On shooting the president

It would appear that calling for George Bush’s assassination, far from being a terrible breach of etiquette, is entirely legitimate under international law.

"The prohibition on assassinating heads of state comes from the Geneva Convention. Now I seem to recall that Mr Bush ordered explicit attempts on Saddam Hussein’s life, both allegedly using assassins and more directly using – er – "precision" bombing of the odd palace. And Saddam was at the time a serving head of state – even Bush acknowledged that.

"So since Mr Bush has chosen to opt out of this particular protection, surely it follows that it’s quite legal for him to be assassinated? So what’s the fuss about?" (from here, with some reference to this.)

However, as previously discussed, I’d still counsel against such a move for pragmatic reasons. And moral ones, although for obvious reasons, I try and keep my personal morality out of discussions on assassination wherever feasible.

Relatedly, Nathan Barley really is rather excellent. The Monday night repeats are strongly recommended, since on a Friday and Saturday night one really ought to be attending videomedia installations with vacuous VJs and/or playing cock, muff and bumhole in gastrified clubpubs.

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Freedom at work

The Adam Smith Institute has an atypically incoherent article on France. It notes that blacksmithery has taken off in France over the last 20 years, in line with increased horse ownership, and quotes a blacksmith pointing out that French people’s 35-hour weeks give them more time to ride horses.

It then, on the basis of pretty much nothing, assumes this is a bad thing. The evil State must be compelling people to spend their time riding horses and getting them shod, for surely nobody would *choose* to work fewer hours in order to do fun things outside of work…

I’m agnostic over the enforced limiting of working hours. Obviously, if you want to work ridiculous hours for ridiculous cash, it seems silly for the state to intervene. However, the outcome of a US-style system with few limitations is that everyone ends up working longer hours than they’d optimally choose, so they don’t appear weak and lazy compared to their colleagues, who are all doing exactly the same thing. Society needs to strike a balance between the two; the ASI just assumes that the first outcome is Bad and the second is Good.

Meanwhile in the US, not only do you have to work 100 hours a week with 10 days’ holiday, you can’t even sleep with your colleages to make up for the fact you never have time to meet anybody else. I don’t have much sympathy for Boeing chief Harry Stonecipher, given that he drew up the code of conduct under which he was sacked, but the concept that such a code of conduct would exist is, well, fucking insane. Were I to work for a firm with HR policies like Boeing’s, I’d have been sacked several times for a wide range of reasons, none of which would have had any impact whatsoever on my ability to perform effectively at my job.

Would you rather have the freedom to work a 100-hour week, or the freedom to go out with your colleagues?

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Things worth dying for, and other top quotes

"For a Social Europe, maybe. Peace, Justice and the American Way the way Superman intended? Quite possibly. To make the world like it is in Star Trek, I’d consider it. For the introduction by the UN of World Naked Chicks Day, almost certainly." – a colleague, on worthy causes for which to give up one’s life. Can we start a campaign for the introduction of World Naked Chicks Day?

"Having Melanie Phillips lecture you about dhimmitude is like having a madwoman pour a bucket of someone else’s cold sick over your head." – New York Times. Crack-addled-baboon-tastic…

"Yank: If it wasn’t for us you’d be speaking German, etc. Brit: And if it wasn’t for the French during your Revolutionary War, you’d be drinking tea at 4:00 pm every day and playing *real* football, laddie." – apocryphal encounter recounted here.

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Victory, kinda

The Lords have demonstrated their worth, despite being a bizarre anachronism. Charlie The Safety Elephant’s antiterror laws should now vaguely resemble laws, instead of things that a mad dictator might impose. This is a Major Improvement.

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Objectionable

Do you remember the Muslim-hating vitriol outpoured by right-wing commentators after Egyptian Christian Hossam Armanious and his family were murdered in New Jersey?

The police have now arrested and charged two people for this horrible crime – an Edward McDonald and a Hamilton Sanchez, who are accused of murdering Mr Armonious and family to steal his money. Apologies from the right-wing loons are, as one might have expected from previous experience, not forthcoming (with the occasional classy exception).

Relatedly, Third Avenue makes a good point by analogy with a very different set of extremists.

(Armanious article via MemeFirst, which seems to have a strange mix of LGFites and sane people among its contributors. Worse, one of them appears to find The Vicar of Dibley funny).

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Death, populism and panic

Is the shooting of Nicola Calipari by US troops another example of Eason Jordan’s thesis? Giuliana Sgrena, the journalist whose life Mr Calipari sacrificed himself to save, opposed the occupation and was freed after paying a ransom (not things of which the Americans approve).

Probably not. The most likely explanation, as Jamie Kenny explains in more detail, is that US soldiers no longer care about outcomes in Iraq. If you immediately open fire on all cars you suspect may be dubious, rather than giving them a warning or the benefit of the doubt, your personal chances of death are reduced. If you don’t care about the wider success of the mission, this is your optimal strategy.

Jamie has another good article comparing Ken Livingstone and Tony Blair. Taster: "The odd thing about Livingston is that he’s the fully realized version of what Blair tries to present himself as: a tough minded, pragmatic leader capable of transcending his political roots to be seen as someone working for the population as a whole".

Right now, Tony is trying to re-establish his populist credentials with the public. One such recent move has been to denounce the ‘meaningless panic’ about risk, health and safety legislation and compensation. Oddly, he neglected to denounce one particular form of meaningless panic.

Andrew Rawnsley has a great article on the latter (top quote: "There is only one thing worse than making complex, sensitive and unprecedented law in a rush of fear. That is doing it in a pre-election panic as well". Found via Harry, who also has a good post on the jilbab case – it summarises as ‘unless we do the sane thing and declare all state institutions officially secular, there are no grounds whatsoever to object to the case’s outcome’.

Since you’ve all been such good readers, I’ll let you have some mad Euroweenie-bashing rantage. Erik at No Pasaran seems to think that Europeans oppose the death penalty in America, but do not do so in China, and are therefore hypocritical. This might be a vaguely credible position, if he provided any evidence that Europeans did not oppose the death penalty in China.

His ‘argument’ is based around the claim that Europeans complain more frequently about the death penalty in America than about the death penalty in China, even though the latter is much more cruelly and unjustly applied. This is true – but it’s true simply because most Europeans are significantly more interested by what goes on in America than by what goes on in China. You don’t need to bring in conspiracy nonsense about wanting to trade with the Chinese – and if you did, you’d run into the small logical problem that the US buys more goods from and sells more arms to China than the EU does… (link via Mark Holland).

Finally, what on earth should I do with my new Armstrong Williams? Suggestions in the comments…

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Life

"Sex is overrated, but it’s the most important thing that there is" – someone, recently.

It’s a good quote. Drunk nonsense was once featured underneath it; this is no longer the case. Some of the comments below may make limited sense as a result.

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Finding fanatics the SBBS way

As you may have noticed, I enjoy trawling the darkest corners of the Internet for outbreaks of lunacy and fanaticism. I thought I’d share some of my secrets.

A Technorati search is one of your best friends here. If you need need a Muslim-hating terror hawk, go for dhimmitude. If you want to ensure they hate Europeans too, try EUrabia. Alternatively, if you’re in more of a ‘misogynist wanker’ frame of mind, you can go for pussification. For an unimaginative rightwing bigot, moonbat is ideal. Amusingly, Bushitler is also only used by lazy right-wingers who need a strawman…

Searching for cunt, pigfucker, and related phrases can also produce interesting results. This is how I found this article on Hunter S Thompson by Stephen Schwartz, who is both a cunt and a pigfucker. Digressionally, you should read this article, in which Jamie Kenny persuades a Chinese magazine to publish his obit for Dr Gonzo.

Also, follow any random link that might be interesting. Except the ones that appear to point at gay porn (which has been a problem when following the Jeff Gannon ridiculousness).

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