C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

John Ray Redux

Back in October 2007, I wrote this post on AWH blogger John Ray (among others). My contention was primarily that Ray used a range of means to piggyback blatant racism onto more acceptable discourses (such as 'science', mainstream conservatism, libertarianism, 'anarcho-capitalism', and whatever else the guy hides behind).

In addition to this argument, there were, on my part, some ad hom attacks. These occurred in the context of Ray using mostly slurs to prop up his otherwise sloppy reasoning and impoverished arguments. They also occurred in the context of AWH being one of the most personally abusive sites on the Oz blogosphere, a site whose muppets call for violence against any who dare to disagree with their outlandish views.

I was therefore surprised, therefore, to find our sensitive soul, poor old Ray, engaged in special pleading. He makes virtually no attempt to refute any substantive points about his racism, preferring instead to focus solely on the ad hom remarks, as if they disqualified the broader thesis. Let us have a look at his pathetic attempts at rebuttal.

Within the last couple of days, I have been attacked by TWO Leftist bloggers! And note that they attacked ME, not any of the facts and arguments that I have put forward...They hate the truths that I have highlighted but they were so unable to refute those truths that all they could manage was an attempt to shoot the messenger.

Ray is not in possession of facts, much less 'truths'. As we shall see, he is hardly averse to 'shooting the messenger' himself.

And it is therefore MOST amusing that one of my recent Leftist critics had obviously trawled at great length through my autobiographical data looking for "dirt" and was able to come up with? Can you guess? Can you guess what he found to criticize? He criticized my POETRY!! What a good laugh I had about that! I doubt that any of my readers here would have been aware that in my long-lost teens I did write a bit of poetry. I put the poetry concerned online with the note that "I don't think much of it now" so criticisms of it leave me supremely unmoved.

If the poetry was trivial, and merely a byproduct of adolescent indulgence, why publish it in the first place? In any case, criticism of the poetry was not conducted on the basis of Ray's literary technique (which, incidentally, is poor), but rather, on his flabby and pompous self-importance, on the one hand, and his preoccupation with (ahem) racial purity on the other.

Ray then attempts to critique my original post. He commences inauspiciously, confining himself to picking up a spelling error. He goes on:

He then goes on to talk about my "hilariously unpublishable articles"! Wow! So how come over 200 of them did get published in mainstream academic journals? He is however not short of mental "agility". He then goes on to QUOTE from some of my published academic journal articles!

Frankly, I am surprised that anyone, anywhere, would publish Ray's rubbish. In any case, Ray is trying here to use the corollary of the ad hom argument, namely, the argument form authority. Furthermore, Ray's posts are hilariously unpublishable - his screeds on the 'psychopathy' of leftists, for instance, would not be admitted into scientific literature, and not, as Ray claims, because of some global communist conspiracy.

Ray, like a fat asthmatic boy trying to outrun a doberman, subsequently attempts to refute the charge of racism:

I DO quite happily make statements about race and racism that are of a kind that would have been regarded as perfectly normal thoughout all of human history -- but which have just in the last few decades become furiously excoriated.

Lot's of things in the 'last few decades' have become 'furiously excoriated'. Smallpox is one. Racism is another. That Ray assures us that his comments would have been perfectly acceptable in 19th Century Alabama, or 18th Century England, does not, in fact, mean that they are not racist.

The only reasonable definition of racism that I can see is something along the lines of "harming a person solely because of his race" but to a modern-day Leftist, just discussing race is "racism".

Constructing arguments along the lines of racial purity, condemning whole swathes of people for the supposedly 'racial' basis of their purported inferiority, and calling for violence against other races all look like 'harming a person' to me. Plenty of people discuss 'race' and 'racism', as well as genetics - few object to this. If anything, it is Ray's fellow-travellers who deride attempts to discuss race and racism. We have long seen how the rightist media attack the humanities departments in which these topics are given scholarly consideration. Obviously, Ray's ludicrous generalisations here are not substantiated.

And in the simple-minded theology of the Left, a racist would definitely have to be an antisemite so how to explain my unwavering support for Israel? Most of my blogs actually display an Israeli flag -- yet I am not Jewish.

I can't think of any 'leftist' who equates racism solely with anti-Semitism. Ray's retort here is of almost unbelievable stupidity. It is entirely possible to be pro-Israel, and nonetheless violently oppose the emancipation of other racial, religious and national groups. It is obvious that many members of the radical right have, ostensibly, a pro-Jewish, pro-Israel attitude - this in no way diminishes their contempt for Muslims, Africans, inter alia. If anything, the radical rightists and lunatic Christian Zionists like Ray are bigots precisely in their attitude to Israel, insofar as Jews as a category escape vilification only when they can be instrumentalised to the rightist's cause. This is a topic I shall expand upon at some later date.

Ray continues to ramble, as he slides into senescence, about how Hitler and fascism were 'leftist'. He is not alone in this folly - see the 'Hillary is fascist' crowd - but this proves only that imbecility is often practised in company.

Most amusingly, Ray claims to have 'comprehensively' refuted all allegations of racism, and he links to a rebuttal of an article cited in my original post, be a chap named Mehler. The article rightly points to Ray's love of enjoining others to embrace racism, and notes his obsession with racial categories, his contempt for various racial and religious groups, and his history of joining neo-Nazi groups. Ray attempts to respond:

To a Leftist, just mentioning the word "race" makes you immediately suspect. And I have never hesitated to say that I believe that race is real and that it does make a difference. And that is one reason why I have never bothered to reply to that specific article until now.

Has anybody seriously denied that race is real, or that it makes a difference? And is this what Ray has actually argued, given his posts include praise for Apartheid (based on the latter's 'benefits' for blacks) and endorsements of racism as 'normal' and 'beneficial'?

Ray spends a paragraph trying to use the word 'leftist' as a term of ad hom abuse. The Mehler article noted, correctly, that when radical rightists such as Ray invoke names such as 'Adorno', or the Frankfurt School, this is actually a mere codeword for 'Jewish'. Ray himself draws explicit attention to this. When called on his own racial obsessions, Ray attempts to wriggle free of the net by way of his own laughably inept ad homs:

[Mehler] also seems to find some awful significance in the fact that I referred to the Adorno group as "Jewish". He is perfectly right that one would not normally refer to the ethnicity of an academic author unless it was particularly relevant in some way. But in this case it IS relevant.

Ah, I see. Adorno = Jewish, therefore Adorno, in Ray's words, cannot 'be objective about Nazism'. Nice. Wonderful supporter of Jews.

[Mehler] also says that I write "approvingly" of people who use mocking names for Jews. That tends to suggest that I approve of such names. I do not. But I do find that many of the people who use such names are normal and non-psychopathological.

Ray here employs typical rightist tactics - diversion, obfuscation, and impugning of motives. The 'psychopathology' of those who employ racial slurs was never at issue, at least, not in this discussion. The racism of these epithets, apparently endorsed by Ray, stands, irrespective of where such phenomena sit in the DSM-IV. This is yet another distinction that our great scholar fails to grasp.

Rather charmingly, Ray responds to claims that he joined Nazi groups by conceding them, but adding, 'It was only for research!'. I suspect that Hugh Grant must once have used the same excuse to Liz Hurley, when caught with Divine Brown.

Finally, in his attempted defence of himself, Ray once again reiterates his delusional position on leftism and fascism, and concludes with a series of addenda, almost all of which are mere personal attacks on others:

It will be apparent from what I have written above that I regard Billig's criticisms of me as being no more than cheap shots. I am amused therefore to note that "Billig" is an Ashkenazi name which in fact means "cheap".

And this cretin has the audacity to cry - 'But they pick on me!'.

Ray and many (though not all) of his cronies are thorough-going racists, and they continue to peddle hatred on ethnic and religious grounds. Just the other day, his comrade was linking to a well-known white supremacist site, claiming it as authoritative on the topic of Muslims. Furthermore, Ray and his sycophants continue to sockpuppet me, attributing to me comments on their site that I have not written. I have written to them about this, and have suggested that use my ISP to verify my identity, but they refuse to respond in any way, other than to continue the sockpuppeting.

How sad, for one's arguments to be so woefully inept that you need to create opponents simple enough to leave them unscathed. And for ad hom king Ray to bitch and moan about his opponents at all merely ensures that he can add the title of hypocrite to his well-earned moniker of half-wit.

UPDATE: I see that another blogger has come up with a response to Ray, very similar to mine. It's hilarious that Ray and his fellow defenders of Der Vaterland allege, with a straight face, that it is the 'liberals' who are fascist. In addition, I've seen that the AWH bigots continue to call explicitly for genocide against Muslims, and continue to employ the sockpuppet. I guess there's little more than one can expect from these freaks - after all, there are no 'moderate' fascists.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Fact and Fiction in Indonesia

Shameless revisionism and dead, politically rightist, economically neo-liberal dictators seem to go hand in hand.

When Pinochet met his maker a year ago, the likes of Andrew Bolt (in Australia) or the Wall Street Journal (in the US) were falling over themselves to assure readers of Chile's economic prosperity, attributed to Pincohet's bloody rule. The deaths, torture, exile and disappearances of thousands were ignored as the apologists clamoured to give us a 'balanced' account of the tyrant's legacy.

It is difficult to imagine any mainstream media outlet eulogising a Castro or Khomeini in similar terms, despite comparable 'achievements', acquired with considerably less slaughter.

The MSM are not the only culprits when it comes to craven deference to elite opinion. Since at least Whitlam, it is arguably on foreign policy that the ALP is at its most repugnant, and this is particularly true in relation to Indonesia.

In light of the silence across one half of the political blogosphere, let us peruse a few examples:

Australia's Attorney-General Robert McClelland and former prime minister Paul Keating have made a flying visit to Indonesia to pay their respects at the funeral of former Indonesian dictator Suharto...The pair attended the funeral with Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer.
"It respects the office that he held and effectively confirms the Rudd government commitment to an ongoing, strong and supportive relationship with Indonesia."
"We recognise also his achievements ... he brought Indonesia from a country that was subsistence to one with a developing economy...and a nation of significance in the world."
He said the government also recognised the "issues of controversy" with Suharto's rule.

'Issues of controversy'? So delicately put!

Similar delicacy could be found in Wolfowitz, former US ambassador to Suharto:

"This ambassador didn't speak out about human rights here. He was perceived by the public as being close to the Suharto government," said Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, who headed Indonesia's legal aid foundation and now chairs the National Human Rights Commission.
Nusantara said Wolfowitz appeared to ignore abuses committed by Indonesian security forces, which were fighting separatist insurgencies in the provinces of Aceh and Papua. Nor did he raise public concerns about East Timor, which had been invaded by the Indonesian military a decade earlier. Wolfowitz also remained silent about the mounting corruption within Suharto's family and inner circle, Nusantara asserted. (source)

Downer, Australia's former foreign affairs minister, viewed Suharto in similar terms to Keating and Rudd:
"He certainly took a rather regal and, if you like, patronising view of Australia but on the other hand he did understand it was important to have a constructive relationship with Australia," Mr Downer told ABC Radio.
"He wasn't a bad thing for Australia in a lot of ways."

The WSJ, as might be expected, did not hold back in its praise for the newly departed:
Suharto was guilty of hubris when he styled himself Bapak Pembangunan Indonesia, or father of Indonesia's development, and even had this title printed along with his portrait on the 50,000 rupiah note. But that is a pretty accurate summary of his legacy. Like Deng Xiaoping, he rescued his country from totalitarianism and poverty, and put it on the path to prosperity and a large measure of personal freedoms. For all his flaws, Suharto deserves to be remembered as one of Asia's greatest leaders. (source)

One of Asia's greatest leaders?

Hiding out in the dense, humid jungle, Markus Talam watched Indonesian soldiers herd manacled prisoners from trucks, line them up and mow them down with round after round of automatic weapons fire.
"They gunned them down and dumped their bodies in a mass grave dug by other prisoners. I remember the sound of the guns clearly: tat-tat, tat-tat, tat-tat ... over and over again," said Talam, 68, who was later jailed for 10 years after being named a leftist sympathizer.
Estimates for the number killed during his bloody rise to power — from 1965 to 1968 — range from a government figure of 78,000 to 1 million cited by U.S. historians Barbara Harff and Ted Robert Gurr, who have published books on Indonesia's history. It was the worst mass slaughter in Southeast Asia's modern history after the Khmer Rouge killing fields in Cambodia.
The CIA provided lists of thousands of leftists, including trade union members, intellectuals and schoolteachers, many of whom were executed or sent to remote prisons. (source)

Score one for the CIA in another Cold War triumph.

Australia's ALP also had no problems in turning a blind eye to the regime's 'issues of controversy':

A political tempest...erupted in Australia over leaked official documents showing that the leaders of the former Labor government covered up casualty figures from the 1991 massacre carried out by Indonesian troops in the East Timorese capital of Dili.
The facts are that more than 200 people, mostly pro-independence demonstrators, were slaughtered in Dili in November 1991. The then Labor government supported claims by an inquiry set up by the Suharto regime that only about 50 were killed and that the deaths were the responsibility of a few individual officers and soldiers.
The truth is that the Labor leaders had compelling reasons of both "national interest" and "party political interest" for whitewashing the Dili massacre, and every other bloody crime carried out by the Suharto regime. For "national interest" read the profit interests of Australian big business.
In the case of East Timor, the Labor leaders backed the regime's repressive grip over the former Portuguese colony in order to provide BHP and other oil companies with guaranteed access to the immense resources of the Timor Gap--estimated to hold up to 1 billion barrels of crude oil. Just two years before the Dili massacre, Evans and his Indonesian counterpart, Ali Alatas, signed the Timor Gap Treaty in a champagne drinking ceremony as they flew over the Timor Sea, making Australia the only country in the world to legally recognise the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.

Naomi Klein, in her latest outing, also spent some time discussing Suharto's Indonesia, and its wonderful economic prosperity:

Since the Second World War, the country [Indonesia] had been led by President Sukarno, the Hugo Chavez of his day (though minus Chavez's appetite for elections). Sukarno enraged the rich countries by protecting Indonesia's economy, redistributing wealth, and throwing out the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, which he accused of being facades for the interests of Western multinationals. While Sukarno was a nationalist, not a Communist, he worked closely with the Communist Party, which had 3 million active members. The U.S. and British governments were determined to end Sukarno's rule, and declassified documents show that the CIA had received high-level directions to "liquidate President Sukarno, depending upon the situation and available opportunities."
After several false starts, the opportunity came in October 1965, when General Suharto, backed by the CIA, began the process of seizing power and eradicating the left. The CIA had been quietly compiling a list of the country's leading leftists, a document that fell into Suharto's hands, while the Pentagon helped out by supplying extra weapons and field radios so Indonesian forces could communicate in the remotest parts of the archipelago. Suharto then sent out his soldiers to hunt down the four to five thousand leftists on his "shooting lists," as the CIA referred to them; the U.S. embassy received regular reports on t heir progress. As the information came in, the CIA crossed names off their lists until they were satisfied that the Indonesia left had been annihilated. One of the people involved in the operation was Robert J. Martens, who worked for the U.S. embassy in Jakarta. "It really was a big help to the army," he told the journalist Kathy Kadane twenty-five years later. "They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad [my emphasis]. There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment."

Indeed, Indonesia's leftists, secular democrats and trade unionists were all 'struck hard', leaving the Islamists, organising through one of the few non-banned institutions (the mosque), to resist. It is an inconvenient truth for the ruling elites that Islamic extremism emerges from the same globalised milieu as 'free trade' corporate rule.

So vale, Suharto. Te futueo et caballum tuum.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Birds of a Feather...

Is anyone actually surprised that, ahem, 'conservative' blogger, the Crusading Rodent, is linking to erm, 'white nationalist' groups? When will we see a shout-out for Stormfront? Or a post claiming that the KKK were simply misunderstood?

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Tactful, Charming, and most of all, Christian

Members of Westboro Baptist Church, known for picketing the funeral of US soldiers who died in Iraq — arguing homosexuals are the cause of the war, said Ledger is now in hell, OK! magazine reports.
"Heath Ledger thought it was great fun defying God Almighty and His plain word; to wit; God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers!" the church said in a statement.

I trust all conservative Christians out there will follow the lead of this young lady, and rebuke these freaks.

Obviously, logic is not a strong-point for these guys. (Presumably they're not Catholic - Catholic theology at least has some λογος in it, however wacky).

By the same 'reasoning', we might well assert that 9/11 was Allah's punishment for US religious infidelity. Such an assertion would create an outcry.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Monday, 7 January 2008

Polls in Iraq

I noted on a far-right blog the other day that, when describing the ongoing war in Iraq, the word occupation was continually used with quotation marks. Perhaps the authors of this blog think that Coalition troops are merely holidaying in the Gulf state.

In any case, the opinions of the Iraqis themselves count for far more than those of fundamentalist bloviators, and a good summary of Iraqi opinion polls can be found here.

A sample of the results follows:

A May 2004 poll sponsored by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority found that roughly 80 percent of Iraqis had "no confidence" in US-led forces to improve security and that most "would feel safer if Coalition forces left immediately."

A year later, in August 2005, a secret poll conducted for the British Defense Ministry found that "less than one per cent [sic] of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security."

January 2006: A poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) found that around two-thirds of respondents agreed that "'day to day security for ordinary Iraqis' would increase," that "violent attacks would decrease," and that "the amount of interethnic violence will decrease" if the United States withdrew by the summer of 2006.

March 2007: A poll sponsored by US, British, and German news agencies found that "[m]ore than seven in 10 Shiites-and nearly all Sunni Arabs-think the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq is making security worse.

August 2007: A poll sponsored by news agencies in the US, UK, and Germany found that around 70 percent of Iraqis "believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military 'surge' of the past six months" Moreover, 67-70 percent "believe the surge has hampered conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development."

The result most favourable to the Coalition was a poll that showed 12% of Iraqis 'had at least some confidence in the Multi-National Force to protect their families against threats'.

Oh well. If the Iraqis aren't enjoying US militarist neoconservatism, perhaps they'd prefer US economic neoliberalism. After all, who wouldn't want to be a sub-sub-sub contractor in a war zone.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

The Poverty of (rightist) Philosophy

One reason for my lack of recent blogging has simply been the paucity of decent counter-perspectives among the rightist media and blogosphere.

Increasingly, they're looking like a bunch of whackjobs and cranks.

Take this scholar's book, about 'Liberal fascism', invoking some of the more idiotic Godwin's violations around, by linking Hitler with the likes of Dewey and Hillary Clinton. According to the author:

The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

No, this isn't a satire of the Fox News network.

What do we have elsewhere, but the usual retarded suspects making yet more 'scientific' arguments about the supposed intellectual inferiority of blacks. As the good folk of Grodscorp ably demonstrate, such cretinism is best met with mockery, and does not deserve anything so dignified as 'debate'.

Over in padded-cell territory, the um, 'Conservative Christians' are wetting their pants in anticipation of the Rapture, which naturally, involves getting Israel to slaughter as many of the towel-heads as is possible:

I would like to affirm that, as a Christian, I believe strongly and passionately in the destiny of the people of Israel and that they are truly a light on a hill that mustn’t be hidden.

A white phosphorous light, distributed by way of a million or so cluster bombs, methinks. And in the same post, 'IT WOULD BE DEADLY DUMB TO GIVE THEM [the Palestinians] A STATE'. My Christian teachers always told me the Church was meant to have a social justice component, but perhaps I learnt about Christianity at the wrong place. Like, not at the local Hillsong chapter in Alabama.

These are only some examples. Smears, obfuscations and diversions are routinely paraded as 'argument' by the rightists. Somebody like Keynes is conflated with Marx, and virtually all academic endeavour of the past hundred years is portrayed as a massive, leftist conspiracy.

The closest thing the rightards have to an 'intellectual', of course, is the execrable Ayn Rand. As far as I can see, Rand's readings of the great philosophers are more inept than the average high school kid's, and her 'philosophy' (ignored by philosophers regardless of political persuasion) is little more than a Reader's Digest style Nietzsche for retards. Like them or not, thinkers such as Trotsky would smash Rand in any debate, even if the guy had downed a bottle of Russia's cheapest vodka.

Lest we forget, recent Conservative leaders (Howard and Bush) have been instinctively and crudely anti-intellectual, both in their public personas, and their policies. For all of Rudd's faults, he at least knows something about something (i.e. can speak a bit of Mandarin; attempts, in writing, to engage with obscure German theologians).

Little wonder, when these are the Tory's mouthpieces, that these same dunces accuse 'teh left' of an enormous conspiracy, and dismiss opponents as being latte-sipping elites. This is precisely the 'politics of envy' that rightists loudly decry, whilst generally being too stupid to appreciate their own subordination to the same dynamic.

Ironically, the 'natural' constituent of anything resembling a 'left' is not the intellectual class, but rather, a class that ca be defined in economic, rather than educational terms. This is the class who put the Labor Government into power in Australia at the 2007 election. Many of them live in the poorer suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart and Queensland, and they rejected rightist assaults on their class (qua economic entity) decisively and en masse.

With Conservatives this stupid around the traps, it's hard to imagine that many young people, possessed of intellectual curiosity, and interested in political and social issues, will ever come to designate themselves as 'Conservatives'. Even now, many of the semi-retarded hacks avoid the C-word, preferring to call themselves libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, Whigs, etc.

Revolution in Australia is not precisely around the corner but, nonetheless, these are exciting times.