Sunday 23 June 2024

“The key thing with talking about global warming is when do you start measuring it? If you started measuring from the medieval times there's been a general cooling of about four degrees.”

“The key thing with talking about global warming is when do you start measuring it? If you started measuring 38 years ago, there’s been no change. If you started measuring in the 1850s, then there’s been a general warming of about 0.7 Celsius. If you started measuring from the medieval times there's been a general cooling of about four degrees.”

Professor Ian Plimer, a geologist, in a podcast in August 2022. His opinions were taken down by Instagram. It seems that 0.7 degrees is an underestimate, the planet has warmed 1.1 degrees since 1850 and to have started warming dramatically since 1980. The fact-checking does not seem to address the Professor's main point, about the Medieval Warm Period.

Saturday 22 June 2024

Former British Ambassador to Israel Asks Has Hamas Won?

Sir Tom Phillips, former British Ambassador to Israel and Saudi Arabia, wrote an article which is very insightful and still as topical as when published in Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz on April 9, 2024. I quote from it.



Has Hamas Won?


'Hamas has flipped the script of a militarily invincible Israel and exposed the fragility of its international support, prompting hard questions about its long-term sustainability. It is up to the West, moderate Arab states, Israel and the Palestinian Authority to deny them any kind of final victory


'It's possible that Israel's ongoing military campaign in Gaza will eventually eliminate Hamas's military leadership there, either by killing figures such as Yahya Sinwar and others or forcing them into exile. But it is equally arguable that Hamas has already won the first round in the struggle sparked by its appalling October 7 attack.

Quotations

“Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.” William Blake

"Desire is the essence of man." Spinoza

"A woman's highest calling is to lead a man to his soul, so as to unite him with Source. Her lowest calling is to seduce, separating man from his soul and leave him aimlessly wandering. A man's highest calling is to protect woman, so she is free to walk the earth unharmed. Man's lowest calling is to ambush and force his way into the life of a woman." Cherokee Proverb

"Steal a man’s wallet, and he’ll be poor for a week. Teach him to be a writer and he'll be poor for the rest of his life." Anonymous

Thursday 20 June 2024

You can't make war against an abstract noun

From Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz:


“This has been a summer of missed opportunities. Putinism must be defeated. But we don’t have a plan and won’t until after the U.S. elections." Kurt Volker, former US Special Representative for Ukraine negotiations, talking at Chatham House.

Putinism is a stupid word and as Michael Frayn said about terrorism you can't make war against an abstract noun. Has America not learnt that?

Quotations


Comedian Nish Kumar after Mr Sunak was criticised for leaving the D-Day commemoration early. “The only person who's had a worse D-Day is Hitler.”

Cyril Connolly: “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."

Claude Cockburn: "Failure, so despicable in others, in oneself the only dignified thing." I got those two CCs mixed up.

High Tory journalist and biographer of Mrs Thatcher Charles Moore, making the left-wing case for Brexit on June 16, 2016. Jeremy Corbyn's hard left mentor Tony Benn might have said the same thing. "The euro is just such a [bankers'] ramp. It was imposed without democratic endorsement and cannot be unstitched by democratic rejection. Hence perma-slump in large parts of the eurozone, 50 per cent youth unemployment in the worst bits, and German domination of the whole. Never, since the age of the dictators, have the workers been further from control over the means of production, distribution and exchange than they are in the EU today."


Wednesday 19 June 2024

From left-of-centre Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz

Sinwar is no Sadat. He's clearly a psychopath, a megalomaniac who sanctifies a culture of martyrdom, and who is apathetic to the tens of thousands of deaths among his people, even welcoming them. It's also apparent, as could be seen immediately after October 7, that he views himself as a modern Saladin. It's once in a millennium that such a leader arises in the Muslim world to earn a place in the pages of history after defeating the Crusaders in decisive battle. Back then it was at the Horns of Hattin.


This time, it was in Israeli border communities near Gaza. But the real issue is how Sinwar has seen the situation since. Notice what he said after Israeli troops entered Rafah: "The Israelis are exactly where we wanted them."


Where did he want us? In Algeria, Vietnam, Lebanon – in a slow, bloody, permanent war of attrition against guerrilla and terrorist forces in the midst of a dense civilian population. Without a goal or targets and without a purpose. Only out of inertia and fear of recognizing reality and admitting that there's no longer a point to this story. A march of folly. And the more the purpose diminishes, of course, the pathos and drama and lack of proportion increase.


The nation is clinging to fragments of hope and pride, desperately looking for everything lost along the way – the ethos, the justice of its path and rationality. "I'm breaking down in tears," a friend wrote me after this week's release of the four hostages. "Cry for our country," I responded.

Uri Mizgav
12 June

Tuesday 18 June 2024

God save the King and Queen!


How well they look. The King has the sort of expression Peter Ustinov used to use for anecdotes about elderly aristocrats.

[According to the obituary of Telegraph writer Graham Turner last week he discovered that the late Queen had said that Camilla Parker-Bowles “does look rather used” and had called Diana, Princess of Wales, “that impossible girl … quite mad”.  I hope I am not committing  lèse-majesté.] 

How lucky England is to have a monarchy to remind us of the value of Christianity, tradition and inequality. 

Quotations from Sir Martin Amis

(He accepted a knighthood from the King which was dated to the day before he died.)

“Your purpose when driving is not to arrive at your destination safely or quickly. Your purpose when driving is...to impress your personality on the road.”

"An artist is a person who is most alive when alone.”

Porsche



'When a problem has no solution, it ceases to be a problem and becomes a fact.' Ferdinand Porsche, the car manufacturer.

He was a Sudeten German with no engineering education who became a Czechoslovakian and in 1934 at the National Socialist government's urging a German. He was commissioned to design the Volkswagen, joined the National Socialist Party and joined the SS. He was on friendly terms with Hitler and his company like other German manufacturing companies used forced labour by prisoners of war.

Monday 17 June 2024

Will victory, total or partial, for Marie Le Pen's RN in France help Farage?

 

If so it would show that the years the UK was in the European Economic Community and then the European Union have made us Europeans.


Sunday 16 June 2024

Europe has fallen into the trap laid for Israel

Georgia Meloni is right that Israel has fallen into Hamas’s trap. The reasons are understandable. The killings on October 7 were intended to spread terror in Israel and did so. 

What I do not understand is why the G7 countries, the European Union and the West have fallen into the trap laid for Israel.

Alastair Crooke said this six days ago. "The western leaderships’ explicit facilitation of a bloody cleansing of Palestinians has incised the old spectre of ‘Orientalism’ and colonialism onto the skyline. And is gyring the West towards being ‘the world’s untouchable’ (along with Israel)."

Nobody is more annoying than Frau von der Leyen, trouser clad, speaking for what she calls the international community, when she speaks for a sliver of it.

Part of the reason for the Western embrace of Israel is that, despite the disastrous invasions of Iraq and Syria and disastrous attempt to overthrow Assad, American policy is nowadays still expressed in terms of finding and fighting Hitlers, not defending national interests.

National is suspect and shabby nowadays. Anti-Hitlerism is what replaces the sacred in post-Christendom.

I say expressed in these term because the real object of US policy is, of course, power over almost every part of the globe. 

But the Americans are like Mr Gladstone. T.M Healy said that he didn't mind Gladstone always having the ace of spades up his sleeve only his claiming that Almighty God put it there.

Post-Calvinist idealism is an important strand in US policy for foreign policy liberals and for neo-cons, who are not conservatives at all but similar to liberals.

US foreign policy is the foreign policy dimension of wokeism. But one man's woke is another man's poison and another strand of wokeism sees the Arabs as the victims and the IDF as the latest Hitler. 

And so it goes.

Let's stop looking for Hitlers.

Israel has fallen into Hamas’s trap

"Israel has fallen into a trap, a Hamas trap that had the aim of isolating it, and it seems to be working. We are working on its security.” Georgia Meloni yesterday at the G7 meeting.  

She is right, of course, but during the wars of 1967 and 1973 and in the intifadas the G7 countries, other than the United States, did not feel responsible for Israel's security. Why should they now, if you think about it?

Better let Israel look after herself and work out her own modus vivendi with her neighbours.

Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reveals Israeli government ordered a deluge of fake news on social media including about antisemitism in US universities

But why does the Western press ignore this story and talk about Russian disinformation instead? 

You know why. It fits the CIA/MI6 line.

Clearly all countries lie in war (think of the Zaka men's inventions about Hamas rapes) but it would be useful if the public kept this in mind instead of believing Israel and Ukraine while automatically discounting what China and Russia say. 

'Three months after reporting the campaign's existence, Haaretz has learned that it was commissioned by the Israeli government. Additional operations of this type may be running online right now.

'The campaign began with the establishment of three fake "news sites" that copied reports from official media sources. These sites had associated Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, which amassed tens of thousands of followers. Meanwhile, the people running the operation used hundreds of avatars to aggressively promote purported articles that served the Israeli narrative, including reports about the sexual assaults by Hamas and about alleged ties between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and Hamas. The articles were mainly directed at the online accounts of Black lawmakers in the U.S., particularly Democrats.

Friday 14 June 2024

Quotations

Victor Frankl - Man’s Search for Meaning: “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible."

Father F.W. Faber - Kindness. "The standard of the last judgment is absolute. It is this - the measure which we have meted to others. Our present humour in judging others reveals to us what our sentence would be if we died now. Are we content to abide that issue? But, as it is impossible all at once to stop judging, and as it is also impossible to go on judging uncharitably, we must pass through the intermediate stage of kind interpretations. Few men have passed beyond this to a habit of perfect charity, which has blessedly stripped them of their judicial ermine and their deeply - rooted judicial habits of mind. We ought, therefore, to cultivate most sedulously the habit of kind interpretations."

Mark Twain - The Innocents Abroad: “God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”

William S. Burroughs: “There is in fact something obscene and sinister about photography, a desire to imprison, to incorporate, a sexual intensity of pursuit.”

From The 2019 Victory They Never Recovered: The Strange Death of Conservative England

What a fool Rishi Sunak was to call an election early that he is sure to lose. 

Lord Melbourne's secretary Tom Young urged him to be Prime Minister with the words, 'Why, damn it, such a position never was occupied by any Greek or Roman, and if it only lasts two months, it is well worth while to have been Prime Minister of England.' 

Mr Sunak had six months to go and could have started doing the things he now says he intends to do, like sending people to Rwanda.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Quotations

James Cleverly, the ill named British Home Secretary, attacked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for claiming to be tough on crime while actually being soft on it. Sir Keir was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, he said. He meant the opposite. He has a degree in catering from a polytechnic. It is not true that polytechnic graduates in general are stupid, but he is.

The Daily Telegraph:
Told by [Beth] Rigby that some people say he is boring and stiff, and challenged to “tell me something that will change people’s minds”, Sir Keir replied: “All my life I’ve believed in service…”

From the Daily Telegraph's obituary of journalist Graham Turner



He soon became one of Mrs Thatcher’s favourite interviewers and, rather to his amazement, a confidant and adviser. On one occasion he told her that he had been canvassing her Cabinet for a piece about her, and she demanded to know what they had said. “‘They say that you shout at them.’ ‘Shout at them?’ she bellowed, at a volume which would have made the rafters ring had there been any rafters. ‘THEY shout at me!’ 

Monday 10 June 2024

Like wrestling with a fine woman

"The struggle for knowledge hath a pleasure in it like that of wrestling with a fine woman." Lord Halifax

"Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind." Plato

"Of all the pursuits open to the human person, the search for wisdom is more perfect, more sublime, more profitable and more full of joy.” St. Thomas Aquinas

Sunday 9 June 2024

Breaking news

Andrew Neil
@afneil
·23m
In the wake of poor results for his party and other mainstream parties in European elections President Macron calls fresh elections for French National Assembly. Looks like Sunak 2.0 to me …

At least Macron was at the last night of the D-Day shindig. That might not be enough to swing the election for him.

Unlike Mr Sunak, President Macron will remain in power up to a point if his party loses the election and elections for the National Assembly constituencies are in two rounds, so in the second round voters who voted for smaller parties in the first round can prevent the National Rally winning.  

The National Rally's therefore pretty unlikely to win an absolute majority, but people (I included) thought Remain would win the Brexit referendum.

If he did appoint Madam Le Pen Prime Minister I presume he would do so so that she would disappoint her voters, either by tacking to the centre like Signora Meloni or (less likely) by not doing so. He could then, once twelve months have elapsed, dissolve the National Assembly again.

The British general election is being fought on Omaha beach




The 40th anniversary of D Day was a very big affair because many veterans would not be there on the 50th anniversary. I remember it well, just after I came down from the university and before life began. 

In fact D-Day anniversaries were not big international events before 1984. 

They are a tradition invented by President François Mitterrand who invited six heads of state, including Queen Elizabeth II and Ronald Reagan who made a memorable speech. 

People said how nice it was to see the French, British and Americans without the Germans for once. 




Heads of government were not invited, so Mrs Thatcher did not attend. 

How Rishi Sunak wishes they had kept it to heads of state. He left after the 'British events' but before the end and will not recover from this error.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Nigel Farage's Big Adventure

"The argument that Nigel Farage is a political dud because he has lost seven parliamentary contests is wrong. He is the most consummate politician since Tony Blair. He commands politics. He taps into what a significant minority of voters think. He predicts, and then moulds, the debate. He was the first to raise the migrant crossings in the Channel. He anticipated the West’s move against China. He campaigned for Brexit for two decades before it happened." 

Freddy Hayward, in The New Statesman this week

"...in the new media and internet age, power stems not from politics or the law. It comes from fame and the ability to draw an audience." Freddy Gray, in The Spectator this week

"They [Ukip, Nigel Farage's former party] make a good fit for Clacton. Somebody has to represent the static caravans and holiday villages, and the people and places that for no fault of their own are not getting where a 21st-century Britain needs to be going.

"...Clacton-on-Sea is a friendly resort trying not to die, inhabited by friendly people trying not to die…
 

Monday 3 June 2024

Quotations


Idiosyncratic belief systems which are shared by only a few adherents are likely to be regarded as delusional. Belief systems which may be just as irrational but which are shared by millions are called world religions.

Anthony Storr

A culture in which interpersonal relationships are generally considered to provide the answer to every form of distress, it is sometimes difficult to persuade well-meaning helpers that solitude can be as therapeutic as emotional support.

The BBC adverts about 'absolutely no spin' would make a dog laugh

A BBC story about disinformation on TikTok by a Disinformation Officer herself discredited. The disinformation seems to be satire and political knockabout.

A woman given a similar job in the USA had said on Twitter that the Hunter Biden laptop story was false. 

The BBC hates free speech and TikTok has a relaxed 'moderation' (censorship) policy - enabling many pro-Palestinian stories to get an audience, for example, which worries MI6. 

The British state for some reason has started treating Israel as an ally, though there never has been any alliance between the Jewish state that we midwived and the UK.



Musk: 'Hard to view this as anything other than abuse of the law for political purposes'



The harshest tyranny is that which acts under the protection of legality and the banner of justice. -Montesquieu

 

I have been a sharp critic of Donald Trump, and unlike the corporate media, for good reasons. This is an utter disgrace to a professed free society. This conviction is the result of one thing: The shadow government attempting to stop him from becoming President again.

 

Libs of TikTok
Obama illegally spied on Trump's campaign while he was in the Oval office. No charges, no trial, no conviction. YET.

I think this will convince you, even if you hate him, as you probably do, that Donald Trump's conviction was the result of a very dirty political game by a Democrat judge.

Sunday 2 June 2024

Israeli minister says the war in Gaza could last ten years

Obviously it was never possible for Israel to destroy Hamas completely and obviously Benjamin Netanyahu knew that (without ethnically cleansing all the Arabs from the occupied territories, which he would like to do but knows he wouldn't be allowed to).

Amos Harel, Ha'aretz, May 31, 2024:

'In the months during which Netanyahu prepared his supporters for the Rafah operation, he conveyed to them two interconnected messages: Rafah will be vanquished, and the victory over Hamas there will put Israel one step from total victory, if that is not achieved in full immediately. But in the past two weeks, the prime minister has rarely floated the slogan that appeared in every speech he made in the previous months, which his advisers and media supporters even emblazoned on caps.

'Amit Segal, the Channel 12 News commentator, who apparently understands Netanyahu better than most of us, explained Wednesday that Netanyahu's promise may have been "for campaign purposes." It's likely that even the prime minister's most avowed followers are starting to suspect that the final victory doesn't lie just around the corner, and that Hanegbi's assessment is closer to reality than his boss' promises.

Saturday 1 June 2024

Iris Murdoch

“We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality."

“Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”

“Emotions really exist at the bottom of the personality or at the top. In the middle they are acted. this is why all the world is a stage.”

How far we are from hurling insults and dead cats: the conservative war against free speech

Ten or fifteen years ago very few people seemed to be talking about the real world, apart from Ron Paul and Patrick Buchanan on the right and Patrick Cockburn on the left. 

From around the time it became obvious that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was a blunder and a crime, and then when Donald Trump happened, people started to do so. 

This is is why Ursula von der Leyan says free speech on the internet is the biggest danger the European Union faces. 

She is right.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Israel is in zugswang. American Evangelical Protestants would support genocide but Jewish liberal voters in the US and Israel will prevent it.

This is a very interesting and persuasive lecture by John Mearsheimer, who argues that Israel is the big loser in Gaza. 

He is right that Israel cannot defeat Hamas, at least without driving the Arabs out of Gaza and, I'd add, out of the West Bank too.

This is my objection to what Israel is doing. It is not possible for the Israelis to defeat Hamas except by genocide. 

Hamas will continue to rule Gaza unless the Israelis try to do so or unless there is a two state solution, something which seems impossible.

Professor Mearsheimer:

'First of all, they have not defeated Hamas, and they’re not going to defeat Hamas. Kurt Campbell, who is the deputy secretary of state, basically said that yesterday. There are all sorts of stories in the Israeli press that they’re not going to defeat Hamas. They haven’t gotten the hostages back, and they have not been able to cleanse Gaza. Furthermore, they’re stuck in Gaza. They’re there—they got out in 2005, and they’re back there. This is not good. So, what you see here is that Israel is in real trouble in Gaza.'

Quotations

“The aesthetics of modernism, with its denial of the past, its vandalisation of the landscape and townscape, and its attempt to purge the world of history, was also a denial of community, home, and settlement…” Sir Roger Scruton

"Art is the proper task of life." Nietzsche

"When I say I'm suicidal, I get: well, the hospital has a program that can help you with that." Roger Foley, a Canadian man in hospital with disabilities, who says he's been offered euthanasia "multiple times".



Monday 27 May 2024

A British veteran says Dresden bombings were a 'war crime'

By Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1994-041-07 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5483604

I've come to agree with the old man.

My father told me, when I asked him about this, that people in England were delighted by news of British raids on Germany.

Naturally they were.  

When shortly after England and France declared war on Germany in 1939 Tory MP Leo Amery approached Kingsley Wood, Secretary for Air, with a proposal to firebomb German forests 'Kingsley Wood turned down the suggestion with some asperity. "Are you aware it is private property?" he said. "Why, you will be asking me to bomb Essen next!"' 

Sunday 26 May 2024

By 1976 the CIA had taken over the world's English language media and were expanding into other languages

If you remember one thing from reading this, blog please let it be former CIA man John Stockwell testifying to the Church Commission in 1976 that the CIA had taken over the English speaking media and were on their way to completing the takeover of French and Spanish speaking media. 

That includes mainstream left-wing papers.

I was always sure whenever I bother to read Con Coughlin, the executive foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph, that I was listening direct to the voice of MI6. 

I now discover that this has been admitted by the Telegraph in evidence in court.

Vladimir Putin makes peace overtures which so far are ignored. Did the ICJ order Israel to halt offensive in Rafah? Who governs Britain? (as Edward Heath asked in 1974, to receive a dusty answer)

Some wonderful news at last - that Vladimir Putin wants peace, freezing the line between the two armies. 

The news is not given much coverage in the Times or Daily Telegraph.

The UK and US should be delighted but the people who run those government are not.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the highest UN court and nothing to do with the International Criminal Court (ICC), has ordered Israel "to halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

Israel has been ordered to stop committing genocide, but denies doing so. I am not sure what the judgment means.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Having only contempt for every existing political party

T.S. Eliot: “Having only contempt for every existing political party, and profound hatred for democracy, I feel the blackest gloom." Letter to Richard Aldington, 7 April 1921

Otto von Bismarck: 'Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied."

Sunday 19 May 2024

Quotations

“I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.” Harry Patch (1898-2009), briefly the oldest man in Europe, and the last surviving trench combat soldier of the First World War from any country.

"Earlier this year, I went back to Ypres to shake the hand of Charles Kuentz, Germany's only surviving veteran from the war. It was emotional. He is 107. We've had 87 years to think what war is. To me, it's a licence to go out and murder. Why should the British government call me up and take me out to a battlefield to shoot a man I never knew, whose language I couldn't speak? All those lives lost for a war finished over a table. Now what is the sense in that?" Harry Patch, November 2004

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Scott Fitzgerald

Palestine is an insoluble problem: foreign countries' attempts to bring peace only make things worse

People tell me that Hamas has to be destroyed but it obviously can't be by military means, unless the entire Arab population is expelled from Gaza. 

(Even then that leaves Hamas units and supporters in the West Bank. They make up one third of the Arab population there.)

That is my issue with what Israel is doing. 

But I wonder whether the IDF is even trying to destroy Hamas. 

To do so would mean entering all the tunnels and the loss of very many Israeli soldiers. 

Instead the numbers of Israeli dead are few and the numbers of Arab fighters who have been killed, provided by the Israelis, are I assume vastly exaggerated.

Geoffrey Aronson, an expert on Middle East affairs, writing in Responsible Statecraft May 16

The article is herehere.

According to an opinion poll in Gaza conducted in whispers two thirds of people in Gaza want an end to the war. I'd have expected more. “If elections were held tomorrow, Hamas right now has the support of about a third of Palestinians in the West Bank, and third of Palestinians in Gaza. This is less than what it was before October 7,” according to Khalil Shikaki, who was in charge of conducting the poll“A lot of people who do not support Hamas, actually support the resistance and support the decision to carry out the [October 7] attack for various reasons. Most importantly, because this is was a momentous event that changed the entire universe for Palestinians.” Israeli policy today evolved in the aftermath of the 1967 war and was best described by its architect, Moshe Dayan. The challenge for Israel and the international community, he explained in 1977, was not to arrive at a “solution” to Israel’s occupation, but rather to learn to live without one (solution). Only in this way could Israel retain the freedom of action to ensure its strategic security — no Arab sovereignty west of the Jordan — and nationalist settlement objectives.


The West Bank settler population at that time was less than 15,000. Throughout the decades since 1967, and in Gaza today, Israel, eschewing master plans for achieving its overriding objectives, has exhibited a maddeningly opportunistic approach to its rule over the West Bank, which among other achievements now boasts more than one half million settlers. ...Israel today is waging three intimately related wars. The first is the actual battlefield war itself, now in its eighth month. The second war is the war about the war — that is, the international battle for public opinion from The Hague to American college campuses that has been unleashed by the war itself. This battle promises to define Israel’s place in the international community for a generation, and attests to the price we all pay for the enduring failure of diplomacy and politicians to establish a viable reconciliation of Israeli and Palestinian demands.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Quotations

 



'As my brother Larry rightly points out, we can be proud of the way we have brought her up; she is a credit to us.'  Gerald Durrell, paying tribute to his mother, Louisa

The US Republican Party is as loopy as the Democrats

US Senator Lindsay Graham (Republican) says he would support Israel dropping an atom bomb on Iran.

I'm reminded of Martin Amis saying the USA is as strange as Saudi Arabia.

The insanity of America was the theme of William Boyd's fine comedy 'Stars and Bars' and there used to be a weekly column about it in the Daily Mail and Daily Express, but now the madness is seeping into other countries via the internet.

I have changed my mind 360 degrees (I do this much more often than most people) and have come round to thinking John Mearsheimer is right when he says that Iran getting the bomb would stabilise the Middle East.

British public opinion poll: two thirds think Israel should call a ceasefire

A recent You Gov poll of opinion in the UK shows that 69% think Israel should stop and call a ceasefire at the current time, about the same as the 66% who said so in February, whereas only 13% think Israel should continue to take military action – a figure unchanged from three months ago. 

Thursday 9 May 2024

Quotations

"All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting." 
George Orwell

'If we lose the intellectual debate, you will not be able to deploy any army in the west, ever.' It turns out pro-Palestinian material IS the reason the US Congress wants to ban TikTok.

These remarks are so revealing. 

Alex Karp (who's a Democrat) and Mitt Romney are obviously right, even though we were told that what the latter said was a dangerous conspiracy theory that undermined faith in democracy. 

Senator Romney has substantiated the theory and it does.

I quote what Caitlin Johnstone published today. She is a socialist and a first class journalist in a word where very few exist. For Middle Eastern and much world news left-wing journalists are by far the most trustworthy.

Video clips are here and here.

'During a vitriolic rant about university demonstrators at the Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security on Tuesday, Palantir CEO Alex Karp came right out and said that if those on the side of the protesters win the debate on this issue, the west will lose the ability to wage wars.

Romanian-Israeli holocaust survivor thinks Israel will never enjoy peace

Ha'aretz carries an interview with Liku Rifca Carmi (née Marcovici) who grew up in a rich Jewish family in Sighetu Marmației, a Romanian town now on the Ukrainian border, that had been assigned by Hitler to Hungary. 

In April 1943 all the Jewish families in Sighet were ordered to report to the town's train station in ten days' time. Her father, Shlomo Marcovici, turned to a coal miner he knew who took them to an abandoned gold mine in the forest, with potable water running through it. 

Israeli Minister of Justice gets his news from Al Jazeera, as the cabinet is 'told nothing'

At a recent meeting with hostages' families, the very right-wing Israeli Minister of Justice Yariv Levin told them, "I know little about the management of the war and the negotiations. We're told nothing and they don't share with us. Most of what I know is from watching Al Jazeera, because I speak Arabic."

I get my news about the war from Ha'aretz (the Israeli equivalent of the Guardian) which is well informed and very critical of the Israeli government, in both respects unlike the British Daily Telegraph, Times, etc or the American media. I probably should follow Al Jazeera too.

'The end of a superpower'

Googling, I just saw 'Masha Gessen: The end of a superpower' and thought it referred to the USA, but then saw that it was a video about the collapse of the Soviet Union.W Documentary

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Masha Gessen: Biden is sacrificing the election for Israel

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American who once wrote a brilliant book about Putin.

Gessen told a Ha'aretz interviewer today that Biden's support for the attempts to suppress student demonstrations in favour of Palestinians will cost him the election.
"If he doesn't have the youth vote he has no hope of beating Trump. So that's another brick in the case for the incredible support for Israel. That Biden and his administration are willing to sacrifice the election to ongoing engagement with Israel is heartbreaking, shocking."

Monday 6 May 2024

There is little point in reading the papers. Twitter is a much better source, now that the CIA no longer controls it

The silly idea that Ukraine can push Russia out of Crimea, as opined by a Chinese 'expert' is relayed uncritically in the Economist, where it is read by people who matter. 

Reuters tells us that 

US intelligence believes Putin probably didn't order Navalny to be killed, Wall Street Journal reports

I had the gravest doubts at the time. It was not in Putin's interests just after the successful (from his point of view) interview with Tucker Carlson.

Values are not a reason to go to war

Two very good articles, worth your time.

This from the wonderful Arnaud Betrand, whom God preserve:

'I won’t retell the history of the Ukraine conflict with NATO expansion, the Maidan coup, the non-respect of Minsk, etc. The fact is that history will be extremely clear: the Ukraine war was anything but “unprovoked”, as you always hear. Same thing with Oct 7th: you have 70+ years of history leading up to it, and first and foremost a dereliction of duty by the West with its largely unconditional backing of Israel against the Palestinians. And guess what: when you back one actor vs another in a confrontation, both wrt Ukraine and Gaza, it obviously heightens tensions and ultimately leads to hot conflict where the party whose adversary you support sees you as an adversary too… It’s basic common sense. As such this “ring of fire” Europe is surrounded by is of its own making to an immense extent.

Sunday 5 May 2024

Quotations


"Marx and Freud are the two great destroyers of Christian civilisation, the first replacing the gospel of love by the gospel of hate, the other undermining the essential concept of human responsibility.” Malcolm Muggeridge


“Life is like the Vīṇā, when it is strung too taut, the strings break, when it’s too loose, no sound comes out. The string that produces a tuneful sound is not too tight and not too loose.” The Buddha

Saturday 4 May 2024

Swiss magazine Blick spoke to half a dozen anonymous commanders on the Ukrainian Eastern Front


'The tenor was that Ukraine would lose the war. “The Russians will conquer the Donbass by October, then the conflict will freeze and we will have to negotiate with Putin,” predicts Serhiy, an officer in a brigade that is holding out in the embattled Chasiv Yar. “The Russians will force us to attack you Europeans as part of their army,” says Ihor, commander of an engineering company in Donetsk.

Students could once borrow the Book of Kells

The student protests against Israel could be the most important consequence of the Hamas attack and Gaza slaughter. We shall see. 

Trinity College, Dublin fined its students' union €214,000 over the protests, to cover the loss of revenues from visitors who come to see the Book of Kells. 

Karl White tells me rhat the Book of Kells was available in the 17th century for borrowing by students against a surety of £3 10s.

Do these things apply to Romania too?

From an interesting article in today's Daily Telegraph by Jeremy Warner.

Poland's GDP could for various reasons overtake that of Great Britain, France and Germany. Could is the key word but Poland has already has a Western standard of living.
"If we instead take purchasing power parity as the measure, which attempts to adjust for the fact that the cost of living is substantially lower in Poland than Britain, then Poland is already richer than the UK – $49,000 per capita against $47,000. That gap is forecast by the IMF to widen further over the next five years to $63,500 against the UK’s $50,000.

Quotations




"It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you."
John Updike