Integrity, and its absence

The pro-war leftish Harry’s Place are linking to Tom Tomorrow on the appallingness of Alberto Gonzales and the people who support him, while HP alumnus Johann Hari has one of the most articulate ‘I supported the war against one of the worst bastards alive but the idiots in charge still managed to make the outcome moderately rather than dramatically better than him still being in power’ editorials that you’ll ever see.

The pro-war purportedly-leftish Oliver Kamm, meanwhile, is bashing Christopher Hitchens for only hating Noam Chomsky a bit.

I think there’s a reason why I respect the people mentioned in one of the above paragraphs, while holding the person mentioned in the other in utter contempt. I’m sure the latter would claim it was my wooly pro-fascist pseudo-liberalism. And would take 6000 words to do so.

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Non-proliferation at work

The US government has hit a North Korean military equipment firm with sanctions for trading with Iran. The state-owned Paeksan Associated Corporation will no longer be allowed to sell to US government agencies, or to buy classified technologies from US companies.

So up until it decided to share the wealth with the ayatollahs, the North Korean state *was* allowed to sell to US government agencies and buy classified technologies from Americans? Fantastic.

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Final Europhobe-bashing

I love it when people state the obvious without realising it, as in this great comment from Biased-BBC:

"One of the things that I have noticed about the BBC’s selection of emails on their website is that their chosen posters present one side of the argument in short clear rational postings, and the other in scattered ranting "crazy retired colonel" screeds… Everyone for the EU sounds level-headed, and most posters against read like nutters… Is that really plausible?"


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Surreality-based community

Not all Europhobes are quislings. Some are just demented:

"The way forward is not to rely on these self-serving panels but to create an alternative media that can rehearse the issues that the establishment media prefers to ignore. That is what is happening successfully in the USA, where the Blogosphere is successfully taking on the networks."

Sucessfully taking on the networks? My arse. The political blogosphere consists of three sorts of site:

1) Informed commentary from existing experts, political hangers-on and journalists (rightie and leftie), which is influential but a complement rather than a challenge to the existing media. See Josh Marshall, Andrew Sullivan, Dan Drezdner, etc.

2) Crazy rants from fanatics (generally rightie; leftie fanatics seem to prefer messageboards), meant entirely for the consumption of other fanatics, although well-informed people looking for vicarious thrills also make up a significant proportion of readers. See LGF, Powerline, Michelle Malkin, B-BBC, etc.

3) Sites that nobody reads, apart from unlucky Google users and other people who write category 3 sites.

All are fun. However, the only ones which are important are written by the same people whose ideas would be noted in the media anyway. Blogging is an amusing way to pass the time; if you’re talented, ambitious to make it in the category 1 world, and lucky, then it might help you get there.

Otherwise, blogging is relevant only in countries where journalism is unfeasible, like Iran. To claim a US or UK blogger has anything significant to add to the story is ridiculous, self-aggrandising nonsense.

Update: I’ve found an even better quote: "Bloggers have poured water over legacy media and just like the wicked witch of the north from Oz, they are melting". Presumably the ‘they’ are legacy media not bloggers, although the quote has approximately equal validity either way.

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The Shotties 2005

Everyone else is having award ceremonies at the moment, so SBBS has decided to join the fun. However, given our reputation for quality and credibility, we believe it would be an error to let any of you proles pick the winners or nominees – instead, the SBBS Editorial Board has made its wise and infallible choices.

The awards are divided into two categories; there were a great many worthy candidates to choose from in both cases. Indeed, 2004 was perhaps the best year in recent times to carry out such a ceremony (significantly aided by the exponential growth in blogging).

So, without further ado, here are the awards:

Fuckwit of the year – real world

Nominees: David Blunkett; George W Bush; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; Kim Jong-il; God

Winner: David Blunkett. He’s not as evil as the others, but he is a scary, authoritarian weirdo with no sense of humour and no concept of privacy or human rights. And he’ll be back in power within months (indeed, according to the Home Office website, he never left). Cunt.

Fuckwit of the year – Internet wibblings

Nominees: Melanie Phillips

Winner: Melanie Phillips. By far the maddest person writing on the Internet; truly something of which to be proud. In a fuckwittery class of her own to a sufficient degree that having other nominees would be a travesty.

Update: the BEAST has some similarly themed, more comprehensive and funnier awards. Bastards.

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I hate my countrymen

The Tory Party, rather disgustingly, has made anti-immigrant bigotry a key part of its platform. They believe the UK should withdraw from 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees: rather than taking people in on the basis of how much they’re being persecuted, we should set refugee quotas and not let anyone in once they’re filled.

That isn’t the really bad thing. The really bad thing is that a sizeable proportion of Brits [*] say they agree with Mr Howard’s policy. So either a sizeable proportion of Brits are dumbasses who believe any old bollocks they read in the press, or they’re Nazi bigots. I’m hoping it’s the former, although this is still far from undepressing.

Update: here is further evidence for the former.

[*] The link goes to a poll data analysis rather than an individual’s opinion; I have no idea what Anthony Wells’s personal views are, although I hope they’re not in line with his party’s.

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Investigative reporting

Various news organs got a tip-off last week that someone videotaped Prince Harry’s notorious Nazi party (no, not *that* notorious Nazi Party). Unfortunately, the tip-off consisted of the information that the videotaper was "a bloke from the West Country, can’t remember his name, with long straggly hair".

As a result, at least one tabloid hack was ordered to spend last week travelling round the West Country tracking down posh twits with long straggly hair and asking them whether they were at Harry’s party.

Strangely enough, these efforts haven’t yet paid off…

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