Wednesday, November 30, 2005


There could be something to Iraq as terrorist flypaper after all:
A Belgian-born convert to Islam has become the first European woman suicide bomber, killing herself recently in Iraq, French intelligence officials have claimed.

Unconfirmed reports on RTL France radio, said that the woman's Belgian nationality had been established by her home country's security service, the Sûreté de l'État.
So, what does a female martyr get in lieu of 72 virgins? Maybe the ghost of Catherine the Great's horse.
Update: The Brussels Journal has more:
Last night, the Belgian police arrested 14 people. Nine of them are Belgians, mostly of foreign origin, three are Moroccans and two are Tunisians. They are said to belong to the same network as the woman suicide bomber. Today a 27-year old man was arrested in Paris. He is suspected of belonging to a group that takes Jihadists from Belgium to Iraq.
The article also gives a brief overview of Belgium's anti-terrorism effort, making it well worth reading.


Lefty academic blogger Tim Dunlop is absolutely rapt in a Dana Milbank WaPo column. Here's Dunlop's entire post, in which, to his credit, he makes a bit of a grope in the general direction of humour:
Donald Rumsfeld has two new plans. First, don't stop torture: When UPI's Pam Hess asked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that "obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility" other than to voice disapproval.

But [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, standing at Rumsfeld's side] had a different view. "It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it," the general said.

Rumsfeld interjected: "I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it."

But Pace meant what he said. "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it," he said, firmly.

Up yours, Rummy.

The second plan is a cunning one to end the insurgency in Iraq:
Last weekend, while other Americans were watching football and eating leftover turkey, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ended the Iraqi insurgency.

It was easy, really: He declared that the insurgents would, henceforth, no longer be called insurgents.

"Over the weekend, I thought to myself, 'You know, that gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit,' " Rumsfeld, at a Pentagon briefing yesterday, said of his ban on the I-word. "It was an epiphany," he added, throwing his hands in the air.

He also decreed war to be peace, freedom to be slavery, ignorance to be strength and that he would in future be known as Dimples 'Hung-Like-A-Horse' O'Toole, the handsomest man in the world.

"It was an epiphany," he added, throwing his hands in the air.

If you follow the link you'll find Milbank's column has snippets of quotes with reams of embellishment in between. So, it's worth the effort to take a look at what was actually said at the press conference:
Q Sir, taking on Charlie's question a bit -- and I can give you actual examples from coalition forces who talked to me when I was over there -- about excesses of the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Defense, and that is in dealing with prisoners or in arresting people and how they're treated after they're arrested. What are the obligations and what are the rights of the U.S. military over there in dealing with that? Obviously, Iraq is a sovereign country now, but the United States is responsible for training and expects to turn over the security mission to them. So what is the U.S. obligation in addressing that, preventing that? And what can we do? And what are we doing?

SEC. RUMSFELD: That's a fair question. I'll start, and Pete, you may want to finish. But we are working very hard to train and equip the Iraqi security forces. So is NATO. So are some neighboring countries. There are a lot of people involved in this and dozens of countries trying to help train these Iraqi forces.

Any instance of inhumane behavior is obviously worrisome and harmful to them when that occurs. Iraq knows of certain knowledge that they need the support of the international community, and a good way to lose it is to make a practice of something that's inconsistent with the values of the international community. And I think they know that.

Now, you know, I can't go any farther in talking about it. Obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility when a sovereign country engages in something that they disapprove of; however, we do have a responsibility to say so and to make sure that the training is proper and to work with the sovereign officials so that they understand the damage that can be done to them in the event some of these allegations prove to be true.

Q And General Pace, what guidance do you have for your military commanders over there as to what to do if -- like when General Horst found this Interior Ministry jail?

GEN. PACE: It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it. As an example of how to do it if you don't see it happening but you're told about it is exactly what happened a couple weeks ago. There's a report from an Iraqi to a U.S. commander that there was possibility of inhumane treatment in a particular facility. That U.S. commander got together with his Iraqi counterparts. They went together to the facility, found what they found, reported it to the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi government has taken ownership of that problem and is investigating it. So they did exactly what they should have done.

SEC. RUMSFELD: But I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it.

GEN. PACE: If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it.

Seems a bit different when read in context, doesn't it? And isn't it great to see a senior military man contradict his civilian boss in a public forum; democracy in action is a wonderful thing to behold.

Dunlop's take on Milbank's take on Rumsfeld's renaming the "insurgency" – a term I've always objected to as granting undue legitimacy to a bunch of self-interested thugs – is also not true to the original:
Q Mr. Secretary?


Q I wanted to ask General Pace, I think you mentioned that IEDs and VBIED suicide car bombers remain the sole fundamental tool of the insurgents that you face. What's your overall assessment right now of the IED situation? Are attacks up, down? What kinds of new IEDs are you seeing? What kinds of Iranian influences are you seeing on the IEDs?

And actually, quite seriously, the other thing I wanted to ask is today the day that you two at the podium stop using the word insurgents? I'm kind of noticing that.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh no, I'm sure I'll make a mistake and slip back into it.

Q Is there a fundamental reason you bring that up today?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I guess so. I'll answer first.

Q (Off mike) -- IEDs --

SEC. RUMSFELD: Sure. Yeah. No, I don't know. I don't know why. I've thought about it, and over the weekend, I thought to myself, "You know, that gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit." Why do you -- why would you call Zarqawi and his people insurgents against a legitimate Iraqi government with their own constitution? It just -- do they have broad popular support in that country? No.

You think of an -- I think of an insurgency slightly different. Maybe I'm wrong. I'll have to go to the dictionary.

Q (Off mike) -- bring that dictionary --

SEC. RUMSFELD: What was the word I used -- a long hard slog, and you went to the dictionary on me. Isn't that right, Jamie?

Q Right. And I forgot to bring it today.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Yeah. Well, I'll go look it up. It just -- it was an epiphany.

Q We'd be interested in following your thoughts on that.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Yeah. I think that you can have a legitimate insurgency in a country that has popular support and has a cohesiveness and has a legitimate gripe. These people don't have a legitimate gripe. They've got a peaceful way to change that government through the constitution, through the elections. These people aren't trying to promote something other than disorder and to take over that country and turn it into a caliphate, and then spread it around the world. This is a group of people who don't merit the word "insurgency," I think. But I'll look it up. You look it up for me, too. I'm sure you will.

Q Can I just have my IED question answered?


Q Thank you.

GEN. PACE: Because our enemy in Iraq clearly understands that they have yet, not once won an engagement with U.S. and coalition forces on a battlefield, they use the IEDs as a weapon of last resort. And it's an indiscriminate killing mechanism that kills many more Iraqi women, children and innocents than it does those in uniform. That's number one.

Number two, because they see very clearly that this is the third election this year where Iraqis are about to voice their own rights and pick their own future, they are -- the insurgents are -- (laughter) -- I'm sorry, sir -- I'm not trainable today!

SEC. RUMSFELD: (Laughs.)

GEN. PACE: I'm not trainable, today! Are increasingly --

Q It happens when you get over 60.

GEN. PACE: That's right. That's exactly right, thank you.

It's obvious that Rumsfeld is trying to make a serious point about the legitimacy of the insurgency and, despite the seriousness of the subject matter, manages to not take himself too seriously. It's no wonder a humourless lefty academic blogger – "Dimples 'Hung-Like-A-Horse' O'Toole"; I rest my case – fails to understand.

Update: Tim Dunlop, in comments at his blog, completely demolishes my post with attempted sarcasm:
I'll tell what's really funny, JF. Your link has generated two hits. Try not to overburden my stats software like that, will you?
Thanks for pointing out my small readership, Tim; I have yet to figure out how to use that counter thingy.


Lefty Australian blogger Antony Loewenstein has condemned a Jewish American multi-millionaire for holding a lavish party for his daughter. For purposes of clarity – or lack thereof, depending on your point of view – here's the whole post:
Money buys lots of lollies

Who said that being a multimillionaire defence contractor doesn't make good business sense? David H. Brooks' daughter had her bat-mitzvah last weekend in the US, so naturally enough daddy wanted to show how much he cared - while ignoring the misery his job actually creates - and hired a plethora of A-list musicians to entertain the audience/kid's party.

A worthwhile lesson in how dirty money can be used for good...instead of evil.
This post has several obvious problems. Weak title aside, the first sentence makes no sense: Brooks isn't successful because he's a millionaire, he's successful because he has good business sense that enabled him to become a millionaire.

There's also the little matter of Brooks's "dirty money" derviving from "the misery his job actually creates". Brooks runs DBH Industries, supplier of body armor for law enforcement and the military. Obviously, angry Ant picked up on the "defence contractor' aspect and was too lazy to check out the details of Brooks's company. Either that or he's so enamoured of the heroic Iraqi resistance that he thinks providing body armor that keeps American forces alive is a dirty business.

Finally, Ant's concluding sentence doesn't make any sense either.

If his blogging form is any guide, Ant's upcoming book is going to be a hoot.

Update: An angry Ant commenter confirms the misery created by American body armor:
Just lets soldiers live to fight n kill more "A-rabs" another day.
Yep, killing more Americans is going to solve Iraq's problems.

Update II: Angry Ant in comments:
I had no idea a bat-mitzvah was Jewish? I had a bloody bar-mitzvah myself in the good old days...

As I say, making money by military means is morally wrong. Of course, some little capitalists are proud of anyone who makes a buck, no matter the means.
Ant, a Jew himself, doesn't know what a bat mitzvah is? Making money by military means? The military has the means to make money? That explains why an M1 tanks is so big; it has an intaglio press print-shop hidden within.

Seriously, is Ant naive, stupid, alcohol addicted or does he actually believe the hyperbolic shit he writes. All soldiers are immoral!

Update: Thanks to Tim Blair for the link. For more weak-arsed lefty bullshit go here.



Bangladesh has suffered its first suicide attacks:
Ten people have been killed and 21 badly injured after what local police say are Bangladesh's first suicide bombings.

The bombings are the latest in a string of attacks by Islamic extremists.

The government and police have accused the hardline Jamayetul Mujahideen, which wants to introduce strict Islamic law in the Muslim-majority democracy, of staging the attacks targeting the legal system.
Islamic terror is all about Iraq and western arrogance, right?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) predicts that global warming will make much of Europe uninhabitable:
"Without effective action over several decades, global warming will see ice sheets melting in the north and the spread of deserts from the south. The continent's population could effectively become concentrated in the centre. Even if we constrain global warming to the EU target of a 2 °C increase, we will be living in atmospheric conditions that human beings have never experienced. Deeper cuts in emissions are needed", says Jacqueline McGlade, Executive director of the EEA.
The impending desertification makes the Eurabia jibe all the more appropriate. The "atmospheric conditions that human beings have never experienced" claim seems far fetched considering humans have thrived in every imaginable climate on Earth. Maybe McGlade's overstating the situation just a wee bit, you know, to up the fear factor.

Update: Europeans aren't doing enough to fix their climate change problem:
The European Union is likely to miss its greenhouse gas targets by a wide margin, according to an official assessment of the Union's environment.

The European Environment Agency says that the 15 longest-standing members of the EU are likely to cut emissions to just 2.5% below 1990 levels.

But real performance is poor according to the new report on Europe's environmental health - emissions have in fact been rising since the year 2000.
It seems Kyoto was just another one of those meaningless face-saving deals the EU's so prone to sign up to – see post immediately below.


A Euromed – the EU and 10 non-European Mediterranean countries – summit has reached a compromise deal on terrorism, with just a few crucial details omitted:
Against the clock and with a prospect of walking away empty-handed from the two-day Barcelona summit, the diplomats indulged in feverish negotiations which lead to a compromise deal that the Arab states, the EU and Israel could back.

The EU had wanted to condemn terrorism without quibbles, stating that the right to self-determination did not justify acts of violence, while the Arab states in the Euromed (Euro-Mediterranean) group wanted to include "legitimate resistance against any occupying foreign military force" in the terror definition.

None of the definitions were finally adopted however, and the agreed code of conduct avoids the sensitive issue of defining terrorism.

Instead, it commits the EU, Israel and its neighbours to "prevent terrorists accessing money and weapons, to disrupt their plans and disrupt their networks and to bring them to justice by strengthening international cooperation."

The EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana welcomed the agreement.

"We all know what we mean by fighting terrorism. In reality, there is total cooperation between the countries north and south of the Mediterranean against terrorism", Solana announced.
If everybody knows what constitutes terrorism and there's already total cooperation in fighting it, what's the point of this summit and the resulting non-deal deal? It's all about appreances:
Microphones placed in a ministers' meeting room caused some stir as they caught Mr Zapatero in a conversation with his advisor Charles Casajuana, underlining that EU leaders were determined to sign any agreement, in order not to lose face.

"The texts are not going very well, and we have to close something", the advisor told Zapatero, who reportedly answered "We have to close it. We have to close it, whatever it is."
The EU is just the UN in miniature: all show, no go.


If the air crash doesn't kill you, going to hospital just might:
The risk of being killed in a hospital in a developed country due to medical error is around one in 300, while the risk of dying in an air accident is one in 10 million, Britain's chief medical officer said on Monday.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Saddam Hussein's trial resumed today. Not suprisingly, he had lots of complaints:
The deposed dictator complained he had been forced to walk the stairs into the courtroom as the lift was broken and had been put in handcuffs on the way to the court, making it hard for him to carry a copy of the Koran.

He then lambasted the court for apparently confiscating his pen and paper, saying: "How can a defendant defend himself if they take even his papers and pen?"

The Kurdish Judge Amin - who as in the first hearing appeared unflappable in the face of Saddam's verbal jousts - promised the paper and pen back would be returned later on.

Saddam did not shy away from an angry tirade against the court's US guards.

"Please judge, I don't want you to tell them, order them. You are Iraqi, you have sovereignty, they are in your country, they are foreigners, they are invaders," he said.
It appears Saddam's determined to turn his trial into a circus, with an imported alternate ring-master to help with the distraction – now appearing in ring two:
Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. Attorney General and antiwar activist, arrived here yesterday and was expected to try to show up at the reopening of Saddam Hussein's trial in Baghdad today, but a U.S. government official warned that he was not officially registered with the court.
Clark never met a deposed dictator he didn't like.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Remember back in primary school when there was always one nerdy kid who dobbed in his classmates for any transgression, real or imagined? Remember how much this pissed off the nerd's classmates? Well, some nerds never learn:
Greens Senator Bob Brown announced today he has sent the government’s Anti-Terrorism Bill (No.2) 2005 to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for assessment.

“Extensive evidence before the Senate inquiry showed how these terror laws breach Australia’s legal obligations under international law”, Senator Brown said.

“We will be asking the United Nations to review the laws in light of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.”
I'll bet he was the best hall monitor ever.

In unrelated news, Brown objects to Howard's $1 million nuclear dog whistle. Brown's got a point on this one: I mean, just think of all the foreign pooches that'll drown attempting to swim to Australia.


Roger Ebert gives the movie the thumb up:
... Joe Wright's new film "Pride & Prejudice," one of the most delightful and heartwarming adaptations made from Austen or anybody else. Much of the delight and most of the heart comes from Keira Knightley, who plays Elizabeth as a girl glowing in the first light of perfection. She is beautiful, she has opinions, she is kind but can be unforgiving. "They are all silly and ignorant like other girls," says her father in the novel, "but Lizzie has something more of quickness than her sisters."

Knightley's performance is so light and yet fierce that she makes the story almost realistic; this is not a well-mannered "Masterpiece Theatre" but a film where strong-willed young people enter life with their minds at war with their hearts.
There's even speculation Knightley might get a best actress Oscar nomination. This is the Keira Knightley we're talking about here, right? Yep, Keira fucking Knightley.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


A perfectly reasonable test with practical benefits could be banned:

South Africa's tribal leaders on Saturday slammed a government attempt to ban virginity testing, saying the age-old custom could help fight the country's deadly AIDS epidemic by discouraging promiscuity.

The tests are conducted by an elder tribeswomen who inspects young girls' hymens to see if they are still intact before the girl marries.

But rights groups say the tests, practiced in rural areas in South Africa, are unhygienic and sexist and justice officials have put forward a bill to outlaw it.

Next to be banned, the prostate exam.


Jeez, as if we don't have enough to worry about, war with aliens has been added to the list:
A former Canadian Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics -- relations with “ETs.”

By “ETs,” Mr. Hellyer and these organizations mean ethical, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations that may now be visiting Earth.

On September 25, 2005, in a startling speech at the University of Toronto that caught the attention of mainstream newspapers and magazines, Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defence Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stated: "UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head."

Mr. Hellyer went on to say, "I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something."

Perhaps the Pentagon needs to fast-track plans for a preemptive strike on Alpha Centauri.


Has a faintly disturbing ring to it, no? It should:
A multimillion-dollar campaign to boost Germans' low self-confidence has backfired after it emerged that its slogan was coined by the Nazis.

The $34 million "Du Bist Deutschland -- You Are Germany" -- campaign was devised to inspire Germans to stop moaning and do something good for their country.
Beethoven, Einstein and the sports stars Franz Beckenbauer and Michael Schumacher have been cited in advertisements encouraging Germans to take more pride in their homeland.

But a historian from Ludwigshafen has provoked an uproar with his discovery that the same "Du Bist Deutschland" cry was used at Nazi rallies in the 1930s.

Stefan Morz uncovered photographs of a 1935 Nazi convention in which soldiers display a banner reading, in Gothic script, "Denn Du Bist Deutschland (Because You Are Germany)." The slogan was topped with the head of Adolf Hitler. Leading Nazis such as Hermann Goring and Joseph Goebbels attended the event.

"Every time I see the slogan 'Du Bist Deutschland' I am reminded of this rather disturbing parallel with the past," said Mr. Morz, a historian and archivist.

Researchers have now set to work to discover how widespread the slogan was, even if most agree it was not one of the Nazis' official mantras. Its intended effect then is believed to be similar to that of the modern version: "You have the potential to make this country great once again."

The backers of the modern campaign, the brainchild of several blue-chip media companies, expressed shock at the discovery but quickly distanced themselves from the Third Reich connection.

Indeed, one of its aims is to release today's Germans from the collective guilt and depression they still feel about the Nazi era, they said.
Given the state of the German economy, werk macht frei somehow seems more appropriate.


Some 200 French MPs want to see rappers prosecuted for provocative lyrics:
The campaign to prosecute rappers is led by MP Francois Grosdidier, a member of Mr de Villepin's governing UMP party.

"Sexism, racism and anti-Semitism are no more acceptable in lyrics than in written or spoken words," he said earlier this week.

"This is one of the factors that led to the violence in the suburbs," he added.
They seem to have this arse-about; the culture produces the music.


Why did a man dress like a woman so he could mingle in an all-girl school?
A Yemeni man was arrested recently after being caught cross-dressing inside a female educational institution, Okaz newspaper reported. A teacher who noticed his manly movements and hairy legs, confronted him. He continued to protest his feminine gender, which could not be ascertained, as his face was covered with a niqab. She immediately called security and they arrested him. Despite his arrest he continued to deny that he was a man. Police are still trying to find out the man’s motive for dressing up in an abaya.
Really, this has me stumped.


The accepted wisdom on smoking in movies:
An increasing number of films now feature lead characters who smoke. When directors portray smoking in the movies, they often use it to signal that a character is cool, rebellious or sophisticated. Research has shown that this is just the sort of message that is most effective in encouraging young people to start smoking, and for many to continue for a lifetime.
Hollywood in league with big tobacco luring the young into smoking just to make a buck. How typically American, unless of course, it's a big lefty lie:
Anti-smoking activists assert that smoking is more common in movies than it is in real life. The new study, reported in the August issue of the medical journal Chest, found that, overall, “contemporary American movies do not have a higher prevalence of smoking than the general U.S. population.” The activists complain that movies put cigarettes in the hands of attractive protagonists and link smoking to success and affluence. The Chest study found that “bad guys” were more likely to smoke than “good guys” and that, as in real life, smoking was associated with lower socioeconomic status.

“Most investigators have concluded that smoking is portrayed as glamorous and positive, but our study shows that the exact opposite is true,” says lead author Karan Omidvari, a physician at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark. Likewise, there was no evidence to support the idea that movie studios conspire with tobacco companies to target women or minorities.
Despite the study's findings, its authors couldn't resist the politically correct urge to call for less smoking in movies.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Professor James Piscatori of Oxford University's Centre for Islamic Studies is interviewed by The World Today's Nick McKenzie (my bold):
NICK MCKENZIE: How is it that these Australian-born Muslims, very small, marginal group, are drawing so heavily on the inspiration, or so heavily from what's going on in Israel and Iraq and other places?

JAMES PISCATORI: In part it's because of the media, which make it easily able to… for people to follow what is going on around the world.

So in a sense, they're given the opportunity to know what is going on.

The knowledge base is quite… much higher than it of course was some time ago.

But you have to add something, the much more intangible part of this is why do Muslims care about the plight of other Muslims around the world? What is it about the solidarity of the faith?

And here, there isn't anything that one can say that is predictable or concrete, except that the sense of belonging to a larger community is ingrained, and this would occur in the minority situation, perhaps even more so because of a feeling that the larger society isn't welcoming in some ways.
Knowledge empowers but not when it's inaccurate or preaches victimhood.
NICK MCKENZIE: If we look then at the Australian experience, how does that sense of solidarity, a very genuine sense and understandable sense in a very small number of cases, seem to then turn into this religious fervour/ extremism and even terrorism?

JAMES PISCATORI: You're right to say that it's a very small number of cases, and that the vast majority of Australian Muslims who would feel the sense of affinity and a sense that fellow Muslims were being dealt with unjustly would want to, in a sense, to express their views in the normal… through the normal channels in the normal sort of way. That is, criticism of Israel or whatever, the United States, would just be a normal political sort of expression.

But you're right also to say that a small minority would in fact feel strongly about this. And here we just don't have enough information on various groups, whether here or in other European societies that would account for this. It's probably got something to do with the sense of alienation that they would feel, even if they were born here, and that they… the larger society would not be, in a sense, as conducive to their own wishes as they would like.
In other words, some Australian Muslims simply don't buy into the democratic process.
NICK MCKENZIE: There's intense debate here about how to deal with this problem of the small, marginal group of growing radicals.

The Federal Government is going down a path similar to that of the United Kingdom, with measures like preventative detention. Is that the way to deal with this problem?

JAMES PISCATORI: There's a great dilemma for Government, because it clearly has to isolate the groups and the individuals that are going to be prone to violence and who will not be susceptible to any other kinds of inducement to participate in the political system.

And in that sense, I think there have to be, in a sense, laws which protect the larger community.

How one does that, however, I think needs to be carefully calibrated against the larger demands for civil liberties in a society.

So the government is right in proposing strict anti-terrorism laws. It's just a matter or striking a reasonable balance. Perhaps more important, what should be the fate of those who advocate political change through violence?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


This follow-on to an earlier brief post is also something of a response to a thread over at the home of ever-so-polite, reasoned discussion, Larvatus Prodeo. The Larvatus Prodeo post is in reponse to a Guardian article that reports:
One in three people believes that women who behave flirtatiously are at least partially responsible if they are raped, a report published today reveals. A similar number think that women are partially or wholly responsible for being raped if they are drunk, and more than a quarter believe women are responsible if they wear sexy or revealing clothing.
The thrust of blogger Kate's post is as follows:
Newsflash. A woman is never responsible for being raped. Not one little bit. The responsibility for rape lies with the rapist. It doesn't matter what a woman wears, what she drinks, if she flirts with a man or not: if a man forces her to have sex against her will, it's RAPE. There are no extenuating circumstances. Consent is the only circumstance that matters.
Those commenters not toeing the politically correct line are treated to an attack that makes Tim Blair's allegedly rabid rabble seem tame by comparison:
Boy have I walked into the swamp of fucking morons this evening. What started off as an interesting article by Kate, with enough starting points for valid discussion, has been sidetracked off by the same fuckwits whose only answer to society’s disgraceful attittude to women and victims of sexual assault, is to say “aw but gee this bloke was wrongly accused, ain’t the woman a skanky ho”.

Fucking ridiculous bollocks from the usual knuckle dragging bellends that find it impossible to separate the ego from the gender.
Anyway, I do agree with Kate's notion that a woman can never be blamed for being raped. Rape can never be justified or excused. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that provocative dress or behaviour, or both, have contributed to women being raped or sexually assaulted. After all, sexy dress and behaviour are meant to arouse. Unfortunately, some men, in some situations, will be unable or unwilling to control themselves once aroused: they will respond inappropriately. This does not mean, however, that such inappropraite actions are ever justified or to be excused.

It does seem a bit odd that the lefties at Larvatus Prodeo absolve all women of all responsibility for all rapes when mostly they'd subscribe to the "root causes" provocation theory. You know, that even if the US didn't deserve to be attacked on 9/11, the attack was certainly understandable in light of the US's perceived provocations.

I also wonder how lefties would apportion responsibility if a digital camera – or some other valuable and desirable item – I left in plain view in an unlocked car were to be stolen. Am I to blame for the theft? Certainly not. Did I act irresponsibly, contributing to the theft? Yes.

Unfortunately, far too many people in the increasingly permissive west react inappropriately when provoked. It is, at least in part, a lefty inspired lack of personal responsibility thing.

Update: Nora Charles's comment – cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo – has enlivened the discussion at LP and the lefties aren't happy. Boo hoo.

There's also this from Nora.


Your local terrorist-recruiter/pimp:
In a November 15, 2005 article in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiyya, Sa'ad Al-Sowayan, a reformist Saudi researcher and columnist argued that religious cassettes, which are widely available in Saudi Arabia, advocate Jihad by emphasizing the sexual reward awaiting the martyr in Paradise. This is aimed at tempting teenagers who can find no sexual release in conservative Arab society.
Eliminates the hassles of the whole dating scene, now don't it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Wanted Indonesian terrorist Noordin Top isn't your typical terrorist:
Amid fears that Indonesia's most wanted terrorist will strike again, some police have a new theory: Noordin Top is using hypnotism to elude capture and recruit more suicide bombers.

As fears rise, reports say some police in notoriously superstitious Indonesia believe Noordin may have the ability to hypnotise people, using his mental powers to escape his pursuers and recruit more bombers.

"A village chief fell unconscious after kissing the hand of a man resembling Noordin," one policeman told the latest edition of Tempo news magazine.

The magazine said the chief's mind went blank "like he was hypnotised" after meeting a "tabib", or traditional healer, who looked like Noordin.

One officer said police believed even a skilled religious preacher would have difficulty finding so many followers willing to kill themselves for a cause.
His ability to mesmerize also explains Top's success with the ladies.


The government. Jurgen, a disabled Belgian, is hooked on prostitutes and wants the government to pick up the tab:
Every month for the past six years prostitutes have come to the house for Jurgen. They charge 100 euros for half an hour. Jurgen finds one session a month inadequate. He wants sex at least once a week, but his mother cannot pay that much. Jurgen and his Mum are now demanding that the government subsidize the sex sessions, but the Fund for the Social Integration of the Handicapped only finances masturbation equipment, including vibrators and pumps, for the handicapped in Belgium, but not prostitutes.

“My son cannot masturbate, but he is entitled to have sex at least once week,” Frie Van Acker says. “Giving him a free masturbation set does not help. He cannot use it. As I am his mother I cannot assist him there. That would almost be incest.” Jurgen and his mother have gained the support of Dr. Bo Coolsaet, a well-known Belgian sexuologist. “The healthcare system provides for inflatable penis prostheses for men with erection problems. These cost up to 10,000 euros.” According to Dr. Coolsaet handicapped people are being discriminated if their sexual needs are not adressed.
Why the hell should the government pay for this guy to get laid more often than me?

Monday, November 21, 2005


The Guardian reports on an Amnesty International report on rape in the UK:
One in three people believes that women who behave flirtatiously are at least partially responsible if they are raped, a report published today reveals. A similar number think that women are partially or wholly responsible for being raped if they are drunk, and more than a quarter believe women are responsible if they wear sexy or revealing clothing.
Now there are some "root causes" begging to be debated.


Sunday, November 20, 2005


Now here's a cult every staunch environmentalist should join – the mind boggles at the resources to be saved. Come on lefties, do the Earth a favour.


The Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network's Waleed Kadous says Australian Muslims have a number of outstanding concerns:
He says he has talked to many Muslims who are feeling isolated and disconnected from the rest of the community.

Mr Kadous says because of events overseas, people are stereotyping all Muslims.

He also says there is concern in the community about the Federal Government's proposed counter-terrorism laws.

"Our information from some of the people we spoken to today is that ASIO is talking to a lot of people," he said.

"They find this intimidating at times and they feel like again they're being targeted because of their religious affiliation and their choice to practice Islam."
Well Mr Kadous, the broader community probably has a few concerns of its own. Just guessing, mind you.


There has been another machete attack on young Indonesian women:
A 20-year-old woman died and her friend was injured. Police said it was too early to tell if the latest attack was linked to the deadly sectarian unrest simmering between the region's majority Muslim and minority Christian communities.
The police may not know – or want to acknowledge – what's going on but local Christians have no doubts:
Christians see the attacks on the schoolgirls in Poso as part of a calculated campaign by Laskar Jihad, which subscribes to the same militant Wahhabi creed as al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden and the Taliban and claims to have 10,000 fighters. It has dedicated itself to defending its beliefs across Indonesia.

When the first Laskar commandos arrived in Sulawesi in 2001 they were received by the provincial governor and the head of the local parliament, underscoring their support at the highest levels of government. From direct infusions of cash to fund the fighters to phone calls to local military commanders to prevent crackdowns, sympathisers have ensured that the Laskar Jihad can operate with impunity. Ask anyone in the government about their existence around Poso and you get a flat denial.
Dog Pundit has photos of the victims.

Maybe one of my lefty friends could fill us in on the root causes of these attacks.

Update: When a Muslim girl is killed the reaction is instantaneous and violent.


Harry Heidelberg:
Documentary has become the new popular genre. Over on Sydnesphere Multimedia, I have made a short documentary which reveals, for the first time, the powers behind the fascist superstate of Australia. A compelling new documentary, narrated by Harry Heidelberg.
Jeez, I need to pay more attention to what's going on around me.

Antony Loewenstein:
It is our duty to support the Iraqi resistance and demand an end to the US-led occupation.
Angry Ant should elaborate on his level of commitment. I mean, should we worry if we see him out and about wearing a back-pack?


Mark Steyn, writing in The Spectator, accounts for France's apparent lack of worry at the prospect of Iran becoming the world's second Muslim nuclear power:
As things stand, France is on course to be the third.
Where would France be without reliable allies?

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Artist Judi Werthein has designed special border "crossing trainers" – Brincos (Spanish for "jump") – that she distributes free to Mexicans hoping to illegally enter the US by walking from Tijuana to San Diego. According to the BBC, it's all about the poor Mexicans' feet:
"If they go through the sierra, they walk eight hours. Their feet get hurt. There's a lot of stones and there are snakes, tarantulas. So that's why it is a little boot," she says.

The Brinco is an ankle-high trainer which is green, red, black and yellow.

An Aztec eagle is embroidered on the heel. On the toe is the American eagle found on the US quarter, to represent the American dream the migrants are chasing.

A map - printed on the shoe's removable insole - shows the most popular illegal routes from Tijuana into San Diego.
As the distance from Tijuana to San Diego is only around 16 miles (26 km) this is about something other than Mexican feet:
A few days after passing out shoes for free to migrants, Werthein begins selling the shoes at a hip boutique trainer store in downtown San Diego.

The shop sells only limited edition trainers. A pair of Werthein's Brincos are displayed on a pedestal under glass with a price tag of $215 (£125).
Not only are the shoes making Werthein a celebrity they're money makers:
Only 1,000 pairs of the “Brinco” sneakers (it means “Jump” in Spanish) have been made — in China, for $17 each. The shoes were introduced in August at inSite, an art exhibition in San Diego and Tijuana whose sponsors include nonprofit foundations and private collectors.

Benefactors put up $40,000 for the project; Werthein gets a $5,000 stipend, plus expenses.
inSite_05 has a photo of the Brincos and offers this useful summary:
In a single object Judi reveals the contradictions between fashion, competition in the manufacturing industry, and migratory flows, themes that lie and the heart of the dynamics of labor geography in today’s world.
Whatever; only a lefty would pay $215 for shoes that fucking ugly.

Via: Articulate.


Unnamed sources have revealed the ghastly "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" supposedly being used by CIA interrogators on a dozen or so top al Qaeda prisoners:
In "Belly Slap," interrogators deliver "a hard open-handed slap to the stomach" intended to cause pain but not internal injury.

In "Long Time Standing," prisoners are forced to stand handcuffed and shackled for more than 40 hours.
Okay, the water boarding thing sounds pretty nasty but no one's getting the extra rough manicure or Marathon Man style unanaesthetized dental treatment.

Friday, November 18, 2005


How to best protect the planet? Simple, get rid of the people:
At first glance, so much protected land seems undeniably positive, an enormous achievement of very good people doing the right thing for our planet. But the record is less impressive when the impact upon native people is considered. For example, during the 1990s the African nation of Chad increased the amount of national land under protection from 0.1 to 9.1 percent. All of that land had been previously inhabited by what are now an estimated six hundred thousand conservation refugees. No other country besides India, which o[ffi]cially admits to 1.6 million, is even counting this growing new class of refugees. World estimates offered by the UN, IUCN, and a few anthropologists range from 5 million to tens of millions. Charles Geisler, a sociologist at Cornell University who has studied displacements in Africa, is certain the number on that continent alone exceeds 14 million.

The true worldwide figure, if it were ever known, would depend upon the semantics of words like "eviction," "displacement," and "refugee," over which parties on all sides of the issue argue endlessly. The larger point is that conservation refugees exist on every continent but Antarctica, and by most accounts live far more di[ffi]cult lives than they once did, banished from lands they thrived on for hundreds, even thousands of years.
Jeez, lefties sure like pushing people around.


No need to panic though, it's only training:
The United States will start regular bomber aircraft training in northern Australia in the new year.

At the annual ministerial talks between the US and Australia it was announced that the strategic bomber training program would involve B-52 and B-1 bombers and the B-2 stealth aircraft.
The outcry was immediate:
Greens Senator Bob Brown is angry about the deal.

"The Australian Government, more and more, is allowing the Americans to view this country as the 51st state," he said.

The Northern Territory Environment Centre says it is disgusted by the announcement.

Co-ordinator Peter Robertson says he is particularly alarmed about the location of the training.

"Only a matter of 100 kilometres or so from one of the proposed nuclear waste dump sites near Katherine, and it would be extraordinarily alarming and ironic if an American B-52 bomber dropped a live bomb on top of the Commonwealth's nuclear waste dump," he said.
Here's more from Bob Brown:
“The almost apologetic reassurance from Defence Minister Hill that nuclear bombs would not be dropped on the Territory highlights the absurd and obsequious nature of this announcement,” said Senator Brown.
The Howard lickspittles could justify nuking the Northern Territory as a pre-emptive strike on environment-destroying cane toads.


Despite the poorly performing French and German economies, the EU isn't meeting its Kyoto targets:
Further efforts are needed to tackle climate change, the UN has warned in a fresh report, with greenhouse gas emissions in many EU states rising instead of decreasing.

The Bonn-based United Nations Climate Change secretariat in a report released on Thursday (17 November) warned that the western world is losing its grip on the climate change problem.

UN researchers found that overall in the industrialised world, greenhouse gas emissions were down 5.9 percent in 2003 compared to the 1990 levels.

But the UN report says a large part of the reductions were achieved in Central and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, as heavily-polluting industry stemming from the communist era were shut down as these countries restructured their economies.

Richard Kinley, acting head of the UN climate change body, said: "What we see is that the emissions from developed countries as a group have been stable in recent years and not decreased as they did in the early 1990s. Moreover, greenhouse gas projections indicate the possibility of emission growth by 2010."

"It means that ensuring sustained and deeper emission reductions remains a challenge for developed countries," he added.

The EU as a bloc achieved a reduction of 1.4 percent in emissions from 1990 to 2003, still far away from the minus 8 percent target in 2012 that the Europeans have set themselves in the framework of the international Kyoto protocol.
France can consider itself lucky all those noxious fumes given off by burning cars won't count against its target.


"Hey dad, I really want to be a writer but I don't understand how the world works and can't write for shit; what should I do?"

"No worries son, blog."

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Okay, everyone knows marrying a close family member is the done thing in Tasmania and the American south but it's accepted practice other places as well:
Marriages between cousins should be banned after research showed alarming rates in defective births among Asian communities in Britain, a Labour MP said last night. The report, commissioned by Ann Cryer, revealed that the Pakistani community accounted for 30 per cent of all births with recessive disorders, despite representing 3.4 per cent of the birth rate nationwide. It is estimated that more than 55 per cent of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins, resulting in an increasing rate of genetic defects and high rates of infant mortality.


Across the Arab world today an average of 45 percent of married couples are related, according to Dr. Nadia Sakati, a pediatrician and senior consultant for the genetics research center at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. In some parts of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the south, where Mrs. Hefthi was raised, the rate of marriage among blood relatives ranges from 55 to 70 percent, among the highest rates in the world, according to the Saudi government. Widespread inbreeding in Saudi Arabia has produced several genetic disorders, Saudi public health officials said, including the blood diseases of thalassemia, a potentially fatal hemoglobin deficiency, and sickle cell anemia. Spinal muscular atrophy and diabetes are also common, especially in the regions with the longest traditions of marriage between relatives. Dr. Sakati said she had also found links between inbreeding and deafness and muteness.
Well, this explains a lot.

Fortunately, all of my close female relatives are way too skanky to root – RWDBs do have their standards.


Or so says the title to a story in today's Australian. The story focuses on Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) director-general Paul O'Sullivan's appearance before a Senate committee inquiring into proposed terror legislation. O'Sullivan doesn't say the arrests had "no effect"; he simply says the threat remains:
"I will, however, note that the threat has not abated and we need to continue the work of identifying people intent on doing harm, whether they are already in our community, or seeking to come here from overseas, or to attack Australia's interests overseas."
More notable, however, than the article's bogus title are the comments from Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network (AMCRAN) spokesman Dr Waleed Kadous, who thinks the new laws might radicalize Australian Muslims:
"Legislation is not just about law, it's about social messages."

"It's not within my power to guarantee that the introduction of these laws will not lead to people susceptible to radical ideas falling for them as a consequence of what they see as being railroaded."
That's a warning that almost sounds like a threat.

Regardless, the reaction of some Muslims to the proposed terror laws also sends a social message: if laws are passed that they don't like, they are prepared – or so it is implied – to respond with deadly violence. Jeez, just imagine if every minority in Australia that felt vitimized by the law responded by making bombs. Disgruntled fathers, for example, would have long since blown the Family Court into orbit. In a democracy, you just have to stuck it up and get on with it when you don't get your way.


France has returned to normal, if 100 cars burned a night is normal:
Ninety-eight vehicles were set ablaze on Wednesday night, a sharp drop from the peak of the violence when about 1,400 vehicles were torched on the night of November 6.

"The situation has returned to normal because about 100 vehicles are set on fire each night in France," a police spokesman said.

The rioting has been blamed mostly on youths who feel excluded from mainstream society and are frustrated by racism, harsh police treatment and high unemployment.

Many of the rioters are of Arab and African origin but some are white.
Hmm, rumour has it the rioters were overwhelmingly Muslim. Even if the rumour is true, it's bound to be a coincidence.


Lefty sleuth Antony Loewenstein reveals the real Watergate culprit, Bob Woodward:
...this is the man, after all, behind Watergate...
Commenter Glenn Condell explains:
There is a school of thought that Woodward has always been CIA. It's naive to think they don't have 'assets' in the press - Robert Novak is just one of many some think are trenchcoaters on the QT. In this reading, the real powers that be decided Nixon had to go and Felt and Wward brought Bernstein in as librul cover.
See, that's why lefty blogs are worth reading; they're so informative.

For an alternative take on what's going on with Woodward, try Just One Minute.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The EU's accounting is much improved but it's still a joke:
For the eleventh year in a row, the European Union's annual accounts have failed to gain a seal of approval from the EU's own auditors.

The European Court of Auditors said the amount of spending they could verify rose to 35% in 2004 from 6% in 2003.

The improvement was mainly due to a new system of control over the payment of agricultural subsidies to farmers.

But the auditors said the vast majority of spending was still affected by "errors of legality and regularity".

The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Brussels says once again the shadow of fraud and mismanagement has been cast over the EU's budget process.

The auditors' report said more than a third of EU farm spending did not "provide the Commission with reasonable assurance of compliance... with Community legislation."

It also pointed out that a lot of EU spending is "high risk", in that you have to rely on people spending it as they have promised to.
See, Europeans aren't always risk averse.


Hopefully a few people will lose their jobs over this:
The New South Wales Government has revealed that an Islamic cleric, who lied about his name and criminal past to prison authorities, has been working as a school canteen manager.

Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt says the Department of Education today cancelled a contract issued to Amwar Hisam Al Barq to provide canteen services after becoming aware through media reports of his prior criminal conviction in the United States on drugs charges.

The Opposition has also used Parliament to question whether the State Government put political pressure on prison authorities to keep employing the cleric.

Mr Barq was removed from his position after it was revealed he had not used his real name and had a criminal record.

Opposition Leader Peter Debnam has taken issue with the statement that there was no evidence of links to terrorist groups.

"[On the] 15th of March, intelligence reports note and I quote, 'Al Barq's known associations with groups and persons with links to terrorist groups and activities' unquote. Why do you continue to cover up what was obviously political pressure to allow this Muslim cleric unsupervised access to New South Wales prisons?" he said.

The Opposition has also released a memo from a prison governor who said he had to continue to allow prisoner access as refusal of entry might cause an unnecessary political storm.
Wouldn't want to be politically incorrect now would we? Someone might be offended.


Glow in the dark pork chops are causing a stir in Sydney:
MEAT and chicken that glow in the dark will not make you sick but it is probably best not to eat them, the NSW Food Authority said today.

The authority today reassured consumers about the safety of their food after a Sydney talkback caller raised the alarm about his glow-in-the-dark pork chops.

NSW Food Authority directory-general George Davey said a harmless micro-organism called pseudomonas fluorescens was responsible for the luminous meat.
Being the environmentally aware sort of a guy I am, the possibilities of glowing pork chops were immediately obvious. I mean, it is a worry that that little light in fridge comes on every time the door is opened, day or night. Put a few of the glowing chops in your fridge, take out the bulb and you'll have an emissions friendly fridge. And, just think of the money you'll save on power.

The Yanks could also pack 155 mm artillery shells with parachute attached glowing pork chops as a replacement for that nasty old skin-melting white phosphorous. I'll bet nothing will get a terrorist out of his spider-hole faster than a glowing piece of pork.


The German ambassador has involved himself in Australia's internal politics:
Germany's Ambassador has told farmers they are being disadvantaged by the Federal Government's failure to back the Kyoto protocol.

Ambassador Martin Lutz is touring north-east Victoria this week and says although our produce is environmentally sound, European consumers will ignore it without the protocol.

"Australia has a problem when it comes to green image because everybody knows they didn't join the Kyoto protocol and have the highest capita emissions of greenhouse gases in the world," he said.

"And so it would help very much if Australia improves this image because also the farmers here suffer a little bit from that relatively negative image."
The EU, even with its less than scintillating economic perfromance, can't meet its Kyoto obligations and the German ambassador lectures us.

Lutz is probably hoping Australia's farmers go on a French-style tractor-burning, pro-Kyoto, anti-Howard riot rampage.


You gotta give the Yanks credit, they're nothing if not innovative: apparently it was once common practice for US interrogators in Iraq to torture detainees by making them watch as Korans were force fed to lions, or something like that. Or, so it's alleged.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


In a recent post, lefty academic Australian blogger John Quiggin uses "forensic Googling" to expose an "infamous doctored [Stephen] Schneider quote". Quiggin obviously went to a bit of trouble researching this.

For an earlier post titled "Bush lied", Quiggin doesn't use his touted Googling skills to prove Bush a liar: his only link is to a 2003 Quiggin post, which itself contains no external links. In short, Quiggin argues Bush is liar, well, because Quiggin says so.

Now this strikes me as odd: if Bush is a liar, there must be some proof. Beats me where it is; I've read lots of reputable sources and haven't found anyone offering up a Bush-lied smoking gun. So, I'm forced to conclude that Bush actually believed, based on the best evidence available, what he said about Iraq's WMDs. If so, he's not a liar.

How then to characterize Quiggin's "Bush lied" post? I mean, it contradicts – without supporting evidence – every single reputable source I've been able to find. Surely there must be a word to describe this situation.


Lefty Mark Bahnisch thinks RWDBs have ludicrously over-estimated the significance of the unrest in France which, in any event, has nothing to do with religion. After you read Bahnisch, take a look at what Theodore Dalrymple had to say in the autumn of 2002:
Reported crime in France has risen from 600,000 annually in 1959 to 4 million today, while the population has grown by less than 20 percent (and many think today’s crime number is an underestimate by at least a half). In 2000, one crime was reported for every sixth inhabitant of Paris, and the rate has increased by at least 10 percent a year for the last five years. Reported cases of arson in France have increased 2,500 percent in seven years, from 1,168 in 1993 to 29,192 in 2000; robbery with violence rose by 15.8 percent between 1999 and 2000, and 44.5 percent since 1996 (itself no golden age).

Where does the increase in crime come from? The geographical answer: from the public housing projects that encircle and increasingly besiege every French city or town of any size, Paris especially. In these housing projects lives an immigrant population numbering several million, from North and West Africa mostly, along with their French-born descendants and a smattering of the least successful members of the French working class. From these projects, the excellence of the French public transport system ensures that the most fashionable arrondissements are within easy reach of the most inveterate thief and vandal.


But among the third of the population of the cités that is of North African Muslim descent, there is an option that the French, and not only the French, fear. For imagine yourself a youth in Les Tarterets or Les Musiciens, intellectually alert but not well educated, believing yourself to be despised because of your origins by the larger society that you were born into, permanently condemned to unemployment by the system that contemptuously feeds and clothes you, and surrounded by a contemptible nihilistic culture of despair, violence, and crime. Is it not possible that you would seek a doctrine that would simultaneously explain your predicament, justify your wrath, point the way toward your revenge, and guarantee your salvation, especially if you were imprisoned? Would you not seek a “worthwhile” direction for the energy, hatred, and violence seething within you, a direction that would enable you to do evil in the name of ultimate good? It would require only a relatively few of like mind to cause havoc. Islamist proselytism flourishes in the prisons of France (where 60 percent of the inmates are of immigrant origin), as it does in British prisons; and it takes only a handful of Zacharias Moussaouis to start a conflagration.
Read the whole Dalrymple essay and decide for yourself if Muslims in France are simply the victims of circumstances beyond their control.

Update: The root causes of France's social problems are complex but Islam keeps cropping up as a factor:
According to Gérard Larcher, France’s employment minister, polygamy is one reason for the large-scale rioting in his country. The minister told the Financial Times that multiple marriages among immigrants lead to anti-social behaviour among youths who lack a father figure. This makes employers wary of hiring ethnic minorities. “If people are not employable, they will not be employed,” he explained.

Polygamy in France is illegal but authorities tolerate the existence of an estimated 30,000 families in which there is more than one wife. As these are large families, up to 250,000 people may live in such a family. Most of them come from North and sub-Saharan African countries such as Algeria, Mali and Senegal, where the practice is legal. The French authorities freely granted visas to family members of immigrants until 1993, when former interior minister Charles Pasqua, who was decried as a “hardline rightwinger,” banned visas for more than one spouse. Many wives, however, continued to enter illegally, while the government relaxed its stance after protests.

Polygamous immigrants abuse the social security system by collecting state benefits for several wives. As residency was only granted to polygamous families, who arrived before 1993, if the two wives do not live at the same address, these families claim double social housing, family allowances and other social benefits. According to the FT “Mr Larcher’s comments could further fuel the debate and are likely to outrage Muslim and anti-racism groups.” The minister’s comments come as the government considers tightening rules for granting visas, and a possible clampdown on polygamous families. The FT fears that “a clampdown, if enforced, could affect families that entered the country before 1993.”
Screw it, just give them more money and let them get on with the breeding program.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Bruce Willis recently visited Iraq. In the excerpt that follows he talks about the situation there and voices support for embedded blogger Michael Yon:
BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: I am baffled to understand why the things that I saw happening in Iraq, really good things happening in Iraq, are not being reported on.

Michael has been over there, was embedded with the members of the Deuce Four, you know, the battalion that actually won the battle for Mosul, that -- Michael, correct me if I'm wrong -- these are the guys who allowed the election to take place, the election that happened just, you know, a couple months ago, to take place, which is, you know, just a monumental thing. And it's not being reported on.

COSBY: You know, Bruce, you know, let's face it. A lot of celebrities have not been over there. A lot of folks in Hollywood have been very critical of what's happening in the war. Do you think, if a lot of your colleagues in Hollywood went over there, saw it for themselves, they'd have a different opinion?

WILLIS: I absolutely think that. I think we live in a global world. And I think that -- I think America is just too isolationist.

And a lot of big choices are being made. You know, to say this is not our fight, when this is the same fight that this country fought 60 years ago and the entire world fought 60 years ago, for the same kind of terrorism, the same kind of thing.

This is not a new war. This is not a new kind of fighting. This is the same fight. And it's back. And it's time for it to stop.

COSBY: You know, we've seen some of these amazing pictures that we're showing here.

You know, Michael, there's a photo I want to show of a soldier and a baby girl, in particular. Here it is. Why is this photo so meaningful, Michael?

MICHAEL YON, EMBEDDED BLOGGER: Well, I shot that photo on a day when a suicide or homicide car bomber ran into one of our Stryker vehicles, injured a couple of our soldiers, and, unfortunately, there were a lot of children who had crowded around to wave at our people.

And the attackers had every opportunity to just wait a couple of blocks and attack our guys later, without the children being around, but instead chose to attack straight through the children.

And Major Bieger, who is in the photo, found the little girl -- her name is Farah -- and decided he wanted to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. [See photo here.]

And so he picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket, and loaded her into one of our vehicles and started to take her to the hospital as fast as possible. And unfortunately, little Farah died en route.
We went back to that neighborhood the next day, and the people there actually welcomed us with open arms. They welcomed us into their homes.

We got into a firefight there again the next day. And the people in that part of the city began to give us more and more information about the terrorists until it got to the point where -- it's very dangerous to be a terrorist now in Mosul...
Willis also made the following offer:
COSBY: You know, Bruce, in 2003, you admirably offered $1 million for the capture of Saddam. I have to ask you, because just last night we had on our show so many of those pictures, those horrific pictures of what happened in Jordan.

And right now, we've got three thorns in our side. We've got Zawahiri, of course, who is Osama bin Laden`s right-hand guy. You've got Osama bin Laden himself. And then you've got al-Zarqawi, the Iraqi who everyone believes is behind the mastermind of the attack, just those horrible attacks on three hotels just last night.

Are you prepared even right now to maybe offer $1 million for one of them?

WILLIS: Well, that was a conversation I was having with members of the military. I've since been told that military men and women cannot accept any reward for the job that they're doing. It was more about my passion for trying to stop Saddam Hussein.

COSBY: Would you offer that if somebody else, let's say a civilian, is willing to turn one of them in and finally put this to an end?

WILLIS: Yes, I would. Yes, I would.
He'll no doubt throw in a free autograph.


A competition to rename kangaroo meat is underway. The goal is increased sales:
Competition organiser Mel Nathan says she wants entrants to take it seriously and try not to be silly.

"As I tell people, they're not allowed to come up with names like cyril, skippy, yummy or road-kill. I quite like marsu, I like marla, and I quite like wallagang," she said.

"Marsu was an interesting one, which came in from a person who thought that it reminded her of a marsupial, which a kangaroo is and at the same time it sounds a little exotic."
How about kangachew?

Update: Kev Gillett links to some suggested names for roo meat. But, not everyone is happy about the idea of eating a national icon:
Australia - country of the largest wildlife slaughter of the known world. One question - The Kangaroo is a protected animal - PROTECTED AGAINST WHAT ????? To eat kangaroo is a disgrace - pure and simple. Tourists are disgusted to hear we eat our national icon.
Emu anyone?


Imagine my surprise on discovering during my morning visit to Tim Blair's, that a famous journalist-author – no, not Antony Loewenstein, Maureen Dowd – will visit Perth in 2006. Hell, I'm an uncultured RWDB and don't pay much attention to events like the Perth International Arts Festival. To broaden my horizons I checked it out.

First held in 1953, the festival is the oldest Australian international arts festival. The theme for 2006 is "Garden of Earthly Delights", which could make for some interesting events – there seems to be a bit of confusion about the theme, which is sometimes shown as "Earthly Pleasure". The festival runs from 10 February – 5 March. Events will be staged around the state, not just in Perth.

Dowd will appear at the Curtin University hosted Words & Ideas workshop series which has a decided lefty slant, featuring Frank Moorehouse, Mark Kingwell, Ian Lowe and Robert Manne. Dowd gets by far the biggest blurb:
Join best-selling author of Bushworld and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd for an evening exploring the mysteries and muddles of sexual combat as she discusses her new book Are Men Necessary?

It's four decades after the sexual revolution and nothing has quite worked out the way it was supposed to. After winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for saucy and incisive commentary about the dangerous liaisons of Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton and Ken Starr, Maureen Dowd has turned her lapidary prose and wise wit to a topic even more incendiary that [sic] presidential politics: sexual politics.
Tickets are AU$15.

The festival receives funding from a number of sources, both public and private. But, if you look closely, you'll find that a number of sponsors not listed as Public Funding Partners are actually public. Healthway, for example, is shown as a Principal Sponsor, not as a Public Funding Partner, despite the fact that it is an organ of the West Australian government. Tricky.

For anyone wanting to refresh his memory, Dowd's Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times series of articles is here.

One more thing, like Dowd, Lindy Hume, the festival's director, is a red-nut (red-head for you foreigners) – in my experience, the operative part of that description is "nut".

Update: Perth doesn't need to import powerful but loony women, not when we already have multiple man-bagger Rose Hancock Porteous. While she's in town Dowd should drop in on Rose for a few man-catching tips.


The Belgian Ministry of the Interior reports:
“On Saturday night the Brussels police detained about fifty people. Here and there cars were set alight. Nevertheless, the situation remained quiet.”
Paul Belien, writing in The Brussels Journal, on the widespread "quiet":
On Saturday night the Brussels police clashed with rioting “youths” in the center of the city. The authorities describe the events as “a game of cat and mouse.” In the course of this “game” five cars, two buses and a number of dustbins were set on fire. In Liège, the major city of Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, nine vehicles were torched, including a truck. The rest of Wallonia was “quiet” too. In Charleroi nine cars went up in flames, in Louvain-la-Neuve three and in Binche one. In Colfontaine a kindergarten was set alight. In Moeskroen, a town bordering France, a truck burned out after being hit by a molotov cocktail. The fire brigade had to protect the surrounding houses, but could not prevent damage to a nearby school and a butcher’s.

France was “quiet” as well. During the 17th consecutive night of rioting, 374 cars were torched and 212 people arrested. In Carpentras, where a mosque had been attacked on Friday night, a school burned down. Lyons, France’s second largest city, witnessed heavy fighting between “youth” and police yesterday afternoon. It was the first rioting in a city center since the French riots began more than two weeks ago. It was also the first rioting in broad daylight.
Read the whole thing and bookmark the site, you'll be going back there in the future.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Fire is the Muslim weapon of choice at the moment:
A mob set ablaze three churches, a convent and a priest's house in Pakistan's central Punjab province on Saturday, according to police and clergy.

Some 1,500 people took part in the attack at Sangla Hill, around 70 km west of Lahore, Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Saldanaha told a news conference.

"The attack seems to be planned and organised as the attackers were brought to the site on buses," the archbishop said, citing reports from witnesses.

The outbreak of anti-Christian violence appeared to have been sparked by unsubstantiated accusations that a local Christian had desecrated the Koran, he said.

He said the church's own initial investigation suggested the accusations were motivated by a dispute over money.

Akram Gill, a Christian legislator, said the dispute was due to a gambling debt owed by two Muslims to a Christian.

"They refused to pay the money and created this nuisance," Gill said, adding that "fundamentalist elements" were fuelling anti-Christian feelings.
Oh well, at least no one's had his head lopped... so far.


It appears that the United Nations might soon add coroner to its ever lengthening list of roles:
A senior Palestinian official has called for a U.N. investigation into the death of Yasser Arafat, reiterating allegations that the Palestinian leader was poisoned by Israel.

Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization's mainstream Fatah faction, said Arafat was poisoned by Israel "because he was a stumbling block to (Israeli) plans." Other Palestinians have made the same charge in the past and Israel has repeatedly denied it.

The PLO will ask the U.N. Security Council "to form an international investigating commission into the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat." Kaddoumi told reporters on Saturday.

Arafat died in a French hospital on Nov. 11, 2004 at age 75. The exact cause of death remains unknown, fueling persistent rumors that he was either poisoned or died of AIDS.

Kaddoumi was speaking in Damascus after meeting representatives of the Syria-based radical Palestinian factions opposed to the PLO's peace accords with Israel. He said all Palestinian groups are united in holding Israel fully responsible for Arafat's death.
The UN won't be happy until it has a finger in every pie or, in the case of Arafat, arsehole.


Lefty Rick Perlstein has written a "review" of Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon by Mary Hershberger that's really a 4,600+ word revisionary rehabilitation of Jane Fonda's anti-war activities. The review is just begging to be Fisked but I have neither the time nor the inclination for that at the moment, so I'll concentrate on two examples of Perlstein nonsense.

According to Perlstein, Americans in general, and the US military in particular, are Fonda obsessed:
You don’t know America if you don’t know the Jane Fonda cult. Or rather, the anti-Fonda cult. At places where soldiers or former soldiers congregate, there’ll be stickers of her likeness on the urinals; one is an invitation to symbolic rape: Fonda in her 1980s ‘work-out’ costume, her legs splayed, pudenda at the bulls-eye. Every night at lights-out midshipmen at the US Naval Academy cry out ‘Goodnight, bitch!’ in her honour. They’ve learned, Carol Burke writes in her study of military folklore, Camp All-American, Hanoi Jane and the High-and-Tight, what you learn at all the service academies: ‘that being a real warrior and hating Jane Fonda are synonymous.’
Hmm, I was active duty USN for five years starting in the late 1970s and can't recall anyone being overtly concerned with Jane Fonda's activities. And how could I forget it if I had seen even a single urinal sticker inviting me to rape. (I suspect what Perlstein sees as an obsession is simply a reaction to recent attempts to rehabilitate Fonda's image.)

About 2/3 into the review Perlstein discusses the state of mind of the Americans being held by the North Vietnamese:
By the time Fonda visited pows in Hanoi in 1972, many more were ‘playing ball’. Using the evidence of their senses, they had turned against the war – especially the bombing war that they, as captured pilots, had themselves prosecuted. Hershberger argues convincingly that ‘by 1971, as many as half of the officers in Hanoi were openly disillusioned about the war.’ Two months before Fonda went to Hanoi, and weeks after the most brutal bombing raids on North Vietnam since the spring of 1968, a group of pows sent a letter to ‘the United States Congress and to all Americans’ demanding a negotiated settlement to end the war. Stockholm Syndrome? Perhaps to some extent. Certainly not torture. These were college-educated, accomplished men, leaders, in a unique position to evaluate the assumptions of the American bombing strategy on its own terms – which were that it would destroy the will of the enemy and make possible an orderly American retreat. ‘No bombing of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam serves to make the withdrawal of American forces any safer,’ they wrote: ‘it only makes it more likely that they cannot be withdrawn at all’ and ‘risks the death and capture of many more Americans, as well as endangering the lives of those already held captive’.
Statements issued by POWs are routinely assumed to have been coerced. American POWs were tortured – more on that later. Anyway, they were in no position to make meaningful comment on the course of the war; they were in prison and had access only to that information the North Vietnamese saw fit to provide – it must be neigh on to impossible to maintain a balanced perspective when you're constantly fed only one point of view. In short, the POWs were political pawns. Who wouldn't be disillusioned with a war that had gotten them captured and held in god-awful conditions?

I strongly suggest you read Perstein's rewrite of history and then read Snopes's balanced and concise treatment of Fonda. Here's an excerpt:
The most prominent example of a clash between private citizen protest and governmental military policy in recent history occurred in July 1972, when actress Jane Fonda arrived in Hanoi, North Vietnam, and began a two-week tour of the country conducted by uniformed military hosts. Aside from visiting villages, hospitals, schools, and factories, Fonda also posed for pictures in which she was shown applauding North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gunners, was photographed peering into the sights of an NVA anti-aircraft artillery launcher, and made ten propagandistic Tokyo Rose-like radio broadcasts in which she denounced American political and military leaders as "war criminals." She also spoke with eight American POWs at a carefully arranged "press conference," POWs who had been tortured by their North Vietnamese captors to force them to meet with Fonda, deny they had been tortured, and decry the American war effort. Fonda apparently didn't notice (or care) that the POWs were delivering their lines under duress or find it unusual the she was not allowed to visit the prisoner-of-war camp (commonly known as the "Hanoi Hilton") itself. She merely went home and told the world that "[the POWs] assured me they were in good health. When I asked them if they were brainwashed, they all laughed. Without exception, they expressed shame at what they had done." She did, however, charge that North Vietnamese POWs were systematically tortured in American prison-of-war camps.

To add insult to injury, when American POWs finally began to return home (some of them having been held captive for up to nine years) and describe the tortures they had endured at the hands of the North Vietnamese, Jane Fonda quickly told the country that they should "not hail the POWs as heroes, because they are hypocrites and liars." Fonda said the idea that the POWs she had met in Vietnam had been tortured was "laughable," claiming: "These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed." The POWs who said they had been tortured were "exaggerating, probably for their own self-interest," she asserted. She told audiences that "Never in the history of the United States have POWs come home looking like football players. These football players are no more heroes than Custer was. They're military careerists and professional killers" who are "trying to make themselves look self-righteous, but they are war criminals according to law."
And, if you haven't read it before, here's an excerpt from John McCain's experiences as a POW:
Every two hours, one guard would hold McCain while two others beat him. They kept it up for four days.

Finally, McCain lay on the floor, a bloody mess, unable to move. His right leg, injured when he was shot down, was horribly swollen. A guard yanked him to his feet and threw him down. His left arm smashed against a bucket and broke again.

'I reached the lowest point of my 5 1/2 years in North Vietnam,'' McCain would write later. ''I was at the point of suicide.''

What happened next is chronicled in The Nightingale's Song, by Robert Timberg:

''(McCain) looked at the louvered cell window high above his head, then at the small stool in the room. He took off his dark blue prison shirt, rolled it like a rope, draped one end over his shoulder near his neck, began feeding the other end through the louvers.''

A guard burst into the cell and pulled McCain away from the window. For the next few days, he was on suicide watch.

McCain's will had finally wilted under the beatings. Unable to endure any more, he agreed to sign a confession.

McCain slowly wrote, ''I am a black criminal and I have performed the deeds of an air pirate. I almost died and the Vietnamese people saved my life, thanks to the doctors.''

He would never forgive himself.
McCain wrote shit because he was forced to; Perlstein writes shit because... I guess because he believes it. Either that, or he's one lying mother fucker. No matter what, lefties are pathetic.