Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For his 29th birthday he threw a $600,000 party in New York at which guests included Donald Trump, Kevin Costner, Muhammad Ali and the Duchess of York. Combs is a "maven", a consummate social connector, before whom all barriers of race and class dissolve.

Until he changed his name recently to P.Diddy, Combs performed under the title of Puff Daddy. But he has also tried out other sobriquet ranging from the opportunistic ("the black Sinatra") to the overweening ("the world's greatest entertainer"). In private though, he imagines himself heir to another self-made American also known to throw a good party, Jay Gatsby. ("Have I read The Great Gatsby? I am the Great Gatsby!") It doesn't seem to bother Combs that Gatsby's life ended in shattered dreams, his well-heeled friends exposed as fickle and insincere. But then, while Gatsby found it ultimately impossible to escape his humble origins, Combs has no such concerns. Far from hiding his roots he does the opposite , insisting upon, and even exaggerating, his connection to the streets of New York in order to offer himself as a brand name for black urban culture. Fitzgerald, the laureate of the jazz age, would have found it difficult to countenance that blackness could be a social asset. But this is the hip hop age. And Sean Combs' millions are based on the enormous influence that black culture now wields across America and the rest of the world.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Taking a shoe for the Great Leader
I suppose not everyone appreciates having their country plundered and its resources sold off to the highest bidder

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sock and Awe

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

After the recent attacks, the elite feel "there is no safe haven. There is no place to run and hide," said Uday Shankar, chief executive of Star India, which runs a string of entertainment and news television channels. "They cannot go behind the Taj hotel's double doors and feel shielded from the chaos and insecurity outside. That shield has been shattered. The terrorists struck South Mumbai, the most desirable address in India."

Across the city, wealthy youths paraded with "Enough Is Enough" banners. Hundreds of middle- and upper-class residents of the ritzy Colaba neighborhood gathered outside the terrorist-hit Chabad House, a Jewish center, to perform yogic sun salutations and deep-breathing techniques.

"There was no such protest or activities for us. Now everyone is feeling vulnerable, not just us, the common people," said Madhuri Jayprakash Sawant, 49, whose 29-year-old son is in a coma from brain damage suffered in the 2006 train attacks. "The first-class people are the ones now running the national outrage. But the common man is usually the one who suffers, alone."

Monday, December 08, 2008


The iconic black and white keffiyeh, or Arab headdress, famously donned by late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat has hit the streets of Beirut in a rainbow of colours -- much to the chagrin of older Palestinians.

Stylish youngsters, both men and women, can be seen in the city's chic cafes and restaurants sporting red, blue, pink, brown and purple versions of the keffiyeh.

Western and Arab tourists are also snapping up the hip item.

The trend, however, is seen by many here as an insult to a symbol traditionally linked to the Palestinian cause.

"These colours aren't for us... it's nonsense, it's a fashion show," said Salim Ali Kayd, 74, who has been a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon since 1948, when Israel was created.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

House Un-American Activities Committee

Amidst the threat of atomic death from on high, the western world was embroiled in the Cold War. Although both the American and Soviet governments were painting a horrendous picture of a possible hot war, the so-called Cold War was, for all intents and purposes, a political fabrication. In fact, mutual threats and brinkmanship supported a relatively stable international system, symbolized by the 1963 installation of the telephone "hot line" linking the White House to the Kremlin.

Much like the mass hysteria that has spread over the United States since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many McCarthy-era government officials were calling for and enacting extreme measures to combat a perceived threat. And the real question at the time—as it is for the present—was whether people would retain their basic freedoms and avoid the dredge of conformity that threatens our very humanity.
Ideological State Apparatuses

But it is by an apprenticeship in a variety of know-how wrapped up in the massive inculcation of the ideology of the ruling class that the relations of production in a capitalist social formation, i.e. the relations of exploited to exploiters and exploiters to exploited, are largely reproduced. The mechanisms which produce this vital result for the capitalist regime are naturally covered up and concealed by a universally reigning ideology of the School, universally reigning because it is one of the essential forms of the ruling bourgeois ideology: an ideology which represents the School as a neutral environment purged of ideology (because it is ...lay), where teachers respectful of the ‘conscience’ and ‘freedom’ of the children who are entrusted to them (in complete confidence) by their ‘parents’ (who are free, too, i.e. the owners of their children) open up for them the path to the freedom, morality and responsibility of adults by their own example, by knowledge, literature and their ‘liberating’ virtues

I ask the pardon of those teachers who, in dreadful conditions, attempt to turn the few weapons they can find in the history and learning they ‘teach’ against the ideology, the system and the practices in which they are trapped. They are a kind of hero. But they are rare and how many (the majority) do not even begin to suspect the ‘work’ the system (which is bigger than they are and crushes them) forces them to do, or worse, put all their heart and ingenuity into performing it with the most advanced awareness (the famous new methods!).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai Attacks
Yet again this week we see the recurring narrative amongst head-of-states eager to express there outrage at having not monopolised all forms of violence, espousing the rallying cry for the western nations and there allies that this is "an attack on us all". But what does Miliband mean for example, when he says "us all"? Why wasn't the invasion of Iraq or Lebanon in 2006 an attack on us all. Is a shoot-out in a hotel really more morally reprehensible than a half-tonne bomb dropped on a hotel in Baghdad, or a wedding in Afghanistan. It was also described (presumably equally important) as an attack on "modernity", of course what we do is bomb backward countries in the name of "modernity" which is perfectly acceptable in Miliband's "21st Century international affairs".

An audience member on Question Time asked without irony, are we losing the "war on terror?". The presumptions are all distorted. Who are these self-appointed crusaders assigned to eradicate the scourge of 'terror', the same people who have presided over more civilian deaths in third world countries (where people apparently don't matter, unless they're non-Muslim and reside in "Jewish centres") since the war on terror was declared. Wanton killing of civilians is terrorism, not a war on terrorism, its a shame people are so deeply indoctrinated to see the radically obvious.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Zurabishvili, like other opposition leaders, emphasized that she's pro-Western and doesn't support Russia, which seized two Georgian rebel enclaves and marched its forces within 25 miles of Tbilisi during the invasion.

"I think the big confusion in the American policy . . . is to confuse support for a country and its democracy with the support for a small group of people," Zurabishvili said of Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer, and his

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Partly, I'm angry that there is so little anger around me at what is being done to our society, supposedly in order to protect it," said the 76-year-old in an interview in Waterstone's magazine.

"We have been taken to war under false pretences, and stripped of our civil rights in an atmosphere of panic. Our lawyers don't take to the streets as they have done in Pakistan.

"Our MPs allow themselves to be deluded by their own spin doctors, and end up believing their own propaganda."

He added: "We haul our Foreign Secretary back from a mission to the Middle East so he can vote for 42 days' detention.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

George Bush, Condoleezza Rica and other dignitaries solemnly invoked the sanctity of the United Nations, warning that Russia could be excluded from international institutions “by taking actions in Georgia that are inconsistent with” their principles. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations must be rigorously honored, they intoned – “all nations,” that is, apart from those that the US chooses to attack: Iraq, Serbia, perhaps Iran, and a list of others too long and familiar to mention.

The junior partner joined in as well. British foreign secretary David Miliband accused Russia of engaging in “19th century forms of diplomacy” by invading a sovereign state, something Britain would never contemplate today. That “is simply not the way that international relations can be run in the 21st century,” he added, echoing the decider-in-chief, who said that invasion of “a sovereign neighboring state…is unacceptable in the 21st century.” Mexico and Canada therefore need not fear further invasions and annexation of much of their territory, because the US now only invades states that are not on its borders, though no such constraint holds for its clients, as Lebanon learned once again in 2006.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brown Reborn

The critics remain sceptical about the "quiet man" turning up the volume routine but Brown has a much wider base to convince

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The year 2003 saw the unfolding of two counterinsurgencies. One was in Iraq, and it grew out of foreign invasion. The other was in Darfur, and it grew as a response to an internal insurgency. The former involved a liberation war against a foreign occupation; the latter, a civil war in an independent state. True, if you were an Iraqi or a Darfuri, there was little difference between the brutality of the violence unleashed in either instance. Yet much energy has been invested in how to define the brutality in each instance: whether as counterinsurgency or as genocide. We have the astonishing spectacle of the state that has perpetrated the violence in Iraq, the United States, branding an adversary state, Sudan, the one that has perpetrated genocidal violence in Darfur. Even more astonishing, we had a citizens' movement in America calling for a humanitarian intervention in Darfur while keeping mum about the violence in Iraq.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On Hearts and Minds
it seems US strategy to gain "hearts and minds" is to invade the heart to occupy the mind.
Are authors like Richard Dawkins and your brother Christopher succeeding in rendering God irrelevant to the 21st century? And why do you think faith is essential to British society?

Peter: These authors have discovered that there is a deep anti-Christian feeling among the victims of post-1960s secular university education. But they may be dismayed if they succeed in destroying Christianity, only to have it replaced by Islam. No society or culture can exist for long without faith. Liberal reformers always fall foul of the law of Unintended Consequences, because they don't understand institutions or traditions.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Propaganda is so engrained in national news media that reporting on Wars have been reduced to something resembling a sports column on the national football team.

Hitler on Propaganda:
What, for example, would we say about a poster that was supposed to advertise a new soap and that described other soaps as 'good'?

We would only shake our heads.

Exactly the same applies to political advertising.

The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Danish Cartoons

Some background, the intriguing question is why this provocation took place and who benefited from it. Was the reason as straightforward as the cultural editor of the paper claimed? That is, as a step to preserve or enhance the democratic right of “freedom of the press” and “liberty of expression,” which the Jyllands-Posten claimed were endangered by the media’s self-censorship toward Islam. The alleged motivation for publishing the cartoons might have been credible had the paper been a traditional bastion of democracy. But the group behind the paper has a dubious ideological and political history. Their editorial line was pro-Nazi during the Second World War and militantly antisocialist and anticommunist, as well as vehemently pro-American, during the Cold War. The Jyllands-Posten remains an ardent supporter of Israel’s policies in Palestine, a warm partisan of Danish military participation in the wars in Muslim countries, and hostile to third world immigrants. The appalling irony is that it is this organ of the press that donned the mantle of champion of “freedom of expression” and implicitly contributed to setting the infamous thesis of “clash of civilizations” on the ideological and socio-political agenda.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's influential son, echoed the delight expressed in much of the Arab news media. "What happened in Georgia is a good sign, one that means America is no longer the sole world power setting the rules of the game," the younger Gaddafi was quoted as telling the Russian daily Kommersant. "There is a balance in the world now. Russia is resurging, which is good for us, for the entire Middle East."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Amongst all the left-wing hysteria over Obama its hard not to lose sight of his actual policies. After all Obama's position on the war in Iraq is that it was "inconceived", and that its not working, there's no principled opposition there, anyone could say that. Its what German chiefs of staff were saying after Stalingrad and Barborossa
McCain doesn't know Shi'ite


"Czechoslovakia broke up a long time ago, this is kind of like referring to Jenifer Lopez and Ben Affleck as 'Bennifer'.. today, you just can't do that, 'cause they split up."

I love the way it had to be broken down into a fine paste for americans who can't understand or refer to anything serious without a trivial analogy to make sense of it. Although it is important to treat all serious matters with a sincere and studied triviality.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The recent case of Nicky Reilly was the major tabloid topic this week. The surreality of the Conradian aspect to the episode seemed lost on most commentary. When life imitates art the whole line between reality and fiction becomes blurred. Very few facts have been released about the exact motives and affiliations of the 'bomber' from Plymouth, who seemed to be attempting to blow up an obscure restaurant in Exeter. Nonetheless the fear factor is accelerated and the episode fits neatly into that precise narrative, namely we need to be on guard against this Islamico-Anarchist threat and the "indoctrination" by "radicals" of innocent youth.

The MI5 predictably claimed to have known of Nicky Reilly - a Muslim convert - and that he crossed their "radar", but I have a suspicion that MI5 have absolutely know idea how to handle this threat. Its nothing like the IRA, and the only vague historical parrallel can be found in the dark urban setting of Conrad's The Secret Agent, in 19th Century London, where anarchists attempt the most absurd and audacious atrocities, while lamenting the artificial and corrupt institutions that surround them. With the vast underworld, secret meetings in coffee shops (in this case a chip shop), and bombs carried on 40 minute bus journies some of the detailed conguity with the novel is uncanny.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Backing the Bishop

What the opponants of reasoned and proportionate attention and discussion of issues relating the Islam and the modern world all have in common is an oppressive commitment to political correctness. Thousands of e-mails of complaint to the Sun and the BBC by people who I strongly presume have barely listened the Archbishops actual comments in either his Radio 4 interview or his address previously, don't serve as a barometer of public opinion, and therefore shouldn't be used as justification for journalistic hysteria. Why does a tepid and reasonable discussion about religion and civil law evoke outcry in our mainstream 24hour media!