Sunday 30 June 2024

European leaders saw Biden was deteriorating badly

This is the huge story this morning. It's in the Wall Street Journal but this link gets you past the paywall. 


"Two senior European officials cited a European Union-U.S. summit in October in Washington at which Biden struggled to follow the discussions. Both said he stumbled over his talking points at several moments, requiring Secretary of State Antony Blinken to intervene and point out the lines he should use."



DW TV's American correspondent last night was quite certain that Biden will be the Democratic candidate in November, which made me happy. For all his grave faults and the way he left office President Trump offers hope of peace between the USA and China.

Saturday 29 June 2024

America will not tolerate threats to its hegemony

 "Russia today is a preeminent global actor in both the economic and political spheres. Yet for the Ruling Strata in the U.S., equal status between Moscow and Washington is out of the question. The Cold War mentality still infuses the Beltway with the unwarranted confidence that the Ukraine conflict might somehow result in Russian collapse and dismemberment." Alistair Crooke.

I'd love the Russian Federation to dissolve spontaneously but not because of American chicanery. I'd like the Iranian regime to collapse but not because of America. At the moment America is the biggest threat to peace, because it is anxious to assert its will everywhere.

Two new, very enlightening articles by Peter Oborne. Unlike many or most British journalists he is interested in uncovering the truth

Here is my friend Peter Oborne's review of Israeli Professor Ilan Pappe’s new study of the pro-Israeli lobby in the UK. I quote from it.

Alec Douglas-Home, foreign secretary in the Edward Heath government that succeeded Wilson’s administration after the 1970 general election, was more friendly to Palestinians. An Old Etonian aristocrat, Douglas-Home is today dismissed as a hopeless old fogey and aberration in postwar Britain.
Today, his views would bring a nod of approbation from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. According to Pappe, “he was the only British foreign secretary to openly discuss the right of return of the Palestinian refugees that were expelled by Israel in 1948”, and, still more remarkable, “the only British foreign secretary to challenge the dishonest brokery of the Americans”.
In the wake of the 1967 war, Douglas-Home insisted, with Heath’s support, that Britain could no longer ignore the “political aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs”. In government, he infuriated Israel by allowing the Palestine Liberation Organization to set up a London office.

Little girls in a field of wildflowers, Keswick, Cumberland, England, 1890, when the world was civilised

 

Acknowledgements, Beverley Noelle Little.


Friday 28 June 2024

Great is the truth and shall conquer

I whooped, something very rare for me, when I turned fron the Telegraph Obituaries page (nobody interesting died yesterday) to the News.

I hope they don't shoot Trump's fox even though a Democratic Party civil war would be, in Professor Stanley Unwin's phrase, deep joy.


Wednesday 26 June 2024

Coffee, alcohol and blood



'Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold, it brings to every person the feeling of luxury and nobility.'

Sheik-Abd-al-Kadir

'Terrence Kilmartin the great literary editor of the Observer never went to the office but ran the books pages from Soho pubs (hiring taxis to take the page proofs to Fleet Street). All kinds of young literary types hung around him, and the price for being in his company was they had to drink a great deal. One day one came to him and said, "Terry, I've met this girl." "Good for you," said Terry. "We're going to be married and I can't spend all day and night drinking in Soho anymore. But I want you to know, I'm not stopping because she's made me stop. The truth is I just don't enjoy it anymore." Kilmartin raised his haggard face and his bloodshot eyes bored into the ignorant whelp. "Do you think," he bellowed. "Do you think that any of us do this because we ENJOY it ?"'

Nick Cohen

We are linked by blood, and blood is memory without language.

Joyce Carol Oates

Sunday 23 June 2024

"If you started measuring world temperatures from medieval times there's been a general cooling of about four degrees.”

“If you started measuring global temperatures from 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

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.

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 That 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.