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

TALLRITE BLOG 
ARCHIVE

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 Comment by an anonymous reader

December 2009

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ISSUE #200 - 6th December 2009

xcvxcv
Date & Time in Westernmost Europe

ISSUE #200 - 6th December 2009 [315+1617=1932]

Just for fun, the latest Rasmussen poll on President Barack Obama’s popularity will
from now on be published at the head of the Tallrite Blog. The date is on the charts.
(Click on them to get the latest version.)

Rasmussen Daily Poll - 6 Dec 2009Rasmussen Daily Poll - 6 Dec 2009

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Climategate Scandal - Bye-bye Nopenhagen

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Hate-isms Are Only for the Approved Victim Groups

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Who Am I?

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World SuperBower

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White House Gate Crashers - and “Human Error

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Issue 200’s Comments to Cyberspace

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Quotes for Issue 200

Happy 200th

 

Tallrite Blog rocks!

Celebrating
200 issues of the

Tallrite Blog

today

Climategate Scandal - Bye-bye Nopenhagen

Global Warming Think Tank in the Sunday TimesAs Christmas draws nigh, our thoughts turn to sleighs and bells and snow.  Or, if we think carbon dioxide has melted the snow, to Copenhagen and the UN’s fifteenth big Climate Change Conference, dubbed COP15.  The fifteen thousand delegates who are jetting in from 191 countries across the world had better enjoy it, for it is likely to be the last such climate change jamboree in their lifetimes.  Despite their desire to establish a world system, which would replace the universally broken promises of the Kyoto Protocol by imposing a global system that would place extra taxes on as many billions of people as possible, the effort is already doomed. 

The reason is simple but horrible.  I am old enough to remember the original Watergate which destroyed the Nixon presidency in 1974.  His re-election campaign sent a gang to break into the Watergate Hotel to steal documents from the rival Democratic Party.  The hotel name entered the lexicon as a byword for reprehensible behaviour and has spawned countless “gates” ever since.  Its notoriety derived not so much from the break-in or use of the stolen documents, as from the attempted cover-up which ensued.  It’s always the cover-up and damage limitation that attract the greatest opprobrium. 

Just look at what’s going on right now in the Catholic Church in Ireland.  Outrageous and inexcusable as the clerical sexual abuses themselves were, what has really enraged people is the Church’s strenuous and disgraceful efforts to hide these heinous crimes over the years and in so doing facilitate their continuance. 

Despite efforts by much of the media and conventional wisdom to suppress or downplay its significance, the climate change movement is slowly becoming engulfed in a “gate” of its own, for which it has no coherent answer.  Last month an anonymous hacker downloaded an enormous amount of correspondence spanning decades from the anodyne-sounding Climatic Research Unit.  The CRU, a state-funded department of the University of East Anglia, is the world’s foremost authority in gathering and analysing historic climate change data.  The CRU has provided, over the years, a huge amount of material for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to build into the four assessment reports it has issued since 1990, along with its numerous other reports, technical papers and technical material.  The IPCC is regarded by many as the world’s foremost authority on climate change issues.  It is the bedrock of the movement. 

The stolen e-mails, whose authenticity the CRU has confirmed, paint however a horrifying picture as to how it has conducted its climate business.  It turns out that at even the highest levels of seniority, strenuous efforts have been made to suppress data and opinions which fail to confirm the climate change hypothesis that the globe is warming due to human-generated emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases. 

Some examples. 

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CRU director Philip Jones, together with Pennsylvania State University’s Michael Mann, originator of the famous “hockey stick” curve showing temperatures soaring for the past couple of decades, covertly conspired to stamp down on dissenting views. 

Hockey Stick

Incidentally, this curve prepared in 1998, which appeared in the IPCC’s third report in 2001, is highly controversial not only because it tags recent thermometer readings onto ancient geophysical data, a very dubious scientific technique.  But Dr Mann’s geophysical data and computer modelling have also been shown to be highly selective in order to provide the millennium of constant low temperatures required to demonstrate the hockey stick effect.  In 2003, Canadian environmental economists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick removed these distortions to show that historical temperatures for long periods far exceeded today’s.  This completely undermined Dr Mann’s hockey stick hypothesis.  

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Moreover, the upper graph is clearly marked “NORTHERN HEMISPHERE”.  This is because inclusion of the even less warming south would have made the deception even more difficult. 

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The world has in fact been cooling since 1998.  However the same two scientists conspired to hide the decline, as they put it, as it doesn’t fit the global warming narrative.

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They also conspired to delete inconvenient information rather than make it available to Freedom of Information requests. 

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In the 1980s CRU scientists threw away raw temperature data dating back to the 1850s on which their predictions of global warming are based, which means the conclusions can never be verified.

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The databases have been hopelessly corrupted by the CRU’s own admission.

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The hacked data show Dr Mann and colleagues apparently trying to engineer, and thus implicitly to corrupt, the peer review process so as to exclude peers and journals known to be sceptical of climate change.

The Daily Telegraph has reproduced some of the raciest quotations from the hacked e-mails.  Further information and analysis are still emerging, but the nature of the CRU outrage and what it means for the integrity of the climate change movement can no longer be in doubt.  

Watergate was a scandal involving an illegal break-in followed by a shocking cover-up of the break-in.  Climategate is a scandal involving an illegal break-in which has however revealed a shocking cover-up of scientific information in order to promote an anthropogenic global-warming conclusion. 

Meanwhile, Al Gore’s double-Oscar-winning, Nobel-prize-winning movie An Inconvenient Truth is steadily being debunked as a collection of Inconvenient Untruths”, the process accelerated by Climategate.  Some Hollywood types are even demanding that his two Oscars be rescinded, while he himself, to many the spiritual father of global warm-mongering, has chickened out of showing up in Copenhagen, or Nopenhagen as some wags put it. 

Climategate is not a trivial issue.  In my first ever blog two hundred issues ago, I mentioned that experts had put the total global cost of reducing CO2 to meet Kyoto commitments at $100 billion per year for a century.  I don’t know the latest figures but with inflation both in costs and in expectations at Copenhagen, this number is unlikely to reduce.  It aggregates to ten trillion dollars, money that would be taken out of everyone’s pockets and would therefore be unavailable for other causes whether fighting poverty and disease or wealth-creating capital investment or simply day-to-day consumption. 

By way of comparison, the UN and World Bank have told us that $200 bn is sufficient to provide all humanity with clean drinking water and sanitation and thereby avoid two million deaths per year in the developing world.  I know which way I would prefer my money to be spent. 

Climategate demonstrates that there has been such a pervasive atmosphere of scientific fraud within the CRU for so many years, that no-one can have confidence any longer in whatever it says or has said, nor in any conclusions others might draw from its material.  How is someone to separate the wheat from the chaff? 

Climategate undermines the whole case for climate change and makes a nonsense of the upcoming COP15 conference.  It’s going to end up as bye-bye Nopenhagen I reckon.  The truth is bound to enter the consciousness of the general public before too long. 

Amazingly, however, people want to go to Copenhagen to protest against (mythical) climate change rather than against the climate change fraud that COP15 will attempt to perpetuate. 

And if you are wondering what is the real incentive for the Climategate fraud, consider these numbers, that I included in a post last year entitled Global Warm-mongers Keep on Scamming  According to the august US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in 2007,

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Amount collected to investigate and promote the case for, as well as would-be solutions to, anthropogenic climate change over the past decade or so = $50 billion.  This comes from the UN, foundations, universities, countless governments, NGOs, state-owned, private and multinational companies (including oil majors) and other sources. 

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Amount collected over a similar if not longer period to fund the case against anthropogenic climate change = $19 million.  Much of this comes from Exxon/Mobil.  

Meanwhile, Al Gore, for one, had about a million dollars in the bank when he left the Vice Presidency in 2000 and began his global warm-mongering campaign.  His worth is now approaching a billion.  

Go figure.  The numbers answer the question. 

Back to List of Contents

Hate-isms Are Only for the Approved Victim Groups

When recently reading a mealy-mouthed apology by the rabidly left-leaning Israel-hating New Statesman for an anti-Semitic cover cartoon it ran way back on 14 January 2002, I happened upon this remarkable sentence:

To call somebody a white bastard is just not the same as calling somebody a black bastard, with all its connotations of humiliation and enslavement. Given the distribution of power in our world, discrimination by blacks or Asians against whites will almost always be trivial.

In a stroke, it trivialises and thus legitimises all instances of white racism, thereby exonerating people like Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Mugabe, for their overtly anti-white leanings.  No matter what you say against white people, now matter how you discriminate against honkies, no matter how publicly you disparage the palefaces in thought word or deed, you are, according to the New Statesman, totally unable to perpetrate a racist act of any sort. 

And it turns any white who is glad to be white into an automatic racist because he doesn’t want to turn brown or black. 

The modern anti-white interpretation of the otherwise neutral word racism is quite remarkable, but it appears to set a template for the contemporary fashion of hate-isms”.  

If a National White Police Association were to be formed there would be uproar over its overt racism.  Yet no-one blinks at Britain’s National Black Police Association, or America’s National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives or National Black Police Association, which in concept are just as racist. 

Consider a few others examples :

Sexism

Does anyone seriously consider that actions which disadvantage males (ineligible to join the Women’s Institute, child allowance paid to the mother not the father, state-funded clinics for breast-check but not prostrate-check) would be regarded as sexist? Of course not.  A woman is incapable of acting in a sexist way against men.  Only men are capable of sexism (hence the fury among Irish feminists when Ireland’s Supreme Court recently ruled that a men-only golf club could remain so.)   Women frequently demand female quotas for particular jobs - parliamentary representation and board room seats in particular.  Even though such demands inherently demean all women by declaring that they possess insufficient talent and appeal to succeed on their own, no-one wants to point out that such quotas are blatantly sexist in that they discriminate against men.  

Last month Ireland appointed as its next EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn ahead of other well-qualified candidates” just because she’s a woman, in other words not on her own merits.  This was in obeisance to the instruction of European Commission president José Manuel Barroso: “I would ... urge you to pay particular attention to the presence of women in the college [of Commissioners]”.  How humiliated she must feel as she takes up her new role; how the male Commissioners will snort in derision behind her back. 

And the same goes for the never-elected-to-anything Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU’s new Lisbon-enabled Foreign Minister or whatever she’s called.  As President Sarkozy put it, she got the job because she’s a female centre-left Brit, certainly not because she has superior ability, much less any expertise in foreign affairs where her experience is zilch.  

This kind of humiliation is all a natural consequence when only one kind of sexism is acknowledged

Ageism

This is something invented to allow older people to whinge when they are compulsorily retired or when younger workers are promoted ahead of them or paid more.  If you’re in your twenties, try seeing how far you get when you point out that it’s ageist for over 65s to get the bus-pass (paid for out of your taxes) just because they’re over 65 and you’re not.  It’s just not possible for an older person to behave in an ageist fashion against a youngster.  And if you try to argue that you shouldn’t have to subsidize old folk solely because they haven’t bothered to prepare for their own old age during the 50 long years that were available to them, well then that proves you’re just an ageist. 

Blasphemy

There is great excitement these days about blasphemy as people conclude it is wrong to denigrate another’s choice of religion, even though unlike skin colour it is no more than a personal choice.  Ireland’s 1937 Vatican-approved constitution, the EU’s oldest after Belgium’s, forbids blasphemy (the Christian variety, obviously) yet it was only this year that the Justice Minister, scrabbling for something to fill his time, decided to create a law proscribing it.  So that means no more ridiculing of God, Jesus, Buddha, Yahweh, Shiva, Krishna and all the other gods and saints that people like to worship. 

What’s that?  I forgot a pair?  Allah and Mohammed?  I think you get my drift. For in fact all this abhorrence about blasphemy is directed solely at those last two.  If you make fun of the others, draw cartoons about them, configure them in jars of urine, blow up 1500-year-old world heritage statues of them, everyone is perfectly cool.  Some crazy religious nuts might be offended but who cares - they should get a life.  Oh, but express the slightest negative observation about Allah or Mohammed and you are immediately a culturally insensitive boor who deserves the full weight of the law to descend upon you, if a scimitar hasn’t sawn your head off first.  In today’s craven world, it is impossible to blaspheme against any religion but Islam. 

Last month a cover of the Economist illustrated this neatly, with a fauxtograph of Jesus with high explosives rocketing him into the sky, as compared to Mohammed the Dane, with the high explosives under his hat.  One image is OK, the other is not (and has never been reproduced in the Economist). 

  Acceptable Unacceptable
  Economist, 14 Nov 09
Rocket-propelled
Jesus
Danish cartoon
Bomb-in-the-turban Mohammed

Which brings us to Islamophobia, not Christianophobia, not Judeaophobia, not Hinduphobia, not Shintuphobia, not Taophobia, not even atheophobia or agnosticophobia.  It seems when it comes to religion there is only one that merits the tag phobia. 

Curiously though, Islamophobia means only that you the infidel fear Islam, which should surely be a cause of rejoicing for Muslims rather than objecting.  But the word is used, incorrectly, to mean hatred, a very different human feeling.  Misosislam would be more accurate as this prefix means not fear but hate (as in misogyny, hatred of women).  Nevertheless the point remains - though shalt be free to hate any religion but Islam. 

Anti-Semitism: This is especially interesting because it does not exist.  It is today perfectly acceptable to express your hatred of and disdain for Jews all you like so long as you cloak this with the thinnest of veneers.  This usually means that you must object not to Jews but only to the current Israeli government or Israel itself or the shadowy pro-Zionist cabals that bribe Western governments, bankers, businessmen and media.  Sometimes it is sufficient merely to say you despise neo-cons (because some have names like Woflowitz, Perle, Feith and no doubt Shylock).  Thus the Guardian newspaper not only regularly berates Israel, but fosters a Comment is Free debating line which is rife with anti-Semitism anti-Israelism, but which systematically deletes and bans pro-Israel contributors and whose moderator is (secretly) the daughter of the Editor

Of course Muslims need not be circumspect at all, as the rest of the world regards their brand of anti-Semitism not as real anti-Semitism but as just another attractive facet of their rich cultural inheritance.  For example,

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Iran and Hamas openly call for the elimination of Jews (while denying the Holocaust);

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almost every Islamic country disbars Jews from its territory and it is a given that any future Palestinian state will be ethnically cleansed of its Jews;

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The UN Human Rights Council (which includes Iran, Libya, Syria, Cuba) focuses on the human right of not having any Jews in the world. 

Everyone - even the most rabid Jihadists - denies being anti-Semitic; they just don’t like Israel and the pigs and apes that inhabit it.  Anti-Semitism?  What anti-Semitism?

Homophobia

While I must admit I have not known (in either the Biblical or non-Biblical sense) many uncloseted gays and lesbians, neither have I known them ever to express any contempt or hatred for straight people.  Good for them, because the reverse is not true. 

Nevertheless, for purely academic purposes it would be interesting to meet a group of homosexuals who despised me just because I am different from them.  For would that not be just as heinous as hating gays because they’re gay.  However, I can’t see myself getting much sympathy, much less redress from the courts, for complaining that a bunch of lesbians and ladyboys jeered at me for being straight. 

Anyone heard of the Straight Police Association, to promote the interests of non-gay cops?  I thought not, and you never will. 

But there is a perfectly respectable European Gay Police Association, a Eurogay outfit and in the UK a Gay Police Association, all devoted to looking after the interests of gay police officers.  Now the Irish Garda Siochana are about to recognize Group G, a network for lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the police.   Nobody objects to the discriminatory nature of these organizations. 

These few examples illustrate that homophobia (or misohomo as it should properly be called) is only allowed to be a one-way street.  Indeed, even a declaration that you are grateful to be straight rather than homosexual contains within it a nuance of homophobia in today’s touchy environment. 

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So let me sum up.  I am a white hetero male Christian, who is glad to possess those attributes.  I dislike the religion and ideology of Islam because of the brutality and fascism it preaches and I dislike anti-Christian blasphemy because I am a Christian.  I don’t think oldsters should receive perks funded by but not available to younger taxpayers. 

Thus if only I were young again, I could truly be described as an ageist, racist, sexist, misoislamist, misoblasphemist, to which some might (incorrectly) add misohomo.  But I am a little too old to be a true ageist any longer so I will just have to glory in the other five hate-isms.

Oh to be an elderly, African, female, anti-Semitic (secretly gay) Muslim sawing the head off a Mohammed cartoonist.  There would be no end to the scope of my immunity and my victimisation. 

Hate-isms operate in only one direction.  The approved groups alone are privileged to find themselves never on the delivery side of hate-isms; they are always the lucky victims. 

Back to List of Contents

Who Am I?

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I was born in one country, raised in another.

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My father was born in another country.

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I was not his only child.

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He fathered several children with numerous women.

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I became very close to my mother, as my father showed no interest in me.

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My mother died at an early age from cancer.

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Although my father deserted me and my mother raised me, I later wrote a book idolizing my father not my mother.

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Later in life, questions arose over my real name.

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My birth records were sketchy.

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No one was able to produce a legitimate, reliable birth certificate.

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I grew up practicing one faith but converted to Christianity, as it was widely accepted in my new country, but I practiced non-traditional beliefs and didn’t follow Christianity, except in the public eye under scrutiny.

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I worked and lived among lower-class people as a young adult, disguising myself as someone who really cared about them.

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That was before I decided it was time to get serious about my life and I embarked on a new career.

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I wrote a book about my struggles growing up.

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It was clear to those who read my memoirs, that I had difficulties accepting that my father abandoned me as a child.

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I became active in local politics in my 30s.  Then, with help behind the scenes, I literally burst onto the scene as a candidate for national office in my 40s.

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They said I had a golden tongue and could talk anyone into anything.

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I had a virtually non-existent résumé, little work history, and no experience in leading a single organization.

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Yet I was a powerful speaker and citizens were drawn to me, as though I were a magnet and they were small roofing tacks.

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I drew incredibly large crowds during my public appearances.

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This bolstered my ego.

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At first, my political campaign focused on my country’s foreign policy, I was very critical of my country in the last war, and seized every opportunity to bash my country.

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But what launched my rise to national prominence were my views on the country’s economy.

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I pretended to have a really good plan on how we could do better, and every poor person would be fed and housed for free.

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I knew which group was responsible for getting us into this mess.

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It was the free market, banks and corporations.

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I decided to start making citizens hate them and, if they became envious of others who did well, the plan was clinched tight.

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I called mine “A People’s Campaign”.

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That sounded good to all people.

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I was the surprise candidate because I emerged from outside the traditional path of politics and was able to gain widespread popular support.

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I knew that, if I merely offered the people “hope”, together we could change our country and the world.

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So, I started to make my speeches sound like they were on behalf of the downtrodden, poor, ignorant to include “persecuted minorities”.

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My true views were not widely known and I kept them unknown, until after I became my nation’s leader.

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I had to carefully guard reality, as anybody could have easily found out what I really believed, if they had simply read my writings and examined those people I associated with.

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I’m glad they didn’t.

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Then I became the most powerful man in the world.

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And the world learned the truth.

Who am I?

I am Adolf Hitler.

Source: Barry O'N

If you were thinking of another charismatic national leader you should be concerned, very concerned! 

Co-incidentally ...

Back to List of Contents

World SuperBower

What’s with the world’s SuperBower?  Does he really believe that grovelling before dictators and hereditary emperors somehow enhances the standing (so to speak) of the world’s oldest constituted democracy? 

He seems to have warmed up in London during his first presidential visit to Europe with with an absurd reach across the aisle handshake gesture to Communist China’s illegitimate dictator Hu Jintao. 

Come on, Barack, you know you can reach me

That's better; you're on my terms now
London, 1 April 2009, G20
A Western democracy reaches across the aisle to an illegitimate Communist dictator

France’s little squirt Sarkozy then shows him, with a smirk, how reaching across the aisle is supposed to work when dealing with illegitimate dictators.   

The Communist dictator does the reaching
London, 1 April 2009, G20
The illegitimate Communist dictator reaches across the aisle to a Western democracy

Undaunted, the SuperBower than got down (down being the operative word) to real business when he was graciously granted a few moments of precious one-to-one time with Abdulla the illegitimate tyrant of Saudi Arabia.  How Sarkozy and Spain’s Zapatero enjoyed the moment; as you can see they could scarcely contain their derisive laughter.

Looking for dropped coins before the king finds them
Paris, 3 April 2009, NATO
A Western democracy bows low before an illegitimate Islamic hereditary dictator
(while French and Spanish bystanders guffaw)

Then it was onwards and downwards to Japan where the Chosen One was granted another audience with an Exalted Presence . Here it was to the world’s only emperor, Akihito, (unelected) incumbent of the world’s oldest (1350 years) hereditary monarchy, that the SuperBower rendered homage, stooping even lower than to that illegitimate Arab despot.   

Checking showlaces in front of an emperor and empress
Tokyo, 14 November 2009
A Western democracy bows even lower
before an Oriental dynastic emperor and empress

Not content with semi-prostrating himself before dictators and emperors, the SuperBower then decided, perhaps in a fit of atypical egalitarianism, that he needed to extend his kowtows to a wider group of beneficiaries slightly lower down in the hierarchy of illegitimate despotic power.

Kowtowing to Chinese Communist functionaries
Shanghai, November 2009
A Western democracy humbly bows to
mere functionaries of a Communist Chinese Dictatorship

Who can make sense of all this outreach, bowing, scraping, prostrating and kowtowing to individuals who (all but one) have - unlike the US president - no legitimate right to hold the positions they hold, never having been granted the assent of the peoples on whom they impose their tyrannical rule? 

Well, it seems Michael Ramirez can.  He is a brilliant two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for Investors Business Daily

He provides the real explanation.  Americans, observe and weep.  While the rest of us cringe in sympathetic embarrassment at the antics of the ignorant juvenile man you (so foolishly) elected as president.  On whom will he next bestow his insulting grovel?

SuperBower, according to Michael Remirez

World SuperBower indeed.

Confession:
I picked up the term from
Mark Steyn

+ + + + +

Tyrants, emperors and now Santa ClauseHo, ho, hoLate Note
(25 December 2009)

Whoops! 

Here goes the SuperBower again,
and this time it's Santa Claus,
on the front cover of the Christmas edition
of the prestigious New Yorker, magazine.
 

Merry Christmas to all my readers.

Back to List of Contents

White House Gate Crashers - and “Human Error

We all enjoyed the story about Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the polo-playing society couple from Virginia, who with extraordinary chutzpah blagged their way into Barack Obama’s glitzy first state dinner at the White House on 24 November.  Playing the part to the full, they arrived in a chauffer-driven stretch SUV, she a beautiful blonde in a striking red sari-style silk dress (in polite tribute to guest of honour President Manmohan Singh of India), he in a dapper dinner jacket. 

Putting on an air of supreme confidence, the glamorous couple swept into the White House and past the first security checkpoint with nary a sideward glance.  Evidently the three uniformed Secret Service officers manning the desk felt too intimidated to confirm their identities against the guest list.  Then, once the Salahis had gone through the metal-detector to check for guns, they were in. 

Michaele and Tareq Salahi meet President ObamaThey mingled among the 338 guests, a mix of wonky Washington, Hollywood A-listers, prominent figures from the Indian community in the US, and Obama friends, family and campaign donors.  They chatted, shook hands and got photographed with dozens of people including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Vice President Joe Biden and the US President himself. 

Place setting at Obama's first state dinnerAnd as the guests were eventually called for dinner, the two gate-crashers discreetly departed the scene to avoid being rumbled as obviously there was no place set for them at the table. 

Their final act was to post a few photographs of their adventure on Michaele’s Facebook page

Needless to say, there was uproar when the story came out. 

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Delight among most observers who, like me, enjoyed the cheeky story. 

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Horror among those responsible for the security of the President. 

Mark Sullivan, the grim-looking director of the Secret Service was hauled before the Congressional Committee on Homeland Security to explain himself.  He testified that the security breach was the fault of the Secret Service, and that the agency was deeply embarrassed.  But he went on to blame the lapse entirely on the the three hapless Secret Service personnel at the guard post who had since been sent on “administrative leave”. He put it all down to “human error”, rejecting any notion that it might be symptomatic of a series of management deficiencies.  “The security break down was not an institutional problem.  I believe it is an isolated incident,” Sullivan declared. 

He is almost certainly wrong.  Such mishaps never occur in isolation and can never be attributed to a single factor.  Industrial psychology research repeatedly demonstrates that incidents are caused

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some 80% by human factors (eg wrong actions) vs 20% by technical factors (eg failed equipment) and that

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human factors are determined to the tune of 80% by the culture of the organization vs 20% by human error. 

Therefore no investigation of an incident should exclude a very deep look at the culture of the organization in which it occurred. 

As I indicated some years ago (Spanish Train Crash - The Sham of Human Error), human error” is the first refuge of the scoundrel.  It is always a sham, but it creates an easy solution (“fire the bastard who did it”) while relieving the organization of any real responsibility or need to take substantive action.  But there are always underlying problems behind the incident and since, under the  “human error” excuse nothing is done to resolve them and a certain smugness sets in, a recurrence of related incidents becomes more, not less, likely.  

In the gatecrasher case, institutional contributory factors identified by journalist Ronald Kessler who has written a book about the President’s secret service, include:

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Secret Service officers and agents are forced to work ridiculous hours because of short-staffing.

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The agency has a habit of corner-cutting, including
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not passing people through magnetometers

bullet

or shutting the devices down early,

bullet

cutting back on the size of counter-assault teams,

bullet

and not even allowing agents time for regular firearms requalification or physical training.

bullet

The agency does not necessarily back officers and agents when, in the face of political pressure, they follow the rules.
bullet

As one example, when Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary insisted that the Secret Service take her friends to restaurants, and the detail refused, the Secret Service acceded to her request to have her detail leader removed.

bullet

It easy to imagine that the Secret Service Uniformed Division officers who let the Salahis in feared repercussions if they turned away the scintillating couple.

According to Mr Kessler, overworked, underappreciated, and infuriated by senseless transfer policies, agents are resigning in increasing numbers, forcing the agency to hire inexperienced, less-qualified agents. Within the Uniformed Division alone, the attrition rate is 12% a year.

Mr Sullivan would be far wiser to delve into these kinds of areas than try to slide out of any meaningful action by blaming it all on a convenient case of “human error”.  Otherwise Mr Obama should remove him forthwith from his position as Secret Service boss as it means he has become a menace and a threat to the President’s security.   

Back to List of Contents

Issue 200’s Comments to Cyberspace

Half-a-dozen varied comments during my over-long absence. 

bullet

Do you think residents of the Republic shopping in Northern Ireland
are unpatriotic?

Comment in the Irish Times in response to a poll question

Isn’t it great how, in this vicious recession, so many tens of thousands of Irishmen and Irishwomen are going north to do their shopping? In truly patriotic fashion, they are thereby helping their beleaguered fellow Irishmen and Irishwomen, who otherwise

bullet

Melanie Philips on BBC Question Time
Comment in the Spectator-hosted Melanie Philips Blog
Well done on QT, Melanie. In particular, you defended the Iraq war brilliantly, and also were brutal about the global warm-mongering scam. But I couldn’t help noticing that Dimbleby, despite his promise ...

bullet

Fake religious images with explosives
Letter to The Economist
I was astonished to see on the cover of your edition of November 14th what appears to be the prophet Mohammed being driven into the skies by explosives under his feet. Is this the same newspaper that discussed the notorious Danish cartoons ...

bullet

A fifth columnist, by Presidential appointment?
Comment in the Spectator-hosted Melanie Philips Blog
"Greg D @Logdon" writes, "I agree that radical Islam poses a deadly threat to the West ... Iran does not threaten the West directly. It threatens Israel."  Hello-o-o-o!  Israel is an intrinsic part of "the West", just as ... 

bullet

Do you think the requirement for fuel suppliers to include 4% of biofuels in annual sales will have a significant impact on carbon emissions?
Comment in the Irish Times in response to a poll question

The Greens love making grand gestures, irrespective of the harm they do. Biofuels, unless grown locally (as if!), will - because taxpayer subsidies reward them so lavishly - simply displace other agriculture. That means food. So poor people across the world will have to face higher food bills as a direct result of indulging the Greens’ thoughtless ... 

bullet

The deep green sophistry of religiousequivalence
Comment in the Spectator-hosted Melanie Philips Blog
Global-warm-mongering is of course a religion, or at least a cult. Have a look at Climate Changeology Cult

Back to List of Contents

Quotes for Issue 200

- - - - - J I H A D - - - - -

Quote: “[US] Department of Defense should allow Muslim Soldiers the option of being released as ‘Conscientious Objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events.

Nidal Hasan, US Major and Islamic Jihadist murderer,
in a lecture to fellow-psychiatrists
prior to his massacre of 13 fellow-soldiers at Fort Hood

Quote: Her efforts were superb ... She happened to encounter the gunman. In an exchange of gunfire, she was wounded but managed to wound him four times.  It was an amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer.”

US Army Colonel John Rossi and Lieutenant-General Bob Cone
pay tribute to Sergeant Kimberly Munley at Fort Hood. 

Sgt Kimberley Munley, heroine. Click to enlargeBarely five foot tall, she is a civilian police officer
stationed at the base, who
immediately and fearlessly confronted
the Jihadist murderer Major Nidal Hassan,
bringing him down with four bullets
while taking three shots herself, in the leg and wrist.

Quote: These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk, and at times, give their lives to protect us. It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave men and women overseas. It is horrifying when we lose them on American soil.

A moving tribute by president Obama
to the thirteen military personnel killed in a shooting spree
by Major Hasan, a psychiatrist no less,
who disapproved of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
and was about to be deployed there.

Thirty more people were injured before Sgt Munley thankfully shot him.

Quote: Nidal Hassan is a hero ... The only way a Muslim can justify serving in the US military is if he intends to follow in the footsteps of men like Nidal ... The American Muslims who condemned his actions have committed treason against the Muslim Ummah and have fallen into hypocrisy.

Anwar al Awlakia, a radical American imam living in Yemen,
who had contact with two 9/11 hijackers,
praises as a hero the Fort Hood mass-murderer

Quote: Some [Guantánamo] detainees would rather stay put than go on trial in the US, where they would probably receive a life sentence or could wait years for a death sentence to be carried out.  They know there will not be the same privileges as here. Given the choice of being sentenced forever in Guantánamo or moved to a Supermax [gaol within the US], it is no, can I stay in Gitmo?. Here they can be outside, they can smell the sea.

An Arab American cultural adviser,
for security reasons identified only as Zak,
who is employed at Guantánamo to liaise with detainees.

Seems Guantánamo is not so bad after all.

Maybe that’s why Attorney General Eric Holder
wants to bring them to New York

Quote: “I’m concerned that this increased speculation could cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And I’ve asked our Army leaders to be on the lookout for that.

With such priorities, General George Casey,
the US Army’s top officer, who also doesn’t rule out terrorism [D’oh],
sounds like he is ready for a career change.

Quote: Where there are no Muslims, the problem of jihadist terrorism does not exist either.

Astute observation by Irish columnist and polemicist Kevin Myers.

He reminds his readers that neither of these entities exist in
Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Iceland, Japan, Mozambique, Taiwan.

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

Quote: Few would have foreseen ... that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent.

President Barack Obama makes clear,
in a video message to the world
on the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall
that had imprisoned East Germans for 28 long years,
that it was all about, well, Mr Obama

Quote: Brazil, Japan, China, Russia and Israel are all countries [which] have come to see Obama as a diffident, dithering, doubting dilettante who can be dissed with impunity.

Ouch! Former presidential aspirant Pat Buchanan
observes that foreign leaders are not impressed
by the new US president’s foreign policy

- - - - - E U - - - - -

Quote: The year 2009 will mark the first year of global governance.”

Herman Van Rompuy, the new king of the EU,
strikes terror into the heart of every right-thinking EU citizen
now railroaded into the Lisbon Treaty

- - - - - S P O R T - - - - -

Quote: I've let my wife down, I've let my family down (and he's let his trousers down).
(The Sun, 3 Dec 2009, print edition only)

Droll headline in the (Irish edition of) The Sun, commenting on
the story of Tiger Woods and
his three (at latest count) glamorous mistresses,
which seemed to have resulted in his wife
chasing him out of the house with a three-iron

Quote: “They [the Football Association of Ireland] have asked very humbly ...  can’t we be team number 33 in the world cup.  Yes, they have asked for it really!”

Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, mocks - to widespread laughter -
Ireland’s pathetic attempt to be allowed play
in next year’s World Cup Finals in South Africa,
after having been eliminated by France due to a hand-ball. 

How exactly a knockout tournament was to have been staged
with an odd number of teams the FAI did not explain. 

The FAI only managed to make itself - and Ireland - look ridiculous. 

Gilo and Eddie Power crash out at the last fence at Thurles in spectacular fashion, watched by Emmet Mullins after he had parted company with Randoon Hill. Thankfully all involved were OK afterwardsQuote: Did you get my good side?
(Sunday Times, 29 Nov 2009, print edition only)

Jockey Eddie Power, who was photographed
during a spectacular fall on his horse Gilo at the last fence
during a race at Thurles in Tipperary

- - - - - J O C U L A R   R A C I S M - - - - -

Acceptable
Quote: “There is no place for racism in the modern world, and the sooner that Greek twit and his Kraut wife realise it, the better.”

Comedienne Miranda Hart
decries Prince Philip, consort of Queen Elizabeth,
 for making disparaging remarks towards some visiting Indians

Unacceptable (first half, anyway)
Quote (Minute 1:30):
Let’s welcome the chocolate hobnob and custard cream of late night television.

Andrew Neill, host for the TV show This Week in Politics,
introduces his panellists Dianne Abbott
(black with chocolate-coloured hair)
and Michael Portillo (white with custard-coloured hair)
.

- - - - E N I G M A - - - - - -

Quote (and here):
To the Members of the California State Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 1176 without my signature.

For some time now I have lamented the fact that major issues are overlooked while many
unnecessary bills come to me for consideration. Water reform, prison reform, and health
care are major issues my Administration has brought to the table, but the Legislature just
kicks the can down the alley.

Yet another legislative year has come and gone without the major reforms Californians
overwhelmingly deserve. In light of this, and after careful consideration, I believe it is
unnecessary to sign this measure at this time.

Sincerely,  Arnold Schwarzenegger

California governor Schwarzenegger
vetoes a bill
to redevelop San Francisco Port. 

Seeing red, the letter also secretly expresses his disdain
for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano who had heckled him.

My goodness. What a coincidence. 
I suppose when you do so many vetoes,
something like this is bound to happen
”,
remarked the Governator’s
spokesman, innocently

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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
This
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
in
May, June, and July 2010

+++++

Published in April 2010; banned in Singapore

A horrific account of:

bullet

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

bullet

the corruption of Singapore's legal system, and

bullet

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,

bullet

part of a death march to Thailand,

bullet

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

bullet

regularly beaten and tortured,

bullet

racked by starvation, gaping ulcers and disease including cholera,

bullet

a slave labourer stevedoring at Singapore’s docks,

bullet

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

bullet

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

bullet

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.

+++++

Superfreakonomics
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:

bullet

Drunk walking kills more people per kilometer than drunk driving.

bullet

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

bullet

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

bullet

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

bullet

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

bullet

Why does asparagus come from Peru?

bullet

Why are pandas so useless?

bullet

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

bullet

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:

bullet

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

bullet

Russia its military-owned businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs

bullet

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

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