Christopher Hitchens: Anti-War, My Foot

‘The group self-lovingly calling itself “United for Peace and Justice” is by no means “narrow” in its “antiwar focus” but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left, some of it honorable and some of it redolent of the World Youth Congresses that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss “peace” in East Berlin or Bucharest. Just to give you an example, from one who knows the sectarian makeup of the Left very well, I can tell you that the Worker’s World PartyóRamsey Clark’s core outfitóis the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump. If the “United for Peace and Justice” lot want to sink their differences with such riffraff and mount a joint demonstration, then they invite some principled political criticism on their own account. And those who just tag along . . . well, they just tag along.

‘To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as “antiwar” when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, “No to Jihad”? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, “Yes to Kurdish self-determination” or “We support Afghan women’s struggle”? Don’t make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.’ (Slate Magazine article).

Oil Shock ands the Long Emergency

Currently readung a superb book called The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler. It is an extremely well written and cogent exploration of the horrible fate awating humanity in the 21st century becuase of the covergent threats of oil depletion, climate change, resurgent diseases, water scarcity, global economic instability and clash of civilisations.

One of the authorities cited in the book, Princeton University emeritus professor and renowned oil analyst, Ken Deffeyes, is speaking on the topic tonight.

He famously predicted that the Oil Shock would occour on Thanksgiving 2005 – that is today.

Here is an article about tonights speech:

Oil Expert To Address Theory That Peak Oil Has Arrived

I strobgly recommend that everyone reads this book. As regular reader will know I am neither an alarmist nor a catastrophist environmentalist, but this book is utterly brilliant and sobering.

Prepare to be roused from your concensus trance and act now…or join the 5 billion who may be lopped off the worlds population this century.

Yugoslavia’s Strange Love Affair with Mexico

From Netsurf Digest:

At the end of the 1940s, Yugoslavia’s relationship with the Soviet Union was so strained that it nearly erupted into outright hostilities. Yugoslavians turned their backs on Soviet movies and music and looked elsewhere for entertainment. They found it in the most unlikely of sources. Mexican movies, with their revolutionary themes and ideals, fired the Slavic imagination, and before long Yugoslavians were donning sombreros and forming mariachi bands, which they called “Meksikanski ansambl”. Don’t believe us? The Yu-Mex site has scans of dozens of old record covers and even some (poor-quality) MP3 files of the bizarre Yu-Mex music. The lyrics of these songs were something else: – “Carbine you old gun, tell about your glorious days, all heroes remember you, many of them carrying the wound you gave them. If somebody wanted my hot blood, I would shed it gladly!” Ole!

Yu-Mex Webiste with covers and posters

Phrase: Dark tourism

From World Wide Words: Dark tourism

This term has been around at least since 1996, when it appeared in a special issue of the International Journal of Heritage Studies; it gained wider public notice in 2000 through the publication of a book with the title Dark Tourism by Professors Malcolm Foley and John Lennon of Glasgow Caledonian University. Dark tourism is the visiting of sites of tragedy, such as Auschwitz and New York’s Ground Zero, or historical battlefield sites such as Bosworth and Gettysburg, or trips to Whitechapel to the home turf of Jack the Ripper. Profs Foley and Lennon point out that the custodians of such sites have responsibilities both to their visitors and to the victims commemorated there to tell a truthful and rounded story.

This is not always possible in an excursion that may have been designed as entertainment rather than remembrance and in which voyeurism and exploitation for commercial or propagandistic ends may distort the message.

* From Midstream, 1 May 2005: When you visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, you are engaging in what specialists call “dark tourism” – travel to a site associated with atrocity or public tragedy.

* From the Observer, 23 October 2005: “Dark tourism” sites are important testaments to the consistent failure of humanity to temper our worst excesses and, managed well, they can help us to learn from the darkest elements of our past.

Tinfoil hats attract mind-control signals, boffins learn

The Register confirms our worst fears!

Tinfoil hats attract mind-control signals, boffins learn, government conspiracy suspected

Wearing a tinfoil hat to deflect government mind-control radio waves is even more foolish than most people think. According to several (apparent) students from MIT who tested several hat designs, there was “a 30 db amplification at 2.6 Ghz and a 20 db amplification at 1.2 Ghz, regardless of the position of the antenna on the cranium.”

Our defences are breached!

US Democrats: Racial abuse is OK against Republicans

From the Washington Times some this extraordinary tale of blatant racism and hypocrisy: ‘Party trumps race’

Black Democratic leaders in Maryland say that racially tinged attacks against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his bid for the U.S. Senate are fair because he is a conservative Republican.

Such attacks against the first black man to win a statewide election in Maryland include pelting him with Oreo cookies during a campaign appearance, calling him an “Uncle Tom” and depicting him as a black-faced minstrel on a liberal Web log.


Myth Busting – Getting at truths in the war on terror

Richard Miniter on Disinformation & War on Terror interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online:

“Everything you know about the war on terror is false? Well, not quite. But Rich Miniter has homed in on 22 myths, which comprises his new book, Disinformation : 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror.”

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Lopez: Still, aren’t you just a little bit paranoid to blame myths on anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism?

Miniter: C.S. Lewis once said that the greatest advantage that the devil has is the belief that he doesn’t exist. We need to realize that anti-Semitism, which has been declining for decades on these shores, is making a comeback on campuses, websites, and even in Upper West Side dinner chatter. As these views become acceptable — as they already have in Europe — they threaten to divide America against itself. Much of the disinformation spread by Arab state-run media is basically an appeal to anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment. We have to be honest about the threat we face. Or as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace said the other day, in this war, ideas “are as important as bullets.” That means we have to knock down even the nutty ideas of our enemies.

Lopez: Iraq isn’t Vietnam? But 2,000 of our military men and women have died.

Miniter: There are so many differences between the Vietnam War and the Iraq war that I had to write a 10,000-word chapter just to present all of the evidence. Basically, Iraq is Vietnam in reverse. Vietnam began with a small but growing insurgency and ended with tanks and division-strength infantry assaults on our forces. In Iraq, we destroyed the tanks and vanquished the army in a few weeks. The insurgency in Iraq is estimated today at 20,000 men. In 1966, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regulars had combined troop strength of 700,000. By 1973, they had 1 million men under arms. North Vietnam had two superpowers supplying cutting-edge weapons; the most the insurgents in Iraq can hope for is car-bomb expertise from Iran and Syria. Ho Chi Minh was a compelling leader whose propaganda promised a better life for peasants. Al-Zarqawi is a Jordanian street thug who gets no respect in Iraq and offers no vision of a better life. I could go on and on about all of the important differences. Once you read this chapter, you will be able to shoot down liberals at cocktail parties for the next 20 years.

As for the 2,000, why does the press treat brave men and women as mere statistics? Instead of merely telling us that they died, don’t we owe it to these fallen soldiers to say how they died? Many of them died heroically, saving the lives of others.

Read on here.

The Omnologist Manifesto by Howard Bloom

From the Omnologist Manifesto:

We are blessed with a richness of specializations, but cursed with a paucity of panoptic disciplines-categories of knowledge that concentrate on seeing the pattern that emerges when one views all the sciences at once. Hence we need a field dedicated to the panoramic, an academic base for the promiscuously curious, a discipline whose mandate is best summed up in a paraphrase of the poet Andrew Marvel: Let us roll all our strength and all Our knowledge up into one ball, And tear our visions with rough strife Through the iron gates of life.

Omnology is a science, but one dedicated to the biggest picture conceivable by the minds of its practitioners. Omnology will use every conceptual tool available-and some not yet invented but inventible-to leapfrog over disciplinary barriers, stitching together the patchwork quilt of science and all the rest that humans can yet know. If one omnologist is able to perceive the relationship between pop songs, ancient Egyptian graffiti, Shirley MacLaine’s mysticism, neurobiology, and the origins of the cosmos, so be it. If another uses mathematics to probe traffic patterns, the behavior of insect colonies, and the manner in which galaxies cluster in swarms, wonderful. And if another uses introspection to uncover hidden passions and relate them to research in chemistry, anthropology, psychology, history, and the arts, she, too, has a treasured place on the wild frontiers of scientific truth-the terra incognita in the heartland of omnology.

Let me close with the words of yet another poet, William Blake, on the ultimate goal of omnology:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Francis Fukuyama on Europe's Muslim challenge

A Year of Living Dangerously

The challenge that Islamism represents is not a strange and unfamiliar one. Rapid transition to modernity has long spawned radicalization; we have seen the exact same forms of alienation among those young people who in earlier generations became anarchists, Bolsheviks, fascists or members of the Bader-Meinhof gang. The ideology changes but the underlying psychology does not.

Further, radical Islamism is as much a product of modernization and globalization as it is a religious phenomenon; it would not be nearly as intense if Muslims could not travel, surf the Web, or become otherwise disconnected from their culture. This means that “fixing” the Middle East by bringing modernization and democracy to countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will not solve the terrorism problem, but may in the short run make the problem worse. Democracy and modernization in the Muslim world are desirable for their own sake, but we will continue to have a big problem with terrorism in Europe regardless of what happens there.

The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims and doing so in a way that does not provoke an even angrier backlash from right-wing populists. Two things need to happen: First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds.

The first has already begun to happen. In recent months, both the Dutch and British have in fact come to an overdue recognition that the old version of multiculturalism they formerly practiced was dangerous and counterproductive. Liberal tolerance was interpreted as respect not for the rights of individuals, but of groups, some of whom were themselves intolerant (by, for example, dictating whom their daughters could befriend or marry). Out of a misplaced sense of respect for other cultures, Muslims minorities were left to regulate their own behavior, an attitude which dovetailed with a traditional European corporatist approaches to social organization. In Holland, where the state supports separate Catholic, Protestant and socialist schools, it was easy enough to add a Muslim “pillar” that quickly turned into a ghetto disconnected from the surrounding society.