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War Now!
In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security - they wanted a comfortable life and they lost it all - security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free. --Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Friday, August 30, 2002  


I have no idea who Hilary McPhee (with one 'l') is, but I think I can guess where she's coming from. See if you can work out her politics too.

I am of the generation who thought we could do anything - and, for a while, we did. We saw Australia change from a monoculture into something rather various and worldly with more than sports stars and soldiers to offer the world. And our unique sort of culture was reflected in art and literature and film.

"We are stardust...we are golden...and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden..." Yeah, if it wasn't for Paul Hogan and Mad Max movies, this country would look like a post-industrial wasteland.

We also knew we had political clout and were building a good society here. Civil liberties and the public interest went hand in hand.

I'm not quite sure what this means, but you have to admit it sounds terribly worthy.

As students with cheap rents and no HECS burden, we had time to take to the streets. We quizzed every politician in the land about opportunities for women. We changed the legislation on abortion and equal pay and homosexuality. We eventually stopped Australian participation in the Vietnam war.

Do you think the fact that the Americans pulled out, having decided they couldn't win, might have had something to do with that? Or does Ms McPhee seriouisly think that a buch of hippies managed to affect Australian foriegn policy? Perhaps she's just nostalgic for the days when she had long hair, dope was better quality, and someone else paid for her "education".

Now, like many people I know, I wonder if what we did will be seen as a blip on the screen. We think about cultural shifts and generational change. Certainly much that we took for granted is not as firmly in place as we thought it was. A lot of hard work is unravelling and the disturbing thought confronts us that we are talking to ourselves.

At last, something I can agree with her about!

One of the hard facts we have to face is that the vast majority who are easy about the country's great lurch back, xenophobic and self-absorbed, into fortress Australia - and the rest who are deeply disturbed by it - are separated by as wide a gulf as existed early in the Vietnam era.

Yes, how often have I seen one group of enlightened, educated, concerned and sensitive ABC listeners huddled together in one corner, discussing how to halt Australia's slide into fascism, while the rest of us beat Aborigines to death, barbeque endangered native species, and make prank phone calls to the RAAF ordering airstrikes on boatloads of refugees in the Timor Strait.

That period of radical action and gradual bridging of the divide is far more remote to the under-30s than World War II was to us. And now the young are likely to be on the conservative side - or too distracted to care much either way. Recent immigrants and the poorly paid are there with them - which is less surprising - and this time there is no leader on the horizon to inspire a generation.

"Where have you gone, Abie Hoffman, our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you...."

Good words are needed more than ever - words that cut through the mockery and pre-emptive labelling of critics and sceptics. But the hard truth is that a lot of the words we have been using do not work anymore.

Could it be that the words have been shown by decades of exprience to be a pile of shite? Nahhh, can't be.

Unless we find new ways to take our convictions apart and rephrase them in language that rings true for a new generation, we have no hope of persuading our leaders to act differently.

You know, if you take a big, steaming turd, you can spray it with gold paint, tie it in a pretty pink ribbon, put it in a handsome presentation box and announce it's on sale this week ony for an incredible $39.99, but guess what? IT'S STILL A TURD!

Writing well into the public debate has rarely been as important as it is right now - and I mean by novelists, poets, playwrights, screenwriters as well as all those who write non-fiction. Writers are not very different from anyone else, of course - except that they have the great gift of words. They do not have a better moral sense than the rest of us. They might even be worse than most at suggesting policy solutions. They are not even always better at understanding how the world works.

So we should listen to these people who may have the moral sense of a wolverine of methamphetaines, who suggest reducing the road toll by ten percent by having the cops set up roadblocks and shooting every tenth motorist, and who believe the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group and the Boy Scouts of America together secretly use the British royal family to run a cocaine ring to fund the East Kooyong Free Kindergarten, to what end we have not been able to determine?

All persuasive arguments so far. Go on.

But we need them to come up with the words that move us, that cut through the selfishness and the fear, and the prevailing pragmatism that judges policy, rather like television shows, not by its intrinsic merit or moral value, but by its popularity.

What is WRONG with you people! Can't you SEE that it's the enlightened people like ME who should rule? WE are the only ones who understand what's right, not the people! How DARE you insist on voting for the Coalition? Haven't I explained it with enough CAPITAL LETTERS? You have no RIGHT to govern yourselves! You're too STUPID! ARRRGGGHHH!

The public spaces available for trying out ideas and debating issues have shrunk in recent years. The magazines that can respond fast and reach wide readerships are at an all-time low. Local websites have not yet filled the gap.

Hello? Is this thing working? Testing, testing...

Our precious ABC's audience is still largely monocultural and well over 40.

Why aren't people listening to the ABC? Why? And they tend to be white! Ugh, how perfectly horrid! It's not as if white people comprised the overwhelming majority of the population or anything.

The range of ages and voices heard is limited. The same names keep cropping up and the young are notably excluded. They are not reading newspapers or listening to news radio. Student debate and political activity is hard to find.

They should be doing proper student things like smoking dope, screwing themselves silly, and trashing the Admin block. Now in my day we knew how things were done. Let me tell you young people what you're doing wrong. You see...hey, come backl! Where are you going?

In Australia we have a healthy suspicion of combining literature or art with politics - all the deeper in an age when the market's seductions are international, of course. But it is a perennial subject at writers' festivals. Is art properly above and beyond politics and bound to degenerate if it makes contact, or do writers have an obligation to engage?

At the one writers conference I attended, all I saw them engage in was heavy drinking and as much sex as they could cram in betwen windy speeches about how much better writers were than ordinary people.

This is a fairly luxurious debate in most parts of the world - and we may be reaching a point in this country when some of us would agree. But apart from the social realism of the '30s, most Australian authors have tended to avoid present-day political dilemmas in their art. Perhaps the past still has to be grappled with in order to make sense of what is happening now.

Ah the '30s, when the best and brightest made a good living appeasing fascist dictators and/or licking Uncle Joe Stalin's boots into a lovely sheen. And what was the lesson to be learned from that sort of behaviour? Gee, let's think, consequences, consequences....well there was that whole global conflict in which millions died to preserve, that can't be it, everyone knows that was caused by top-hatted capitalists.

Some of our best-known authors would still argue that politics is not the stuff of literature. They choose not to see how embedded they are in Australian culture's eroding position in the world, nor how the post-colonial condition, consciously or unconsciously, informs their work.

Translation - white people are racists.

We need words that resonate and sink slowly in.

Like an overpaid academic in the quicksand of her own outdated rhetoric?

Just as some American writers soon after September 11 asked "Why are we so hated?", we need to reframe the certainties some of us thought defined this country. Only writers can do it - find words that make waves or cause ripples beneath the surface of our complacency.

Cogent, pointed, and utterly compelling. I'm convinced. There's only one thing for it. I'll have to start a blog. Oh. Looks like I already have.

Hilary McPhee, former publisher and chairwoman of the Australia Council, is vice-chancellor's fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Well of course she is.

posted by | 2:04 PM


Germaine Greer, the world famous Australian pain in the rear end, landed in Melbourne yesterday. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be cause for any excitement beyond the standard stocking up on anti-headache pills by an apprehensive populace. But this is different.

You see, a while back, she made a lot of outlandish statements about her acknowledgement of the role of Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of Australia, and how she asks the local tribe for permission every time she coms back home. Actually I have no problem with that. Grievous wrongs have been committed against Aborigines, and acknowledging that they occured is the very least that should be done.

But if someone is going to loudly announce their intention to do something, don't you think it might be a good idea to actually follow through?

If she landed at Melbourne airport, she did not tell the Wurundjeri council -- which represents the traditional owners of Melbourne airport land -- as she has said she would.

Dr Greer was quoted two years ago as saying she does not enter Australia unless welcomed by the traditional owners of the land on which she arrives. It was also reported that Dr Greer claimed she would not leave the airport until traditional land owners let her.

But the acting spokeswoman for Melbourne's Wurundjeri Council was not aware Dr Greer was due in the country.

I am reliably informed that when Ms Greer is in the country, we'll ALL wind up being aware of it in short order, whether we want to or not.

posted by | 1:22 PM


...of Whacking Day. The true larrakin voice of Australia. Here's where he tears Mark Latham a new bunghole.

The government is also engaged in a double standard. At the last election it said: "We decide who comes into this country and under what conditions." Yet in other areas of public policy it allows foreigners to call the shots.

What a fucking pathetic reprobate. Our government determines policy here. They are representatives of the Australian people, who voted for them knowing they had such policies

It allows Australia's foreign policy to be determined in Washington. When the Americans say jump, the Prime Minister asks: "How high?"

No, he agrees with their policy and wants to support them. Don't you understand the difference, you meathead?

And besides, every time some Gaddafi-loving, Saddam-apologist UN employee criticises Australia, how come you Labor weasels can't wait to say "how may lick your asshole, oh master?", "where do we sign your treaty our public doesn't want?". Or more often, "how may we abase ourselves and apologise to the offence we have caused your glorious organisation?". You chickenshit, pants-pissing bastards need to fucking grow a spine before you lecture anyone about grovelling to foreign interests, you limp, gutless fucks.

On constitutional reform, its stance is determined in London. And recently Abbott spoke of the Catholicisation of the Liberal Party. Catholicisation means that the Liberal Party's social policies are being determined in Rome. This is the ultimate hypocrisy. The government may decide who comes into the country but, increasingly, its other policies are being decided in Washington, London and Rome.

Yet you seem perfectly content to do this yourselves. You're so desperate to suck on the politically-correct rectum of the UN, you seem to forget about your lofty principles on sovereignty, or looking after the best interests of your own country. God help us if you whimpering, spineless bastards get to represent our country before the world.

All I can say is if Chris Textor lived in New Zealand, he'd be hunted down and forced to undergo conciousness-raising sessions in a geodesic dome in the Coromandel, while listening to CDs of rainforest sounds as Jeanette Fitzsimons chants over and over and over again "You are a child of the universe, no les than the tress and the stars..." until his head explodes or he manages to chew his own leg off and escape.

posted by | 9:49 AM


The following document fell off the back of a truck somewhere near Taumaranui or perhaps Waikouiti. Anyhow, it shows how the other side operates and just what they are planning.

Notes Of The Meeting Of The Middle Earth Socialist Liberation Organisation (University Of Minas Tirith Sub-Branch), First Semester Meeting Of The Non-Hierarchical Supreme Politburo.

Representatives of The Sisters Of Suspicion, Friends Of The Orc Liberation Front, The Anti-Ent Green Party (Non-Elves), The Inter-Species Socialists, The Cross-Species Socialists, The Non-Species Socialists, The Socialist Front, The Socialist Coalition And The Socialist Party Of Gondor, Mordor And Parts Of Rohan, The Animal Liberation Front, The Queer Coalition Of Middle Earth, Lesbians For An All Female World, The Alliance, The Coalition, The United Front, The Peoples Front, The Other Peoples Front, and twelve others.

The meeting heard from Smeadol who has been studying discrimination and who read to us an interesting article that pointed out that Sauron is simply reaching out to the rest of Middle Earth and that his over-enthusiasm sometimes makes us think he is violent, in fact he is only responding to years of covert abuse by the racist Elves and their fifth columnists like Gandalf the Gray. The article was by someone with the unlikely name of Gnome Chomsky.

A resolution was passed condemning the unwarranted genocide perpetrated by the Ents at Isengard and demanding that Treebeard be forthwith handed over to Mordor as a war criminal for a fair and free trial and subsequent execution.

Discussion was held concerning the concern of Herriasse (Feminist Front For Free Fondling) that none of the so called Fellowship of the Ring were female thereby proving it was a patriarchal conspiracy. Gimlet son of Screwdriver of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Transexual, Transvestite, Fa’fa’fine, Takataapui, Otherly Sexually Oriented and Related Trades Union and Mutual Society of the Arts pointed out that even though their lives just simply revolved around jewellery, since Sam and Frodo never actually came out of the closet they were obviously self-hating queers and therefore lower than pondscum.

After an objection from Mgmgmgmgmgmgmgmgmgmgllil of the Equal Rights For Amoebic Like Lifeforms Front (or Back, it doesn’t really matter when you are an amoebic like lifeform), Gimlet son of Screwdriver duly apologised to all pondscum, particularly Guarana, or, as it is known in the Elvish tongue: Spirulina.

It was resolved to lobby the Vice Chancellor (hereby always referred to as "that fascist bastard") of the University of Minas Tirith to establish a Department of Orc Studies so that people can learn that their culture is just as valid as any other.

Discussion took place regarding the fact that all Elves are blond and white and therefore automatically racist and that they live forever (or thereabouts) because they are keeping the means of longevity from the downtrodden proletariat.

This lead to a discussion of the fact that in all of Middle Earth only Mordor possesses a recognisable economy and that, apart from that closet case Sam Gamgee, no one ever had a productive job. The fact that Sam gave up his farm job to go chasing Frodo’s ring was commented upon.

The College Magazine reporter, who wished to be addressed as Wormtongue (until it was pointed out that this name was taken and he settled for the less satisfactory but no less apposite monicker of ‘Robert Fisk’), noted that his earlier prediction that ‘Mordor would turn out to be Gondor’s Vietnam’ may have been a little off the mark but loudly demanded a judicial inquiry, perhaps even a Special Prosecutor, to look into ‘Denethor-gate’ and the supposed ‘suicide’ of the Steward. He called for Gandalf to be placed under arrest pending the inquiry and also questioned the role played by ‘Strider, “now styling himself King Aragorn” and the quisling Faramir’. This was so resolved.

The suggestion that ‘peace-keeping’ forces be invited into Mordor from the Western Isles to keep an eye on things and check for Balrogs, Nazgul and other weapons of mass destruction was a typical case of Elvish/Gondorian neo-colonialism and would be combated by a half hour sit-in in the Dean’s Office next Tuesday at half past four. This being resolved the meeting wound up and everyone retired to the nearest Tavern.

I am left only to comment that in the end it wasn't altruism that won the day - Frodo wussed out in the end and Gollum (inadvertantly) saved the day - what was that I was saying about enlightened self-interest being the only valid motivater?

David Bisman

posted by | 9:26 AM


I wish to apologise, I am sorry. I am really very sorry. I am so sorry. I am just so fucking sorry!

You see, my computer went on the fritz. As far as I can make out from what the repair chappie said - after he had spent a great deal of time tut-tutting and ooohing and aaaahing and you-don't-see-that-every-daying and so forth - the widget that connects the whatsit with the whosits and lets in the hamster that spins the Internet wheel and rings the woggle that makes the screen go decided to have a bit of a lie down and subsequently the rubber-band wound down and I couldn't make my computer do anything I wanted, no matter how hard I hit it or how loudly I yelled at it.

Anyway, it's working again now and I am back...nyahahahahahahaha.

David Bisman

posted by | 9:21 AM

Thursday, August 29, 2002  


This article by Andrew Bolt appears in the Herald-Sun, but you need a subscription, so there's no direct link. Andrew has given me permission to reprint his articles here.

SBS journalists are desperate to avoid offending Muslims but still get bashed. Maybe they should take a cue from Hollywood

YOU'D think the 10 Muslims who bashed an SBS television crew outside the Lakemba Mosque two weeks ago would have been more grateful.
After all the SBS has done for them! Think of all its Arab shows. Of its sermons about ``racist'' Australians.

Think, too, of SBS's refusal last year to broadcast footage it had shot of the Grand Mufti, Australia's most senior Islamic cleric, telling worshippers at his Lakemba Mosque that suicide bombers were heroes.

SBS said it killed this footage because it didn't want us to get the ``wrong idea''. The ``wrong idea'' presumably being the right one -- that our top Islamic leader thinks suicide bombers are heroes.

So the three-man SBS crew that drove to Lakemba after the trial of the leader of a pack of Lebanese gang-rapists must have thought it was among friends. Heavens, hadn't their station just the day before refused even to report the biggest story in the country -- that this same gang-rapist had been given 55 years in the slammer?
Guess that was one more story SBS feared might give us the ``wrong idea''.

SBS could not have done more to protect our Muslim community from proper scrutiny. Yet after politely interviewing Lebanese ``leader'' Keysar Trad (who is also the Grand Mufti's translator), its TV crew walked out into an ambush by 10 Muslim men who gave them a flogging -- apparently because they were Australian journalists and not Lebanese Muslims. The racists.

Poor old SBS. It's a bit hard flying the multicult flag when you're too bruised to lift your arm over your head.

BUT it will find a way, I'm sure. And all it need do to be inspired to further heroic feats of ignoring Islamic militancy is see the latest Hollywood blockbuster, The Sum of All Fears, which opens here today.

The film is based on Tom Clancy's best-seller, in which Islamic extremists, helped by former East German communists, plan to explode an atomic bomb in the United States.

But there's one big change from the book: the film's villains have been turned into German Nazis and a white South African, after producer Mace Neufeld and director Phil Alden Robinson were lobbied by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to stop casting Muslims as baddies.

As we know, brave Hollywood never gives in to political pressure or faddish ideology, and so Neufeld looked CAIR right in the eye and said: the film would drop the Muslim villains. Right away. Whined Neufeld: ``I don't want to deal with that. It's too tough.''

DIRECTOR Robinson was just as quick to surrender, and wrote to CAIR, squeaking: ``I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs, and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination.''

Yes, Robinson was so convinced of the need to combat discrimination that -- being a true liberal multicult coward -- he made his bad guys German Nazis instead. Mustn't have those ``negative images'' of an ethnic group, nicht wahr?

Mustn't try for too much reality, either. I mean, who do you think poses the greater threat: the new Islamic fascists or Hitler's old ones, goose-shuffling in their Zimmer frames?

Since the film was shot, we've had our answer, as if it wasn't already as obvious as a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv. We've had Islamic terrorists destroy the World Trade Centre, attack the Pentagon, storm the Indian Parliament and slaughter hundreds of Israeli civilians.

We've also discovered the al-Qaeda terrorist network, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, was working on a ``dirty'' nuclear bomb, and we've seen its videos in which it tests poison gas on dogs.

Islamic extremists have even aimed at Australian targets -- throwing grenades at an Australian school in Jakarta, shooting up an Australian-led school in Pakistan, and planning a bomb attack on our High Commission in Singapore.

And don't think those attacks on us were just cases of mistaken identity -- like these terrorists somehow forgot we're nice Australians, you know, with SBS.
I'm not sure if SBS mentioned this, or thought you'd get the ``wrong idea'', but Osama bin Laden included us in his declaration of war against the Christian West last November.

``The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores,'' he raged in a statement broadcast on the Al-Jazeera television station, ``and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world''.

And what have old German Nazis been up to in this same time? Throwing food in their Argentinian nursing homes? Playing Marlene Dietrich records up loud?

What makes Robinson's surrender to CAIR so ludicrous isn't just that he weakened the plausibility of his movie. It's that in deleting any reference to Islamic terrorists, he gave in to an outfit that is accused of links to Islamic terrorists.

Yes, CAIR has been funded by the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim ``charity'' which was shut down by the US Justice Department this year for diverting cash to the notorious Hamas terrorist group.

The head of CAIR, Nihad Awad, himself said in 1994: ``I am in support of the Hamas movement,'' and even claimed that the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre was not carried out by the Islamic crazies who were convicted for it, but by ``both Mossad and the Egyptian intelligence''.

Just the man to complain to Hollywood about ``the barrage of negative or stereotypical portrayals of Muslims'', making them all look like they were terrorists or headcases, or something.

IN fact, so good is Awad at turning Islamic terrorists into German Nazis, that he was brought to Melbourne last month by the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth to debate questions such as: ``What is the definition of terrorism and who is fault (sic) of this definition?''

The answer, it may not surprise you, is the racist media and entertainment industries, which now and then still refer to Muslims who blow up things or declare jihad or act in ways not entirely helpful in a secular democracy embracing people of many faiths.

And how to fix this ``problem''? I haven't discussed this with Awad, but I'm sure he'd agree: let's get SBS to reshoot the attack on its crew, but this time make the guy who breaks the cameraman's nose an old German guy called Klaus.

posted by | 1:30 PM


Open country warfare presents its own unique challenges. Here is a memo by a senior 1st sergeant from the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry (10th Mountain Division) serving in Afghanistan with “Task Force Rakkasan,” which fought in a number of major engagements including Operation Anaconda. The emailed “lessons learned” memorandum was distributed to the senior leadership of the U.S. Army. Clarifying comments are inserted in [brackets].

Go here and scroll down, there's plenty more.

I would like to pass on a few things learned during our recent deployment. It won’t be in a specific order, so bear with me.

I guess the biggest lesson I learned is that nothing changes from how you train at JRTC [the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.]. We all try to invent new dilemmas and hp's because it's a real deployment, but we end up out-smarting ourselves. Go with what you know, stick With how you train.

Some of the things in particular were soldier's load. Because you're in the mountains of Afghanistan, you try to invent new packing lists, or new uniforms. Some units went in with gore-tex and polypro only, when the weather got bad they were the only ones to have cold weather injuries that needed to be evac[uat]ed. We've all figured out how to stay warm during the winter, so don't change your uniforms. It was never as cold as I've seen it here or Fort Bragg during the winter.

Because of the high altitudes and rough terrain, we all should have been combat light.

That's the first thing you learn at JRTC, you can’t fight with a ruck on your back. We packed to stay warm at night. Which was a mistake; you take only enough to survive until the sun comes up.

We had extreme difficulty moving with all our weight. If our movement would have been to relieve a unit in contact or a time-sensitive mission we would not have been able to move in a timely manner. It took us eight hours to move five klicks.

With just the [Interceptor Hard Body Armor] vest and [Enhanced Tactical Load-bearing Vest or the MOLLE vest] we were easily carrying 80 lbs. Throw on the ruck and your sucking.

We out-smarted ourselves on how much water to carry. We took in over 12 quarts per man on our initial insertion, which greatly increased our weight. In the old days, you did a three-day mission with six quarts of water, and that was on Fort Campbell in the summer. Granted, we were all heat exhaustion [casualties] at the end, but it's more than do-able. I say go in with six quarts; if your re-supply is working, then drink as much as possible, keeping the six quarts in case re-supply gets weathered out.

We also over-tasked our helicopter support bringing in unneeded re-supply because we've lost a lot of our needed fieldcraft. We didn't even think to take iodine tablets [to purify water from melted snow etc.] until after we got on the ground.

If you're in a good fight, you’re going to need all your birds for medevac and ammo re-supply.

Bottom line is, we have to train at the right soldier’s load, relearn how to conserve water.

posted by | 1:20 PM


What have we learned from Jenin? If Saddam is genuine in his hints that he'd hole his army up in the capital in the belief that the US won't risk a house-to-house Stalingrad-style assault, are they any techniques we can use the minimise that threat? Jim Dunnigan gives us an insight into what the IDF has learned about fighting in built-up areas.

Tanks are a necessity, unless you want to take very high infantry losses (5-7 of your troops for every enemy soldier).

The most useful armored vehicle was the D-9 armored bulldozer. This beast is large enough, and powerful enough, to plow through buildings, or to shake buildings to set off booby traps or force civilians (and sometimes fighters) to clear out. You’ve got to protect the D-9 with infantry, as it is not invulnerable to anti-tank weapons.

The ratio of infantry to armor vehicles should vary from 30 to 100 infantrymen per tank.

It’s better to fight at night, as US and Israeli forces have better night fighting equipment and train to use it. This includes the night vision gear on your tanks and armored vehicles. By cutting off the electricity in the enemy held city, you have a significant advantage that should be used.

Grab the high ground, meaning the roofs and top floors of buildings. About all helicopters are good for is to use their guns to clear the enemy off roofs, and to land your troops up there.

Deal with the underground. The sewers will be used by the enemy to move around. You will have to blow up portions of the sewer system. It’s not worth the casualties to go down and fight in the sewers.

Snipers are the biggest problem, followed by machine-guns and booby traps. The troops have to learn to stay under cover at all times. And if they smoke at night, don’t do it anywhere that an enemy sniper can get a shot at you. Most snipers will be in the upper stories of buildings (but not the roofs where your helicopters can get at them.) A smart foe will booby trap the ground floor entrance and arrange for another escape route, so that if you send troops into the building, the sniper will escape and your guys will run into the trip wires and explosives. The antidote for this is to take the high ground first and use your own snipers to take out the enemy snipers. This is where night operations are essential. The sniper cannot hit what he can’t see, and enemy snipers will have a lot fewer clear shots at night. When you do encounter a sniper, take how out with your own snipers, or tank fire, or take the building he’s in down.

Obstacles can work for you. The enemy will try and set up barricades and other obstacles that will lead your troops into a trap. Follow your own plan and plow right through obstacles. You can also use obstacles, especially trenches, to contain the enemy and prevent them from using vehicles to move troops around.

posted by | 1:14 PM


Now that "Fisking" has entered our own little private warblogger langauge, it's as well to look at the practice in an historical context. Pouring derisive scorn on one's opponents from a great height is an ancient and honorable art, going back to Biblical times. And you should see what some of the tomb inscriptions in Egypt have to say about Ankhenaten as his so-called "religious reforms".

I here offer up, for those of you who have not had the distinct pleasure of reading it, what I consider to be perhaps the finest fisk of all time, at least in the English language. It's a literary argument about the relative merits of James Fenimore Cooper's "Deerslayer" series, featuring Deerslayer-Hawkeye-Long-Rifle-Leatherstocking-Pathfinder-Natty Bumppo. It's probably best known to modern audiences through the movie "Last of the Mohicans", which is actually a thumpingly good flick, despite the literary failings of the original author.

Poor Cooper. When you get fisked by none other than Mark Twain, you tend not to recover. Ever. I wonder what he'd have made of George Monbiot?

Cooper made the exit of that stream fifty feet wide, in the first place, for no particular reason; in the second place, he narrowed it to less than twenty to accommodate some Indians. He bends a "sapling" to form an arch over this narrow passage, and conceals six Indians in its foliage. They are "laying" for a settler's scow or ark which is coming up the stream on its way to the lake; it is being hauled against the stiff current by rope whose stationary end is anchored in the lake; its rate of progress cannot be more than a mile an hour. Cooper describes the ark, but pretty obscurely. In the matter of dimensions "it was little more than a modern canal boat." Let us guess, then, that it was about one hundred and forty feet long. It was of "greater breadth than common." Let us guess then that it was about sixteen feet wide. This leviathon had been prowling down bends which were but a third as long as itself, and scraping between banks where it only had two feet of space to spare on each side. We cannot too much admire this miracle. A low- roofed dwelling occupies "two-thirds of the ark's length" -- a dwelling ninety feet long and sixteen feet wide, let us say -- a kind of vestibule train. The dwelling has two rooms -- each forty- five feet long and sixteen feet wide, let us guess. One of them is the bedroom of the Hutter girls, Judith and Hetty; the other is the parlor in the daytime, at night it is papa's bedchamber. The ark is arriving at the stream's exit now, whose width has been reduced to less than twenty feet to accommodate the Indians -- say to eighteen. There is a foot to spare on each side of the boat. Did the Indians notice that there was going to be a tight squeeze there? Did they notice that they could make money by climbing down out of that arched sapling and just stepping aboard when the ark scraped by? No, other Indians would have noticed these things, but Cooper's Indian's never notice anything. Cooper thinks they are marvelous creatures for noticing, but he was almost always in error about his Indians. There was seldom a sane one among them.

The ark is one hundred and forty-feet long; the dwelling is ninety feet long. The idea of the Indians is to drop softly and secretly from the arched sapling to the dwelling as the ark creeps along under it at the rate of a mile an hour,and butcher the family. It will take the ark a minute and a half to pass under. It will take the ninety-foot dwelling a minute to pass under. Now, then, what did the six Indians do? It would take you thirty years to guess, and even then you would have to give it up, I believe. Therefore, I will tell you what the Indians did. Their chief, a person of quite extraordinary intellect for a Cooper Indian, warily watched the canal-boat as it squeezed along under him and when he had got his calculations fined down to exactly the right shade, as he judged, he let go and dropped. And missed the boat! That is actually what he did. He missed the house, and landed int he stern of the scow. It was not much of a fall, yet it knocked him silly. He lay there unconscious. If the house had been ninety-seven feet long he would have made the trip. The error lay in the construction of the house. Cooper was no architect.

There still remained in the roost five Indians. The boat has passed under and is now out of their reach. Let me explain what the five did -- you would not be able to reason it out for yourself. No. 1 jumped for the boat, but fell in the water astern of it. Then No. 2 jumped for the boat, but fell in the water still further astern of it. Then No. 3 jumped for the boat, and fell a good way astern of it. Then No. 4 jumped for the boat, and fell in the water away astern. Then even No. 5 made a jump for the boat -- for he was Cooper Indian. In that matter of intellect, the difference between a Cooper Indian and the Indian that stands in front of the cigar-shop is not spacious.

posted by | 9:57 AM


Please follow this link to a fresh Lileks screed. Proceed in an orderly fashion to view Guardian turd-on-a-stick George Monbiot sliced, diced, julienne-fried and baked for twety minutes in a white wine sauce. No kicking him while he's down, and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times.

Already, in the rich nations, the beneficiaries of development spend much of their money on escaping from it: it costs a fortune to live in a place that does not assault your eyes and ears with ugliness. To absorb our increasing wealth we must keep building. Our new cars need new roads, our new goods and services must come from new shops and warehouses and offices. One day there may be nowhere left in which we can shut the noise out of our heads.

As opposed to the famous peace and quiet of a Nigerian slum.

Wealth also appears to reduce our capacity to act. Our reliance upon technology supplants our reliance upon ourselves and other people.

You have to say this for the chap: once he gets the old Fatuity Extruder up and running, it produces a bumper crop. Yes, my reliance on my car supplants my need for a coolie to run me to work. My reliance upon my computer supplants my need to amble down to the foolscap store for paper, ink and quail feathers, during which I would have many Meaningful Interactions with my fellow man. My reliance on modern medicine means that I do not have to summon the entire village to form an anti-hex circle around my cardboard box to keep the devils out. My reliance upon the grocery store, with its angry chuffing refrigeration units and Gaia-soiling trucks idling at the loading dock means I do not have to rely on the bonny prince to permit me to farm my meager plot and keep enough to feed my scrawny shite-footed children. My reliance on electrical power means I do not have to trundle to the bog and gather peat.

posted by | 9:43 AM

Wednesday, August 28, 2002  


They stole the results of next year's elections! Boom boom!

I lived in Singapore for two years (1973 - 75), and every night we would watch our Burmese cat, Teka, go totally Simba-Lord-Of-The-Jungle on all the geckos that swarmed in through the ventilation holes to eat the bugs attracted by the lights. Or at least she would try.

It was better than anything on TV, I swear, especially when she missed. To be fair, it was the early to mid-70s and we were in a rigidly controlled Chinese city-state, so watching paint dry was more entertaining than TV.

"Good evening, here is the completely unbiased and free news service brough to you by the government. Mr Lee says productivity is down for this fiscal quarter. Mr Lee is most displeased! Singaporeans must work harder if they want Mr Lee to let them one day wear their hair so it touches the collar.

And now for your viewing pleasure, we present - "Z Cars". To those of you who wrote in requesting "Mod Squad", no you may not view "Mod Squad". Mr Lee says it encourages hippies and drugs! GNP must be boosted by 12% before Mr Lee will even think about letting Singaporeans view "Mod Squad"! Now either view the TV with happiness and gratitude to Mr Lee, or get back to work!"

Cats like to retain their dignity at all times, and ESPECIALLY Burmese, so Teka's instant "I-MEANT-To-Do-That!" glare at us after realising halfway through a leap that she wasn't going to make it and attempting to go back to the couch in mid-air and instead going in two different directions at once and landing clumsily on a side table was one of those proceless Kodak moments.

Although I don't know if Mr Lee would have laughed. Come to think of it, I can't remember ever seeing him smile the whole time I lived in Singapore. Too busy looking for hippies I guess.

posted by | 10:39 PM


Bingo! Here it is!

Melbourne scientists have successfully tested an anti-obesity pill that burns off fat by mimicking human growth hormone. The pill could be available in four years. Monash University scientist Frank Ng, who developed the drug, said it would help overweight people shed half a kilogram a week, improving their health, not just their looks.

[ ... ]

The pill was tested on 16 obese men in Adelaide. Just one dose increased fat breakdown with no apparent side-effects. It is expected to cost about $5 per day. The drug, a synthesised piece of a protein contained naturally in human growth hormone, boosts fat metabolism, encouraging cells to break down and burn up fat.

And once again, I have to take my hat off to Australian scientists. They've already managed to crack teleportation, now a magic anti-fat pill!

Naturally, I have gone to the company website and put my name down for the next round of trials of the drug, but with my luck I'll be one of the control group that gets the placebo. Well, that's science.

I'll tell you one thing though - no way am I going to test out the teleporter, I've seen Star Trek, I know what can go wrong...

posted by | 1:32 PM


Coming to you direct from the BBC website (naturally), we bring you today's Moral Equivalence Lesson. Bring a chuck bucket, you'll need it.

A documentary film to be screened on US TV two days before the anniversary of 11 September will show how the lives of Afghan citizens were changed by October's bombing raids.

Not changed by being forced to live under a ruthless, opressive reigime. Not changed by the dramatic libration of the country by the United States. No, by the bombing raids. Just bombing raids. Nothing about the bombs being targeted at the enemy, about them being a neccessary part of the liberation, just evil bombs dropping more or less at random.

Afghanistan: Year 1380 documents the efforts by an Italian doctor, Gino Strada, and the Milan-based humanitarian group Emergency to give medical help to Afghans amid a backdrop of US and UK bombs.

Oh, I'm sory, my mistake, of course we mean American bombs! Dropped from American planes. Made in America. Ah ah ah ah ah ah....sorry, bad Laurie Anderson flashback there.

The film shows the plight of civilians, many of whom had no idea where the US was or what happened on 11 September - as well as screening footage of Taleban prisoners being held by US forces.

That's funny - before the liberation they were touted as the Mighty Pushtun Warrior, Humbler of Empires, but now they're simple, geographically-challenged peasants.

"We are a simple people sahib, we know little of the world beyond our peaceful village. We know nothing about this "America" of which you speak. Apart from my cousin Ali who is a night manager at a 7-11 in Venice Beach - Go Lakers!"

And we see the Taliban prisoners but not their victims? Oh, that's right, their victims are kind of dead right now and don't make for exciting documentary footage, what with having to be dug up and then just sitting there decomposing slowly.

Filmmakers Alberto Vendemmiati, Fabrizio Lazzaretti and Giuseppe Pettito had already made a documentary film about Afghanistan, Jung: In The Land Of The Mujaheddin.

Sounds entirely fair, reasonable and unbiased. What's next? Freud: In the Mighty Land of Two Rivers, the People Hail the Glorious Defender of Arab Honour, Saddam Hussein, and Vow to Liberate Jerusalem!

"We just said we have to go," said Vendemmiati, "We couldn't just stay there and watch TV after the three years we spent going and coming from that country."

Three years coming and going from Taliban-ruled, Al-Qaeda-influenced Afghanistan? Really? Please step into this building here, a Mr Smith, one of our cousins from Langlely would like a word. It'll only take a week or so. Do you bruise easily?

The trio chose to steer clear of politics in the film, concentrating instead on showing the situation through the eyes of the Afghan people.

Gag, Choke, cough (bullshit) cough.

"When we talk about our victims from 11 September, we go straight on to their stories," Vendemmiati points out. "What about the Afghans? Don't they have the right to be considered human beings?"

Indeed. They have been liberated from an awful tyranny. Oh, I'm sory, I mean bombed for no reason at all by the Satanic Bush at the behest of the Enron Board of Directors, who were fronting for the CIA, Oil Industry, Military-Industrial complex conspiracy who require the sacrifice of innocent Muslim children as part of their pact with the Prince of Darkness to give them supremacy over all the kingdoms of the earth. Or because they wanted the valuable...ah...the highly lucrative Afghan....erm...the strategically vital....oh crap.

The title stems from the time frame of the events - 2001 is the year 1380 in the Persian calendar, used by most of the Afghan population.

It's 1380 in Afghanistan? Why am I not surprised?

US President George W Bush is also heard as a voiceover in the film, explaining why the US had launched attacks on Afghanistan. His speech is interspersed with a scene of a wounded Afghan citizen in Emergency's makeshift hospital, and footage of injured children.

Well of course it is. Won't someone, somewhere, for the love of all that's holy, please, think of the children? Any shots of the cheering crowds greeting their liberators? No? What, did the film stock run out?

The film made its debut at the Human Rights Watch film festival in New York this summer.

Yeah, how dare America liberate an imprisoned people. We must defend their right to be horribly tortured, imprisoned without trial, or taken to a soccer stadium and shot in the back of the head. For shame America! For shame!

I predict this pile of shite will win a ton of film awards. I can't wait for Margaret Pomerantz to give it five stars.

posted by | 12:23 PM


The anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has agreed with Amir Butler, who looks set to become this months winner of the coveted title of "Warblogger Favourite Muslim". Watch out Amir, you're in danger of becoming as poplar as Daniel Pipes. Naturally we'll have the decency not to praise you in public too much. You'll be more of an "underground" hit.

Every once in a while, you find yourself in utter agreement with people that you'd never thought you'd ever agree with on anything whatsoever. I had just such a moment today.

Amir Butler, I salute you for once.

Not too long ago, a Complete Idiotarian of the Worst Kind (arguably insane, but that's no excuse) by name of Robert J. Goldstein, a podiatrist of Florida, decided that in order to serve right vs. wrong, he had to deliberately blow up demonstrably and certifiably innocent Moslems in this country.

Now I perfectly understand the pain and rage that Mr. Goldstein must have felt, the pain that most decent people feel, I'm personally very grateful that I didn't have the launch codes on Sept. 11th 2001, or I might have done something that I'd have spent the rest of my life regretting, but that's no excuse.

Unfortunately (and predictably, given the numbers) one blogger took it upon himself to defend the indefensible. The blogger I'm talking about is Alley Writer, who apparently hates every Moslem so bad that he's quite prepared to describe Robert J. Goldstein as "a thwarted hero who could no longer allow Jews to be murdered unavenged."

[ ... ]

As to Mr. Butler's "outing" you, I can only say that, whereas it goes against my principles in the worst possible way, in your case I have to wonder if it's not the best way to deal with you. Clearly you're so blinded by hatred that you can no longer see the line between losing innocent lives as a tragic consequence of war and deliberately aiming for them. If you'd posted a retraction the day after, I wouldn't have had a problem, we all get irate from time to time. But seeing as how you seem to stand by your point of view (anybody who doubts me can peruse Alley Writer's site), which is to say that everybody who happens to be Moslem is a "legitimate" target, whether they've actually done anything wrong or not, I have to ask myself if it's safe to have you wandering the streets.

I refuse to become that which I loathe.

And that is why I, for once, find myself in agreement with one of the WarBloggerWatcherWussies...

And I stand by it...

If you believe that I'm the nutcase now, please delete me from your bookmarks. I don't want you ever coming by again...

posted by | 11:25 AM


Silflay Hraka has come up with a truly dangerous concept. Whie discussing what designs to use for US state coins, Bigwig had a brainwave. See, this is why thinking is so dangerous and needs to be regulated by the Federal Government. Al Gore could be in charge.

I'd like to see renditions of each state as perceived by people outside the state. The Tennessee state quarter? Elvis on a toilet. Texas? A picture of the JFK motorcade, motto "Down, and to the left." Nevada? A man surrounded by hookers. Utah? Same picture, just dress up the hookers a little more and call the man "Joseph Smith". West Virginia? Robert Byrd riding a pig. Idaho? A can of Planter's Mixed Nuts. Kansas? Tornado in a trailer park. I'm getting dangerously close to deciding that I need to do all fifty, so I'll stop here.

Why stop? Let's expand the concept internationally!

AUSTRALIA - The Crocodile Hunter buggering a crocodile
NEW ZEALAND - Rusell Crowe buggering a sheep
INDONESIA - A pile of bodies, with a KOPASSUS officer trying to block your view
SINGAPORE - A man with hair that touches his collar being dragged away by police
MALAYSIA - Dr M crying that he won't stand again. That doesn't actually represent the country, it's just such an appealing image...
FIJI - An Indian family fleeing their burning home while a crowd of Fijians cheers
SYRIA - Mushroom cloud
IRAQ - Mushroom cloud
SAUDI ARABIA - Mushroom cloud get the idea.

posted by | 11:04 AM


It was a crowd of Africans in Zambia. There is a famine in southern Africa. They were all very hungry. They were standing outside a warehouse. It was full of food - enough to feed everyone in the crowd for a month. The food came from the United States. A white man was standing outside the warehouse. He was an American, and represented the body that had donated the food to help feeld the starving Zambians. He was telling the hungry crowd that their government would not let him give them the food in the warehouse. The government thought the food might be genetically modified. He told the hungry people that as he was a guest in their country, he could not defy the government, and that they would have to stay hungry.

The people were not happy. I wasn't happy. I re-read the chapter on how famine is an entirely man-made phonomenon in P. J. O'Rourke's "All the Trouble in the World", and I came to a conclusion.

Socialism kills. Free markets feed.

posted by | 9:58 AM


As Evil Willow on "Buffy" might say, "bored now". I've made my points, he's made his, I'm not the one who removed all links to political blogs and trashed my comments section. I might also point out that my identity is no secret, and I am fully prepared to defend things I have written on this blog to anyone. Anonymity is always a little suspicious.

Murray sent me a post this morning entitled "Why I Love Alley Writer. Here it is:

Finished? Brief and to the point, wasn't it? I'm not going to waste any more time on this, except to acknowledge Lynn B's effort.

Bruce Hill is involved in a blog war with an ignoramous (sorry, pal, no link here) who thinks this guy is a hero.

Hey, Alley-oop! Since you consider ethics and morality a waste of time, maybe I can put this in language you'll understand. They've been clubbing us over the head with the first Dr. Goldstein for over 8 years. And now you want to give them a nice fresh stick. Moron.

And as for the similarly anonymous Bully Blog, gee, I wonder what a solid search of this blog's registration details might turn up. It seems to exist solely for the purpose of supporting Alley, and has only one actual serious post. Almost as if Alley himself was behind it....but there comes a point where there's no point continuing a discussion.

Go over to his blog (hey, I haven't taken down my link to his site, guess I'm a chickenshit coward eh?) and check it out. Get both sides. Then make up your own mind. That's the way things are done. It's called democracy and free speech. It's what we're fighting for. It's why we'll win.

posted by | 8:35 AM


This is a straight reprint of an article in the NY Post by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard.

A Muslim group in Denmark announced a few days ago that a $30,000 bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews, a threat that garnered wide international notice. Less well known is that this is just one problem associated with Denmark's approximately 200,000 Muslim immigrants. The key issue is that many of them show little desire to fit into their adopted country.

For years, Danes lauded multiculturalism and insisted they had no problem with the Muslim customs - until one day they found that they did. Some major issues:

* Living on the dole: Third-world immigrants - most of them Muslims from countries such as Turkey, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Iraq - constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending.

* Engaging in crime: Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.

* Self-imposed isolation: Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane.

* Importing unacceptable customs: Forced marriages - promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death - are one problem.

Another is threats to kill Muslims who convert out of Islam. One Kurdish convert to Christianity, who went public to explain why she had changed religion, felt the need to hide her face and conceal her identity, fearing for her life.

* Fomenting anti-Semitism: Muslim violence threatens Denmark's approximately 6,000 Jews, who increasingly depend on police protection. Jewish parents were told by one school principal that she could not guarantee their children's safety and were advised to attend another institution. Anti-Israel marches have turned into anti-Jewish riots. One organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, openly calls on Muslims to "kill all Jews . . . wherever you find them."

* Seeking Islamic law: Muslim leaders openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law once Denmark's Muslim population grows large enough - a not-that-remote prospect. If present trends persist, one sociologist estimates, every third inhabitant of Denmark in 40 years will be Muslim.

Other Europeans (such as the late Pim Fortuyn in Holland) have also grown alarmed about these issues, but Danes were the first to make them the basis for a change in government.

In a momentous election last November, a center-right coalition came to power that - for the first time since 1929 - excluded the socialists. The right broke its 72-year losing streak and won a solid parliamentary majority by promising to handle immigration issues, the electorate's first concern, differently from the socialists.

The next nine months did witness some fine-tuning of procedures: Immigrants now must live seven years in Denmark (rather than three) to become permanent residents. Most non-refugees no longer can collect welfare checks immediately on entering the country. No one can bring into the country an intended spouse under the age of 24. And the state prosecutor is considering a ban on Hizb-ut-Tahrir for its death threats against Jews.

These minor adjustments prompted howls internationally - with European and U.N. reports condemning Denmark for racism and "Islamophobia," the Washington Post reporting that Muslim immigrants "face habitual discrimination," and a London Guardian headline announcing that "Copenhagen Flirts with Fascism."

In reality, however, the new government barely addressed the existing problems. Nor did it prevent new ones, such as the death threats against Jews or a recent Islamic edict calling on Muslims to drive Danes out of the Norrebro quarter of Copenhagen.

The authorities remain indulgent. The military mulls permitting Muslim soldiers in Denmark's volunteer International Brigade to opt out of actions they don't agree with - a privilege granted to members of no other faith. Mohammed Omar Bakri, the self-proclaimed London-based "eyes, ears and mouth" of Osama bin Laden, won permission to set up a branch of his organization, Al-Muhajiroun.

Contrary to media reports, the real news from Denmark is not flirting with fascism but getting mired in inertia. A government elected specifically to deal with a set of problems has made minimal headway. Its reluctance has potentially profound implications for the West as a whole.

posted by | 8:18 AM

Tuesday, August 27, 2002  


Bully Blog is disappointed in my response to Alley Writer. To a certain extent I can understand that. From my perspective, what Alley Writer says is so obviously wrong and self-defeating that it hardly requires a detailed rebuttal. And as much of the argument seems to have been between Alley and my brother Murray, who writes occasional items here, I had pretty much decided to leave it to him to respond. He is a student and doesn't have much time at the moment because of exams, which is why he hasn't written it yet.

I invited Amir Butler to comment on this argument because I think it involves Muslims, and vehemently though I disagree with almost everything Amir says, I haven't actually heard him threaten to personally slit anyone's throat. But Bully Blog goes much, much further than the facts really allow.

It seems that they conspired with a third blog to dig up Alley's personal information, and then spread this information with the stated intent that they and this other blog hoped that someone would injure of murder Alley.

Certainly not. I invited Amir to comment. He has done so, and included in his comments some publically available information on Alley's identity, in exactly the same way that Alley once did to someone he didn't much like. I certainly have never suggested that anyone do anything to Alley other than either disagree with him or better yet, ignore him.

Is this the response of men who are unafraid of views that oppose their own? Not by any measure that I can think of. This is more the response of a high school bully when the nerd he's picking on has proven to be more intellectually nimble than the bully had expected.

Oh please, I'm hardly afraid of Alley's opinions, unless they were to spread and infect a large number of people. He is angry, very angry. He has a right to be angry, heck, I'm angry too. But translating that anger into an advocacy of violence against an entire group of people, regardless of their personal guilt or innocence, is precisely what we accuse our current enemies of. If we condemn it in them, why should we tolerate it among ourselves?

Bruce and Murray claim to be offended by Alley's rhetoric claiming that he supports the killing of Muslim civilians, including children. Yet they actively scheme to see him come to harm because he dared defend himself, successfully I think, against the attack that they themselves initiated.

Cowards and bullies like Bruce and Murray are always far more offensive than hyperbole and hyperbole is clearly what Alley's statements were.

Alley is repulsive in thought. But Bruce and Murray are repulsive in deed. Which seems more evil to you?

Again, I want to state very clearly that I haven't advocated anything of the kind, and Bully Blog is wrong to suggest I have. There's no scheme here, just strong words being exchanged about critical issues that directly affect the future of our civilisation.

Violence lies at the heart of the current conflict. How it is used, directed and the goals it is employed to achieve. Our enemies use it indiscriminately, daily, as a matter of policy, against anyone at all. Soldiers, civillians, women, children, their own people - violence has become a sickness over large swathes of the Muslim world. Here in the West, the state has a monopoly on violence. The armed forces and police are disciplined services, and follow a chain of command. Our violence is so deadly because, in large part, it is well-organised.

Being well-organised, it is disciplined. It is carefully focused. It is controlled by elected leaders reflecting the will of the people. When it is used (and it will be used soon) it is swift, deadly and decisive. And it follows rules on who can be killed and who cannot. If an Army simply has as its goal to kill large numbers of the enemy indiscriminately, without regard for their status as combatants or civillians, it becomes a howling, useless mob.

There's a scene in "Bridge on the River Kwai" in which a Japanese officer strikes Alec Guinness. The British prisoners of war who are standing in rows behind him murmur and start to move forward. Realising that any sign of rebellion will mean vicious reprisals from the camp guards, Alec Guinness turns his head and shouts "Stand fast in the ranks!" He realised the importance of discipline. If his character had not reinforced that discipline, many men would have died uselessly. By preserving discipline, he preserved their lives. The POWs remained a force, rather than dissolving into a rabble.

The West is the same. We remain strong as long as we are united, and the means of inflicting violence remains in the hands of disciplined forces with a chain of command, answering to civillian authorities reopresenting the will of the people. Alley Writer wants to kill as many of the enemy population as possible, by any means neccessary. Which of these two alternatives do you prefer?

posted by | 11:03 AM

Monday, August 26, 2002  


Now here's an interesting development. It appears that my invitation for Amir Butler to check out Alley Writer, Defender of Civilisation and Slitter of Throats, has been taken up with a vengance - literally!

Alleywriter is unambiguously arguing for the murder of American Muslims and encouraging other Jews to try and complete what Goldstein started. In fact, this maniac is probably up to the "heroic task" himself if his past threats are anything to go by.

I'll tell you right now that if you're Muslim, I hate your effin guts. I disliked you already even before 9/11, but I'd cheerfully see you dead, now. And if you're thinking of being cute and putting me on the spot by saying something like, "What about me? What about my kids? My wife? What did we ever do to you? How did we ever harm you?"

Let me ease your mind. Yes you. Yes your wife, your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and your kids. And I wouldn't do it with a bomb, not like you chickenshit scum. If the government said, "Ok, AW, you want these people dead, then you have to do the killing yourself.", I'd take a knife and cut everyone of your shit-swallowing throats with my own hand.

Really? Well, Mr Wannabe Muslim Killer, it is always easy to make threats against "parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and kids" when hiding behind a curtain of anonymity. At the very least, it prevents the subjects of one's threats from ever catching up with them. However, given that Alleywriter is himself fond of "outing" deviants on his site, and given the obvious threat he poses to American society, I'm going to call him out.

Mr Alleywriter is Mr Thomas Schaller of 1552 Oswego Road, Naperville IL 60540, UNITED STATES. Now, his identity is known - including to the Muslim community in his own area - hopefully Mr Thomas Schaller will take the time to reflect on his statements and realise that its perhaps in his best interests to back-peddle as fast as possible.

If not, then maybe it is time for someone to give Dave Dial a call.

Well now, wasn't THAT a surprise plot twist? Tune in again later and see what happens. I'll bring the popcorn. Are we having fun yet?

posted by | 11:47 PM


By Bruce Hill

[Note: This article may be freely republished in whole or in part. Please notify the author if it is used, at : . First published April 10th 2001, at Pacific Island Report.]

New Zealand’s firm and self-confident diplomatic approach to Fiji in the wake of the recent ham-fisted racist coup attempt appears to have raised some hackles among supporters of Fijian nationalism.

Well it would, wouldn’t it?

Those in the region who are the first to decry what they see as ignorance by outsiders of cultural values in the islands cannot possibly expect to see principles of free speech, democracy and rule of law casually trampled upon and not get a strong reaction from a nation dedicated to upholding precisely those values.

And nor are these “western” or “foreign” implants, being forced on an unwilling population with their own indigenous way of doing things.
Increasingly this is what people all over the world want for themselves and their children, because it’s the best way to secure a prosperous and secure future.

And that goes for the Pacific as well, including Fiji.

And in a sense, that’s precisely what motivated Speight and his gang of thugs to stroll into parliament, wave some weapons around and announce that they would henceforth be in charge – they knew that the old power system which relied in part on ignorance, cronyism and inherited privilege no longer has the support of the people that it once did.

With a vigorous free press, neutral rule of law and a political system which vests power in the people, there is increasingly little place for the cosy cronyism of the past - for example the wholesale looting of the National Bank of Fiji by an entire class of politically-connected “Pajero Taukei”.

It is hard to see how New Zealand could have taken any stand on the events of May 19th and subsequently other than to be completely appalled and insist that Fiji be returned to constitutionality as soon as possible.

That hardly constitutes insensitivity; unless you count insensitivity to the feelings of a political class which fears it will lose its wealth and power if the ordinary citizens of Fiji are permitted to express their wishes.

A friend is someone who will tell you the truth. New Zealand is Fiji’s friend, maybe the only real friend it has in the world.

Because the truth is that if Fiji cannot bring itself to enter the modern globalised world, with standards of accountability, transparency, rule of law and personal freedom, it will slip behind and be forgotten.

Investors do not have to come to Fiji, and cannot be bullied into doing so.

If contracts cannot be enforced by a neutral court system, then the managers of global investment funds will simply keep their money in their pockets and move on to a more attractive country.

And Fiji will become a poor, unstable third-world hell-hole with beggars on the streets, and its children will grow up with little hope of having a better life.

And no one else in the world will care if that happens.

No one will ride to the rescue.

Fiji just isn’t that important in the global scheme of things.

That is what New Zealand has been saying.

Perhaps it has been saying it louder than it has in the past, but only because the stakes are higher and more urgent than ever before.
New Zealand would be failing in its duty as a true friend of Fiji if it did not say these things.

Nationalism of any kind can be a highly addictive and dangerous drug, blinding the user to reality and helping him live in a dream world of his own construction.

If you had a friend doing drugs, you would not sit back and let him kill himself, would you?

Sure, he might lash out and accuse you of having bad manners and insensitivity, but that hardly matters in such a life or death crisis does it?
It’s also incorrect to label New Zealand as an outsider in the region.

By 2050, one third of the population will be of Maori or Pacific Islands descent.

Already there are four Pacific Island MPs in Parliament, one of them a cabinet minister.

The much maligned foreign minister, Phil Goff, has already shown he intends to maintain the tradition begun by Don McKinnon of taking a planeload of New Zealand MPs, officials and journalists to the region on a regular basis, precisely so decision makers can get first-hand experience of local conditions.

And his associate minister, Matt Robson, has long been a vocal critic of Tonga’s feudal monarchy, going back well to when he was a lowly opposition MP.

One of the reasons for his focus on Tonga, he says, is input from his Tongan constituents.

And this points up another factor - New Zealand is increasingly influential in internal politics in many island states precisely because of its growing Pacific population who are knowledgeable about conditions back in their countries of origin.

And this perspective is feeding back into New Zealand’s political system, as well as into local politics in the islands.

Tongan families in New Zealand have been sending back videotapes of a New Zealand television expose of the Minister of Police, which are now being played at faikavas all over the Kingdom.

The Times of Tonga is published in Auckland in part because publisher Kalafi Moala can be reasonably assured he won’t have his door kicked off its hinges at 3am and be dragged off to prison on a trumped up charge.

Samoa’s opposition SNDP election campaign this year was in part organized with the assistance of New Zealand-based Samoans, who brought a more professional approach and brought the party its best result in years.

New Zealand is also the home base now for the Niuean and Tokeleauan languages and cultures, as there are more Niueans and Tokelauans in New Zealand than in their home countries, and that is becoming true of the Cook Islands as well.

The Samoan language is now the third most widely spoken tongue in New Zealand, behind English and Maori.

Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin of Victoria University is working on a definitive Samoan dictionary, after getting Samoan adopted as an official School Certificate subject.

And Victoria University’s new Pacific Studies Degree is taught by Teresia Teaiwa, who wote the single most insightful article on the real reasons for the May 19th coup yet published.

I have been lucky enough to work for both Radio New Zealand International and Radio Australia, and in my nine years of covering Pacific affairs I have become more and more convinced that the future of New Zealand is inextricably linked to the islands.

Not as an outsider, lecturing and hectoring, but as a friend who sincerely wants to help.

Sometimes that friend will have to tell you harsh truths.

But do not write this off as insensitive or ignorant.

More and more, New Zealand’s approach to the region is that of an insider.

And as the university-educated, middle-class second and third generations of Pacific people continue to grow in influence and political savvy, that insider understanding is becoming more apparent in policy decisions.

Perhaps the real problem is not that Wellington doesn’t understand the Pacific, but that it understands only too well.

Bruce Hill has reported on the Pacific for nearly nine years, first with Radio New Zealand International, and currently with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat. He won the NewZealand Institute of International Affairs Radio Media Prize in 1997 for his coverage of New Zealand’s role in the Bougainville peace process, and was runner up the next year for his coverage of the Aitape tsunami disaster.

Speight - Fiji coup plotter George Speight,. Also a type of beer brewed in Dunedin, but that's not important right now
Taukei - Indigenous Fijians
Pajero - An air-conditioned four-wheel-drive vehicle, usually with tinted windows
National Bank of Fiji - Run by well-connected indigenous Fijian managers, the NBF was systematically looted by the Pajero Taukei class, who typically would get huge loans using next to no security (one man secured a $350,000 loan and put up a bicycle and a brushcutter as collateral!) and simply refuse to pay them back. The NBF, not surprisingly, collapsed.
Don McKinnon - Former New Zealand foreign minister, currently Commonwealth Secretary-General
Faikava - village meetings, usually accompanied by the mildly narcotic drink kava, which is used in most traditional ceremonies around the Pacific
Times of Tonga - Tonga's opposition newspaper, published in Auckland and then flown to Tonga for safety reasons

posted by | 8:58 PM


Or in this case, Paul - Paul Wright of Tanstaafl. Hear what he has to say.

What is it about Westerners that makes so many of them reluctant to put there hand up and say “this is the greatest civilisation that the world has ever seen; we like it and we’re going to keep it. If you like it, join us.”

[ ... ]

Western society is better than other societies. Why does it feel wrong to make this statement? We all know it’s true.

[ ... ]

Western civilisation is the greatest force for good that the world has ever seen. It has created more prosperity, more wealth, more freedom and more happiness for more people than at any other time in the history of history.And the truly extraordinary thing is: we’re mad keen to share it with others. Anyone can join the Club, and get rich along with us. Membership is open to all, regardless of race, creed or colour.

Here are the conditions for membership, and they are non-negotiable.
1. Free, fair and frequent elections, open to all adults to vote and contest.
2. Transparent lawmaking
3. Rule of Law, professional police, open courts
4. Free press, with no Government restrictions on starting new media
5. Free markets, internally and externally

All we ask is that if you want to join our civilisation, you do it under our rules. If you don’t like those rules, feel free to make it on you own.

Couldn't have put it better myself. As a matter of fact, these issues resonate strongly with me, because my job centres of the Pacific islands, a region which is struggling to make the transition from tribal cultural origins to the modern world. Most recently, some Pacific Island leaders have been muttering darkly about "failings" of the Westminster system, and some are trying to promote something called "Pacific Democracy", which as far as I can tell means them staying in power forever without bothering with useless western fripperies like elections.

Look at Fiji - what a model of Pacific values they are! I actually wrote something about this for the Pacific Island Report a year or two ago. I think I'll post it above this one. It's not entirely dissimilar to Paul Wright's effort actually.

posted by | 8:51 PM


More good blogs keep popping up like mushrooms after rain. Here's Nora Cox, aka Token Straight Chick, who claims her blogfather is Sine Qua Non Pundit and that Dawn Olsen is her blogmother. A superior bloodline t be sure. And to the person who, when hearing that Andrew Sullivan was my blogfather quipped that he was my Fairy Blogfather, I know where you live!

Anyway, like me Nora is a huge Buffy fan, and takes a big ol' whacking stick to some criticism of the show on the grounds that it is "lewd and offensive" and being marketed to children.

First of all, if a child is being "continuously exposed to lewd and offensive programming" then someone needs to give their parents a good smack upside the head. It's an cliche, but the TV really does have an off button and if a parent doesn't want their child watching Buffy or any other show with adult themes, they should educate themselves and then take responsibility for making sure that they don't. Buffy is not a show for children and I would take issue with the accusation that it's marketed to children.

The other thing that disturbs me is that while Buffy has gotten more explicit and more violent, the quality of the writing and the maturity of the themes being dealt with still makes it one of the smartest, best written, most complex shows on television. If I were the parent of a teenager, I would make sure at some point that my son/daughter watched "The Body" for a beautifully realistic portrayal of loss and grief. Blanket Buffy bashing overlooks the fact that at some point, children mature into adults, and I would rather use Buffy as a basis for discussion of serious issues than some of the shows that are on the so-called "Best" list.

Buffy is a work of rare genius, and even at it's worst (last season for example) it still stands head, shoulders and thighs above almost anything else on that little box in the corner. I'd say it's core audience is grown-ups and those on the brink of becoming grown-ups. It's not afraid to tackle big issues, but it does so through the lens of gothic/horror/martial arts movies. It can tackle things at an angle, so to speak, in the way that George Orwell could tackle the reality of Stalinism through the hoary old trick of a barnyard fable.

Buff is about a lot of things. Growing up, taking resonsibility, friendship, love, loss, life and (memorably in "The Body") death. Right now, this TV series about a young woman with a ridiculous name who fights vampires and demons is about the most adult show around.

posted by | 5:04 PM


There's a bit of a traction problem, I have to admit. But it does feel very cool. Possibly you wouldn't have it for everyday use, it's more of a...ah..."special occasion" thing. As soon as you slip between satin sheets, the old Barry White soundtrack starts playing in your head.

I have GOT to stop watching Ally McBeal....

posted by | 2:56 PM


As of Sunday morning I weighed 115.6 kilos. That's a loss of 1.4 kilos in only a week - excellent! Of course often there's a big initial sucess with such things. The trick is to stick with it when you hit a plateu and the weight gets to a certain point and refuses to reduce any further for weeks on end. It's Monday now, so back on the treadmill this evening. Wish me luck.

posted by | 2:52 PM


Nutter or not, this Goldstein character was definitely NOT a harmless eccentric podiatrist. If he'd been able to implement his plan, the repurcussions would have been terrible. I don't care if he goes to Gitmo or a nice padded room somewhere with a jacket that straps up the back, so long as he's safely under lock and key and unable to hurt anyone.

When police searched his home, they found a cache of up to 40 weapons, including .50-caliber machine guns and sniper rifles. They also uncovered more than 30 explosive devices, including hand grenades and a 5-gallon gasoline bomb with a timer attached. "If one of those bombs were to have gone off, that town house would have been destroyed," Baixauli said. "If the others exploded, we would have lost most of that town house complex."

Deputies also found a typed list of approximately 50 Islamic places of worship in the Tampa and St. Petersburg area and elsewhere in the state, prosecutors said.

[ ... ]

The 11-point "mission template" for attacking the Islam education center covered everything from what he would wear to getting rid of fingerprints and dealing with hand-to-hand combat if necessary. "Set timers for approximately 15-20 minutes to allow for enough time to get out of area, but to confirm explosions has (sic) been successful," the template reads. "The amount of explosives should be ample to take down the building(s)."

posted by | 2:47 PM


This week we're defending Louis Farrakhan on "The Religion Report".

David Rutledge: This is the man who describes Judaism as a “gutter religion”.
Arthur Magida: I must defend him on that one count, which often gets me in trouble. He calls Judaism a “dirty religion”, not a “gutter religion”.

Oh, well that's all right then.

Well I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but on September 16th Farrakhan held a press conference. He was very critical about what happened in New York on September 11th, he condemned it, he said it was a crime against humanity. But as a Muslim, and as a fundamentalist – because indeed that’s what he is – he offered to sit down with President Bush and advise him on how to proceed. As you may have noticed, that offer was not taken up, and it never will be taken up. It is hard being a Muslim in the United States right now.

My heart bleeds lumpy custard.

posted by | 2:21 PM


What he said.

I want war with Saddam Hussain and his vile brood. I want Saddam Hussain dead and his supporters slaughtered in vast numbers. I want to see the laser guided hammer of God strike Baghdad and the skies filled with thermobaric fire on a biblical scale. I want passage of B-52 bombers to register on the Richter scale. I actually do think the Iraqi regime poses an unacceptable threat to me. And before anyone says 'and by that interventionist logic, why not take out North Korea and China too?'... yes, that would be fine by me. Hell, feel free to add Saudi Arabia, Syria and maybe even Pakistan to that list.

And to those who croak that all this would "destabilise" the Middle East, may I point out that that isn't a bug, it's a feature.

posted by | 9:55 AM


Chilling out on a Melbourne Sunday afternoon, I took a walk down Brunswick Street, as one does. I guess the nearest equivalent would be Soho (the London Soho) or the East Village in New York. It's a funky, inner-city, bohemian sort of neighbourhood, with trendy but still low-cost restaurants all over the place. I had not a bad Ethiopian meal, a spicy stew of some description, and wandered around the shops.

There were op-shops selling retro-funk 70's furniture (why was everything orange back then?), the BD/SM store was having a sale on leather wrist cuffs, the Green-Left Weekly was being handed out on the corner to anyone who was interested (most weren't, I noticed) and far too many teenage girls were STILL wearing crushed velvet dresses as if they were the Latest Thing. Should someone tell them? All that was missing was a soundtrack by Donovan or Marc Bolan, but that's what your imagination is for, right?

All in all, it was a nice sunny winter afternoon in the heart of Alternative Melbourne. Then as I passed the trendy manchester store, Holy Sheet, I saw something in the window and immediately went in and made an impulse purchase. A set of white satin sheets and matching pillowcases! Mmmm...satin sheets...I felt quite naughty buying it, but I figure you only live once.

There will be drawbacks I assume. Pleasant thought the sensation of sleeping between satin may be, I imagine they'll be a bugger to wash and dry, and it's possible they have to be ironed, which I personally loathe beyond all household chores. I'll tell you what they're like to sleep on after I wake up tomorrow.

posted by | 12:54 AM

Sunday, August 25, 2002  


Rust never sleeps, and neither, seemingly, does the increasingly thin-skinned Alley Writer, who in addition to getting rid of his comments section (presumably because people were disagreeing with him) has now made the ultimate mistake of pissing off my brother Murray. As anyone who went to Westlake Boys High School on Auckland's North Shore circa the late 1970s could tell you, getting us both mad is invariably fatal.

Murray, over at War Now is throwing a bit of a tantrum, while demonstrating that his views of what war should be are more influenced by romantic fantasies than by any sense of reality. The added emotion doesn't make his views any less ridiculous, though.

I expected this, kind of, since I remember how vehemently vocal Bruce was regarding the idea that the families of "Palestinian" suicide bombers should be killed. Israel, sadly, rejected that idea -- though she has compromised and is at least tearing down the homes of these families, now.

Any way, Murray is so blinded by his personal notion of ethics that, like many Jews, he can't even see that it has become the antithesis of ethical behavior. Allowing your own people to die in the name of fair play is not noble, it's stupid and more evil than the legitimate carrying on of open and unrestricted warfare against an enemy who has no honor or conscience and does not let inane romantic delusions limit his own warlike propensities.

To disallow any tactic or weapon merely on the grounds that it is distasteful, is not fair or is too brutal only places us at needless disadvantage and, in the end, means that far more of us will die before our victory is realized.

For a start, it's my blog, and my name is Bruce. Murray, my brother, writes occasional peices, usually on military affairs, and is active in putting comments on various posts, often making fun of me. It's what little brothers do. Can you understand this concept? Two...seperate...people. Murray is one. I (Bruce) am another one. Not siamese twins, not joined at the hip. Ok?

Murray is working on a laser-guided, uranium-tipped, bunker-busting fuel-air response as we speak, and as soon as it's been loaded into the bomb bays, it will be on its way to you. In the meantime - he's not Jewish, numbnuts! I am, but as it says in the Bible, I am not my brother. Or his keeper. We had trouble getting keepers after what happened to the last one. Got too close to the bars while throwing the slabs of raw meat in. We were hosing stuff off the walls for days afterwards....

posted by | 4:14 PM


And that's civilisation with an "S" for those of us who speak standard English, you ignoramous. Writing (sic) after a word that uses an "S" rather than a "Z" (or "Zed" as it is correctly pronounced) simply marks you as someone who has no idea that his own world view is not neccessarily the only possible one.

Alley Writer has gone so far off the deep end that he is actually supporting Dr Richard Goldstein, the lunatic who was planning to blow up a Muslim school in Tampa. Unbelieveable. What is it with doctors named Goldstein anyway? First Baruch Goldstein murders those Palestinians at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and now this! Do you think it's time we hauled in all medical professionals with the last name of Goldstein for a full head-check?

Now we have Dr. Robert J. Goldstein, a thwarted hero who could no longer allow Jews to be murdered unavenged.

Robert intended a rampage of destruction that would have shown the Islamic community of Tampa what it is they support and cheer for when they encourage, finance and rejoice for the killing of Jews and Americans. He would have given them just the smallest taste of what real terror is, and he would have been on higher moral ground than those who knowing allow their own to be killed so that they can avoid criticism of being too harsh on their enemies.

Of course, there is still hope. What are the chances that Robert is the only Jew to finally have had enough of seeing his people slaughtered like pigs and nothing more than token actions taken to either avenge them or to see that it doesn't happen again? I think there are more like Robert out there, and eventually, one of them will succeed. And then another, and another, until there is an organized movement matching Islams insanity death for death.

Sadly, not very many, though. Because for every Robert J. Goldstein out there, there are at least hundreds of Jews like his mother who place ethics, no matter how twisted, above revenge.

His post is titled "Ethics vs Spine". How about "Ethics vs Evil Stupidity"? Don't you understand? We can only win this fight if we are, as we say we are, better than the enemy. Our western values are NOT our Achilles heel, they are in fact our unique strength, the strength which ultimately guarantees us victory. Alley's way simply turns us into a better armed version of the enemy, and would cause so many of us to turn away in disgust that we would be unable to win.

You cannot use the Ring. It's nature is evil, and those who use it will be consumed by it.

posted by | 10:30 AM

FOR ANY OF YOU WHO STILL THINK THERE IS ANYTHING LEFT TO TALK ABOUT... is a list of links to Jewish-Palestinian dialogue projects. I used to be heavily into this sort of thing, but I have to tell you it was like trying to negotiate with the Daleks, or the Borg Collective. There's just no common language. Words themselves seem to have different meanings, and just when you think you've made some sort of breakthrough, it becomes obvious that it's because you've not properly understood the other side.

I've had it up to here with smashing my head against the brick wall of the Islamic world view. Muslims good, pure, holy, kufar bad, evil, treacherous, you may live on as dhimmi (slaves) provided you do not resist us. You will serve the Muslims or you will be exterminated. After a while they even started to SOUND like Daleks.

The really shocking thing, for me anyway, is that after a while I think I DID understand them. They genuinely believe it is their God-given destiny to conquer the world and either kill or enslave the rest of us. I am not making this up. They seemed quite happy to admit this, and seemed nonplussed when we objected. The attitude seemed to be that this was the revealed Will of God, so trying to stop it was rebellion against the Almighty. They seemed to think that once they'd patiently explained to everyone that this was in the Koran, we'd all have to admit that we were quite wrong to resist.

But it's the old story - if you're in a pit full of snakes and as you cut one snake's head off, seven more grow in its place, someone really ought to start looking around for a way out of the pit. WITHOUT HELPULLY PUTTING YOUR HEAD IN THE SNAKE'S MOUTH I mean. These folk mean terribly well, and who knows it may lead to something. I very sincerely doubt it though, at least until after a massive military defeat has been inflicted on the Arab world and they are a bit more receptive to suggestions that their world view might need a few adjustments.

Streaming audio and streaming video on the Internet will allow you to watch and listen to Palestinian and Jewish women and men in Dialogue.
You will experience, in sound and image, what Dialogue is and what it is not. And how it has changed people's lives. And how it can help invent a new, better future for all.
Below are some sources we hope will be helpful to you, your circle of acquaintances.

====== 1 ====== AUDIO ======

The Dialogue Project
Listen to New York Dialogue participants being interviewed on several WNYC-Radio programs -- "Talking About it: Jews and Palestinians Learn to Listen."
Included is WNYC-Radio's "Middle East History Series."

====== 2 ====== AUDIO ======

San Diego Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue
Listen to Jewish and Palestinians from San Diego's seven different Dialogue Groups.
Personal narratives are on pages: (1) Introduction to Dialogue, (2) Personal Stories, (3)Listening to Each Other, (4) Jerusalem, and (5) Recent Events.

====== 2 ====== VIDEO ======

Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group (San Mateo, CA)

(for dial-up/slow speed connection)

(for high-speed/DSL connection)

View a 10-minute video from recent nationwide news coverage of the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo, California.

========= 3 =========

Jewish- and Palestinian-Israeli youth speaking together
WHEN: Friday, August 23, 2002 -- 6:45 p.m.
WHERE: Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun
100A W. 89th Street at Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024-1902.

Sixteen Jewish and Arab (Christian and Muslim) Teen Peacemakers from Israel speak to celebrate their survival as a mixed community through nearly two years of violence.
The teens have just come from OPEN HOUSE Peace Center in Ramle, Israel, where many of them and their parents have been part of a 12-year-long mixed family group that has been meeting and working together to deal with the hatred and violence that surrounds them.
OPEN HOUSE is on the Web at: AND

The teens are veterans of a Youth Leadership training program in nonviolent communications skills and prejudice reduction working with peers in local schools and centers in Ramle and surrounding areas.
Jewish Dalia and Yehezkel Landau, and Palestinian Michail Fanous, are co-founders of OPEN HOUSE, the unique Jewish/Arab Peace Education and Coexistence Center in Ramle, Israel. They will describe their grass-roots peacemaking between Jews and Arabs in a mixed city where the Likud Mayor now gives support.
They are completing their speaking tour that has taken them throughout the northeast United States.


OPEN HOUSE serves as a center where Jews, Christians and Muslims come together to work for peace by living as friends and neighbors and doing coexistence training programs in their own community of the mixed city of Ramle and surrounding areas.
OPEN HOUSE opened in 1991 in Ramle, Israel, in the childhood home of Dalia Landau, daughter of a Holocaust refugee family. In l967 after her family received a visit from the original Arab owners, the al-Khairys, who had been evicted in l948, the two families began a long relationship.
In 1991, Dalia Landau, the Jewish woman who grew up in the house after 1948, decided together with her husband Yehezkel and the al-Khayri family, whose home it was before 1948, to dedicate the house to the children of Ramle who embody the hope for a better future.
Dalia donated her home to be used as a center for healing and reconciliation with the blessings and continued participation of the original Arab-Muslim owners, the al-Khayri family.

========= 4 =========

WHAT: First National Conference on Dialogue and Deliberaton
WHEN: October 4-6, 2002
WHERE: Radisson Old Town Hotel -- Alexandria, Virginia
WHY: The first-of-its-kind conference will bring together dialogue leaders in a welcoming, respectful and informal atmosphere in order to work towards five goals: (1) defining and clarifying our work and our field, (2) knowledge-building and sharing information, (3) building skills, (4) meeting and getting to know our colleagues in the field, and (5) initiating collaborative projects.

WHO: Initiated and organized by The Coalition for a National Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation
The American Association for Higher Education, Citizens' Unity Commission, Congressional Exchange, Dayton Dialogue on Race Relations, Dialogue to Action Initiative, The Dialogue Project, EPPA Consulting, Fusion Partnerships, Inc., George Mason’s University Dispute Resolution Project, Hope in the Cities, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, The MultiCultural Resource Center of Portland, Oregon, NABRE (Network of Alliances Bridging Race & Ethnicity), National Conference for Community & Justice, New Jersey Office of Bias Crime and Community Relations, Norfolk United Facing Race, Oregon Uniting, The Public Conversations Project, Search for Common Ground and Search for Common Ground – USA, Study Circles Resource Center, The University of Michigan.
For more information and registration information and forms, see:

Sandy Heierbacher
Director, National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation

========= 5 =========

WHAT: All-Day Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Meeting
WHEN: Monday, October 7, 2002 -- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Alexandria, Virginia -- Radisson Old Town Hotel (tentative)
WHY: This will be a one-day opportunity for those who are deeply interested in Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue to finally meet face-to-face, review principles of Dialogue and outreach, consider shared challenges to sustained Dialogue, and think together about deepening and widening the Dialogue circle, here and overseas.

This day will have structure but will respond and flow with participants' needs. We will offer during this relationship-based gathering brief, substantive presentations, with graphics and printed materials on:
1. Story as Entry to Dialogue
"An enemy is someone whose story we have not heard." Dialogue begins with Story, and with compassionate listening. The prescription is to listen to everyone - even to the "enemy" - without "yes, but." And not just when it's easy, but when the wind is blowing 100 miles an hour. Like now.

2. The Process of Social Change Through Dialogue and Expanding Identification
Social change needs Time. It begins with individuals - Innovators and Early Adapters, in Dialogue with others, even "enemies." One Listens compassionately to learn from the "other," to discover together a new social intelligence. The "action" of Dialogue is relationship-building -- widening and deepening the ever-increasing circle. With Dialogue comes discovery of a stronger faith and sense of self, and Expanded Identification to include all of humankind and life.

3. Beginning, Maturing, and Growing A Dialogue
Want to begin a Dialogue Group where you live? This is a how-to! Finding Dialogue partners. Conducting first meetings. Establishing a dependable core group. What Dialogue is and is not. Dealing with dynamics. Deciding when and how to begin outreach and public offerings. Working with the media. Widening the circle. Finding balance of Dialogue and Advocacy

========= 6 =========

The PeaceWorks Network
is the home page of The PeaceWorks Network.

The PeaceWorks Network is a global undertaking to amplify the voice of the people and to empower Israelis and Palestinians at the ground level to achieve a consensus on core issues that conform a roadmap for conflict resolution.

Our first initiative is in the Mideast, where extremists have seized the agenda and taken the political process -- and the minds of the people -- hostage.

We aim to enable moderates to reclaim their voice by signing on to basic principles they agree on, and then by engaging thousands of Palestinians and Israelis in broad-based interactive negotiations
outside of the political realm to arrive at a consensus on the ten basic conflict-resolution issues on which they agree on, thus setting a roadmap for peaceful co-existence.

posted by | 10:00 AM


And then there are snotty Spectator columnists like Mr Taki Takealotofcockeupthenose. He's usually funny, which means I will have him sent to a re-education camp rather than summarily shot, but he's definitely on the paeleo-conservative side of politics, which I refuse to have anything to do with. Anyone who aids and abets Pat Buchanan goes on my shit list.

I also think he's having a go at people like us too, which is never good.

I’m off to America for the launch of the American Conservative, the national fortnightly out of Washington DC edited by Pat Buchanan and myself, with Scott McConnell doing the heavy lifting. Why a new conservative fortnightly? Why not, is my answer.

Basically it’s armchair warriors such as William Kristol, John Podhoretz and Mark Steyn, to name just a few, who gave Pat, Scott and me the idea to start a mag. There are many such heroes in America right now, all ready to fight, as long, of course, as others are doing the fighting.

I think Pej has already dealt with this feeble sally in a more than adequate manner, and the feeble droning from the strap-ons at Warblogger Watch has been dealt to severely by our very own attack Rottweiler. Wot he said...

posted by | 1:09 AM
blogchalk: Bruce/Male/41-45. Lives in Australia/Melbourne/Melbourne and speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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