Friday, March 21, 2008


I am posting this very early in the morning of good Friday (Australian time). My old church (Ann St Presbyterian) is having its morning service from 8am this year -- which is a bit early for me. So I think I will attend our local Lutheran church later on. They have a 9am service and the music is sure to be good. We should get some Bach, I hope. I still like to go to church 2 or 3 times a year to refresh my contact with one of the great influences on our civilization. I feel at home in a Protestant church and I love singing the old hymns.


Anti war activism causing casualties in Iraq

Researchers at Harvard say that public debates about the rights and wrongs of the U.S. occupation of Iraq have a measurable "emboldenment effect" on insurgents there, and periods when there is a lot of media coverage about the issue are followed by small rises in the number of attacks.

The researchers, a political scientist and a health economist, studied data about insurgent attacks and U.S. media coverage up to November 2007, tracking what they called "anti-resolve statements," either by U.S. politicians or in the form of reports about American public opinion on the issue.

The study, published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, uses quantitative analysis, a statistical tool employed by economists, to empirically test for the first time the widely held nostrum that public criticism of U.S. policy in Iraq encourages insurgents there.

"We find that in periods immediately after a spike in anti-resolve statements, the level of insurgent attacks increases," the study says. In Iraqi provinces that were broadly comparable in social and economic terms, attacks increased between 7 percent and 10 percent.

The study also found that attacks increased more in parts of Iraq where there is greater access to international news media, which its authors say increases the credibility of their findings.




The ineffable (and incredible) Andrew Sullivan tells us that if you were not persuaded by Obama's speech, it was because of "racism". So now you know! Ace says that it is Sullivan who is the racist.

McCain ahead: "Barack Obama's big national lead over Hillary Clinton has all but disappeared in the US presidential race, and both Democrats trail Republican John McCain, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released today. The poll showed Senator Obama had only a statistically insignificant lead of 47 per cent to 44 per cent over Senator Clinton, down sharply from a 14-point edge he held over her in February when he was riding the tide of 10 straight victories. Illinois Senator Obama, who would be America's first black president, has been buffeted by attacks in recent weeks from New York Senator Clinton over his fitness to serve as commander-in-chief and by a tempest over racially charged sermons given by his Chicago preacher. The poll showed Arizona Senator McCain, who has clinched the Republican presidential nomination, is benefiting from the lengthy campaign battle between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, who are now battling to win Pennsylvania on April 22. Senator McCain leads 46 per cent to 40 per cent in a hypothetical match-up against Senator Obama in the November presidential election, according to the poll. That is a sharp turnaround from the Reuters/Zogby poll from last month, which showed in a head-to-head match-up that Senator Obama would beat Senator McCain 47 per cent to 40 per cent."

Hillary dithering: "Having accused Senator Obama of giving mixed messages on Iraq, Senator Clinton's national security director Lee Feinstein said that unspecified "contingencies" would dictate the course of her own plan. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson was later pressed on whether she would proceed with troop withdrawals within 60 days of taking office, regardless of any upsurge in violence or countervailing advice from US commanders. "The answer is yes," he said. Senator Obama's chief foreign policy advisor Susan Rice said it was "imperative that Senator Clinton clarify" whether she agreed with Mr Feinstein or Mr Wolfson, "and how she intends to square the circle".

Hillary endorses bitchy British gold-digger: "If like me you share the twin obsessions of the Beatles and American politics, you might enjoy this example where the two "Come Together". It seems that the woman whose evidence was branded "inaccurate but also less than candid" in places "wholly exaggerated" or "make-belief", who may have attempted to defraud her husband over the mortgage on a property and has "an explosive and volatile character" and who could provide no evidence of her claim of giving 80-90% of her income to charity does have a couple of things going for her. Heather Mills has two celebrity video character witnesses proudly displayed on her website, Richard Branson and Hillary Clinton. It's been said of Senator Clinton that she reminds too many men of their first wife. Being on the side of Heather Mills won't help dispel that impression."

McCain Was Right, Iran Works With Al Qaeda: "Some bloggers are jumping all over Senator John McCain for his supposed "gaffe" today. According to The Trail, a blog over at the Washington Post, McCain said that Iranian operatives were "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back." He elaborated by saying it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." Senator John Lieberman apparently then whispered something in McCain’s ear, prompting McCain to take it back: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda." But McCain was right the first time. He shouldn’t have taken his statement back. And it’s the bloggers who are ignorant--not John McCain. The 9-11 Commission found extensive evidence of collaboration between Iran and al Qaeda. For example, the Commission concluded (p. 61): "The relationship between al Qaeda and Iran demonstrated that Sunni-Shia divisions did not necessarily pose an insurmountable barrier to cooperation in terrorist operations."

Should the taxpayer bail out Bear Stearns?: "The extraordinary intrusion into the free market over the past several days by the Federal Reserve Board under Chairman Ben Bernanke should send shudders down the spines of conservatives everywhere. While some so-called free marketers were lauding the Fed's bailout of Bear Stearns as a necessary rescue of a banking institution that was too connected with the rest of the financial system to be allowed to fail, government should not protect Wall Street firms from the inherent risks of investing. As a result of the deal, American taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars in troubled mortgage assets so that Bear Stearns can avert bankruptcy"

The British Labour party begins to get it: "Labour needs to start urgently winning back the middle-class vote by highlighting issues such as crime and immigration if it is to win the next general election, Hazel Blears said last night. In an unashamedly Blairite new Labour speech, the Communities Secretary said it was vital that the party pitched itself as the "party of the affluent" as well as the poorest families. During a debate held by Progress, a group of modernisers, the Blairite minister Ms Blears argued that the New Labour approach had delivered three election victories by appealing to those across the social spectrum. "If we retreat into our comfort zone, and duck the tough issues such as crime and immigration our coalition will fracture." Her speech follows John Hutton's remarks earlier this month that he wanted to see "more millionaires". Mr Hutton, the Business Secretary who is also a prominent Blairite, sparked a row by urging the party not to attack huge salaries and bonuses in the City."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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