Reds under beds

Given that capitalism defeated communism, that western communists had far more harm done to them than they did to others [1], and that people on the paranoid right now have brown-skinned types with funny religious ceremonies to worry about… it’s surprising how much vitriol still gets summoned up for harmless old communists like Peter Ustinov.

Sure, he was a commie. As far as I’m aware, he didn’t run any personal gulags, and (unlike the neo-Nazis to whom communists are sometimes compared) being a communist doesn’t commit you to supporting anything particularly wrong [2].

On the other hand, I guess it’s hard to shake off 50 years of crazy dogmatism about terrible Bolsheviks sapping our precious bodily fluids…

[1] Unless I slept through the Marxian genocides that decimated London, that is.

[2] I guess if you’re very libertarian in your views on redistribution of property you might disagree, but as long as you’re not armed then I’m entirely happy to dismiss your tin-helmeted ravings.

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eBay slave shock

I checked Google this morning to see how the Reclaim The Semites campaign (the one about the correct definition of Jew) was going.

So far, the correct definition of Jew has only reached number 3 in the Google rankings. Hopefully, the correct definition of Jew will go higher with time, and other definitions of Jew will lose out.

This isn’t, however, the main point of the post. The main point is the revelation that eBay is running an illicit operation trading Jewish slaves – and Google has the proof. Shocking news… I’d write to my MP, except that she’s Beverly Hughes and therefore incompetent.

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American weirdness

Four mercenaries were killed in Iraq last week. A shame for them, certainly, but not a particular tragedy or injustice by world-at-large standards.

As a response to this not-very-interesting news, wide swathes of the US rightwing blogosphere seem to favour destroying an entire city and its inhabitants… These are, by and large, the same people who circulated maps of “Asia as it ought to be” after 11/9 featuring “Lake America” in place of Afghanistan.

There are two conclusions to draw here. One is that Americans are deranged genocidal scum who need to be destroyed as soon as possible before they destroy everyone else… another is that there are always a few vile amoral scum in any community, whether the US blogosphere or Sunni towns in the Middle East, and that they are generally best ignored.

Either way, I mostly feel sorry for the inhabitants of Fallujah – and I’m glad that the people who run the American army are more civilised than the country’s armchair generals in terms of how they will treat the Fallujans…

In vaguely related news, I’ve added The Daily Kos to the blogroll.

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As if it were needed

Here is proof (as if it were needed) that having a higher degree in maths is no sign of intelligence as one would conventially recognise it.

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Reclaim The Semites

Googling for “jew” currently comes up with some neo-Nazi scumbag’s page of lies and nastiness. As a result, some hardcore ‘Brews (potentially sporting anti-swastika tattoos) have come up with a plan to thwart the racists.

It involves mass-linking to a more sensible definition of the word Jew, in true Weapons of Mass Destruction style. Which is good.

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And it’s goodbye to them…

Much ambivalence about the departure of former immigration minister Beverley Hughes.

I’ve long disliked Ms Hughes (who’s my MP, incidentally) as the minister responsible for lying about emailed responses to the ID cards consultation and claiming that TV programmes should be banned without having watched them.

On the other hand, as a supporter of unfettered immigration, I’m sad that she’s gone been sacked for backing a sensible immigration policy.

Similarly mixed views on the sacking of Irish opposition justice spokesman John Deasy. He was sacked for breaking the country’s new smoking ban – by smoking in an outdoor area outside the parliament building’s cafe which had not yet been formally designated a smoking area.

Normally, I’d chalk this up as bureaucratic lunacy… but Mr Deasy voted for the smoking ban in the first place. As ye sow, and so on…

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Pity the fool

This is a bad April Fool’s joke.

I wish that this were likewise. But no, it’s all true. Highlights include a contract creating £40 billion of liabilities (Railtrack’s contract with Virgin) being signed on the basis of a report produced by eight management consultants with no railway experience, four years previously.

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Tory quote

“It’s pretty hypocritical of this government to accuse us of popularity” – Tory spokesman James Paice on last night’s Newsnight…

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I thought we were supposed to be getting rid of brain-dead, ill-conceived legislation imposing limits on what time of day we can buy things? I blame Dickens for his absurd Christmas fetishisation…

Most of the people I know who work in big shops are delighted to work on public holidays, since they get paid double time. Admittedly, they tend not to be the unionised shopworkers who lobby against sensible things.

This reminds me: when are we going to abolish the loopy Sunday trading laws? Given that there are more practicing Muslims than Anglicans in the UK, they’re more than a little archaic.

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