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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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2/05/2004

Island Conservative

My friend Andrew Burton commented below, "Does this mean you are becoming a rural conservative"? No. A Galiano Island Conservative which, I suspect, will be a bit more contentious. More anon.

2/04/2004

Moving, Light blogging

In theory, and I don't want to jinx it, we are in the process of moving. Or, at least, packing. So blogging will be light for a few days.

2/03/2004

Intelligence

Go read John Keegan's article on the ultimate futility of an inquiry into the intelligence which formed part of the basis upon which Britain and America went to war in Iraq.

2/02/2004

Creative Class Politics

Richard Florida pretty much defined the economic importance of the sushi eating, latte sipping, Volvo driving folks who power the new economy in his book, The Rise of the Creative Class. He has a great article on the political ramifications of the Republican Party's antipathy towards this group of people and the harm which may be done to the overall American competitive position in the world this antipathy may cause. You can read it here.

In his Washington Monthly article Florida argues that the essential engine of the American economy in the 1990's were the creative class. The men and women who hacked code, edited video, designed groovy graphics, wrote journalism, did investment analysis and undertook scientific research. These people were the yeast which produced the exposion in American productivitity which, while it created the internet bubble, also fueled a huge increase in the size of the American economy.

Florida's point was that these creatives are not much impressed with what they see as the boobocracy (to steal from Mencken) which Bush brought in his train to Washington. They like their sushi and lattes and Southpark and they are damned if people who are rather obviously less intelligent than they are will be allowed to push through a social agenda which is at odds with this blue state lifestyle.

Right, now go read the article. When you come back consider a couple of questions which the poor Conservatives have to answer. If you want to win votes in urban centers in Canada does it make sense to be a) anti-gay marriage, b) pro-gun control (and anti-registry), c) pro-life, d) anti-pot, e) pro-American.

One of the critical advantages the Liberals have is that they can hit the right note on the economic interests of the creatives who are also powering the Canadian economy while never having to alienate them by getting all socon on the lifestyle questions.

At the moment, despite Miss B's best efforts, it is practically impossible to be hip and a Conservative. And while you can be hip and vote NDP for a while it really begins to bite when your income hits a 100K and your net worth is heading toward the price of a Dunbar bungalow. Soooo. Yep. Another psychographic to the Grits.

Now it would be interesting to see if a real member of the creative class could be persuaded to run for the Conservative leadership after the shelacking the Conservatives will get this election. (I note that there is very little creative about inheriting an autoparts company.)

As Colby Cosh, and I paraphrase, remarked on the passing of Reports Magazine, ?the problem with the rural socon demographic is that it dies off and with it the subscriber base.? Much the same thing can be said of the Alliance wing of the Conservative Party.

The question is whether that base could be replaced with urban conservatives who couldn't give a rat's ass about gay marriage but deeply care about high taxes, capital gains and government efficiency and are not unfamiliar with whole milk cheese, a decent cab and why translucent is the new grey.


Ahoy, protestors, anti-fascists, human rights activists....

Witnesses have described watching entire families being put in glass chambers and gassed. They are left to an agonising death while scientists take notes. The allegations offer the most shocking glimpse so far of Kim Jong-il's North Korean regime.

Kwon Hyuk, who has changed his name, was the former military attaché at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing. He was also the chief of management at Camp 22. In the BBC's This World documentary, to be broadcast tonight, Hyuk claims he now wants the world to know what is happening.

'I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber,' he said. 'The parents, son and and a daughter. The parents were vomiting and dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing.'
the guardian
Tragically we are not likely to see much by way of protest unless and until the Americans decide that enough is enough and, with I hope full United Nations backing and the armed support from Russia and China, take out the loathsome North Korean regime.

OK, now, repeat slowly kids, there are WMDs, there is no oil, there are children being gassed - where is the UN?

If the eager protestors are in need of a fight here it is - world wide put pressure on your government to, through the United Nations, end the horrors of North Korea.

Want to bet anything happens? 100,000 people marching in London, Paris in an uproar, smelly children blocking traffic in San Francisco? Yeah, right.

2/01/2004

Den Beste on the Fecklessness of the Palestinians

Arafat has denounced Sharon and claims that Sharon is "not serious about peace". Of course, Sharon is looking for peace for Israel and damned well doesn't care if the Palestinians end up killing each other. What Arafat is actually worried about is the fact that Sharon has found a way to wrap the situation up in a way which is moderately satisfactory for Israel, without Palestinian consent and without Palestinian cooperation. Arafat does want peace, but the only peace he wants for Israelis is the peace of the grave. Now he sees his last hope of achieving that vanishing in months when the wall is completed.
steve den beste
A good, long and comprehensive post on the Israelis, the Wall and the Palestinians. den Beste sees the withdrawal of Isreal into its unilateral solution as pretty much the signal for the Palestinian civil war to begin. The Troll of RamallahTM is largely at the end of his game on den Beste's account. I agree. And I agree with den Beste that the high water mark for the Palestinians was September 10, 2001.

The Wall pretty much finishes off the Palestinians as a political or military force. Their moral force vanished the day the rest of the West recognized that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. With the Wall in place the Isrealis will have separated their population from the minority of Palestinians who are willing to die so long as they take Israelis with them. A fact which is dawning on the increasingly desperate Palestinian leadership. The Troll of RamallahTM has not lifted a finger to halt the homicide bombers, in fact the last one was a member of the Palestinian police. But, if the Israelis can create rigorous checkpoints with advanced technological screening and positive vetting of the Palestinians who are allowed to cross into Israel, the ability to send human bombs will be radically reduced. (In Gaza, where the proto-type of the Wall has functioned for several years, there had not been a homicide bomber until the Palestinian mother of two blew herself up at a crossing point. And she blew up at the border.

The only question which I am inclined to think den Beste may have got wrong is when the civil war begins. As the Wall advances it is possible that the Troll's hold on the Palestinians will begin to wane. The Palestinian Authority is broke - possibly because the Troll actually looted the bank accounts - its ability to inflict damage on Isreal is diminishing, Isreal's ability to inflict damage on the Palestinians is increasing. The current Prime Minister is threating to resign.

At this point Arafat seems to have control of the PA; but if there is any sign of his grip weakening, there are alternatives. The former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is one contender as is his security chief, Mohammed Dahlan, could be considered another. Dahlan, in particular, has some armed backing and it would not take much to depose Arafat. Especially with the tacit support of the Israelis. While there would be a potential for significant bloodshed, there is also the possiblity that the PA and its security services would simply collapse in the face of a determined attack. Especially if the goal of that attack was the elimination of Arafat.

The best that the Palestinians can hope for is a short, sharp civil war in which the gunmen who genuinely want to renouce terror are able to defeat the gunmen who are not. The worst is, as den Beste points out, the protracted faction fight which consumed Lebanon for nearly twenty years. In the later case the Isrealis would finish the Wall and let the para-militaries duke it out.

A civil war/coup now would have distinct advantages for the Palestinians. It would provide the Israelis with what they have been asking for - someone they can do business with. It would prevent the Palestinians from simply becoming a hopeless ghetto with a high birth rate and nest to no economic activity. It would give the Americans and the Europeans some assurance that the money they are giving the PA would be used to help rather than lining Arafat and his cronies' pockets. None of Arafat's potential successors is likely to give away the farm to Israel; but they would be more likey to negotiate rather than sending in the homicides.

American policy towards the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian population can, subtly, make it clear that the same committment to the well being of the Iraqi population would be shown to a post-Troll Palestinian authority. Ideally this would be enough for the Troll to retire. If it isn't then it should be up to a well supported group of Palestinians to remove the single barrier to peace - Arafat.

Outstanding

Let it Bleed beats up the anti-Hutton spin idiots at the Toronto Star - Gordon Barthos and HaroonSaddiqui. I have not enjoyed a fisking as mucch in a year....go read it.

Inside the Hutton Whitewash

Gilligan chose to release news of his departure through the Press Association rather than to the BBC. A former colleague said: "He remained a little s? to the end."

A senior manager said: "The BBC is furious that he won't abide by his contract and keep quiet at least for the time being. There is very little they can do about it. Stopping his money was the only course of action left open to them. They don't want to pursue him any further. They just want him to go."

Mr Dyke, who resigned from the corporation on Thursday, joined the attack on Gilligan. He told friends of his grave concerns about the way Gilligan broadcast his original report.

He told one: "The sad thing about all of this is that the proper editorial processes were followed in the run-up to the original broadcast. It's just that he [Gilligan] screwed it up on the 6.07am broadcast.

"If you listen again to the 6.07 it's a rubbishy piece of journalism. He should have been in the office but he wasn't and he messed it up. That was OK while he continued to tell us, 'This is what this man told me' ... it was when he deviated from that."

Another senior executive said: "Until he 'fessed up to Hutton we hadn't heard a dickie bird from him, still less an apology." A defiant Gilligan insisted that he could not be held responsible for the downfall of Mr Dyke. He told the Telegraph: "Ninety per cent of my original story was right. I have admitted that the 6.07 broadcast was a bad idea.
telegraph
Defending Gilligan is rather like defending Saddam - the antis know he's a shit, but there are bigger battles being fought. The Left's defence of Gilligan is a proxy for its attack on Blair's decision to go to war. That he lied on air and then covered up doesn't signify because the Left wants to believe that he was telling the "real truth" which underlay any contradictory facts.

In a sense this argument is really about whether or not it is possible to come up with facts of the matter when ideas like truth are seen as the products of given agendas. The BBC's agenda, as well as the Left's, was that no matter what a ruthless bastard Saddam was, the higher principle that no American led action is ever legitimate must be maintained. Gilligan reflected the culture he was in. 90% true was good enough so long as the 10% which was fabricated fit the BBC/Left spin on the war. And Gilligan's managers knew they could count on him for the spin.

Blair and his supporters were from an older, rather less subjective, school. If "x" says that "y" did something which "y" did not do, you call "x" on his lie. Apparently Lord Hutton went to the same school. Judges tend to look for facts rather than spin. It is, after all, their job. And, where an accusation is made a judge tends to ask "is this true?" rather than "is this in the public interest even if not true." This is not very pomo I am afraid; but if I were accused of a crime I would rather be before Lord Hutton than a judge concerned with "the public interest".

It is an essential point. If a judge were free to abandon the facts of the matter in accessing the guilt of a particular defendant, he might well say to himself, "Well, we have not had nearly enough convictions on drunken driving offences lately and, even though the Crown has not quite made out its case beyond a reasonable doubt, they are at least 90% sure Currie was drinking before he got into that car....I'll convict him. It will be a good example. In the public interest."

Lord Hutton, I rather suspect, was not the Crown's favorite beak. He seems, in his report, to have forgotten the public interest in giving slipshod journalism a pass and, instead, suggested that the public's interest was best served by arriving at conclusions about the facts presented to him during the hearing.

Shocking!

Update: I just had the opportunity to read Belmont Club's take on the Hutton report.

However the battle between the British Labor Party and the BBC goes, between Red and Redder, the ultimate loser will almost certainly be the truth. It has been banished to those primitive regions where the unsophisticated still think it exists. Where children are adjured to maintain it and still gather before their elders to learn it. The world's premiere news organization now maintains but a tenuous connection to it, a sentimental attachment really, that grows frailer year by year, until one day, like a thread stretched too thin, it will snap entirely. Then the BBC will be free to rise unhindered to whatever heights its fantasy or malice take it, having slipped the surly bonds of earth. belmont club