Ideology

When corruption is the only hope

Thursday, 28 March, 2013 0 Comments

What would the late, lamented Christopher Hitchens have made of the latest dispatches from North Korea in which the mad dictator and his minions are photoshopping hovercraft and cutting the military hotline with the South? In Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays he had this to say:

“Playing pool with Korean officials one evening in the Koryo Hotel, which has become the nightspot for foreign businessmen and an increasing number of diplomats (to say nothing of the burgeoning number of spies and journalists traveling under second identities), I was handed that day’s edition of the Pyongyang Times. At first glance it seemed too laughable for words: endless pictures of the ‘Dear Leader’ — Little Boy’s exalted title — as he was garlanded by adoring schoolchildren and heroic tractor drivers. Yet even in these turgid pages there were nuggets: a telegram congratulating the winner of the Serbian elections; a candid reference to the ‘hardship period’ through which the country had been passing; an assurance that a certain nuclear power plant would be closed as part of a deal with Washington. Tiny cracks, to be sure. But a complete and rigid edifice cannot afford fissures, however small. There appear to be no hookers, as yet, in Pyongyang. Yet if casinos come, can working girls be far behind? One perhaps ought not to wish for hookers, but there are circumstances when corruption is the only hope.”

Putting the past and the present into perspective, Walter Russel Mead observes: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that under Kim III the Norks have become even wackier and more obstreperous than before. Little has changed on the US or South Korean side to provoke the latest wave of theatrics. The biggest changes are in the region itself: Japan has embraced a tougher foreign policy, and China has begun to grouse very publicly over its wayward ally’s behavior. In fact, the main target of the latest tantrum is probably Beijing, not Seoul or Washington. North Korea is trying to remind its ally that it can make Beijing’s life very unpleasant if it doesn’t get all the support it wants.”


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Wednesday, 16 January, 2013 0 Comments

Julie Burchill is an English journalist and a self-declared “militant feminist”. Beginning at The New Musical Express at the age of 17, she graduated to the mainstream press and her work now appears regularly in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Sunday Times and The Observer. A Google search yesterday for “Julie Burchill” brought up […]

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Sky blue drab green

Sunday, 6 January, 2013 0 Comments

Home for the Christmas from Brisbane, Australia, were Kieran O’Brien and Hazel O’Sullivan and they brought with them, by request, an example of Australia’s laws on cigarette and tobacco “plain packaging”, which came into force on 1 December. These latest restrictions replace brand logos and colours with dull olive-green coverings. The effect in the case […]

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Sexy dictator satire produces red faces at the People’s Daily

Wednesday, 28 November, 2012 0 Comments

“No doubt, few would seriously describe Kim Jong-Un as sexy, much less as the world’s sexiest man. Nor would many people equate People’s Daily with sexiness. But if there’s one place in the world willing — or, at least, desiring — to believe that a foreign publication would praise him in such a way, it’s […]

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With Robert Fisk and Osama bin Laden on the road to peace

Wednesday, 12 September, 2012

Back on 6 December 1993, the UK’s Independent newspaper greeted its readers with the headline: “Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace”. The story was by the notorious Robert Fisk and it declared that “The Saudi businessman who recruited mujahedin now uses them for large-scale building projects in Sudan.” The peace monger […]

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Niall Fergsuon responds to the liberal blogosphere

Wednesday, 22 August, 2012

Historian Niall Ferguson did the unthinkable at the weekend. He challenged those ideologically loyal to the Obama White House in a Newsweek cover story titled, “Hit the road Barack: Why we need a new president “. The firestorm that followed scorched all in its path. Did Ferguson run for cover? Far from it, he came […]

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Noam Chomsky: Not a gadfly or a lunatic, but an actual monster

Tuesday, 21 August, 2012

Benjamin Kerstein, author of Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite, believes that the leftist ideologue Noam Chomsky is more than a mere crank and crackpot. He’s a monster. Kerstein makes his case using the example of the German thinker Martin Heidegger: “Now, there is no doubt that Heidegger was a brilliant philosopher, and most of his philosophy […]

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The Guardian tries its hand at Syrian satire

Thursday, 9 August, 2012

It’s been a while since Rainy Day has read Seamus Milne, the Guardian-based apologist for everything from jihad to communism. This week, he tried his hand at satire by laying the blame for the Syrian slaughter firmly at the doorstep of the West. In doing so, he pushed all the buttons beloved of the left: […]

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The persecution of Fazil Say

Saturday, 9 June, 2012

The internationally acclaimed Turkish classical pianist Fazil Say is to stand trial on charges of insulting Muslim religious values in comments posted on Twitter. If convicted, he could face a minimum of 18 months in prison. Say quoted a verse by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam that ridiculed the hypocrisy of people who pretend […]

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Missing Berlusconi already

Thursday, 17 May, 2012

At the end of March, the leftist Italian newspaper, Il Riformista, ceased publication. The reasons offered were declining sales, lack of advertising revenue and the reduction of public funding. In the case of Il Riformista, that public funding amounted to a massive €10 million over the past three years. How could that be possible? Well, […]

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At the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Sunday, 6 May, 2012

A trip to the big city of Hanoi is a memorable occasion and a group photo in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum belongs to the essential rituals of the excursion. Visitors should note that legs must be covered, silence must be observed, hands must not be in pockets, nor arms crossed. Photography is […]

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