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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Biz models for the RIAA

While it is fun suing the bejesus out of .00000001% of the people who share files it is not exactly a business plan. So, here, for free, is a way for the members of the RIAA to actually make file sharing work for them.

Most record companies have vast backlists. Lists going back to the 20's in some cases. Now, while these are often the basis for retrospective boxed sets which command big money from die hard fans, the fact is that those backlists are often decades past their best before date. My suggestion is that each record company make all of the titles in its back catalogue available for free in 128 bit MP3 versions on advertising driven "club" sites. To join the club a downloader would have to provide their real name, an email and street address which would be checked.

The record companies could be very up front about the fact they would be monitoring members downloads and building a picture of each members tastes. "Once we know you we are going to try to sell you stuff." That up front.

What stuff to sell? OK, those box sets for starters. After all, if I know the names and addresses of all the people who download Donovan or Jefferson Airplane or Herman's Hermits songs, I know who to offer the definitive collections to. Second, unreleased material. Record companies often have vaults full of songs by once popular musicians which, for one reason or another, have never been released. If you know who the fans are then you can sell that material. Third, really good recordings of the material someone has downloaded in 128 bit. Again, if you know that a particular group of 1000 - 10,000 people are listening to T-Rex in 128 bit, imagine how happy they would be to be offered hi-fidelity versions of the songs they are downloading. Fourth - merch - all the paraphenia of your favorite old bands.

Of course, this goes on. Knowing what a person likes means you have a good chance of knowing what else he or she would like. Both from back in the day and with new releases. Better still, you would have an email address to send samples to.

Add to this the revenue from advertising - Golden Oldies is a huge market for radio, why not for the music itself - and you begin to build a targeted marketplace. It has to be more successful than collecting $2000.00 a go from honours students in public housing.

In God's Hands

Kevin Steel made an MP3, a soundscape, of 9/11. You should listen to it. All the way through. Which is hard and which is why you should. We will never forget; but we need reminders on days other than 9/11. Listen here. "They're American planes, made in America. Here come the planes."


While it may not be obvious from the "shoot Arafat" and "praise the Enlightenment" posts on this blog I actually spend a fair bit of my time reviewing books. (I have to post some newer reviews and interviews in the little windows on the right.) I ran across this rather precise explaination of what drives book reviewers. I am am not sure it is completely true in my own case, but I wish it was,
Clearly, critics and authors share a deep desire to maintain a culture that values reading and writing. "In the best of all possible worlds," says Caldwell, "we’re all on the same side toward the greater good of the novel or the cultural dialogue, or whatever you want to call it." And while, as many admit, they sometimes fall short, critics, like all writers, seem to take their vocation seriously.

"It’s a humane and a human endeavor, being a book reviewer, and love is what should activate your work," says Dirda "Your love for literature, your love for the word on the page, love for wit and humor and style--those are things that count."
link poets and writers magazine


They Could be Heros

People who are awake know there is a job to be done. A world worth fighting for. The recent blackout was a peculiar blessing for many people. Toronto's "alternative" newspaper mocked the men in suits who took to the streets to direct traffic as attention-seeking would-be heroes. In that moment my contempt for the idiotarians turned into pity. Could it be they are so terrified of their own cowardice they have refused the simple possibility they too could be heroes?

What a cramped, small life it must be. I am not a betting man but if I was I would wager a month's salary many of you reading this will know the exact feeling in what I am about to say. Every time I have boarded an airplane since that day... God help me... I have almost wished there were some hijackers on board so I would have the chance to help take some of those bastards down with me. That would be worth it all. What a day that would be.
link ghost of a flea
There are millions of us out there. Whether, came the time, we would rush the barbarians or sit in our seats we will not know until it happens. But there will always be enough people who are itching to feel the crunch of laptop against Islamofascist skull that no passenger plane is ever going to be a bomb again.

The Canadian Way

Pathetic as it is, Robert Fulford sums up Canada's response to terror,
Canada has developed its own independent strategy for this war: Help a bit, lay low, hope things will work out for the best and criticize the Americans whenever possible while co-operating with their security plans when absolutely necessary. Having lost our military strength through decades of cost-cutting and our political significance through a persistent refusal to face reality, we have placed ourselves outside the great struggle of this epoch. Our government finds this the most expedient course, and many Canadians, possibly even a majority, like it that way. We have chosen to be spectators rather than participants in history.
link national post
It sounds almost French...Hmmm.


9/11: Birth of Blogging

Damian Penny posted a link to Glenn Reynolds' 9/11 archive. At the time InstaPundit was happy to get 4200 visitors a day.

It's a good idea because 9/11 not only changed how we look at the world, it also changed how a lot of us get most of our information about the world.

Here's the link to Andrew Sullivan's 9/11 archive. And here is a link to Little Green Footballs' compelling Charles Johnson. And one to Virginia Postrel.

Steve denBeste had been writing about Islamic terrorism for some time before 9/11. His archive is shocked but not surprised; but he did predict that the Taliban would hand over OBL. Matt Welch began blogging on 9/17 but he is often credited with running the first 'warblog'.

Metafilter was stunned. There was simply no way for the hip left to respond to 9/11. At least not for a few days.

In each case and in thousands of others, bloggers were trying to make sense of the senseless and respond, with words to a level of violence America had never experienced at home. The news came quickly, the speculation and the rumour was sorted through. And, as it happened, people all over the world began to read blogs. In the early days after 9/11 the television and the newspapers seemed to have missed the point. They were objective and that was about it. The "Why do they hate us?" screeds were not illuminating.

Bloggers brought passion to tragedy. They linked in a thousand different directions, ran down every rumour and wore their anger up front. A new media was born.

9/11 Two Years On

As on the day and for weeks afterward I don't feel much like writing today. Maybe later.

We will never forget and we will never forgive.

It has taken the West 1000 years to drag itself out of the Middle Ages. We will fight to protect the Enlightment from the Islamofascists and medieval minds of the Arab and Muslim world - and we shall fight, by other means, to protect the Enlightenment's legacy from the multicult, Leftist, post-modernists in the media and the universities.

Radical Islam was directly responsible for the 3000 people who lost their lives in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania two years ago. These clerics of hatred had been responsible for hundreds of death around the world before 9/11 and they have been responsible for hundred more since. Kenya, Israel, Bali, Riyhad, Afghanistan, Moscow, Checnya, Iraq. This war against the Middle Ages is world wide and and vital. Crushing the haters, the mad mullahs with their anti-crusader, anti-semitic, anti-Western bile, silencing the Arab 'street' with sheer military and economic power will make the multicults and the Lefties very, very mad. They will pout and they will simper and they will be ignored.

Only when the battle against radical Islam has been convincingly won on every front will it be time to educate the rest of the Arab and Muslim world so, in time, call it a few decades at best, they will be mature enough to be fit to join the Western, civilized world.

The history of the Arabs and of Islam has been one of steady decline since the 12th century. As the West wrestled with the separation of church and State, the limitation of kingly power, the development of democracy, the articulation of the rights of man (and, belatedly, the rights of women), the invention of the scientific world, the development of market economies, the evolution of the common law and the idea of individual freedom and morality - the Islamic world stagnated and wrote elegies for the lost Caliphate. An Islamic state is, by definition, backward, in the thrall of the clerics and antithetical to individual liberty or human rights. This must be resisted by the West with all of the military, economic and intellectual force at our disposal.

It may be possible to foster an Islamic Enlightenment. There is nothing inherent in the Islamic or Arab mind which precludes such and enterprise. But, if the Islamic world chooses to continue to live by fatwa and terrorism then the West will have to take its lead from our frontline state, Israel, and begin the process of isolating that world so that it cannot harm us. To do this we will have to be harsh and pre-emptive. Until radical Islam has been extinguished or contained, no Islamic state should be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction. And, yes, most emphatically, that included the leaky vessel of Pakistan. It is simply too risky.

9/11 taught us to take the challenge of Islamofascism seriously. But we have not taken it nearly seriously enough. We scruple far too much about the sovereignty of Islamic nations. We worry too much about the Arab street and Al Jazeera. Instead we should be relentless and ruthless in our pursuit and elimination of all of those who have directly or indirectly supported radical Islam's terrorism. Afghanistan and Iraq were a good start. Pakistan's "tribal areas", an unreformed Saudi and Syria all need to feel the military and economic power of the West.

While this may give Old Europe a stroke and put Margaret Drabble knickers in full mobius mode, it is in defence of a civilization and a culture whose material and moral superiority to the Islamofascist dream world is beyond question. A society so civil that it quails at going Roman against people who would destroy it. That civility was put in the balance two years ago and it must be defended by whatever means necessary. We owe that to the men and women who died at the hands of the box-cutter barbarians, their survivors and their children. But, most of all, we owe it to ourselves.


bin Hiding

In a hot ratings race with the BBC to see who can pander hardest to the Arab world, Al Jazeera broadcast a "new" (scare quotes in the BBC tradition) bin Laden video. A few interesting points. First, there are no voices on the video itself. Voiceover is provided by the Egyptian doctor Zawahiri. Second, it looks like bin Laden is pretty healthy, almost spry. Third his beard seems to be a little darker than it was in the last video release. In all, the clues point to old footage and there is nothing which I have seen in the video which contradicts that.

For a fairly long time I have thought bin Laden was alive and being watched and monitored by spooks from various intelligence services who then track his network. But the errors and sheer amateurishnesses of this new tape suggests he is, indeed, a dead terrorist. After all, camcorders have sound recording built right in and even the Islamofascist medievalists should have been able to catch a few words.

The tape's release the day before 9/11 suggests that Al Qaeda realizes it has become a one trick pony and it has to remind the world it still exists by faking up tapes of its terrorist poster boy. Pathetic.

Arab Spin

"I deny it, I deny it," Dr. Al-Hussaini said yesterday. "I'm just very pleased that he's out. I don't want really to go into the details because, you know, now the problem is finished."

Dr. Al-Hussaini, reached yesterday at his Ottawa office, refused to elaborate on why he believes Mr. Sampson is lying. He said the embassy is preparing an official response and will not comment further until it is finished.

"Believe me," he said. "You will have very good answers on all these questions."
link the national post
The last time we heard this it was Comical Ali explaining how there were no American troops anywhere near Baghdad. Didn't work then, doesn't work now. Sampson is going to sue Saudi for a billion and my bet is he'll win.

Arafat Out Now

While a bullet is the better option this is a bit encouraging,
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (search) cut short a visit to India, and was to hold security consultations immediately upon landing early Thursday. Two strategic decisions -- whether to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat or order a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip -- will be on the agenda, a security official said on condition of anonymity.
link fox news


Better than Ezra III

How can Albertans rely upon Macleans or the Globe and Mail to tell us what is important to us? And where else could we hear from our own Alberta opinion leaders, instead of from our official minders in Ottawa?
link the calgary sun (will degrade quickly)
Of course, this raises the question of whether Albertans need to rely upon anyone, least of all Ezra Levant, to "tell us what is important to us." As I suggested below, Ezra is far too much the politician to be an effective magazine proprietor. Earlier in the piece he answers the critics who suggested the web might be a way to go,
But magazines, especially weekly magazines, offer something that daily newspapers and hourly websites can't: A unique mix of timeliness and thoughtful reflection. A good weekly magazine is fast enough to be relevant, but slow enough to have thought things through after the dust settles. It has the time to do serious investigative reporting that might not be possible on a daily deadline. And it is a weekly treat to readers -- not just a daily habit.
Nothing if not conservative is our Ezra. On this logic, while a weekly is reflective, a fortnightly would be insightful, a monthly deep and a quarterly just plain profound. In fact, where the web is so much better than dead tree publishing is that a single website can be updated hourly and run quarterly meditations. Take a look at Tech Central Station for a pretty solid example of what can be achieved on a single website.

Good luck to Ezra and all who sail in him; but a provincial weekly without a really strong web component will be stillborn.

PR guy to the rescue

The mother of a 12-year-old girl will pay $2,000 to settle one of 261 lawsuits the Recording Industry Association of America filed Monday against people alleged to have illegally downloaded music.

Sylvia Torres, whose daughter Brianna Lahara was accused of offering more than 1,000 copyrighted song tracks through the Kazaa file-sharing network, issued a joint statement with the RIAA on Tuesday, promising that the family's personal computer would no longer be used for music swapping.

"We understand now that [it] was illegal," Ms Torres said.

"I am sorry for what I have done," her daughter added. "I love music and don't want to hurt the artists I love."
link financial post
I wonder if the optics are any better settling for $2000.00 with a woman living in public housing. Marginally, I guess, but the whole Torres story has given lie to the idea that the RIAA is really "targeting" anyone with its lawsuits. Faced with millions of file sharers it is firing a legal blunderbus at random and htting kids, the elderly and, apparently, at least one Yale professor. Dumb.

Hamas strikes twice

Two suicide bombings, at least 13 people dead. The latest Abu appointed by Arafat is sidelined already. Hamas has claimed the bombings.
this is no surprise at all to Israel and it should not be to the rest of the world. The unwillingness of the Palestinian Authority to disarm and disband the terrorists within its jurisdiction means more bombings. As those bombings occur the political will to restrain Israel from cleaning out the hornets' nests on the West Bank and in Gaza will collapse.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, speaking outside a fund raiser for President Bush in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., called the bombings "vicious attacks" and condemned them in the "strongest possible terms."

McClellan said Bush remained committed to the "road map" peace plan, but he said the bombings "underscore the need to fight terrorism and the need to dismantle terrorist organizations and groups like Hamas."

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher emphasized "the urgency with which the Palestinian Authority needs to take immediate and effective steps to dismantle and disarm the terrorist capabilities."
link fox news
This is just the beginning of the Bush backdown into a much more comfortable position on Israel's side and flat out against terror. At the heart of the web is Arafat. A few of my readers have taken me to task for suggesting that a bullet between the beady little eyes of the number one Palestinian terrorist makes more sense with every suicide attack.

While it is certainly true that Hamas actually carried out these recent attacks, it is equally true that Hamas could not operate were it not for Arafat's creation of a terrorist supporting environment throughout the territory which he is responsible for. By all means target Hamas; but the one impediment to real peace is lurking in Ramallah.

Expelling Arafat and a few hundred known terrorists would likely simply exacerbate the problem. If Arafat is still alive the first demand of the remaining Palestinians would be his return. Not because they want or need him, rather because his own security forces would coerce any successor government to make this demand. No, Arafat dead is critical to any hope of peace in the Middle East.

12 Year old Honours student's secret life

Yep, Brianna is a pirate. A big, scary pirate and the RIAA is suing her.
"I got really scared. My stomach is all turning," Brianna said last night at the city Housing Authority apartment where she lives with her mom and her 9-year-old brother.

"I thought it was OK to download music because my mom paid a service fee for it. Out of all people, why did they pick me?"
link fox news
Yep, getting all that dough from pirates living in public housing sure makes a lot of sense. Masterful.
Update: Wrinkly Pirate Nailed Durwood Pickle - and I couldn't make that name up - is a 71 year old pirate according to the RIAA. A big, scary pirate and the RIAA is suing him. Mr. Pickle told the BBC
his teenage grandchildren used his computer during visits to his home.

"I didn't do it, and I don't feel like I'm responsible," he said.
link bbc
Let's see if they have managed to sue someone confined to a wheelchair whose only recreation is listening to a few downloaded songs.

The RIAA and its lawyers raise the bar for public relations disaster.

The BBC (and CBC) Creed

The Daily Telegraph, stealing an idea from a blog and the National Post, has started a BBC Watch. About time too. Here is what they are watching for and it represents a pretty good summary of what is wrong with the Soft, one might say mushy, Left:
The BBC's mental assumptions are those of the fairly soft Left. They are that American power is a bad thing, whereas the UN is good, that the Palestinians are in the right and Israel isn't, that the war in Iraq was wrong, that the European Union is a good thing and that people who criticise it are "xenophobic", that racism is the worst of all sins, that abortion is good and capital punishment is bad, that too many people are in prison, that a preference for heterosexual marriage over other arrangements is "judgmental", that environmentalists are public-spirited and "big business" is not, that Gerry Adams is better than Ian Paisley, that government should spend more on social programmes, that the Pope is out of touch except when he criticises the West, that gun control is the answer to gun crime, that... well, you can add hundreds more articles to the creed without my help.
link the telegraph


RIAA litigation watch

Just checked Kazaa Lite - 3,814,710 users on line: 740,380,409 files shared. The fear of litigation is shutting down the network...No, really....

Speaking of Liars

The last shred of Andrew Gilligan's credibility was flushed down the Hutton loo with the revelation that Gilligan lied outright to a Parliamentary committee:
In the e-mails, Mr Gilligan said Dr Kelly should be asked about "what kind of threat Iraq was in September 2002". He continued: "He also told my colleague, Susan Watts, science editor of Newsnight, (who described Dr Kelly as ‘a senior official intimately involved with the process of pulling together the dossier’): ‘In the run-up to the dossier, the government was obsessed with finding intelligence to justify an immediate Iraqi threat’."

Three days later, Mr Gilligan appeared before the FAC in a private session during which he denied being aware that Dr Kelly had informed Ms Watts’s report.

Prior to giving evidence, Mr Gilligan was warned by Donald Anderson, Labour chairman of the FAC, that he was "bound" to answer all questions put to him. Mr Anderson also warned that misleading or refusing to answer the committee could cause it to make a report to the House of Commons.
link the scotsman


On a much lighter note: the RIAA, confident of a public relations disaster of epic proportions as it sues Ma and Pa Kettle for the 100 downloaded files they have on their hard drive, is looking for a way out...Hey, what about an amnesty? Now this is very cute indeed.
Sources say the RIAA will not pursue legal action if all unauthorized music files are deleted from the copyright infringer's computer. The infringer must also destroy all copies of the material in any format, including CDRs, and promise not to upload such material in the future.

Each household member who is an infringer would have to fill out an amnesty form, have it notarized and mail it to the RIAA with a copy of a photo ID.

Those who renege on their promise could be referred to the Department of Justice for willful copyright infringement.
link washington post
Now, if the RIAA was really confident that it could both win the current challenges to its bogus DMCA subpoenas and actually convice a Court at trial to fine Ma and Pa 15 million dollars - or, hell, $75,000.00 which is the low end - why would they offer an amnesty. Even on these draconian terms?

No, any talk of amnesty is all about how quickly the RIAA and the devil are becoming synonyms and about the wavering confidence of the RIAA's lawyers. One successful challenge to the DMCA subpoenas on substantive grounds and the RIAA is back to square one. A single decent defence which convinces a judge that this is litigation in terrorum and that the damages should be calculated on the basis of say, actual economic loss - max a buck a song - and the RIAA opens the floodgates to free for all file sharing.

You don't settle a winning case, you always settle a loser.

Working and Watching

I have spent most of the day working on a client website so have not been blogging. But I have been thinking - tweaking css gives the other 9/10 ths of your brain lots of down time.

First, good bye and good riddance to Mr. Abbas. It is difficult to be the sheriff when you've been appointed by the Dodge Ourlaws Benevolent Association. Abu Mazen, as he was known to the fawning world press, didn't even try. Chatting with terrorists was not what the road map called for. Disarming and arresting them was the job at hand and old Abu was not about to do anything that crazy. Arafat has appointed another Abu - is Abu Arabic for weanie? - and I fear thinks the road map is still in the car. It isn't.

Months back - damn those archives - I wrote that Sharon was well aware that the road map was not going to work because the only way of ridding Palestine of the terrorist was to, well, arrest or kill them. No member of the Palestinian Authority will do that. Sharon knows it, Arafat knows it, the brighter Bushies know it and the only people who could possibly think otherwise are either European, attached to the UN or both.

So what was the road map? My own sense is that it was a necessary diversion. Sharon needed to show willing to the Euros and the internationalists to build just enough credit to allow Israel to a) target Hamas and Islamic Jihad, b) shoot or exile Yasser and his thugs, c) make peace with a Palestinian government which is neither dominated by nor intimidated by the old terrorist who presently control the P.A. Most of all, Sharon had to convince Bush that the soft solution to Middle Eastern terrorism would not work.

Which brings up the interesting and important speech Bush made tonight. Things are rough in Iraq. Well, not quagmire rough; but unpleasant. Building Iraq into a real country is going to cost a lot of money and a fair number of lives. The smarter Bushies would be delighted if the French or Germans or any of the rest of the UN naysayers would pitch in; but they know that this is unlikely in the extreme. Which does not worry them a bit.

Like Sharon, the Americans have to look for a degree of international cover before they can proceed to do the job they are well aware needs to be done in Iraq. It will not be pretty but it will put Iraq - or at least the Sunni part of Iraq - at the forefront of the war on terror. The loonier Arabs and Pakistanis and other Islamic zealots will take their shots at American soldiers 10,000 miles from the American homeland. Those soldiers are trained to shoot back and they will. Bush emphasized that the Iraq war will take patience; but it will also bring a good range of Islamofascists into the sites of the American military who will, bluntly, kill them.

There is no question that the Americans and the British and the other nations of the coalition will suffer casualties. It is, after all, a war. But so long as the resolve is there the terrorists will be defeated on the ground.

The larger question is whether they will be defeated morally and ideologically. That is a very different war and it is one which is being fought out in the Hutton Inquiry, in the American Presidential election, in the media and on the net. It is a question of whether or not the West is willing to engage and subdue the tiny fraction of the Muslim world stuck tight in the 12th century or if it is willing to simply accommodate and collapse. France has largely made her choice. She has left the battle. Germany seems to be following suit as are several other old Europe nations. But Spain, Italy and Poland are fighting on.

The battle is one in which the actual enemy, the Islamofascists, is not as important as the traisson d'clercs (I'll check the spelling later) of the American and European intellectual classes. If, as a matter of intellectual self respect, one has to adopt the position that western religion and culture, western values, the Enlightment and all rest of the history which makes up the West is nothing more than a front for Big Oil and oligopoly then we are doomed. If Western intellectuals and the people who read and support them, are mired in a sense of the complete worthlessness of the Western enterprise than we are already in a quagmire. A quagmire of self-doubt, self-inflicted.

The struggle in Iraq, the war in Israel begin with the premise that the West is worth defending. If that premise is lost to our own inability to see the good in ourselves then those wars are lost. And those wars are critical.

Al-Qaeda and the matrix of violent Islamic fundamentalism is the last gasp of decadent, decrepit social systems which cannot compete at any level with Western accomplishment. As was pointed out all too often, the 9/11 hijackers came from cultures which could not build the planes which crashed or the buildings which were destroyed.

The only people who can defeat the West, defeat America and the Anglosphere are its own citizens. Only they have the power to force a surrender to terror. Only they have the ability to let their partisan politics get in the way of actually accepting the fact that Islamic terrorism is real, that Yasser Arafat is the oldest terrorist of the bunch and that Saddam Hussien was a monster.

A fight against terrorism is a fight for the hearts and minds of the citizens of the West as much as it is a war against fundamentalist Islamic zealots.

To win the real fight, governments have to be honest with their citizens and be prepared to risk political defeat to defend the West. The most critical weapon in this war is candor. The only sensible tactic is to let facts speak for themselves.

On 9/11 people, real people, stood in windows on the 93rd floor of the World Trade Center and made the decision that they would rather jump than burn to death. Those people's deaths were captured on video and with still cameras. But they were rarely if ever shown on major media. For all of the conspiracy theories which disfigure the essential vileness of 9/11, the one question which has never been answered to my satisfaction is why that footage, those pictures, are only available on the internet. (And here and here.)

The best answer I can come up with is that people "who know better" - and who were under the delusion that they still controlled the news, felt that this meat was too strong for the average American, for the average Westerner. There was a concern that we had evolved past being able to deal with the reality those pictures captured.

In fact, the real battleground in the West is between the people who have, indeed, evolved to the point where they need a UN resolution before taking action against a ruthless, sadistic man who held his entire nation hostage, and those of us who see the force of arms a solution to just such a problem.

If our politicians tell us the truth and do not overscruple to use force against their best estimates of who our enemies are they will have the support of their populations. But if they lie, or play down the threat or misdirect their populations they are playing into the hands of the people "who know better."

There are no sure bets in intelligence and the entire war on terrorism is fundamentally intelligence driven. The best a politician has is an estimate, a probability. The best we have is our leaders' word for it.

On this blog I have paid a good deal of attention to the Hutton inquiry in England. It is an absolutely fundamental issue in England and in the rest of the world. In essence, Tony Blair demanded that the BBC retract a story that Blair stated was not true. The BBC refused. Blair insisted and the BBC dug in. It turns out that the BBC was wrong and that, fairly early on, it knew it was wrong. However, it hung in because it maintained that while the specifics may not have been correct, the tenor of the story was and it was in the public interest to report that there were doubts in the British Government as to the wisdom of the Iraq war.

This is precisely the sort of lie which will defeat the West. It is a lie on its face and it is a lie all the way down. Blair had no choice at all but to take whatever measures he could to ensure that the lie was exposed. Because to do otherwise would have ensured that his word was worth nothing to the people of England.

Oddly, this has nothing to do with popularity or spin or electoral success. A fact Blair seems aware of. It has to do with the essence of the compact between the people and their government. On the big questions the people have, or ought to have, the right to trust their leaders. If that trust is broken the very idea of democratic government comes into question. Blair defended himself against the BBC; but he was also defending a critical tradition of trust in democracies.

If, as the BBC argued, the truth can be sacrificed to "the public interest" - a purely subjective concept - then there is no way in which the essential trust between a people and its leaders can be maintained. Because if making things up to suit a particular view of the public interest is acceptable it becomes impossible for the people to know who to trust. Telling the truth is no longer enough.

Against Al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Margaret Drabble, the truth is the only weapon the West has. It must be defended, championed and celebrated in all its inconvienient, lumpy glory. Telling the truth is the intellectual homeland of the free, hard won, to be fought for as stoutly as any corner of Manhatten, London or Vancouver.


Steyn on Kelly

Since everyone seems to use Dr Kelly, alive or dead, for whatever line they want to peddle, let me belatedly join in. He is an emblem of the anti-war movement - or, to be more precise, of its utter vacuity and incoherence. If anyone stands naked, it's these fellows. Dr Kelly is just a convenient cudgel with which to beat Blair: in that sense, he sums up the sour oppositionism of the anti-war movement.

They're against Blair and against Bush and they'll use whatever's to hand. But ask them what they're for , what they'd do instead of war, and they've got no suggestions,
link the telegarph
And, hey, National Post....good move losing Steyn. You can't possibly have a columnist who is funny and right.