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.)
“Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding ... [so fast
that], if the present rate continues, the likelihood of
them disappearing by the year
2035 and perhaps sooner is very high ... Total area will likely
shrink [80%] by the year 2035 ... The receding and thinning
of Himalayan glaciers can be attributed primarily to the global
warming due to increase in anthropogenic emission of greenhouse
Pretty scary, huh? Click
on the thumbnail graphic to expand it: it apparently shows how
India's Gangotri Glacier, source of the mighty Ganges, has melted over
the centuries from 1780 to 2001. And it's all the fault of us
which said - untruthfully,
it turns out - that it in turn had lifted it from an
unnamed (and unpublished) 1999 report by the
“Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology of the
International Commission for Snow and Ice”,
a body chaired by glaciologist
Professor Syed Iqbal Hasnain of
Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The now notorious sentence came to
international attention via a news story in the New Scientist back
which in its turn was based not on a
document or piece of reputable research but on a ... telephone call
with Professor Hasnain,
who had written an article in an Indian
which reports on environmental threats facing India and the
but which is neither a scientific journal
in the accepted sense,
nor had the article been peer-reviewed,
and the professor now admits
his sentence was
purely speculative on his part.
The latest Economist
reports that there is even doubt whether the 2035 date was some
kind of typo and 2350 was intended!
In other words, a monumental conclusion about
“anthropogenic global warming” propounded by the mighty IPCC, the
world organisation universally regarded as the font of “settled
science”, is based on nothing but one man's pure conjecture
underwritten by no science, no research, no peer-review, no evidence whatsoever
and this aspect was not noticed by the army of eminent scientists that produced the
[of preparing, reviewing and
publicising IPCC reports] is so flawed that the result is
tantamount to fraud. As an authority, the IPCC should be consigned
to the scrapheap without delay.”
Andrew Bolt of Australia's
Herald Sun, who attended December's climate change jamboree
[was] real in Copenhagen - not the temperature record, not the
predictions, not the agenda, not the ‘solution’.”
Incidentally, Lord Christopher Monckton asserts, in
the video at the foot of this post, that the melting
of Gangotri Glacier from 1780-2001 that you can see
in the thumbnail above is
due to local geological instability - nothing at all to do with
The issue about the climate changeology cult is not
that everything that comes out of it is necessarily wrong. It is that what it
preaches is so riddled with incompetence, fraud, trickery and doubts
(hockey stick temperature profile, hacked e-mails, Himalayan glaciers,
dissenting IPCC authors to mention a few), that there is no way of
knowing what to believe and what to reject.
“it’s a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of
ice-cream and a quart of dog faeces and mix ’em together the result
will taste more like the latter than the former. That’s the problem
with the UN.”
As with the UN, so with the UN's much beloved
protégé the IPCC and the rest of the global warm-mongers.
With the excess of climate faeces permeating the
IPCC's work, the only rational response is to reject everything until
universally credible evidence of catastrophic man-made climate change
emerges (as if!).
The current state of the
is no basis for investing $100 billion per year of other people's money
for up to a hundred years**
Hillary Clinton pledged at the December Nopenhagen conference that,
ironically, launched Europe's and North America's coldest winter weather for thirty years
after more than a decade of falling - not rising - global temperatures.
$100 bn figure has form.
Way back in 1999, John Weyant and Jennifer Hill
in an article entitled
“Introduction and Overview”
published in The Energy Journal, Kyoto Special Issue:
xxxiii-xxxiv, BEA 2001b-c, told us that meeting Kyoto's modest
emissions targets would cost $100 billion per year, or 2% of then
world GDP, until 2094. Other experts
told us that Kyoto if implemented would merely defer by a paltry
six years a 1.9°C rise in global
sound then like a great return for $100 bn/yr x 95 years = a cool $9½
trillion, and neither does Hillary's pledge today.
I've written a fair bit of stuff over the years about the
“Climate Changeology Cult”.
But nothing I've said comes close in thoroughness, eloquence and
impact to the lecture that the almost comically patrician Lord Christopher Monckton
gave last October to the
Minnesota Free Market Institute in St Paul.
I love this slide of
his in particular. It reminds me of that other slogan about Greens:
they're like tomatoes - they start out green but always end up red.
Set aside 1½
hours and view it in full; you will not be disappointed. His captivating
(and, incidentally, untelepromptered) delivery alone could serve as a masterclass for a certain American
president renowned for his own oratory.
Late Note (10 Feb 10)
Just came across the
and Policy Public Institute”, founded I understand by Lord
Monckton. It declares it is “dedicated
to sound public policy based on sound science”,
which translated seems to mean exposing climate change fraud.
Lots of juicy material there for deniers like me (and perhaps you?).
had an article published in the Irish Times last week under this
headline. Somewhat to my satisfaction, it elicited a minor avalanche of
furious comments from readers, some published in the paper, some not,
some by e-mail direct to me.
The piece (which grew out of a
couple of posts back in
September of 2005) basically says that because logic is
overwhelmingly on the side of right-wing policy arguments, right wingers
merely need to explain them to make their point. But when people
advocate left-wing positions what they say, by contrast, makes no sense
and they know it. So therefore they have a greater need to get
emotional, to shout and roar and sometimes to engage in violence.
Obviously I am generalising, but you get the point.
On the other hand, righties
are hopeless when it comes to the arts, in particular modern music.
Who can visualise right-wing ideologues (Dick Cheney, for instance)
coming up with songs like
“Where have all the flowers gone”,
“We shall overcome”
etc. And at least a singing leftie is not throwing chairs through
a McDonald's window.
You can view the whole sordid
saga - article plus reaction -
Marlowe is a particularly irritating (to me) foreign correspondent with
the Irish Times, once married to the equally irritating Arabist Robert
Fisk. Indeed, they are so similar in many ways that I am surprised
the marriage didn't last.
In the aftermath of the
jihadist killing spree in Fort Hood and failed attempt by the Christmas
Day knicker-bomber, she excoriates the American media being blind to Israel as the root cause. And America is apparently remiss for its
“dangerous failure to provide Muslims appalled by US policies
with an alternative to suicide bombing”
(a squadron of F16s and Predator drones put at their disposal perhaps?)
blood boiled, so I wrote to her as follows.
is an incredible
piece in which you are guilty of the deliberate blindness of which
you accuse the Obama administration.
accuse the Americans of not mentioning Israel, but you don't mention the
these suicide bombers find their inspiration in the Koran which tells
Muslims, unequivocally, that infidels are to be killed, enslaved or
converted, in the quest for a global caliphate (see verses
8:12, 8:39, 8:57, 8:60, 8:71, 9:5, 9:29, 9:41, 9:123, 47:4,
to name just a few).
vile Mohammed started the process with the incredibly successful Muslim
conquests (of largely Christian cultures) in the 7th, 8th and 9th
the other stuff is just excuses - Israel one day, American hedonism
another, Andalucía in 1492 another, the Crusades another. The basic
motivator is the strictures of the Koran, which few non-Muslims seem to
want either to read or to believe.
as for the lack of a Palestinian state, why don't you first point out that the
Palestinian leadership has steadfastly refused one whenever it has been
offered, successively, in 1937, 1948, 1967, 2000.
then clarify that the moment the Palestinians stop attacking Israel will
be the moment that Israel stops retaliating, and that this would
immediately open the way to meaningful negotiations. (George W Bush was
once widely mocked for essentially
saying this in an aside to Tony Blair when he thought the microphone
was switched off.)
A Palestinian state is
there for them any time they show the slightest (serious) interest
in obtaining one. Israel's departure from Gaza presented a unique
opportunity to implement such a desire on a sample basis. But
Hamas, whom the Palestinians had elected, deemed the destruction of
Israel and Jews to be more important than competently running a
state. Of course when pre-1967 Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan the
West Bank, the Palestinians weren't interested in a state either,
and nor was any other Arab or Muslim nation.
and while we're on Gaza and its supposed siege, why don't you point out that this is more of an
Egyptian blockade as
violent events merely emphasised. Israel lets
in far more trucks of supplies into Gaza,
70-80 per day, than Egypt. If Egypt simply opened its Rafah crossing, there would be no blockade
at all (and no need for those
incredibly dangerous tunnels either).
Needless to say I received no acknowledgement from Ms Marlowe, much less
a reply, which was no surprise really. It must be very hard for
her to be coherent when she knows that what she writes makes no sense.
Maybe she should throw a chair through a McDonald's window or sing a
song, stuff that, as noted above, lefties are so good at.
Superfreakonomics, which I've just finished reading (see panel at
right), is a collection of amusing anecdotes reflecting surprising
aspects of human (and sometimes animal) behaviour. It makes the
point that sometimes there are very simple solutions to very serious
problems, such as doctors washing their hands to prevent spreading
infection from one patient to another (a practice few to this day
apparently apply assiduously).
At the end of Chapter 5, the
two authors' low-cost answer to reducing the spread of HIV is to
circumcise males, which is said to reduce infection rates by
South Africa, King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulus in KwaZulu-Natal
Province has been gaining a lot of kudos recently for
advocating exactly this course of action. It used to be a Zulu
right of passage for all young men (still is for the Xhosas), but was
abandoned two centuries ago because it took too long for young would-be
warriors to heal and return to battle, and also many of them died of wounds that went septic.
In business, there is a simple
management maxim that is perhaps the most important of all:
“Visible Management Commitment”.
It means that if a leader wishes his followers to adopt a certain course
of action, he must himself be utterly committed to it but also be seen
by everyone around him and his followership to be committed to it.
It is a point I continuously
hammer home when I lecture on industrial safety management - you cannot
expect the workforce to adopt safe work practices if its own chief
executive is not seen to be absolutely and personally committed to such
practices. If he doesn't bother with a hard-hat, why should anyone
Thus it seems to me that if
King Zwelithini is serious about young men getting circumcised he needs
to show personal leadership and commitment. That means putting
himself first in the queue to get circumcised and making sure everyone
knows it. And if he is already circumcised it also means making
sure everyone knows it and is convinced it is true. Embarrassing
as it might be, a clear and public photograph of the circumcised weapon attached to
its owner is needed, just as in 2003 only a
photograph of their corpses convinced Iraqis and the world that
Saddam Hussein's brutish two sons truly were dead.
I have done search after
search using Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and other engines with all kinds
of combination of
But nowhere can I find any reference to the King's own actual or
imminent circumcision. If he wanted to set an example, he would
make sure it was known, otherwise what would be the point?
Therefore take it from me - he
is not circumcised and has no intention of becoming so. He has
six wives and 27 children and evidently feels no compunction to
tamper with any of the equipment that generated them. That is an
indignity to be suffered only by his lowly subjects.
The man is an uncircumcised
hypocrite and a charlatan and Zulu men should call him out.
If I am wrong, please
tell me and I shall not hesitate
to withdraw and delete any incorrect or demeaning sentences and to
apologise to the King.
I try to keep this blog fairly
mannerly and child-friendly and avoid gratuitous prurience, but sometimes I just can't help
myself. From King Zwelithini's weapon to ... David Beckham and il
Amongst his many commercial
endorsements is Armani - its panties in particular, as embodied in this
rather cringeworthy in-your-face ad.
You know how in Italy
at the marketplace they like to handle the sausages and tomatoes, squeezing
them, sniffing them and holding them up to the light, checking for plumpness, freshness, authenticity etc before they
haggle over the price?
Well, Elena di Cioccio is a
good-looking thirty-something TV journalist and she
convinced about the authenticity of this Armani photo, so she intrepidly
set out to find the truth for herself about what the Italians delicately
“il suo pacco”. Going bravely where several
Rebecca Loos, to name but two) have gone before, she first donned a
pair of lurid and impregnable yellow rubber gloves for her self-protection. Then,
with camera crew in tow she sought out Mr Beckham in a Milan street where,
curiously and without an interpreter, he was being questioned in Italian
while answering in English. Slowly and carefully, like a tigress
stalking a hapless antelope, she inched her way closer. Then -
Camera! Lights! Action!
She suddenly made her move, a
yellow mitt lunging southward grabbing at its prey. Mr Beckham's
eyes popped. Security men flurried. There was running.
There were shouts. There was fear. There were cars. But Ms di
Cioccio survived the pursuit and in the midst of the mayhem was able to
report her disappointing news: that things were humbler than expected or
“È piccolo Beckham!”
“It's small, Beckham”, she wailed at him disconsolately. “Wait,
let me check again. You've taken us for a ride, David. How could you
have done this? What did you fill it with? Cotton? I have to ask
you something to your face - did you get it enlarged?”
Some (well, Victoria anyway) think
the lady's actions constitute an unacceptable assault on the blessed
integrity of Mr Beckham and his future progeny. But as Mark Simpson, author and
“Father of the Metrosexual, the Retrosexual & Spawner of
(whatever all that means),
pithily puts it,
“If you are paid very large wedges of cash to put your
lunchbox on the side of buses to sell overpriced underwear to the
masses then perhaps the only shocking thing is that more punters
don’t cop a feel of the goods.”
Couldn't have put it better myself. Grazie a lei,
Signorina Elena, for brightening up our day.
Just a handful of comments during my over-long absence.
Security test exposed people to great danger Comment in the Irish Times on 7 January 2010
A very fine article. I had no idea from the extensive
media coverage elsewhere that this "non-bomb" had such potential to
become an actual active bomb with the devastating consequences Mr Clonan
Basic human decency lacking in TV3 exposé Comment in the Irish Times on 2 January 2010
This article, along with all the other outrage from
various media (especially RTE), frankly smacks of pure jealousy that an
amateur, bumbling much derided and despised station like TV3 should have
stolen the march on all of them. The vitriol being spat at TV3 is quite
astonishing. In the current economic circumstances where ...
My sister the warlady Letter to the Sunday Times on 30 December 2009 It's as well that of the Thomas sisters Nikki is flying Tornados
with Janine doing the writing and not the other way round. With Janine's
euphemisms about "saving lives", "reconnaissance work", "warning off"
the Taliban by buzzing them, she makes her sister look like a
combination of ambulance driver and social worker. Nikki the weapons
instructor is obviously made of sterner stuff as she takes the fight to
the enemy ...
Quote (minute 2:00):
“God forbid the day we get one that hits Port-au-Prince head on
because it's going to be really disastrous.”
Anne Hastings, director of
a Haïtian financial institution
which styles itself
“alternative bank for the poor”
in an eight-minute TV film about Haiti produced in 2009.
She was talking about hurricanes,
but there is no doubting her perspicacity.
“Israel sent a team of 220 aid workers. Israel has a
population of six million. The population of Britain is 60 million.
I’d say that was a disproportionate Israeli response, wouldn’t you?”
Jewish journalist Melanie Philips, commenting
Israel's instant and effective humanitarian response
to the Haïti earthquake catastrophe, in stark contrast with
Britain, the UN (especially) and even America.
- - - - - J I H A D - - - - -
“In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons
to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.”
Republican Scott Brown in his victory speech
after winning the
federal Senate seat
occupied by the Kennedy Brothers for 58 years.
Worries over security as well as health care
and profligate stimulus spending
were the reason Independents deserted President Obama's candidate in
“The money [£25,000 pa in state benefits] belongs
to Allah and if it is given you can take it.”
Ahmed Choudry, renowned preacher of hate
against infidels and founder of the now-banned Islam4UK group,
justifies his scrounging from the beleaguered British taxpayer.
More fool the taxpayer.
Question: If it belongs to Allah,
how come Mr Choudry gets to spend it?
“If Britain does not stop talking nonsense it will
get a slap in the mouth.”
Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's Foreign Minister,
uses impeccable diplomatic language
to tell Simon Gass, the British Ambassador in Teheran,
that he doesn't like Britain urging the Iranian dictatorship
to respect the human rights of protesting Iranians.
Janet Napolitano, President Obama's Head of
absurdly claims credit for her department for the
failed detonator and the heroics of Dutch passengerJasper
that thwarted the knicker-bomber of Northwest Flight 253.
It was of course her department which was
for allowing the Jihadist bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
- a known security risk not even admitted into Britain -
to board a flight to Detroit with bomb material strapped to his
“Our system did not work in this instance”
Witty headline in the Los Angeles Times,
reporting that it took the US authorities
twelve long days
to revoke the visa of the said Mr Abdulmutallab
- - - - - U S A - - - - -
“The country was ready to embrace a black
presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama - a
‘light-skinned’African-American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have
The dour Harry Reid, Democrat Majority Leader
in the Senate
and chief architect with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
of President Obama's healthcare legislation,
uses unacceptable racial language in 2008
to describe the then presidential aspirant.
In 2010 he
grovelled, “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words.
I sincerely apologise for offending any and all Americans,
especially African-Americans, for my improper comments.”
“It's a growth I intend to defeat or it will defeat
Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan,
the only half-way competent member of the cabinet
and in these economic doldrums and
the one with the most demanding and most important portfolio,
comments on his Christmas diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Were he unable to continue,
it would be a major setback on Ireland's own road to recovery
and the international markets' confidence in this.
“They are running a big campaign. The money [stolen
by the IRA] from the Northern Bank must be stretching fairly
far. Quote me on that. While occasionally we [Fianna Fáil]
send out letters to planning applicants on the wrong paper, we have
never been involved with anyone who shot anybody, or robbed banks,
or kidnapped people. I suppose I'm going a bit too far when I say
this but I'd like to ask Mr Quinlivan is the brothel still closed?”
The brothel observation refers to a recent case
where three Brazilian women were
run out of Limerick
for running a brothel in an apartment owned by
Mr Quinlivan's older brother Nessan, an escapee from Brixton Prison.
- - - - - F R A N C E - - - - -
“I can't stand it any more! I can't stand it any
more. I think something’s going to blow before I get to the end of
this term in office
... I'm forced to stay here messing around.”
Rachida Dati, French MEP and one-time cabinet
minister of justice,
whinges about the burden of being an MEP.
plus travel expenses approximately
€15,000 above cost
plus €190,000 for
plus €48,000 to run an
- - - - - U K - - - - -
I lean across and say
‘I love you, Darling’,
I really mean it.”
Happily married David Cameron taunts Prime
Minister Gordon Brown
about his Chancellor, Alistair Darling
Not to be outdone, the feisty Mr Brown retorts,
“For you to talk about love and marriage today,
when you are the person who cannot give a straight answer
on the married couple's allowance -
whether you can say
‘I do’ or ‘I don't’ on it.”
- - - - -
“S P O R T”
- - - - -
Quote: “This is the worst act of contact with the eyes
that I have had to deal with: it is a case of deliberate eye gouging.”
Judge Jeff Blackett, the European Rugby Cup's independent judicial
rightly hands down a career-destroying 70-week playing ban
to David Attoub, a prop-forward
with one of France's top rugby clubs,
During a ruck in a game against Ulster last month in Belfast,
kneeling team-mate Julien Dupuy (22-week ban)
held down Ulster's Stephen Ferris
while Mr Attoub stuck his finger right into -
and perhaps behind the eyeball of - the right eye,
as this shocking photograph clearly shows.
Such a gang attack suggests it was pre-planned, and
certainly not explainable as a heat-of-the-moment aberration.
Few will complain about the severity of the punishments,
but the French predictably do.
They are claiming - preposterously -
that this incriminating photograph is
“With them [presumably the ERC's judge who is English],
it's still the
Hundred Years War”
moanedJacques Delmas, the Stade Français coach.
“Tiger did express a keen interest in my all-women
shortlists ... it took 76 seconds for boxer Amir Khan to get his
opponent Dmitriy Salita on his back ... Tiger achieved a similar
result with his various partners.”
David Cameron, revealing his jolly side
- - - - - O B A M A C A R E - - - - -
Quote (from clip below):
“We will pass [healthcare] reform and we will do it
this year .”
President Obama repeats his (thankfully unfulfilled) promise ad nauseum,
even beyond his 2009 self-imposed deadline.
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy
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
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
Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in
refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in
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
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.
nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’sincredible 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
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
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
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
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
“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
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.
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
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.
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
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