Archive for October 26th, 2007

Go To Hell, BBC

A BBC embed writes:

While most violence in Iraq is sectarian, Iraqi killing Iraqi, most violence against the US troops comes from Sunni militant groups.

They must win here if they are to leave Iraq.

  • Note that ‘violence in Iraq’ excludes the presence of an occupying army.
  • Note the acceptance as fact that the Americans ‘must win’. They don’t have to win at all. They only have to leave.
  • Good old BBC: independent media at its best.

The Rumour About The Arabs

Anti-Semitism is the rumour about the Jews

-Theodor Adorno

Suspicious Reactions

Police suggested that Mr de Menezes may have reacted suspiciously when confronted by officers because he thought he may have had some drugs in his pocket or that a forged stamp in his passport had been discovered.

On the other hand, the rest of us, drug-free and lawfully present, know precisely how to act when, in a foreign country, we are all of a sudden confronted by police shouting and pointing guns.


Needless to say, the police have behaved impeccably throughout.

Supply to Demand: Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

Oil-producing nations are resisting calls to increase supply, insisting that the rising prices are not caused by product shortages.

“There is no interruption of supply. There’s a lot of oil in the market”, said Abdalla El-Badri, secretary general of Opec, yesterday.

Royal Dutch Shell also said on Thursday that political tension and market speculation, not supply problems, were causing record oil prices.


  • Political tension is down to demand for oil. Note: Demand for oil doesn’t necessarily mean demand for oil to burn now, just as demand for land doesn’t necessarily mean demand for land to farm now.
  • Market speculation is down to demand for oil.
  • Interaction of demand and supply determines price.
  • Conclusion of OPEC, Shell: leave supply out of the equation. Stop demanding so much oil, and the price will fall. Thanks.


Am I missing something?

Of Pigs And Troughs

So the Taoiseach now gets paid more than George Bush, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel. In Spain, Zapatero earns about 89 grand: about three and a half times less than Ahern.


In general, I think remuneration for public servants based on private sector considerations is a bad idea. Not least because pay structures for senior private sector roles are rigged:


  • There is ‘performance-related’ pay, but senior managers decide what ‘performance’ means anyway
  • Pyramid structure operating in private sector means tooth-and-claw battles for promotion, to the advantage of senior managers
  • Threats to subordinates are more effective in private sector.
  • Profitability is not the same as effectiveness
  • The ‘headroom’ prestige in private sector top posts is not necessarily desirable for public sector posts. Unless you want a collection of caudillos running the country. Oh. Wait.

Sort of Got Me

Noting that:


  • Haven’t listened to the Kinks in donkeys
  • Not a huge Kinks fan anyway, but like ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ and ‘Arthur…’
  • Usually very suspicious of free CDs, especially from Sunday Times


I listened this morning to Ray Davies’s new record, Working Man’s Cafe




  • Theme is dislocation and not fitting in.
  • Title track’s search for ‘Working Man’s Cafe’ is lament for times past. Nothing new there, then.
  • Other songs about war, globalization, imperialism, bureaucratic machines: quite surprising. Was expecting songs mainly about Ginsters pork pies and seaside trips.
  • Tunes quite good, production v. uninspiring, lyrics rather angry.
  • No-one will buy it, but it’s excellent.

‘Blair Rich’ Project

Speaking at the annual Al Smith charity dinner — safely distant from the mother country, where he has become a national embarrassment, never mentioned in polite society — Blair eagerly trafficked in the ludicrous trope that views “Islamic extremism” as one huge, all-powerful, amorphous yet somehow monolithic mass, comprising — as Mitt Romney once put it with blazing ignorance — “Shi’a and Sunni … Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.” In the minds of would-be he-men like Blair and Romney, this amalgamation of conflicting sects and completely disparate groups is a single, mighty Saracen sword aimed at the heart of Western civilization: a threat that must be stopped at all costs — or, rather, at the cost of other people’s blood and treasure.

Chris Floyd’s piece on Tony Blair is the best I have read for a while.




  1. Blair will do anything for the sake of fame and adoration
  2. The Quartet Envoy that lectures on history knows nothing about history: did not know what Sykes-Picot was.

And Mr Blair was totally out-foxed by one young woman who asked him whether Iraq was heading towards another ‘Sykes-Picot’.

  1. War criminal
  2. Successor scarcely different

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October 2007