Click to access RSS




























































































































To find an archived article, simply click on Index and scroll the subject titles, or do a Ctrl-F search


This archive, organized into months, and indexed by
time and alphabet,
contains all issues since inception, including the current week.

You can write to me at blog2-at-tallrite-dot-com
(Clumsy form of my address to thwart spamming software that scans for e-mail addresses)

Ill-informed and objectionable;
You poisonous, bigoted, ignorant, verbose little wa*ker. (except I'm not little - 1.97m)
Reader comments

August 2010


ISSUE #208 - August 2010

Flash ClocksVideo Clocks at

ISSUE #208 - August 2010  [960+2137=3097]

Rasmussen poll on President Barack Obama’s popularity. The date is on the charts.
(Click on them to get the latest version.)

Rasmussen Daily Poll - 1 August 2010

44% Total Approval as at 1 August 2010


Cameron as Clinton - 15th August 2010


Worse Than Oil on a Beach - 12th August 2010


Islam's Affinity for Entropy - 6th August 2010


Iceland Goal Celebration - 5th August 2010


Issue 208’s Comments to Cyberspace [more added on August 9th, 13th and 31st]


Quotes for Issue 208

Cameron as Clinton

I am filled with both admiration and disdain for David Cameron and his actions since becoming the UK's Conservative party prime minister, with the Liberal Democrats' Nick Clegg at his elbow. 

As the joke goes, the new coalition is Conservative with a little c. 


Mr Cameron's pre-election campaigning and debating were remarkable for all his dodging, weaving and prevarication whenever questions about economic policy arose.  Never admitting that he would reduce any spending whatsoever (other than that old chestnut about eliminating waste), much less would he elaborate on what might specifically be cut or by how much.  It was always a waffly case of we will not shy away from making the hard decisions, whatever that might have meant. 

Of course his competitor parties said exactly the same kind of thing, but since Labour had been in power for the two years since the economic tsunami struck, it had no excuse for not having broached the hard decisions at all, only talked about broaching them.  At least you could think (dream?) that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were keeping their powder dry in order not to frighten the electorate. 

And so it proved, at least as regards the Conservatives.  Since taking office they have announced draconian across-the-board cuts in public expenditure of 40%, with however the National Health Service (probably the entity that accounts for most waste of public money) remaining inexplicably exempt from the scalpel. 

The UK is mired in debt, and as any housewife will tell you, if you can't pay your bills you must cut your spending at least until you can increase your income.  Housewives know this, but it seem to be a mystery to many politicians who think the way out of debt is to borrow more and spend more (president Obama's favourite solution under the beguiling rubric “stimulus). 

Ireland is mired in far worse debt per person than either the UK or America:

  Country External Debt
per person, $
Debt as
% of GDP
Ireland 515,671 1,004%
UK 147,060 416%
USA 43,758 94%

But Ireland's finance minister thinks a significant dent in its annual deficit of €20 billion can be achieved merely by trimming a delicate €3 billion from its annual budget (while not firing a single civil servant despite the decimation of economic activity). 

Full credit to Mr Cameron therefore.  And not only for his draconian cuts per se.  Because cuts of this magnitude (40%) will only be achieved by a radical reformation of the way the state is run.  You simply cannot cut 40% of costs from any activity without having to get rid of a lot of people and then doing whatever stuff you are able in a completely different and necessarily more efficient manner. 

This was Margaret Thatcher's great legacy in the 1980s when, much like Mr Cameron, she took over a country broken by Labour's left-wing socialist madness and radically transformed it, largely through savagely cutting back on the size of the state and selling off state assets from council houses to corporations. The Economist, 14th August 2010 Under her watch, Britain turned from the Sick Man of Europe into one of its most vibrant.  She famously remarked that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. 

Let us wish Mr Cameron well in this very difficult and painful project.  Provided he and his cabinet do not flinch, he and they deserve our admiration. 

It is interesting, incidentally, to note that this week's Economist (14th August) seems to have adopted, for its cover story, a similar approbation to mine of Mr Cameron's radical domestic activity. 


But Mr Cameron, please stay at home and concentrate on your gargantuan domestic economic project.  On matters foreign you have shown yourself, within your first few weeks in office, to be ignorant, foolish and, frankly, an embarrassment. 

Tony Blair was dubbed George Bush's poodle; this was unfair and not sought.  Mr Blair brought Britain into the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on the basis of conviction, not poodling.  Moreover, far from being Mr Bush's lapdog, Mr Blair forced the Americans to spend a fruitless and ultimately destructive year trying to convince the French, the Russians and the rest of the UN to endorse the invasion of Iraq.  These parties already had too much invested, on both national and frequently also personal bases, in the continuing health, longevity and prosperity of Saddam Hussein ever to agree he should be toppled.  But that year of delay was long enough to turn huge swathes of global public opinion against an invasion and created a climate of hatred that has hardly abated.  Were Mr Blair a poodle, he would have gone along with Mr Bush's invasion immediately, and it would have happened in 2002 instead of 2003 with, I would wager, far less of an insurgency that that which actually ensued. 

Mr Cameron, on the other hand, went across the Atlantic precisely to advertise that he was Mr Obama's poodle. 


Over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, he sided with Mr Obama in roundly denouncing BP, Britain's foremost international corporation. (As I have argued previously, BP certainly deserves opprobrium for causing the blowout, but huge praise for its remedial methodology which is resulting in a permanent fix to the problem). 


He declared that the UK was America's junior partner”, and went further to say it had been so since 1940.  As any Englishman surely knows, especially an Old Etonian, Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939.  It then stood alone against the Nazi behemoth for over two long painful years, including the disastrous Expeditionary Force to Europe, the Dunkirk evacuation, the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, while America looked on as a benign neutral. 

Only after the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 did America deign to join the war against Japan.  And only when four days later (in an extraordinary display of chutzpah and hubris) Hitler and Mussolini declared war on America (and not the other way round) could the USA be considered even a “partner”, much less a “senior partner”.  True by 1945, an exhausted Britain had become a de-facto “junior partner” not just to the USA but to the Soviet Union also, for without either of them Hitler and Hirohito would undoubtedly have prevailed.  But that was many years and corpses later than Mr Cameron's “1940”.  Moreover, Britain's “junior” status at war's end was nevertheless streets ahead of the status of those ruined defeated entities, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Germany, Korea, China, Japan ... need I go on?   


Then Mr Cameron went to Turkey, where he assured its Islamist prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of his strong advocacy for Turkey's application to join the EU.  Duh!  Who told Mr Cameron to say that?  What polls or focus-groups of British public opinion has he been consulting?  Maybe the same ones that caused outrage when Ireland's president Mary McAleese recently declared similar sentiments on behalf of the (similarly unconsulted) Irish people. 

Not many citizens of the UK, Ireland or the rest of the EU, with its European Judeo/Christian/agnostic history and culture, believe it is a good idea to allow free EU access to 70m Turkish Muslims, most of them impoverished from Anatolia in the East where Islamism is at its strongest.  Turkish demography (high birthrates in the East, vanishing rates in the more secular West) is only strengthening this imbalance and its malign effects are already visible. 

Only two months ago, the Turkish government connived in loading and dispatching a boatload of self-declared Islamists to break the internationally-recognized Gaza blockade.  The so-called
vessel, Mavi Marmara, was in fact carrying no aid - Jihad was its sole objective.  So the Islamists, many having made pre-martyrdom videos, attacked a lightly-armed Israeli boarding party and in the fight that followed nine managed to get themselves killed by IDF soldiers defending themselves. 

The EU would like more of this Islamic extremism, but home-grown within the EU?  Mr Cameron (and Ms McAleese) evidently would. 


Mr Cameron then turned his attentions to India, Pakistan's most hated rival,  both of them nuclear armed.  He chose this venue to announce that Pakistan is two-faced in dealing with Islamic terrorism - one part fighting it the other supporting it.  This is undoubtedly true.  The evidence is overwhelming that the ISI, Pakistan's military intelligence unit, has been very close to the Taliban ever since, thanks to American money and weapons, it virtually created the Taliban in their resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Americans foolishly lost interest once the Soviets departed, but elements of the ISI still continue to support their close friends in the Taliban, in effect exporting terrorism. 

Mr Cameron was right to say out loud what so many know but fear to enunciate.  But what kind of idiocy caused him to choose India of all places to say so?  A diplomatic blunder of the first order, which allowed Pakistan to take umbrage at the venue of the accusation rather than squirm at its veracity. 


After that it was Israel's turn, as he blithely condemned the Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza as "completely unacceptable" and described Gaza as a prison camp, with by implications the hated Jews as jailers. 

He failed completely to acknowledge


either that Israel had the right under international law to enforce the marine embargo on Gaza,


or that the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, was found to contain no aid at all, but several avowed jihadists who had made pre-departure martyrdom videos.  Their objective was clearly not to provide aid, but to fight Israel.  As mentioned, nine of them paid with their lives. 

Mr Cameron also seems to be blissfully unaware not only of the excellent living conditions for most people in Gaza (as Melanie Philips remarks, Gazans are the only refugees in the world who drive Mercedes), but that the privations are primarily imposed by Hamas itself.   


And so to his next foreign-policy blunder, where in a Q&A session with citizens back in England he declared that Iran has got a nuclear weapon” when as far as anyone knows it has not, but is desparately seeking one in order to wipe Israel off the map.  Taken  in isolation, this could be seen as a slip of the tongue.  But with all his other gaffes, you have to conclude that ignorance and insensitivity over foreign affairs are an inherent part of his make-up, and that he is too stupid to realise it, as are his colleagues, advisers, script-writers and minders.  

The New Bill Clinton

He reminds me of Bill Clinton as president.  Mr Clinton managed the domestic economy with great skill.  He presided over a 50% economic expansion (America's largest in history), brought unemployment down from 7½% to 4%, raised average wages by over 6½% in real terms, kept inflation below 2% and left behind a $4 trillion budget surplus.  One of his finest achievements was to place a five-year lifetime limit on Federal benefits which, though highly unpopular among the left, did more to encourage the unemployed back to work than any other single measure. 

But with only a few exceptions (eg peace in Northern Ireland), his foreign policy was dreadful.  The US trade deficit ballooned to $400 billion, he helped to collapse the international trade talks in Seattle in 1999, but above all he slept soundly through the rising tide of Islamism.  Attacks on American interests were met with at best a few token, desultory (mis-targeted) missiles, at worst with relative indifference.  For example -


The 1993 car-bombing of the underground carpark of New York's World Trade Center killed six and threatened to collapse the buildings.  Though ten Islamicist conspirators earned hefty jail sentences, this was treated merely as a crime, albeit a bad one.


The truck-bombing of Khobar Towers near Dharan in 1996 killed 19 US servicemen, for which fourteen Iranian-trained terrorists were eventually indicted (excluding the two leaders who live happily in Iran); this was despite the administration's own efforts to suppress knowledge of Iran's involvement.


The American embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi were bombed in 1998, killing 257 people.  The response was a few cruise missile strikes (one against a pharmaceutical factory), some ineffectual economic sanctions against Al Qaeda (yes!) and the conviction of just four perpetrators. 


The boat-bombing in 2000 of the USS Cole whilst refuelling in Aden killed 17 sailors.  The main response was the targeted assassination of a single suspect by a CIA drone in the Yemeni desert two years later.

These provocative attacks were largely regarded as mere criminal matters rather than acts of war by Islamists against American interests.  The CIA knew that Al Qaeda was responsible for at least two of them and had Osama bin Laden within its sights.  Yet, because Bill Clinton passed up several opportunities to capture him and would not authorise his assassination, he survived to perpetrate 9/11. 

Mr Clinton's disinterest in the Islamic threat that grew so alarmingly under his watch bred such a sense of security and invulnerability in the hearts of the Islamists, that they were finally emboldened to perpetrate the successful 9/11 outrage on those same Twin Towers bombed in 1993, and other targets. 

It took Mr Clinton 's reviled successor to recognise that America had a war on its hands. 

Moreover, In April 1994 he committed what was probably his presidency's most despicable abdication of humanitarian duty.  For although he was fully briefed about the unfolding genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda, he chose to lift not a finger to prevent what in a few short weeks became the worst such crime since the Holocaust. 

David Cameron gives the impression of being the new Bill Clinton. 

As competent as the former president in domestic affairs, he is however every bit as incapable as Mr Clinton was (and arguably Mr Obama is) insofar as confronting the global Islamic threat to the West is concerned, which is the pre-eminent international policy issue today.  However his ignorance of history is closer to Mr Obama's than Mr Clinton's. 

As much as possible, therefore, Mr Cameron should stick to his domestic agenda and, at least until he develops some knowledge, expertise and backbone, venture as little as possible into the foreign arena.  It is safer for all of us that he keep out than that he make matters worse. 

Meanwhile, long may he continue to make matters better at home. 

Back to List of Contents

Worse Than Oil on a Beach

President Obama and his administration kept telling us that BP's Macondo blowout was America's worst ever environmental disaster.  This was always a stupid claim. 


Piper Alpha killed 167 people compared with eleven on Macondo. 


Mexico's Ixtoc well blew into the Gulf of Mexico for nine months compared with Macondo's three months


and fouled 270 hundred kilometres of Texan coast with oil. 


Exxon Valdez oil killed seabirds in their tens of thousands compared with Macondo's dozen or so pelicans,


and deposited thick crude across eighteen hundred kilometres of Alaskan coastline compared with, well, almost no coastline ruined by Macondo.


And even the Ixtoc and Exxon Valdez disasters resulted in no permanent damage thanks to the concerted clean up efforts of both humans and nature. 

We all remember the president's first visit to the Gulf of Mexico in a vain search for an oil-blackened beach when this pristine strand was the best photo-opportunity he could come up with. 

Barack Obama fails to find pollution on Fourchon Beach

It is clear that the president and many others are deeply disappointed that, with the well now capped, they can't find Macondo oil coming ashore, killing the wildlife, devastating the fishing industry.  In fact three-quarters seems to have just disappeared (evaporation, biodegradation etc) which is clearly infuriating.

No matter. 

Come back BP!  All is forgiven!  

You really can find worse things on the beach than a bit of black oil ...

Back to List of Contents

Islam's Affinity for Entropy

There are various definitions of developed world”, but they all roughly boil down to the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, which have annual GDPs per person of between $20,000 (Portugal) and $50,000 (Singapore).

Is it not remarkable that not a single Islamic country is a member this exclusive club, and that they are nearly all mired in penury?  The exceptions are the super-wealthy states of the Gulf, but their riches virtually all derive from their sole dominant industry - the export of oil and gas using almost exclusively Western technology (augmented by tens of thousands of Western engineers).  If it wasn't for those fossil fuels, they would be as poor as Egypt (GDP $6,000 pp) or Indonesia ($4,000). 

Might there be a reason for universal Islamic poverty and might that reason be rooted in Islam itself?  After all it self-avowedly is supposed to dominate every aspect of a Muslim's life so it would be reasonable to theorise that Islam influences the outcome of Muslims' lives. 

I first heard of entropy when I was taught about it during my engineering studies many years ago.  Entropy has various formal definitions, most of which are unintelligible -


a measure of the uncertainty of an outcome;


a thermodynamic quantity representing the amount of energy in a system that is no longer available for doing mechanical work;


a measure that increases as matter and energy in the universe degrade to an ultimate state of inert uniformity;


a measure of the randomness collected by an operating system or application for use in cryptography or other uses that require random data.

But there is a simpler way to understand entropy. 

Ever since the Big Bang, the universe, left to its own devices, has tended and continues to tend away from order and inexorably towards chaos.  This movement is said to represent an increase of entropy.  It is only by inputting energy that you can reverse the process, turning chaos into order such that entropy is reduced. 


Thus, if you drop a china plate it will always shatter, thereby increasing chaos and entropy. 


Yet no matter how many times you drop the fragments they will never re-form into a plate or anything else useful. 


For that you need to apply some form of energy (eg hours of painstaking work with the superglue).  

Human development has been and remains entirely predicated on dragging down entropy - fighting nature to create order out of chaos.  Thus it is through human labour and thought that hunting and gathering - which is how wildlife still feeds itself - progressed to farming, to better diets, to longer lifetimes and hence to the opportunity to dream up further improvements in life.   There is no betterment in humankind's condition that was not brought about by human effort, and humans have also learnt how to augment this with external energy: 


domesticated animals - for draught and transport;


wind - using sails for ships and rotating vanes to drive machinery;


burning fuels - firewood, coal, oil, gas;


harnessing other power - from hydro, nuclear, the sun, the tides. 

Underlying all such development is that inexhaustible inexplicable resource capable of solving all problems: the liberated human mind.  What drives it is two things - the urge to stay alive and propagate, and once these are reasonably assured the desire to be personally free and content.  The US founding fathers were indeed prescient when they declared in 1776 that every person has an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

When one or more of these is denied, human progress slows or stops allowing entropy to rise.  Through history you can more or less correlate human development with the extent of realisation of these three simple concepts.  But America is the only country to have put them on a constitutional basis, which largely explains why its has outstripped all other societies past or present in its rate of innovation and development leading to the creation of wealth. 

Which brings us to Islam. Apart from its strictures on religious observance (praying, fasting, visiting Mecca etc), it is extraordinary that the Koran seems to have only one external focus: the irreversible conversion of the world to Islam, where necessary by coercion, which is the source of all Islamist violence.  Under Sharia, coercion comes in three forms: subjugated infidels must either (eg Koran, 9:5)

  1. 1  convert to Islam voluntarily, or

  2. 2  accept second-class status (dhimmitude) and pay jizya (infidels' tax), or

  3. 3  be killed.   

Of course the prospect of option 3 provides a great incentive to volunteer for option 1.  But so does option 2; indeed many defeated countries (eg in once-Christian North Africa) did indeed convert to Islam voluntarily”, but only slowly - sometimes over centuries - as Christians, Jews and others would gradually decide to give up on the burden of jizya and the other ritualised humiliations reserved for dhimmis. 

This Koranic focus is entirely destructive.  The Jihad that it spawns makes a virtue only out of defeating and subjugating enemies of Allah wherever they may be found and destroying their property - this comprises over 60% of the Koran.  Even within Islam, the principal emphasis is to ensure, via heavy often lethal penalties, that Muslims remain true to the demands of the faith.  Islam provides no place for creativity, only conformity and violence.  Even when it lives close to infidels and has dominance over them, the infidels' own creativity is to be staunched through the punitive jizya and restrictions on what business activities they are allowed to engage in.   

One of my sourcesSo there should be no wonder that there has been so little original development in the Islamic world other than a brief period in the 8th to 11th century, when unaccustomed freedom allowed Muslim scholarship to flower.  Even this, however, was largely a matter of absorbing existing Greek thought and outside technology rather than engaging in disinterested enquiry.  The latter is haraam (forbidden) because the source of all knowledge is of course the Koran.  This is why a thousand years ago the mullahs eventually clamped down on the whole idea of seeking the secrets of nature - a stiflement of scientific discovery that continues to this day. 

When the United Nations published its 2003 issue of the “Arab Human Development Report, the world was stunned by its observations that


more books are translated into Spanish every year than have been translated into Arabic in a millennium, and


fewer books are translated from other languages into Arabic, which has 220 million speakers, than into Greek spoken by only 15 million.   

With every few exceptions (eg North Korea), it is only non-Islamic entities that proved themselves to be structurally capable of creating wealth.  Consider


the democratic capitalistic societies such as those in most of the developed world,


developing countries such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Chile;


even the impecunious non-Islamic states Africa like Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. 

When failures of these types of countries do occur, they can invariably be attributed to specific incompetencies or greed or criminality, rather than to the overriding bar to or neglect of constructive behaviour that is characteristic of Islam.  For all their inherent wickedness, even Mao and Stalin attempted, however misguidedly and irrationally, to develop their countries, to thereby reduce entropy.  

One can only speculate what the world would (will?) be like when Islam conquers all, because it will barely have the means to feed itself.  Islam's sanction on the discovery of knowledge makes it entirely parasitic, dependant on Western technology and the money of Westerners and others.  As any naturalist will tell you, a parasite without a host will quickly die out; yet it is Islam's intent to eliminate the very infidel nature which makes its host its host. 

With free thinking and free endeavour constrained if not haraam, Islam represents a belief system with an extraordinary affinity for entropy, inexorably pushing it up, driving the world towards chaos and away from order.  How strange that Allah would create infidels for construction in this world but destruction in the next, while demanding an all-Muslim world which would necessarily be doomed for destruction.

Maybe since He chose six billion years ago to launch the universe with a Big Bang followed by ever-increasing entropy, that's actually just the way He wants it.  In that case, it makes for an irrational Allah to have ever created Man, particularly infidel Man, the one obstacle to unfettered entropy. 

Back to List of Contents

Iceland Goal Celebration

I absolutely hate the infantile hugging and kissing and somersaults that footballers engage in when one of their number scores a goal.  I can never understand why the opposite side does not simply take its kick-off in the middle of the love-in and catch the enemy unawares.  Not cricket apparently.

However Iceland, so different in so many ways from the rest of Europe (is it even in Europe?), sometimes has a different more innovative approach to such celebrations.  Have a look at team Haldor Orri in the 2010 Iceland Football League.  It's only 35 seconds.   


Back to List of Contents

Issue 208’s Comments to Cyberspace

Mapping Dublin's future  P!
Letter published in the Irish Times

Aris Venetikidis’s new maps of public transport in Dublin are absolutely brilliant! But isn’t it extraordinary that it takes a foreigner to come up with such an idea, rather than Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann, given that ...

DLCC bins its bin service
Letter to the Irish Times
You report that Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, because it could not afford to run the bin service and was losing about €3.5 million a year, has sold off its bin collections to Panda.  Yet I thought my eyes were deceiving me when ...


Lexington: Build that mosque
Letter to the Economist
Lexington ties himself in knots as he tries camouflage the realities of the proposed
Ground Zero mosque within politically acceptable convolutions.  Firstly, immigration. It is the responsibility of the immigrant, not as Lexington infers the host, to integrate him/herself into his/her chosen new home. Secondly, while the vast majority of the world's billion Muslims are not terrorists ...


People see me as a terrorist
Comment on a Sunday Tribune article about an Irishwoman disparaged for joining the Israeli Defence Force
Well done, Cliona, helping the only true democracy in the Middle East to defend itself against the surrounding hordes bent only on ...


Tax policy amounting to a free pass for the big boys
Comment on Arthur Beesley's Irish Times Opinion piece on 9th August 2010
Question: What group actually creates jobs? Answer: Private industry; private investors.  
Question: What group spends money without creating anything? Answer: Government. So why does Mr Beesley advocate the discouragement of private industry and ...


More women needed to represent true democracy
Comment on Senator Ivana Bacik's Irish Times column
It's all very well for the National Women's Council chief executive to howl in outrage because most female TDs reject the idea of quotas. But where is the NCLRPCC (National Council for Left-handed Red-haired Purple-eyed Club-footed Castrati), when you need it? ...


Inequity the bedrock of McDowell's 'Republic'
Comment on Fintan O'Toole's Irish Times column

Fintan says,
a republic is constructed around a single, central and immutable value – equality. This statement is pure ideological claptrap!  A republic, as the word's Latin origin - res publica - makes perfectly clear, is a thing of the people ...


Seconds out for big fight on pensioners
Comment on Kathy Sheridan's Irish Times column

By 2060, there will be only two people of working age for every person above 65. And, oldies, it’s all your fault.  Despite her obvious derision of this statement, Kathy Sheridan is in fact spot on. It is irrefutably the pensioners' own fault. They are the ones who pro-created too few babies ...


A Tradition of Tolerance: Welcoming Cordoba House
Comment dated 26 July on a column supporting the Ground Zero Mosque
"eddie" like others cites whites/slavery, Catholics/child-molestors, whites/supremacists to make a moral equivalence for Muslims/Islamic-terrorists. This is a false comparison ...


Should State assets be sold to cut the national debt?
Comment on an Irish Times poll question
If you or I owe money we have to repay it. If that means selling our house, its contents, our silverware, our car, so be it. Same with the state. It absolutely has to do whatever is necessary to get rid of its enormous debt, however foolishly (or indeed legitimately) acquired.


I [Jim O'Leary] should have been more pushy in opposing risk-taking at bank
Comment on an Irish Times apologia by a former non-executive bank director
The prevailing belief during the boom was that the boom would give way to the much-vaunted “soft landing”.  When, in the history of the world, has a boom EVER been followed by a “soft landing”? This phrase was the most ridiculous ...


Hamas torches children's summer camps
Comment in the Spectator-hosted Melanie Philips Blog
QUOTE: An American envoy is scheduled to meet with Hamas representatives in an Arab country and hand them a letter from the Obama Administration. UNQUOTE.  Why is it no longer shocking, or even surprising, to learn that the White House may be trying to cosy up, in secret, to an avowed genocidal terrorist organization?  When even the American President gives the ...

Back to List of Contents

Quotes for Issue 208

- - - - - F R A N C E - - - - -

Quote: The war against criminality, the war against terrorism — it’s the terminology of American neo-conservatives and George Bush, and we know how little they succeeded.”

France's former prime minister Dominique de Villepin slags off his nemesis. 

The only problem is that Mr Bush's war in Iraq
has actually succeeded in not only overthrowing Saddam Hussein,
but in creating a kind-of democracy with a level of illegitimate killing
now far lower than in Saddam's time. 

The only difference is that under Saddam such killings
were perpetrated by the State;
nowadays it is done individuals and by non-State Islamist entities.

I hope it drives Mr de Villepin crazy to be proved so wrong.

- - - - - M I D D L E   E A S T - - - - -

Quote: “Security incidents across Iraq remain at the lowest level since the U.S. has kept records.”

General Ray Odierno, America's top commander in Iraq,
gives great news to President Obama.

Quote: “Who is the second one?

Ehud Barak, Israel's Defense Minister (and former Prime Minister),
responding to the charge by Iran's illegitimate
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the US and Israel
have decided to attack at least two countries in the region
in the next three months

Iran meant Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria. 

Mr Barak is making it pretty clear where Israel's primary threat comes from.

Quote: Let me be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change ... Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.” 

UK Prime Minister David Cameron,
fresh from telling the world that America entered the Second World War
as Britain's senior partner in 1940 (vs almost 1942),
now calls Gaza a prison camp
and it's all the fault of those damn Jews again. 

Firstly, if he wants Palestinians and Hamas let out, he should demand
that Egypt opens up the Rafah crossing to its fellow Arabs.

Second, he needs to visit Gaza to learn the wealth of the tiny enclave,
the only place in the world where the refugees drive Mercedes.

- - - - - R U S S I A - - - - -

Quote: I met them [the twelve Russian spies expelled from America].  We talked about life. We sang, not karaoke, but to live music. We sang From What the Motherland Begins [a sentimental Soviet song from the 1968 film Sword and Shield, about a daring Russian agent who is sent to Germany during the second World War and infiltrates the SS]

I’m not joking, I am serious. And other songs with a similar content.”

Russian Czar prime minister Vladimir Putin
welcomes back to the Motherland the twelve spies,
including the glamorous Anna Chapman,
who had been swapped by America
in return for four spies expelled from Russia. 

Let me be clear. It wasn’t my idea to send [Anna] back”,
jokes vice president Joe Biden

- - - - - U K - - - - -

Quote: British National Party [supporters] should be treated as less than human.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of Britain's Commission of Equality and Human Rights, declares (at a Union meeting back in 2007) his view of
the human rights of humans,
of whose views he happens to disapprove. 

I guess this makes it OK with Mr Phillips to slaughter BNP members
as if they were
less than human pests or farm animals.

- - - - - I R E L A N D - - - - -

Quote:  “This ‘I’m alright Jill’ attitude shows a sad lack of solidarity with other women.”

Susan McKay. chief executive of
Ireland's National Women’s Council
howls with outrage when most female parliamentarians (TDs)
fail to support her demand for quotas
to ensure greater female participation. 

Ms McKay evidently thinks the sisters are just too dumb
to make it to parliament on their own merits. 
Those existing TDs who aren't beg to differ. 

Quotas demean not only those selected
by telling everyone they don't possess the necessary abilities,
but also cast doubt on the competence of women who do.

- - - - - W A R M - M O N G E R I N G - - - - -

Quote: The arctic ice is disappearing faster than was predicted. And instead of waiting until 2030 or whenever it was to have an ice-free Arctic, we’re going to have one in five or 10 years.”

With prophet Al Gore in disgrace over divorce and sexual shenanigans,
fellow-failed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry picks up
the global warm-mongering cudgel. 

Whereas, inconveniently, the Arctic has been re-freezing again
since a low in 2007, as the chart shows,
Senator Kerry declares that the Arctic is in fact still melting,
and catastrophically so,

That is just so Al Gore!

Sources: National Snow and Ice Data Center (Colorado)
and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Back to List of Contents

See the Archive and Blogroll at top left and right, for your convenience

Back to Top of Page



Now, for a little [Light Relief]

Hit Counter

2013 RWC7s Logo

Gift Idea
Cuddly Teddy Bears
looking for a home

Click for details  “”

Neda Agha Soltan, 1982-2009
Neda Agha Soltan;
shot dead in Teheran
by Basij militia

Good to report that as at
14th September 2009
he is at least alive.

ON 18th OCTOBER 2011,

Support Denmark and its caroonists!

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11



Adam Smith  

Alt Tag  

Andrew Sullivan

Atlantic Blog (defunct)

Back Seat Drivers

Belfast Gonzo

Black Line  

Blog-Irish (defunct)

Broom of Anger 

Charles Krauthammer

Cox and Forkum

Defiant  Irishwoman  

Disillusioned Lefty

Douglas Murray

Freedom Institute  

Gavin's Blog 

Guido Fawkes


Internet Commentator

Irish Blogs

Irish Eagle

Irish Elk

Jawa Report

Kevin Myers

Mark Humphrys 

Mark Steyn

Melanie Phillips

Not a Fish

Parnell's Ireland

Rolfe's Random Review


Sarah Carey / GUBU

Sicilian Notes  

Slugger O'Toole

Thinking Man's Guide

Turbulence Ahead

Victor Davis Hanson

Watching Israel

Wulfbeorn, Watching



Awareness Project



Iona Institute
Skeptical Bible  

Skeptical Quran  



Razzamatazz Blog  

Sawyer the Lawyer

Tales from Warri

Twenty Major

Graham's  Sporting Wk


Blog Directory


Discover the World


My Columns in the


Irish Times


Sunday Times


 What I've recently
been reading

The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Tol, 2006
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy Tol (2006),
is a delightful novel-style history of modern Israel and Palestine told through the eyes of a thoughtful protagonist from either side, with a household lemon tree as their unifying theme.

But it's not entirely honest in its subtle pro-Palestinian bias, and therefore needs to be read in conjunction with an antidote, such as
The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz, 2004

See detailed review


Drowning in Oil - Macondo Blowout
examines events which led to BP's 2010 Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. 

BP's ambitious CEO John Browne expanded it through adventurous acquisitions, aggressive offshore exploration, and relentless cost-reduction that trumped everything else, even safety and long-term technical sustainability.  

Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in Russia.  

The Macondo blowout was but an inevitable outcome of a BP culture that had become poisonous and incompetent. 

However the book is gravely compromised by a litany of over 40 technical and stupid errors that display the author's ignorance and carelessness. 

It would be better to wait for the second (properly edited) edition before buying. 

As for BP, only a wholesale rebuilding of a new, professional, ethical culture will prevent further such tragedies and the eventual destruction of a once mighty corporation with a long and generally honourable history.

Note: I wrote my own reports on Macondo
May, June, and July 2010


Published in April 2010; banned in Singapore

A horrific account of:


how the death penalty is administered and, er, executed in Singapore,


the corruption of Singapore's legal system, and


Singapore's enthusiastic embrace of Burma's drug-fuelled military dictatorship

More details on my blog here.


Product Details
This is nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’s incredible story of survival in the Far East during World War II.

After recounting a childhood of convention and simple pleasures in working-class Aberdeen, Mr Urquhart is conscripted within days of Chamberlain declaring war on Germany in 1939.

From then until the Japanese are deservedly nuked into surrendering six years later, Mr Urquhart’s tale is one of first discomfort but then following the fall of Singapore of ever-increasing, unmitigated horror. 

After a wretched journey Eastward, he finds himself part of Singapore’s big but useless garrison.

Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in 1941, he is, successively,


part of a death march to Thailand,


a slave labourer on the Siam/Burma railway (one man died for every sleeper laid),


regularly beaten and tortured,


racked by starvation, gaping ulcers and disease including cholera,


a slave labourer stevedoring at Singapore’s docks,


shipped to Japan in a stinking, closed, airless hold with 900 other sick and dying men,


torpedoed by the Americans and left drifting alone for five days before being picked up,


a slave-labourer in Nagasaki until blessed liberation thanks to the Americans’ “Fat Boy” atomic bomb.

Chronically ill, distraught and traumatised on return to Aberdeen yet disdained by the British Army, he slowly reconstructs a life.  Only in his late 80s is he able finally to recount his dreadful experiences in this unputdownable book.

There are very few first-person eye-witness accounts of the the horrors of Japanese brutality during WW2. As such this book is an invaluable historical document.


Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

This is a rattling good tale of the web of corruption within which the American president and his cronies operate. It's written by blogger Michele Malkin who, because she's both a woman and half-Asian, is curiously immune to the charges of racism and sexism this book would provoke if written by a typical Republican WASP.

With 75 page of notes to back up - in best blogger tradition - every shocking and in most cases money-grubbing allegation, she excoriates one Obama crony after another, starting with the incumbent himself and his equally tricky wife. 

Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarett, Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Steven Rattner, both Clintons, Chris Dodd: they all star as crooks in this venomous but credible book. 

ACORN, Mr Obama's favourite community organising outfit, is also exposed for the crooked vote-rigging machine it is.


This much trumpeted sequel to Freakonomics is a bit of disappointment. 

It is really just a collation of amusing little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour and situations.  For example:


Drunk walking kills more people per kilometer than drunk driving.


People aren't really altruistic - they always expect a return of some sort for good deeds.


Child seats are a waste of money as they are no safer for children than adult seatbelts.


Though doctors have known for centuries they must wash their hands to avoid spreading infection, they still often fail to do so. 


Monkeys can be taught to use washers as cash to buy tit-bits - and even sex.

The book has no real message other than don't be surprised how humans sometimes behave and try to look for simple rather than complex solutions.

And with a final anecdote (monkeys, cash and sex), the book suddenly just stops dead in its tracks.  Weird.


False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World
A remarkable, coherent attempt by Financial Times economist Alan Beattie to understand and explain world history through the prism of economics. 

It's chapters are organised around provocative questions such as


Why does asparagus come from Peru?


Why are pandas so useless?


Why are oil and diamonds more trouble than they are worth?


Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?

It's central thesis is that economic development continues to be impeded in different countries for different historical reasons, even when the original rationale for those impediments no longer obtains.  For instance:


Argentina protects its now largely foreign landowners (eg George Soros)


Russia its military-owned businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs


The US its cotton industry comprising only 1% of GDP and 2% of its workforce

The author writes in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to digest. 

However it would benefit from a few charts to illustrate some of the many quantitative points put forward, as well as sub-chaptering every few pages to provide natural break-points for the reader. 


Burmese Outpost, by Anthony Irwin
This is a thrilling book of derring-do behind enemy lines in the jungles of north-east Burma in 1942-44 during the Japanese occupation.

The author was a member of Britain's V Force, a forerunner of the SAS. Its remit was to harass Japanese lines of command, patrol their occupied territory, carryout sabotage and provide intelligence, with the overall objective of keeping the enemy out of India.   

Irwin is admirably yet brutally frank, in his descriptions of deathly battles with the Japs, his execution of a prisoner, dodging falling bags of rice dropped by the RAF, or collapsing in floods of tears through accumulated stress, fear and loneliness. 

He also provides some fascinating insights into the mentality of Japanese soldiery and why it failed against the flexibility and devolved authority of the British. 

The book amounts to a  very human and exhilarating tale.

Oh, and Irwin describes the death in 1943 of his colleague my uncle, Major PF Brennan.


Other books here

Rugby World Cup 7s, Dubai 2009
Click for an account of this momentous, high-speed event
of March 2009

 Rugby World Cup 2007
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the Rugby World Cup
scores, points and rankings.


After 48 crackling, compelling, captivating games, the new World Champions are, deservedly,

England get the Silver,
Argentina the Bronze.  Fourth is host nation France.

No-one can argue with
the justice of the outcomes

Over the competition,
the average
points per game =
tries per game =
minutes per try = 13

Click here to see all the latest scores, points and rankings  
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the final World Cup
scores, points, rankings and goal-statistics

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by