Monday, October 15, 2012

Miscellaneous Joy

-Entirely Alive! defends giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. I tend to agree. Let's put it this way - it's a hell of a lot better than giving it to that tree-planting woman who wasn't sure if AIDS might be created by western scientists or not.

-The War Nerd is back with a surprisingly positive assessment of Obama's foreign policy, at least the war-fighting part. I can't say I'm thrilled with said foreign policy, but it sure could have been a lot worse (and it's unlikely that John McCain would have been any better either). Incidentally, I tend to dislike parts of it - the Libya intervention, for one - because I didn't see what political purpose the whole thing served, and I still don't. The US didn't lose many troops, but losing an embassy is no laughing matter. I did find myself wondering how Brecher would reconcile his like of Obama military policy with a) Brecher's own Law of Counterinsurgency Warfare: 'Bribe 'em, Nuke 'em, or Just Leave 'em the Hell Alone!', and b) his suggested response to the Iranian hostage crisis, c.f. the Benghazi crisis. I'm guessing that this is more a 'if you're going to fight it, how should you do it?' than a 'should you fight it?', but I don't know.

-Ken at Popehat responds to the free speech critics who suggest that America needs to reconsider cultural values other than free speech. The 'alternative cultural values' on closer inspection turn out to be exactly what you'd expect - narrow-minded bigotry, cry-babies with exquisitely sensitive feelings, hypocritical 'tolerance for thee but not for me' types, and barbaric lynch mobs more at home in the middle ages. It's worth being reminded of this.

-Still on free speech, Jonathan Turley at the Washington Post describes the arguments being advanced in favor of censorship. Julia Gillard, Australia's worst Prime Minister since Malcolm Fraser, made an appearance with this quote: “Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred and incitements to violence”. I couldn't tell whether this meant that we shouldn't tolerate hatred of religions (as Turley seems to imply) or hatred by religions (which, in the context of Islam, implies the opposite side of the debate). The UN press release seems to imply that she meant the latter. Which is good! Except that this was preceded with the statements that 'denigration of religious beliefs was never acceptable'.*  Wrong, you clueless pandering fool. It is acceptable. Otherwise we live in a country with de facto blasphemy laws. It seems there are no depths that she (continuing the cringeworth tradition started with Kevin Rudd) will not debase Australia in order to try to get the pointless prize of a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.

*(This was quoted indirectly in the UN press release, but it turns out that the statement 'denigration of religious beliefs was never acceptable' is a direct quote. Honest to god, I sat through the whole 15 minutes of pathetic bromides to make sure there wasn't some context I was missing. There wasn't).

Other clanger lines delivered:
'Australia's values in the world are those of the UN.'
I certainly hope not.
'The UN is.. the story of navigating the winds of change, the end of colonialism, bringing self-determination to the worlds great majority, the billions of the global south'.
It's also a story of cliches lifted straight from a third-rate sociology faculty lounge!
'2015 is a goal, but it is not a destination.'
Madam, fire your speechwriters.
"There can be no poverty alleviation without the creation of wealth and jobs. Growth alone is never sufficient.'
Fight that mangled strawman! I know I've heard lots of people advancing the argument that 'growth, without the creation of wealth and jobs (whatever the hell that is) is sufficient for alleviating poverty'.

Cancel that - madam, fire yourself. Or just wait for the Australian people to do it for you soon enough.

-Nydwracu rounds out the latest anarcho-tyranny in the UK. The UK Police - they can't catch the guy that burgled your house, but they can catch you if you make an off-colour remark on twitter.

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