Not Saussure

June 6, 2007

De illa ipsa fabula narratur

Filed under: Blogroll, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 6:01 pm

(I think I’ve got the Latin right there).

Anyway, quote of the week from John Brissenden, of konichiwa, bitches, in a comment on The Flying Rodent’s spoof of Mad Mel Phillips’ latest outburst:

Tricky, trying to parody one who is so far beyond it. Money quote from “Britain’s dhimmerversities” [the outburst in question]:

“From their own mouths, more than half of Britain’s Muslims reveal they believe in demented and paranoid theories, refuse to take responsibility for the part played by their community and its faith in Islamist terrorism, and believe instead that Britain is a giant conspiracy against them.”

Remind you of anyone?


April 22, 2007

Tony’s bacon saved! Saddam’s WMD discovered at last — by Melanie Phillips

Filed under: Iraq, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 5:16 pm

Remember how we all laughed hollowly when, back in 2003, Tony Blair was assuring us that

I have absolutely no doubt at all that we will find evidence of weapons of mass destruction programmes

and his official spokesman was saying that Mr Blair

“is absolutely confident that we will find evidence not only of weapons of mass destruction programmes, but concrete evidence of the product of those programs as well,”?

Well, it seems that, in the final weeks (one hopes) before he leaves office, Mad Mel Phillips has found them for him.

In fact, she’s not only discovered Saddam’s missing WMD but she’s also uncovered a conspiracy to conceal their existence. The conspirators include, it would appear, both the Republicans and the Democrats in the higher reaches of the US government. These conspirators would, it seems, include President Bush, who, remember, told a White House press conference on August 21 of last year that

Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was — the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn’t, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction.

The reason for this cover-up is that the weapons were, it seems, discovered but then lost through incompetence with the result that (more…)

March 30, 2007

Give him a map

Filed under: Iran, UK, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 12:36 pm

Simon Heffer is fulminating in The Telegraph about the British sailors and marines detained by the Iranians. He ringingly declares

There is no doubt the 15 were in international waters when captured,

On the contrary; the one thing on which everyone’s agreed is that they weren’t in international waters, for the simple reason there aren’t any around there. Either, as the Iranians claim, they were 0.5 km inside Iranian waters or, as everyone else seems to think, they were 1.7 nautical miles in Iraqi waters.

No where else they could have been, unless, which I very much doubt, he means that Craig Murray is correct in arguing that it doesn’t really matter what their physical position was since the legal status of those waters is disputed between the two countries, no maritime border being agreed.

Mr Murray quotes,

that well known far left source Stars and Stripes magazine, October 24 2006.’Bumping into the Iranians can’t be helped in the northern Persian Gulf, where the lines between Iraqi and Iranian territorial water are blurred, officials said.

“No maritime border has been agreed upon by the two countries,” Lockwood said.’

That is Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Lockwood. He is the Commander of the Combined Task Force in the Northern Persian Gulf.

I might even know something about it myself, having been Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1989 to 1992, and having been personally responsible in the Embargo Surveillance Centre for getting individual real time clearance for the Royal Navy to board specific vessels in these waters.

He goes on to say that

It is essential now for both sides to back down. No solution is possible if either side continues to insist that the other is completely in the wrong and they are completely in the right. And the first step towards finding a peaceful way out, is to acknowledge the self-evident truth that maritime boundaries are disputed and problematic in this area.Both sides can therefore accept that the other acted in good faith with regard to their view of where the boundary was. They can also accept that boats move about and all the coordinates given by either party were also in good faith. The captives should be immediately released and, to international acclamation, Iran and Iraq, which now are good neighbours, should appoint a joint panel of judges to arbitrate a maritime boundary and settle this boundary dispute.

That is the way out. For the British to insist on their little red border line, or the Iranians on their GPS coordinates, plainly indicates a greater desire to score propaganda points in the run up to a war in which a lot of people will die, than to resolve the dispute and free the captives. The international community needs to put heavy pressure on both Britain and Iran to stop this mad confrontation.

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March 4, 2007

BNP seeks alliance with radical anti-abortion campaigners

Filed under: Abortion, Catholicism, Politics, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 2:05 pm

Politics certainly makes strange bedfellows; I see from The Observer that

The British National Party is building an alliance with radical anti-abortion activists in an attempt to reach out to Catholics and secure their votes in future elections.Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, and one of his close deputies confirmed yesterday that they held private talks last week with the UK co-ordinator of Life League, an anti-abortion lobby group. Griffin and Mark Collet spent two days with James Dowson, an Ulster-based businessman and the main force behind Life League. […]

Griffin claimed that amplifying the party’s ‘pro-life’ policies would win it new votes among Catholics. ‘There used to be a perception in Northern Ireland and Scotland that we were an Orange party. This is not so,’ he said. The BNP, like Dowson, wanted to reach across the sectarian divide.

Don’t know how well this is going to go down with all the Poles, on whom I understand the BNP is none too keen (at least not if they come here to work), who’ve so greatly increased attendance at Catholic churches, in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK, over the last couple of years.


February 25, 2007

More from Conservapedia

Filed under: Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 9:07 pm

Noticed this on the Conservapedia main Talk page

Only 10% of Americans believe in evolution the way it is taught in school. Ponder that statistic for a while. Can you identify any other activity imposed on 100% of the population yet accepted by only 10% of it?–Aschlafly 01:53, 25 February 2007 (EST)

The income tax? Dpbsmith 09:57, 25 February 2007 (EST)

Meanwhile, I note that their entry on Jesus contains a fascinating snippet:

In Christian discourse, the name Jesus almost always refers specifically to Jesus of Nazareth, believed by Christian followers to be God’s dad, who came to earth as a human c 2 AD. However, God has recently revealed on His blog that Jesus is actually His nephew, not His son

(I’ve saved a copy of this entry for Jesus, along with the one on the Pacific Northwest Arboreal Octopus, in case they vanish.)

Unfortunately, since liberals have clearly been making mischief with some of the entries, they’re not accepting new registrations at the moment. This is a shame, since at present there’s no entry explaining the game of cricket, and I think home-schooled Americans would benefit from learning a bit more about the sport.

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February 24, 2007


Filed under: Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 7:49 pm

Via Jon Swift, America’s most reasonable conservative, I discover what looks like a spoof on the lines of Uncyclopedia, but probably isn’t.

Tired of the LIBERAL BIAS every time you search on Google and a Wikipedia page appears? Now it’s time for the Conservatives to get our voice out on the internet! Conservapedia began in November 2006, as the class project for a World History class of 58 advanced homeschooled and college-bound students meeting in New Jersey.

Conservapedia has since grown enormously, including contributors nationwide. Conservapedia already has over one-half the number of entries as the Oxford Dictionary of World History. Conservapedia is rapidly becoming one of the largest and most reliable online educational resources of its kind.

Since anyone can edit the Conservapedia, it’s not completely clear how many of their entries are placed there by well-intentioned editors. I am not personally convinced of the reliability of the entry for the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, for example: (more…)

January 31, 2007

Translation, please

Filed under: Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 9:19 pm

Simon Heffer, in the Telegraph, after explaining why he’s unhappy about the government’s liberalising gambling laws:

I am a committed libertarian. It is why I write here, week in, week out about the need for the small state, low taxation, the diminution of welfarism and the promotion of individual responsibility. But I am not an anarchist. I believe there is a role for government. It was reflected in Enoch Powell’s dictum that “the supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils”.

Well, errm, yes.   Patricia Hewitt will doubtless be happy to explain to him about the ‘preventable evils’ caused by poor diet, lack of exercise and so forth.   In the same article, he expresses an admiration for Oliver Cromwell, who I seem to recall was pretty hot against preventable evils like maypoles, Christmas and the theatre (not to mention Irishmen).

I think all that he means here is that he doesn’t like paying taxes but thinks that saying he’s a libertarian sounds more impressive.   

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January 16, 2007

‘Christian fascism’: What’s in a name?

Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Politics, Religion, usa, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 6:56 pm

Interesting post by Gracchi (pleonasm again) complaining about the labels Islamo-Fascism and, now, ‘Christian fascism’, as applied by Chris Hedges to right-wing Christians in the United States. Gracchus’ thesis, with which I wholly concur, is that fascism properly refers to an identifiable political ideology, specifically that of Mussolini’s Italy and by conventional extension to Hitler’s Germany, Salazar’s Portugal and Franco’s Spain. Gracchus is possibly rather more dubious than am I about whether it’s applicable to Franco’s Spain, but I’m hardly an expert in that period of history so I’ll willingly concede the point.

Quite rightly, though, Gracchus (sorry, I have to write about him in the singular) complains that it’s now being used as a term of abuse for any particularly illiberal political movement and, as he notes, ‘not being liberal does not make you fascist’. To my mind, it’s there primarily as a signifier of the attitude of the person who uses it rather than to describe a particular movement or ideology. (more…)

December 11, 2006

Where angels fear to tread

Filed under: Blogroll, Opinion polls, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 6:02 pm

I write this with some trepidation, for reasons that may become obvious. The background, in brief, is that a punch-up seems to have developed between Devil’s Kitchen and someone called Chad, who runs a site called UKIP Home. Chad’s taken exception to the fact that DK, despite having announced some time ago that he’s joined UKIP, is still as critical — and foul-mouthed — about UKIP when he thinks they’re in the wrong as is he of just about everyone else.

Most ticked off, is Chad, and is accusing the Devil of being a Tory stooge, in cahoots with Iain Dale and heaven knows what else. He’s implied that DK has hacked his site and is clearly no gentleman since he’s apparently started publishing DK’s real name. Rhetorically Speaking sums it up better than could I, as does the excellent Longrider, who has also proved himself infinitely more patient than ever would be with Chad’s jumping up and down in his comments column. Hence my trepidation.

I take the opportunity to remark briefly on the irony of someone accusing DK of seeking to undermine UKIP when, in fact, the fact he’s joined them has probably caused many people to take them rather more seriously, since underneath all the ranting and swearing he’s a very intelligent and thoughtful writer whom many people (including me, for what it’s worth) take seriously, despite disagreeing with much of what he says.

However, my main point was this dispute took me to UKIP Home to see what all the fuss was about. A bit of a waste of time; it apparently incorporates ‘the centre for progressive conservatism,’ which sounds to me about as good an idea as alcohol-free beer. Sort of reminded me of the type of chaps who actually joined the university Conservative Association because they were interested in party policy rather than some interesting speaker meetings, good parties and meeting some girls (very important consideration back when most Oxbridge colleges were still men only).

In a recent post, Chad discusses YouGov’s latest poll for the Telegraph and remarks,

Support for ‘others’ is now almost as big as support for the LibDems at a whopping 15%.

People really are turning away from the LibLabCon-sensus Westminster elite.

Surely the honest thing would be for pollsters to start listing UKIP properly instead of lumping it in with ‘other’?

That puzzled me, since I thought YouGov did give detailed breakdowns; consequently I went to their site and found the full poll results. Here we are, on the first page of the .pdf:

Headline Voting Intention
Con 37
Lab 32
Lib Dem 16
Other 15

Other Parties Voting Intention
Green 3
Respect 1
Veritas 0
Other 1

I seek to make no political point about the figures; it’s just I’m not particularly impressed by someone accusing others of dishonesty when what he really means is he can’t be arsed to look something up for himself.

Why, people might wonder, am I going on about it here rather than setting him right in his comments column? Because you have to register to post a comment. Nothing unusual about that, one might well say, and so there isn’t. But it’s a tad unusual, in my experience at least, to have to pay to register to comment on a political site.

And I’m buggered if I’m going to pay £2.50 to set someone straight who can’t be bothered to do their own research.

Incidentally, I notice that UKIP Home’s blogroll has Tim Worstall dowb as a ‘UKIP blog’. I know the excellent Mr W is not only a Pendant but a Proud member of the Euronihilist Community, but UKIP? That rather surprises me.

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December 2, 2006

US dragged kicking and screaming into the C19th

Filed under: Bloody Yanks, Politics, usa, Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 8:23 pm

Here’s an extraordinary story that recalls a controversy in Britain in the late C19th. Keith Ellison was recently elected to the US Congress to represent Minnesota, where he will sit as a Democrat. He’s the first Muslim to be elected to the House of Representatives.
According to USA Today,

Members of the House of Representatives traditionally raise their right hands and are sworn in together on the floor of the chamber. The ritual sometimes seen as the swearing-in is actually a ceremonial photo op with the speaker of the House that usually involves a Bible.

Being a Muslim, Mr Ellison intends to use a Koran rather than a Bible in this ‘photo-op’. Nothing odd about that, one would have thought. Well, I would thought there was nothing wrong with it, anyway. But I would have been wrong.
The Telegraph reports,

The decision by Democrat Keith Ellison to use Islam’s holy book for the ceremony instead of a Bible triggered an angry column by Dennis Prager on the authoritative website this week.
Mr Prager headlined the post, “America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on.” He argued that using the Koran for the ceremony “undermines American civilization.”
Conservative bloggers have picked up the criticism and run with it

I don’t know about ‘conservative’ bloggers, but Mr Prager is certainly vexed about it; apparently, ‘the act undermines American civilization’. He writes,

Tony Banks shows how to do it

The late Tony Banks shows the
Americans how to take an Oath

Of course, Ellison’s defenders argue that Ellison is merely being honest; since he believes in the Koran and not in the Bible, he should be allowed, even encouraged, to put his hand on the book he believes in. But for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament, and the many secular elected officials have not believed in the Old Testament either. Yet those secular officials did not demand to take their oaths of office on, say, the collected works of Voltaire or on a volume of New York Times editorials, writings far more significant to some liberal members of Congress than the Bible. Nor has one Mormon official demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon.

According to USA Today, that’s apparently mistaken; they reckon,

Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, carried a volume of Mormon scriptures that included the Bible and the Book of Mormon at his swearing-in ceremony in 1997.

But, be that as it may, one can only imagine that Mr Prager objects to the inference some people might draw from Mr Ellison’s insistence on using a holy book in which he actually believes that all these Jewish or secular American congressmen were, errm, hypocrites whose oaths meant nothing in comparison with a photo-opportunity. More seriously, given the extraordinary (to a Brit) importance religion seems to play in American right-wing politics, one can see that Mr Ellison’s actions might cause the religious right some embarrassment in future if religiously-inclined American Christian and Jewish voters start to take an interest in which book their chap swears on.
We went through all this back in the 1880s when Charles Bradlaugh was elected as MP for Northampton. Bradlaugh, a militant atheist, wanted to affirm rather than take the Oath of Allegiance but was refused permission so to do by the House. He then offered to take the Oath ‘as a matter of form’ (rather, one imagines, as Mr Prager would like Mr Ellison to do) but the House refused, presumably taking the apparently profoundly un-American view that if you’re swearing an oath you ought at least to give the impression you mean it. Wikipedia continues,

Because a Member must take the oath before being allowed to take their seat, he effectively forfeited his seat in Parliament. He attempted to take his seat regardless, was arrested and briefly imprisoned in the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament. His seat fell vacant and a by-election was declared. Bradlaugh was re-elected by Northampton four times in succession as the dispute continued. Supporting Bradlaugh were William Gladstone, George Bernard Shaw, and John Stuart Mill, as well as hundreds of thousands of people who signed a public petition. Opposing his right to sit were the Conservative Party, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other leading figures in the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church.
On at least one occasion, Bradlaugh was escorted from the House by police officers. In 1883 he took his seat and voted three times before being fined £1,500 for voting illegally. A bill allowing him to affirm was defeated in Parliament.
In 1886 Bradlaugh was finally allowed to take the oath, and did so at the risk of prosecution under the Parliamentary Oaths Act. Two years later, in 1888, he secured passage of a new Oaths Act, which enshrined into law the right of affirmation for members of both Houses, as well as extending and clarifying the law as it related to witnesses in civil and criminal trials (the Evidence Amendment Acts of 1869 and 1870 had proved unsatisfactory, though they had given relief to many who would otherwise have been disadvantaged.

Many of the voters of Northampton, one rather imagines, at least in the four subsequent by-elections, would have been motivated not so much by approval for Mr Bradlaugh’s unorthodox (for the time) religious views as by the idea that since Mr Bradlaugh had been elected as Northampton’s MP, then no one but the voters of Northampton were going to prevent his taking his seat and voting. Similarly, it’s surely only up to the voters of Minnesota whom they have to represent them in Congress.
No wonder Gwyneth Paltrow finds one of the attractions of living here the fact that

The British are much more intelligent and civilized than the Americans

While we’re too polite to mention it, it’s always rather gratifying when someone else recognises what we all knew.

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