Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nae Haggis For You!

Oh well said, sir! It's not independent to cosy up to the Colonel. We at Aaro Watch call upon Americans to Boycott Scotland! forthwith. (Hat tip: @Glinner.)

One wee (if I may defer to my ethnic heritage) quibble:

The thought is that there is a section of opinion that is, perversely, rather keener on being friends with the likes of Colonel Gaddafi, than it is on nurturing our relations with our main and most important ally.

Get that? It's either Libya or our American friends.

He [Gadaffi] gave up his nuclear and chemical weapons programmes, too, and over the years has been rewarded with handshakes from Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Michael Portillo [1] in the Sunday Times - as Matthew commented on the previous post, a very strange article. Funny how that perverse section of opinion which wanted to nurture our relations with Colonel Gadaffi included Tony Blair and a US Secretary of State.

I'll say that I don't really understand the heat this has generated. It seems to be OK for the US to have contracts with Libya (boycott whisky and haggis, fine, but boycott oil? are you nuts?), and it's OK to shake hands with the Colonel, but release a dying man? Och, that's terrible.

To paraphrase Elvis Costello, "It won't make it even, it won't bring [them] back."

[1] For more on the lovely Michael, see Chris Brooke for a refresher on his tact and political acumen back when he had at least some influence.

Friday, August 21, 2009

One to bank for future use ...

Oliver Kamm (on Chomsky, but that's not the point):

"In the manner of the conspiracy theorist, he snatches at quotations that divulge a latent policy agenda."

Almost a perfect decription of the Decent blogger m.o.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Week in Decent abuse of human rights organisations

Harry's Place and others: Human Rights Watch can be ignored because it hired someone who was a far-lefty thirty years ago. (quite an impressive achievement this, as the connection is too dodgy even for David Bernstein)

The New Republic: Oxfam is on the "shit list" because it has dropped the Sex and the City girl as one of its goodwill ambassadors because she is also the "face" of a cosmetics company which is illegally extracting Dead Sea mud. (this is not even true.

Strangely, no abuse of Amnesty International this week, as far as I can see. But Yale University Press are dhimmi bastards for not printing those Danish cartoons (I note that none of the three of them actually publish the things themselves!).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Party to a Vast Swindle

Conor Foley posted the following comment on Nick's Observer piece today I saw Lockerbie's victims. Tell their families the truth:

A good article. It is strange that having seen something like this, been moved by it and wanting to know the truth about what really happened, you could never apply the same standards of basic reporting and critical inquiry to so many other issues that you have written about like Darfur, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think that if you had ever got anywhere near showing the basic human empathy on these issues as you manage here, you would have become a much better journalist and maybe even a reasonable human being.

Thanks to insomniac commenter Al who copied and pasted it into the comments on my last post. The Guardian's moderator removed it.

I think Nick's piece comes down to "the US and UK governments fingered Libya for Lockerbie; they should have been looking at Iran as well." But while I'm clear that there was a great deal of obfuscation from the government, I don't see his reasons for suspecting Iran, other than they are the Eastasia du jour so to speak. And he manages to patronise Dr Jim Swire for believing "that the Libyans are innocent and that the British state is party to a vast swindle." The theory I can't buy is that it took two oil-rich countries to put one bomb on a plane.

Also worth reading: Pankaj Mishra on the 'Eurabia-mongers' which covers many old favourites of this blog.

At a private conference in Sweden a couple of years ago, I saw some of Anglo-America's leading academics, journalists and columnists denounce Ian Buruma, Timothy Garton Ash and other liberal critics of Hirsi Ali with even more bitter passion than they spent on what Caldwell calls "the penury, servitude, violence, and mediocrity of Muslim societies worldwide,"


Caldwell stops short of speculating what Europe would or should do to atone for its folly of nurturing a perfidious minority. The Canadian journalist Mark Steyn, whom Martin Amis has hailed as a "great sayer of the unsayable", does not hesitate to spell it out in his bestselling America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

Good stuff. Via Sam Leith.

Friday, August 14, 2009

An Inevitable Consequence Of The Human Rights Act

Misleading headline of the day: Mr Justice Eady on why judges need to create a privacy law. Link goes to the full text of a "speech [which] was delivered in February to the Intellectual Property Lawyers' Association and has been submitted in evidence to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport committee."

What the judge said was:

It always seemed natural to me that if a law of individual privacy were to be adopted and enforced, that should be by way of the legislature. In fact it has happened at one remove as an inevitable consequence of the enactment of the Human Rights Act.

Via Justice Eady defends judge-made privacy law.

Posted because if Nick comes back to his libel law fixation, and the chances are very good that he will, I think it'll be useful for readers to know Mr Justice Eady's side.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Watch that and the Times piece by one of "Obama's brownshirts in the media" (known to you and me as David Aaronovitch) seems almost superfluous. If you want to go further with DA's conspiracy theory thing, read John H Richardson in Esquire: part 1; part 2. 9/11 conspiracy nuts to birthers: not a great leap at all.

Near the cafeteria, a man named Ernie was passing out free copies of a video called The Obama Deception. Produced by a Texas radio host named Alex Jones, it argues that the Wall Street elite created the economic crisis in order to cause a panic that would grease the skids to fascism. (Jones also believes that 9/11 was an inside job.)

Of course, the mobs (what else to call them?) against Obama are pro-free market. And not just abstract free market, but the system which currently obtains in the US (or did until this year; and, yes, I do know that that's not and never has been an ideal free market). They also believe AT THE SAME TIME that the "Wall Street elite" hate capitalism. It's not that I don't understand their thought processes: it's that what they say doesn't resemble thinking.

Heads Will Explode

Via Amnesty's Twitter page:

Jon Snow is interviewing Noam Chomsky for Amnesty - anybody got a question they'd like to be asked? Let us know!

Nick Cohen: feel the love! OK, this is largely off-topic, but I saw that and thought of our Nick. What does he have against Jon Snow? And I'm sure he's slated both Amnesty and Chomsky in the past. Any theories on why all the above provoke the reactions they do?

Are our libel laws silencing enough outspoken journalism?

Nick writes:

I found Nick Davies's assault on my newspaper, the Observer, hugely unconvincing. He presented as fact allegations I knew weren't true, and, I later discovered he knew weren't true.

really? I would have thought that an accusation as important as this (which is surely defamatory if not true) might rate a somewhat more substantial venue than a joke item on the Standpoint blog.

I note that Nick presented as fact lots of statements from Ahmed Chalabi which weren't true. I don't know if he knew they weren't true, but David Rose, who printed a lot of similar material at the Observer, later said that he felt "nauseated, angry and ashamed" about his journalism during the period covered by "Flat Earth News" and seriously considered quitting the profession.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ooh Fight! Fight!

We're not following Nick Cohen you know. We didn't say anything about his column on Michal Kaminksi among other things.

For all his slippery excuses, Kaminski did not back the president's full apology. After the Observer's initial revelations last week, Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza explained why a politician who appears as sleek and savvy as his new friend David Cameron, plunged into the dark corners of Polish politics. "Kaminski isn't officially and completely an anti-semite or homophobe, but at some point he recognised that these things can help him politically," it concluded. He retained the option of appealing to a "certain sector of the electorate, which, to put it delicately, is not hugely opposed to anti-semitism".

Note what Nick does say about Kaminsky. And then what he doesn't. His headline is "What's Cameron doing with Europe's lunatic fringe?" which suggests that the subs don't have a problem with 'lunatic fringe' even if the term is missing from the article. There are warmer words he could have used of course.

In today's Torygraph, Stephen Pollard calls attacks on Kaminsky Anti-Semitic mudslinging of the worst kind.

Pollard seems to have drifted from Decency, if he was ever a Decent, but I still suspect Nick is right. I hear too often that the Left is soft on anti-semitism. I think this is going to bite the Tories, have things really got so mad that only Muslims' objectionable views draw comments from the right?

Update 6:20 pm (5:20 GMT) I forgot to mention that Denis MacShane, no friend of this blog, also charged Kaminski with anti-Semitism, which lends some credibility, to me, to Pollard's case. But he totally muffs it with his conclusion:

Far from being an anti-Semite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israeli an MEP as exists. Ironically, it is Mr McMillan-Scott who has repeatedly called for Israel to engage with Hamas – an organisation which is committed by charter to the destruction of Israel.

There are swivel-eyed pro-Israelis, of course. As far as I'm concerned, it's the unconditional supporters of Israel who are loons. It's a good bet that anyone on the side of talking, "Jaw-jaw is better than war-war" as Churchill put it, has sanity and history on their side. Anyway, aren't the BNP rather pro-Israel these days, if only on the grounds that they hate the Muslims more?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Archbishop: My Facebook Hell

DA was on excellent form yesterday on the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols. Of course, this is to say no more than I agree with him, as, having had his fill of shooting at an archbish in a barrel, he turns on Dr Aric Sigman, equally batty, and with the batty person's ability to become a "fellow of several institutes who has been a consultant to several companies" but not really on topic.

At least our man bothers to read, which is more than can be said for Nichols and his supporters. The second last comment as I write begin:

The archbishop hasn't got a problem with facebook. He has a problem with an excessive use of facebook.

Nichols interviewed (?) by Ruth Gledhill in the Times:

Archbishop Nichols said that social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace encouraged a form of communication that was not "rounded", and would not therefore build rounded communities. He said young people were being encouraged to build up collections of friends as commodities, that these friendships could easily collapse, and teenagers were left desolate when they did.

That looks like a dig at Facebook per se even if he immediately moderated his comments. (Not that the quoted paragraph makes any sense. You could argue that cricket-playing isn't "rounded" and is insufficient to build rounded communities and therefore no one should play cricket. Repeat for every known activity until satisfied that nothing can build a rounded community.)

His argument that the internet and mobile phones are "dehumanising" community life come after the death of 15-year-old schoolgirl Megan Gillan, who took a fatal overdose of painkillers last week after being bullied on Bebo, another networking site.

And this affects Facebook how? Ophelia drowned herself in Hamlet, why didn't the church call for the draining of ponds, lakes, and rivers? Mad Danes hazard to young women anyone? See also Lawyers, Guns and Money.

Twilight zone bleg

It seems there may be trouble on teh outer fringes of decency. Both Drink Soaked Trots and General Theory of Rubbish have disappeared and Hak Mao no longer links to either. The DSTFW url still works, but links to a cat which switches to a list of approved blogs (not including anything involving Will). Anyone with insider knowledge of the loons should update us in comments.