Friday, April 28, 2006

Yahoo Accused of Shopping Chinese Journalist

Reporters Without Borders claims Yahoo supplied information which got a Chinese journalist, Shi Tao, convicted.

Shi Tao has been sentenced to 10 years for forwarding a message to western websites, a message in which the Chinese authorities had warned his newspaper (Dandai Shang Bao) of possible destabilisation by dissidents returning for the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.

If this is true, then the passive willingness of Google, MSN and Yahoo to censor their information, has become active collaboration with the Chinese regime in suppressing the Chinese people. That is a depressing progression. It gives the lie to the supposedly liberalising effects of globalisation.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Anti-Smoking Terror Continues

Markos Kyprianou, the EU Commissioner for Goats, is threatening to take Germany to court for allowing tobacco to be advertised and, indeed, smoked in public places. Apparently this is now illegal in the EU.

Ever since Kyprianou personally went round Europe testing 200,000 of our goats last year, he has been casting himself as some kind of expert in matters of heath, and looking around for something equally useful to occupy himself. This is why he has shifted his attentions to smokers. Most European countries have fallen into line with his interfering strictures and are now persecuting smokers and tobacco companies. Only Germany has stood firm. Now it looks like the Commissioner for Goats will crush the poor Germans under his officious heel too.

"Islamic Terrorism" Banned From EU "Lexicon"

The idea behind banning the phrase Islamic terrorism from the EU's official documents, as announced today, is to avoid "unnecessary offence". The EU thinks further "radicalisation" may be sparked off by such wording. This may seem a foolish fear, and a somewhat pious wish, on the part of the EU's lexicon-makers. It is sure to spark off "political correctness gone mad" type reactions.

But it's actually a nice way of accentuating the fact that terrorists are not true Muslims. This is still something that needs reinforcing. Doing so will make it easier for our Muslim brothers in Europe to condemn Islamist terrorism, and help us all create a more agreeable society. So for once the blog can say, "Well done, EU bureaucrats!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Berlusconi's Cherries

Jeff Israel, commenting on Berlusconi's election defeat, reveals how the media mogul once moved a sofa all by himself, and how he once ate some cherries from a porcelain bowl ("his left arm was practically wrapped around it," Israel discloses). Israel reckons Berlusconi's defeat may leave him, leader of the largest single party, the most powerful politician in Italy. Interesting, if somewhat surreal, perspectives. How Berlusconi Can Win By Losing -- Page 1

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


A zany article by Alan Wolfe attacks President Bush for hating ideas so much that he acted on neoconservative ones. Now the original sponsors of those ideas (the equally zany Fukuyama foremost amongst them) - who supported the actions inspired by their ideas (invading Iraq) - say they were actually terrible ideas which only a moron could have acted on.

Bush, these idea-mongers say, should shift to "realistic Wilsonianism". This means having the same objectives but not using military means to achieve them. "The details can be filled in later", says the idea-monger Wolfe. A dangerous idea, that.

The Chronicle: 4/14/2006: How Bush's Bad Ideas May Lead to Good Ones

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nuking Iran

Seymour Hersh writes a very long piece in the New Yorker, with quotes saying that President Bush has a "messianic" urge to nuke Iran's bomb-building capability. Hersh's sources say Bush thinks regime change will be the sure-fire result of such a holocaust. Bush is urged to sit down and talk to the Iranians instead. Or try a "charm offensive" aimed at weaning young Iranians from the unpopular Iranian regime.

This may well be an excellent plan. But what happens if the talk and charm lead nowhere? Nobody actually knows how close the Iranians are to active nuclear capability, although everyone agrees they are developing it. Will everyone ever agree that nuking Iran is the only way to stop it from nuking Israel first? It seems most unlikely. And yet it seems equally unlikely that the Iranian regime can be stopped without at least the threat of a nuclear strike.

The New Yorker: Fact