Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Africa's number one problem - corruption

Listening to Bob Geldof you might be excused of thinking that the reason so many Africans are poor are because you've been too self-centred and not given money to charities, or that evil nasty Western governments haven't wiped debts of those well intended poor African governments. In fact anyone who has had much to do with African governments will know that this is far from the truth. In my dealings with representatives from Africa they were always better paid than their Western counterparts, stayed in the best hotels, had chauffeured limos to drive them around, flew first class everywhere - and then pleaded poverty and how life was for their countryfolk.
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Sure there are some issues the West can help with, primarily removing barriers to trade and abolishing subsidies for agriculture and other industries - something that can be aimed clearly at Brussels, Washington and Tokyo for being the biggest offenders. However, this wont achieve much unless Africa governs itself well - and it doesn't. The bigger issue is that too many fear offence by declaring the truth - many African governments are corrupt ridden, unaccountable and are simply international recognised racketeering gangs.
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So the Channel 4 documentary this week - Dispatches - How to Get Ahead in Africa - tells all. Set in Kenya, it shows how people must bribe receptionists to get hospital appointments, bribe all sorts of strongmen to get "permits" to build a shack on public land, bribe neighbours to not appeal it to higher up corrupt officials, bribe policemen to allow taxis to travel, bribe to get a job interview. Furthermore, it showed how easy it was to bribe a licence to be a charity, that had no accountable but could claim a share of foreign aid funds. Charities with vague addresses - that don't exist - get funding through the government, from foreign aid. It's fraud on a grand scale, and it keeps Africa back. Sierra Leone was visited also, where aid to supply electricity to a town was effectively siphoned off to officials requiring bribes before allowing homes to be connected. More disturbingly, school children were required to bribe teachers for lessons - given excuses such as payment for copying papers and the like. Corruption agencies were themselves little more than show ponies, which dealt with a handful of high profile low level cases, but did nothing.
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The solution to Africa's governance problems is complex, it is partially cultural, but clearly any aid to governments is likely to risk being siphoned off to corrupt officials. Africans are poorly served by post-colonial governments, but the best way to deal with them is for private aid to be provided to private efforts on the ground. This means that education should be provided by agencies that have the money, and take the power to avoid corruption - which means using force to defend themselves. It means being somewhat colonial, and Africans want it - they vote in governments on anti-corruption tickets, only to be bitterly disappointed.
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As one man on the show said, the best way to "make poverty history" in Africa is not aid, indeed he dismissed Bob Geldof's efforts entirely, but to help end corruption. So I say to Oxfam, indeed all those who try to place guilt in our hands for African poverty - start spreading a new philosophy to Africa - not one of "give me money for nothing" of socialism, but earn money and be accountable if you don't perform.
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Accountability for government, and prison for those who are corrupt - which means having rather efficient effective small governments that do the bare necessities - police, law and order and defending personal and property rights. You see, as a libertarian I DO believe government is essential. The rule of law and transparent, accountable and corruption free enforcement of law, defence of individual freedoms, property rights and enforceability of contracts - Africa's governments do all this very badly - it's about time they shed everything else they try to do, and be taught to be small good governments - not corrupt tinpot rusting hulks of post colonial Marxist fantasies.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Immigration to Britain

So David Cameron is hot on immigration – again, and so is Labour. Apparently there is “too much” as David Cameron says, with no substance behind it other than it imposes "pressure on services and society". Bullshit. It increases property prices and migrants pay their own way, or if they don't it's because of government policies.
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The government says immigration imposes pressure on crime (so let's deport criminal migrants), housing, health and education (well who should pay for that?), but has no answers.
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Clearly people like me who are skilled and earning well above the average wage are a problem for Britain – but no, that can’t be true can it? Is it the huge number of Poles who have filled the service sector? Well, no and besides the EU means you can’t debate such things. The truth is that the problem is caused by poorly educated, poorly skilled people from different cultures who seek to claim taxpayer funded services - but nobody will admit that.
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The reasons given why immigration is an issue comes down to:
- Risk of overpopulation; and
- Unsustainability of taxpayer funded social services.
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Both arguments are complete nonsense, and moreover any politician honestly talking about immigration in Britain knows that the primary reason Britons are concerned about it is race and religion. Is it racism? Well to a point yes. Moreso seen in working class communities, and reflected in the occasional boost the BNP gets in local elections as the proletariat claim the “Pakis” or “blacks” are taking our jobs, and other nonsense. The deep suspicion and fear of those who “look different” has been exploited by politicians worldwide.
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However, there is a more substantive concern about immigration of those who don’t adopt the values of British liberal democratic society. Most obviously is the migration of Muslims who seek sharia law, although as many of those are born in the UK as immigrants. It is a genuine concern that people come to live in Britain, ignoring that “honour killings” are unacceptable, or female circumcision are unacceptable.
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Significant migration to Britain from outside the EU actually comes from the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, and let’s face it, most Britons aren’t the slightest bit concerned about that at all. Though I remember before I got permanent residency, how appallingly I was treated at Heathrow every time I visited – quizzed by a petty fascist about whether I would be looking for work here, and when I was living and who I was staying with.
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Unfortunately, intelligent discussion about this is virtually impossible in Britain. This is why Malthusian nonsense is brought out as the reason, when what it boils down to is concern about race and culture.
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Britain faces no risk of “overpopulation”, it has extensive rural land, London is far from built out to the M25, even allowing for much open space. The population density of the Netherlands is substantially higher, and there are vast tracts of towns and cities across the UK with housing and room for more housing. So let’s dismiss such rubbish for what it is.
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The bigger concern is “funding social services”, but this also does not bear close scrutiny. Housing, for example, should be a private sector activity. Indeed, the notion that the taxpayer should be paying to house new migrants is a complete nonsense. The more rational approach should be to remove restrictions on land use that prevent private investment in housing, but more importantly prohibit new migrants from having access to taxpayer subsidised housing for at least five years.
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Health care similarly is constrained not by migrants, but the sclerotic bureaucracy of the NHS which is virtually without any price signals to ration demand or allocate resources where demand is greatest. New migrants should simply be required to pay the full cost of their health care requirements, or buy insurance to cover it. In exchange they should not have to pay social security tax. The same restrictions should apply to welfare and education, prohibiting new migrants from claiming taxpayer funding for either for a minimum of five years.
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Of course I’d argue that all new migrants should be able to opt out of all such services in exchange for paying less tax, and then be able to choose to opt in after five years. Then nobody can accuse migrants of not paying their way or public services being “unable to cope”. The flipside is that existing British residents might also want to opt out – then we will see how much true support there is for the “beloved public services”.
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The Tories wont advocate this, as it is far too Thatcherite and radical, but it would be hard to argue against. Why oppose non-EU migration if the migrants have to pay their way?
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Labour of course couldn’t stomach the welfare state not being offered to so many potential voters, given Labour’s great love for using the state to take from the successful and give to others.
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So the immigration itch is being scratched by the Conservatives and Labour not for reasons that are rational, but to scratch an itch that nobody admits is partly racist, but which is also discomfort about high numbers of people from African, Caribbean, Middle and South Asian origin with limited skills and funds. The concern is cultural and concern about funding welfare.
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The answer to that problem is not to put a cap on immigration from outside the EU, but to cease claims by new immigrants on the state. When being an economic migrant to Britain means get a job, set up a business, look after yourself or get out – then the problem will reduce. When one of the key requirements to migrate to Britain is proving you have the means to return to your home country, when you sign away any right to claim the welfare state for five years, and demonstrate a clean criminal record (and deportation when you commit a violent offence), then maybe the problems attributed to immigration may be addressed.
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Meanwhile, politicians will dance around this inconvenient truth – the immigration problem is a problem of the welfare state and allowing migration from those who want others to pay for them.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Racism means what then... the only argument the Maori Party has

Yes you know what it means - it means bigotry against someone because of their race, including in favour of someone because of race. In the context of politics it should not exist, because it is banal. Only knuckle dragging losers advance racism.
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Racism is sometimes used as an accusation simply to provoke. The left threw it about flagrantly in the 2005 election against Don Brash, who was purely advancing the view that the state should be colourblind. The idea that somehow, given the existence of MMP, that the Maori seats could be abolished and that the state should fund according to need not race, was racism - because the racists who supported the opposing view find the use of language powerful. Marxist writer Antonio Gramsci was a strong advocate of using language as a weapon - and the left is good at it. It is called propaganda pure and simple.
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There is little doubt that the charges against militants of Tuhoe and other descent is not about racism - but the Maori Party will use this term because frankly it has nothing else left.
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You will lose count the number of times the Maori Party will call any government or political party policy racist in the next year - it's an easy catchphrase designed to inflame Maori voters to thinking "oh these bastards are doing something aimed AGAINST us, fuck em, let's vote Maori Party", rather than something slightly more intelligent. You know, like arguing philosophy or policy - because the Maori Party is a lot like the Green party in being clearly on the left, but is more a party of protest and identity.
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All that ties the Maori Party together is a desire to oppose Labour and to be identified by the collective term Maori - which is not something inherent to an individual, but group identity - tribalism. It could be socialist, but that would alienate some of the more conservative elements, in reality the Maori Party is a "dog's breakfast" of pragmatists (Sharples), socialists (Harawira and Turia) and conservatives, united by a desire to keep Labour out of the Maori seats.
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The appropriate response is to take Don Brash's idea - let the Maori Party fight on the same basis as every other party in Parliament - win a non-racist constituency seat or 5% of the vote.
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Not PC is dead right that Winston is right about this. Winston said "New Zealanders are sick and tired of being called racists by those who are clearly the most militant racists in the country. New Zealanders wonder why a political party based solely on race is held up as the moral compass for the country. In South Africa, we called that apartheid."
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As true as it is that Winston is seeking new support from ex.National voters alienated by the Labour Lite of John Key - he is correct- which may be why he still will have a political future after the next election!

90 years on - repent, apologise and be wary

25 October 1917 and the left worldwide got perhaps one of its biggest boosts with Lenin's revolution, overthrowing the embryonic liberal democracy in Russia to create one of the most bloodthirsty and imperialist governments in history. The Soviet Union murdered and starved over 30 million of its own, and spawned the murder and starvation of 10s of millions more - but it was cheered by Western advocates of the "dictatorship of the proletariat".
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Invariably working either as academics or trade unionists they enjoyed the personal freedom of the West to campaign for its overthrow, treating the stories that came from dissidents of the horrors of Lenin's murderous adventures as being "propaganda". Others denied the stories of horror from Maoist China, or simply ignored them, like Green MPs Keith Locke and Sue Bradford, both of whom have pasts of ignorantly sympathising with brutal dictatorships.
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Some signs came in the 1930s when tales of the horrors under Stalin were floating out, but, like Hitler, Stalin was seen by far too many in academia as showing a new way - a strong creative state marshalling the energy of the population for the greater good. Sympathisers for Hitler quickly shut up following the war, albeit ignoring that National Socialism and Marxism-Leninism had far too much in common - both being socialist, both demanding total state control and complete intolerance for any hint of dissent. However, Stalin still had a following.
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Some of that following was eroded following the suppression of the popular revolts in Budapest and Prague in 1956 and 1968 respectively, but around the same time there was also the swallowing of Maoist propaganda, seeing Red China as a great model for a new society - again treating the tales of misery as Western propaganda, and even the likes of Noam Chomsky, being a sceptic of the murders of the Khmer Rouge.
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However, right through till the end of the Cold War, the West remained filled with those who looked east, so to speak, and smiled - who at best ignored the blood of those tortured, murdered, starved by the Marxist-Leninist experiment in Orwellian social reconstruction, or at worst cheered it on. Some of those the Maori Party now defends are part of this ilk.
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Trevor Loudon, much criticised by those on the left, has so much on his blog about today's defenders of the murderers of communism that I cannot hope to rival it.
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Those who have glorified, sympathised with or cheered on the USSR, Red China, the former Eastern Bloc, Democratic Kampuchea, North Korea, Cuba (I'm looking at you Matt Robson) can only today claim one of three reasons for their support for such vileness:
- Stupidity ("I was wrong");
- Shame ("I was immoral"); or
- Pride ("I believe in the violent overthrow of free liberal democracies and suppression of dissent").
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The cheerleaders for bullying Marxism live on today and are seen in power in Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Bolivia, as well as the tired old regimes of Cuba and North Korea (whilst China and Vietnam transform into one-party corporatist capitalist states).
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Neil Lyndon in the Sunday Times has said "We were all deluded. We were all mistaken. We were all - to varying degrees - off or out of our heads. We owe the world an apology and some acts of contrition. " He comments how when visiting Prague in the 1960s he "had sensed the presence of the secret police in shadows and of informers among the neighbours."
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"Leninism has been defeated almost everywhere in the world, but the postwar generation of baby boomers who went so far left in the 1960s now control this country’s leading institutions. Their taste for totalitarian simplicities and weakness for millenarian terrors has been digested into modern feminism, environmentalism and global warming. Many remain absolutely unrepentant about their past because they have been so successful in the present (one of the sweeter fruits of victory is never having to apologise).
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Indeed it says it all that "While the Daily Mail is routinely vilified for its prewar support for the Nazis, The Guardian’s role in cheer-leading for a succession of Marxist tyrants from Mao and Pol Pot to Cas-tro and Mugabe is rarely questioned"
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Almost teasingly, the Guardian on Saturday had an interview with Castro, where he denies the torture or imprisonment of political dissidents - just those under the command of a "foreign power". Teach me for buying the Guardian doesn't it?
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So, as Neil Lyndon has suggested, on the 90th anniversary of Lenin's revolution, is it not time to those who cuddled up to murderous brutality to repent and apologise for what is at best a mistake, a worst colluding with oppressors who rivalled and surpassed the Nazis in their violence and totalitarianism.
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oh and while your at it, point a finger at those who aren't ashamed, and as what they would do with our freedoms given half a chance?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Maori Party Marxism

Well it shouldn't be a surprise since the avowedly racist party of Parliament - you know - the one not only having representation because of a racist electoral system and the only party in Parliament enjoying substantial over representation because it won more racist seats than it would have got through party vote - believes in state collectivism.
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Hone Harawira, of that great family of peace loving, law abiding, advocates of tolerance said:
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"Mr Speaker, the Maori Party takes this opportunity to raise again, the injustice of poor people being penalised for crimes of need, while the white-collar boys continue to get away with their crimes of greed, we condemn the system of injustice which continues to brutalise and traumatise Maori communities, while those who commit crimes against the whole of society, don't just get more lenient treatment, some even get knighthoods for their acts of financial piracy, and destruction of whole communities."
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Nothing like major reality distortion is there, a great Marxist technique, and then put up a straw man - "the white collar boys" without identifying them, accusing them of "financial piracy" something you'd really only believe if you're an avowed Marxist who believes that anyone involved in successful business is stealing - ignoring of course, that what he earns in his "job" is money taken by force. He wont identify whole communities destroyed by anything - except of course the removal of privilege.
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Nothing like the reality evasion that says that the brutalisation and traumatisation of Maori communities is due to external reasons, not the violence and abuse perpetuated primarily by men within them.
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So of course he supports Tame Iti and all the other opponents of Western civilisation, because he also opposes it - and you're all paying for it.
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Another reason to simply get rid of the racist seats, let the Maori Party win seats on the same basis as every other party - but don't worry, they call treating them the same as everyone else as racist!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quote of the week from Lech Walesa

The best things about life are "good food, good wine and women"
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heard on Michael Palin's New Europe showing on the BBC.
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That's what separates Walesa from his opponents, who, don't forget, were the ideological/literal mates of those now accused of terrorism!
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Yes don't forget those who Tame Iti, his supporter Annette Sykes and their mates are aligned with:
- Mao Tse Tung;
- Pol Pot;
- Kim Il Sung;
- Enver Hoxha;
- Nicolae Ceaucescu... among others.
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and no, none of this is a surprise to any of us who have known this for years, you know, while the so-called journalists remain as braindead as the medium they try to emulate - television.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lying bastards

Foxton's estate agents

but then, if you live in the UK you ought to know that - especially if you work for them.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lib dems rudderless

The Liberal Democrats as far as third parties is concerned, is an odd grouping. Formed from the Liberal Party (which genuinely was a believer in less government) and the Social Democrats (a breakaway from Labour in its truly Marxist days - which means the 1980s!), it was at first a bridge between Thatcherism and the isolationist loony left of old Labour - with New Labour it has swung to the left. All very well, except that with Gordon Brown taking over, New Labour has swung a little back to the left- plus the Tories rejected Thatcherism now in favour of a green agenda.
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The Liberal Democrats are hardly liberal, they subscribe to the intolerant environmental politics as personified by Al Gore - the deliberate lies in order to get attention, the selective application of science, and preferring government intervention to achieve environmental goals, rather than getting government out of the way. They also want more government, like surrendering more powers and laws to Brussels. The Liberal Democrats are the new socialists- utopian dreamers whose best hope of getting power is local government (meddling petty fascism) or hoping neither Labour nor the Tories win an absolute majority - so they can form a coalition and blackmail Britain into electoral reform. There is a chance of that happening next time, although both major parties would much rather try to form a government and fail, than let electoral reform be foisted on them - unlike Jim Bolger
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So now they are at around 11% in the polls, you have to ask "why bother". The only major policy they have different from the two major parties is their cut and run policy with Iraq - but besides that they have an old fashioned agenda of pouring tax money into the state sector, which continues to fail - and more taxes. The Independent is effectively the newspaper of the Lib Dems.
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So they are a yawn, I am hoping that Labour voters might return to Labour and the Tories attract enough to squeeze the Lib Dems into a smaller party. They might find there is a part of the political spectrum ignored in the UK - it's called being Liberal!
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Oh and Menzies Campbell (pronounced Mingus) has resigned... as they try to find their way. The problem is that it is appearing the Tories are a potential incoming government - the Lib Dems offer little new

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Returned from the land of censorship

Well I hadn't disappeared, more I was unable to blog whilst behind the firewall of an authoritarian state. Now I'm in central Europe and "free" again.
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Mainland China is invigorating, it is absolutely astounding - and is so incredibly different from Hong Kong. Setting aside the choking pollution (at times), the selective censorship (which frankly is subtle enough to not be apparent to those who wouldn't think different) and the usual handful of those wanting to cheat you, it is full of life, people who throng the streets at 7am on a Sunday! The spectrum of humanity from the friendly and ever helpful, to the grumpy, lying and remarkably poor, the cheerful families with cute kids, the helpful policeman (yes really!), the annoying salespeople, the joking taxi drivers - well and the driving.
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Take a taxi in Beijing, in fact take dozens - you will learn to develop a fearlessness that will put you in good stead for life - you'll see that the way to cope with traffic jams is to cut in, to pull across, to push in, to overtake, and everyone does it. In fact, walk around. If you walk you'll learn you get nowhere obeying the signals, in fact it could kill you to rely on them - just look out and walk, walk fast, be prepared to stop fast, and you'll be fine.
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I'll say more about China, how there is much reason to be optimistic about it - and how difficult it is to understand. If the capital has very few who know English outside shops in the main shopping street, then figure out how easily they understand the world.
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China's Communist Party Congress will, secretly, be debating across the political spectrum about reforms either to have more socialism and state control on the one hand, or to separate state and party, have the party accountable to the law and party discipline not equivalent to criminal law. Meanwhile, those in the centre are increasingly aware of the corruption that their own "free market" capitalism engenders without an independent judiciary, guaranteed individual freedoms and property rights.
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It's worth understanding China, to see confucianism, Marxism-Leninism and entrepreneurialism co-exist - and because by the end of the decade its economy will be second is size only to the United States.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Propaganda victory

So a South Korean President visits Kim Jong Il for the second time. Kim Jong Il is clearly too scared to make the return trip as what was originally intended. Significant?
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No, not really. You see President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea is seeking re-election in December (something Kim Jong Il no doubt thinks is awfully quaint), and trying for a peace treaty in advance is meant to gain him popular support. He almost certainly wont raise the plight of the tens of thousands of men, women and children providing slave labour in the gulags. His policy of engagement is not about making North Korea lose face - and the North Korean media monopoly is making a huge deal out of the visit (although frankly the news item about the frogs making "good drug stuff" is funnier).
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Kim Jong Il wants to split South Korea's loyalty from the USA - the only country seriously deterring a North Korean invasion, and he wants money, in one form or another, to keep propping up his slave state. There has been peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953, and the relative prosperity and freedom of South Korea (with a GDP 12 times the north when it was once about two thirds the size of the north) speaks volumes about the difference between capitalism and anti-capitalism.
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As i said before, any compromise between good and evil can only benefit evil - North Korea can not be trusted to reduce military tension - it is too well armed and secretive to be honest, and is addicted to lying (given it does so profusely to its own people). All you can trust North Korea to do is oppress its citizens and seek to undermine defence of South Korea.
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South Korea should simply engage on fairly simple terms. Normalisation of relations when:
- North Korea verifiably destroys its nuclear programme;
- End to imprisonment of children, end to imprisonment of political prisoners by both sides, Red Cross monitoring of operation of all remaining prisons;
- A framework to allow divided families to be reunited by free choice in both directions, and return to their relative sides if they so wish.
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of course North Korea wont allow any of this, remember North Korea and Burma get on very well too.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

So why should good compromise?

Most supporters of the United Nations see it as a way of sorting out peaceful disputes between countries, to avoid war, and to promote dialogue rather than violence. On the surface, and in a vast range of cases that is a good thing. However, the United Nations was created as part of a idealistic view that it is better for countries to bicker within an international organisation than to use arms - it was specifically designed to oppose traditional initiation of war - that is one country invading another.

As much of a despicable action as that is, it doesn't take much thought to consider how much less bloodthirsty the 1930s and 1940s would have been had Hitler NOT been expansionist, or indeed had Japan not been expansionist beyond Korea (which the rest of the world effectively handed to Japan in 1910). German Jewry would still have been wiped out, Stalin would have continued to slaughter his own people, and Japan continued to treat Koreans as slaves and useful for chemical and biological weapons experiments.

The UN's supporters present it as an arbiter of morality. However any organisation is only a function of its members, and its members are the very worst members of the international community. You see the UN sends an envoy into Burma to seek peace and a compromise -a compromise between those with guns and bullets and their victims shot in the back and left to die. It mirrors the view of China, which seeks restraint from BOTH sides - imagine calling for restraint from Jews in Hitler's Germany in 1940, or those sent to Year Zero by the Khmer Rouge, or the Kurds gassed by Saddam Hussein.

What the Burmese deserve is uncompromising support to overthrow their murderous regime. If the Burmese government did what it does in any Western country its perpetrators would be locked up. Of course if someone could arm the monks...