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October 14, 2006

The Lancet and the Ideology

Filed under: Opinion, Politics, UK — limewoody @ 1:44 pm

I could bring together the themes of the last two posts by saying that none of the British quality papers in their coverage of the latest Lancet study has mentioned that one of the authors, Les Roberts, recently ran for Congress as a Democrat. Until he dropped out of the race in May, he was one of the candidates in New York State’s 24th congressional district. Here is his position paper on Iraq and here’s an interview with him for a website supporting the left wing of the Democratic party called That’s my Congress. Here’s another interview, this time with Socialist Worker Online.

Three of the authors of the two general studies of casualties in Iraq (Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta and Gilbert Burnham) are also the authors of The Role of Small Arms during the 2003-2004 Conflict in Iraq. It was produced by the Small Arms Survey. The Survey is a gun control organisation “dedicated to documenting the effects of small arms on social well-being and public health throughout the globe.”

From the various links above, I think we can get a picture of Les Robert’s politics. He is a transnational progressive.

His politics do not mean that his figures are wrong. [ADDED LATER: I think, however, that his politics make certain types of error more likely. LATER STILL: I keep not making myself clear. What I meant to say was that his politics are not in themselves a sufficient reason to suppose him wrong, although they are one factor contributing to my assessment that he is wrong.] But the fact that he, like me, is a political animal is something I wouldn’t mind knowing, and something that we would hear a lot more about if the boot were on the other foot.
To me, Les Roberts comes across as somewhat more politically congenial – or less uncongenial – than the editor of the Lancet, Dr Richard Horton. In the Socialist Worker Online interview Dr Roberts doesn’t sound particularly happy about it when he says that most of the interviews he has had in America were with “marginal” left wing magazines – a bit of an “ouch” moment for Socialist Worker‘s Joseph Choonara, perhaps.
In contrast Dr Horton appeared passionately happy to be on the same stage as Galloway and friends in Manchester last month. Harry’s Place has up a couple of videos showing Dr Horton. The first was filmed at the Stop the War rally in Manchester on September 23. Horton tells the crowd:

“As this axis of Anglo-American imperialism extends its influence through war and conflict, gathering power and wealth as it goes, so millions of people are left to die in poverty and disease.”

The second video is less moonbatty – being unashamedly to the left of the Labour party is not the same as moonbattery – but I am not sure how Dr Horton reconciles

“Values and ideas are, of course, worth defending”

with

“We have got to avoid the suggestion that we in Britain are somehow superior, better and more civilised; that our values somehow trump the values of other societies.”

There is a paragraph near the end of the article from the Socialist Worker Online which says,

Speaking at a special lecture at London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine last week, Les Roberts said that the Lancet was chosen because it was the most highly regarded medical journal in the world, with the tightest peer-review procedures.

Something tells me that another reason the Lancet was chosen was that Dr Richard Horton was its editor.

More:

http://www.nataliesolent.blogspot.com/2006_10_08_nataliesolent_archive.html#116064780470288396

August 31, 2006

Sir Alfred Sherman: Witness to a Century

Filed under: Politics, UK — limewoody @ 10:10 am

 Sir Alfred Sherman, a friend and long-time political associate who died in London on August 26, started his political life as a Stalinist and ended it as one of the few “paleoconservative” thinkers in today’s Britain. He was a brilliant polymath, a consummate homo politicus, and one of the last true witnesses to the 20th century.


Born in 1919 to recent immigrants from Russia, Sherman joined the Young Communist League in his first year at Chelsea Plytechnic; as he later explained, “to be a Jew in 1930s Britain was to be alienated. The world proletariat offered us a home.” Within months he was a machine gunner with the Major Attlee battalion of the International Brigades in Spain. A gifted linguist, he translated the orders of the battalion’s Red Army instructor into English, French and Spanish. Sherman fought at Ebro in 1938 and spent several months as Franco’s prisoner at San Pedro de Cardenas before being repatriated to Britain.

During the Second World War Sherman served with the British Army as a Field Security Officer in the Middle East, became fluent in Hebrew and Arabic, and embarked on a life-long study of Islam. After the war he continued his studies at the London School of Economics and became president of the Communist Party student cell.

Read on:http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/cgi-bin/newsviews.cgi/Sir_Alfred_Sherman_.printer

http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/cgi-bin/newsviews.cgi/Sir_Alfred_Sherman_.printer

August 29, 2006

Kronik: Derfor forlod jeg racisme-centret

Filed under: Eurabia, Freedom of expression, Media, Migration, Multi Kulti, Politics — limewoody @ 7:11 am

Af Mads Bryde Andersen, professor, dr. jur., København

Racisme-centret har fået en politisk funktion, der ligger meget langt fra de krav om faglighed, der fremgår af EU-rådsforordningen. Er det meningen? spørger dagens kronikør og forklarer sin udtræden af bestyrelsen.

I sidste uge blev det kendt, jeg i marts trådte ud af bestyrelsen for det Europæiske Observationscenter for Racisme og Fremmedhad (kaldet EUMC). Jeg traf denne beslutning efter at have virket siden 2005 som suppleant for fhv. landsdommer Niels Johan Petersen (NJP).

Gennem to bestyrelsesmøder og en række bilaterale kontakter med centeret havde jeg rejst en række kritiske spørgsmål. I marts 2006 vendte NJP tilbage. Jeg havde egentlig tænkt mig at benytte min ret til at fortsætte i bestyrelsen for sammen med ham at videreføre min kritik. Men nu viste det sig, til min overraskelse, at NJP ikke ønskede at fremsætte denne kritik nu. Med udsigten til en splittet dansk delegation gav det derfor ikke mening for mig at fortsætte.

Så meget er nu kendt. Offentligheden må med en vis ret undre sig. Hvorfor har jeg, som min tidligere kollega Ole Espersen forleden udtalte her i avisen, kun kunnet »overbevise mig selv«? Er der tale om en rent akademisk kritik? Eller er principper på spil, som berører os alle?

Det vil jeg kaste lys over i det følgende. Jeg vil forklare, hvorfor der er grund til at være særdeles kritisk overfor centeret, og at roden til denne kritik bl.a. ligger i centerets manglende vilje eller evne til at afgrænse (og dermed definere) de følsomme sager, det udtaler sig om i sine årsrapporter (under titlen “Trends, developments and good practice”).

……….

Konsekvenserne er åbenbare: Med denne ekstreme fortolkning af forordningen og uden klare definitioner på, hvad man undersøger, kan centeret udtale sig om – og fordømme – enhver samfundsbegivenhed, man vælger at sætte i relation til racisme mv.

Dermed får centeret en politisk funktion, der ligger meget langt fra de krav om faglighed mv., der fremgår af forordningen. Er det meningen?

Dette spørgsmål fik jeg aldrig svaret på i racismecenterets bestyrelse. Niels-Erik Hansen glæder sig over mit farvel, og det er jo godt for ham. Den slags institutioner, han kommer fra, opsøger sjældent faglig debat.

Læs:

http://www.jp.dk/meninger/ncartikel:aid=3922580

August 20, 2006

Spin- The Art of Ignoring the bloody obvious –

Filed under: Politics — limewoody @ 3:39 pm

 http://democracyfrontline.org/blog/?p=1101 In any debate, to confuse an opponent, the classical approach is by and through obfuscation, tangential diatribes, and/or classic political spin.  The desired effect is to create confusion, to weaken an opponent’s resolve and momentum through diversionary tactics.  It is an age-old approach employed when one’s own arguments have weak moral or logical foundations.  The tactic is often the only option when tasked with presenting an inferior argument, which cannot be promoted through persuasiveness based on reason, logic, or moral clarity.  This method becomes the only viable option because a more progressive concept cannot be beaten by an inferior philosophy without those arguing on behalf of the lower standard first concealing obvious truths in layers of fog. On hearing such rhetoric, a reasonable layperson may detect that there is something wrong with either the message or the delivery, but sufficient time for careful analysis and appropriate response is seldom available, as expediency quickly sweeps both the obvious facts with the muck into the past. Once the audience has been so prepared, one can then make suggestions and offer premises that would have otherwise been easily recognized as irrational or unconscionable.  When carefully prepared and delivered under the axiom “the bigger the lie, the easier it is for people to swallow,” otherwise outlandish suggestions can result in a mental shock effect, which over time can break down resistance. To the masses for which the spin was constructed, the net effect is confusion and the blunting of reasonable responses and actions, as well as more of an inclination to accept the unacceptable, or at least to tolerate the intolerable.  Indeed, when not properly recognized and challenged, there is the potential that otherwise good people might eventually accept that right is wrong, or that evil means can be sanctified if associated with a seemingly good cause. Take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example.  Claiming that Israel is the sole instigator and villain in this passionate and tragic play is a tactic designed to hide many truths in plain sight.  The weak-minded demonstrate personal failure when they bury their heads in the sand, and are akin to the Germans who “closed their drapes” as the Jews were rounded up.  We all see and hear about the things going on in the Middle East every day, yet many continue to hide behind silly libels against the US and Israel to either justify continued support for the Palestinian cause and methods, or to remain silent. In a population of 6.3 million, Israel has endured over a hundred suicide bombings.  If the same proportion of attacks had occurred in the USA (288 Million people), there would have been 4571 suicide bombings with over 40,000 killed and hundreds of thousands wounded (often maimed for life).  The number killed would be the equivalent of twelve ‘Sept-11/Pearl-Harbor’ type mega-attacks!  Almost everyone would know more than one victim.  Pause … and think about it.  The reaction of this nation would likely be more severe and violent than the Palestinians have faced to date from all Israeli actions.  Without second thoughts or significant dissension we would be sending our armies marching orders to destroy everyone suspected of supporting the attacks in any way. Political correctness would yield to the logic of survival and nearly every American would support any and all means necessary to completely ruin individuals, organizations, and governments deemed remotely culpable, with collateral damage of much, much less concern. Truth is truth, to the end of reckoning.  Spin may distract, but does not diminish her.  When “Old Europe” and our own schizophrenic State Department say, “create a Palestinian state, coddle the Saudis, don’t offend anyone,” it only serves to embolden despots and their terrorist foot soldiers.  When we respond to left-leaning media, our Arab “allies,” and the Europeans, we lose moral authority and giving sanctuary and encouragement to despots and terrorists alike.  As with the Israelis, our survival and democracy depends on us living with both eyes wide open, willing to do the hard things necessary to protect our children’s future.  Islamic extremists, and Palestinians in particular, continually debase themselves as they bask in their hatreds, blood lust, and thirst for revenge.  Ongoing anxiety and suffering cries out for intelligent deliberation, judgment, and then effective action. State department coddling and financial/humanitarian-aid notwithstanding, nothing we can ever do will make fascist fanatics love us. We can only make them fear and respect us. The world should with unison loudly reject when terrorists weave pure spin claiming violent murderous tactics are a legitimate option in pursuit of freedom and self-determination.  In fact they have had, and do have, complete control of their future and far superior options to choose from, but have chosen to surrender that future by engaging in illegal and immoral activities.  They have spent their entire allowance pursuing these doomed options, and now claim to be victims when facing the unavoidable consequences of their poor choices.  Obfuscation aside, no people have the right to exercise their right to self-determination, if the path they choose in pursuit of the same involves bombing café’s, night-clubs, busses, targeting women, children, students, simple commuters and pedestrians, and families in their homes.  It is the opinion of this author that engaging in and supporting such activities disqualifies an individual, culture, even a whole people from normal inherent rights to freedom of movement, association, assembly, self-determination, and self-rule.  Palestinian extremists, who appear to enjoy support by the majority of locals, are simply not advanced, mature, or grown-up enough to be trusted with certain freedoms. Current events and past history has proven they will only exercise those freedoms to terrorize, kill and maim.  To propose otherwise is to essentially argue to immediately empty all prisons worldwide and to abolish all laws and punishments based on concepts of personal responsibility.  And it follows that opposing the rule of law is in fact a proposal for wholesale regression to principals akin to middle-age tribal conquest and rule. While it is heart wrenching to see and hear of the suffering of innocent Palestinian children in the current conflict, yet we must not forget the culpability lies squarely on the shoulders of the parents and leaders who have failed them.  The only thing we can do to help them take that necessary first step of real change (accepting personal responsibility for their mistakes and failures), is to expose and resolutely reject the spin they spew to deceive themselves and others. Conveniently ignoring the vast majority of official violent passages and verse, promoters acting in the cause of Islam will continue to quote the same oft-repeated minuscule ‘goodies’ from the Quran to tell us the 9-11 episode is not ‘real Islam.’ From President George Bush to brother Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), every ‘lover’ of Islam is using a huge loudspeaker to announce to the world that ‘Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Islam does not preach violence, terrorism, murder, killing, raping, burning, and looting… etc. The terrorists have hijacked peaceful Islam. How very nice those words are…Islam is the light of the world. The world would surely plunge into a new dark age without the light of Islam…One can’t help wondering why they feel inclined to praise Islam and its works quite so often. Self-praise is no recommendation, and the barrage seems aimed to both reassure themselves and to deceive the uneducated. The world asks, if Islam is such a virtuous religion, then why does it need such a huge broadcast to proclaim such to the billions of ‘ignorant Kafirs,’ ‘Islam is peaceful’ ad infinitum, as if repeating it often enough can alter reality or somehow create truth out of thin air. No other religion in the world needs such a huge advertising campaign to deflect criticism. Is there anything wrong with Islam? Of course not! Everything is fine and dandy with Islam. That great cry from the dust of tens of millions of dead and persecuted is simply the wind. If anything seems amiss with Islam, it is not the fault of the ‘best religion’ of Allah, but is by sinister design from the evil Jews, the satanic West (Christians), the vile Maalaoon Indians (Hindus) and the repugnant secularists/ freethinkers. In the classical strategy of transference, when challenged they parlay and deflect criticism by accusing the accusers of being guilty of what Islam is itself most guilty of; persecution, misinformation, intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry. Violence and spin, the chief exports of Islam, grows louder daily, yet somewhere in the fog, truth still stands silently and solidly in opposition to the din. The Emperor’s Raiment The grand Emperor, Muhammad, enjoyed grand clothing and fine robes as ornate and decorated as any great leader of vast kingdoms, but sought ever finer raiment so that others might see outwardly the greatness and power of his office and influence. He had the finest clothes and trappings commensurate with his desires, but a great tailor and wizard from another land whispered in his ear that he could create an adornment so beautiful, grand, and powerful that all who saw it would naturally worship the wearer as the greatest of all leaders. The material to be used possessed the unique quality of being visible only to the truly enlightened and intelligent, but would be invisible to stupid infidels. Work commenced and soon the great one was on proud display with his new robe for all the world to see. The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen should be studied carefully as it seems more applicable today than any other time in history. Today many view plainly the works of Islam yet continue to issue the usual politically correct euphemisms of how beautiful and perfect the new robes appear. The simple innocence and honesty of an unafraid, unsophisticated child is called for to give the rest of us the courage to state the obvious. Who are the new weavers of the emperor’s new clothes today? Islamic apologists, the myopic liberal media, academia elitists, as well as an unusual conflagration of fascists, communists, European socialists, anarchists, and many other far-left and far-right organizations throughout the world. You can call me stupid, I just don’t see it. The reader is hereby promised that if you study without bias the facts herein in their entirety, the robes will become invisible to you too. The spectacle of ‘Islam Undressed’ is neither benign nor pleasing, and is likely to invoke embarrassment or horror from the looker, but should also result in a healthy dose of apprehension and accompanying survivalist thinking. Survival is the first order of the day, once secure we can return to debating the niceties of various more subtle political and cultural differences and resurrect more sensitive approaches to handle political, religious, and racial sensibilities. For now, the sight of this self-described great emperor needs to be dealt with, particularly his intentions with respect to the sword of Jihad in his right hand already dripping in blood. The issue at hand is the war we are engaged in, which we are told is a war against ‘terror’. But terror is a method, not an enemy. Those who limit their thinking to the constraints of the politically-correct ‘thought police’ seem content to believe that we are not really fighting individuals or nations, but rather some kind of abstraction, as if somewhere there are soldiers with “Republic of Terror” embroidered on their uniforms marching lock-step to attack us. Terrorist acts are simply the weapon of choice deployed by the true enemy. So in reality we are no more in a war against ‘terrorism’ than we were engaged fighting the scourge of Machine guns in WWI, Zeros in WWII, the plague of German Tanks in WWII, or the threat of nuclear weapons in the Cold War.  Though such vague, loose nomenclature may be reassuring in our society obsessed as it is with political correctness, it is unnecessarily nebulous. Such poor precision is deception and prevents rational evaluation of the true threat behind the terrorist weapon deployed against us. In wartime, machine guns, kamikaze zeros, tanks, and bombs don’t kill people—actual real people acting on some nationalistic, political, or religious ideology pull the trigger. There are two very practical pieces of advice upon which one can base fair judgment of other people, religions, and governments. In fact those who fail to embrace this advice completely are destined to remain forever as lost as ‘old’ Europe is today.  I believe my source is a good one. The first litmus test to use in judgment is, “Only through a man’s works is his true nature exposed.” The other is, “By this we can know if man has truly repented, he will confess and forsake the bad behavior”. By these two pieces of advice, one can fairly judge the value of individuals’/groups’ actions, and also gauge the progression of an individual/group if and when they realize their actions lead to bad fruit, and make claim to be reformed. Until then, it would be stupid to call the kettle anything other than ‘black,’ even when speaking from a pot that is less than white. Civic piety allied with political correctness is collectively blinding us, keeping us from asking reasonable questions about Islam, questions upon which the survival of our civilization may depend. Does Western culture obsessed with tolerance render us incapable of drawing reasonable conclusions about Islam’s core values and designs? The general reluctance to criticize any non-Christian religion and the almost universal public ignorance about Islam make for a dangerous and potentially lethal mix. Until the day Islam takes full responsibility for the violence being produced in her name, we must be realistic and realize all we can expect is more of the same…a little ‘hand wringing’ is probably all we will ever see from their regional and world leaders, along with more finger pointing at Israel and the West. The reasons for such pessimism will become clear later. In the mean time, until we see effective action and hear convincingly from this supposed vast silent majority of peace-loving Muslims, it is expedient for the rest of the world to take off the blinders and begin to live with both eyes wide open.

June 30, 2006

What´s left of the left (?)

Filed under: Left, Politics — limewoody @ 9:00 am

This is easy to demonstrate.

Here is a list of terms liberals apply to virtually every idea or action with which they differ:

Racist
Sexist
Homophobic
Islamophobic
Imperialist
Bigoted
Intolerant

And here is the list of one-word descriptions of what liberals are for:

Peace
Fairness
Tolerance
The poor
The disenfranchised
The environment

These two lists serve contemporary liberals in at least three ways.

First, they attack the motives of non-liberals and thereby morally dismiss the non-liberal person.

Second, these words make it easy to be a liberal — essentially all one needs to do is to memorize this brief list and apply the right term to any idea or policy. That is one reason young people are more likely to be liberal — they have not had the time or inclination to think issues through, but they know they oppose racism, imperialism and bigotry, and that they are for peace, tolerance and the environment.

Third, they make the liberal feel good about himself — by opposing conservative ideas and policies, he is automatically opposing racism, bigotry, imperialism, etc.

http://www.townhall.com/print/print_story.php?sid=198416&loc=/opinion/columns/dennispraeger/2006/05/23/198416.html

June 19, 2006

Flemish Interest is equal

Filed under: Islam, Migration, Multi Kulti, Netherlands, Politics — limewoody @ 5:32 pm

BRUSSELS — The extreme-right Flemish Interest continues to rise in popularity and is now almost the biggest party in Flanders behind the traditional heavyweight Christian Democrat CD&V. 

If elections were held now, the Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang in Dutch) would gain 26.6 percent of the vote, just 0.1 percent behind the coalition involving the CD&V and the New Flemish Alliance (26.7 percent).

The poll — conducted by newspapers 'De Morgen' and 'La Libre' — also showed that electoral support for the Flemish Liberal VLD continues to slide. It fell another 2 percent to 16.9 percent, far below its 24.2 percent at the May 2003 federal elections.

The green

Groen! party would win 7.6 percent of the vote in Flanders while the Socialist SP.A and left-wing Spirit coalition would win 19.9 percent of the vote.

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (VLD) and Yves Leterme (CD&V) remain the most popular leaders in Flanders (37 percent) and could fight it out for the prime minister's post at the 2007 federal parliamentary elections.

Across the linguistic border in Wallonia, a series of fraud scandals in Charleroi have cost the Socialist PS party electoral support, falling back to 30 percent from 33 percent in a poll conducted March. That is also 6.4 percent less than the federal elections in 2003.

Besides the extreme-right Front National — which has managed to almost double its 2003 result and now stands to win 10 percent of the vote — the green Ecolo (10.3 percent) and Humanist CDH (19.3) have also gained ground.

The possibility that PS leader Elio Di Rupo will exchange the Liberal MR with the CDH in a federal government coalition after the 2007 elections now looms as a strong possibility. Di Rupo has already entered into a coalition with the CDH at a regional level.

The MR remains the second largest party in Wallonia at 25.9 percent, but has slipped from its 2003 result of 28.4 percent.

http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=24&story_id=30900&name=Flemish+Interest+is+equal+biggest+party

June 12, 2006

Liberalism under pressure

Filed under: Multi Kulti, Politics, Western civilisation — limewoody @ 9:22 am

When the Dutch canary stops singing, we should beware. It will tell us that we have sacrificed personal liberty and freedom of speech out of fear of assassination on some street corner in broad daylight.

It is not easy to resist the urge to quiet an irritant voice like Hirsi Ali's. But each of us has to understand that the price of communal silence – the decision not to talk openly about difficult-to-resolve issues of faith and mores – is too high for us to pay. The cut and thrust of political debate, public controversy, and stated positions unacceptable to particular groups, is a vital part of a healthy political state.

Twelve years after his Dordrecht speech, William I of Orange was assassinated by Balthasar Gérard, a fanatical Catholic, who had wangled his way into William's home with a new-fangled wheel-lock pistol concealed in his sleeve – his deadly act the sixteenth-century equivalent of a suicide-bombing. The northern Netherlands reeled, the ruling elite closed ranks; repressive political measures were taken.

Eventually, though, the States General recovered their Erasmian principles and shook off the fear and blind panic which had followed the calamitous event. The values William of Orange had fought for were too precious – too fundamental – to be discarded lightly.

Read it all:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5042418.stm

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