Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Friday, December 31, 2010

When I raise my glass and pledge "Confusion to my enemies" I never imagined they would get THIS confused

Not everyone semms to share my enthusiasm for the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell". Though its opponents seem rather confused.

Uncle Jimmy's favourite new bunch of Nazis (Bare Naked Islam) are full of how homosexuality is evil and un-Christian and how the repeal of DADT is a wicked Islamic plot for "pro-homosexual indoctrination" by the "Muslim-in Chief" (that's PRESIDENT Muslim-in-Chief to you, assholes). Because nothing says "Islamic" like being gay, as any Iranian homosexual would tell you (if he weren't inconveniently hanging from a crane).

Meanwhuile, my newest troll Black Sheep has a wonderfully stupid post explaining how allowing gays to serve openly in the US military will lead to the gang rape of heterosexuals (because apparently this is what homosexuals do - I guess you'd spotted that?) as well as total chaos because all the gay soldiers will be unable to keep their minds off sex for long enough to do their jobs. No, really.

I posted this comment:

Er, the policy was don’t ask don’t tell, not don’t fuck. You think all those gays in the military weren't already getting all the sex they wanted? And why would they waste energy raping straight guys (straight guys with M16s!) when they can get their cocks sucked by guys who want it? I think you just have some weird fantasies: maybe you spend too much time around sheep.
and received this reply:

Nice, Ron. Now did you have anything to say about the actual subject here? Or are you just concerned about homosexual mating habits per se? I think you spend too much time around other cocksuckers.
Which just goes to show that as long as there are folk that stupid (Ron? can't he read words of more than two letters?) , and that un-Christian, around in the USA or indeed in Britain, the internal threat to our Western values from these morons far outweighs any mythical threat from a "global Islamic conspiracy".

And in case you think Black Sheep's Islamophobia and his homophobic paranoia are as bad as he gets, read this delightful post. Yes, I have a bona fide sheet-wearing nigger-burning white supremacist polluting my comments box. Yee ha.

Mr Sheep will not be posting any more comments here. At least, not once I see them. Oh no! Censorship by the international Islamic nigger cocksucking communist conspiracy!

Because nothing says "Democracy" like incommunicado detention and routine torture

More news from the shining example to the Middle East (of how to run a medieval theocratic dictatorship).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Charged with bringing the living to life

Serendipity - the fortuitous discovery of something when you weren't actually looking for it.

Let's back up. Every Christmas Eve at 1500 GMT there is a service of Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast from King's College, Cambridge. This goes out live on the radio (and these days is repeated on Christmas Day) all round the world. For some years now King's have also recorded a television carol service: this is pre-recorded especially for television, and uses some of the same music as the main service but mostly different lessons. Indeed, the spoken elements are not all biblical texts (as in the main service) but include poems and other pieces of writing.

This year one of the readings in the television service was Innocent's Song by Charles Causley. Hilary and I remarked that we hadn't known it before. Causley is well-known to generations of British schoolchildren for his poem Timothy Winters, but not too many of his other poems are familiar. This one sometimes makes it into anthologies of humorous verse.

Anyway, I was in the library today: I might not have been, only the online renewal system had crashed so I had to take my books in. While I was there I looked around, and came across Causley's Collected Poems. I haven't read many of them yet, but of the ones I have, one stood out as appropriately seasonal - and suitably thought-provoking.

Ballad of the Breadman
Mary stood in the kitchen
Baking a loaf of bread.
An angel flew in the window
‘We’ve a job for you,’ he said.

‘God in his big gold heaven
Sitting in his big blue chair,
Wanted a mother for his little son.
Suddenly saw you there.’

Mary shook and trembled,
‘It isn’t true what you say.’
‘Don’t say that,’ said the angel.
‘The baby’s on its way.’

Joseph was in the workshop
Planing a piece of wood.
‘The old man’s past it,’ the neighbours said.
‘That girl's been up to no good.’

‘And who was that elegant fellow,’
They said. ‘in the shiny gear?’
The things they said about Gabriel
Were hardly fit to hear.

Mary never answered,
Mary never replied.
She kept the information,
Like the baby, safe inside.

It was the election winter.
They went to vote in the town.
When Mary found her time had come
The hotels let her down.

The baby was born in an annexe
Next to the local pub.
At midnight, a delegation
Turned up from the Farmers’ Club.

They talked about an explosion
That made a hole on the sky,
Said they’d been sent to the Lamb & Flag
To see God come down from on high.

A few days later a bishop
And a five-star general were seen
With the head of an African country
In a bullet-proof limousine.

‘We’ve come,’ they said ‘with tokens
For the little boy to choose.’
Told the tale about war and peace
In the television news.

After them came the soldiers
With rifle and bomb and gun,
Looking for enemies of the state.
The family had packed up and gone.

When they got back to the village
The neighbours said, to a man,
‘That boy will never be one of us,
Though he does what he blessed well can.’

He went round to all the people
A paper crown on his head.
Here is some bread from my father.
Take, eat
, he said.

Nobody seemed very hungry.
Nobody seemed to care.
Nobody saw the god in himself
Quietly standing there.

He finished up in the papers.
He came to a very bad end.
He was charged with bringing the living to life.
No man was that prisoner’s friend.

There’s only one kind of punishment
To fit that kind of crime.
They rigged a trial and shot him dead.
They were only just in time.

They lifted the young man by the leg,
Thy lifted him by the arm,
They locked him in a cathedral
In case he came to harm.

They stored him safe as water
Under seven rocks.
One Sunday morning he burst out
Like a jack-in-the-box.

Through the town he went walking.
He showed them the holes in his head.
Now do you want any loaves? he cried.
‘Not today’ they said.

Charles Causley

One from the Vinyl Vaults

Following some of the sidebar links from the Silent Running clip, I found this gem from the 1970s. It comes from an album I have on good old vinyl, by a band called The Open Window which featured Peter Schickele. Schickele wrote the music for Silent Running (and The Open Window were the pit band for the original production of Oh Calcutta!) but Schickele is best known for the creation of the fictional composer PDQ Bach, whose works have brought much laughter to audiences over the years. (Peter Schickele also wrote the humorous reinvention of Mozart's Serenade K525 which gives this blog its title.)

Anyway, here are The Open Window with probably the best track from that album. The lyrics are by William Blake, from his poem London (though the refrain comes from a different poem, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell).

Of Disney, Drones, Dylan, and Lancashire Determination

Not sure why (maybe it's all those dogs and cats) but a few video clips on the general theme of Noah's Ark suggested themselves this week.

First of all this gem from Disney. My kids came to know and love it as it was a filler on their video of Dumbo. The music is wonderful (and includes quotations from Beethoven's The Creatures of Prometheus, no less!) Best bit is the skunks!



And here's a little of Douglas Trumbull's wonderful film Silent Running about a fleet of arks in space preserving Earth's forests.



Here's Bob Dylan, not exactly on Noah, but on Adam and Eve and animals in the Old Testament.



And here is the late great Stanley Holloway with Marriott Edgar's monologue Three Ha'Pence a Foot:



Peter Schickele wrote the music for Silent Running, and also arranged Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance Marches for Disney's Fantasia 2000, which features Noah's Ark..... and Donald Duck.



Don't you just love happy endings?

Cats and Dogs

A marvellous post from Anna at Little Red Boat on the difficulties of sending cats from San Francisco to London via British Airways.

And you shouldn't miss this link from one of the comments.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Banishing Ignorance

And following right on from American Muslim Mom, let's demolish a few more prevalent myths about Islam. Here is an article 5 Ridiculous Things You Probably Believe About Islam. You'll probably learn something: I did.

Thinking about veils and how the Islamophobes hate them: it's funny how these folk set themselves up as protectors of women's rights as against the wickedly disrespectful Mooslims. Then they post beautifully respectful sentiments such as these.

They claim to be concerned over the plight of persecuted homosexuals in Islamic countries. Then they post homophobic rubbish like this, and blame the "pro-homosexual indoctrination" which will lead to "growing security problems" on the wicked "Muslim-in-Chief". So they actually believe that (a) homosexuality is good in Islamic countries but (b) evil in the USA and should be banned; and (c) that there is a Mooslim plot to promote it in the US armed forces. Yes, not only are they weapon-grade hypocrites, they really are that inbred and cretinous.

They claim to be defending Western civilisation against barbaric Islamic punishments but they post pieces glorifying the murder of a helpless prisoner without any pretence at a trial.

They're no better than the 9/11 killers. And neither are their supporters.

Now here's a conspiracy involving Muslims you won't read about either. Because they're its victims

A great article by Max Blumenthal on how a large number of people with various agendas have jumped onto the Muslim-persecuting bandwagon that began in the USA right after the September 11th attacks.

Not surprisingly, the comments are the usual collection of trolls accusing Blumenthal of being a supporter of terrorism, a closet Nazi, and a self-hating Jew. (Incidentally, use of that phrase as a description of an opponent is 100% correlated with the user's being a worthless antisemitic shit. You heard it here first.)

However, I thought this comment from "American Muslim Mom" was definitely worth a repost:

I am a Muslim and an American. I'm responding to this, not because I expect to change YOUR mind, but because I feel an obligation to correct the lies printed here for all to see. Every one of these statements are a parroting of the same Islamophobic propagandists named in the above article. There HAVE been loud outcries and strong condemnation of terrorisim by Muslims. However, our biased corporate media typically either deemphazises them or doesn't publicize them. If Americans listened to anyting except the mainstream American news agencies, they might get to hear these other voices. There is no "happiness or support" for the killing of unarmed civilians, especially when they are targeted. Such acts are against Islam. The news clip of "happy celebrating Muslims in Gaza" was taken of a wedding party and had nothing to do with the twin towers, but that didn't stop certain news agencies from reporting it as such. By the way, many Muslims died in the towers, or were you are of that? Whomever destroyed them was not a Muslim, not a Christian, not a Jew, but was someone who had absolutely belief in God at all.

Have you noticed how little our corporate media publishes the death of hundreds of thousands of Muslims at the hands of our military, our covert agencies, and our allies? Do you know how much destruction has been done to their countries as a result of our continuing addiction to petroleum?


I just hope that others might look outside the information bubble most Americans are in and see at how the world is outside. We Muslims, regardless of our ethnic background or our country of origin, are human beings like the rest of you. We have our problems, our injustices, and we commit mistakes and crimes just like everyone else. Contrary to the claims of certain groups, these have nothing to do with the religion of Islam. Islam does not condone suicide bombing, or suicide of any kind. Islam does not permit the deliberate killing of women, children, the elderly, or the disabled, or of anyone who is not an immediate physical threat. If someone representing themselves as Muslim claims otherwise, then he is not a Muslim, but a lying criminal. As for the statement that we should "get off our duff and fight terrorists" like everyone else, where have you been? Most of the people putting themselves on the line and dying in this fight against terrorism have been Muslims. But again, that fact is not emphasized in our "news reports" either.

By the way, for accurate information on the real Islam, check out Al- Islam.org.

For more accurate news info, or just simply to hear or read other points of view, Google "National Public Radio" or "Press TV".

American Muslim Mom

Another story you'd have heard a lot more about if it concerned Muslims

Improvised explosives found in a house in New Haven, CT. Three white men suspected.

Nothing to see here then, move along, let's find the next "Islamic terror plot" scare.....

Somehow I'm certain there would have been more outrage if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said this

It's not that often that I feel moved to link to an article by Christopher Hitchens, and even more seldom do I find myself agreeing with the whole thing. However, this is that article.

Why has there been no outcry from Daniel Pipes, Melanie Phillips, and all the other people who see imaginary anti-semitism everywhere? Confronted with a real, Nobel Peace Prizewinning, American who reckons it doesn't matter if Jews are marched off to gas chambers, they have nothing to say? What if President Obama had said that? Still nothing? Nothing from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre? Nothing from Elie Wiesel? Nothing from the Israeli government, usually so sensitive to the smallest slight?

What utter hypocrites.

The Browning Version

My last post may have confused Uncle Jimmy totally. Not because it mocks his beloved Toe-Nibbler, but because his English isn't very good and he will undoubtedly have got the wrong end of the stick.

Jimmy is like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's Through The Looking-Glass:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

In the comments thread under this post there is an exchange between me and Jimmy. Here are the parts to which I want to refer just now (but do read the whole thing if you want another good belly-laugh at Jimmy's medieval mindset). My comments in red, UJ's in blue. The bits I want to concentrate on emboldened.

Adrian Tudway, the national co-ordinator for domestic extremism, told the Observer: “We look at the extreme right and left, but currently our biggest single area of business are the various groups which call themselves defence leagues. These defence leagues can be found across England.”

That’s probably why the police arrest more EDL thugs than “anti-fascists”: because unlike you and Tony B, they consider them and not Muslim bogeymen to be the main extremist threat facing British society.

Muslims know about fascism for the same reason that Jews do: because they are its victims. These days there are far more racially/religiously motivated attacks on British Muslims than on British Jews, and the pattern is being repeated all across Europe thanks to the efforts of your idol Geert Wilders and his fellow Euronazis.

As for police permission to demonstrate (and in a supposedly free country why should anyone have to ask permission?) both the EDL and MAF obtain clearance sometimes, and sometimes they “…arrive unannounced and neither the police or the scum will know any details’.

And I’m proud to say that a good many more decent British people than just the members of Muslims Against Fascism oppose the racist thuggery of the EDL and the other “defence leagues”.

Incidentally I noticed you having a go over at KTBFPM at people wearing masks at demonstrations or elsewhere. You get double points for simultaneously attacking student demonstrators AND Muslim grannies and young mums in their veils, but score own goals regarding the Cross-of-St-George-masked EDL gangs as well as the visors and (often) the gas masks of the police. (And if the SAS should ever called in to deal with real terrorism, well, rather you than me when it comes to ripping off the balaclavas of Hereford’s finest!)

As inviarably (you seldom disappoint) you miss and/or twist the point, Rob.

My point being that we have allowed Muslim extremists to go on attacking verbally and by terror attacks and attempts while we seldom charge them with being violent or violence-inducing. YET – when something called the EDL (and I am not a supporter) chooses to “defend” its own country (whether rightly or wrongly – whichever – they do NOT murder or incite it) THEY somehow are beyond the pale.

These double-standards should be highlighted.

They are indicative of crazies.

And I will continue to highlight those who propagate such double standards.

As for the masks/hoods – YES! Absolutely. I am against the sort of mask or hood or BURKHA – GOT IT!? – that hides one’s indentity. It is not the British way. Or at least it never was until fundamentalists like yourself wrecked the British way.


Now how about actually addressing my points? Muslims Against Fascism do not carry out terror attacks as well you know ( though several EDL members have firebombed mosques and other buildings). So are you saying they should be locked up for “verbal attacks”? Where’s that commitment to free speech you roll put whenever Geert Wilders wants to have a Nazi rally here? And am I to take it that you agree that the police and the EDL thugs should not be allowed to hide their faces? Or do you just want to bully a few Muslim women into conformity with your dress code?

I didn’t know I was a fundamentalist. You must tell me what kind I am: I’d hate to miss out on the fun. As to wrecking the British way, YOUR “British way” was comprehensively wrecked by that nice Mr Churchill (not just a statue, also a doughty opponent of your kind of political utopia). I think the real British way is perfectly safe in BRITISH hands. Not Dutch, not Israeli, not American, and not Iranian either. Sorry to disappoint you.


You ARE a fundamentalist, Rob, though of course you don’t realise it. You fundamentally detest and resent Tony Blair. And you fundamentally support anything Muslim. Both without question.

I question both my support for one at times, and my suspicion of the other. You never do. You are one of the blessed We All Knowers.

You fundamentally believe you are ALWAYS right, Even though, as far as I can see, you are invariably wrong.

We could have some fun here sending each other to watch reports and videos which PROVE our own positions on the Muslims Against Fascism mob and the EDL gang. It’ll prove nothing to either you nor me.

It’s news to those who voted for Wilders that he is a ‘Nazi’. But he is, of course. Rob said he is, so he must be.

What I am saying is that while we let the extremely MAD and frankly EVIL yell “Kill the British Invaders”/ “Muslims Will Take over Buckingham Palace”/ “The Islamic Flag Will Fly Over Downing Street” rants go unsanctioned we have no right to stop EDL members saying what they wish to say.

SIMPLE.

Too simple for your mixed-up brain to fathom.

If you can, please explain what Churchill wrecked. Can hardly wait. It’ll all be helpful to let us decipher in which ways you really ARE fundamentalist.

I suppose it’s a relief to find out that this is something Blair didn’t wreck: Britain. It was already wrecked by Churchill.

A fundamentalist, Rob, said so. So it must be true.

Hmmm?

Are you smoking what Peter’s smoking?


Ah, right. Because I dislike Tony Blair and his destruction of the Labour Party I’m a “fundamentalist”. You Yanks really do have trouble with the language sometimes. I look forward to hearing about how I “support anything Muslim without question”. No, on second thoughts don’t bother: that will be because I didn’t support Blair over Iraq, obviously.

Those who vote for Wilders and the other Euronazis are perfectly clear on what they are supporting, and so are you. What Churchill wrecked was the threat to British values and lives from European fascism, a threat you choose not simply to ignore but to collaborate with.

I have no problem with letting the EDL say whatever they want (or indeed Wilders, though I don’t see why we should let him come to Britain to say it, any more than we permit Muslim hate-spouters unrestricted entry). However, unlike your good self they don’t generally restrict themselves to spewing out verbal attacks but resort to violence and intimidation. Not very British but entirely consistent with their Mosleyite forebears.


First of all, any reader who can find evidence of my "supporting anything Muslim without question" should let me know at once, because I'm damned if I can find any suggestion to that effect either here or on any of my other online presences (or anywhere else). Likewise, any reader who can find evidence of Jimmy's questioning either his unswerving support for Tony Blair, or his visceral loathing of Islam and Muslims, is encouraged to post it in the comments here.

But seriously folks: I'm a "fundamentalist" because I "fundamentally detest and resent Tony Blair"? What cracked use of the English language is that? One might as well say that Jimmy is a teapot because he spoutingly hates non-whites. Anyway, as Labour's share of the vote plunged throughout Blair's time iin office, and most polls suggested that their biggest liability was him, by Jimmy's reckoning Blair converted Britain to a nation of fundamentalists. And within Jimmy's cracked meaning of the word, long may it remain so.

Another word Jimmy doesn't understand, and which leads him to some funny mistakes, is "fisking". Now most of my readers will have been around the blogosphere for some time and will be very familiar with fisking: they probably even know how it got its name. For those who don't, here is the back story. So fisking is something that was done to Robert Fisk rather than something he did. Hold that thought.

Let's take another journey to La-La Land, where President Blair has been recalled as PM even though he isn't an MP, and where all those pesky political parties have been banned and wicked dissenting voices silenced. Here we go.

Now in this post we see the following:

For those of you who are not familiar with Fisk, he is in a class of his own among European journalists when it comes to his hatred of America and Israel.In the www arena where the world speaks invisibly to itself, a new word has appeared: ‘fisking’, meaning the selection of evidence solely in order to bolster preconceptions and prejudices. Just as cardigans or mackintoshes are named after an inventive individual, so fisking derives from the work of Robert Fisk, the Middle East correspondent of the Independent, stationed these many years in Beirut.

LOL. With a big side order of ROFL.

To be fair to Uncle Jimmy, most of this post is of course not original but (as is usual with Jimmy) wholly copied from some other writer. As is also usual it's a bit of a puzzle piece working out which bits were written by whom, but it would seem that Jimmy has copied his American's Guide To English Usage from another American, Tom Gross. And if you follow the link to Gross's site, he in turn has copied the whole thing from one David Pryce-Jones. (Gross has of course added various remarks about Robert Fisk of his own. I find it especially hilarious that he actually quotes the remark about Fisk being beaten up by the Taliban which was the genesis of actual "fisking". )

So who are these geniuses, pontificating about Robert Fisk without apparently being very familiar with either his work or earlier criticisms of him? These journalistic giants whose sub-editors are either so lazy or so cowed by their masters' reputations that they fail to notice when the Great Men write entire articles about how Robert Fisk has become a byword for something or other when they haven't the faintest clue what it is? (For the dangers of this approach one need only read Robert Browning's poem Pippa Passes.) Well, David Pryce-Jones is a self-styled expert on the Arab world who studied history under, or more accurately screamed abuse at, AJP Taylor, and who appears to be connected to about half of the City of London's grandees. This is the "eminent scholar" on whom Tom Gross relies for his material on Robert Fisk: because nothing says finger-on-the-pulse-of-the-blogosphere like a septuagenarian Rothschild who was literary editor of the Spectator 45 years ago.

And who then is Gross Tom, the piggy in the middle in this bacon sandwich? Just another rent-a-mouth seeing anti-Semites under every bed, it would appear. Actually it's worse: as well as penning racist articles castigating all Palestinians as "terrorists", and telling Rachel Corrie's parents that they shouldn't make such a fuss about their murdered daughter because she wasn't Jewish, Gross was one of the loudest noises in the propagation of the "Roots Restaurant" myth. This was Israeli government propagandists' attempt to portray Gaza as a paradise on Earth where nobody was suffering because of Operation Cast Lead and the ongoing blockade. The Zionist liars must be kicking themselves that the footage they used to show this luxurious restaurant carelessly included Mahmoud Abbas and a Fatah henchman dining there. But why would Hamas's enemies have been allowed into Gaza? The footage was shot in 2005, that's why, before the Israeli blockade and bombing. Not that this stopped Gross from basing several articles on it "proving" that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It would be no more dishonest to show pictures of Auschwitz before the Nazis built the extermination camps there, and to use them to "prove" that the camps were a wicked invention of the Jews. As far as I am aware Gross has never apologised for his vile lies, which makes him no more a journalist than Pryce-Jones is a scholar.

And it is to these semi-literate racists and buffoons that Jimmy turns to provide "evidence" for his views that we're all under threat from wicked Moooslims.

Now the link in my last post to the review of Blair's book used "fisking" in its usual sense, as in "going through Blair's drivel line by line pointing up the lies in it". Jimmy, as recently as December 22nd, still believes it to mean something bad Robert Fisk does. And you know the funniest thing of all? If you Google all occurrences of "fisking" at Jimmy's blog, there are several in between the Tom Gross post and the December 2010 one in which he quotes the correct definition of "fisking". So as well as not writing his own posts, he doesn't even read them. A blog with an obsolete title, a pseudonymous owner who neither writes nor reads the rubbish he posts: perhaps while my readers are at it they can suggest what they think the point of Keep Tony Blair For PM might possibly be.

Three Wastes of Space. And the books they wrote this year

A few gems from earlier in the year I failed to post on.

Melanie Phillips write another piece of tedious drivel to go with Londonistan (while saying nothing new). Most normal people of course wouldn't be seen dead reading anything by Ms Phillips, so we get professional danger men to do the job for us and report back. Here is John Crace's "Digested Read" of The World Turned Upside Down.

Much the same goes for Blair's A Journey (or The Toad Goes Ever On And On). Insofar as anyone is remotely interested in a failed ex-politician's opinions, it's likely to be because he was responsible for so many wars, and most especially the one in Iraq. So here is a detailed review of his chapter on Iraq. See? It really wasn't worth buying the book to learn Blair is still a compulsive liar with no morals, was it?

Then of course President George W Bush published his memoirs Decision Points. Here is a story about Bush which deserves to be much more widely known, as it gives a real insight into the man's character.

Nachum Shifren the Surfing Rabbi

This weirdo addressed a rally of the English Defence League back in October. Oh, he's a lovely chap. With lovely friends. And a website crazier than a sackful of squirrels. (Check out those ads for books and videos. "The Fluoride Deception" - Purity of Essence, anyone?)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jimmitude - a new word for Hypocrisy

In his comment on this post, Uncle Jimmy accuses me of "stalking" him. I prefer to think of it as keeping an eye on a particularly nasty and vicious threat to the British way of life.

Here is Uncle Jimmy in a comment on a post over on his blog:

"You can plead all you like that the foolish infidels or kafirs (like me, presumably?) don’t understand Islam or are “always againsts it.” At least the second part of that contention is UNTRUE. Personally I cared as little about ANY religion as I cared about garden gnomes until very recently. I certainly wasn’t against Islam, as you seem to be contending. People like you, so convinced in your certainties and the countless, almost daily attacks on Muslims and non-Muslims have made me look at this religion far more seriously. THAT is why I am now concerned about it. If people want to be Muslims, and those I know seem perfectly normal balanced people, that’s fine with me. If they want to subscribe to a politicised religion which aims to make my democratic country into some kind of religious non-democratic CALIPHATE where Allah’s (Sharia) Law rules OK, that’s NOT OK."

Which might sound reasonable. Well, paranoid and terrified, but he makes himself sound as though he doesn't have anything against Islam or Muslims in general. I mean, he says "If people want to be Muslims, and those I know seem perfectly normal balanced people, that’s fine with me." And we have to believe him. Don't we?

Er, no, we don't actually. Let's go and take a look at the post under which this comment appears. A word of warning: if the barenakedislam site made you feel ill, this post of Jimmy's (more accurately this post which Jimmy has lovingly copied in its entirety from another filth site) will make you puke.

So if it's only those Muslims whose religion is politicised that Jimmy hates, I repeat the question for which he banned me(I forget exactly how I worded the original) : which un-politicised paedophiles and non-extreme committers of human sacrifice is he happy to co-exist with?

Oh, and we have also to believe that

PLEASE NOTE: THE REPRODUCTION OF THE ABOVE INDICATES NOTHING ABOUT MY PERSONAL VIEWS ON ISLAM. IT IS HERE BECAUSE LAST TIME I CHECKED, LEGALLY, WE STILL HAVE FREE SPEECH IN BRITAIN (WILDERS’ RECENT EXPERIENCE OF THE GOOD OLD BRITISH WELCOME NOTWITHSTANDING.)

Aye, right. So committed to free speech is Jimmy that he has posted calls for George Monbiot to be locked up for life (no trial of course) for expressing the opinion that Tony Blair should be put on trial, and for John Pilger and all other opponents of the Iraq war to be incarcerated in psychiatric wards. Free speech is for Geert Wilders, for the EDL, and for people running hate sites like the ones he links to so freely. Not for people he disagrees with.

But wait! What's this? "I cannot and will not argue for WILDERS’ freedom of speech while supporting the banning of such as Choudary’s henchmen". Uncle Jimmy supports freedom of speech for Anjem Choudary, his favourite Muslim-on-a-stick? (Choudary is a favourite of far right Islamophobes, who sweep under the rug the inconvenient fact that he has been disowned by just about every Muslim organisation in Britain and plenty elsewhere. If he didn't exist, they would undoubtedly have invented him.)

Well, freedom of speech maybe, but only for his last words. Writing about Choudary in this post, Jimmy says

Stamp him and his like out of our country, before he stamps us out.

His like? Muslims? Political opponents? Persons of Asian descent? And what does our fine American racist friend mean by OUR country? His kind haven't taken it over yet (and you can take that to mean Americans or neo-Nazi filth, whichever you prefer).

A final aside so we can leave giggling at Jimmy rather than wishing him harm: it's the season of goodwill, and God sent Jesus to save us all, even hypocritical racist scumbags. Maybe especially hypocritical racist scumbags (and for the atheists, the message of A Christmas Carol is surely also that nobody is too far gone in evil to be redeemed, by his own efforts if not by those of the Galilean chappy.) In that last post I linked, Jimmy takes on of his regular shots at Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty. Now Ms Chakrabarti was born in London, so arguably has better British credentials than the apparently American Uncle Jimmy. But let's humour the old fake for a second and remember that he claims to be a Scot, from Glasgow no less. Now read on:

That silly Shame of Chakrabarti woman espouses that facile argument all the time. (Btw, she irritates me greatly – and sorry if this sounds un-PC – but who the hell does she think she is to lecture US about the Magna Carta? MY ancestors probably helped compile it!)

Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy..... You Americans are always getting mixed up between England and Scotland, aren't you? At the time King John of England (House of Plantagenet) was putting his stamp on Magna Carta, the King of Scotland (quite a separate country) was Alexander II (House of Dunkeld). I don't think there would have been too many Scottish nobles at Runnymede, all those hundreds of miles to the South, seeing as the Scots were busy that year invading England and sacking Berwick. (Look it up: it's near Scotland.) It's about as likely your "Scottish" ancestors helped compile Magna Carta (assuming they were both literate and noble in the first place) as it is that some other "European" ancestor of yours helped with the Koran. It doesn't even form part of the law up here in "your" Scotland, dickwit: never did.

For that matter, when did Ms Chakrabarti ever lecture anyone on Magna Carta? Was she perhaps worried lest a member of the D'Athée family had become a royal officer? or that the royal family is still holding hostages from the nobility? Had she been petitioned by a disseised Welshman? If she suggested that people should not be punished by the state without due legal process, I doubt very much whether it was Clause 39 of the Runnymede Charter she was relying on. (You want lecture? I give lecture!)

Jimmy: before you start waxing eloquent about the history of countries you've probably never even visited, at least do the basic research. Now - exit Jimmy, to gales of derisive - and British - laughter.

Islam and Music and Christianity

Some folk seem to think that Islam bans music.

Bollocks.

OK, bollocks (except for a few wackos.) (The President of Iran may have recently banned music, but even he didn't pretend that was anything to do with Islam: simply his private wackeroonity.)

I'm prepared to bet those same folk think Christianity doesn't ban music.

And they're right. Though in the case of a few wackos, only since November.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas

This is for all the geeks who read my blog.

The rest of you (well, the geeks too) can enjoy Arnold Schoenberg's arrangement of "Es is ein Ros'entsprungen" with "Silent Night" poking its nose in as a countermelody before eventually getting a full statement at about 3:45.



And finally.....



Have a great Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

One day they'll grow their own food and won't have to appropriate other people's. Because they'll have to.

Twenty-six former EU leaders have called for a tougher line on illegal settlement building.

About bloody time too.

You have to laugh at Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Ygal Palmor with his denial that settlement products are mislabelled. Er, they say "Produce of Israel" and not even the Israeli giovernment lays claim to the Occupied Territories as being part of Israel. Well, apart from East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, but hey, every one has to have a dream, right? ("Next year in East Jerusalem.") Is the Israeli government so hard up for professional liars that it is reduced to going "LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU IT'S ISRAELI IF WE SAY IT IS NEVER MIND WHERE IT COMES FROM".?

Mind you, I suppose that's been the basis of Israeli foreign policy for the past forty years, so maybe he's just keeping on message.

Bare Naked Racism

Uncle Jimmy is a strange mixture. He posted recently about how little modern comedy he found funny, especially satire, and while disagreeing on some points of detail I found myself broadly in sympathy. Hell, I pinched his Larry Griswold link.

But.

As part of the post he linked, without criticism, to one of the most obnoxiously racist (not simply Islamophobic but downright white supremacist) sites it has ever been my misfortune to encounter. I posted a comment, not expecting him to change his Islamophobic spots, but thinking he might at least accept that the post to which he linked (describing President Obama as the "Muslim-in-Chief") was wide of the mark. But no, he avoided the question and simply reiterated his tired old Tea-Party smears that Obama isn't really a valid US president because - according to a few crazies - he was born in Kenya, or somewhere other than, you know, Hawaii. (Of course, the real reason why Obama can't be a proper US president is that he's the wrong colour. )

Anyway, back to Jimmy's chums over at barenakedislam. What do you think, folks? Jimmy always claims he's no racist: it just "isn't in his DNA". (And we all know the importance of pure unsullied DNA....) He claims he doesn't hate Muslims, just Muslim extremists. So why does he link without apology to a site which describes the New York Muslim Day Parade as "DISGUSTING! OUTRAGEOUS! ASS-IN-THE-AIR MUSLIMS soiling the streets of Manhattan."? Which reports on NY Mayor Bloomberg's support for construction of the Park 51 Center as "JEWS like Mayor 'Dhimmi' Bloomberg who supported Hitler"? (Oh no, it's not just Muslims they hate over there.)

Or how about this delightful post? Clearly these folk aren't anti-Muslim, they;re just concerned with the threat to our way of life from Islalic terrorism, right? Or the post where they call for donations for the defence fund of a US soldier (and disgrace to his country) facing life for murder after shooting an Afghan prisoner (and opine that he should get a medal for bravely facing down an unarmed guy in handcuffs - so much more moral than the kind of killing the Taliban does). How about the one where they refer to Congressman Keith Ellison (D - Minnesota)(or "Minnesotastan") as "MUSLIM Congressman, who took his oath of office on a filthy Qur'an"? Or (because nothing says "defending the rights of women" like gratuitous sexism) this post?


Or best of all for exposing Jimmy's supposedly non-racist hypocrisy, "All the reasons one needs to BAN MUSLIMS from the West. If you think only so-called 'radical' Muslims/terrorists are the problem, just listen to these Muslim women. Muslims are the new Black Plague of Europe."

So, Jimmy, here;s what you do. You come out and state openly that you don't support the guys who run barenakedislam, and that you oppose everything they stand for in the way you claim you do for the BNP. Otherwise let's forget the "Islamic extremism" bollocks and accept that you just want Muslims, and anyone who looks as though they might be part of the Muslim "black plague"), thrown out of "your" (ha! when did you last meet a Brit who thought Obama was a Muslim?) lovely whites-only Britain.

So, Tommy Sheridan: what will you do when you come out of Barlinnie and have to get a real job?

I can't say I'm surprised at the Tommy Sheridan verdict. It was becoming clear from the evidence that the guy lied through his teeth in his libel action against the News Of The World, so he deserves to go to jail. Moreover, the way he conducted his defence was disgraceful, to the extent that even if he'd been acquitted one hopes his reputation would have remained in tatters. He fired his lawyer and conducted his own defence, not only because any worthwhile lawyer would have told him he had no chance, but so that he could pursue personal vendettas in the courtroom in front of a national audience.

Well, he won't have that kind of audience again. His career is over, and good riddance.

It's not personal disillusionment especially. Tommy Sheridan was always a hard man to like (and an easy one to mock for his studio tan). It certainly isn't any problem with his sexual morality: it is, and always was, Sheridan's own business what he does with his dick and to whom. I don't even have a problem with his paying for sex: sex workers have a living to make and I've no reason to think the ones he came in contact with (as it were) were victims of sex trafficking.

No, there are two things that piss me off equally about Tommy Sheridan. The first is that in the pursuit of a personal (and always doomed) campaign against the News of the World (for having the effrontery to tell the truth for once) he caused massive damage to a respected political party, the SSP, most successful party of the left in Scotland, and probably in Britain. Working-class solidarity, socialist principles: screw that, it was all about Sheridan proving he was whiter than white and that the Murdoch-controlled press were all liars. The second is that by making it clear that the News of the World was in fact telling the truth and that Sheridan lied in court so as to steal a few hundred thousand quid from them, he succeeded in what I would have considered the impossible task of actually garnering public sympathy for the News of the World. (Not even Vince Cable managed that!) With advertisements like Sheridan, who needs Thatcher?

Certainly, I'm looking forward to the NOTW's appeal against the now-discredited defamation payout. If he can't afford the payments, well, maybe Rupert Murdoch will offer him a job making tea for senior executives of the right-wing media to which Sheridan has just proved such a helper.

Meanwhile, here is a marvellous summing-up of the whole affair by Scottish Socialist Youth.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Has Ed Miliband learned nothing from the disastrous Blair years?

Not much, if his behaviour last week when a former Drugs minister, now a back-bench MP, was unwise enough to speak truth to power (or at least speak truth to the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition).

Ainsworth, who claimed that his departure from the frontbenches now allowed him to express his "long-held view" on drugs policy, is due to lay out his case later today at a debate in Westminster Hall.

He said his ministerial stint in the Home Office made him see that prohibition failed to reduce the harm that drugs cause in the UK, while his time as defence secretary with specific responsibilities in Afghanistan, "showed to me that the war on drugs creates the very conditions that perpetuate the illegal trade, while undermining international development and security".

He called on those on all sides of the debate to support "an independent, evidence-based review, exploring all policy options, including further resourcing the war on drugs, decriminalising the possession of drugs, and legally regulating their production and supply".


However,

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said today that the legalisation of drugs would send out "the wrong message" to young people as he distanced himself from a Labour backbencher's calls for a "grown-up debate" on the issue.

Because nothing says "strong leader" like avoiding grown-up debate.

Honest to God. After the debacle of the govermment sacking its senior advisor on drugs (David Nutt) because he gave advice (the same as Bob Ainsworth's, that prohibition has not only failed to cure the nation's drug problem but actively encourages it) which failed to fit party orthodoxy, you might think Milibamnd would realise what an ass he's making of himself. What is his problem - what is Labour's problem - with basing policy on evidence and science rather than myths and hysteria? I foolishly thought - though the Nutt affair brought me down to Earth - that the Mystic Meg school of policy-making had been abandoned when Blair was sacked.

So: a few hundred thousand more lives destroyed by drug addiction, a few billion pounds more in profits for the Taleban, a few billion for the drug lords in Colombia. Job done, without the need for a single thought. Sorry, Ed, you just demonstrated why you're unfit to be Prime Minister.

Opposing impunity for war criminals

From the letters page of the Guardian last Monday:

 We are joining the chorus of voices against government proposals (contained in the police reform and social responsibility bill) to give the director of public prosecutions a power of veto over arrest warrants for war crimes suspects who are visiting the UK. These warrants are issued very rarely by extremely senior district judges in Westminster, and only in response to submissions from victims accompanied by substantial evidence against the suspect. Giving a power of veto to the DPP would risk: political interference by ministers in the arrest of war crimes suspects; delaying proceedings, allowing suspects to escape justice; and would constitute a gross interference with the rights of the victim and the responsibilities of the judiciary.

Ministers and diplomats are already protected by immunity when carrying out their public duties, but this change in the law would risk creating a culture of impunity in the minds of those politicians and military leaders who already treat international law with cavalier disregard. We call on parliamentarians in both houses and of all parties to support international law and reject these proposals.

Richard Burden MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Alex Cunningham MP

Mark Durkan MP

Jonathan Edwards MP

Clive Efford MP

Paul Flynn MP

Mike Hancock MP

Cathy Jamieson MP

Gerald Kaufman MP

Ian Lavery MP

Andy Love MP

Caroline Lucas MP

Kerry McCarthy MP

John Mcdonnell MP

George Mudie MP

Ian Murray MP

Sandra Osborne MP

Yasmin Qureshi MP

Joan Ruddock MP

Bob Russell MP

Baroness Jenny Tonge

Mike Wood MP

Billy Hayes, CWU

Paul Kenny, GMB

Chris Kitchen, NUM

Kevin Courtney, NUT

Hugh Lanning, PCS

Bob Crow, RMT

Betty Hunter, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

John Austin

Victoria Brittain

Caryl Churchill

Jocelyn Hurndall

Dan Judelson

Bruce Kent

Ken Loach

Kika Markham

Prof Karma Nabulsi

David Polden

Prof Hilary Rose

Prof Steven Rose

Alexei Sayle

Clare Short

Keith Sonnet

Ahdaf Soueif

Dr Benjamin Zephaniah

Revd Canon Garth Hewitt, Amos TrustAbe Hayeem, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine

Len Aldis, Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society

Chris Doyle, CAABU

Estella Schmid, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)

Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

Ismail Patel, Friends of Al Aqsa

Brenda Heard, Friends of Lebanon, London

Liz Davies, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Human Rights Legal Aid Fund

Pat Price-Tomes, ICAHD UK

International Solidarity Movement (ISM) London

George Farebrother, Institute for Law Accountability and Peace

Diana Neslen, Jews for Justice for Palestinians

Martin Linton, Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East

John McHugo, Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine

Daud Abdullah, Middle East Monitor (Memo)

Pat Gaffney, Pax Christi

Frank Barat, Russell Tribunal UK

Dr Alan Mackinnon, chair, Scottish CND

Hugh Humphries, Scottish Friends of Palestine

Michael Marten, Scottish Palestinian Forum

Lindsey German, Stop the War, Tahrir Swift, Women Solidarity for Independent and Unified Iraq

John Hilary, War on Want

Sarah Lasenby, NOW Network of Oxford Women for Justice and Peace

Marguerite Finn, Norwich Branch Of Women's International League Of Peace And Freedom (Wilpf)

Nigel Day, Oxford Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

It makes me very proud that my own MP, Ian Murray (Scottish Labour) is one of the signatories

The other countries don't behave like this because they lack a commitment to freedom

More demonstrations for the Middle East of how to conduct a democracy.

Which democracy locks up non-violent protestors indefinitely without trial? Have a guess.

Do you remember this post, featuring the ever-irrelevant Tony Blair talking bollocks on Israeli "justice"?

"I had an argument with a friend about Israel. I said to them: ‘ok let’s assume you are charged with a crime you didn’t commit and the penalty is 20 years in prison. And you’re a critic of the Government. Tell me: under which country’s legal system, in this region, would you prefer to be tried?’ He struggled for a bit and then said: ‘that’s not the point.’ ‘But it is’ I replied."

I was too lenient on Israel's treatment of critics of its government's policies: I said it would kidnap you and haul you back for a show trial. Of course, as the Mavi Marmara massacre demonstrated, what would actually happen is a brief session of torture followed by being knelt down in handcuffs and shot in the back of the head. (And then having your belongings looted.)

But enough of stating the obvious. I also pointed out that

....if the penalty is 20 years in prison I would have a better chance of release after those 20 years almost anywhere other than Israel. Look at Mordechai Vanunu, who served his sentence in appalling conditions and was immediately re-arrested when his sentence was up, and has been kept either in prison or under house arrest ever since.

Well, here is another example of that.

Last month, the yearlong prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a schoolteacher and activist involved in nonviolent civil disobedience in the West Bank, came to an end. But an Israeli military court refused to release him, on the grounds that he would resume his activities if freed.

And this is the justice system that the fool Blair trumpets as being so wonderful, such a beacon for the region, so fair to critics of the government. It's hard to imagine that the man could make a worse job of anything than he did of being Prime Minister, but since he decided that he could make more money from the Israeli government by acting as a full-time propagandist for its policies than he ever could by doing his job as Peace Envoy (for which we still pay him millions, of course) he's shown that "Yes, He Can".

And again, Yessss!

This was long overdue. OK, DADT was probably the best compromise available when it was introduced, but with women fully integrated into the US armed forces now, where was the sense on keeping on with it?

Of course, it gave John McCain an opportunity to make a bigger than usual ass of himself by openly demonstrating that he lied in 2006. Not that he changed hos mind, but that he lied. He said that he supported the policy, but if the leaders of the US armed forces said it should be repealed, he'd back them up. Well, they did. And he didn't. Neatly demonstrating that it's not only the thought of Vice-President Palin that should make people glad they voted for Obama.

Even Uncle Jimmy sometimes gets it right

Not on politics of course. (Well, duh.) But he was recently complimentary about my taste in jazz greats (I'd posted a clip of the Dave Brubeck Quartet). Now he's done a post about how little he likes modern humour, especally the satirical kind. I sort of agree: while I enjoy some current satire (Have I Got News For You, and especially The News Quiz on the radio) it's rather patchy. But probably even in the heyday of That Was The Week That Was it had ups and downs.

No, the thing that I am grateful to Jimmy for is his posting of this clip. As a fan of variety shows I love this kind of stuff.



Groswold seems to have had an interesting life, not least as co-inventor of the trampoline.

Pining for the good old days? Let these be a lesson to you

48 (print) ads that wouldn't be allowed today.

A few Christmassy links

First of all, the Digital Nativity:



Then a couple of musical links:





Finally, a great piece in today's Independent.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yessss!

Respect beat Labour in Spitalfields by-election (Luthur Rahman's old seat).

Welcome though the resurgence of Respect is, even better news is the collapse of the Lib Dem vote to 2.2%. See, guys, you tell lies, you get a kicking.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Apparently the Devil not only has the best tunes but gets them played on the organ

Monday, December 13, 2010

A (still-)living legend

Dave Brubeck recently celebrated hios 90th birthday, so here is a clip of his quartet playing his greatest hit (written by alto player Paul Desmond). This was recorded in 1966 which must be about the time my brother took me to see Brubeck at the Manchester Free Trade Hall.



It was a small thrill a few years ago when my son, who was learning saxophone in school (and still plays it as well as drums) brought home Take Five to practise one week.

It seems strange now to read Steve Race's liner notes for Time Out (the album from which Take Five was taken):

Should some cool-minded Martian come to earth and check on the state of our music, he might play through 10,000 jazz records before he found one that wasn't in common 4/4 time.

Changed days...... but Brubeck has a lot to do with that.



On the matter of the weather #3

A famous Scot on the subject of appropriate footwear:

On the matter of the weather #2

Hilary and I were up at the Ballater flat at the weekend and spent a happy afternoon on Saturday snowshoeing near Balmoral with our god-daughter and her mother.

I don't have any handy pictures from last weekend (they're still on Hilary's camera) but here are a couple of me in my snowshoes (in Ballater) from a year ago. Great fun, and much undervalued as a means of transportation even in a country full of skiers. Or perhaps especially in a country full of skiers? The snow doesn't need to be very deep before the ability to walk across it without sinking a foot or so into it becomes welcome. Our snowshoes are the kind one finds in European ski resorts (we bought ex-hire ones in Saint Sorlin) while our companions had the American kind (bought in Vail). Ours are rather heavier but have a better binding arrangement. None of them resembles the cliche of tennois rackets tied to the feet (though our friend does have a pair of the Native American kind on her living-room wall - which do).



On the matter of the weather #1

One strange side-effect of the weather here has been the presence in the news of the (now ex-)Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson. He was all over the tabloid front pages because he originally attempted to justify his department's inadequate response to the problems caused by the snow on Scottish roads last week by claiming that the weather forecasters had failed to predict it. Faced with incontrovertible evidence that they had in fact predicted it quite accurately, he blustered and kept on blaming everyone but himself. Eventually he became such a laughing-stock he was forced to resign. What makes it strange for me is that before he entered politics Stewart Stevenson was a senior manager in the Bank of Scotland IT centre, and for eighteen months or so at the end of the 1980s he was my head of department. I have to say that I would not have predicted this past week's stupidity from him, as he always seemed a pretty bright guy, though he could never be accused of underestimating his own worth (the man could give Zaphod Beeblebrox a run for his money in any egotism contest). Anyway, seeing satirical caricatures of one's ex-boss all across the nation's front pages is rather odd.





Sunday, December 12, 2010

Madam, I salute your indefatigability

Picture the scene. My wife and I were staying with our very good friends Sue and Bob in Manchester back in the summer of 1982. After lunch, Bob was leafing through a recent copy of New Scientist and reading the "Ariadne" column which is a column of scientific light-heartedness with the occasional competition for readers. There was a new musical in London at the time based on T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book Of Practical Cats, so NS had set its readers the challenge of coming up with an Eliot-style poem for an Egyptian mummified cat. Bob read us out the winner and we all fell about laughing, at one line in particular. (You'll know it when you get there. Trust me.)

Since then, on many occasions, we have recalled the poem but been unable to locate it (I suppose there was no reason to hang onto that issue of the magazine when it had been read). However, Sue, bless her, is nothing if not determined, and evidently found an online search engine she could point at the NS archives. I shall link to the whole article in a moment, but here is that winning poem, by one W G Heath of Stockport.

I'm wrapped up in a bandage from my head down to my toe,
And where my works have gone to, well, I guess I'll never know;
They functioned very nicely if I treated them with care,
But when I felt around just now, they simply were not there!
My cavity, my cavity, there's nothing in my cavity:
They took my guts for garters, which to me seems sheer depravity.
When I hear a fiddle playing with a tiddle-om-pom-pom,
An awful thought lights up my brain just like an atom bomb:
If the strings are cat's intestines, then whoever are they from?
So I've ended up a mummy, when I used to be a Tom!

Here is the original column.

And thank you again, Sue Barnard.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

More video fun - Blame It On The Bossa Nova

Here's the hit from 1963 by Eydie Gorme:



And (because I couldn't resist it) here is a Swedish cover version by Anna-Lena Löfgren:



And of course no session of blaming it on the Bossa Nova would be complete without the clip of Emily Procter as Ainsley Hayes in The West Wing.

Hooray (for now)



The campaign to keep the last flying Vulcan bomber in the air looks to have been successful.

I grew up with Vulcans. Not only was my first stay at an RAF camp with the Air Training Corps at RAF Scampton, home of 617 Squadron ("The Dambusters") who flew Vulcans, but in my teenage years I lived only four or five miles from the test facility at Woodford in Cheshire where there was constant traffic of Vulcans and Nimrods undergoing servicing and checks. I can say from first-hand experience that Vulcans are (a) extremely loud and (b) sound unlike any other aircraft I've ever heard. So I should be sorry to have them all consigned to static displays in museums.

A big Muslim did it and ran away

Tony Blair on the Wikileaks documents concerning the Iraq war:

The number of Iraqi civilians killed since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq – which the WikiLeaks documents said was 15 000 more than the 50 000 previously disclosed – "were, basically, victims of terrorism", Blair told Estado de São Paulo.

"What is important today, whether it is in Iraq or Iran or in other places in the world, is that we have to confront those who commit these acts of terrorism," he said.

.....he dismissed calls in Britain for him to face war crimes charges as coming from "an extremely small group of people".

Well, that "extremely small group of people" (probably rather bigger than Blair's fan club in his home country) is at least willing to confront "those who commit these acts of terrorism". Blair didn't "commit" them directly of course, any more than Osama bin Laden flew a plane on 11 Sep 2001, but like bin Laden he funded, enabled and supported them. He still supports government-sponsored terror in Israel of course, but at least now he only has his own money to throw around they only get words, not guns and bombs, from the Great Pretender.

Blair's epitaph really should be "Be careful what you wish for". He was always on the look-out for highly visible initiatives with which he could be personally linked, and he got one. His frantic attempts to wash his hands of it once he realised that starting wars was neither big nor clever would be funny if this oaf hadn't once been allowed to hold political office in my country.

.....but I'm not the only one

As a template for the economic future in a mixed economy it's hard to see how this (from UNI again) could be improved on. If its provisions were in place now the world would be a vastly better place in hundreds of ways. The problem, of course, is getting there ("Well, I wouldn't start from here!").

Clause 19 warmed the cockles of my socialist heart, though.

Video Fun - Little Boots

To celebrate the fact that my laptop was suffering from only a faulty graphics chip and not a hard drive fault, here are a couple of videos that go with one of the not-yet-backed-up albums in my iTunes database: Hands by Little Boots. (Embedding disabled so just links.)

Remedy

New In Town

They are not just figures, they are lives

UNI, the global trade union, is about halfway through a worldwide campaign against violence against women. Here are some of their posters - feel free to use them on your own blogs or elsewhere.





Sadly, not all Rabbis are as tolerant of non-Jews

Here is a bunch of Israeli Rabbis who clearly agree with those of us who consider Israel to be a racist theocracy.

“Racism originated in the Torah,” said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. “The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted.”

At least some Israeli politicians had the guts to speak out against them.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the largest denomination in American Judaism, writes in support of the Park 51 Centre (the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque")

Hat tip to Loonwatch for this excellent article by Rabbi Yoffie

History Fail

From a report of a speech by the leader of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) party:

German values were "based on Christianity and rooted in Judaism," Seehofer added.

Erm, right.....

Credit where it's due

Even Uncle Jimmy sometimes links or copies items which are interesting or amusing, though not always in the way he imagines. I have to agree with him that this picture of someone protesting in Edinburgh recently against the Pope's visit is quite splendid:

(Image by Andy Caitlin)

Someone on Have I Got News For You this week mentioned one of the demonstrators against student tuition fee increases in London having a placard reading "Political Slogan". I haven't been able to find a picture of that though.

At the bottom of one of Jimmy's many rants against the Labour Party (how could they sack Blair as PM?) he includes this:

Read Tim Allan’s Open Letter to Ed Miliband at The Guardian, and note the commenters, almost all from left-wingers and trades union supporters. Any more proof needed of Labour’s dire political position?

Terrible, isn't it, when a party founded by the trade union movement as the party of socialism has enough left-wingers and socialists left in it to give a bloody nose to a tired Tory who is proud of having helped Blair in his attempt to destroy it?

In view of Toe-Nibbler's endless talks with God, here's an appropriate quotation from the Old Testament for the actual Labour Party as it emerges from Blair's Tory-lite sham:

Isaiah 10:21 "A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God."

(The remnant is a recurring theme throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bible. The Anchor Bible Dictionary describes it as "What is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe.")

Yup, that would be the Labour Party post-Blair.

And here (this one definitely not a link from Jimmy's blog - he'd probably have the poor guy locked up for life if he could) is a prescient article from someone who GOT Blair way back in 1996. (Wheatcroft went on to skewer Blair's later career in Yo, Blair!)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Colour me unconvinced

Uncle Jimmy's protestations (in a comment on this post) that he really is British - Glaswegian even - would sound much more convincing if he hadn't prominently titled a recent post "Cherie’s eBay bookplate & the dimwitted, freedom-hating British".

Note that he didn't restrict that to any subset of us dimwitted freedom-haters. Not the English, or the Scots, or the Muslims even. No, we're all dimwits and freedom haters because we're British. Not like him.

I don't know whether Jimmy is an American, though it's still my best guess. Given his views he could be from anywhere that hates Britain and democract: perhaps he's from Zimbabwe. In which case he can fuck off back there, or to somewhere whose ideas of freedom and intelligence are more in tune with his own elevated standards. just "throw him out" if he doesn't like it here.

More from his comment:

It is true we cannot banish ALL murderers to another land. But everyday, common-or-garden murderers do not make it their life's task to kill the indigenous people of Britain - non-Muslims AND Muslims who don't agree with their brand of racist fundamentalism.

Point one: Roshanara Choudhry hasn't murdered anyone. She attempted to murder Stephen Timms. She's no more a "murderer" than Tony Blair is a "war criminal". (Actually less: he could in principle be put on trial for war crimes, while she can't be tried for murdering someine who survived her attack.)

Point Two: Jimmy clearly thinks that killing someone (or trying) because you disagree with their politics (her "justification" was apparently the Iraq war), or indeed for reasons of religious fundamentalism or racism, is different in degree from killing them for some other reason. So Roshonara Choudhry must be "thrown out" while he sees no problem in "keeping in" such pleasant white folks as Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, Peter Sutcliffe, Harold Shipman and so on.

Point Three: did you spot that "indgenous people of Britain" in there? Stephen Timms is white, ergo indigneous. Roshonara Choudhry is a British Asian, ergo some kind of lesser "creature".

I repeat, since you are evidently too dull to take it in the first time, or several, I said it:

I am no racist - never have been, never will be. Just isn't in my DNA.

See above. You know, that one is even less convincing than the pretence that he's British.

You really need to learn more about the threat this country is facing, and the reasons why. You, personally, are one of the reasons why.

The main threat this country is facing is from neo-fascists like the BNP, EDL and the like, all of whom receive regular support in Jimmy's blog (Jimmy was comparing the BNP favourably with the East London Mosque only yesterday). But if Jimmy wishes to consider me a threat to him and his racist chums, I shall wear that badge with very great pride indeed.

Another triumph for the forces of darkness

Back when the (Labour) government sacked its drugs advisor David Nutt for doing his job and telling the truth, I wrote that history was on his side.

It still is, but the new right-wing coalition is clearly determined to outdo Labour in its contempt for matters of evidence and truth and its eagerness to pander to tabloid-driven hysteria.

Note the link that points out how the government's creation of drugs policy based simply on the suspicion that someone, somewhere might be obtaining enjoyment from something it doesn't understand led to a rise in the number of deaths from cocaine use.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

"Silly Soft Stuff!", said Thomas.

As fellow Brits will be aware, we've had a wee bit of snow over the last week, which has upset travel rather. Fortuitously, my employers have just upgraded the software that use to dial in from home with my work laptop, so I can use the wi-fi network in the house and get a much faster link. This has made working from home very easy.

I am conscious that readers living in Alaska and the like will think we're making a fuss about nothing. For the rest of you, here's a picture my wife took last Monday (the first day of the snow). It shows four buses stuck on the hill outside our house.




Our house is just out of shot at the near end of the row on the left.The buses coming toward the camera would normally be trying to make a left turn into a college entrance which is fairly steep. the one on the right....would normally be on the left, so not sure what he was attempting!

Audio Fun : The Fireworks

My son Ruairidh is studying pop music at Stevenson College, and last year he won a composition prize with this piece. As he was a first year and up against students who had been there for a good deal longer, that was even more impressive.



When he grows up to be Jean-Michel Jarre I'm hoping he'll keep me in the manner to which a rock star's Dad should become accustomed.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Blair's voting record, and the Jackie Milburn myth


You can find anything on the web....


Here is Blair's full voting record: after the debacle referred to in my last post, he turned up for work in Parliament on nineteen days out of the sixteen months he continued to be a Member of Parliament. What tenacity. What drive. Tony who?

But he did turn up for the Education vote as he had said he would. So that would be one promise he made and kept in all those years.

Still, when Uncle Jimmy is running through his (short) list of all the marvellous things Blair's governent did for Britain, it's a sobering reminder that not only were some of those achievements (like Scottish devolution) obtained over the strong opposition of Blair himself, but practically all of them were achieved over the can't-be-bothered-to-turn-up work ethic of the supremely self-important Mr Leave-It-To-The-Littlies. No wonder he's achieved fuck all since he was sacked: no staff to do his work for him while he takes the credit. Heck, he even had to write his own memoirs without a ghost writer, which is why they are so terribly written. Example:

The biggest problem with the Middle East peace process is that no one has ever gripped it long enough or firmly enough. The gripping is intermittent, and intermittent won’t do. It doesn’t work. If it was gripped, it could be solved.

Truly a gripping yarn.

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Uncle Jimmy is convinced the BBC are hopelessly biased against Blair. Yet it was the BBC's Newsnight (along with The Spectator's Peter Oborne) which revealed that one of the most-quoted examples of Blair's lying to look good is actually a total fabrication by The Sun.

Of course, as a moment with Google and Jimmy's blog demonstrates, he has a thing about Peter Oborne as well, so no good thing either Oborne or the BBC does to rehabilitate Blair's tattered reputation will ever be reported by the balanced champion of free speech (free speech for Blair, and for Geert Wilders and other fascists, that is: life imprisonment without trial for George Monbiot, George Galloway and anyone who uses their freedom of speech to say something Jimmy doesn't like).

For those of us who began to fear an outbreak of stories suggesting that Tony Blair sometimes deliberately told the truth, worry not. His other much-reported ludicrous claim (to Des O'Connor on the radio) that at the age of 14 he stowed away on a flight from Newcastle to the Bahamas and was ejected by a alert stewardess has not so far been shown to be a myth. (There are two main problems with that story. The lesser one is that Blair didn't have a passport. The greater one is that no flights to the Bahamas have even operated from Newcastle, and at the time there were no long-haul flights of any kind. I wonder if that story makes it into "A Journey"?)