Monday, November 29, 2004

Fame... but where is the fortune? 

The December edition of New Zealand's premier Internet magazine "Net Guide" features a story on the rise of blogging in New Zealand.

Guess who was mentioned on page 49?

My one quibble: they had the temerity to characterise KiwiJewPundit as being of the political right. I'm sure Comrade would differ.

But I guess, in order to change perceptions, he would have to post more, wouldn't he...

Dancing Cossacks 

The lead-up to the 1975 election was a vituperative one. The Kirk-Rowling Labour Government had mobilised the left-leaning Vietnam-generation youth, and middle New Zealand was ripe for a red-scare. The opposition saw an opportunity to portray the compulsory savings scheme as a commie takeover.

The National Party, led by Rob Muldoon, created the most famous television ad in New Zealand political history, the "Dancing Cossacks" ad. There can't have been many more stark political advertisements anywhere. It's available here, from the National Archives.

The irony is, that the Muldoon government (1975-1984) turned out to be the most socialist in the nation's history: wage and price freezes; marginal income tax rates of 66%; regulations on everything from trucks to tomatoes.

More ironically, it took the Labour government of Lange and Douglas after 1984 to free the economy and dismantle the socialist system.

(Courtesy of a guy who doesn't like socialism very much.)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

From the National Front website... 

Back in August, I noted reports that National Front members were carrying "Free Palestine" banners at their counter-demonstration to the anti-racism meeting in Wellington.

The left wouldn't comment, of course. It damages their pat distinction between anti-Zionism and its honest cousin, anti-semitism.

Well, the National Front's website is unafraid of voicing their "support for the Palestinians". They called their protest an "anti zog rally" (ZOG stands for Zionist Occupation Government; it is a term used by fascist loony tunes for the US Government and anyone else they see as a marionette of the Jooooos).

Here is the National Front's report of the event:

Six of us were therefore left to spend the entirety of the two hours standing outside the hall, with placards reading
"Zionism is Racist" and "Free Palestine from Zionist Occupation", and talking amicably with a large police contingent. Leaflets exposing Zionism as Jewish supremacy and the manner by which it uses others to do its dirty work,
were handed out. The anti-racists attending couldn?t say much in criticism of the NF pickets.

Even these addled skinhead morons seem to realise that since when it comes to hating Jews, they'll ally themselves with anyone, they may end up with strange bedfellows:

Some of the Left seem to be aware of the common ground between them and the NF on certain issues and find the confrontations problematical.

I wanna see Keith Locke respond to that.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

"The Apprentice 2: Ambassador" -- what a great reality TV concept! 

Israelis are sick of their terrible image overseas. There are many causes: a trendy identification of Palestinians as "udnerdogs", the pervasive influence of oil wealth, weariness of the influence of growing Muslim minorities.

But the fact is, a large part of Israel's PR problem is due to the low quality of many of its international representatives. Think of the Israelis we're used to seeing on CNN or BBC: combative, scary looking Raanan Gissin; Jabba-the-Hutt-impersonator Fuad Ben-Eliezer; and all the others with their stammering, their "eeeeh", their slow delivery. No wonder Hanan Ashrawi and Saeb Erekat tear them to pieces.

Now, Israeli TV is coming to the rescue:

"Hashagrir," or "The Ambassador," which debuts Wednesday, plays into a classic Israeli pet peeve: that the country's diplomats invariably fail to convince foreign audiences that Israel is in the right in its dispute with the Arabs....

The format of "Hashagrir" is similar to American reality TV programs like "The Apprentice," with an expert panel giving a designated loser his marching orders at the end of each episode.
The first assignment was a tough one:

The first program pit the seven male contestants against their seven female counterparts at the Cambridge University Union in England. Speaking before a skeptical audience, each side presented Israel's case in a short speech before answering questions from the floor.
Not all were successful:
"Unfortunately the Palestinian Authority has declined to every opportunity the Israeli government offered them," she said, butchering English grammar.

(thanks to Israel Insider).

The film that cost the producer his life 

Submission, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh is on the web, avalaible on the web, here.

Amazing: how quick the "creative classes" are to scream about censorship, yet when someone is murdered for making a movie about women being abused, that is not worthy of comment. We live in a messed-up world.

It won't happen overnight.... but it will happen 

I thought there was not a single NZ celebrity who endorsed Bush in the recent American elections.

I was wrong. Gotta give her a bit of credit.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Baruch Dayan Emet (Blessed be the True judge): Rafael Eitan 

Terrible loss for the nation of Israel: Rafael "Raful" Eitan, Chief of Staff, political leader, nation builder, has drowned.

A fighter in the Palmah paramilitary organisation in the pre-state period, Raful was thought to have died in the 1948 War of Independence. He commanded paratroops into the Mitla Pass in Sinai in 1956; the paratroop brigade that conquered Gaza in 1967; led many anti-terrorist missions; and headed a division that held back overwhelmingly numerically superior Syrian and Iraqi forces in the Golan Heights in the Yom Kipur War in 1973.

Raful, although a tough military commander, was known for integrity. He acted firmly against any hint of looting in Gaza.

In a famous incident, the IDF conducted an operation at Beirut International airport in response to continued PLO use of the airport as a hijacking base. In a daring raid, paratroop units took the airport, and held it for several hours, destroying aircraft that had been set aside for terrorist activities. During the operation, Raful sat down at an airport cafe, ordered a cup of coffee, and then paid when he left -- while supervising the successful operation.

A stint as Chief of Staff ended in controversy, with the Lebanon invasion. However, his tenure was also marked with success: the Osirak strike that prevented Saddam Hussein's Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons; he instituted educational programmes for army-drafted youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Later, Raful entered politics as the head of the secular right-wing Tzomet movement. He wanted to clean up politics, and instil his own brand of integrity and frugality. This was perhaps too much of a task.

His efforts to galvanise support against the Oslo process did not succeed, at least initially.

A fascinating side to his story: Raful was born on a moshav (farming settlement) called Tel Adashim. There is mystery about his origins: he claimed that his mother was a member of a non-Jewish Russian sect that observed the Sabbath; this raised the possibility that Raful, hero of the Jewish state, was himself not Jewish. Further, he denied ever being apporached for conversion.

Monday, November 22, 2004

From our "God Bless America" files... 

In the midst of the "obesity epidemic", and junk food stalwarts such as McDonalds offering healthy alternatives, one American fast food chain is resisting the trend, with a 1420-calorie offering.

Hardees are offering something called a "Monster Thickburger", which they tag "not a burger for tree huggers" (I think there was already very little risk of Comrade consuming such a thing).

To convey the true meaning of this burger, I need to quote the Telegraph's description of its magnificence:

The Monster Thickburger consists of two slabs of Angus beef (664 calories) and four rashers of bacon (150 calories) with three slices of processed cheese (186 calories), plus mayonnaise (160 calories), sandwiched between a sesame seed bun (230 calories) spread with butter for a final 30.

The equivalent of two Big Macs, it costs a mere £3. For £1 more, you can throw in a medium fries and a soft drink and consume an adult's recommended daily intake of calories at one sitting.

Although I will never eat such a burger (the rules of kashrut save me in this regard) and I am uncomfortable with such gluttony, I respect America for allowing people to fight these trends. In Helengrad, a busy-body regulatory authority would have prevented this already. Earnest looking celery eaters would be tut-tutting on the news.

What I like less is this:

However, it also increases the company's exposure to the threat of lawsuits from customers blaming its food for their obesity, diabetes, heart problems or other conditions linked to poor diet.

The higher value placed on personal responsibility and initiative in America is compromised by the recourse to tort law action by people who simply lack self control.

As a neo-con more concerned with foreign and defence policy, I don't have much problem with most of the Democratic Party's domestic agenda, with one main exception: its reliance for funding on trial lawyers results in the blocking off of reform, saddling companies with ever-higher product liability costs, and creating an unproductive industry of ambulance chasers.

It strikes me that in order to protect the value of self-reliance, tort reform should be high on Bush's domestic agenda.

(thanks to Silent Running)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Joe Sixpack is a Republican 

One of the most striking, if ignored, results of the US elections: blue collar democrats are a thing of the past.

This was a trend that was emerging, but is now almost complete. A map of the electoral college reveals that the wealthier a state is, the higher the vote for Kerry. There are amazingly few exceptions to this.

The rich -- north-eastern blue-bloods and bond traders, Hollywood, Seattle dot.com zillionaires -- vote for the redistributionist "class warrior". Cletus and Peggy Sue vote for naked capitalism. The common sense of economic self interest is inverted.

The American Enterpise magazine thinks the answer lies in how out of touch elites are from the rest of their compatriots.

Others cite "moral values" -- the fact that American elections are more about guns and God than economics. But it seems that people who most support tax cuts for the rich ar ethe people least likely to benefit from them.

I think the reason is probably a mix of things. But I think at its core are differing world views: a cosmopolitan, heavily European spirit in New York and LA, and a starker, more tradition-bound view in the centre of the country.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Bungle, Zippy, George, Geoffry, and smut 

On a lighter note...

There were a few TV shows I truly grew up with. Sesame Street, After School (remember Ollie Olsen? The pre-Jason Gunn and Thingy days)

The most memorable was Rainbow. A bunch of puppets and a human, all with fruity British accents.

Well, obviously, one time, the cast and crew decided to have a little fun. They made a clip full of smut and double entendre. It is hilarious. You can see it here.

The urban myth is that this was actually broadcast by the BBC. Sounds hard to believe, but many are adamant that it is true.

So, readers, view for yourselves. What do you think? Could it have been aired?


I have been remiss in blogging recently. I have been busy celebrating the death of a murdering sociopath.

Rantissi, Yassin, now Arafat. It has been a good year.

With all the hagiography talking of a "father and leader" and "guerilla hero" mainstream media seem to have an amazing lacuna about what Arafat did in the years between 1968 and 1993.

I love how the Independent call him "personally incorruptible". What's that about $1.6 billion he managed to hide away? A mere trifle, I'm sure.

The media don't talk about his "guerilla" exploits:
-- ordering the murder of 6 school children and 3 teachers on a bus in Avivim.
-- ordering terrorists into a school in Maalot, where they murdered 21 children with grenades and throwing them out of windows (in 1974, the same year he spoke in the UN General Assembly).
-- being in charge of attacking the Munich Olympics, and murdering Israeli athletes.
-- being behind the bomb on a 1970 Swissair flight, killing all 47 on board.

For more, read this excellent commentary from Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe.

My sorrow at Arafat's death was that he was not executed like the dog he was.

I've said it once, I'll say it again... I hate the French 

It's not enough that they give that sadistic, sick old murderer medical treatment, and a "send off fit for a head of state", French cities are now considering naming streets after that piece of scum.

French consider naming streets after Arafat

Several French municipalities governed by communist and left-wing majorities are considering naming a street or a square after Yasser Arafat.

The French police intelligence service, Renseignements Generaux, reportedly warned the Ministry of Interior that such initiatives might trigger heated polemics and tensions between Jews and Muslims, especially neighborhoods ridden by ethnic violence.

In several suburban cities near Paris and Lyons governed by communist mayors, large Muslim and Jewish populations live side by side.

I hate the French.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Another Dutch citizen killed for questioning Islam... 

Two years ago, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was murdered in the run up to elections; the assailant was a crazed animal-rights activist vegan. The reason? Pim was questioning whether Islam, the religion of 10% of Dutch citizens, was leading in some worrying directions.

Fortuyn had been described as an extreme right-wing fascist bigot. He was nothing of the sort: he could not be further from this. He was a sociology professor (can't get any leftier than that), he was gay, and had a black lover. He had no problem with any race: what worried him were religious expressions that were expansionist, intolerant, medieval and intensely violent -- the antithesis of the liberalism that the Dutch are so proud of.

The Dutch political leadership pledged not to let this happen again. It has. Theo van Gogh (yes, related to Vincent) was an avant garde film maker. There are few sacred cows left in Europe, especially the Netherlands. Very few topics put you in danger. Mr van Gogh could write in the most insensitive terms about Jews, or condemn all Christians, yet adherents of those religions respect his free speech.

There is one topic, however, that puts all who explore it in mortal danger: that of radical Islam. Making a film about the treatment of women in Islam together with an ex-Muslim Dutch legislator, van Gogh went to far: ridiculing Islam cannot be accepted. A young zealot shot him dead.

Western governments to whom the abridgment of free speech at any other time would be anathema, have, since the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, allowed Islamist death threats to pass. This is not acceptable.

Mark Steyn akbar 

This is a brilliant piece. An amazing thing: not only is it received wisdom in most wester countries (other than the USA) that Bush is a Jewish-controlled conservative Christian libertarian-fascist devilishly cunning chimp-moron -- anyone who votes for him is an incestuous redneck bigot.

Of course, this is not true. 25% of Jews, 23% of gay people, many Black and Hispanic people, voted for Bush. The Republican presidential vote went up in all but six states. The lesson? Americans are rejecting the paradigm that the western world is living in: the Euro-UN paradigm of appeasing Islamofascism, and massive social engineering may be fine for Europe (and New Zealand), but Americans don't want a bar of it. Neither do Aussies. How sad that we Kiwis have to play whiny-PC social-democratic Canucks to Aussie Uncle Sams...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Comments on the US election 

Well, the American people sure told the north-eastern elites, Hollywood, the Europeans, the UN, OPEC, the mainstream media and academics where to go.

Amazing, the Guardian not succeeding to sway people? Who woud have thought?

I just watched CNN, and saw Edwards vowing to fight on until every vote is counted. This is a euphemism for using every underhanded dirty trick in the book to overturn a democratic result.

It was one thing challenging for Florida in 2000 when the state was within 1000 votes and the popular vote was practically tied; now, with Bush winning by almost 4 million across the country, and Ohio by a healthy 2% margin, an attempt by the Kerry camp to contest is just churlish, and bordering on childish.

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