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August 2011


ISSUE #215 - August 2011

Myspace Clocks, Video Clocks, Flash Clocks, Fun Clocks at

ISSUE #215 - August 2011 391+3704=4095

Much as I hate to temporarily discontinue the fun of publishing polls showing
President Barack Obama’s non-existent popularity, for September and October
daily updates of running scores from the 2011 Rugby World Cup takes priority


Beware the Wrath of Melanie Philips! -15th August 2011


Norwegian Carnage Holds Uncomfortable Lessons - 5th August 2011


Issue 215’s Comments to Cyberspace


Quotes for Issue 215

Beware the Wrath of Melanie Philips! - 15th August 2011

You need to be very sure of your ground before you cross Melanie Phillips. 
Heather Mallick was not.

In the aftermath of the Breivik massacre, the indomitable Melanie Philips, below left, wrote a piece on 25th July in her blog, entitled A wider pathology”, in relation to the fact that she is quoted a couple of times in the “manifesto” of Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik.  

Melanie PhillipsHeather MallickThree days later, this was picked up in Canada's The Toronto Star when its columnist Heather Mallick, right, wrote a piece entitled What to do when a monster likes your work, in which she hurled some extraordinary vitriol at Ms Philips. Ms Mallick appears to be an outspoken controversial left-wing radical of sorts, once described as an Extreme Pro-Abortion Feminist”. 

Ms Philips is certainly man enough [sic] to absorb a tirade of abuse and insults.  But accusing her of spitting at the memory of those murdered in Oslo and Utya was a step too far. I don't know what Ms Philips did or threatened, but on 14th August, The Toronto Star


issued a grovelling apology,


removed the offending article from its website,


reimbursed Ms Philips her legal costs and


made an undisclosed donation to a charity of her choice in lieu of damages.

As you might expect, on her own site Ms Philips was glad to record her victory.  She reminds us that, of the massacres, she had written on 26th July that there can be no excuse, justification or rationale whatsoever for the atrocity perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik

But the apology means very little if you don't know what was actually being apologised for. 

But it means very little if you don't know what was actually being apologised for. 

After some sniffing around, I eventually found, thanks to Blazing Cat Fur, this poor-quality, virtually unreadable JPG reproduction of a cached version of Ms Mallick's now deleted article

Heather Mallilck's vitriolic attack on Mealnie Philips

However, thanks to the miracle of scanning and OCR, here is what the article says. 

Mallick: What to do when a monster likes your work
Heather Mallick, Star Columnist

Spare a moment to feel pity for a small but select crowd of people in Canada, the US and Europe.  They’re the agitators who woke up last Saturday to find that the Norwegian monster Anders Breivik liked them.  As in, he liked their opinions, he quoted them in his so-called manifesto and they – only lurking on the margins of decency before then – are now themselves hated worldwide.

This is new in human history.  Thanks to the power of the Internet, never before have lives been so easily damaged, if not destroyed.  Life online is fast and remorseless.  It runs on rage.

The online hate that so-called Muslim-haters displayed was instantly turned back on them and their discomfiture must be terrible.  One former Ryerson student who was involved in a minor quarrel over Catholic-versus-Muslim prayer rooms was mentioned by Breivik.  The poor man is collateral damage.  He sounds stunned now.  I’m trying to imagine how he will survive a basic Google search done by prospective employers.

What’s striking is how much succour the killer drew from the online hate that matched his own.  No one is to blame for his finding motivation where he could, but need Canadian opinionators have positively bubbled with malevolence?

Do not read Brievik’s footnoted little booky-wook.  I read it at 3 am only because I had a severe case of food poisoning and it seemed wrong to waste perfectly good nausea.  What better way to pass the time than exploring the damp folds of a psychopathic brain.  The clock ticked. 

It is thick with misogyny, just like the online world itself.  Women-hating is so common now that most commentators haven’t noticed that he hated women as much as he hated Muslims, maybe more.  Breivik, a mommy’s boy who lived off his mother, had a curlicued sexuality.  But so do many hateful people.

That’s why I find the case of the unreadable British journalist Melanie Phillips so troubling.  She has always been vicious, first on the hard left and now on the hard right.  But almost everyone else praised by the killer has said how horrified they were by the slaughter at Utoya.

Not Phillips of the Daily Mail.  “The supposed beliefs of the Norway massacre’s perpetrator has (sic) got the left in general wetting itself in delirium at this apparently heaven-sent opportunity to take down those who fight for life, liberty and western civilization against those who would destroy it”.  Seriously.  That was her response.  We cry at the news of children who bled to death in the water.  She spits.  [Author's emphasis]

When I study PhilIips’ trajectory, I get the same sensation I do about Breivik, that she is reacting to some deeply felt psychic wound.  The key is that many years ago, PhilIips’ left-wing allies turned against her and she was terribly hurt.  She didn’t have the moral fibre to prevent herself deteriorating into a sick caricature.  When people are hurt, they lash out. 

This is the cloud that hovers over the Internet, the rage of damaged people, especially those who comment anonymously and egg each other on.  This is why Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi, who helps run Facebook, has called for an end to online anonymity and why Jimmy Wales has set up a rating system to try to take the hate out of Wikipedia. 

If people could find a way to be kinder online, we perhaps might not have had billions of people whipping each other into a frenzy of hate.  The killer shouldn’t have been able to find so many kindred sickened souls. 

Speaking of which, could I ask people who disagree with me not to openly wish for my death? I am going to die one day.  So will they.  Shockingly, we are all going to. 

In the meantime, as the grave draws nearer, could we all please be kinder to each other and try to make the online world less of a stinking swamp and more of a sunlit upland?

This is not the first time Healther Mallick has been in trouble over one of her columns.  In 2008 she got into hot water with Canada's radio ombudsman after 300 complaints about a column which berated, in crudest terms, Sara Palin (who else!), her family and US Republican males in general. 

This time she and her employer truly felt the wrath of Melanie Philips, not merely the latter's devastating put-downs usually reserved for fellow-panellists on TV and radio debates. 

How long will Ms Mallick continue to draw a salary? 

Back to List of Contents

Norwegian Carnage Holds Uncomfortable Lessons - 5th August 2011

The actions of an evil terrorist in Norway
has exposed societal flaws that exacerbated the carnage;
the reactions so far are unlikely to deter future such attacks.





Respectable objectives


Insane Reactions


Make love not war




Small island




Anti unapproved violence



It is hard to imagine a course of action more likely to bring long-term discredit to the causes he says he espouses than the criminal murderous rampage of Anders Behring Breivik that left the corpses of 77 innocent people blown up, shot or drowned. 


Back to beginning

Mass murderer Anders Behring BreivikNot just Norwegians, but all normal human beings are rightly consumed with outrage over his actions first in downtown Oslo, then on that idyllic island of Utya in the Tyri fjord an hour's drive away.  There is neither excuse nor punishment severe enough to match the evil that he wrought. Indeed, in Norway which abolished the death penalty in 1979  the maximum penalty for murder is only 21 years, with seven off for good behaviour. As far as I know, multiple sentences must be served concurrently not consecutively; otherwise 77 x 21 = 1,617 years, effectively life-means-life, might have been expected.  Instead, he could be out by 2025, though I am sure (hope!) the Norwegians will nevertheless find some barely legal ruse to keep him under lock and key forever. 

Respectable objectives

Back to beginning

The other reason for fury, albeit of less severity under the circumstances, is the damage this wicked man has brought upon what are, in themselves, perfectly respectable objectives.  Unworthy means do not make objectives unworthy.  The IRA waged a war against the people of both Britain and Ireland for thirty years, which resulted in 3,000 unwarranted deaths.  Its means were vile, but the objective of getting Britain out of Northern Ireland was respectable.  Sinn Fein is today a democratic party which has eschewed violence, has parliamentary representation both north and south of the border, yet its objective remains identical to that of the IRA.  The difference is that the IRA sought/seeks to achieve this though the bullet, Sinn Fein now espouses the ballot. 

Breivik's objectives are spelled out in the 1500-page 770,000-word manifesto (2083 - A European Declaration of Independence, downloadable here) that he issued on the internet just before his massacre. 

Not all of these are respectable, but many are.  Here are a few, for which I have provided some of the justifications that are often advanced.  I have not used Breivik's arguments. 


Anti-immigration and exclusive nationalism


Your country, your history, your culture primarily for your own native people




Opposing Sharia-based


treatment of women, homosexuals and non-Muslims,


Islamic supremacy,




treatment of criminals,


embrace of savagery.




Because as the only Western-style democratic state in the Middle East, it finds itself at the forefront of the “clash of civilisations” between the democratic West and an oppressive, backward and violent Islam.


Anti-Turkish EU membership


An influx of 75m mostly poor Muslims, many sympathetic of Islamism, into the mainly Judeo/Christian/Secular European Union of 500m can only spell trouble in the long if not short term. 


This phenomenon is already apparent in pockets within France, Netherlands, Sweden to name just three EU countries where Muslim ascendancy has led to no-go areas and endemic Islamicist violence against native peoples. 


Getting rid of the European Union


The EU has far exceeded its original Treaty of Rome mandate - a free-trade club of countries that would simply permit free movement of goods, capital and people within its boundaries. 


It has become a monolithic pseudo-European government, replete with


waste on a monumental scale,


accounts which have failed every annual audit since 1994,


unnecessary interference in the lives of 500 million
citizens within  its boundaries and


dreams of ever greater grandeur. 


Extraordinarily, Brussels now makes 80% of the laws of EU member states; the noble concept of subsidiarity has long been forgotten. 


Whether the €uro ends up as a blessing or curse is very much an open question as the PIGIS' economies teeter ever closer to the financial abyss. 


But the €uro's potential for destroying citizens' wealth
when/if it collapses is almost unlimited. 


Anthropogenic climate change is a scam


Hard to argue with!

What Breivik has done has made such arguments, even though polls show they broadly have the support of up to a quarter of EU citizens, almost unsayable in public, much to the delight of the multicultural global warm-mongering left.

Insane reactions

Back to beginning

Clearly, one of these is Norway's official representative in Israel, Ambassador Svein Sevje, who took leave of his senses when he suggested that Hamas terrorism against Israel is more justified than Breivik's attack against Norway, because “we Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel”.   In other words, terrorism against Israeli citizens is the fault of Israel; there anyway is no occupation”, just settlements in disputed territory that has never been Palestinian. 

Another is former Norwegian prime minister and current chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee Thorbjorn Jagland.  In response to the violent attacks, he admonishes British PM David Cameron and other European leaders (Sarkozy? Merkel) be more cautious when talking about multiculturalism and to cease playing with fire by using rhetoric that could be exploited by extremists such as Breivik. In other words, stop saying anti-left-wing stuff I don't like because I have no rational answer for it. 

At the other end of the spectrum, when Mario Borghezio, an Italian MEP and a leader of Italy's Northern League, which is part of Silvio Berlusconi's ruling coalition, recently


declared some of the ideas [Breivik] expressed are good, barring the violence, some of them are great”,


and opposition to Islam [is] shared by 100 million Europeans.


and went on to praise Breivik's call for a crusade by Christians against Europe's drift toward Islam.  

uproar ensured.  He was suspended from his party for three months and forced to make a grovelling apology to Norway, as did cabinet minister Roberto Calderoli also.  It's as if he was preaching that dislike of chocolate justified burning down the local Cadburys factory with all the workers inside.

Do not be surprised if these insane reactions lead to calls for the curtailment of speech that some on the left designate to be inflammatory. 

Make love not war

Back to beginning

An assumption has quickly arisen that agreeing with what Breivik says makes you a massacre enthusiast.  But agreeing with what the Norwegian Labour party stands for makes you automatically virtuous, because that party was the target of Breivik and your support is a proxy for support of his victims.   Broadly speaking, Labour's instinct is to oppose pretty much everything that Breivik embraces in the list above, as would its love-child the Workers' Youth League, or AUF, whose annual get-together on Utya Island was Breivik's target.  The Party and League seem to be imbued with 1960s California hippie mentality - you know, of the make love not war variety.  This screams out at you when you read the statements of its MP Renate Hheim and prime minister Jens Stoltenberg

“If one man can create that much hate, you can only imagine how much love we together can create. Violence creates violence, hate creates hate ... Our answer [to Breivik] is more democracy, more openness and more humanity – but never naivety.”

Noble sentiments, perhaps, if mushy, but the lack of resolve is palpable.  Fortunately, Breivik seems to be a lone-wolf, so his non-existence colleagues will not continue the fight.  Nevertheless, such statements make it perfectly clear that these Norwegian politicians would be similarly supine in the face of ferocious attacks by Islamicists or other organised terrorists, whose likelihood will have now increased as a result.   

In fact this lack of resolve and  make-love-not-war” mentality are symptomatic of very many people in Europe today.  The virtue of peace is indisputable, but when the desire for peace clouds out the necessity of sometimes having to fight to preserve it, the desire for peace perversely makes peace less likely to prevail over time.  People who won't fight always lose the fight.  it's not rocket science.  The Sunday Times reports () that a male Utya survivor said Norway should not go the American way - you cannot fight violence with violence”, which perhaps says it all.


Back to beginning

These days, boys are rarely any longer taught to box or other forms of self-defence.  They are constantly dissuaded from war games and fighting; indeed you will search toy shops in vain to find guns, bows-and-arrows, swords, slings, lances and other paraphernalia of make-believe war that were the staples of boyhood just a couple of decades ago.   They are constantly urged to suppress their natural aggressive energies and when conflict arises to always seek compromise and reconciliation. 

Mark Steyn captured this perfectly some years ago in a Daily Telegraph column, where a Mum took away her little son's toy sword as it was too militaristic but allowed him to keep the shield.  Thereafter, Junior would play in the yard with nothing but his shield, mastering the art of cowering more effectively against unseen blows

The situation is exacerbated by the tragic absence for many a boy of his father at home and of male teachers at school, on whom he can look as role models. 

The result is the gradual feminisation of boys along with the blurring of differences with girls.  When it is necessary for a male to do something difficult, dangerous or unpleasant, fewer of them are able or prepared to step up to the mark. 

Survivors Mostly Women and Children - because men stepped aside and diedIn 1912 the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank.  On that dreadful dark cold night, the phrase women and children first” assumed real meaning.  In order to let the ladies and their youngsters board the too-few functioning lifeboats, most men stood aside, and even threw life belts to passengers in the water, knowing that as a result they would die a terrible death in icy black water - which they then did.  The band members (all male) knowingly continued to play to help avoid panic, until they too succumbed to the same fate.  The Captain, Edward John Smith, 62, voluntarily drowned with his ship.  Thus the newspaper sub-heading, “Survivors Mostly Women and Children”. Such mass nobility and manliness is unthinkable in 2011.  Indeed, the phrases themselves have become clichs, and largely ironic ones at that:


 women and children first”,


 the band played on”,


 the Captain went down with his ship”. 

Nearly a decade ago, on Nine-Eleven, people still gasp (as I do) at the selfless bravery of Todd Beamer and his fellow (male) passengers on United Airlines Flight 92 who, at the certain cost of their own lives, attacked the hijackers and forced the plane to crash-land in a field instead of on the White House. 

We gasp because the behaviour of Mr Beamer and his co-heroes has become so uncharacteristic of 21st century male behaviour in the West. 

Yet sixty years ago, deeds such as those of the men on the Titanic or Flight 92 would be the expected reaction to the ghastly circumstances in which those males inadvertently found themselves.  Manliness was the universal norm. 

My aged father (b 1915) relates in his memoirs how corporal punishment was administered in Rutlish, his London school.  The boy would be asked whether he accepted the beating and if he answered yes, the headmaster administered the stinging strokes of the cane.  In the very rare instance of a refusal the miscreant would be spared, but he would thereafter be regarded with disdain by teachers and fellow-students alike.  In those days, manliness began in boyhood. 

Small Island

Back to beginning

Utya islandNow picture a scene.  On a small idyllic wooded island of barely 500 metres by 200 metres, some six hundred idealistic young men and women in their late teens and early twenties (plus a few children) are enjoying a summer camp of activities, discussion and camaraderie.  Suddenly a man in uniform appears and invites a group of the youngsters to gather round him in order to make an announcement.  Then he pulls out two guns and starts shooting his audience. 

Let's imagine two versions of what happens next, first in 1950, then in 2011.

1950 Version (and earlier):

As soon as the first people fall to the ground, the remaining men rush at the gunman to overpower him.  If he escapes to the woods and keeps shooting, the young men pursue him spreading out, taking cover in the trees, hurling rocks at the gunman.  Other men not part of the original target audience join in the hunt.  A few are shot; the rest persevere.  Everyone makes sure the young women and children are safely out of the way.  When the gunman has to stop and reload, whoever is closest pounces on him.  The men beat him to a pulp and tie him up.  Maybe they accidentally shoot him with his own gun. 

Eventually the medics arrive and tend to the casualties.  The police arrive and arrest (or body-bag) the gunman, commiserate over the deaths, and then congratulate everyone else.   No-one comments on their manliness - it's just  taken for granted. 

2011 Version:

As soon as the shooting starts, those who are not hit flee from the scene.  The gunman pursues them at walking pace, shooting any that he spots.  From time to time he stops to reload.  Some of the young people hide in the woods, some try to swim to the mainland, every man/woman for him/herself.  For eighty minutes, the gunman continues following and shooting the men and women, including several in the water swimming for their lives and others at waters' edge.  He delivers a coup-de-grce on many of the fallen just to make sure they are dead. 

Only when the police arrive does the gunman cease the carnage, as he meekly allows himself to be arrested.  His father regrets his son didn't kill himself.  In all 69 out of the six hundred are shot dead or drowned and several more are left wounded. 

A mass outpouring of national grief ensues (rather than rage) and politicians make inane comments about “how much love we together can create”.

Of course the second version is what actually happened on Utya on that fearsome 22nd day of July.  At least twelve of the victims are shown below, in happy mode sitting in the sun with their colleagues just the day before, oblivious to the dreadful fate about to befall them. 

A dozen of the victims, happy on the day before their deaths

People of an earlier generation just would not understand the mass panic that enabled one man with a couple of guns and a bag of ammunition to stroll around the island shooting and occasionally reloading, while six hundred fit young people, half of them presumably male, simply ran away in terror. 

Trail of carnage: Breivik criss-crossed Utya island during his rampage, before he surrendered to police


Back to beginning

But that's what happens when men throughout their upbringing have been imbued with such a sense of peace and love and friendship and caution and reaching-out at all costs, that they believe -


that feelings and emotions are as important as facts (or more so),


that all danger and all risk must be avoided at all times,


that men must never ever use violence or even learn how to,


that when confronted with violence or danger retreat is the only response,


that men have no inherent duty to protect women,


that they have no sense of either civic responsibility or personal pride. 

Their instinctive manliness has been driven out, to be replaced by feminisation.  This, unfortunately, is an observation that Breivik also makes several times in his manifesto.  No doubt the belief that the hundreds of youth on the island would all have been too feminised to counter-attack helped encourage him in his evil deeds. 

Anti Unapproved Violence

Back to beginning

Utya breaking the Gaza blockadeStrangely, however, the peaceableness of those young people had a let-out, for they were virulently anti-Israel pro-Palestinian.  Thus, while staying safely in Norway far away from the explosive Middle East, the AUF were not universally anti-violence, only anti unapproved violence.  They and the parent Labour party Utya boycotting Israelopenly support Palestinian militancy, and on Utya regularly played anti-Israel games, such as break the blockade” and “boycott Israel”.

Moreover, for fifteen years, representatives of Fatah Youth (the youth wing of its parent, Fatah) had been attending the AUF's annual youth camp on Utya, joining in the games and learning and sharing experiences on democracy and advocacy for peace and justice. (Hat tip Mark Humphreys). 

Though no longer officially designated as a terrorist group, Fatah nevertheless remains committed to what it calls armed struggle” against Israel.  Fatah Youth itself only last year organized a popular inauguration of a public square in the West Bank town of el-Bireh, which was named after Dalal Mughrabi.  This beautiful young Fatah terrorist was killed while hijacking a bus in Israel in 1978, resulting in the murder of 37 innocent Israelis.  

Meanwhile, the adult Fatah organization is also parent to its armed wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.  This is the Islamic terrorist group which proudly claims responsibility for the brutal murder of the Fogel Family while they slept and the virtual decapitation of baby Hadas.

Fatah Youth's statement about the Utya murders included this: “Fatah Youth presents its condolences to the families of those killed and sends a strong message of support to our comrades from the Norwegian AUF as well as from other sister parties that were participating in this summer camp.”  They know their friends. 

So the AUF's and the Labour party's aversion to violence is in fact a hypocritical sham.  They support it against Israel, they just don't know how to do it themselves, nor want to. 

Conclusions and Lessons

Back to beginning

So here are my conclusion and things to be learnt, some of them uncomfortable:


Breivik's actions were unutterably evil, abominable.  In any sane society he would be looking at imminent execution rather than years in a comfortable Norwegian jail with all mod-con s and a sensitive rehabilitation programme. 


His right-leaning objectives, however, whether or not you agree with them, are largely respectable, if not honourable - see the shopping list at the beginning of this post. 


But Breivik has ensured that those who share them will now for a long time be demonised whenever they advance them. 


This must be countered by persistently presenting their underlying logic (I have demonstrated elsewhere how the ideas of the right always makes more sense than of the left). 


Utya must not be allowed to become an excuse for constraining free speech.


We must be sceptical about groups that proclaim their anti-violence or anti-war credentials; for many these worthy sentiments are set aside where approved enemies are concerned, usually Israel.  Indeed attitudes towards Israel are a useful acid test. 


In particular, Norway, widely acknowledged as one of the most institutionally anti-Semitic countries in Europe, is ruled by a party (Labour) that preaches non-violence, while with breathtaking double-think it has long consorted with Fatah whose militant wing is devoted to violence against Israel.  These two phenomena are not unrelated. 


The overall reaction during and after the events in Norway have made such attacks in the future more not less probable. 


Calls for the curtailment of free speech in the light of the Norwegian atrocities are irrational, ultimately dangerous (because they encourage other more belligerent outlets) and must be resisted. 


Above all, excessive feminisation (in other countries as well as Norway) of young males - meaning


an embrace of emotions,


avoidance of risk,


fear of violence,


inability to cope with physical conflict

- is an attributes that ultimately leads to the opposite of what is intended, namely more not less violence and more not fewer innocent casualties.

Back to beginning

Back to List of Contents

Issue 215’s Comments to Cyberspace


Why is Vatican so miffed at reaction to Cloyne report?
Online comment to an Irish Times article
You are dishonest, Mr McGarry. You allege that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who was responsible for the 1997 letter to the Irish bishops, dismissed their 1996 Framework Document as “merely a study document”. Had you bothered to actually read that 1997 Vatican letter you would have learnt that ...


Vatican did not try to obstruct abuse inquiry
Online comments an Irish Times article
It's worth reading the Vatican's actual 1997 letter which Mr Kenny disparages, not least for its gobbledook nature.  Somebody should really teach those Vatican guys to write proper, simple English. Their convoluted phraseology ...


Tackle Shatter on male circumcision P!
Letter in the Irish Independent on 21st July
Kevin Myers points out that a Jewish Minister for Justice may introduce a state law governing private Catholic sacramental practices such as the seal of the Catholic confessional, and contrasts this with Rabbinical circumcision ...


Human Harvest P!
Letter published by the Sunday Times (subscription only) on 17th July
Brenda Powers refers to the book
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and says that in his world, human clones are crops to be harvested for their organs. Powers goes on to say that this is far-fetched stuff. Would that it were ...


Palestinian push for state status
Letter to the Irish Times
The alphabetically endowed Brian Dineen BCL (Int) III asks "Must history repeat the same mistakes? The best solution to the current impasse is the recognition of a provisional border along 1967 lines". Actually, the best solution is for the Palestinians simply to recognize ...


Anti-Murdoch Harangue
Letter to the Irish Times
Columnist Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe begins his piece by telling us that he used to work for Rupert Murdoch, then follows with an entertaining 800-word anti-Murdoch harangue laden with hysterical epithets.  Murdoch’s output is variously described as a “sickening stench”, “sleaze” ...

Back to List of Contents

Quotes for Issue 215

- - - - - O B A M A - - - - -

Quote: Eric, don't make me call my bluff.”

President Obama to Eric Cantor, the US Congress's House Majority Leader,
over negotiations to raise (or not) America's debt ceiling of $1.3 trillion
which without action will be breached in August. 

What is Obama talking about? 
The whole point of a bluff is that
you hide that you are bluffing. 
You don't announce you are bluffing and then
invite your opponent to force you to expose your own bluff. 

Where is the Obama teleprompter when he needs it!

Quote: The nation [risks] losing its sterling credit rating not because we [don't] have the capacity to pay our bills, we do, but because we don’t have a triple A political system to match it”.

More balderdash from President Obama, in a radio address

America doesn't have capacity to pay its bills.
That's the very reason Obama has wanted to raise its debt ceiling.

Quote: The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies … Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

Then senator, Barack Obama, on 16th March 2006

Who knew he possessed such wisdom so long ago?

Then, he was trying to dissuade Congress
from raising the US debt ceiling above $9 trillion!
In 2011 he wanted (and succeeded) to jack it up a few trillion over $14 trn.

You couldn't make it up.

- - - - - I S R A E L - - - - -

Quote: Israel ... is a place where


women enjoy equality;


the LGBT community flourishes;


the media is unfettered and critical;


an independent judiciary protects the powerless from the powerful;


where trade unions are well-organised and strong;


educational excellence and scientific innovation are pursued;


religious minorities are free to practise their creeds;


a welfare state supports the poor and marginalised;


and, yes, it is a fully functioning, vibrant, participatory democracy.”

David Cairns, a British Labour MP,
in a speech which undoubtedly astonished and dismayed
his fellow, instinctively anti-Semitic, Labourites

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

Quote: “Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s ‘ear of the heart’, the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer. This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded ... the Cloyne report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism, the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.

Enda Kenny, Ireland's Taoiseach (prime minister)
uses colourful hyperbole to excoriate the Vatican for
not doing more to protect Irish children from abuse by Irish clerics.

As a point of perspective, over the past decade
nearly two hundred children were allowed to die
whilst they were under the care and protection of the Irish State,
more than half of them due to a “combination of unnatural causes

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

Quote: “NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted … the study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

James Taylor of Forbes, drawing from
an article by the University of Alabama
in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing,
blows yet another hole in the global warm-mongerers' scam.

- - - - - M E D I A - - - - -

Quote: This is the most humble day of my life.”

Rupert Murdoch, confronted in his dotage
by a hostile parliamentary committee
investigating criminal phone-hacking by his newspapers,
looks back on his eighty years

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Quote VDH: June 18, 2010, Obama’s Gulf War III, by Victor Davis Hanson, Pajamas Media

We should fast-track nuclear power to produce clean electricity to fuel a new generation of hybrid engines and electric motors; and we also should fast-track natural gas distribution to capitalize on new natural gas finds to power trucks, tractors, and large engines not suitable for hybridization with present technology; and we should exploit oil as a transition fuel wherever it can be more safely recovered (e.g., ANWR) without going 5,000 feet to get it.

VDH has the right idea on long-term energy security. 

Use the present to prepare for the future.

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Daily poll on President Obama’s popularity; date is on the charts. (Click to get the latest version.)

Rasmussen Daily Poll -  16 August 2011

43% Total Approval as at16 August 2011

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

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