David Schwarzenegger

David Cameron (Leader of the British Conservative Party) has been recently pictured with Arnie and is reported in today’s Guardian as saying “Look at me and think of Schwarzenegger.”

Well how could I resist? Cliche response or not, here it is:

Cameron as Arnie

(Sadly, Putin seems to have set a fashion for British politicians physically less well-suited to the he-man role.)

Illogical ranting is wrong

Some people get all the luck and manage to cultivate their own crop of fundamentally hatstand commenters. I was reading the generally excellent Effect Measure blog over on scienceblogs today and I came across a post titled “Osama visits Bush in Oz, says it’s all a misunderstanding.” It is well worth a read but I know how you all like to stay here so I will summarise it.

Basically, the President of the US was on a visit to Australia. As you can imagine this resulted in all manner of high security perimeters being established and all manner of security guards employed to keep bad people away. A bunch of Australian comedians mocked up a Canadian diplomatic convoy, with one of their number dressed as Usma Bin Laden and made it through the outer perimeter – getting to the door of the hotel the President was staying in. It is only when the comedians pretty much out themselves that the police jump them and arrest everyone who moves.

All in all, this is mildly amusing – on a par with any other one of the stunt-comedy shows on TV at the moment. Still comical, but with a more serious twist, this shows that the vast sums of money (apparently $A165 million) spent on “security” are actually pointless. Yes these were comedians, but they did nothing a terrorist group couldn’t do and being able to drive a limo to the ground floor of a hotel is a good way of delivering several hundred pounds of explosive. (Brighton and the Hotel Europa provide UK based examples of hotels being hit). On this blog we have often ranted about the costs that the illusion of security are incurring and this is highlighted by these events. Every day we are being asked to sacrifice liberty, time and money for “security” measures which, in reality, are empty gestures.

Anyway, this is a side issue now. As always, the comments have gems. It seems that Effect Measure has a dedicated commenter who is so convinced about the inherent “rightness” of his beliefs that he will keep posting, no matter how incoherent or illogical the posts have become. This is some one who KNOWS they are right. Scary stuff. Why do we never get nutters like this commenting here?

The commenter in question here goes by the name “M Randolph Kruger” (which is strangely apt) and the first comment made opens with this line:

I likely would have just shot them and then said, “Its just a misunderstanding.”

And just think, people wonder why Americans kill so many people who are non-combatants or allied troops. It seems there is a significant proportion of the population there with a “shoot first so there is no need for questions” mentality. Wonderful, isn’t it? M Randolph Kruger continues:

I wonder of the Canucks think it was funny too?

Probably. Most Canadians I have met actually know what a sense of humour is.

In 1979 Revere while I was in San Antonio the base was locked down because of a credible threat against the airmen at the base. Along about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I think it was the first week of August a car carrying some long haired anti establishment types charged the gate. A stop sign went up, they accelerated. Warning shots were fired, they accelerated more, then they opened fire on the SP’s. Bad move. 30 seconds later the assailants were all dead. Over 1000 rounds were fired and the engine was shattered. So in todays world, especially at our embassies and restricted areas to shoot or not to shoot is the question. Screw it. Shoot them all and let God sort them out.

Now, I can only assume this is largely bravado rather than a real boast. Any modern, first world military which needs to expend over 1000 rounds of ammunition to stop one vehicle has many, many problems. As an example, Lee Clegg managed to do it with four rounds and also managed to kill the occupants. Are American service personnel really that badly trained? More importantly this smacks of a military which has lost its purpose in life. The armed forces are not there to protect themselves from the people, but to protect the people from external threats. Was the base so badly defended with physical security measures (ever heard of barriers and gates?) that the vehicle could not be stopped without such firepower and loss of life? Still, I suppose the sign of a healthy democracy is that people need to be scared of the men in uniform, carrying guns…

These guys think this is funny. Okay, hows this? Say Osama bin a Bomba or one of his cronies made it thru and to the proximity of the PM and the Prez and got them both. That makes Dick Cheney President of the United States. Feel better now?

Wow. Prime example of how the angry rightwingers nearly always miss the point by such a degree they end up arguing with themselves. This is brilliant. The whole funny part of the stunt was the apparent ease with which the security was circumvented. Still, it just shows that deep down the ranting-right want to agree with the people they despise…

My point? This is classic treat a war like its a police action stuff. This leaves the point of good sense and fun at the first checkpoint. They could have been killed. Might have to do that once or twice to make the point that it wont be tolerated.

I think MRK’s point is that MRK has no understanding what he is talking about, but needs to sound off on some right wing talking points. I struggled to follow the line of reasoning here, so I might be wrong. I have read this that MRK is saying people who take part in these stunts should be shot to show that the stunts wont be tolerated. The fact that the overall security is a farce is something which should be disguised so that the general public can sit happy. Is that right? What makes this even more ironic is that the security cordon were not able to identify the imposters in time to have shot them anyway. Shooting them after they get to the bomb detonation point is somewhat pointless. What really should have happened is the security actually earned its money and prevented the incursion.

Ranting Freddie Randolph Kruger concludes:

There is a LOT of chatter on the internet right now about an attack along or about next week. Specific target?

Fear, uncertainty and doubt. Say it over and over again. There is a LOT of chatter on the internet about alien abductions. There is a lot of chatter on the internet about Elvis being alive. Neither of them are real so why is this “chatter” more believable? It is interesting that MRK uses a term which TV (24, Alias, Spooks etc) and Film (Bourne, Bond et al) have implanted in the collective conciousness as being synonymous with “intelligence” and spy agencies. Chatter is people talking. It means nothing. Don’t be fooled by buzzwords.

For extra comedy points, MRK posted his “next week” dire warning on 6 Sep 07. Come 13 Sep we may know more…

Manhattan…. Keep it in mind about the above post. If they take New York, they take the country with it. It would knock the markets to the ground, it would flatten our economy with it.

Really? Well the last attack didn’t manage to take the country with it. What is special this time?

Should have shot the bastards…… Then they would have my opinion on being funny around the leaders of any country and that includes Clinton.

Aha, again we see a democracy where the people need to fear and bow to their leader. The leader is no longer “of the people, for the people” but in a special class above the people. In the presence of the glorious leader, the general public must learn to modify their behaviour.

M Randolph Kruger is a nutcase of the highest order. I could spend weeks taking his froth filled rants apart, bit by bit, but I will spare you for now. However, as it has been some time since I got to rant at length online, please excuse one more bit of snippets. This time from MRK’s later comment: (Replying to someone called Troff who has ripped him apart)

And it would seem that everyone there in Oz is in la-la land about this and that its no big deal. You dismiss the fact that if it hadnt been a “giggle group” attack that it could have indeed been a valid one Hell bent on taking out the PM and Bush. I think its absolute bullshit that these guys got this close and Troff I really dont care whether you think I am right or not. But I do expect that you would be somewhat open minded to the facts and that is that they could have been anarchists just as well. Full blown wars have broken out over this exact same thing Troff. Archduke Ferdinand ring a bell? Bush wasnt around then old son and thats a fact. I guess that WWI never happened.

What? No, I mean, really, what?

Following this line of “logic” (sneer quotes intended) gives me a headache. MRK is still 180 degrees away from getting the point and arguing with himself. It is bullshit that the comedians got that close, but the shame is not on them for doing it – it is on the “security” for charging millions for nothing. MRK really is missing this by such a wide margin, I have to wonder if he can tie his own shoelaces.

The bit about WWI really is insane.

Anyway, do you see what I mean? Why does this blog only ever seem to get sane comments? This MRK makes Raphael seem “normal.”

[tags]Nutter, Scienceblogs, Society, Australia, Terrorism, Culture, Security, Safety, America, Osma Bin Laden, Philosophy, Effect Measure, Democracy, Rights, Liberties, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Civil Disobedience, Rightwing Idiot, Rightwing, Military, Scaremongering, FUD, Fear, Terror[/tags]

Cant Resist

I know I shouldn’t, but I cant resist a post on the Parabiodox blog. A recent post there reads: (Emphasis mine)

Happened to come across this quote from Ayn Rand and couldn’t resist repeating it.

From Neo-Objectivism at Wikipedia.

“There is nothing wrong in using ideas, anybody’s ideas. Provided that you give appropriate credit, you can make any mixture of ideas that you want; the contradiction will be yours. But why do you need the name of someone (or their philosophy) with whom you do not agree in order to spread your misunderstandings — or worse, your nonsense and falsehoods?” (From “The Moratorium on Brains,” Question and Answer Period.)

Now I wonder who she could be talking about ?

This is really a bit of a no-brainer and is really rhetorical but even so I can’t resist giving you a further clue.

What faith/belief system spends most of it’s time attacking other faiths and beliefs in an effort to mask the fact that it has nothing of substance to offer itself?

Now, personally I think I know where the dig is aimed, but the answer to the question is “Abrahamic Religions (Judaeo-Christianity and Islam)” surely?

[tags]Parabiodox, Christian Nutter, Nutter, Christian, Ayn Rand, Belief, Abraham, Religion, Philosophy, Culture, Society, Atheism, Anti-Atheist[/tags]

Response to Theist Crank

Following a somewhat off the rails comment made on a previous post by someone calling themselves “Atheists Don’t Get It,” Nullifidian made an excellent response. As lots of people miss the comments here, and the original post was quite old, I felt it would be worthwhile repeating Null’s comment – especially as he has cited the original sufficiently for anyone to work out the nonsense Atheists Don’t Get It was spouting. You can read a related, equally good, post on Null’s blog where he talks about the crazy website which this lunatic is trying to promote.

Nullifidian’s comment reads as follows: Continue reading

Crackpot McKeith Punished

Well it is about time.

has been a prominent enough person in the general UK media to have her own category on Ben Goldacre’s fascinating Bad Science blog. If you dont know about her this extract from Bad Science gives a bit of background:

Call her the Awful Poo Lady, call her Dr Gillian McKeith PhD: she is an empire, a multi-millionaire, a phenomenon, a prime-time TV celebrity, a bestselling author. She has her own range of foods and mysterious powders, she has pills to give you an erection, and her face is in every health food store in the country. Scottish Conservative politicians want her to advise the government. The Soil Association gave her a prize for educating the public.

She is a force of pure marketing evil. She bullies fat people to the point at which they burst into tears. She advocates all manner of weird and wonderful woo as cures for various illnesses. Her ideas about health diet defy belief. She claimes eating Chlorophyl will oxygenate your blood. She claims DNA/RNA is only present in growing cells and defies aging. “In the heart,” she explains, “chlorophyll aids in the transmission of nerve impulses that control contraction.”

In short, she is completely off her head.

You can read more about McKeith on Quackwatch – www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/mckeith.html or better still, Ben Goldacre’s blog where you can read the full details of her current problems with the Advertising Standards Agency.

In association with Channel 4 Nutjob McKeith pushed herself onto the UK public as a “Clinical Nutritionist” (woo-title if ever there was one). She is often called Dr McKeith, or even “Dr Gillian McKeith PhD,” with the implication she is a medical doctor when in fact she has a PhD. However, this PhD is from a woo-factory of dynamic proportions. She has her “PhD” from the Australasian College of Health Sciences (Portland, US), yet you cant find out any of the details of her final thesis. She touts her “professional membership” with the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, yet this is the same level of membership Ben Goldacre’s dead cat has.

The amount that could be written about McKeith is phenomenal. She combines ignorance, voodoo-woo and an a massively outspoken personality. She capitalises upon lazy people not bothering to understand science but who are enamoured by the trappings of science and the weird rituals she practices (sniffing crap for example). To paraphrase a USENET post I read, as people move away from religion, the void is filled by conspiracy theories, sprituality and mumbo-jumbo – it is the conservation of idiocy. McKeith is a prime example of this.

Anyway, it seems a reader of the BadScience.net column has actually gone to the advertising standards agency and complained about her use of the title “Dr” and “PhD.” The ASA has upheld the complaint, but to avoid a formal ruling, McKeith has voluntarily agreed to stop calling herself “Dr.” This is not as toothless as it may sound, as she has spent a lot of time building a rep based on her status as “Dr McKeith.” She claims that she will continue to call herself Gillian McKeith PhD but from Ben Goldacre’s leaked wording of the ASA text that was also going to be prohibited (note: this is in relation to advertising materials only).

This may be a small victory for common sense but it is still a victory!