germany favorably compared his own presence at the rainfall-caused floods in southern Germany a few years back with the "inadequate" response of President Bush in face of Katrina. This comparison showed that Herr Schroeder had not the faintest sense of the magnitude of Katrina. If a storm with the frontal breadth and wind velocity of Katrina had hit the German coastline along the North Sea, it would have leveled many buildings along that entire coast like matchsticks, and driven its devastation inland to cover 90,000 square miles of Germany. It would have torn down bridges, pushed aside some highway overpasses, covered other autobahns beneath impassable mounds of rubble, thrown down radio and television and cell-phone towers, and uprooted entire forests.

“If Katrina had hit in the south of France, it would have smashed the entire southern coastline and devastated at least a third of the country from there on northwards. If Katrina had hit the west coast of France, its front - which measured 541 miles across - would have unleashed 140-mph winds upon the entire western coastline and roared inwards to cover 90,000 square miles of France from west to east.

“Winds devastating an entire 90,000 square miles of the United Kingdom
would have devastated nearly every mile of it.” [Quoted from nationalreview.com]

marker at abelard.org

“Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:

“ "The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.

“ "For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Florida after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three."

“ "Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out." ” [Quoted from jewishworldreview.com]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#katrina_160905

bush, blair’s speeches to the un

From George W. Bush’s speech
“Sometimes our security will require confronting threats directly, and so a great coalition of nations has come together to fight the terrorists across the world. We've worked together to help break up terrorist networks that cross borders, and rout out radical cells within our own borders. We've eliminated terrorist sanctuaries. We're using our diplomatic and financial tools to cut off their financing and drain them of support. And as we fight, the terrorists must know that the world stands united against them. We must complete the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will put every nation on record: The targeting and deliberate killing by terrorists of civilians and non-combatants cannot be justified or legitimized by any cause or grievance.

“And the world's free nations are determined to stop the terrorists and their allies from acquiring the terrible weapons that would allow them to kill on a scale equal to their hatred. For that reason, more than 60 countries are supporting the Proliferation Security Initiative to intercept shipments of weapons of mass destruction on land, on sea, and in air. The terrorists must know that wherever they go, they cannot escape justice.

“Later today, the Security Council has an opportunity to put the terrorists on notice when it votes on a resolution that condemns the incitement of terrorist acts -- the resolution that calls upon all states to take appropriate steps to end such incitement. We also need to sign and implement the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, so that all those who seek radioactive materials or nuclear devices are prosecuted and extradited, wherever they are. We must send a clear message to the rulers of outlaw regimes that sponsor terror and pursue weapons of mass murder: You will not be allowed to threaten the peace and stability of the world.
”—
“Doha is an important step toward a larger goal: We must tear down the walls that separate the developed and developing worlds. We need to give the citizens of the poorest nations the same ability to access the world economy that the people of wealthy nations have, so they can offer their goods and talents on the world market alongside everyone else. We need to ensure that they have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams, provide for their families, and live lives of dignity and self-reliance.”

“The work of democracy is larger than holding a fair election; it requires building the institutions that sustain freedom. Democracy takes different forms in different cultures, yet all free societies have certain things in common. Democratic nations uphold the rule of law, impose limits on the power of the state, treat women and minorities as full citizens. Democratic nations protect private property, free speech and religious expression. Democratic nations grow in strength because they reward and respect the creative gifts of their people. And democratic nations contribute to peace and stability because they seek national greatness in the achievements of their citizens, not the conquest of their neighbors.”

“The United Nations has taken the first steps toward reform. The process will continue in the General Assembly this fall, and the United States will join with others to lead the effort. And the process of reform begins with members taking our responsibilities seriously. When this great institution's member states choose notorious abusers of human rights to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, they discredit a noble effort, and undermine the credibility of the whole organization. If member countries want the United Nations to be respected -- respected and effective, they should begin by making sure it is worthy of respect.

marker at abelard.org

From Tony Blair’s speech
“But he [Blair] said it was now recognised that states' sovereignty could be overridden by the UN when people were suffering.”

“ "For the first time at this summit we are agreed that states do not have the right to do what they will within their own borders but that we in the name of humanity have a common duty to protect people where their own governments will not." ”

The world is a’changing. No longer is it easily accepted that criminals who capture states may murder, torture and impoverish millions with impunity. To treat such criminals as having the rights of legitimate states was always surreal. Only now are the free nations in a position to act to remove these lunatics.

Note: both these items have a video link to the speech concerned.

related material
the just war

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#bush_blair_un_150905

a corrupt fossil media and corrupt politicians

“So there are two problems that transcend New Orleans and indeed are global. We live in an unusual time in which the mainstream press is obsessed not with improving the instrument of government or national security, but for partisan purposes is enmeshed in a banal battle to vindicate their earlier criticism of the war in Iraq. Secondly, the therapeutic press gives license to this culture of blame that pacifies all sorts of angry constituents without ever addressing why they are angry in the first place. The fiasco in New Orleans has simply become a microcosm of a larger world-wide pandemic of an abdication of responsibility, in which few governments admit culpability for their own inept and fraudulent actions. Why should they when they know that the American media will only help them perfect this already near perfect excuse?

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#hanson_no_100905

new orleans

Worth a quick read for realism and orientation.

“ 'It's a killer,' the coroner, Frank Minyard, told a reporter a few years back, referring to the lifestyle. Minyard, who doubles, naturally, as a jazz musician, also offered the typically fatalistic view that 'when the good Lord wants you, he takes you' - never mind the considerable hand you may have had in it, beginning with the choice of places to live.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#on_new_orleans_080905

consitutional limits on bush’s action in new orleans

The Posse Comitatus Act

  • The Posse Comitatus Act was set up during the American Civil War.
  • The PC Act specifically forbids federal government to commit active duty troops for “law enforcement” activities.
  • National Guard units are not considered to be active duty troops, unless they are “Federalized”.
  • Thus, at the time of the Hurricane Katrina event, the governor of Louisiana was still in control of the National Guard units. She would not ask for Federal backing of the National Guard. If she did, the Guard troops would be immediately forbidden from re-establishing law in New Orleans.

    Levels of sovereignity

  • Individual American states are sovereign in their own right.
  • These “state rights” are respected by Federal government, just as the states defer to the power of the Federal government.
  • This is a reason why Americans tend to favour former governors over, for instance, US Senators. Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush II are all former governors.
  • The Louisiana National Guard generals say, “Yes, ma’am” to their state’s governor and not to the president.
  • Despite his global power, the American president cannot “order” a sitting governor to do anything. He is a president, not a prime minister.
  • Federal judges can issue such orders.

Thanks to Amused

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#bush_new_orleans_080905

background information on new orleans

"When I pressed my oilman informant for the reason Houston prevailed, he gave me a look of pity for my naiveté, and said, "Corruption." Anyone making a fortune in New Orleans based on access to any kind of public resources would find himself coping with all sorts of hands extended for palm-greasing. Permits, taxes, fees, and outright bribes would be a never-ending nightmare. Houston, in contrast, was interested in growth, jobs, prosperity, and extending a welcoming hand to newcomers. New Orleans might be a great place to spend a pleasant weekend, but Houston is the place to build a business.” [Quoted from americanthinker.com]

marker at abelard.org

“Other federal and state officials pointed to Louisiana's failure to measure up to national disaster response standards, noting that the federal plan advises state and local emergency managers not to expect federal aid for 72 to 96 hours, and base their own preparedness efforts onthe need to be self-sufficient for at least that period. "Fundamentallyn the first breakdown occurred at the local level," said one state official who works with FEMA. 'Did the city have the situational awareness of what was going on within its borders? The answer was no.” [Quoted from instapundit.com]

marker at abelard.org

“Hurricane protection levees have been built in many coastal communities, especially the New Orleans area, to protect life and property from storm surge. While these levees do a very good job in protecting communities during minimal hurricanes, sophisticated computer modeling of storm surge effects indicate most levees in southeast Louisiana would be overtopped from the storm surge generated by a direct strike by a major hurricane. The result would be widespread flooding. [...] ” [Quoted from the City of New Orleans]

marker at abelard.org

“ About the Office of Emergency Preparedness” [City of New Orleans]

“Mission statement:
The Office of Emergency Preparedness is responsible for the response and coordination of those actions needed to protect the lives and property of its citizens from natural or man-made disasters as well as emergency planning for the City of New Orleans.

“Our primary responsibility is to advise the Mayor, the City Council and Chief Administrative Officer regarding emergency preparedness activities and operations.We coordinate all city departments and allied state and federal agencies which respond to city-wide disasters and emergencies through the development and constant updating of an integrated multi-hazard plan.

“All requests for federal disaster assistance and federal funding subsequent to disaster declarations are also made through this office.

“Our authority is defined by the Louisiana Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act of 1993, Chapter 6 Section 709, Paragraph B:

“Each Parish shall maintain a disaster agency which, except as otherwise
provided under this act, has jurisdiction over and serves the entire
parish.”

marker at abelard.org

“New Orleans has one of the highest murder rates in the country. By mid-August of this year, 192 murders had been committed in New Orleans, "nearly 10 times the national average," reported the Associated Press. Gunfire is so common in New Orleans -- and criminals so fierce -- that when university researchers conducted an experiment last year in which they had cops fire 700 blank rounds in a neighborhood on a random afternoon "no one called to report the gunfire," reported AP.”

“ Conservative black leaders have been mau-maued into silence whenever they tell the truth about this barbarism and call for dramatic reform. But they are the ones who must lead the city now, and the phonies at organizations like the NAACP who despite all their rhetoric haven't done a thing to help the black underclass should step aside. Hurricane Katrina has made vivid the civilizational collapse they have long tried to conceal.” [Quoted from americanprowler.com]

marker at abelard.org

From various sources

Area estimated hit by Katrina: 350,000 km²
For comparison: Spain: 499,440 km²
  Cuba: 111,000 km²

on Louisiana  
  Land: 112,927 km²
  Water: 21,455 km² (16%)
  Population: 4.5 million
  GDP: $124 billion
The ethnic makeup of the state is: 62.5% White
32.5% Black
2.4% Hispanic
1.2% Asian
0.6% Native American
1.1% Mixed race
 

on New Orleans  
Much of New Orleans is below sea level
New Orleans city Population: 484,674
Greater New Orleans Population: 1,337,726
The ethnic makeup of the city is: 67.25% African American,
28.05% White
0.20% Native American,
2.26% Asian,
0.02% Pacific Islander,
0.93% from other races, and
1.28% from two or more races.
3.06% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#new_orleans_060905

useful insight article on iraq

Recommended. Three GoldenYak(tm) award

“I could undertake to defend that statement against any member of Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and I know in advance that none of them could challenge it, let alone negate it. Before March 2003, Abu Ghraib was an abattoir, a torture chamber, and a concentration camp. Now, and not without reason, it is an international byword for Yankee imperialism and sadism. Yet the improvement is still, unarguably, the difference between night and day. How is it possible that the advocates of a post-Saddam Iraq have been placed on the defensive in this manner? And where should one begin?"[Quoted from page 1]

“ [...] However, having debated almost all of the spokespeople for the antiwar faction, both the sane and the deranged, I was recently asked a question that I was temporarily unable to answer. "If what you claim is true," the honest citizen at this meeting politely asked me, "how come the White House hasn't told us?"

“I do in fact know the answer to this question. So deep and bitter is the split within official Washington, most especially between the Defense Department and the CIA, that any claim made by the former has been undermined by leaks from the latter. (The latter being those who maintained, with a combination of dogmatism and cowardice not seen since Lincoln had to fire General McClellan, that Saddam Hussein was both a "secular" actor and--this is the really rich bit--a rational and calculating one.)” [Quoted from page 2]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#iraq_insight_300805

freedom/dictatorship tensions come steadily into the open

“As they prepare to join forces for their largest military exercise in modern history, China and Russia have billed this week's maneuvers as a cooperative fight against terrorism. But they are also sending a message to Washington, analysts say: Don't push the two former Cold War adversaries too far.”

The supposed ‘analysis’ in the Chicago Tribune is rather silly. The Chinese economy is becoming ever more entangled with the West; and Russia has more than enough problems with its shrinking population and vast territories.

The major powers cannot both resist modernisation and still advance.
The major powers cannot afford increasing maverick primitivist groups aspiring to megaweaponry.
The major powers cannot afford the disruption of serious conflict as fossil fuels become ever more treacherous.

This sort of pseudo-academic ‘analysis’ in the fossil media generates unnecessary and unhelpful fears among populations. It also encourages poor reasoning.

The major powers are increasingly wrapped in mutual interests. Any politician (or would-be puppetmaster) who does not recognise this is capable of undermining the best interests of nations and peoples. In the modern world, it is essential that politics is driven by rational considerations, not by emotional spasms.

Realistic consideration tends to drive the political future. Emotionalism is no longer even affordable in an increasing crowded and technically advanced world.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#freedom_dictatorship_190805

‘right’ to privacy, the american constitution and state power

“Three current justices - William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - have questioned whether a right to privacy exists. The court doesn't need a fourth, not least because the anti-privacy argument is a denial of history and basic American values.

“In fact, the right to privacy is older than the republic, protected in the Constitution and affirmed repeatedly in a century of court rulings before the abortion controversy. Though the word privacy isn't in the Constitution, the "right to be let alone," as Justice Louis Brandeis put it, permeates the document.

“What are freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom from unlawful searches and the like other than respect for privacy? Leading Founders urged adoption of the Constitution as necessary to protect "private rights." And the Ninth Amendment was added to assure that other rights already taken for granted were "retained by the people". ”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#right_to_privacy_170805

 

seems the vatican does not learn fast

The Vatican took 400 years to apologise for their behaviour over Galileo. Now they want to pick a fight with Darwin. Even Bush may suffer from such foolishness or could he do any else and remain popular with his voters?

“A deep rift has opened within the Catholic church over the theory of evolution and its compatibility with the Christian faith.

“The Vatican's chief astronomer, George Coyne, has rebuffed controversial comments made by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in The New York Times on 7 July that evolution is incompatible with a belief in God.”

“In his article, Schönborn dismissed as "rather vague and unimportant" a statement made by Pope John Paul II in 1996 which seemed to indicate the church's acceptance of evolution. "Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science," Schönborn wrote.”

It is always strange when a priest tries to comment and be taken seriously on science, or a pop star wants to tell Bush how to run the world.

Arrogance is one of the most amazing of human failings. The beginning of knowledge is some notion of the limitations of your own scope.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#vatican_060805

focusing the war against the jihadi cults [5 short pages.]

National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism

“The final product reflects changes of profound significance, Pentagon officials say. First, the enemy is now defined more broadly than just al Qaeda. Second, the Pentagon has now officially moved away from what has been widely seen as a unilateral American approach. "It's not a military project alone," Feith explained, "and the United States cannot do it by itself alone."

“Going global. The new strategy, for the first time, formally directs military commanders to go after a list of eight pressure points at which terrorist groups could be vulnerable: ideological support, weapons, funds, communications and movement, safe havens, foot soldiers, access to targets, and leadership. Each U.S. geographic command is to follow a systematic approach, first collecting intelligence on any of the two dozen target groups that are operating in its area of responsibility and then developing a plan to attack all eight nodes for each of those groups.

“Going after high-value targets like Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi, his emir in Iraq, is still a big part of the strategy but only a part. Three less direct approaches will now receive much greater emphasis: helping partner nations confront terrorism, going after supporters of terrorist organizations, and helping the State Department-led campaign to reduce the ideological appeal of terrorism. The latter category includes such things as military-provided humanitarian aid. U.S. aid to tsunami victims, for example, dramatically swung Asian public opinion from a negative to a positive view of America [...].”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0508.php#nmsp4wt_040805


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