Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2014

Is James Foley a Martyr?

Pia de Solenni has written a post on whether or not James Foley is a martyr. I tend to think he is, as I doubt he would have been murdered had he converted to Islam. Anyway, here is some of her reasoning, and her blog post has more: So, is James Foley a martyr? According to his siblings, Katie and Michael, who were interviewed on the Today Show, when Pope Francis spoke with the family by telephone, he said that their brother James is a martyr : The brother and sister also spoke in slight detail about what the Pope said to the family when he called on Thursday afternoon. Michael said that the pontiff labeled James an martyr, who sacrifice would not be forgotten. Has the Pope canonized James Foley? No. Do we know that he officially said this? Nope. Did he say this in a formal pronouncement? Negative. Do I think the Pope could’ve said it? Yep. Absolutely. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Here’s why: We know that IS/ISIS/ISIL generally offers its captives a choic

More evidence of Russian troops active in Ukraine

Troops of the Pskov Air Assault Division outside Belbek air field in Crimea Evidence of Russia's 76th Guards Air Assault Division in Southeast Ukraine 15:09 (GMT) A number of recent stories indicate that the 76th Guards Air Assault Division of Russian Airborne Troops from Pskov has been continuing to fight in Ukraine. A decree published on the Kremlin's website , a report of documents seized in battle by Ukrainian forces , and a report of a Pskov soldier's death have come together to help validate recurring reports of Russian military presence in southeastern Ukraine. The 76th Guards were first sighted in Crimea in March. As we reported at the time, they were first noticed missing from their barracks by Lev Shlosberg, a deputy from from the Yabloko party in the regional legislature, who protested against their deployment abroad to forcibly annex the Crimea and was denounced by the Pskov Region governor. Now the official Kremlin web site h

Britain Exporting Jihad

The growing problem of British Jihadists: It is the now familiar nightmare image. A kneeling prisoner, and behind him a black-hooded man speaking to camera. The standing man denounces the West and claims that his form of Islam is under attack. He then saws off the head of the hostage. Why did Wednesday morning’s video stand out? Because this time the captive was an American journalist —James Foley— and his murderer is speaking in an unmistakable London accent . The revulsion with which this latest Islamist atrocity has been greeted is of course understandable. But it is also surprising. This is no one-off, certainly no anomaly. Rather it is the continuation of an entirely foreseeable trend. Britain has long been a global hub of terror export, so much so that senior US government officials have suggested the next attack on US soil is likely to come from UK citizens. All countries — from Australia to Scandinavia — now have a problem with Islamic extremists. But the world could be fo

Ukraine - More heavy weaponry being sent over the border from Russia

A 2S19 Msta , a 152mm howitzer with a maximum firing range of 29-36 kilometers From The Interpreter (Day 183 LiveBlog): This weapon was reportedly photographed near Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, headed toward Russian Donetsk (map), the location of the Izvarino border crossing. The separatists have never acquired this weapon, to our knowledge, so if this shows up in Ukraine it will be a clear indication that Russia sent it there. It will also be a significantly dangerous addition to the separatist arsenal. Also, something else of note that has been noticed with regards to how Russia operates: The pattern has always been that Russia escalates its interference in Ukraine at the same time that it elevates its diplomatic overtures. If the leaders of Russia and Ukraine are scheduled to meet on August 26th, it is likely going to be a very dangerous 7 days.

Dirty Politics has helped me decide to vote National

Nicky Hager's book, Dirty Politics and the fallout from it has helped me decide to vote National in this election. It looks like I'm not the only one if the latest Roy Morgan poll is anything to go by. National's picked up two percentage points to give it a rating of 48, while Labour's down two to put it on a rating of 27.5 percent. The Greens have also dipped slightly on 11.5 percent and coupled with Labour they're still nine percent shy of National. With any luck, anything else Kim DotCom might have planned may turn into an own goal. If a petition were circulated for his extradition, I wonder how many would sign it? Related link: 'Dirty Politics' fallout only increases National's standing - poll ~ NewsTalkZB

Managed to fill in Vote Compass this time

Despite giving up on Vote Compass the first time around, I was inspired (by Terry) to just fill the damn thing in and not worry about it being not specific enough. Even though some of the questions just didn't make sense to me, such as whether or not I thought Maori should be in charge of their own affairs. Such a bizarre question. It does show the inadequacy of the questions asked given it places me pretty close to National in the social conservative right quadrant, especially when National annoys me in not being socially conservative enough. Oh well, I've given them my twitter handle and they can study my small impact in twitter, which I don't really use, except for automatic notification of my blog posts.

Vote Compass - couldn't do it

David Farrar has recommended some sort of questionnaire that determines who you should vote for based on your answers to some questions. So I thought I'd give the New Zealand Vote Compass a try. A snapshot of the Vote Compass website and some of my open tabs I ran into problems with Question 2. "Up to what age should the government fund GP visits for children?" They don't give the current age of funding, yet they ask if it should stay the same or be younger or older.  There is no option for no funding of GP visits for children.  In order to answer the question and move to the next, I had to choose "same as now" or "I don't know", which were the closest to my opinion. "I don't know" implied cluelessness or lack of opinion on my behalf, so I couldn't choose that. "Same as now", implied I was happy with the status quo - which is what I chose, yet I don't know what the status quo is. It was annoyin

Russia set to invade Ukraine under pretext of sending aid

Source: Ukraine Liveblog Day 175: An Aid Mission For Eastern Ukraine Here we go. Ukraine is in the final stages of wiping out the pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, and Russia wants to send in aid against the wishes of the Ukrainian Government and without the international community involved: (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia is sending an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine despite urgent Western warnings against using humanitarian help as a pretext for an invasion. ... Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko came out in support of an aid mission but made clear it had to be an international effort under the aegis of the ICRC, involving the European Union as well as Russia. He won Obama's backing when they spoke by phone on Monday. The White House quoted Obama as saying that any Russian intervention without the Ukrainian government's agreement would be "unacceptable" and a violation of international law. Earlier, Kiev said it was in the

Russian threats against Poland and the Baltics

Well, this is an escalation. Maybe a testing of the waters to see what the Russian people will agree to? Zhirinovsky Threatens the Annihilation of Poland and Baltic States if West Responds to Russian Aggression Against Ukraine 20:24 (GMT) The ultranationalist Russian provocateur Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the ill-named Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and member of parliament is tearing up the wires this week. Millions have seen his TV broadcast and 112,000 have already viewed the clip on YouTube. As Russian troops mass at the Ukrainian border, he has urged Putin to take strong action and if the West retaliates, has threatened Russia's destruction of Poland and the Baltic states. On the state-run Rossia 24 Pryamaya Lina [Direct Line] Show 8 August, Zhirinovsky said only one person would decide about the invasion of Ukraine regardless of any plans of NATO or the US, and that will be President Vladimir Putin. Indeed he likely "already made the decision," he

Green Party wants Government to close Israeli embassy

The irony being that the Green Party would be allowed to exist in Israel, but not in Palestine. A party full of tree hugging atheists would not last long in Hammas controlled zones. What is happening in Gaza is not the fault of Israel. Were Hamas to surrender, lay down their weapons and identify all the tunnels they have been building for some sort of future attack on Israel, then Israel would stop. I know Pope Francis has called on both sides to stop, and I support him in that. However, if only Israel were to stop, then the attacks from Gaza would continue, because Hamas do not fight honourably. As Muslims, they would see the humane ceasefire as a sign of weakness, and it would motivate them to keep the conflict going. The Israeli Ambassador is welcome here in New Zealand, and I for one object strongly to anyone calling for him to be sent home. For an understanding on the reporting bias on this conflict, see this post by Andrew Bolt: Embedded with Islamists. So be wary of