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Spooky

You’re poking about on the internet; you come across a website that claims to be “crowd funded” and “independent” — sounds good. You start reading…but something seems off. It seems that all these writers seem to have a worldview that precisely matches that of the US State Department, or MI6.

Welcome to Spooksville.

This is what someone who randomly came across the Bellingcat website might feel. Luckily, there is an open-source tool called the Internet, where you can find out that its founder, Eliot Higgins, is just another think tank grifter trying to restart the Cold War to boost his bank balance. Case solved.

There are some critters that are a little slipperier.

Take, for example, Little Atoms. This outfit is upfront about its alignment with British government policy in Syria (which is standard for the British media), though who exactly is pulling the financial strings remains unknown. Little Atoms is a “product” of 89UP, a London-based PR company; who or what finances 89UP is unknown to me at this stage. There are clues, however.

While Little Atoms is really mad about Syria, it has little interest in Yemen; and when I say “little,” I mean zero: Little Atoms’ Twitter account has never mentioned that country, and their main site only contains two references to Yemen (once in an article attacking Iran, another in a passing comment by Padraig Reidy that admits the bombs being used by the Saudis are “British-built”).

This lack of outrage at “British-built” Saudi atrocities hints at a possible link between the Saudis and Little Atoms. I am, however, merely speculating.

Slippery critters.

UPDATE: I have been informed by the folk at Little Atoms that the latest print edition of the magazine has a piece on Yemen, by Iona Craig. I will read this if I can find it.

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The Grift

Richard Cooke wrote an interesting piece a few months ago on the seeming incoherence of the Australian Right. Here is a segment describing Pauline Hanson’s lack of policy development:

 

Hanson’s crackpot plan for a 2% flat tax was called Easytax, and brought One Nation to the brink of collapse the first time it was mentioned in a press conference. She was unable to answer basic questions about it, had not costed it, and had no idea how it would work.

There has been no sign of workshopping over the decades. The policy is almost exactly the same, and by one current estimate would punch a $230 billion hole in the budget. Her plan to abolish the Family Court and replace it with “Family Tribunals” fronted by mums and priests instead of lawyers is back as well, with even less detail. Her time in the wilderness seems to have taught her nothing at all.

There is a definite reason for this: Pauline Hanson is not a politician.

To clarify: Yes, Hanson holds political office, but that is not the raison d’etre of One Nation. Hanson is only involved in politics to make money.

This is not an isolated case. Donald Trump seems to have waged a presidential campaign to boost his business empire, but Hillary Clinton’s gross incompetence landed him with the poisoned chalice of victory.

The Trump era has brought out a whole cavalcade of deadbeats and losers into the public arena. One of these deadbeat losers is former Federal Opposition Leader, Mark Latham.

After a decade haunting the pubTABs and Hungry Jack’s of western Sydney, Latham has re-emerged, re-branding himself from failed politician to larrikin “outsider,” bravely challenging the diktats of Political Correctness issued by militant gays, raving loony feminists, and other Cultural Marxists.

Latham and Hanson are identical not only in their faux common (wo)man posturing, but their total lack of any lasting policy achievement. For all their hot air, they are doomed to obscurity, with nothing to show for decades of bombast.

Quite appropriate, for two people with no interest in politics.

[Featured Image via theconversation.com]

 

 

Is Corey Robin A Bigot?

I have mentioned Professor Corey Robin several times on this blog. I noted that Robin is an adherent of Conservative Judaism; what I failed to note is that this sect maintains a strict ban on marriages between Jews and Gentiles.

If you read Professor Robin’s work, you will find it full of humanistic and egalitarian sentiments; but in his private life, the good professor feels it beneath him to marry outside of his divinely-selected Chosen People.

What are we to make of this contradiction? It seems that Professor Robin lacks Authenticity. Thus we are not sure which is the real Corey Robin: the socialist, progressive Corey Robin; or the Jewish tribal supremacist Corey Robin.

In fairness, it must be said, Robin could have turned out much worse — he is no Avigdor Lieberman. Perhaps, one day, Professor Robin can throw off the shackles of his ghetto mentality.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Idiot, Yet Not Intellectual

This is a guest post by one of my internet pals, “Joe from Denver”


It was with great surprise that I discovered that I would be quoted on the back of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s forthcoming book. Firstly, because I have no intention of purchasing this book; secondly, because even if I did happen to read it, I would not want my name to be publicly associated with it.

I don’t want anyone reading this to think I am dismissing Mr. Taleb’s work out of hand (I have read The Black Swan, and many of his articles); I hope, also, that readers are not of the belief that I am criticizing Taleb because he is better-known or wealthier than I am.

That said, it seems Mr. Taleb overestimates his intellectual ability. Though he may think otherwise, it’s hard to believe that anyone will be reading his works in one-hundred years, or even fifty, except as an exercise in curiosity.

For instance, Taleb’s tendency toward gimmicky catchphrases is so often the hallmark of a charlatan: instead of using conventional descriptors such as “strong,” or “durable,” Taleb creates the concept of Antifragile, which Taleb claims to be a novel concept. To justify this, Taleb unleashes a barrage of technical terms to bamboozle the uninitiated — but those of us familiar with phoneys are harder to fool.

I won’t dwell any longer on Nassim Nicholas Taleb, except to say that I hope these words find their way onto the back cover of Taleb’s next book.

Reminiscing

On a Sydney beach in 1984, a fat little boy was playing with a plastic bucket and spade, when the sea encroached, taking the bucket and spade with it as it retreated.

The little boy was distraught.

Luckily for him, there was a much fitter individual — a lanky girl from Japan — in the vicinity of this occurrence. The Japanese girl dived into the ocean, and retrieved the bucket and spade before the ocean took possession; she returned the objects to the fat little boy, who had to be goaded by his mother to thank the lanky girl for her actions.

That little boy was me.

I wasn’t exactly forthcoming with gratitude that day (perhaps, as I was from “the bush,” and had never laid eyes on a Japanese person before, I was taken aback by her appearance), which remains something of an embarrassment, despite the relatively trivial nature of the incident. This post is to rectify that.

So, to the girl who saved my bucket and spade, wherever you are, I say again:

THANK YOU!

A Problem

Well, the mathematical community doesn’t seem to have a problem with this, but I do. Here it is:

0! = 1! = 1

(For those readers who aren’t mathematically-inclined, the ! symbol indicates the factorial function.)

Discarding the third part of our equation, we have:

0! = 1!

Now, we discard the factorial symbol:

0 = 1

I’ll leave it to the reader to explore the reasons given for this apparent absurdity, but I have to say that I find the arguments for this to be unconvincing.

Heartache Over Elton John

I was poking about in The Reject Shop the other day, when a familiar tune from my childhood burst onto the in-store speakers. This song was Heartache All Over the World by Elton John. According to Wikipedia, Elton has described the song as ‘the worst he has ever recorded,’ which I felt to be unfair. Here, then, is an analysis of the lyrics:

Well I’m running away
From this house on the hill
There’s a devil inside
Sitting on the window sill

This first verse is somewhat Poe-esque, but only makes sense in light of subsequent verses.

And it’s a wild Friday night
And I’m all on my own
I knocked on every door in town
There ain’t one little girl that’s home

Here the subject is revealed as an incel. This second verse explains the first: the devil sitting on the window sill turns out to be unfulfilled sexual desires.

And everybody’s got a date
And the ones that ain’t are tired
What the hell do you do on a weekend honey
When your heart’s on fire

A lament over the sexual success of the subject’s rivals.

And you can go from Tokyo to Rome
Looking for a girl
But it looks to me like the weekend means
Heartache all over the world

Here we see a dramatic escalation of the subject’s anguish. Having already taken the extreme step of knocking on every door in town in search of gratification, the subject takes the search global. This is true desperation.

Girls, girls, girls
Have pity on me
Oh it looks to me like the weekend means
Heartache, heartache all over the world

Now things are going from slightly scary to pathetic. Asking for a “pity root” — SAD!

He’s got lipstick on his collar
She’s got fishnets on her legs
I’m at home and I’ve got nothing
Just a cold and aching head

More resentment at the sexual success of others. This bloke would be all over the Manosphere today.

There must be something dirty
Just blame it on the magazines
Don’t read that trash it’ll drive you crazy
`Cause the cops invade your dreams

Here we find our subject has given up on the idea of three-dimensional satisfaction, and has decided to honk the pud instead. But our subject is burdened by the possibility that the cops are going to burst in and take a truncheon to bis boner. The devil on the window sill wins.


Thus ends our lyrical analysis of Heartache All Over The World.

Musically, Heartache is a fairly standard 1980s pop tune, with some amiable guitar riffs and keyboard work. Elton’s vocal performance is solid, gradually gaining momentum throughout each verse. Overall, it’s a nicely-crafted track, which certainly doesn’t deserve the opprobrium from it has received from critics, or Elton himself.

Ⓒ Universal Music Publishing Group