Sunday, 31 July 2011

Moon Over Africa - Part 24: Treachery

Click title link to listen.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Oslo reflections

I haven't commented on the Oslo horror since the first reports came in because I'm still technically on holiday and the story is still developing, but I felt that it's time to make some sort of assessment of the situation.  These are just casual observations, so please excuse the lack of links.

First off, it doesn't need saying that this was an act of pure evil.  The deliberate and cold blooded targeting of innocents with the direct objective of killing as many as possible is inhuman and beyond the pale in any decent morality.  What Mr Anders Behring Breivik did in Oslo and on that now infamous island was a calculated deed of terrorism that makes me heartily sorry that Norway abolished the death penalty.  However, despite his changing claim to be part of a terrorist cell, there's no hard evidence that he isn't lone wolf working with, at worst, only a possible accomplice.  Indeed, what I find significant is how utterly alone Mr Breivik is.  No one has tried to justify his actions except himself.  No one has made him an oppressed victim lashing out against his tormentors.  No one is saying "He's a monster, but..." followed by saying exactly the opposite.  And, most significant of all, no one is dancing in the streets handing out sweets in celebration of the innocent blood spilled.  Mr Breivik will have a lot to answer for when he stands before his Maker and it will be a very lonely standing. 

This is an episode that is, thankfully, very rare in the modern world, but happens often enough to have the depressing air of an unwelcome story coming around again.  There is the usual mixture of the insightful and the fatuous, the hand wringing and the finger pointing, but now has been added an air of hypocrisy and even triumphalism from certain quarters that is positively ghoulish.  On the very day of the massacre, the authorities and the MSM, always so careful to avoid speculating about motive even when the suspect is a Muslim US Army colonel dressed in Pakistani garb and shouting "Alllah akbar" at the top of his lungs while emptying an automatic into a crowd of his fellow soldiers, are perfectly comfortable with immediately saying that an ethnic Norwegian is a "right-wing Christian fundamentalist".  Actually, Mr Breivik turned out to be more of a moderate politically and "not much of a believer" in his own words who seemed more happy in his Masonic apron, but "Slightly Right of Centre Freemason Goes on Murder Spree" isn't a headline that provides much political ammunition. 

Over the past few days, I've run across some astonishing opportunism.  I've seen conservative bloggers and columnists blamed for the attack–indeed, anyone mentioned in Mr Breivik's rambling, strangely Anglocentric 1,500 page manifesto, though, to be consistent, that means that Gandhi, Sir Winston Churchill, Edmund Burke, and John Locke are all in trouble.  So is Sarah Palin, who has also been called into the dock.  Even Jeremy Clarkson, for the love of heaven! (Thanks for the link and comments, by the way, Ironmistress.  Spot on.)

Then there are those who call this an act of "Islamophobic terror". As Mark Steyn points out, this is a stretch given that no Muslims were targeted.    It's right up there with those who now smugly declare that the entire anti-Jihadist movement is exposed as a sham by this single crime, that anyone who for a moment thought that the Oslo bombing might have been the work of Jihadists is a bigot (even if a Jihadist group did claim credit for a while) and that "right wing" terrorism is the real threat.   Some go even farther and claim that anyone who opposes the Left's agenda on culture, immigration and the rest is just another mad killer waiting to explode at any moment.  I know of one lefty pundit who even went as far as to blame freedom of speech and that it would be so much nicer if everyone was forced to read the Guardian exclusively. 

I can't help feeling that they're not taking any of this seriously.  So what if seventy odd people have been brutally murdered and the Norwegian Eden has sprung a few serpents?  We've got political opponents to embarrass.

What I find truly worrying about all of this is that this lone killer may prove to be the first vulture of a bloody season.  God forbid, but it's entirely possible that the world could slide into a sort of similar madness.  For years I've been banging on about how Western governments have got to start taking the entire Jihadist war seriously.  That means aggressive diplomacy, military action, and economic measures as well as immigration reform and dumping the poisons of multiculturalism and political correctness.  If we keep on pretending that there's no problem or make matters worse as New Labour did by treasonously encouraging an invasion of Britain for their own political ends, then the future could get very dark. Dismissing the concerns of those who see the Jihadists for what they are will only leave the field to the madmen and the thugs.  The actions of this bland-faced Scandinavian who went in in leaps from sensible talk to seditious calls to overthrow Western governments to mass murder may one day become the unwitting harbinger for the network of anti-government, anti-Muslim terror cells that he fantasised about.  If it gets to that point, it won't mean a response of writing stern Guardian leaders and calls in the Commons to further curtail civil rights to deal with this distraction from more important affairs of state while the Left sits back and sees their opponents muzzled once and for all.  It will be the Scylla of Jihadism versus the Charybdis of sedition; both armed to the teeth and both determined to use force to get their way.  It will mean civil war and fighting in the streets and God help us all.  I do not want to be caught in between a load of Breiviks and Mohammeds trying to outdo one another in the atrocity sweepstakes and I have no desire to see London renamed Balkans on the Thames. 

As for poor Norway?  They have a lot of dead to mourn and a lot of thinking to do.  Let's say our prayers for them and leave them to it.  I've been to enough Norwegian funerals in my day to know that there's some hard grieving for them to get through.

Update: The Oslo horror and gun control.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Oslo bombings

At least one and possibly several terrorist bombs explode in the Norwegian capital leaving two dead and dozens injured.

According to one Mr Alexander Higgins at, this attack has all the marks of an Al Qaeda operation. So who does he think is behind it?  Jews!

Update:  Seven people dead and fifteen injured; two seriously.

Meanwhile, a gunman disguised as a policeman opened fire at a Labour party youth camp on Utya Island with as many as 20 reported dead.

A Jihadist group called Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (the Helpers of the Global Jihad) claims responsibility for the Oslo attack.

Update:  Things are getting murkier.

Update:  The BBC reports 80 dead in shooting incident alone.

Connections Part 2: Death in the Morning

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Panem et circenses

Only 2 As a loaf (about 55p)
Rome fell because it taxed itself out of existence providing bread and circuses to the masses.  Proving that it has learned absolutely nothing from this, 21st century Britain is doing exactly the same thing.  In fact, they're going the Caesars one better by charging the taxpayers £20.64 a loaf for the "free" bread.

What's the difference between the NHS and a vampire?  A vampire doesn't pick your pocket while he sucks you dry.

Update: What this "envy of the world" is costing.

Chef's Special

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I think they should leave this one alone

British scientists conclude: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

How far we've fallen II

With Britain all but bankrupted by a feckless political class and their vassalage to the European Empire, Professor John Appleby, of the King's Fund not only doesn't think that the fiscal rat hole known as the NHS should be abolished, he wants its budget doubled.  That will make make the job scheme for bureaucrats health service cost six times as much as national defence.  Remember defence?  The primary reason that the government exists in the first place?  Neither does anyone else, apparently.

Welcome to Britain; once the seat of the world's greatest empire, wielder of the mightiest navy ever seen, mother of parliaments, founder of the Industrial Revolution, royal throne of kings, scepter'd isle, earth of majesty, seat of Mars, other Eden, demi-paradise, fortress built by Nature for herself against infection and the hand of war, and precious stone set in the silver sea–now reduced to a dodgy health plan with a nation attached as an afterthought.

Britain a century ago:
Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police. Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy, or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly £200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8 per cent. of the national income. The state intervened to prevent the citizen from eating adulterated food or contracting certain infectious diseases. It imposed safety rules in factories, and prevented women, and adult males in some industries, from working excessive hours. The state saw to it that children received education up to the age of 13. Since 1 January 1909, it provided a meagre pension for the needy over the age of 70. Since 1911, it helped to insure certain classes of workers against sickness and unemployment. This tendency towards more state action was increasing. Expenditure on the social services had roughly doubled since the Liberals took office in 1905. Still, broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone.
A J P Taylor

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Call my bluff

If you're bluffing, it's usually wise not to tell your opponent that.

It's even wiser not to then dare him to call it.

Sports TV

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Put the pipe down, Steve.

Mr Stephen Marche over at Esquire makes the best case ever against legalising drugs.

The sea is falling!

I, for one, welcome our jellyfish overlords.
Mr George Monbiot looks at jellyfish with all the perspective of a panicky meerkat and loses it completely:
A combination of overfishing and ocean acidification (caused by rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) has created the perfect conditions for this shift from a system dominated by fish to a system dominated by jellyfish.

If this is indeed what we’re seeing, the end of vertebrate ecology is a direct result of the end of vertebrate politics: the utter spinelessness of the people charged with protecting the life of the seas.
Flee for the hills!  The Day of the Jellyfish is at hand!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Reality Check

We had to destroy the civilisation in order to save it.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

I am Szondy: Mender of Washers

Day one and holiday is already paying dividends.  This was exactly my reaction after I fixed the washing machine.

Naming Your Child

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Family Month

The Szondy family is taking a month off so we can catch up with ourselves, so posting is going to be a little light.  I'll check in when I can, but there are lawns to mow, fish to catch and beer to drink.  And if there's enough beer, the lawn and fish can look after themselves.

Friday, 1 July 2011


Nuovo:  The personal isolation capsule that give you the solitude you need for quality reading time.

Personally, I prefer the Mark I.

Small details

It's amazing how one little thing can annoy you to distraction like a caraway seed caught in your teeth.  The First Men in the Moon is one of my favourite H G Wells novels and Ray Harryhausen films, so it isn't surprising that this caught my eye in a Wikipedia article on spacesuits in science fiction:
The film depicts the 1960s astronaut spacesuits as run-of-the-mill film prop spacesuits with a 1960s-type aqualung cylinder each instead of a NASA-type life support backpack.
Leaving aside the question of how the blazes the costume designers were supposed to get their hands on a "NASA-type life support backpack" in 1964 when NASA didn't even have them, I couldn't believe that the writer claimed that these:
From Wikipedia
were "run-of-the-mill film prop spacesuits".

NOT a prop.
Sorry, Lads, but these didn't come from the costume department.  Even when I was a kid with too much time on my hands, I knew that these are, in fact, British high-altitude pressure suits of the sort intended to be used aboard the TSR-1.  

That's the trouble with Hollywood: You sweat blood over authenticity and nobody even notices.

By the way, if these helmets from the link page look familiar, it may be because you've also seen a dolled up one on the flight deck of the commercial transport Nostromo.

Sitting Peking Duck

Red China trots out its first (secondhand) aircraft carrier, which Daniel Goure points out makes no sense in relation to China's needs or ambitions and is just the sort of thing the US Navy has spent three quarters of a century perfecting ways of sinking.

Cosmos Part 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica