Friday, March 31, 2006

Blair's End

It's said that all political careers end in failure, and Blair has chosen ID cards for his exit.

His new law (my ellipsis) requires:

- every Brit resident to carry an ID card with 10 fingerprints, 2 iris prints and a photo;

- a national ID database;

- millions of scanners for bureaucrats and cops to read citizens' biometrics and ID cards;

- a very large & secure data network to enable scanned cards to be checked against the database.

More than half a century after Britain got rid of its wartime identity cards, laws to set up a similar scheme were given Royal Assent yesterday.

Some of the world's largest IT companies are likely to line up for the work...A report published by the London School of Economics last year - and fiercely disputed by the Home Office - estimated the cost of implementing an ID cards scheme at between £10.6 billion and £19.2 billion.

It will be a high-risk project, with the prospect of its being scrapped never far away, so the private sector will probably demand hugely profitable fees.

Contrary to my predictions, the scheme will be highly disruptive. Starting 2008:

(It) will involve a visit to one of 70 offices around the country to give all 10 fingerprints, two iris prints and a photograph (by each of the) about six million people each year (that) renew or apply for a passport...

But Blair's man hopes the scheme will survive Labour being turfed out by the electors:

(The home secretary) said that he did not think the Conservatives...would...reverse the scheme (after the next election) because it would be too far advanced by then... (However) David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: “Under a Conservative government, the scheme would be scrapped and the savings put to other uses - including strengthening our security."

The third Brit party, the Liberal Democrats, would also scrap the scheme:

The Government's identity card scheme will be expensive and ineffective. We would scrap it and use the savings to put 10,000 more police on the streets, and equip them to combat crime more effectively.

The next election is due by May 2010. By then the project - like all previous Brit government IT projects - will be well over budget, and the first wave of 6 million Brit men women and kids will have been annoyed by being forced to spend 1/2 a day each to get the Big Brother treatment.

Blair's party has at a stroke alienated the Brit electorate and given their two opponents strong cause to form a coalition against them.

Extraordinary.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

New York's Loss, London's Gain

NASDAQ's failure to acquire the London Stock Exchange (LSE) highlights the damage done to US financial markets by Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX). Because of SOX, foreign companies now avoid listing in the US, and NASDAQ was trying to regain their business by diversifying to less-regulated London. Unfortunately, investors there see NASDAQ as a trojan horse for SOX, so the deal never had a chance.
When I took part in an IPO on NASDAQ six years ago, it was the only show in (any) town. Here's how the train wreck happened (my ellipsis):
... US legislation was signed into law by President Bush in 2002 after a string of corporate scandals that left many investors penniless. The collapse of Enron, the bankruptcy of WorldCom and the corruption at Tyco - added to a disintegration of trust in corporate America and the sense that investing in Wall Street was akin to handing over money to executives who were happy to steal and lie with no thought for small retail shareholders.

SOX (was)...designed to change all that. It imposed additional layers of regulation and requirements to ensure investors were protected. Estimates suggest companies have paid tens of billions of dollars in compliance fees.

Perhaps the most contentious part is Section 404, which demands each annual report carry an "internal control report" stating that management is responsible for an adequate internal control structure. In addition, that report must be examined by external auditors who must attest to its accuracy.
What that means is that if there are any errors in the accounts, management faces jail and evisceration by trial lawyer. SOX also effectively eliminates the use of stock options as a compensation tool. Since taking risks and using options to conserve cash are two key weapons in the entrepreneur's locker, SOX is poison to startups. So:

...last year for the first time, London surpassed New York as the market of choice for international IPOs, while Europe as a whole overtook the US in terms of the value of all new listings. In an LSE survey of international firms, some 90pc said the demands of SOX made listing in London more attractive.

The numbers confirm this (hat tip New Economist):

Daily foreign-exchange turnover in London is £432 billion, 31% of the world total. About 70% of the eurobond trade is in London. London dominates global turnover in foreign equity — companies quoted outside their country of nationality — with 43% of the total.

...London has increasingly been taking business from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Non-UK flotations on the LSE raised more than £9 billion last year; non-US flotations on the NYSE raised only £2 billion.

Six of the 10 biggest floats in London last year were registered abroad... So far this year there have been only two non-US initial public offerings on the New York exchange. There have been 32 non-UK listings in London.

I don't see US lawmakers fixing SOX until the horrors of Enron, WorldCom and Tyco have faded from investors' memories, so London should go from strength to strength. Still, at least it keeps world's finances in the Anglosphere - Frankfurt and Paris have been left in the dust!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Israeli Disengagement

The Israeli elections show them - without enthusiasm - deciding to wall Israel off from the Arabs. Israelis have very good reasons for that decision, and the US should give them its unconditional support and not meddle.

The Kadima party, which promotes Sharon's disengagement policy, won the most seats - 28 of the the 120 available & will now put together a coalition with some of the
other 11 parties that won seats.

Kadima's leader promises to give to the Palestinians up to 90% of the West Bank territories captured in the 1967 war, telling them:
"During thousands of years, we planted the dream of greater Israel in our hearts ... but in recognition of the reality, we are ready to compromise, and concede parts of the beloved land of Israel," Mr. Olmert said, "and evacuate with much sadness Jews living there to create the conditions that will allow you to achieve your dreams and build alongside us a state of your own."
Which means (my ellipsis):
...(he)...plans to remove thousands of Jewish settlers, he would incorporate Arab East Jerusalem and three large chunks of occupied territory, where the bulk of Jewish settlements are located.

With the erection of a “security fence” to protect this new frontier, Israel will de facto have redrawn an international border. The move is likely to produce an outcry internationally, but that in itself will not deter a new Government which has the clear backing of the Israeli people.
Disengagement will leave Israel just 15 miles wide in places - not a great idea with a state committed to its destruction next door. Israel is doing this because the alternatives are worse.

Alternative 1: Ethnic Cleansing

The easiest way for a conquerer to take over territory is to kill or expel the natives. That's what the Romans did to the Jews, how the Russians took over East Prussia in 1945, how Indians and Pakistanis settled their frontier in 1948 and Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo separated their populations (in spite of NATO attempts to stop them). And how, to Western indifference, the Muslim government of Darfur has now killed or expelled 2 million people. And, for that matter, how in 1948, the new state of Israel pushed 711,000 Arabs out of its territories and the Arab nations ejected 900,000 Jews.

Even if the Israelis had the stomach for such a brutal operation, its major ally - the US - would not permit it. So that's out.

Alternative 2: Occupation And Enslavement

The Jewish people suffered this in biblical times. The Germans used it across occupied Europe in WW2, and it's a staple of fear states today - Saddam is on trial for it and the Russians are using it in Chechnya.

In this approach, the occupier gets compliance by reprisal - if one of its soldiers is killed, all the inhabitants of a local village are killed. A Nazi favorite was shooting all the men then burning all the women and kids in the local church, a tactic they repeated in thousands of villages across Europe - including Oradour sur Glane. It worked pretty well, and absent allied liberation, Europe would probably now be pacified.

But modern & democratic Israel does not have the will to follow this policy. There are plenty of Arabs in Israel (about 20% of the population), and Israelis meet them every day. They see messy but lively villages of traditional houses, with kids playing in the streets, men working in family businesses, women raising the families, old people sitting on doorsteps chatting. It's hard to abuse all these people because a minority become or shelter murderers.

Israelis also dislike the effect occupation has on their conscript kids (who join the IDF at age 18, men for 3 years, women for 2). About 10% of the males in any society are either psychopaths or violent, and Israel is probably no exception. These will bully and brutalize. Perhaps another 10% are radicalized in the opposite direction, and become alienated from their country. The 80% in the middle do the dirty work of occupation, while holding their noses - but after their 2 or 3 year stints return home psychologically scarred.

Option 3: Disengagement

So this is the least bad option. At the cost of incorporating a few more Arabs, Israel removes the trauma and corruption of occupation from its people and tidies its borders. It will of course continue to face threats from the Palestinian, Syrian and Iranian governments, all of which define themselves by their commitment to destroy Israel.

Israel will need US support - moral and material - to achieve disengagement while keeping these dogs at bay. That should be freely given, without meddling from State.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The State Of Israel

Israel is a splendid country that quite confounded my expectations.

It's not a desert dotted with kibbutzes

Much of the countryside is green and pleasant - not unlike Oxfordshire, Umbria or Virginia. There are deserts at the extreme east and the Negev, but everywhere else rainfall is same as London - 20 inches - but follows the Southern Med pattern of concentrating in the winter months.

It's not wall-to-wall condos

Outside Tel Aviv (like LA) and Jerusalem (unequaled), it's small towns and villages set in fields and orchards. Land that would be heavily cultivated in Greece and Italy is left to reforest with native oak.

As a result of the above, it's crawling with wildlife

Even the desert regions have plenty of birds and in the greener parts there was a kingfisher - very rare in the UK. Plus foxes, ibex, mongoose and a distant relative of the elephant that looks like a small but irritable groundhog.

Although there's plenty of security, it's not intrusive

It's not much different to London or Chicago - the occasional police roadblock and armed patrols strolling the streets. Many stores and restaurants have a security guard out front, but nothing like the gated downtown areas the Brits had in Northern Ireland when the IRA was bombing shopping malls. Vulnerable groups, usually of kids, will be accompanied by a young guard with a rifle slung.

There place is swarming with kids

That's because Israeli women have 2.44 kids each, compared with 1.66 in the UK and 2.08 in the US.

Some Israelis are black

These are Ethiopian Jews, fine men and gorgeous women.

It's not militaristic

Israeli soldiers wear simple khaki overalls, whatever their rank, and don't strut, stamp, or (as far as I could see) march. They're competent though.

And Israelis in general aren't inclined to take orders, so running their army must be akin to herding cats. That individualism gave them great advantages in warfare - in 1973 for example, Sharon decided to attack across the Suez canal against explicit orders, and minced up the enormous Egyptian offensive. He wasn't fired.

Israeli Arabs are poor but hospitable

They're a typical low-trust community. Very strong family ties, so all their businesses stay family-sized. Many of them are emigrants, and they have their own parties. I liked their cuisine and preferred their traditional style architecture to that of non-Arab Israelis.

The Druze community, which is non-Muslim Arab, seems more prosperous. Unlike Muslim Arabs young Druze get to serve in the IDF, where they're regarded as fearless fighters.

Another Arab community, the Bedouin, is also respected in the army - they make great trackers, and you see them leading patrols along the anti-infiltration fences.

Israelis are reluctant warriors

They aren't a martial people, they prefer to disagree with eachother rather than march in lockstep. But they are smart realists, and know their survival depends entirely on their own competence and prowess.

Most Israelis have friends and family killed by Arabs in war or terrorism. The second Intifada, which ran between 2000 and 2005, killed 1,000 Israelis. Scaled for population (Israel is just 6 million people), that's the equivalent of 10,000 Brits or 50,000 Americans, so 9/11 and 7/7 are small compared to Israeli losses.

The Arab hatred of Israel has no easy fixes. It's like the ethnic enmity in the former Yugoslavia, the alienation of much of the US black population, or the hatred of the Roman Catholic minority in Northern Ireland for the Brits.

Israelis bear many costs to stay constantly on guard. The upside is that this pressure has produced a tough, industrious and creative people, and it's impossible to see them succumbing to either internal decay or external assault.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Declining Religions

On current events and judged as businesses, Christianity and Islam are headed for Chapter 11, takeover and breakup.

Islam

Failing businesses often abuse their customers. The once-mighty Xerox, struggling for revenue in the 1980s, lost its reputation by locking in its customers with abusive leasing contracts. The customers headed for the (Japanese) hills.

Islam - in Afghanistan at least - is following the Xerox model, attempting to hold its customer base by killing defectors:
The chief judge trying an Afghan man who faces a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity defended the court's autonomy yesterday amid reports the man could be freed.
This policy opens Islam to attack by religions that reward rather than abuse their followers.


Christianity

Companies that dump their core values suffer in the marketplace - Google is a current example. The Christian "peace activists" our troops just rescued in Iraq dumped a lot of Christian values. Here's what they were doing there (my ellipsis):
CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) initiated a long-term presence in Iraq in October 2002, six months before the beginning of the U.S. led invasion in March of 2003.
So they began by providing cover for a mass murderer - not very Christian.


After the removal of said murderer:
The primary focus of the team for eighteen months following the invasion was documenting and focusing attention on the issue of detainee abuses and basic legal and human rights being denied them.
Didn't the dead in their mass graves also merit Christian action?

Then their mission crept again:
Issues related to detainees remain but the current focus of the team has expanded to include efforts to end occupation and militarization of the country and to foster nonviolent and just alternatives for a free and independent Iraq.
In the course of this they got themselves kidnapped, and men risked their lives to rescue them, at great cost. And in their pride, they
won't acknowledge this (my ellipsis):
Before flying out of Baghdad on (a taxpayer-funded) RAF aircraft yesterday, (the) hostages released a brief statement that said nothing about the rescue force.

The hunt for (the) hostages involved:

250 men from the Task Force Black US/British/Australian counter-kidnap unit

100 men from Task Force Maroon, the Paras and Royal Marines backing special forces

15 men in helicopter crews

And tens of thousands of pounds spent on helicopter and transport aircraft flights


By inserting themselves into Iraq, these so-called Christians forced others to pay for and die for them.

The stock of Christianity is already low in Europe, and this episode will speed its decline.

Mrs G, fresh from India, reports that the Hindu religion is in good shape - it puts no gatekeepers between believers and their god, kills no apostates, and promotes the behaviors traditionally associated with Christianity and Islam - maybe Hinduism is the next new thing.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Back In The Fog

The amorality of the BBC comes as a shock after 10 days of Israeli clarity.

I avoid the BBC, but the train from Heathrow airport into central London screens its news bulletins. Here's how it described the ETA ceasefire (my emphasis):
ETA has suspended its armed struggle in which over 800 people have died.
In fact ETA has not been "struggling" - in an open society like Spain's, any psychopath can sneak a bomb into a public place at minimal risk to himself. And the people killed don't just "die" - they are deliberately murdered. Here are some examples (my ellipsis):

December 1973: Prime Minister Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco is assassinated in Madrid in retaliation for the government's execution of Basque separatists (for murder).

June 19, 1987: A car bomb explodes in the underground car park of an Hipercor
supermarket in Barcelona, killing 21 civilians and injuring 45, among them several small children.

1997
: Abduction of Basque councilor Miguel Angel Blanco, prompting six million Spaniards to join mass demonstrations against ETA. The organization asks the government to relocate all imprisoned ETA terrorists in prisons closer to the Basque Country. When the government does not accept this demand, Miguel Angel Blanco is assassinated.

December 24, 2003: ETA attempts to blow 50 kg of explosives inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station at 3:55 PM on Christmas Eve. The police thwarted the attempt when they stopped Garikoitz Arruarte trying to load 28 kg of explosives into a Madrid-bound train in San Sebastián. Another bomb with over 20 kg of explosives was then found inside a second train passing near Burgos, already several hundred kilometers on its way to Madrid.

I wasn't there to hear Israel National Radio describe the event, but guess it was along these lines:

The ETA gang says it will suspend its terror campaign. It has murdered over 800 people.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

On The Road

Visiting Israel for 8 days, back on line on 3/24.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Poison Ivy League

Yale giving a scholarship to the Taliban spokesman and Harvard's busting its president for "sexist" comments are part of their Marxist heritage - they think human beings can be reprogrammed. That's bad science.

Here's the WSJ's take on Yale's terrorist:

Never has an article made me blink with astonishment as much as when I read in yesterday's New York Times magazine that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa.

In the spring of 2001, I was one of several writers at The Wall Street Journal who interviewed Mr. Rahmatullah at our offices across the street from the World Trade Center. His official title was second foreign secretary; his mission was to explain the regime's decision to rid the country of two 1,000-year-old towering statues of Buddha...

He...said the West had no business worrying about the statues, because it had cut off trade and foreign aid to the Taliban. "When the world destroys the future of our children with economic sanctions, they have no right to worry about our past," he told us, according to my notes from the meeting.

As for Osama bin Laden, Mr. Rahmatullah called the Saudi fugitive a "guest" of his government and said it hadn't been proved that bin Laden was linked to any terrorist acts, despite his indictment in the U.S. for planning the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He said that if the embassy bombings were terrorist acts, then so was the Clinton administration's firing cruise missiles into his country in an attempt to kill bin Laden.

After the meeting I walked him out. I vividly recall our stopping at a window as he stared up at the World Trade Center. We stood there for a minute chatting, but I don't recall what he said. He then left. I next thought about him a few months later, on Sept. 11, as I stood outside our office building covered in dust and debris staring at the remains of the towers that had just collapsed. I occasionally wondered what had happened to Mr. Rahmatullah.

If the Yale administration is not itself evil, why would it import this evil man into its community? It's because they consider evil mutable - with the right sort of education he'll stop murdering gays, oppressing women, destroying history and protecting mass murderers.

And here's VHD on Harvard (my ellipsis):

...outgoing Harvard President Larry Summers, (has) in the past year...apologized repeatedly. His crime? Saying that institutionalized bias might not completely explain the dearth of female scientists and mathematicians on university faculties.Despite trying to placate campus feminist groups by pledging $50 million "to bring about a set of very important cultural changes," he still lost his job.
Same problem - his critics think that men and women can be made to think alike.

The staff of both universities are scientifically ignorant. It's a fact that about 4% of males are psychopaths - like the Taliban spokesman. You cannot reform psychopaths. It's a fact that men and women are wired differently, and excel in different professions. Steven Pinker reviews the science - cognitive science, neuroscience, behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology - and its implications in The Blank Slate : The Modern Denial of Human Nature. It's a must read of you want to make sense of the destructive ignorance of the left (and, to a lesser degree, of the right).

Science alumni of both universities should never give these dumps another cent.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Profumo And Blair

John Profumo died this week, 43 years after resigning from Parliament for lying about about an affair. By Profumo's standard, Blair's entire government should resign - but they won't.

Profumo was a courageous man - as the youngest MP in 1940, he voted against the appeaser Chamberlain, helping pave the way for Churchill. The sad story of his fall and the destruction of the young woman and her mentor is told in the movie Scandal.

In comparison with Blair's government, Profumo was a pillar of rectitude - here's the London Times, hat tip The England Project (my ellipsis):
On Friday Lord Falconer, the (Scottish) lord chancellor, blithely announced as if by ukase that the English people would not get equal rights to the Welsh and Scots within the British parliament...He implied that even to ask was impertinent.

Evidence of (dishonesty about allowing people to buy Lordships form Blair's socialists) was given on Friday by the aforementioned Falconer on the radio, when he was reduced to defending the prime minister by telling two blatant untruths. In the first place he stated that it was “absolutely not” possible to buy an honour from Tony Blair. It is. I know people who have. The late Lord Montague of Oxford boasted the fact to me. How else is it explicable that everyone who has given £1m to Labour has been given a knighthood or a peerage? I know of one expectant donor who was denied an honour by Blair’s “collector” on the grounds that he had not yet given enough.

Profumo atoned for his dishonesty, earning forgiveness:
Shortly after his resignation Profumo began to work as a volunteer at Toynbee
Hall
, a charity based in the East End of London, and continued to work there for the rest of his life. Eventually he became Toynbee Hall's chief fundraiser, and used his political skills and contacts to raise large sums of money. All this work was done as a volunteer, since Profumo was able to live on his inherited wealth. His wife also devoted herself to charity until her death in 1998. In the eyes of most commentators Profumo's charity work redeemed his reputation. The social reform campaigner Lord Longford said he "felt more admiration [for Profumo] than [for] all the men I've known in my lifetime".

I doubt that Blair will get such an obituary.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Military Intelligence

The term is not an oxymoron, but it's worth bearing in mind that weapons that make sense to one service seem misconceived to the others. Here are two examples.

Now:

The U.S. Army has found a long range rocket it really likes...these rockets use GPS guidance to hit targets up to 300 kilometers away with a 500 pound, high explosive, warhead. Sort of like the popular 500 pound JDAM smart bomb used by the air force.

These rockets cost about a million dollars each. A 500 pound JDAM costs about $25,000, although you can add a few thousand dollars more to cover the expense of operating the jet bomber that delivered it.
Assuming (generously) that the JDAM bomber delivery doubles the weapon cost, the Air Force solution costs just 5% of the Army solution.

Then:

In WW2, the German Air Force attacked London with the V-1 drone, and their Army attacked it with the V-2 rocket. Here's the cost comparison from David Irvine (previously a good historian, now banged up by the Austrians for Holocaust Denial):

WeaponPayloadCost (un-inflated)
V-11 ton£125
V-21 ton£12,000


That makes the V-1 about 1% of the cost of the V-2.

Then and now the Armies figured that it's harder to shoot down a rocket than a plane, and a 500 pounds or 1 ton shell is huge. Plus, you can't rely on the flyboys when you need them.

Air Forces always expect to penetrate defenses with acceptable losses, and see a 1 ton bomb as nothing special. Plus they can put a fast-moving bomber whenever it's needed across hundreds of miles, and don't have to drag artillery all over the place.

A Postscript On The Ports Deal

Norm Coleman, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, dramatizes the threat container traffic poses the US, and has some suggestions on how to address it.

WSJ (subscription, my ellipsis):
Shortly after 9 a.m. on a beautiful sunny spring day, an improvised nuclear device explodes on the National Mall in Washington. Within seconds, the Capitol and the White House are flattened and a plume of radiation spreads to the surrounding suburbs. Intelligence sources quickly determine that this weapon was smuggled through a U.S. port in a maritime container. Unfortunately, this horrific scenario is not just a plot for the television show "24" -- it is the paramount security challenge facing our nation.

Our goal should be to screen 100% of the maritime containers entering the United States of America; as of today we inspect a dismal 5%. (So) I have introduced legislation directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide a plan within 90 days on how to implement 100% screening of maritime containers.

We have found that, although the administration will claim the 5% inspection rate is adequate, both the General Accounting Office and the Homeland Security Inspector General have concluded that our targeting system -- which identifies the containers to inspect -- is seriously inadequate.

We provided only $1.6 billion in funding for port security in 2005, a mere one-third of the aviation security budget. Port security, a first-tier homeland security vulnerability, is being funded as a second-tier priority.

Airline pilots are no longer instructed to comply with hijackers' demands, all cockpit doors are now armored, and sky marshals are in place. So airliners can now be bombed - killing hundreds - but not used as cruise missiles to kill thousands.

A nuclear weapon will kill tens of thousands, so cost-benefit suggests cutting the TSA back to a bomb sniffing organization and shifting the money to 100% container screening.

With 100% screening and America secure, it won't matter which nation runs US ports, so the free-traders (that includes me) will be happy.

Time To Dump The International Criminal Court

As Oscar Wilde might have written:

"To lose one war criminal, Mr Annan, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness".
Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, the so-called "butcher of the Balkans" being tried for war crimes after orchestrating a decade of bloodshed during his country's breakup, was found dead Saturday in his prison cell.

Milosevic's death came less than a week after the star witness in his trial, former Croatian Serb leader
Milan Babic, was found dead in the same prison. Babic, who was serving a 13-year prison sentence, committed suicide.

Milosevic's death will be a crushing blow to the tribunal and those looking to establish an authoritative historical record of the Balkan wars.
The International Criminal Tribunal has been trying Milosevic for four years. The International Criminal Court, of which this Tribunal is part, is worse than useless, since its existence has been used by Blair as an excuse to persecute Brit soldiers fighting in Iraq.
Col Mendonca was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and now he too is facing charges. For war crimes. Or rather, he is watching some of his soldiers face charges for war crimes (under the International Criminal Court Act), including the unlawful killing of Baha Musa, while he is being accused of "failing to take steps, or reasonable steps, to ensure that civilians were not ill-treated". He is, say fellow-officers, being "hung out to dry".
The US wisely declined to become party to the ICC, and the Brit Parliament should take this opportunity to withdraw.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Prejudice Against Islam

The WaPo is surprised that Americans are prejudiced against Islam - in fact they and other Westerners are just making rational judgments.

The report (my ellipsis):

As the war in Iraq grinds into its fourth year (actually, third), a growing proportion of Americans are expressing unfavorable views of Islam, and a majority now say that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll found that nearly half of Americans -- 46 percent -- have a negative view of Islam, seven percentage points higher than in the tense months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when Muslims were often (??) targeted for violence.

According to the poll, the proportion of Americans who believe that Islam helps to stoke violence against non-Muslims has more than doubled since the attacks, from 14 percent in January 2002 to 33 percent today.

The survey also found that one in three Americans have heard prejudiced comments about Muslims lately. In a separate question, slightly more (43 percent) reported having heard negative remarks about Arabs. One in four Americans admitted to harboring prejudice toward Muslims, the same proportion that expressed some personal bias against Arabs.

These percentages are shockingly high. Americans are the least racially prejudiced people I've encountered - comments about foreigners considered unremarkable in the UK are unacceptable in the US. That's because US society is a machine for integrating immigrants, and an important part of that is race-blindness. My guess that a similar poll in the UK would show even higher levels of distaste for Islam.

Here's what I think has caused this, in no particular order.


1. MSM Negativism

James Taranto suggests this:
By relentlessly focusing on the bad news in Iraq and playing down the good, journalists perpetuate an image of the Muslim world as a hostile, uncivilized place.
2. Terrorists Invoking Islam

The terrorists that have killed Westerners claimed, without exception, to have done so in the name of Islam. That sends the message to every Westerner that they must convert to Islam or be killed. Contrast that with the war in Northern Ireland, which was also between two religious groups - Catholic and Protestant. But in which both sides adopted political goals that - if granted - threatened none outside of the province.

3. Barbarism

Cutting the heads off living, bound, captives is not culturally acceptable in the West; nor is indiscriminately killing civilian men, women & kids; nor is mutilation and display of the dead. Muslims (possibly rightly) may argue that the West's high-tech weapons inflict horrors on them. The difference is that Western militaries don't torture, mutilate or display the dead as deliberate acts, but accidentally in the confusion of battle. So native Brits reacted with disgust to
this report:

A man who upset a hotel worker by showing her video footage on his mobile telephone of a hostage being beheaded in Iraq was jailed yesterday for 60 days.

Subhaan Younis, 23, was talking to Charlotte McClay in the Moathouse Hotel in Glasgow when he showed the graphic images he had downloaded from the internet.

Sentencing him at the city's district court, the magistrate, Euan Edment, told Younis: "I struggle to understand why you had images on your phone entailing the death and degradation of another human being, regardless of their religion or race.

4. No Apologies

If 19 Brits had inflicted 9/11, or 4 Americans had committed 7/7, our respective nations would have been convulsed with guilt, and a desire for
atonement. By contrast - to my knowledge - no Muslim religious leader, no Muslim nation, no Muslim citizens groups has apologized unreservedly for these acts.

All of this is unfortunate for the Muslims in Western societies who are decent and productive citizens, but only they can put their house in order.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Turning The BBC Into A Proper Business

The BBC is putting some of its TV content online. This is the basis for a nice business model - if it charges for the service. Instead it's offering it for free, leaving itself dependent on an unpopular tax that all Brit TV owners have to pay, whether or not they watch the BBC.

The story:
New statistics show that the prime leisure activity of Britons is no longer sitting "couch potato-like", in front of the TV. The top spot has been taken instead by people surfing the web after work or at weekends.

The average web user in the UK spends 164 minutes online each day, compared to 148 minutes for TV viewers. Men are the biggest internet addicts, logging on for about 172 minutes a day.

The BBC has trialled an "integrated media player" based on the highly successful "RadioPlayer", which gives listeners access to radio shows via their computers.

The player will let people download programmes to their PCs, using peer-to-peer technology. Viewers will be able to watch a show for up to a week after its transmission.

The software prevents users e-mailing the shows to other computers, or copying them onto a disc. The players will be available free of charge.
Here's how to run the BBC as a proper business.

It spends about £4 billion annually, mostly on two flagship TV channels. So if it broadcasts 6 hours a day on each channel that people would pay for, that's about 4,300 billable hours a year.

Hence to recover its costs and make a 20% profit, it needs revenues of about £1 million per broadcast hour. It claims that 50% of Brits watch it's programs, so if 20% of those are online users, that's 6 million. If online take-up for any given hour is 10%, that's 600,000 customers, so a charge of £1.50 an hour covers the BBC's entire costs and profit. Plus, any half-competent marketer would double the viewer numbers by promoting it to the Anglosphere, cutting the price to an affordable 75 pence/hour -say $1.

In this model the BBC recovers all of its costs from a small minority of is users. If it was smart it would ultimately distribute all of its TV on the Internet, increasing its billable market to 30 million - in that case the price per hour falls to 3 pence! Plus its costs fall since it's can dump all of its TV broadcast and digital cable infrastructure and their associated costs (about £400 million annually).

That leaves plenty to pay my modest consultancy fees.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Advances In Law Enforcement

London's terror-threatening toon-'testers are about to be busted - maybe.

Muslim protesters outside the Danish embassy in London on February 3 carried signs openly calling for murder and jihad, while British police did nothing but stand and watch.

No, that’s not quite true; the police did arrest two counter-demonstrators carrying pictures of the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

But now, 5 weeks later:

Yesterday the Metropolitan Police disclosed that the Crown Prosecution Service...had advised it that potential public order offences were committed.

Arrests, questioning and charges are now expected in the coming weeks in a number of cases said to run to "more than single figures".

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said last night: "During the demonstration on Feb 3 2006 the Met deployed specialist evidence gathers (sic). This material has been collated and examined by the investigation team.

The specialist evidence gatherers took photos of the masked demonstrators, and if you review the example below, you can guess Scotland Yard's new secret weapon.

Tablecloth recognition.

How The Ports Deal Compromises US Security

The owner of company can't avoid gaining intimate knowledge of its business. So it's a really bad idea to allow a foreign state whose citizens hate the US to buy a business that offers a route for terrorists to import WMD into the US.

Here's my experience as a Brit managing US companies on behalf of Brit holding companies.

The management of a US business purchased by foreigners often tries to keep the new owners at arms length, for reasons of turf protection and national pride. In such cases, the purchasing company starts being happy with that - provided the US company makes its numbers.

Unfortunately, a company that's for sale often has problems - why sell a successful enterprise? And one that survives the purchaser's due diligence may have well-hidden problems.

When these problems erupt, the credibility of the the local management takes a dive, and the new owner has to become actively involved. Often there are fierce turf battles between the troubleshooters from head office, and the local US management, but unless the latter can fix their problems, they're doomed - either replaced or disempowered.

So now the owning company has - of necessity - to put their trusted people in to fix the problems, and to be effective these folks have to learn every detail of the business.

So how does the proposed acquisition of the management company that runs 6 US ports stack up in this world?

The UAE is a dictatorship that currently provides valuable support to the US:
...it has the best deep-water port and the most modern airfields and air training facilities in the Gulf region, and it lets our military make extensive use of them.
The support of the non-elected leaders doesn't mirror the views of their populace (my ellipsis), hat tip LGF:
Zogby International pollsters asked a representative sampling of citizens of the UAE if their overall impression of the U.S. was favorable or unfavorable in 2002, after 9/11 had demonstrated our vulnerability to the world. Only 11 percent responded that their impression was favorable; 87 percent responded that it was unfavorable.

...in 2005, after we had demonstrated our military might, and our willingness to use it, in Afghanistan and Iraq...only 73 percent (of UAE citizens said they) hate us now.

Compare that with a 2005 poll in Afghanistan, where
World Public Opinion.Org found that 81 percent of the people view us favorably, or India, where the Pew Global Attitudes Survey found that 71 percent do, and it's clear that it's a misperception to see the UAE as a friendly country.
So UAE a management team might well include individuals that hate the US. If they cloak this successfully, they'll become intimately acquainted with the operation of the ports, learning the minutiae of import and export procedures and the delays and costs of security screening.

Right now, a terrorist group that wants to import WMD - anthrax or a primitive nuke - has to rely on the Internet. Post-acquisition however, just one terror-supporter on the UAE management team can give them all they need to defeat US port security.

This proposed deal is a significant threat to US security and and Congress should stop it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Terrorism And The Ballot Box

Brits and Americans who rightly hold Palestinians responsible for electing a terrorist government have some house cleaning to do - our own governments appease terror-supporting voters.

The UK, along with France and Germany, just spent 2 years fruitlessly negotiating with the Mullahs, and one reason they failured was they refused to threaten force:
Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, has consistently made clear that Britain opposes a military solution. He fears that even the threat of bombing will sabotage any hope of securing a united international diplomatic front against Tehran - as well as again splitting the Labour Party.
The Mullahs correctly judged that - absent both carrots and sticks - they could use the talks to buy 2 years' weapons development. Since this just put off the day on which either the US or Israelis whack the Mullahs, why did the Brits behave this way (my emphasis)?

Much has been made of the large number of Muslim voters in Mr Straw's Blackburn constituency, where his party's vote in last year's general election was down by 12.1 per cent and the performance of the anti-war Lib Dems up by 12.5 per cent. Blackburn was merely a vivid example of a national trend that terrified Labour pollsters.

In seats where between five and 10 per cent of voters are Muslims, Labour's vote fell by 8.1 per cent. In constituencies where more than 10 per cent are Muslims, the drop was 10.6 per cent.

This explains Blair's appeasement of the Mullahs and reluctance to suppress domestic Muslim terror.


The US has the same problem:

Britain and the United States were locked in a deepening diplomatic dispute last night over Washington’s failure to implement a mutual extradition agreement that Parliament approved three years ago.

Congress’s refusal to ratify the deal means that Britain cannot prosecute criminals residing in the US, including sex offenders and paedophiles.

This seems odd, since the Brits have fully implemented the agreement, even stretching their own legal system to do this:
Those currently facing extradition to the US under the 2003 deal include (three Brits)who face up to 35 years in prison if convicted of Enron-related fraud charges. Their lawyers, who are appealing to the House of Lords, claim they are victims of an unequal law.
Here's why the US government is not keeping its own side of the bargain (my emphasis):

A senior US official told The Times yesterday that the Administration was sympathetic to Britain’s concerns and hinted that a fresh attempt to force the treaty through the Senate would be made within weeks.

The official said that the problem had been caused by the influential Irish-American lobby, which is worried that the treaty could be used to pursue IRA suspects. Senators are worried about alienating any section of voters before November’s congressional elections. British diplomats have emphasized that, after the Good Friday agreement, Britain has little interest in pursuing IRA suspects.

Brit and American voters need to set an example to Palestinians by voting out all their own terror-appeasing pols.

On Forgiveness And Repentance

An English vicar (priest) cannot forgive the July 7 bomber who killed her daughter, so she's resigning her post. Her resignation is understandable, but unnecessary - forgiveness should only take place when the sinner has repented. A suicide bomber can by definition never repent, and so cannot be forgiven.
A vicar whose daughter was killed in the London bombings has resigned because she finds it hard to forgive the men who carried out the suicide attacks."I rage that a human being could choose to take another human's life. I rage that someone should do this in the name of a God," she said. "I find that utterly offensive.

"We have heard a lot about things causing certain groups of people offence and I would say that I am hugely offended that someone should take my daughter in the name of a religion or a God.

"I have a certain amount of pity, the fact that four young people felt that this was something they had to do. But I certainly don't have any sense of compassion.

"Can I forgive them for what they did? No, I cannot. And I don't wish to. I said in the early weeks and still now say the name of my daughter's murderer...every day.

"I believe that there are some things in life which are unforgivable by the human spirit. We are all faced with choice and those four human beings on that day chose to do what they did."

The doctrine of forgiveness strengthens civilized societies. It helps the bereaved come to terms with their loss, it reduces the incidence of blood feuds, and it allows repentant sinners to re-enter society.

Modern Germany and South Africa offer inspiring examples of societies strengthened by repentance and forgiveness.

But if the sinners do not repent, forgiveness encourages them to continue their crimes.

For example the Brit government's forgiveness of the IRA convinced the minority nationalist electorate to transfer their votes from moderate nationalists to these "redeemed" killers, so encouraging the non-nationalist majority to move to the opposite extreme and radicalizing Northern Irish politics. Similarly, the German people after WW1 never expressed regret for starting that carnage, and those that forgave them convinced the Nazis they could try again.

The complete absence of Muslim repentance for the atrocities committed in the name of their god suggests they don't have this concept in their religion.

That's unfortunate, because that gives us only two ways of dealing with Islam - submission or the sword.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Making Decisions About Bombing Iran's Nuke Facilities

Decision theory says the US should destroy the Mullahs' nuke facilities once they are more 2% confident that the Mullahs are building weapons. Since that level is already comfortably exceeded, it's just a matter of time.

The situation is similar to deciding whether to shoot a suspected suicide bomber on the London Underground - you may kill an innocent illegal immigrant, or - if you don't shoot & the guy really is a bomber, let him kill 13 people. You have to choose a level of certainty that reflects the costs of shooting an innocent against the deaths of 13 others.

In the case of the Mullahs, there are two possibilities.

1. The Mullahs are not building nukes

This isn't impossible - their bloodthirsty rhetoric may be like that of the Brit Muslim toon-protesters - empty threats, since if the latter did slaughter their hosts, they'd end up back in Pakistan without welfare. Also, Muslim dictatorships have low levels of military and technical competence.

2. The Mullahs are building nukes

However the dictatorships of the USSR and China - with the help of espionage - did build nukes. Plus the weapon design and uranium manufacturing technology (and some plant) has been provided to the Mullahs by Pakistan, so it's not hard. And nukes provide the only practical way of wiping Israel off the map.

So now let's look at the costs of destroying the two key plants, whether or not they're actually being used to build nukes. We'll just count deaths, not total casualties, since the two are closely correlated.

The US will probably use the Trident II D5 equipped with a 3-ton kinetic warhead. The Trident has a range of 4,000 nautical miles and an accuracy measured in meters. A more detailed analysis of the ballistics shows that each Trident warhead would be about 23 times more destructive than the bunker-busters used by the RAF in WW2 to destroy German fortifications, quite adequate for the job.

Cost of striking

The kinetic warhead is highly selective - it burrows into the underground fortification and does its destruction there. So, even if the Mullahs locate kindergartens above the plants, the kids will be largely untouched. The people operating the plant would mostly die - however the plants will be fairly automated, and my estimate is 100 casualties/weapon. On this assumption, a strike by 5 missiles on each of the 2 plants would kill about 1,000 people.

Cost of not striking

Conversely, if the plants are not attacked, and the Mullahs do use them to build nuclear weapons, then the cost would be the probability that they'd use them times the deaths that use would cause.

It's possible that a show of force that threatened the Mullahs personally would be an adequate deterrent - perhaps a megaton-range Israeli airburst over the Negev. But the Mullahs belong to a religion that celebrates death, so let's assign a probability of 50% to their using their nukes.

Then assume that they'd use 2 Hiroshima and Nagasaki sized weapons against Israel. In that case the Israelis would suffer the same dead as the Japanese - between 100,000 and 200,000 - say 150,000.

Now we can use Bayesian analysis to compute the probability estimate (P) of the Mullahs actually building a bomb above which it would cause least deaths to strike them:

- if they're not building a bomb (probability 1-P) and we do strike them, the probabilistic cost in innocent lives is (1-P)*1,000;

- if they are building the bomb and we do not strike them, the probabilistic cost in innocent lives is P*0.5*150,000.

The value of P that balances the two alternatives is just 1.3%, and even leaving a respectable margin of error we get 2%. So, if we think that there's just one chance in fifty that the Mullahs are building nukes, we should destroy their plants, since on balance that saves innocent lives.

Of course there are many other costs. Any strike - justified or not - will inflame Muslim nations, probably to cut off oil exports. But that will cause their customers to diversify away from imported oil, so the Muslims end up poor. Hence any boycott will likely be short-lived.

Conversely, an attack on Israel could be much more costly than estimated here. If Israel retaliates, the dead could run into tens of millions, with the local states and much of the EU heavily damaged by contamination.

The bottom line is that at a 1.3% probability, the only thing holding up the strike is deploying the weapons and arranging to minimize collateral economic and political damage. But - if the US behaves as a rational player - the attacks will come.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

India and Nuclear Power

The president's strategy with India is inspired - he's de-fanging the despots who control our oil by helping their customers switch to nuclear power. Congress should support this deal, and the president should find a way of helping China too.

The long war with Islam is fueled by oil - as China and India have industrialized, their appetite for oil has pushed up world oil prices to record levels. Since many of the world's oil is controlled by despots, that's handed them huge resources to make mischief:
Why did it take until January for Muslim protests to erupt in violence, after the initial non-violent reaction to the publication of the Prophet Mohammed cartoons in Denmark on September 30, 2005?

Knowing that Muslims will rise against anyone who defames their Prophet or religion, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called an urgent summit meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Mecca on December 7, 2005, ostensibly to discuss religious extremism and the image of Islam, with the leaders of the world's 57 Muslim nations.

...the Saudis used the Mecca conference to spark violent reactions to the four-month-old cartoons and eclipse other significant events the Saudis wanted to cover up... Instead of condemning violence, the closing OIC communique tersely condemned "using freedom of expression as a pretext to defame religions." And on January 26, 2006 the Saudis were the first to recall their ambassador from Denmark to protest the cartoons, while radical Wahhabi-Salafist clerics back home called on their Muslim followers to boycott Danish products.

To prevail in this long war we need to starve these despots by cutting global demand for oil. The president addressed this domestically in his State of the Union Address, and the Indian deal addresses the emerging markets.

India consumes 3 times more oil than it produces, and that'll get worse as its economy grows. So it's moving strongly into nuclear power:
Fifteen reactors are under operation and seven reactors are under construction.
Now India will get US technology to cut costs and accelerate this program.

It takes 10 years to build a nuclear power plant, but if by 2020 all the world's major economies have switched to nuclear the world will be a much safer place.

Incidentally, there's much lefty spluttering contrasting US help to India with its opposition to Iranian nukes. They see no difference between a democracy that threatens no-one and a terror state that wants to wipe its neighbor off the map.

Bottom line - Congress should approve this deal, and the administration should help China speed up its own civilian nuclear power program.

Spring!

The weather was perfect for this morning's run - 68 degrees (20 N), perfect blue skies, green fields, surrounded by spring flowers, and glittering blue seas. And I almost tripped over my first lizard of the year, so that means it's Spring.

The tendency of creatures to dash across the paths of runners is a global phenomenon. In California (Stanford campus), the threat is ground squirrels - skinny little brutes that live in burrows and move in flocks. In Minneapolis (banks of Mississippi) solitary ground hogs - very friendly, corpulent creatures - lumber in front of you. In Virginia small yappy dogs give chase (until squirted with water bottle). In England (Oxfordshire) in spring it's baby rabbits that roll underfoot while fighting - plus I was once narrowly missed by a roe deer. In London (Hyde Park) the threat is tourists, from, er, Northern Europe.

This suicidal behavior in such a wide range of species seems abnormal - Mrs G's says it's blind panic, but refuses to elaborate...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

AP Recants

Following on from this, AP has recanted:

Clarification: Katrina-Video story ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) _ In a March 1 story, The Associated Press reported that federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees in New Orleans, citing confidential video footage of an Aug. 28 briefing among U.S. officials.

The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking.

The day before the storm hit, Bush was told there were grave concerns that the levees could be overrun. It wasn't until the next morning, as the storm was hitting, that Michael Brown, then head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Bush had inquired about reports of breaches. Bush did not participate in that briefing.

That's one lie down, now how about honestly reporting US successes in Iraq?

Town And Country

This story, flagged by Opinion Journal shows a certain naiveté in New York City about rural lifestyles:

The makers of the gay cowboy flick "Brokeback Mountain" were too rough on sheep, an animal-rights group charged yesterday.

In a letter to director Ang Lee, The Humane Society also complained about the way the horses and elk were treated.

"The excessively rough handling of the sheep and horses leaves viewers questioning whether anyone was looking out for the safety of those animals," the letter said.

"And many also wonder how the filmmakers got the elk to lose its footing and crumple to the ground 'on cue' after being shot."

Leaving aside the sheep and horses (they probably asked for it), the filmmakers likely made the elk lose its footing in the traditional country way - by shooting it.

And The Winner Is…

The judges will be torn tonight between two movies that appeal to their finer naturesBrokeback Mountain and Paradise Now. Here’s a compromise.

Brits have a rich tradition of creating combinations of pretentious movies – for example:

The Remains of the Piano, the
Merchant Ivory/Jane Campion classic that scored a record 11 points out of 10 in the 1993 Brit Pretentious Movie Awards

The Jewel In India’s Passage, the
neo-Bollywood romance , that tastefully combined the movies of E. M Forster’s A Passage to India and Paul Scott's acclaimed Raj Quartet.

In this tradition, DU announces for the 2006 Oscars:

Mountin’ Paradise

The movie begins with Mohammed (Tim Robbins), a hunky bisexual eco-friendly Iranian jihadist, leaving his hometown. He’s denounced every girl he’s dated to the local Mullah, who has stoned or hanged her, as appropriate. Dateless, he travels with his First Goat, Paradise (cameo, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) to Israel.

Mohammed, concerned about
depletion of non-renewable virgins in Islamic paradise, invents the eco-friendly solution – kill the 72 virgins and take them with you! He and Paradise search out groups of Israeli girls aged between 8 and 14, only to be thwarted by an evil bloodsucking Mossad operative (Gary Busey) who launches a free group texting service for Israeli kids, removing the need for them to gather in large groups.

So Mohammed and Paradise head for Iraq where the killin’ is easier. They’re stopped at a roadblock by the evil Neville (
Michael Moore), a National Guardsman from Ohio who instantly forms a passion for Paradise and goatnaps her for his pleasure.

Paradise finally escapes with the aid of a singing squirrel (cameo,
Cindy Sheehan) and two lovable dancing rabbits (this gets the movie PG-13 in blue states) and returns to the passionate arms of Mohammed, who during her durance vile has located the perfect target - a fifth-grade class of exactly 72 Shiite girls!

The end is pure tragedy. Mohammed decides to take Paradise with him, and the film tracks them in slomo as they walk together across the sunlit schoolyard to the target, wearing their trusty
Nokia-triggered bomb belts. But then Neville places a call to Paradise (he’d found her cell number in her PDA) and both bombs explode prematurely. Paradise ends up in goat hell, and Mohammed in virginless paradise.

Neville, overcome with remorse, deserts and joins the Government Of The Free State Of Palestine as an entry-level suicide bomber.

What’s not to like?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Stay Cool!

The MSM reports that an experiment invalidating the predictions of the global warmers just goes to prove...global warming!
The Antarctic ice sheet, which holds 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water, has thinned significantly in the past four years, the first observations from a pair of satellites show.

Scientists had expected that over the coming century global warming would increase the size of the Antarctic ice sheet, as higher temperatures brought increased snowfall, but the new data suggest that it is losing mass.

The results indicate that rising temperatures are having a major impact on both ice caps...
JunkScience.com gives us this assessment (scroll to "Oops! 'Trends' from <>
Is Antarctica 'melting'? The definitive answer is 'No, not currently'.

How do we know this? Since 1979 we have had satellite coverage of the frozen continent and the
UAH MSU data for the Southern Polar Region, displayed graphically here, shows a slight cooling trend of -0.01 °C/decade.
In fact this latest study suggests global cooling:
... the same period of UAH MSU data...under comparable trend guidelines...(to those) used by (this latest study),..the world is heading into a chill, with global cooling 'trend' of -0.013 °C/decade...
So we may all be doomed - but to freeze rather than fry.

India (2)

Here's a Winston Churchill quote that I use when American friends josh me about Brits losing the War of Independence. It may be apocryphal, but it's appropriate to India's success story.

Some time soon after WW2, he was buttonholed at a cocktail party by a formidable American lady who demanded:

"Mister Churchill, what do you propose to do to about the poor Indians?"

He replied:

"Madam, do you refer to the unfortunates who have been largely exterminated by your countrymen, or the people of the vast and proud nation that has flourished under the beneficent protection and guidance of the British Empire?"

Desperate Dems

The MSM, AKA the propaganda branch of the Dems, has moved from selective reporting to lying.

Here's the Brit MSM:
Tapes reveal Bush knew that Katrina could swamp city

Tapes and transcripts of briefings last August show Mr Bush being told in detail about Katrina’s potential deadly impact and hearing an expert express “grave concerns” about the ability of the levees to withstand the hurricane. They also show that the President asked no questions.

AP floated this dishonest story yesterday, leading the WSJ to comment (subscription):
The whole "story" here is so preposterous that we are inclined to leave it at that. But for the record, it's worth noting a little semantic legerdemain on the part of the Associated Press reporter who narrates the videotape. The reporter implies that Mr. Bush lied when he said after the storm that nobody had anticipated "the breach of the levees." This is supposed to be contradicted by the video footage of a pre-landfall briefing in which the National Hurricane Center told the President of the possibility that "the levees will be topped."

But in fact the New Orleans levee system wasn't topped; it was breached, just as Mr. Bush said -- and there's a big difference between the two. The levees being topped by the storm surge would have caused damage, but arguably much less severe than what happened after the structural failure that actually occurred. And in any case, the levee breach was the result of flaws so fundamental they were beyond anyone's power to fix that close to the storm.
The levee failures were caused by faulty system design and construction by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Popular mechanics has an excellent analysis, including this:
In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.

Computer simulations of a Katrina-strength hurricane had estimated a worst-case-scenario death toll of more than 60,000 people in Louisiana. The actual number was 1077 in that state.
With Hillary as their only hope, the Dems are getting really desperate.