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To find an archived article, simply click on Index and scroll the subject titles, or do a Ctrl-F search


This archive, organized into months, contains all issues prior to the current week and the three preceding weeks, 
which are published in 
the main Tallrite Blog (  
The first issue appeared on Sunday 14th July 2002

You can write to blog-at-tallrite-dot-com

October 2003

ISSUE #55 - 12th October 2003


ISSUE #56 - 19th October 2003


ISSUE #57 -26th October 2003

ISSUE #57 - 26th October 2003 [460]


Jews Rule the World by Proxy


The Pope Should Retire - Now


Cutting Prices, Breaking Laws


Arnold Schwarzenegger's Winning Smile


Judge Raps


Quote of the Week

Jews Rule the World by Proxy

So said the Malaysian Premier of 22 years, Dr Mahathir Mohammed, when he opened the tenth session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.  He went on to say 


They get others to fight and die for them.


They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.

The Islamic world welcomed the remarks, but many leaders in the US, the EU and Australia reacted with outrage at the blatantly anti-Semitic sentiments.  


George Bush called them “reprehensible, hateful, wrong”, 


Australia's foreign minister Alexander Downer, “profoundly disturbing and anti-Semitic”, 


Franco Frattini, foreign minister of Italy which holds the EU presidency, deplorable”.  

Meanwhile, Dr Mohammed retorted that,  The reaction of the world shows that they [Jews] do control the world.  

All this fuss about 60-odd words out of a speech of 4,000 words.  Yes, the words are anti-Jew and reflect the speaker's undoubted animosity if not hatred.  

Yet the bulk of the speech is a thoughtful and soaring indictment of how badly Muslims have run their affairs for the past fourteen centuries, no less.  The references to Judaism are in the context of how skilfully the Jews have managed their affairs by comparison, despite their history of discrimination and pogroms throughout Europe. 

Compared with a few million Jews, there are 1.6 billion Muslims, they control 50 of the world's 180 countries, have enough votes to make or break international organisations, sit on the world's biggest oil reserves, understand the workings of the world’s economy and finances. 

Jews have only the last item on this list, yet, in Dr Mohammed's view, they “rule the world”. 

So why are Muslims so utterly unsuccessful in getting what they want, such as economic development, technological progress, homegrown defence, control over Israeli expansionism ?

He explains that Jews think, Muslims don't.  

He recalls that, when Europe was still stuck in the Mediaeval dark ages, Muslims once led the world in science, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, trade, wealth.  Just think of the glories of Granada in Spain, which the Muslims were driven out of only in 1492.  He blames the subsequent decline of Muslims squarely on Islamic theologians who re-interpreted the Islamic injunction to acquire knowledge” to mean religion only.  Not only did this cessation of thinking trigger a process of  intellectual regression, but it fostered the emergence of a thousand competing variations of Islam that produced disunity and inter-necine fighting, prevalent to this day.  Meanwhile, Europeans began to blossom under the Enlightenment and pulled far ahead in the Industrial Revolution.  

In modern times, Dr Mohammed points out that Western countries can do what they like to Muslim countries - raid them, kill the people, destroy the villages and towns, dictate how they should be governed - to which the only reaction is blind anger leading to fruitless attacks.  “Is there no other way”, he asks plaintively, “than to ask our young people to blow themselves up and kill people and invite the massacre of more of our own people ?

By way of proof, he offers, “For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved ?  Nothing. We are worse off than before

The point of his diatribe is that Muslims should copy Jews.  They should




control their anger, 


use their brains to figure out what course of action is most likely to achieve their objectives, 


be prepared to negotiate, 


embrace the modern world and raise their economic and intellectual capital.   


Their leaders should wield their power judiciously, prudently, concertedly, for the sake of their people and Islam. 

In short, don't expect Allah to help you if you are not prepared to help yourself.  

If Dr Mohammed's fellow-Muslims heed his words, it will lead to an Islam that is much more rational in its behaviour, though no less demanding.  An Islam, nevertheless, that non-Muslims can do sensible business with to the betterment of all humanity.  

I recommend reading the entire speech.   The slur on Jews is in fact a compliment to them.  

Late Note (2nd December) : I was gratified to note that the inimitable Mark Steyn published a letter from me on the compliment that Mahathir paid to Jews in his “proxy” speech.  

Back to Index

The Pope Should Retire - Now

Pope John Paul II has just passed three milestones in short order.  


He turned 83,


he celebrated his Silver Jubilee as Pope,


he elevated 31 more prelates as Cardinals.

Cardinals are second only to the Pope in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and those under 80 will elect the next Pope.  There are now 194 cardinals in all, of whom  135 are under 80, of whom 130 were promoted by the current Pope.  These elector cardinals, comprise 66 Europeans, 14 North Americans, 24 Latin American, 13 Asians, 13 Africans and five from Australasia.

Pope John Paul is seen as a man of extraordinary achievement, probably best remembered for the central part he played in the destruction of the vile Soviet Empire, and he has indefatigably promoted Catholicism through his countless speeches and sermons, his encyclicals (fifty of them), his foreign visits (over a hundred), his recognition of holiness (eg a record 464 canonisations).  

But there are many who deplore his conservative stances on issues such as contraception, abortion, homosexuality and priestly celibacy.  

His health is very poor.  Physically he's been through a lot - been shot, had a tumour cut out, broken his hip.  He is now in an advanced state of Parkinson's disease, and while those close to him affirm that his mind is as sharp as ever, his public performances give cause for doubt. In any case, the physical and mental demands of the papacy are now undoubtedly beyond him.  

Though no pope has resigned since Celestine V in 1294, it is now time for John Paul to.  Not only because of the deterioration of his body, but because only by doing so can he assure the continuation of his conservative legacy.  

For if he waits till he dies, he can only hope that the 130 cardinals who owe their position to him will vote in a suitably conservative successor.  But how conservative will they remain once he's gone ?  

For example, the most recent batch of 31 included Scotland's Keith O’Brien.  A month ago he said in relation to homosexuality, What I would ask for in the Church at every level, including the cardinals and the Pope, is to be able to have full and open discussion about these issues and where we stand, which in Catholic terms is very liberal.  But two weeks later, as a pre-condition of his cardinalship, he declared, I accept and promise to defend the ecclesiastical teaching about the immorality of the homosexual act ... I would hope that Catholics everywhere would join with me in respecting the decisions of the Pope and demonstrate their own loyalty by not questioning them.”  

How reliably conservative will cardinals like this be once the Pope is not around to lean on them ?

On the other hand, if the Pope resigns now, while his brain is still working, his influence on the voting process will be enormous.  I don't think any cardinal will dare defy him by electing someone insufficiently conservative.  

Thus, if his intellectual horsepower does indeed remain as powerful as his aides maintain, he will use it to throw in the towel without further delay, in order to interfere as much as possible with the succession process.  

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Cutting Prices, Breaking Laws

Ireland's Director of Consumer Affairs, the intrepid Ms Carmel Foley, recently announced an investigation into claims that Dunnes and Tesco, two major store chains, have been breaking the law.  She suspects they have been selling goods, such as baby food, at (gasp !) below cost.  Yes, a bar on such promotions is another of the Celtic Tiger's curious protectionist laws.  (Though the success of the Irish economy is a testament to the low number, relative to competitors, of such ridiculous restrictions, there are still far too many.)  

Ms Foley also primly disapproves of in-store promotions, believing that keener across-the-board pricing offers better overall value to shoppers. Maybe so, but that's no reason to decry in-store promotions.

It is hard to understand who, other than non-price-cutting rivals and a handful of bureaucrats and politicians (a small number), can honestly object to Dunnes, Tesco or anyone, selling goods at below cost to its customers (a large number).

The independent-grocers' lobby warns that aggressive discounting could spark a damaging price war between the major multiples.

That, surely, is to be welcomed, as it means lower prices for shoppers.

In similar vein, the small-retailers' lobby says that although consumers win through competitive activity in the marketplace, permitting Dunnes to drop its prices so drastically could push many smaller stores to the brink of ruin, costing hundreds of jobs.  But it fails to explain why those hundreds are more important than the hundreds of thousands of people who will benefit from the lower prices.  For if they can't compete, shouldn't they be doing something else ? 

No one seems to want to simply ask shoppers, Do you want lower prices, taking your chances as to whether that means higher prices in the future, or - indeed - even lower prices ?  Or do you prefer to trust industrialists, bureaucrats and politicians when they say paying more today is good for you ?  

Surely the interests of the many consumers should always take precedence over those of the few producers and retailers.  

One of the things that has always puzzled me is the lack of a Consumers Party in any major Western democracy.  Without exception, every political party strives to protect particular industries in some shape or form (we must stem this loss of jobs”).  


It is impossible to do this without punishing consumers through higher prices (“let's keep out the cheap imports”).  


Consumers vastly outnumber the members of any given industry.  


Therefore surely it makes more electoral sense to pander to consumers at the expense of workers, rather than the other way round.   

Yet no-one does.  

And we should remember that it is always the poorest in society who benefit most from lower prices. Why should they subsidise protected producers and retailers? 

In response to Ms Foley's investigation, the (subscription-only) Irish Times published a letter from me along the above lines on 21st October.  

A few days later, a Dr Michael Ganly replied in apparent support, but ended with the curious advice that my letter should have started with the sentence, There is no possibility that I will not be able to drive a car at any time in the future”.  

No, I don't understand what he means either.  

Back to Index

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Winning Smile

By Guest-Blogger, Walter

Did anyone notice the facial difference between the “old Arnie”  Schwarzenegger and the “new Arnie” ?  

Arnie the body-builder, with lips clamped firmly shut to hide his chaotic teethActually, there are two Old Arnies.  Old Arnie the muscle man, who reigned from 1963 to 1980,  and Old Arnie the movie star (1980-2003).  

God and DNA gave Old Arnie the muscle man a set of teeth not to be proud of - crooked, gappie, misaligned.  In fact they were so higgeldy-piggledly that he usually tried to hide them by posing for the cameras with a tight-lipped grin.  

It was during his Hollywood period that he first had them (partially) fixed.  But it must have been a cut-price job, for as you can see from the second picture taken in late 2002, Old Arnie, the movie star, continued to sport an  attractive space between Arnie the film-star, with teeth improved, but sporting the natural gap between his two upper incisors his two upper front teeth.  In many civilisations going back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, this dental anomaly was and is viewed as not only attractive and sexy, but also lucky.

I remember a wartime member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) with such an anomaly. At the request of her parents she had her photograph taken in uniform at a nearby photographers. The photographic technician thought that the apparent space between her middle front teeth was attributable to his faulty technique. So he painted in a new tooth in the midline space. Many might have failed to notice the change, but this poor girl happened to be a Dental Surgery Assistant and she was humiliated by the chortles of her dental colleagues.   I know, because I was her boss (and one of the secret chortlers).  

Arnie the politician, with a complete dental makeover, teeth all straight, white and no gapsBut back to Arnie.  As this victory snap from the Sunday Times shows, now that he's a neo-politician, an extra midline tooth is no longer for him, nor a photographic touch-up.  

Nothing will do but a full jaw makeover with new white porcelain crowns and bridges. And for good measure the upper back teeth have also been realigned.  

And this has all been done since the second half of 2002, which suggests that that is when he decided to run for Governator, not - as he pretends - just before the Jay Leno Show a few weeks ago.  Moreover, if you see a photograph of him with the gap, you'll know it's older than 2003, even if the accompanying article is not !  

But as with the reworking of the dentition (extractions and immediate dentures) of Margaret Thatcher in her hey-day, who but a dentist like me - or else someone alerted by a dentist - would notice ?  

You can make up your own mind as to whether or not our erstwhile film star has surrendered good luck with the bridging of his gap teeth.  

Declaration of Interest
The author is my Dad

Back to Index

Judge Raps

Here in Europe, judicial proceedings can be excruciatingly dull compared with what we see televised in America.  Whether it's OJ Simpson, Judge Judy, British nanny Louise Woodward, it never fails to entertain.  Whether justice is actually administered is another matter.  

But Judge Deborah Servitto has exceeded all previous contenders for judge-of-the-month.  

Earlier this month she presided over a defamation lawsuit in Michigan brought by DeAngelo Bailey who was claiming that the lyrics of an Eminem song defamed him by depicting him as a bully in a rap called Brain Damage ...

Way before my baby daughter Hailey,
I was harassed daily 
By this fat kid named D'Angelo Bailey,
An eighth grader who acted obnoxious, 
Cause his father boxes,
So everyday he'd shove me in the lockers.  
One day he came in the bathroom while I was peein',
And had me in the position to beat me into submission.  
He banged my head against the urinal till he broke my nose,
Soaked my clothes in blood,
grabbed me and choked my throat

Deciding that the attack probably did take place in 1982, she dismissed the case.  But to show how hip she is, at the end of her 13-page ruling she added a ten-verse rhyming rap of her own.  Here are the punch lines ...

Mr. Bailey complains that his rep is trash
So he's seeking compensation in the form of cash
Bailey thinks he's entitled to some monetary gain
Because Eminem used his name in vain

The lyrics are stories no one should take as fact
They're an exaggeration of a childish act
Any reasonable person could clearly see
That the lyrics can only be hyperbole

It is therefore this Court's ultimate position
That Eminem is entitled to summary disposition

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Quote of the Week

Quote : I'd better stop now because I've got to go to lunch with the Pope at one o'clock.” 

Newly-elevated Cardinal Keith O'Brien 
- the Antrim-born Archbishop of Edinburgh - 
cutting short an impromptu press conference 
in  St Peter's Square 

Back to Index


ISSUE #56 - 19th October 2003 [90]


The Cult of Islamofascist Suicide Bombing


UNanimous Resolution 1511


Environmental Tobacco Smoke


Odds of Dying


Memory Watch


Fijian Appetite


Quote of the Week

The Cult of Islamofascist Suicide Bombing

Islamofascist suicide-bombing has two grim dimensions to it.  


On the one hand, from a technological point of view, it is an extremely efficient guidance and presentation method.  It detonates the bomb exactly where and when desired, whether delivered by foot, by car or, as the Japanese Kamikaze pilots first demonstrated in WW2, by aircraft.  

This is because the bomber's human brain is far superior to any remote-control, GPS-driven, webcam-enhanced, computerised weapons delivery-system that the most sophisticated of US arms manufacturers can ever come up with.  


On the other hand, the application of suicide-bombing is, to Western eyes, utterly futile and incomprehensible.  Most weapons are deployed with the objective of gaining an advantage over and eventually defeating an enemy; in other words the weapon is but a means to an end.  For the Islamofascist bombers, by contrast, the means is the end.  Killing people is all they want; they have no political agenda whatsoever.  

They do not expect, nor even particularly desire, to eject the Americans from Iraq, to drive the Israeli Jews into the sea, to destroy the West's global economic dominance, to convert Christians and Jews to Islam.  They simply use the incredibly effective technology of suicide-bombing to kill people they don't approve of.  That's all.   

To mention just a couple of recent examples (apart from the constant stream of attacks on Israeli civilians) ... 

Islamic terrorists suicide-bombed the UN in Iraq, showing that it isn't just Americans they hate.  

They hate every non-Islamofascist, including those engaged in purely humanitarian activities for the benefit of Muslim Arabs, and whose remit is clearly non-military and who actively oppose the Americans in Iraq.  

Islamic terrorists bombed American civilians in Gaza, who were arranging US Fulbright scholarships for Palestinian students - demonstrating that it isn't just Israelis they hate.  

They hate every non-Islamofascist including those engaged in purely humanitarian activities for the benefit of Muslim Arabs, whose remit is clearly non-military, knowing well that it is only America who can put pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.  

This is what makes Islamofascist bombing and suicide-bombing so hard to deal with - there is no logic or order behind it.  Thus, no negotiation in the conventional sense is possible because those whom they wish to bomb can offer nothing that the bomber wants, other than their lives.  

Insofar as the Islamofascists pretend to adhere to the precepts of Islam, perhaps the bombers might at some stage become amenable to negotiation by mullahs opposed to suicide-bombing, who are prepared to use the Koran to demonstrate that it is unIslamic. (For example, the Koran states in 2:195, Act for the sake of Allah, and do not throw yourselves to destruction with your own hands.)   But such mullahs seem to be in very short supply, though occasionally a brave anti-suicidist Arab speaks out.  And Mahathir Mohammed, Malaysia's visionary yet oppressive ruler of 20 years, recently asked the 10th Islamic Summit Conference, Is there no other way than to ask our young people to blow themselves up and kill people and invite the massacre of more of our own people ?”  But it remains to be seen whether his deeply sceptical fellow Muslim leaders take up his challenge.  

The West is, moreover, dealing with a phenomenon that appears to be deeply ingrained into people from a young age.  


Suicide-bombers are glorified in many countries of the Middle East, with their pictures posted up in schools and mosques.  


Saudi-funded Madrassa religious academies preach the honour of jihad and suicide-bombing.  


Friends, brothers, sisters, even parents seem to encourage youngsters to contemplate it.  


Paeans to suicide bombing and jihad are preached from many mosques on Fridays.  


The Arabic-language media broadcast relentless praise of the bombers.  


Saddam used to pay $25,000 to the family of each Palestinian suicide-bomber; who knows whether other shadowy characters are still doing something similar.  

So what options does all this leave for the West ?  

In short, violence.  Retaliatory violence and pre-emptive violence.  Coupled with a relentless long-term, youth-focused propaganda war against the evils and futility of suicide-bombing.  

Such violence, of course, runs entirely counter to the precepts of modern liberal democracy, and is furthermore internally contradictory - doing violence while preaching non-violence.  

But what alternatives are there ?  Do nothing or negotiate fruitlessly ?

That is why America is right 


to relentlessly pursue Al Qaeda, the spiritual home of Islamofascists, 


to lock up their adherents indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay on that quasi-judicial pretext, or 


to kill them like vermin if they can't capture them.  

That's why Israel is right 


to assassinate the managers of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, DFLP, al-Aksa Brigade etc, who dispatch the suicide-bombers, 


to destroy the bombers' family homes, 


to build that wall round the West Bank  designed to keep them out.  

But the West should do much more to counter the cult of suicidism that pervades much of the Arab world, because the ultimate solution is surely to foster a mind set where reason determines people's actions, not blindness.   

But it'll be a long haul, until those youngsters currently being brainwashed have either managed to break free intellectually, or have killed themselves or have grown past the age of suicide.  

By the way, where do you think the children of those suicide-advocating mullahs, sheikhs and senior leaders are ?  Not anywhere near the cauldron of the Middle East.  All are abroad, permanently on business or studying.  

Back to Index

UNanimous Resolution 1511

Well, it seems UN diplomacy is not dead after all.  The organization has managed to pull off a remarkable coup.  It's persuaded itself - well, its 15-member Security Council - to unanimously back a pragmatic resolution, 1511, which has a reasonable likelihood of improving the lot of the Iraqis.  It 


legitimises the Coalition Provisional Authority with the US as leader,  


defines the role of the US-appointed Governing Council of 25, 


mandates the Council to furnish by December a plan for UN approval for a new constitution and elections, 


provides an advisory and humanitarian role for the UN, 


authorises a multinational force under US command.  

The backing of old Europe, in the form of France, Germany and Russia, is to be thoroughly welcomed, despite their begrudging refusal to contribute money or soldiers and complaint that the resolution should have gone further.  Once they get over this, I suspect they will thoroughly enjoy taking part in the reconstruction effort and will contribute positively.  

This is the first sign that a sense of reality and unity may be returning to Europe after all the posturing and Saddam-worship over the past year.  

It reminds me of the classic five stages involved with unwelcome news : 

  1. Shock - that something bad has happened

  2. Denial - not wanting to believe it is true 

  3. Anger - wanting to blame someone or something for what has happened

  4. Acceptance - finally understanding and realizing nothing can be done

  5. Positive Action - embracing the change and making the most of it.  

Old Europe, having gone noisily through the first three stages in respect of the Iraq war, are now into the fourth and will shortly arrive at number five.  

At the end of the day, what counts is the result.  And this is an unequivocal 15-0 victory for Iraq, as well as for the UN, the US and Britain.  And there are no losers other than those who wish ill on the Iraqi people.  

Back to Index

Environmental Tobacco Smoke

For most of this year, a debate has been raging in Ireland about Environmental Tobacco Smoke, or ETS.  A committee of respected scientists conducted a review of available research and concluded that ETS does indeed, on balance, increase the incidence of tobacco-related afflictions such as lung cancer and heart disease.  Moreover ventilation is ineffective in removing all smoke and therefore the only way to avoid ETS and its associated diseases is to prevent smoking.  

As a result, the Irish Ministers of Health and of Labour announced In January 2003 that, in order to protect the workers, smoking would be banned from all workplaces as from 1st January 2004.  

All” workplaces includes offices, but more controversially, hospitality enterprises such as hotels (every bedroom), B&Bs, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bookies, not to mention prisons and psychiatric hospitals.  

This provoked a predictable uproar.  


Mainly, from the publicans who are afraid their smoking guests will do their drinking at home; they have forecast 60,000 job losses (though without credible data).


Those in the cigarette business, including vending machine operators, also protest at the expected drop in sales.  


Others object that the ban will be unenforceable, for example what do you do if the man on the seat next to you lights up - phone the police for a squad car ?  


Others object to the State's interference in private behaviour, and would advocate smoking and non-smoking pubs from which drinkers and workers could choose.  


Not everyone is convinced that ventilation cannot work, for example there doesn't seem to be much data comparing death rates without ventilation against death rates where ventilation removes, say, 50% or 90% or 99% of the ETS.  

The one quality the objectors seem to share, however, is the poor and incoherent quality of their objections.  “Pretty weak and pretty pathetic” in the words of a senior trade union leader.  By comparison, the proponents have set out their case very clearly and articulately.  

The aspect that strikes me most, however, is the absence of incontrovertible scientific evidence that it is ETS that is causing the damage.  This is because you simply cannot conduct an epidemiological test where all other extraneous factors are excluded from two large control groups, one subjected to ETS over a long period time, the other not.  Therefore you are limited to working with percentages, probabilities and inferences using whatever data you can lay your hands on.  

But last week Rosemary Ellis of Prevention magazine published a very convincing piece of hard evidence.  

She relates that in June 2002, a smoking ban in restaurants, bars and casinos was introduced in Helena, Montana.  This is a city of 66,000 with only one cardiac-care hospital within a 60-mile radius, which therefore receives all the heart-attack victims.  This makes the city's heart attacks easy to count.  ETS causes platelets in the bloodstream to become stickier, which can apparently lead to heart attacks.  

And in just six months, the attacks in Helena dropped by 58%, whereas there was no change amongst people living outside the city and thus beyond the reach of the ban.   

Then, remarkably, the ban was lifted, only to find the city's heart-attack rate bounced right back up as fast as it had dropped.  

It's hard to deny the damage of ETS against evidence like this added to the strong epidemiological case.  

Declaration of Interest
My sister chaired the scientific committee

More on this subject in a later post

Back to Index

Odds of Dying

Perusing a December 1982 copy of the Scientific American, which (unlike the Lancet) has unfortunately not yet put all its archives on line, I came across these statistics in an article by Arthur Upton.   

The following activities increase the risk of death by  one-in-a-million chance.  In other words, if a million people do one of them, one person will die early as a result.  


Travelling 400 miles by air (note - about one hour)


Travelling 60 miles by car (also around one hour)


Spending two months at an altitude of one mile


Living for two months in a stone building


Working for three hours in a coal mine


Working in a typical (1980s) British factory for 1½ weeks


Rock-climbing for 1½ minutes


Smoking ¾ of a cigarette


Living two months with a cigarette smoker


Spending 20 minutes as a man aged 60

I'm not sure what to make of all this; perhaps it's all rubbish as well as being 20 years out of date.  

But the smoking figure means that if I smoke 20 cigarettes a day for 100 years my chance of dying goes up from one-in-a-million to a million-in-a-million.  In other words, by the time I'm a hundred, I am, to my surprise, dead.  On the other hand, if you merely breathe my smoke, you will live to be 90,000 years old (unless you're in Helena, Montana) !  Doesn't that sound a lot safer than spending 20 minutes aged 60, though it isn't really.    

The main point is, of course, that nothing is safe”.  Everything carries its own risk , and preventive measures should be taken based on 


the relative odds of a mishap, combined with 


the relative ease/cost of the action.  

A smoking ban in workplaces, for example, is beneficial, easy and cheap, so why not do it.  

Late Note (21 Oct) 
The last sentence has provoked further debate 
at Internet Communicator and Back Seat Drivers.  

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Memory Watch

I stumbled across this great device a short while ago.  Costing just $89, it's a waterproof watch with a built-in, password-protected data-memory of 128 Mb (a hundred floppies), together with a USB connection to plug into any computer.  It can be used to store data, documents, spreadsheets, graphics etc for that all important overseas meeting.  

I can hardly think of a more secure, less likely-to-lose method of carrying such data with you on trips.  On the aircraft, having a swim, in a restaurant, on the tennis court, taking a shower, fast asleep, the data is always on your person.  Magic !

Click here.  

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Fijian Appetite

In 1997 in Hong Kong, on the eve of the colony's so-called Chinese Takeaway, I had the  good fortune to watch Fiji carry off the Rugby Sevens World Cup trophy.  They were big, strong, fast and rugged as rocks, black as night with great white teeth and eyes that glistened as they thundered down the pitch ball in hand at their terrified opposition.  They came as close as it was possible to come to eating their opponents, including the mighty New Zealand All Blacks, without actually eating them.  

Because they were already going soft, you see, and have since gone softer; witness their 61-18 defeat by France in the current (15s) World Cup.  

It gets worse.  

Fijians were were tougher back in July 1867 when the Reverend Thomas Baker, a Methodist of the London Missionary Society, visited the remote mountain village of Navatusila on the Fiji island of Suva.  While there, he committed the capital crime of touching the head of the village chief, in an attempt to reclaim a comb he had lent him.  So the locals rightly cooked him in a pot and gobbled him up until only his boots remained.  

At another dinner a couple of weeks later, a Fijian turned to his buddy and said, You know, I really hate my mother-in-law.”  His friend replied, Hey, no big deal, just eat the vegetables.

However bad luck has befallen the village ever since the missionary was devoured, and it still has no electricity or roads.  The locals are convinced that this is due not to the incompetence of the government (perish the thought), but to the ghost of the disgruntled Rev Baker.  

They are therefore inviting the vicar's English descendents to Navatusila next month to receive a formal apology to add to several previous apologies they have made.  They have already donated to the Methodist Church his overcooked and slightly chewed boots, which now sit in splendour in the Fijian Museum on Suva.  

Apologise ?  Just for eating a clergyman ?  I told you the Fijians are going soft.  

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Quote of the Week  

Quote : “It is unfortunate that something happened in Palestine. It's not good for our reputation. This action doesn't push our interests ahead, its a backward step.” 

Walid, a middle-aged shopkeeper in Jala'a Street in Gaza City, 
reacting to the bomb which killed 
three American humanitarian workers 
on their way to arrange Fulbright scholarships in the US 
for Palestinian students

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ISSUE #55 - 12th October 2003 [158]


A Tale of Three Leaders


Afri, Another Left-Wing Political Charity


The Crime of Protected Pharmacists in Ireland


Princess Diana Airbrushed out of St Paul's


Free Speech in the USA


Don't Underestimate Your Goldfish


Quotes of the Week

A Tale of Three Leaders

Now that Britain's three main parties have concluded their annual conferences in traditional seaside resorts, a curious thought struck me as I listened to and read the three party leaders' speeches.  

Though the ineffectual and perpetually sleepwalking Liberal Democrats seem happy enough to have Charles Kennedy lead them nowhere, Tony Blair and Ian Duncan Smith by contrast have considerable problems getting accepted as the leaders of their parties.  

Why is this ?

Because they're all leading the wrong parties.  


Tony Blair is an unrequited Tory in all but name, following in the revered steps of his heroine Margaret Thatcher.  Why, he even possesses a few principles from which he will not be budged (such as freedom, democracy etc).   He believes in balanced budgets, personal responsibility, the power of the market, and security.  He wants to confront murderous tyrants like Milosovic and Saddam, to smuggle in privatisation of public services through foundation hospitals, school vouchers etc, to reform the public sector.  

How un-Labour can you get.  (Or, if you prefer, how New Labour can you get.  Or how Tory can you get.)    

Of course Tony has to pander to some of his Labour colleagues, especially that ghastly Gordon Brown whom he has to keep sweet because of that unfortunate pact to hand over power some time around now.  Hence he's had to go along with a stream of stealth tax increases and egregious, uncontrolled spending increases in the public sector that, according to this chart from the Economist and Price Waterhouse Cooper, is turning a surplus of £15 billion into a deficit of £40 billion.  But his heart is clearly not in it.  


Charles Kennedy, on the other hand, is an old-fashioned, unrepentant, tax-and-spend Labourite, fully at ease with soulmates such as Gordon Brown and John Prescott.  Overtly (and insincerely) compassionate and luvvie-duvvie, and driven by a desire to protect producers at the expense of consumers. Very unhappy about Iraq, like the rest of Labour.  He hates Tony Blair's target-setting for schools, hospitals etc because it rewards good performers and puts non-performers on the spot (which is of course their purpose).  You're supposed to love the workers not lean on them.  Pretty ambitious personally, but of course he has no hope of becoming Prime Minister whilst he remains with the LibDems and whilst there is no proportional representation.  


Ian Duncan Smith, with his vague ways, uncertain and ever-changing policies, over-weening desire to be liked, falls neatly into every caricature of the traditional beard-and-sandals Liberal Democrats.  He says he wants to cut taxes - traditional Tory territory.  Yet immediately Michael Howard his shadow Chancellor says he only means not increasing taxes as fast as Labour.  Classic LibDem muddle.  He supported the Iraq war enthusiastically (pure Tory) but is now attacking Blair for it (LibDem U-Turn).  Tries to talk big (the quiet man is turning up the volume) but as a self-effacing LibDem his embarrassment is palpable.  

Meanwhile, the Tory party is desperate to find a more effective leader.  Their choice is abysmal - old discredited warhorses like Michael Howard or Kenneth Clarke, petulant foot-stampers like Michael Portillo, other sleep-walkers like Theresa May.  Oliver Letwin appears to be the only credible contender but many view him as not yet ready to take the reins.  

While, over at Labour, Gordon Brown can hardly disguise his eagerness to depose Tony and drag New Labour back to Old Labour.  He is cheered on by the bulk of the party and the Trade Union masses that he has already pumped up with massive infusions of no-strings-attached largesse towards the public services.  He'll be a dangerously loose cannon should he ever get hold of the reins.  

And the Liberal Democrats continue to muddle on without a hope of ever coming to power under the UK's first-past-the-post voting system because their voters are spread so evenly across the UK with no centres of strength.  Doomed to perennial moaning on the sidelines, they provide no home for a successful politician with ambition such as Mr Kennedy.  

So, here's my three-point proposal.  

  1. Tony Blair takes over the Tories and leads them to victory at the next election. 

    This gives the country the opportunity to haul its public finances and
    international competitiveness back into good health through ferocious
    cost-cutting and tax-cutting.  

  2. Charles Kennedy takes over Labour (shoving Gordon Brown aside) and makes sure the Tories don't have an easy ride, as they did when they were last in power.  

    Then, once the Tories have made the finances OK again, the voters give 
    Labour the chance under his leadership to wreck them once more in the 
    time-honoured Labour fashion.  

  3. Ian Duncan Smith takes over the Liberal Democrats and he and they just meander around in circles forever, like they always have.  

Isn't this more fun than the Rugby World Cup ?

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Afri, Another Left-Wing Political Charity

The latest charity to incur my wrath is Afri, which stands for Aid from Ireland”.  Its patrons are Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife.  

Joe Murray, it's “Co-ordinator”, recently wrote to the (subscription-only) Irish Times decrying the US, the invasion of Iraq, the current occupation.  

In response to American attempts to get more countries (than the current 30) to participate in the occupation, he trots out this laughable line.  

Internationalising the occupation would not help the Iraqi people. It would, rather, buttress and lend a veneer of legitimacy to an illegal invasion.”

A couple of days later the paper kindly printed my response ...

So, Mr Murray, please tell us what would help the Iraqi people. 


Not internationalising the occupation and leaving it to the Americans, British, Poles, etc ? 


An immediate handover to Iraqis ?  Which Iraqis, and on what basis ?


How about immediate withdrawal ?  Would you advocate leaving the mutually antagonistic Shi'ites, Sunnis, Ba'athists, Saddamists, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomen and others to arrange their affairs according to the Iraqi traditions of guns, bombs and warlords ?

A week has passed and I am still waiting for his reply.   

I find extraordinary the amount of newspaper column-inches devoted to moans and hand-wringing about Iraq, such as Afri's, which make not a single realistic alternative proposal intended to help the unfortunate Iraqis rebuild their country and not make their current difficulties worse. The motivation is clearly hatred of America/Bush, not concern for Iraq.  A successful, peaceful, democratic Iraq is many people's idea of a nightmare, for it would make Bush look good.   

As for the fact that the Iraq war delivered the serious consequences” that the UN Security Council, to universal rejoicing,  promised unanimously in Resolution 1441, there is never a word.  

In fairness to Afri, however, it says it changed its focus to the issue of the arms trade as a major cause of famine, food insecurity and human rights violations throughout the world.  So it's not quite as hypocritical as Ireland's largest two charities, Trócaire and Concern, who purport to be do-good charities while peddling left-wing pro-tyrant twaddle and vitriolic anti-Americanism in exchange for taxpayer handouts.  

They all share some of the ethos of the Muslim madrassa schools, many of which also 


purport to be charities, 


receive large quantities of government money, 


yet simply preach hatred.  

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The Crime of Protected Pharmacists in Ireland

Pharmaceutical retail in Ireland is one of many areas where domestic protectionism supersedes the would-be openness of the EU's common market, to the benefit of pharmacists and the malefit of their customers.  

The difference in medical drug prices between continental European countries such as Spain, Italy and France on the one hand and Ireland on the other is scandalous.  It is the direct result of a legislative regime that shields Irish pharmacies from competition, and saves them the bother of either shopping around for the cheapest supplier or worrying what other pharmacies may be up to.  This is in contravention to the EU's founding principle of free trade and open borders, the principle that has brought undreamt-of prosperity throughout the EU.  

The Irish protectionism manifests itself in two other ways.  


You cannot open a pharmacy within a certain distance of an existing pharmacy unless, extraordinarily, you can demonstrate that there is a need for it.  


You cannot practice as a pharmacist unless you have the appropriate Irish pharmacological qualification; no other EU (or US) diploma is recognised.  

My wife and I recently returned from Spain, where we have learned the wisdom of stocking up on medical drugs.  

Cost of Medical Drugs Within the EU



One Months Supply

Price in
Ireland €

Price in
Spain €



2.5 ml




Blood Pressure

30 tabs





28 tabs





1 tab




General Health

 30 tabs







Prices in Italy are very similar to Spain's; France's are about 20% more.  

All of the above list happen to be preventive drugs.  For example Xalacom eye drops delay or prevent glaucoma.   Moreover, all but the multivite require a prescription in Ireland which means a €40 trip to the doctor, where none is needed in Spain. 

It makes me wonder how many people don't take preventive drugs because they can't afford the exorbitant prices, and as a result unnecessarily suffer blindness or other afflictions in later life.  

Trade protectionism is by no means a victimless crime.  

Late Note (13 October 2003) 
In a piece entitled Drug Cartels?, Internet Communicator takes issue with the above an provokes a lively debate in his Comments page.  He contends that as majority buyer of drugs (many people get them free), the Irish Government effectively sets the prices.  This does not explain why Irish drugs are two-to-three times the price of those in Spain, Italy and France.  Nor why, for example, supermarkets are not permitted to sell (cut price) pharmaceuticals.  

Much Later Note (12 November 2007)
At last, I've spotted a pharmacist who confirms that the problem is indeed one of Irish protectionism for Irish pharmacies.  In a letter to the (subscription only) Irish Times on 12 November 2007, Brian O'Reilly, a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland writes, from Naas in Co Kildare,  

The crisis in community pharmacy continues. I should not be surprised that when there is any disturbance in the sector the debate returns to the medicines price differential between Spain and Ireland.

If I were to sell stock that had been bought from a Spanish supplier the consequences would be drastic. I could expect enforcement inspectors from


the Irish Medicines Board,


the Health Service Executive, and


the Department of Health.


The new pharmacy regulator, the Pharmaceutical Society
of Ireland, would also send its inspector.


I could also expect at least a letter from the Department
of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, seeking
an explanation.


Customs and Excise would certainly have to put their oar
in - and the Revenue would be delighted to shortlist me
for a full tax audit.

You see, Madam, the pharmaceutical sector in this country is a protected market. We depend on the industry as it contributes significantly to our export figures. (It matters not that much of the profit is returned to the US.)

What I am surprised at is that Minister for Health Mary Harney professes ignorance of this protectionism and she herself thinks that the local pharmacy is ripping off the public.

I wrote a letter to the Irish Times on the subject in May 2007, but it went unpublished. 

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Princess Diana Airbrushed out of St Pauls

On a recent trip to London, I had the pleasure of visiting the magnificent St Paul's Cathedral, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1710 after 35 years of construction, the fourth Church to be erected on that site since 604 AD.  

I wheezed up the 530 steps to the Golden Gallery 100 metres high, just beneath the cross atop the Dome, and drank in the breathtaking 360º views of the city.  It is a most majestic building and it is humbling to think that it was constructed by human hands without machinery or computers, every brick hauled into place by manpower alone.  It also made me wonder how many people fell to their deaths in the process.  

Ask most people over about 25 what event they most associate with St Paul's, and you're likely to hear the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981, in a spectacular televised ceremony watched by 750 million people around the world.  Then ask who stood out, and it will always be Diana.  

As she continued to stand out amongst the royals for the next sixteen years until she was killed in Paris in 1997.  

Strange, then, that as you wander around the memorials to the great people and great events of the last three centuries, which are peppered throughout both the 160 metre long Cathedral Floor and the vast crypt below, you can scarcely find any reference to Diana at all.  

I eventually located a small corner of the crypt devoted to royal jubilees, birthdays and weddings, with lots of stuff about kings and queens through the ages, as well as Charles, his sons and siblings.  And there in the corner was this one photograph of the 1981 wedding, with the delectable Diana shown only from the back and as a mere white blob in the distance.  She is nowhere else to be found in the cathedral.  

For Diana is a constant embarrassment to the British royal family and the Church of England clergy.  She committed the cardinal sin of being liked - adored, even - by the people of Britain, the Commonwealth, the world.  Being adored, of course, has always been the preserve, the prerogative, the God-given right of the royals and clergy, and the current mediocre incumbents simply cannot understand why this commodity is utterly lacking today.  

No wonder they seethe with envy and resentment at Diana's enduring popularity, and wish her memory would just disappear as her life did.  

Air-brushing out from St Paul's Cathedral its most eminent contemporary star is but a step in that direction. 

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Free Speech in the USA

The first amendment to the US Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.  

This site gives some thirty interesting examples of how the First Amendment has been interpreted by the courts, which I must say usually fall more in the category of simple common sense than literal interpretation.  

To summarise some examples ...  



Instructed by their teacher to write about issues such as gang violence, pupils used various rude words in keeping with the subject, which the teacher in the interests of creative expression supported despite the school's ban on profanity.  She was fired. 

Not Free Speech, the court ruled, since schools should promote generally acceptable social standards.  



A big insurance company contacted accident victims to encourage them to settle claims without hiring a lawyer, pointing out that a direct settlement would be faster and not have to be shared with a lawyer.  It also advised that if a lawyer were hired, his contingency fee should be based only on what he secured over above what the insurance company was prepared to offer anyway.  

Not Free Speech, said several states, though for different reasons, such as unauthorised legal practice, illegal discouragement against retention of a lawyer, unfair trade practice.  Feeling threatened, trial lawyers in several states simply pressured the insurance company into desisting.  



The Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement, which campaigns against  the "Mexicanization, Africanization and homosexualization" of America, was refused a permit to march down the route of Boston's annual St Patrick's Day parade and other marches, citing traffic congestion and public safety.  

Free speech, declared a federal judge.  He concluded that Boston officials had denied the permit solely because they happened to disagree with the National Movement's message; the Civil Rights movement long ago established that this was no basis.  



San Francisco's mayor fired a member of the city's Human Rights Commission for persistently saying that according to the Bible the lifestyle of homosexuals is an abomination against God and that they should be stoned to death.  

Not Free Speech, ruled both a federal court and the US Supreme Court.  It's OK to express views, but not to preach homophobia when you're the ambassador for human rights.  

See my own answers to the violence, such as stoning, that is advocated in the Old Testament.  



Five men near Times Square yelled It's good that the World Trade Center was bombed. More cops and firemen should have died !  More bombs should have been dropped and more people should have been killed !

Not Free Speech, ruled a Manhattan judge because it was plainly intended to incite passers-by.



Tattooing other than by doctors is not free speech in South Carolina and Oklahoma, a judge ruled.  Calling a painting free speech applies only to non-human canvases, he said.  

Back to Index

Don't Underestimate Your Goldfish

Goldfish, which originally hail from China, seem to have been in the news recently. 

First there was a story that their memory is much longer than the three minutes commonly believed.  Research has shown 


they can remember things (such as how to push a lever to release food) for up to three months or more;  


they can also tell the time within to fifteen minutes.  

Other research indicates that if you feed them alcohol, they become, well, drunk.  

Meanwhile, according to the UK's Environment Agency, goldfish if given half the chance are rampaging devils.   When pet goldfish escape from ornamental ponds or are released from people's aquaria, they race around harassing the crucian carp, which is Britain's only indigenous goldfish.  

The pets


compete aggressively with the native species for the same food (plants, insects), 


dominate the shared habitat, 


spread diseases for which the crucian carp have no immunity,


breed with the locals to produce hybrids. 

In other words, they behave pretty much like the early white men did when they discovered the Americas and Australia, though with less homicide.  For the crucian carp the result is much the same as it was for the aboriginals.  It is being wiped out, and for this reason it is illegal to release pet goldfish into the wild without permission.  

Perhaps someone should have made it illegal to release whiteys into the wild.  

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Quotes of the Week 

Quote : “It's the most difficult [decision] I've made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax.” 

 California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger
announcing his gubernatorial candidacy 
on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
(Arnie's dental makeover here)

Quote : “I came here with absolutely nothing and California has given me absolutely everything. And today California has given me the greatest gift of all. You've given me your trust by voting for me.” 

Mr Schwarzenegger thanking voters after his election


Quote : “I wouldn't describe the IRA as terrorists ... The IRA would argue [that its] killing of civilians [was] by accident.

Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, 
interviewed in the Guardian

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 What I've recently
been reading

The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Tol, 2006
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy Tol (2006),
is a delightful novel-style history of modern Israel and Palestine told through the eyes of a thoughtful protagonist from either side, with a household lemon tree as their unifying theme.

But it's not entirely honest in its subtle pro-Palestinian bias, and therefore needs to be read in conjunction with an antidote, such as
The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz, 2004

See detailed review


Drowning in Oil - Macondo Blowout
examines events which led to BP's 2010 Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. 

BP's ambitious CEO John Browne expanded it through adventurous acquisitions, aggressive offshore exploration, and relentless cost-reduction that trumped everything else, even safety and long-term technical sustainability.  

Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in Russia.  

The Macondo blowout was but an inevitable outcome of a BP culture that had become poisonous and incompetent. 

However the book is gravely compromised by a litany of over 40 technical and stupid errors that display the author's ignorance and carelessness. 

It would be better to wait for the second (properly edited) edition before buying. 

As for BP, only a wholesale rebuilding of a new, professional, ethical culture will prevent further such tragedies and the eventual destruction of a once mighty corporation with a long and generally honourable history.

Note: I wrote my own reports on Macondo
May, June, and July 2010


Published in April 2010; banned in Singapore

A horrific account of:


how the death penalty is administered and, er, executed in Singapore,


the corruption of Singapore's legal system, and


Singapore's enthusiastic embrace of Burma's drug-fuelled military dictatorship

More details on my blog here.


Product Details
This is nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’s incredible story of survival in the Far East during World War II.

After recounting a childhood of convention and simple pleasures in working-class Aberdeen, Mr Urquhart is conscripted within days of Chamberlain declaring war on Germany in 1939.

From then until the Japanese are deservedly nuked into surrendering six years later, Mr Urquhart’s tale is one of first discomfort but then following the fall of Singapore of ever-increasing, unmitigated horror. 

After a wretched journey Eastward, he finds himself part of Singapore’s big but useless garrison.

Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in 1941, he is, successively,


part of a death march to Thailand,


a slave labourer on the Siam/Burma railway (one man died for every sleeper laid),


regularly beaten and tortured,


racked by starvation, gaping ulcers and disease including cholera,


a slave labourer stevedoring at Singapore’s docks,


shipped to Japan in a stinking, closed, airless hold with 900 other sick and dying men,


torpedoed by the Americans and left drifting alone for five days before being picked up,


a slave-labourer in Nagasaki until blessed liberation thanks to the Americans’ “Fat Boy” atomic bomb.

Chronically ill, distraught and traumatised on return to Aberdeen yet disdained by the British Army, he slowly reconstructs a life.  Only in his late 80s is he able finally to recount his dreadful experiences in this unputdownable book.

There are very few first-person eye-witness accounts of the the horrors of Japanese brutality during WW2. As such this book is an invaluable historical document.


Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

This is a rattling good tale of the web of corruption within which the American president and his cronies operate. It's written by blogger Michele Malkin who, because she's both a woman and half-Asian, is curiously immune to the charges of racism and sexism this book would provoke if written by a typical Republican WASP.

With 75 page of notes to back up - in best blogger tradition - every shocking and in most cases money-grubbing allegation, she excoriates one Obama crony after another, starting with the incumbent himself and his equally tricky wife. 

Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarett, Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Steven Rattner, both Clintons, Chris Dodd: they all star as crooks in this venomous but credible book. 

ACORN, Mr Obama's favourite community organising outfit, is also exposed for the crooked vote-rigging machine it is.


This much trumpeted sequel to Freakonomics is a bit of disappointment. 

It is really just a collation of amusing little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour and situations.  For example:


Drunk walking kills more people per kilometer than drunk driving.


People aren't really altruistic - they always expect a return of some sort for good deeds.


Child seats are a waste of money as they are no safer for children than adult seatbelts.


Though doctors have known for centuries they must wash their hands to avoid spreading infection, they still often fail to do so. 


Monkeys can be taught to use washers as cash to buy tit-bits - and even sex.

The book has no real message other than don't be surprised how humans sometimes behave and try to look for simple rather than complex solutions.

And with a final anecdote (monkeys, cash and sex), the book suddenly just stops dead in its tracks.  Weird.


False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World
A remarkable, coherent attempt by Financial Times economist Alan Beattie to understand and explain world history through the prism of economics. 

It's chapters are organised around provocative questions such as


Why does asparagus come from Peru?


Why are pandas so useless?


Why are oil and diamonds more trouble than they are worth?


Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?

It's central thesis is that economic development continues to be impeded in different countries for different historical reasons, even when the original rationale for those impediments no longer obtains.  For instance:


Argentina protects its now largely foreign landowners (eg George Soros)


Russia its military-owned businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs


The US its cotton industry comprising only 1% of GDP and 2% of its workforce

The author writes in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to digest. 

However it would benefit from a few charts to illustrate some of the many quantitative points put forward, as well as sub-chaptering every few pages to provide natural break-points for the reader. 


Burmese Outpost, by Anthony Irwin
This is a thrilling book of derring-do behind enemy lines in the jungles of north-east Burma in 1942-44 during the Japanese occupation.

The author was a member of Britain's V Force, a forerunner of the SAS. Its remit was to harass Japanese lines of command, patrol their occupied territory, carryout sabotage and provide intelligence, with the overall objective of keeping the enemy out of India.   

Irwin is admirably yet brutally frank, in his descriptions of deathly battles with the Japs, his execution of a prisoner, dodging falling bags of rice dropped by the RAF, or collapsing in floods of tears through accumulated stress, fear and loneliness. 

He also provides some fascinating insights into the mentality of Japanese soldiery and why it failed against the flexibility and devolved authority of the British. 

The book amounts to a  very human and exhilarating tale.

Oh, and Irwin describes the death in 1943 of his colleague my uncle, Major PF Brennan.


Other books here

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