Saturday, April 25, 2009

English Football Season

I have followed English football off and on since the 76/77 Season always cheering for my Club at Arms Liverpool...but this season for the first time in along period I am starting to wonder if its all worth it....not so much cheering for Liverpool (which I probably always will do) but following the game with the intensity that I have in the past. In short I have lost some faith in the sport, that on the club level in England, appears to be dominated by the super haves of the game. By super haves I mean Manchester United and Chelsea both of whom have monetary coffers that will ensure domination of the trophy haul by a combination of each for some time.

Granted Liverpool is no slouch in the purse strings department but when push comes to the proverbial shove the Kakas, Ronaldos, Riberys, Drogbas, Ferdinands, Tevezs and Messis of the world, who ultimately secure domestic and Champions League Titles League titles, will always gravitate to the big money...and by big money that has to be Man U and Chelsea.

Its really sad because the game has settled into a predictability that has rendered it on a level....well boring. Liverpool have chased hard this season but cannot count on the stock of reserves that moneybags United can field and at the end it is this difference that brings United closer to an 18th title, another championship video, more swooning by the red army in the press and a giant yawn from the rest of the collective league who can only shake their head at the asymmetry of it all.

In the News LV

....I am still sticking with this Roman numerals......

Chavez wants reach extended in silencing his opponents
...and many on the left still see him as a champion of blinkered can you get?

Churches calls for safety of Tamils in Sri Lanka
The situation of the Tamils continues to worsen...Will the world do anything about this?
I wouldn't wager on it.

Diplomats walk out on Iran's Fascist President's hateful speech
This was a sight for sore eyes. Western Diplomats showing some backbone. It would be great if they followed this up with a full boycott of the Mullah Regime. Unfortunately that won't happen

North Korea could well have the world's largest artillery force
I am not convinced but the pariah regime has really chosen guns over butter in the classical battle of priorities. I am all the more curious as to how Obama and co. will treat Kim Jong-Il...hopefuly not with appeasement.

Judge adopts Obama standards for Gitmo detention
Wasn't he supposed to shut this down within a 100 days or so?....I guess reality has dawned on the Big O aka the Promise breaker . Meanwhile the great unifier continues to build bridges by opening the gates to go after certain Bush security much for the non-partisan era that the MSM told us would be on the cards with an Obama administration.

US needs to improve banking system says Bank of Canada Governor.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Although I didn’t care much for V for Vendetta I am an overall a fan of Alan Moore. Indeed this blog has a link to an Alan Moore site. Watchman is arguably his magnum opus and the movie version of the book did not disappoint either. What I particularly enjoyed was the comic book feel that the director created with his cinematography. This was most evident in the opening scenes when the character of the Comedian was murdered but was further emphasized in the long nose Tricky Dicky depiction of Richard Nixon.
Rorschbach was by far the most intriguing of the Watchman, the work done on his shifting mask adds moxy to a super hero that has discarded model relativism and sees the world operating within a discrete Good and Evil Dichotomy. He is a true opponent of all that is wrong and far exceeds the robotic and somewhat removed Dr. Manhattan in this arena.
In true Moore form the story abounds with sub plots – Night Owl’s personal struggle, Silk Spectre II’s coming of age, Rorschbach’s demons. Set this within the context of a Cold War spiraling down toward nuclear apocalypse and you have a movie that goes places and keeps you in suspense.
Some conservatives such as Debbie Schlussel have criticized Watchman for its violence. That it is violent is obvious, but the context of the movie set around an extremely dark universe where evil incarnates itself in the worst possible way makes much of this violence necessary. The fact that violence is fought head on and defeated by the clearly conservative super hero Rorschbach (I couldn’t help laughing at his personal rant against leftist thinking) more than atones for such depictions. A definite must see.

Ranking: 8.5/10.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Intellectual Odyssey

I have always viewed my life as somewhat of an intellectual odyssey. Even as a pre-schooler I can remember being enthralled by a world of knowledge that seemed so rich and open to investigation. While my journey into the realms of learning has changed direction on many an occasion, its well heeled sense of growth has nourished my being in the best possible manner. I am better for it despite the constant struggle for individual success , and in this realization I take the utmost solace.

In the complete sense I am a very fortunate person in that I grew up in a family that both encouraged and valued education. My grandfather and father both sought enrichment in self study and encouraged me from my infancy to follow along such lines. Grandpa Hymie in particular was an all-around seeker for the truth. His library was filled with books on history, the bible, photography, electronics, far eastern culture and woodworking amongst others and his keen mind lusted to tangle the mosaic of human epistemology. He saw no limits to his pursuits and was a free thinker in the true spirit of the phrase. There was a passion that eclipsed his persona, a rare energy that I have sadly seen in only a handful of people that I have ever encountered so far. Sadly he passed away just after my 7th birthday but his enduring take on life provided the spark for my own journey.

They say that you don’t remember much from such an early age but I have recollections of my numerous visits to his apartment those times on his veranda when he told me about his experiences in World War II (he fought with the South African Allied troops in Abyssinia), his study of Ancient Civilizations and his work with tropical fish. I remember vividly a two-foot sized replica of Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ that he had displayed on a shelf in a room filled with art work (most of it his own…he was an accomplished amateur painter as well).

The intensity of the Thinker figure, engaged in nothing more than the delicate art of contemplation, resonated with me as it defined the richness of what my Grandpa’s life aspired to be. On a level I was driven to imitate not necessarily in content (as I could already see that some of our interest differed) but in the greater energies of learning, self-betterment and a cultivated appreciation of personal but universal reference.

Despite this gift of knowing my Grandpa there was much that haunted me. I was a sickly child in that I suffered from asthma a condition that first struck me severely at the age of three. My experience in Pretoria’s Andrew McColm Hospital where I was isolated from my parents and placed in an oxygen tent was gut wrenching and even now they provide some glaring early images from my early childhood that I would sooner forget. However my illness, twisted as it was, allowed me to retreat into a life of scholastic pleasure. I missed much formal schooling in the earlier grades but was reborn into a world that extended beyond the curriculum into that of the aether of history where the larger than life figures of Napoleon, Caesar and Churchill and others loomed from above. It was a world of the outwardly improbable bought into existence by my own desire to seek and grow. A world that I could tame with my very own pace as I read, absorbed, re-read, investigated but above all else.... imagined.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Winston Churchill on Socialism

In true Churchillian brilliance

........socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom. Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the object worship of the state. It will prescribe for every one where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say. Socialism is an attack on the right to breathe freely. No socialist system can be established without a political police. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance

Saturday, April 11, 2009

10 videos worth watching

1. Dennis Prager at UC Berkley

2. Chris Hitchens, Dennis Prager and Dinesh D'Souza debate G-d (one of 10 parts).

3.Sam Harris on Belief in G-d - his final reasoning is flawed but he makes some good points.

4. Roger Scruton on Liberty - An Oldie but a Goldie...I differ from Scruton on several issues but he is a keen mind in the truest sense.

5. Hitchens v Hitchens - The brothers debate G-d, Iraq and a few other sticking points.

6. Indoctrinate U - a must for all who oppose indoctrination at University to see and witness.

7. Physics in Trouble: Why the Public Should Care - Lee Smolin - Smolin takes on the groupthink around String Theory.

8. Lisa Randall on String Theory - Randall is of course a leading light in the subject especially in the field of 'Branes'.

9. Conservations on History with Victor Davis Hanson - Hanson is one of the greatest historical minds alive today (and a vigilant champion of Western Civilization). This is well worth watching.

10. Resurgence of Anti-Semitism in the 21st century - Very disturbing.

Mislabelling in Israeli politics

The following is a reprint of an excellent article.

OVER the next year or two, probably for as long as it stays in office, there will be a sustained effort to demonise the Israeli Government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The speech last week by Netanyahu's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in which he explicitly supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute but was reported as if he had said the opposite, is a case in point.

But even the way Netanyahu and Lieberman are typically described is entirely misleading. Netanyahu, not least in the Australian media, is almost always called "hardline right-wing". This would be the equivalent of calling the government of John Howard or Malcolm Fraser hardline right-wing, or calling the recently defeated government of Helen Clark in New Zealand hardline left-wing.

Netanyahu leads the Likud Party, which has been Israel's main centre-right party for decades. Under Menachem Begin in the 1970s, a Likud government gave up the whole of the Sinai desert in a land-for-peace deal with Egypt. Netanyahu, who has held many portoflios in previous governments, has as part of his coalition the left-of-centre Israeli Labour Party.

It would be much more honest to label Netanyahu's Government centre-right. This question of language is of the first order of importance. The ancient Chinese sage Confucius, when asked what would be the main political reform he would carry out if he achieved state power, replied: "It would certainly be to rectify the names." Israel's enemies, heirs to ancient anti-Semitism, are on a relentless quest to delegitimise and demonise it at every point. Mislabelling a democratic government of mainstream, democratic politicians as hardline right-wing is an important part of that quest.

What about Lieberman's speech? Lieberman is the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party. Lieberman too has previously been a cabinet minister. His party is mainly supported by Russian immigrants. It is fair to say he is to the right of Netanyahu but not fair to say he is an extremist. His policies mix a hard line on national security with social liberalism.

Russian Israelis often have a somewhat attenuated connection to Orthodox Judaism and can therefore be disadvantaged in rulings concerning conversion, marriage and other family matters, where religious parties have considerable influence. There is nothing sinister about this. It is the sort of debate Ireland had in recent years about allowing divorce. Lieberman wants to secularise these matters.

On security issues his sharp language marks him out as a polarising figure. But there is no doubt he is a democrat and, by broader Middle East standards, an extremely mild politician. He is most famous for wanting all Israelis to take a loyalty oath. This is seen as insulting to Israel's Arab citizens. I think it is an unhelpful and unnecessarily polarising proposal, but it is not the black hand of fascism.

Similarly, Lieberman wants all Israelis to be forced to undertake military or other national service. This is also seen as hitting at Israeli Arabs, as they may not want to serve in the Israeli Defence Forces. But Lieberman also wants this provision enforced on Orthodox Jews, who do not do military service either.

Further, in Lieberman's vision of a two-state solution he is keen to transfer Israeli Arab towns into a Palestinian state. Some territorial swap is inevitable if a two-state solution is to work, but presumably no Israeli citizen would be forced to give up their citizenship, whatever happened to the land underneath them. So Lieberman's proposal cannot remotely be classed as ethnic cleansing or anything like it.

I think Lieberman's rhetoric is often unhelpful to Israel and exacerbates problems, but it is certainly not unreasonable for Lieberman to want to debate the civic identity of Israel's Arab citizens.

In his initial speech as Foreign Minister on March 30, Lieberman said the Annapolis peace process, which has been running for the past couple of years, is dead. But Lieberman fully committed himself to the road map negotiated and endorsed in 2002 by the US, the European Union, the UN and Russia, which also involves commitment to a two-state solution.
There is only one difference between the road map and Annapolis. Annapolis was based on the idea that the Israelis and Palestinians negotiate a final status agreement now on who would have what territory, and then one day the Palestinians will be able to form a government that can rule its own territories and provide proper security.

The road map, on the other hand, provided for reciprocity: that both the Palestinians and the Israelis had to undertake certain obligations along the way. Israel had to dismantle illegal Jewish settlements (that is, illegal under Israeli law) and prevent any territorial expansion in the existing settlements. (Lieberman is at times even critical of the previous government for not doing this.) The Palestinians had to form a functioning government and suppress terrorism.
When the Israelis withdrew unilaterally from Gaza, this was a kind of road test for Annapolis. But all they got, after a temporary ceasefire, was a constant barrage of rocket attacks. The Netanyahu Government is now inclined to stress reciprocity.

Indeed, in responding to Lieberman's remarks US spokesmen did all stress reciprocity.
Netanyahu, when in office previously, made a number of agreements that involved Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land and all of which had as their object a two-state solution. Like Lieberman, Netanyahu is committed to the road map, which has as its goal an independent Palestinian state. But this is dependent on the Palestinians forming an effective and sensible government and meaningfully renouncing terrorism.

This is completely out of the question at the moment because half the potential Palestinian state, Gaza, is ruled by the terrorist death cult Hamas. Despite the protestations of Hamas sympathisers in Australia, the Hamas leadership, the charter which it still upholds and all Hamas spokesmen say Hamas will never recognise Israel's right to exist or to occupy a single inch of territory. This is not the occupied territories we're talking about but Israel proper. Hamas has also said it will never give up terrorism. Hamas may one day change its mind on all this, but at the moment it is inconceivable that the Palestinians could meet their obligations under the road map. That rules out a Palestinian state for the moment.

It remains an ambition of the vast majority of Israelis that they can live in peace beside a peaceful neighbour, both behind agreed borders. In saying this is not available at the moment, neither Netanyahu nor Lieberman rules it out forever in the future. The international press might at least get this basic fact right.