22 Mar 2006

Geeks, The New Cultural Icons

Interesting to see a typical European approach to American electronic innovation. Having failed to come up with products that anyone would want to buy, let alone decent music, (French pop is ear-destroying rubbish), the French have decided to punish the world’s coolest company, Apple. So a digital format for encoding songs is “online culture”? I wonder what the geeks in Silicone Valley who thought up the iPod think of that?

France's Lower House of Parliament passed a law on Tuesday that could challenge Apple Computer's dominance of the online digital music market by making it open its iTunes store to portable music players other than its iPods.

"These clauses, which we hope will be taken up by other countries, notably at the European level, should prevent the emergence of a monopoly in the supply of online culture," Richard Cazenave and Bernard Carayon, National Assembly deputies from the ruling UMP party, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The US take on this?
"The vote today by French lawmakers is a direct attack on Apple's ability to design its own products and on the company's intellectual property rights, which will have a chilling effect on future innovation," said Jim Prendergast, the executive director of Americans for Technology Leadership.

"Apple could immediately pull its iTunes product from France, giving consumers less choice when it comes to popular digital music," he added.

If only they would. Then the French could listen eternally to Edith Piaf on bulky CD players.

12 Mar 2006

Peace Activist = War Dupe?

After months of captivity, American Christian Peace Team “peace activist” Tom Fox, to use the MSM’s curious wording, has been found tortured and shot in Iraq. Fox was a man of firm convictions, knowing full well the likely dangers he and his fellow team members faced when they entered Iraq:

“If Jesus and Gandhi are right, then I am asked to risk my life, and if I lose it to be as forgiving as they were when murdered by the forces of Satan.”

Of course, Mohammed was neither Jesus nor Ghandi, but a man who led dozens of raids, sieges and attacks on other Arabs and Jews, and countenanced execution and assassination, even of surrendered prisoners, as a matter of course. Occasionally he and fellow Muslims took the wives of men killed captives as their own.

Who says so? Islamophobes? Christian right –wingers? Well, no. All this is taken from the most sacred Islamic Hadiths and the Koran itself. Any resemblance between Ghandi, Jesus and Mohammed is purely co-incidental.

Not wishing to disparage the memory of Tom Fox, are his ilk “peace activists” at all? Or could they more likely be called “war dupes”? Fox’s CPT group is exceptionally anti-American, anti-Israeli and pro-Muslim. They denounced the Coalition in Iraq, blamed all the violence on Bush and Blair and previously joined Palestinians in other anti-Israeli “peace activist” tours of the Middle East.

When newspapers published the Mohammed cartoons, even in captivity Fox and his fellow CPT members issued statements denouncing the abuse of their “gracious Muslim brothers”, as they stood over him with AK-47’s and throat-knives. The "apologies" were not, in this case, coerced but rather volontary.

Fox reminds one of fellow U.S. “peace activist” Rachel Corrie, crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer. Rachel’s “peace” was relentless verbal, intellectual and propaganda assault by her group on one sides only – the Jews. After her death, radical Palestinian elements readily admitted they used people like Corrie as part of their “war activism”. So much for Ms. Corrie’s deluded pacifism.

From his quote about Jesus and Ghandi, Fox obviously had something of the traditional Christian martyr about him. Sadly, the Swords of Righteousness group who took him captive had the Islamic “shahid” concept of martyrdom, which is not the same. Christian martyrs have always been non-violent, as was Christ himself. Their suffering was persuasive in shaming the Romans and other persecutors into conversion. The Islamic “shahid” is just as likely to be violent, as was Muhammad. He can, after recent fatwa, even be a suicide bomber or homicide pilot. His violence is likely to be persuasive in intimidating others to convert to Islam.

The murder of Fox by Islamists was no doubt proceeded by all the “letter of the law” Koranic injunctions. As Fox was a person of the “kitab” ( Bible) they were not allowed to kill him right away. They had to offer him a chance to pay “jizya” (a tax on Christians and Jews) and “feel himself subdued” (Koran). If that failed, they had to offer him the chance of conversion to Islam,or death (Koran,Hadiths). Maybe Fox chose death – the actions of a brave, principled and sadly misguided man.

Martyrdom is meant to move us morally, as a spectacle, a narrative and a religious act. As Martin Roth points out, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, prayed for those who killed him, as Christ did for his killers when he was on the cross. Anyone who can't tell the difference between these theologies and those of jihad shahids is a theological imbecile....or a secularist. If it comes to choosing between Tom Fox and a shahid, I think we know which way most of the world wishes to go.

6 Mar 2006


Kenya is in the world media for all the wrong reasons, following the government's astounding raid on the Standard newspaper and KTN television. Masked policemen, rumours of "Russian" or "Bosnian" mercenaries, wholesale confiscation of computers, sabotaging equipment, burning piles of newspapers and an amazing admission by Kenya's hitherto respected police chief Hussein Ali that he neither knew about nor sanctioned the operation have left Kenyans and foreigners deeply disturbed. Citing "state security", the raids were sparked by reports that leading oppositionist Kalonzo Musyoka had secretly met President Mwai Kibaki. Such secret meetings in Kenya are so well-established that citizens are never surprised about them. The idea that schmoozing in State House between supposed "rivals" is a matter of "state security" has convinced nobody.

What is new is that in the relatively liberal state of media in Kenya, the internet was able to disseminate CCTV pictures of the mysterious raiders at work - something unthinkable a decade ago. Kenya is soon to pass the kind of puerile "freedom of the press" that used to give rise to media copy like this:

' Sources state that the perpetrator of the deed is a well known local tycoon from the area. However some say he could have been acting on orders from a higher authority.'

The burned out veteran generation of Kenya politicians are more and more like failing men, grasping feebly at a power which is passing to a younger generation, one that simply will not put up with "Big Man" politics any longer. The current government is like a rotting ship, the crew of which keep kicking new holes in the hull, as they sink. Few expect it to pass more months without a vote of no confidence - despite our bloated, hyena-like Members of Parliament, who have no wish to give up their enormous salaries and privileges for the hustle of a campaign.

1 Mar 2006

Tutu Frootie

Having a sane voice in the old anti-apartheid struggle does not make you qualified to comment on other matters, except sometimes as an ass. Enter, braying, one Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The prattling prelate attended a UN conference on Danish cartoons in Qatar and said the following:

He lamented the negative stereotyping of Muslims and wondered why North Ireland's Protestants and Catholics, the Oklahoma City bombers or even the Nazis had never been labeled ''Christian terrorists.''
The IRA in Ireland are Marxists using religion as a Leninist 'front'. They have never been a Catholic religious movement. Secondly no Christian priest or minister encourages, blesses and sanctions bombings in Ireland - unlike the thousands of Muslim clerics who support such (and worse) worldwide. The Oklahoma bombers were agnostics bombing in the name of a non-religious ideology and the Nazis were materialists who openly despised religion.