“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for October 2009

Hacks and Bits.

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Even big Newspapers get hacked.

The Guardian and identity crime!

A rather canny idea, use GPUs as bits in a Supercomputer.

Questions of Debian, I had a not undissimilar problem with Sidux ages back.

A forseeable side-effect of sacking IT workers, your computers systems will have more problems!


Fake Google Chrome OS.

Like a better Opera?

Ubuntu a newer version.

Chrome’s slow take up.

Written by modernityblog

31/10/2009 at 05:43

French Racist Fined.

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AFP reports:

PARIS — French judges ordered a far-right black comedian to pay 20,000 euros (30,000 dollars) Tuesday over an anti-Semitic stunt during a stage show in which he invited a notorious Holocaust denier onto stage.

The Paris court fined Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a 43-year-old French stand up, 10,000 euros for his “public anti-Semitic insults” and told him to pay a further 10,000 in damages and legal fees to organisations that sued him.

He was prosecuted after he invited Robert Faurisson, an academic who has been convicted of Holocaust denial, onto stage during a Paris comedy show to receive a satirical award from an actor dressed as a Jewish deportee.

The comic admitted at the hearing that the show had been a “comedy bomb attack” but defended his right to free expression. Anti-racism and Jewish defence organisations welcomed the verdict.

Dieudonne, a former anti-racism campaigner whose father was Cameroonian, often courts controversy and this year tried to enter politics by standing for the European parliament as head of an “anti-Zionist” party.

In September 2007, Dieudonne was fined after he accused Jews of exploiting “memorial pornography” and attacked a “Zionist lobby which cultivates the idea of their unique suffering … and has declared war on the black world.”

Two months later he was back in court and was fined 5,000 euros for having compared Jews to “slave-traders”.

He remains under investigation over a video circulating on the Internet in which he appears to attack a “yid Zionist lobby” led by “racist liars”.

For June’s European election, Dieudonne and Alain Soral, a former member of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front, formed a party to argue that the world’s ills are caused by Zionist Jews and their Anglo-Saxon allies.

Officials expressed fears that the comedian’s campaign might stir communal tensions in France’s notoriously combustible city suburbs, but the party won only 1.3 percent of votes in the Paris region and had little impact.”

Update 1: Talking of racists, more details on James von Brunn’s connections to bits of the military establishment.

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28/10/2009 at 21:46

Protest Against China, Get Executed.

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No free media, a massive state security apparatus and diktats direct from Beijing make Tibet an inhospitable place for the Tibetans, and the craven behaviour of the British FCO doesn’t make it any easier, the Guardian reports on the latest executions by the Chinese’s dictatorship:

“A foreign ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, said two men had been put to death, and declined to provide further details. Overseas Tibetan groups have identified the dead as Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak.

Lobsang Gyaltsen was sentenced to death this year for an arson attack that killed a shop owner in Lhasa, according to a report at the time by Xinhua news agency. Loyak was handed the same penalty for starting a blaze at a motorcycle shop that killed five people, the agency said.

The US-funded Radio Free Asia said Lobsang Gyaltsen was allowed a visit by his mother before he was executed. “I have nothing to say, except please take good care of my child and send him to school,” he was quoted as telling her.

There has been no confirmation of two other executions reported last Thursday by the campaign group Free Tibet.

The British Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis condemned the executions. “We respect China’s right to bring those responsible for the violence in Tibet last year to justice.

“But the UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, and we have consistently raised our concerns about lack of due process in these cases in particular,” he said.”

Written by modernityblog

27/10/2009 at 23:05

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Neofascists Lie.

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It is not exactly a shock that fascists throughout history have lied, and that their modern heirs, the BNP, do the same, but it seems that those over at YouGov, who study politics for a living hadn’t realized that neofascists lie and cheat, as Lancaster Unity relates:

“We’ve all known for ages that the BNP’s legions of keyboard warriors are encouraged to vote in online polls where the result, if tilted, is advantageous to the party, but the BNP now appears to have taken this con trick one step further and is supporting a call on its own website to defraud money from YouGov and pay it into the party’s coffers.

British Patriot, an administrator on the BNP’s own social network, has called on members to join YouGov so that they can be on the list of people to be called when there is a poll to be carried out. As members, these people are given 50p per survey which is paid to them when the amount owed reaches £50. British Patriot suggests;

Written by modernityblog

27/10/2009 at 15:03

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No Platform And The Need For Thought.

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I didn’t want to post for a couple of days, but after reading a discussion on Socialist Unity blog I thought that it might be worthwhile to ponder the No Platform for fascists position whilst the ideas are still in my mind.

There’s quite a lot of debate going on there so I won’t rehearse the same arguments, but it strikes me that we need to look at it in a slightly more subtle fashion.

I think No Platform is a good idea, however it mustn’t be just a mechanical reaction, rather it needs to be expanded out and made the point of discussion in the public discourse

What we should be arguing about is a complete opposition to the normalisation and acceptance of neofascist parties, such as the BNP.

It was noticeable how quickly the conventional politicians capitulated on this issue, with the notable exception of Peter Hain and a few others.

That a once long-held view that neofascists should denied the oxygen of publicity has now been disregarded, thrown aside in a few seconds in reaction to the BNP’s appearance on BBC Question Time.

My approach is, that if BBC producers, their management and even craven politicians wish to accept or welcome into their bosom the BNP, that’s their choice, I won’t accept it and certainly others do not have to follow the precedence set by them like sheep. I would argue there is no good reason to concede any ground to these neofascists.

Normalising the BNP makes it fairly certain that they will grow exponentially, rather we should aim to stigmatise membership of this neofascist group.

We should aim to remind people of the origin of these cranks, their lust for power, their incompetence, their violence and stupidity, and along the way make it very clear that their arguments are a tissue of lies.

Above all we should remind people that the BNP are an inherently racial grouping, whose policies would lead to an ethnic minorities being placed in camps or murdered along the way.

We need to remind people that the BNP would violently dispatch any of their opponents, if they could get away with it. Any society or institution which becomes dominated by the BNP will lead to increased racial violence, strife, worse poverty and despair.

We need to remind people of the history of fascism, the tactics and lies used by modern day neofascists and where those policies have lead, to war and mass murder.

No ethnic or social minority will be safe with the BNP around, further, they would destroy the NHS, trade unions and the remaining social fabric of society, if they could.

Opposition to the BNP must be total, but it must be thoughtful as well.

The BNP will aim to use their Question Time exposure to gain more media attention, so opponents of the BNP must provide a counterbalance not only in opposition but also in the form of ridicule and argumentation.

Recent examples suggests that the British media would not give the BNP a particularly hard time, so it is up to antifascists to do that job.

All the natural opponents of neofascism and the BNP need to find common ground, put aside previous differences and take a longer term view of the situation, finding all and any sensible methods to impede the BNP’s growth. That’s what needs to be done, block the BNP at every turn.

We need to argue for, No Platform, no to normalisation and certainly no acceptance of neofascists.

Written by modernityblog

27/10/2009 at 01:06

Debating Anti-Jewism Racism.

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As anti-Jewish racism seeps into the public discourse via the British liberal establishment, it is apparent why those with a fixation or animosity towards Israelis or Jews are largely impervious to reason as a poster at Engage relates her experiences:

“Israelinurse Says: October 25, 2009 at 9:20 am

Yesterday’s event at the Bolton Octagon was, of course, predictably depressing. The actual format of the event did not and could not promote real debate because of its structure whereby the Director called upon people to speak and most simply recited pre-prepared statements slamming Israel. We endured all the usual slogans (ethnic cleansing, massacre etc.) and were treated to quite a few downright lies including the bizarre claim from Richard Kuper (JFJFP) that no rockets were fired into Israel in the months prior to Cast Lead.

I found it particularly revealing that Dr Brian Iddon MP (Bolton SE, Lab) repeatedly tripped himself up by saying ‘Jews’ instead of ‘Israelis’.

As one lady said to me during the interval, the Miller play which should have been staged at this event is ‘The Crucible’; not ‘All My Sons’.

A particularly significant moment for me personally was when, in the interval just after I had ‘outed’ myself as an Israeli, I suddenly found that the stairs and corridors leading to the lobby emptied magically before me as various audience members pressed themselves against the walls as though they were afraid of any type of contact. Far from being curious at the chance to meet a real Israeli, these people seemed terrified that something, anything, might upset their world view.

In short, this was an entirely self-indulgent event on the part of the assorted PSC supporters, ‘AsAJews’, anarchists and Quakers present. Nobody had come to listen, nobody had come to bridge gaps. Their aim was twofold; firstly to outdo each other as regards which shocking ‘fact’ about Israel they could publicly reveal, and secondly to obtain reassurance for their world view and the comfort of being part of a group which they perceive as being righteous.

I cannot say that I was surprised; most of my dealings with the PSC have been of this nature. The event did, however, strengthen my growing belief that Britain is becoming increasingly irrelevant as a place for open and democratic debate. What a pity that this particular section of the theatrical community is co-operating with the attempts of organisations such as the PSC to stifle any views which do not conform to their monotone perceptions. In a place such as Bolton, this would seem to me to be particularly unproductive.

The event also strengthened my view that Britain no longer deserves its Jewish community and that the only real answer to this despicable phenomenon is aliyah. “

[My emphasis]

Readers will remember The Crucible, Miller’s tale of a witch hunt.

Written by modernityblog

25/10/2009 at 18:32

The Beeb’s Management Learns Nothing.

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I have often found, from experience, that some of the most obtuse and dense characters that I have come across have been senior managers, who once convinced of an idea 1) can’t admit it is rubbish 2) continue with it until it blows up in their faces 3) will brook no dissent, etc

So it is with the BNP Question Time fiasco, the Beeb management have learnt nothing in the process, the Torygraph reports:

“Mr Byford said he did not regret Mr Griffin’s appearance on Thursday and he dismissed accusations that the programme was an attempt to boost viewing figures, insisting it had taken the same format as normal with audience members scrutinising the panellists.

“This was never about audience-chasing at all,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

The programme was watched by 8 million viewers at its peak time, the highest figures in its 30 year history.
Mr Byford reiterated that the BNP’s electoral support and two European Parliament seats meant the party fulfilled the necessary criteria to deserve an invite to the show.

While Mr Griffin would not be on Question Time regularly, Mr Byford said he could appear again from time to time because the BNP was “not banned from the airwaves”.

He said: “We will consider it in the same framework that we considered this one as well, and constantly monitor it. But I don’t regret it – in fact I think the BBC has been shown to take due impartiality incredibly seriously. It’s the central value.”

Update 1: Jim’s rather funny on Professor Griffin.

Written by modernityblog

25/10/2009 at 15:30

Baggage And Griffin.

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I wasn’t intending to post much for a while, but I had to laugh reading this article in the Guardian, even the knuckled heads in the BNP are ashamed of Griffin’s performance on Question Time:

“The leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, found himself the victim of an extraordinary attack from his own supporters last night following his controversial appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.

As a public postmortem into one of the most divisive broadcasts in the corporation’s history attempted to gauge its impact on the party’s fortunes, Lee Barnes, the BNP’s legal officer, accused Griffin of “failing to press the attack” during the televised debate, which was watched by a record 8 million people. Others sympathetic to the BNP’s views expressed dismay at Griffin’s flustered attempts to appeal to the mainstream.

The BNP’s critics were quick to use the comments as proof of deep divisions within the party’s membership over how it should position itself with the electorate. Griffin has claimed that he has dragged the party into the political mainstream. But the resulting backlash from those on his own side suggests many are uncomfortable with the BNP’s attempts to cloak itself in more moderate terms.

In far-right chat rooms yesterday many were asking whether the Question Time appearance was a watershed. “Griffin carries too much baggage to act as spokesman for the BNP,” one said. “I lost count of the number of times past quotes came back to haunt him.”

Many times I think it is not so much the neofascists’ opponents that keep them split and out of power, rather the sheer incompetency and backbiting amongst these racists that helps to minimalism their impact, let us hope they never build up a critical mass or things could be very different, for the worse.

Written by modernityblog

25/10/2009 at 02:37

Not So Slack.

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Slackbastard has good posts on neo-fascists in NZ and Australia.

I’d never realized that they were so numerous down-under, but then again thinking about the treatment of the Māoris, the whole settler mentality and Anglo-Saxon racism, etc it shouldn’t be too surprising.

Slackbastard’s stuff on the Roma and how they are being targeted is well worth a read.

His Francis De Groot Brigade guide is good.

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24/10/2009 at 14:31

The Humourous Side Of The BNP.

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Not really, but I think this YouTube clip is rather funny:

Written by modernityblog

23/10/2009 at 14:50

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Nook And More

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Barnes and Nobles, the US book chain, are releasing their own ebook reader, the Nook.

It looks OK, similar to the Kindle but lacks text to speech.

NASA is testing a replacement for the space shuttles.

New joints before you are 100?

Easier Youtube access with minitube.

The 50 Best (and Worst) Moments in Windows History.

Microsoft’s still looking for the backup tapes! Sidekick users not impressed.

OLPC finally has customers in Latin America.

The EU has put 100,000 documents on-line, wow! Shame their search engine is so weak.

Be underwhelmed by the new features in Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”.

Intel’s arms will be flailing with this announcement.

Confused about processors. AMD or Intel, speeds, cores and which is faster? Try this.

Written by modernityblog

23/10/2009 at 13:51

Holocaust Denial on CiF.

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In light of Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time, CiFwatch’s look at Holocaust denial on CiF is rather timely.

It should come as no surprise to readers that neither the BBC or the Guardian management seem to have a clue about neo-fascism or the whys and wherefores of Holocaust denial.

I often think that it is as if history never happened, lessons were never learnt and Homer Simpson’s approach to politics and intellectual discourse is becoming more and more widespread.

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23/10/2009 at 03:05

Question Time, Result.

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I was going to blog on the Question Time programme, but to be honest I lost concentration after about 30 minutes. From what I saw, I thought Jack Straw was piss poor and surprisingly (as I am unfamiliar with her) that Baroness Warsi made some pointed digs and was very sharp.

Brockley’s finest covers it in more detail, but if that’s the best that mainstream politicians can do to the BNP under the hot camera lights, then Britain’s fucked. Not very impressive.

I wish they had listened more to David Aaronovitch.

Update 1:
Whilst I remember, note to questioners. If a BNPer goes on how much they support Israel, just ask them *why* they do, and make the point that it is simply a bit of political camouflage, that its not that the BNP likes Jews or Israelis. Rather they don’t want to fight on two fronts and it throws their political opponents off balance. Far better to ask them about their weird views about Jews controlling the world, etc. That’s *if* you must.

Update 2:
Jim’s done a very good around up on the topic.

Update 3: I forgot to add that as well as normalising neo-fascism in Britain, the BNP’s appearance on Question Time will naturally increase their overall exposure in the media, as in the future other programme producers will use QT’s decision as an excuse to allow BNPers to spread their filth across the airwaves.

Update 4: Coatesy, again hit the nail on the head with the Dead-End Identity Politics.

Written by modernityblog

23/10/2009 at 01:04

An Empire On The Cheap? Or How Not To Pay Your Taxes?

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The British Empire has a certain resonance to the Brits, and remains a popular historical myth within the wider public discourse, that longing for a bygone age when Brits could survey the world and take any bits that took their fancy.

Ascension Island was one of them, a lump of rock in the Atlantic, but the near terminal decline of the British Empire and penny-pinching in Whitehall have yet to embarrass the British into paying the taxes that they owe, the Times has more:

“Unless the Ministry of Defence pays millions of pounds in unpaid taxes for its RAF airbase, the island will be bankrupt by June. The only school will have to close, the hospital will have no doctors, the few shops, one hotel and fledgeling tourist trade will be unviable. Even the conservation programme will have to be abandoned.

The threat comes because the MoD is determined to cut costs to pay for Afghanistan. Its refusal to pay back-taxes on the airbase that Britain shares with the US has left Ascension with a £900,000 deficit on its £6 million budget. The island’s small council and government, responsible for all services to the 900 inhabitants, have cut spending to the bone.

Unless a deal can be done in Whitehall, Britain’s strategic asset in the South Atlantic may soon become no more than a barren fortress, the function it first had when troops arrived in the 1820s to prevent a French fleet from rescuing Napoleon. “

Oh, the Brits and their pith helmet style diplomacy.

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22/10/2009 at 20:16

Royal Mail Dispute.

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I heartily recommend CWU TV and their recent clip on the strike. [The downloaded file looks like a PHP, it isn’t, just rename to *.flv and play with normal media player or VLC]

CWU TV is available on YouTube too.

The main union web site is here.

Also, see Keep The Post Public.

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22/10/2009 at 04:32