The folly of the war in Iraq has been a defining theorem in Hollywood for the past few years, and the tenor of conservative complaint has become more frenzied as the movies have become more blatantly political and infuriating. One after another the dramas arrive, all bravely asserting exactly the same thing: Americans are epic bumblers with a corrupt and moronic leadership, and a security apparatus populated with bullies and monsters. Some, such as the Jason Bourne movies, have done very well. More—and specifically those that have portrayed US fighting men and women as rapists, murderers, cowards and dupes—have failed. They have failed so utterly that only the bright burning certainty of righteousness on the part of an influential segment of the American movie industry could explain why they continue to go into production in the face of massive indifference if not hostility of audiences.
Never let it be said members of the ideological left in Hollywood are without principles. They back their shuddering discomfort with the United States and its defenders with their sweat and toil, reputations, and many millions of dollars. But as it turns out, defeatism and national chagrin aren’t so terribly popular in America or abroad. Conservative critics have spent a lot of time decrying, with justification, the anti-American movies and pleading for tales that address contemporary struggles in a dramatic, or even heroic manner.
The truth is, they are. Some of the most successful movies of the past few years have embodied values and themes that conservatives—though not only conservatives, of course—embrace. The trouble is, those themes are embedded in fantasy and horror movies that more often than not evade serious critical scrutiny. A few examples:
A call to the “men of the west” to defend their civilization, the “good in the world…that’s worth fighting for” is from the Lord of the Rings movies.
The revelation that, stripped of his uniform, the hero that stands between order and chaos is an unassuming young man is from Spiderman 2.
The most vigorous defense of exceptionalism (and how it might be crushed by political correctness, envy, and legal maneuvering) is found in The Incredibles.
The threat of rage infected fanatics overrunning England and Europe is explored in 28 Weeks Later. That movie also showed the American led NATO forces as brave and principled, and demonstrated the vital importance of suppressing facile compassion and following the rules.
The grandeur and sacrifice of protecting home and family is exemplified in 300; which though based on a historical event was filmed in a style that blended classical Greek art and modern comics.
Iron Man and Hancock both reform their dissolute ways dedicate themselves to protecting victims of crime and terror.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull resurrects the idea of a noble quest, and the quaint-yet-revolutionary-considering-the-source notion that communism is an all-consuming evil that in any form (human or alien) will destroy those who submit to it.
Of course, it’s not all confirmation of conservative ideas in the fantasy realm. Ghost movie Dark Water (directed by Walter Salles, whose previous effort was the Che hagiography Diarios de motocicleta) made the case for terrorist appeasement. In the latest incarnation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the assimilated become liberals and their return to individuality is met with the wistful regret of what might have been. George A. Romero has become objectively pro-zombie in his last couple of movies. But of the above, only Romero’s Land of the Dead was profitable, and his follow-up, Diary of the Dead, was a financial disaster.
A complete breakdown of blockbuster by ideology would be unwieldy, but let me focus on one in particular due to its boldness, its success, and the release of its sequel. I speak of the mighty Batman Begins.
When seeking to revive the Batman franchise, Warner Brothers studios pointedly looked for a darker version to supplant the garish mess director Joel Schumacher had left behind. Christopher Nolan was attached on the strength of his previous movies, which include the crafty and amoral Memento and The Prestige. Both are very dark, literally. Nolan is colorblind, so his films tend to emphasize texture and contrast rather than color. The subject matter is even darker, for Batman Begins is explicitly about conquering fear and administering justice—or if you prefer, a war on terror.
In Batman Begins, the boy Bruce Wayne suffers a fall down a well and is subsequently frightened by a storm of bats in the cave where he landed. Unnerved by the bat costumes in the opera he later attends with his parents, he asks his father if they could leave early. When they exit the theater, a mugger confronts and kills Wayne’s parents. The shame over the fear Bruce believes led to the murder of his parents, and the frustration he feels over the early release of the evildoer leads him on a quest to thoroughly understand criminals and to equip himself to fight them.
In Asia he is recruited by the League of Shadows and suspects they have an approach to justice similar to his own. When asked what he seeks, Wayne replies, “the means to fight injustice and to turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.” At the end of his training, however, he learns the Shadows are a) far more ruthless and lawless than he had imagined, and b) have targeted his hometown of Gotham City for destruction. He chooses to defend and reform it instead.
The liberals of Gotham, especially as personified by Wayne’s parents and his childhood friend Rachel Dawes, are nice, idealistic people. They are also so ill equipped to cope with evil and violence as to become a significant contributor to the city’s decline. Wayne’s father, Thomas, abdicated running the business that was the lifeblood of Gotham to “more interested men,” although the economy is in depression and in need of jobs. Instead he gives gifts and endows a cheap system of trains “to unite the city.” Those trains will later be used by the terrorists in their attempt to destroy Gotham The demolition of the train system, much the worse for wear since Bruce rode to the opera on it with his sanctimonious parents, marks the salvation of the city.
When confronted by the mugger Joe Chill, Thomas responds with politesse. “Take it easy…it’s all right,” he says to the armed man. “Don’t be afraid,” he says to Bruce. He gives the man everything he asks for, and is murdered with his wife in front of his son because he appeased an aggressor. During Bruce’s apprenticeship with the League, his mentor Henri Ducard tells him, “Your parents’ death wasn’t your fault. It was your father’s fault.” That assertion is never challenged.
The city prosecutors, of which Dawes is a member, seem to accommodate criminals as much as persecute them. When pleading Chill’s reduced sentence, the DA tells the judge (a stooge of the city’s crime lord), “His crime was appalling, yes, but it was motivated not by greed but by desperation.” Dawes explains that because of the depression, people are susceptible to crime and drugs, which mitigates their moral responsibility.
She becomes outraged when Wayne tells her the justice system of Gotham is broken, although he is manifestly correct. That’s why he literally turns his back on Chill’s court proceedings. She does her ineffectual job and hectors Bruce with righteous platitudes, and the city gets worse and worse. As Ducard says, “Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society’s understanding.”
That indulgence interfaces with criminal enterprise in the person of Dr. Jonathan Crane. Crane is a psychopharmacologist who gives sympathetic testimony in court to gain leniency for criminals who are then moved to his asylum. There, he experiments with the fear-inducing drug that is an integral part of the League of Shadow’s plot to destroy Gotham. As he sprays an expanse of the city with the drug, he shouts at the petrified victims, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself!” He is an ace manipulator of liberal pieties and legal loopholes, and a superb front man for the League of Shadows.
The League of Shadows is a millennia old organization that uses terror to punish the decadent and the wicked. Like Dawes and her ilk, they believe “justice is harmony,” though the formers’ principles dictate near inaction, the League practice near annihilation. They are conservative in the worst sense of the word: inflexible, intolerant, and fanatical. Their history is one of destroying the village—London by fire, Rome though sacking, Europe with the plague—to save it.
So what is Batman? He’s too free with the rules for the political set and too much a squish for the League of Shadows. His affection for the former tempers his natural attraction to the latter. He is a compassionate conservative.
Bruce Wayne/ Batman is the scion of a wealthy Republican family (his home was used as part of the Underground Railroad). His father was a well thought of man who proved too weak to deal authoritatively with a looming threat, one that would later collaborate with a fundamentalist organization that sought to destroy the greatest city in America. With his British ally Alfred he opposes a terrorist enemy.
Although he has a reputation as a drunken playboy goofball, those closest to him recognize his core of decency and will. has respect for business and industry. He is a believer in personal redemption, having learned the lesson that we fall “so we can learn to pick ourselves up.” If Bruce Wayne, the League of Shadows, Dr. Crane, and the liberal members of Gotham’s political establishment bear a resemblance to certain contemporary figures and entities…well, the credits claim it’s a coincidence. But we are free to draw our own conclusions.
And gloomy conservative moviegoers can lighten up about mainstream movies. We can despair over unpopular future curiosities which we may as well begin to forget right here, or we can remember we have Batman. And as Batman might have said, it’s not what the filmmakers’ are underneath, it’s what they do that defines them.
Why is Nazism seen as so much worse than Communism?
Jonah Goldberg reports:
The suggestion that the Nazis were responsible for the launching of WWII (See here and here), and that's why Nazism is seen as more evil than Communism, elicited a lot of email. Here are a few:
I think that communism would never be viewed as equivalent to evil as Nazism is even if the Reds had started WWII by attacking Germany. Much of the bien pensant reaction to communism is informed by a feeling that communists' hearts are in the right place. The Reds are trying to bring equality to the world and relieve the burden of oppression that weighs down the proletariat; the Nazis are concerned with the progress of the Volk. The intelligentsia does not see communism as fatally flawed but overzealous. (if they did, they would not be leftists).And:
Re: The reader who says starting World War II was equal to the Holocaust in giving Hitler an evil reputation.And:
Yes, Hitler and fascism became synonymous with evil because the wars he started made it impossible for the world to ignore his crimes. Also, having our soldiers capturing some of his death camps made it that much harder to overlook what really happened. And his victims had more relatives in Western Europe and the US than Stalin's victims did.
This is an issue that has puzzled me for years, ever since reading Gulag Archipelago when it appeared in the mid 70s. In my childhood I got the impression from documentaries and stories on World War II that we had learned our lesson never to appease a murderous dictator. Then Solzhenitsyn shows how we kept on doing it to another one (Stalin) all the years we were fighting Hitler, and beyond. I suspect that appeasing and ignoring what a dictator does to his own people is the default behavior of most nations and peoples, even now. Zimbabwe comes to mind, and how George W Bush is demonized for the invasion of Iraq. It takes an unusually aggressive dictator (to neighboring countries) like Hitler to rouse other countries to overthrow him.
I just caught up on the LF blog and wanted to comment on your reader's letter regarding Fascism's "evil reputation" vis a vis the relative pass that Communism/socialism get. Specifically, methinks its necessary to knock down the historical innaccuracies regarding the Soviet Union that he's perpetrating.And:
The Soviet Union bears just as much responsibility for starting WW2 as does the Third Reich. It was an ALLIANCE with Germany that "greenlighted" the Wehrmacht invasion of Poland, with the Soviet Union rolling in from the other border a few days later. The SU then proceeded to attack neutral nations without provocation, i.e. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. We came pretty close to seriously aiding the Finns, had the geography been more favorable, there might very well have been "Flying Polar Bears" led by Chenault as well. Subsequently, the Soviet Union made a non-aggression pact and cleared the way for the Japanese to move ahead with their grand imperial designs. Of course, the "honorable" Soviets ditched that pact as soon as they were assured that they could be successful in their aggression.
The reason for the overarching villification of the fascism compared to socialism/communism is simply the convenience of history (SU on our side vs the Axis) and the wholesale obscuratisnism and revisionism undertaken by the Left that you've already identified in your book.
Your reader who discounts the Holocaust in favor of starting World War II as the primary reason fascism is reviled while communism is (at least in those countries that did not experience it) is not, ignores one simple fact: the USSR as much as Nazi Germany is responsible for starting the war (at least its European phase, which is, let's face it, the only part that Europeans and Americans really care about). Without the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Hitler could not have invaded Poland, or if he did, would have had to contemplate running headlong in the the Red Army coming to Poor Little Poland's "rescue". The Pact also allowed the USSR to occupy the eastern half of Poland, and gave Stalin a free hand in Finland and the Baltic states. In other words, Stalin was just as much a co-conspirator in the initiation of the war as Hitler (which, of course, raises the irony of Ribbentrop being hanged for war crimes after Nuremberg, while Molotov lived in peaceful retirement to a ripe old age).Source
I think the real reason for fascism's evil reputation vs. the relatively benign reputation of socialism, or even communism, has more to do with the adoption of the latter two as the preferred ideology of the intelligentsia in the liberal West, which permits them to engage in intellectual peregrinations to justify their beliefs despite the manifest results thereof. In their minds, fascism per se is evil (evil in its essence?), while socialism and communism are per se good-and only evil in their execution. The conceit allows them to think, "If only we had been running the show, things would have turned out differently". To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton's aphorism on Christianity, they believe "Communism has not been tried and found wanting. it has been found difficult and thus never tried". As long as the Left can engage in such sophistry, they will never have to confront the reality of their beliefs. And, from their perspective, a good thing, too.
The Big Easy Rebuilds, Bottom Up
Ordinary New Orleanians restore their city, avoiding lower Manhattan's master-planned debacle
Just two days after August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina smashed into New Orleans, architectural wunderkind Daniel Libeskind was already overflowing with ideas about how to restore the city. Libeskind-he of the 1,776-foot "Freedom Tower" for New York's Ground Zero-compared New Orleans with postwar Berlin, which had "in a daring way developed . . . into the 21st century." As for a "theme" for a rebuilt New Orleans, Libeskind mused to the New York Times, "What could be more creative than jazz?"
Mercifully, New Orleans isn't erecting any saxophone-shaped skyscrapers as it recovers from the hurricane, which left 80 percent of its surface area-a swath seven times Manhattan's size-inundated with floodwaters and drove nearly all of the city's 455,000 residents from their homes. New Orleans has rebounded remarkably since then. As of January, it boasted 302,000 residents, with 2,000 more returning each month, according to data crunchers at GCR & Associates, an information-systems firm. (In early 2006, the city's official planners had figured that just 247,000 people would be home by September 2008.)
New Orleanians have achieved much of this success by doing what New Yorkers couldn't do after 9/11: ignoring the potentates and eggheads hankering to turn devastation into conceptual art. They've been building and rebuilding on their own or with small-scale help, rather than under top-down decree-and, in the process, showing that thousands of individual planners are better than one master.
True, a strong government role was necessary at first to set the stage for New Orleans's progress. Federal agencies, especially the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, worked with contractors to clear millions of tons of debris from lawns and streets, unclog waterways, and provide trailers so that New Orleanians could live in their driveways while fixing their houses. They also repaired levees and are working on upgrading flood-control infrastructure in general-crucial steps in making homeowners more confident about weathering future hurricanes. But government, while critical for acute recovery, hasn't driven the long-term rebuilding work.
That's not to say that it hasn't tried. Just weeks after Katrina, the city unveiled a panel called Bring New Orleans Back (BNOB), charged with drawing up ambitious recommendations for everything from public transportation to schools. The panel comprised an equal number of black and white luminaries, from an archbishop to a famous jazz musician to a university president to a top real-estate developer. But it quickly became reviled for asking the city to prohibit rebuilding in low-lying neighborhoods-which are vulnerable to flooding-that didn't first "prove their viability." Still more infamous were its "green dots," markers on maps that seemed to suggest turning some low-lying areas where people already lived into parks. "There is a large green dot over our homes," one resident fumed at a crowded town-hall meeting in January 2006, according to New Orleans's Times-Picayune. "I will sit in my front door with my shotgun," promised another homeowner.
Nothing was wrong with encouraging New Orleanians to favor higher ground as they built and rebuilt. But trying to do so by government decree, rather than through gentler incentives as well as targeted infrastructure and public services investments, was a losing proposition. A few months later, Mayor Ray Nagin-looking toward reelection, cowed by public outrage, and stifled by his own administration's lack of follow-through-abandoned any huge effort to plan neighborhoods. "Rebuild at your own risk," he told citizens. As late as April 2007, Times-Picayune columnist Stephanie Grace was still lamenting the "curse of the green dot" as the cause of politicians' paralysis and pinning her hopes on a more modest second round of planning. But by then, it was too late: self-reliant New Orleanians had already taken Nagin at his word.
One of them was Father Nguyen The Vien, a Roman Catholic priest in a Vietnamese-American enclave of the badly flooded New Orleans East. Vien and his largely working- and middle-class parishioners showed that after a disaster, neighborhood and church connections can mean the difference between reconstruction and abandonment. "It's not the city that determines we are going to build," Vien says. "I can't ask the city to get everything lined up and [only then] I'll come home."
Stranded in Houston after Katrina, Vien racked up nearly $1,000 in cell-phone bills staying in touch with his 6,300 parishioners, and he held meetings in a Houston community center, where a grassroots plan was born. Starting in early October, after New Orleans's government reopened their neighborhood, Vien and his flock repaired their church's relatively minor damage and began using it as a base-a place to eat, sleep, and use restrooms as they tackled their own houses. Many even lived near one another in trailers on a property across from the church. Five weeks after the hurricane, Vien celebrated his first post-flood Mass, showing people worried about being the only family on the block how many residents were returning.
Vien also used numbers to lobby for public services. "I went to see Entergy," the electricity company, "on October 19, and told [the representative] `we need electricity,' " Vien says. "He said he needed to justify the load, because he couldn't take power from populated areas. He said, `Give me a list of households so I can go before the board and make the argument.' " Vien brought a list of 500-enough to get the power back on. By early 2008, he says, 95 percent of his parishioners were home and the trailers were gone. "We are done with recovery and [are now] working on development," says Vien, including launching a charter school and wooing hospitals to set up clinics nearby.
Lakeview is an upper-middle-class neighborhood that, like New Orleans East, rose in the twentieth century and is more vulnerable to flooding than older neighborhoods on higher ground. As Lakeview residents started to come back in early 2006 and rebuild homes ravaged by more than ten feet of water, they relied heavily on existing institutions. Martin Landrieu, an attorney, lifelong New Orleanian, and officer of the Lakeview Civic Improvement Association, echoes Vien's outlook: "What's first is schools and churches."
Landrieu calls the opening of Catholic schools beginning in January 2006 "critical" because "the driving force for most families was getting kids into some semblance of order. People said, `If I can get my kids settled into a routine, I can work on other things.' " Evacuated neighbors, many living an hour or more away, also drew reassurance from Lakeview's First Baptist Church, which put up a map in early 2006 so that residents could stick a pin over their blocks to declare that they were committed to coming home.
When the hated green-dot plan spurred residents to "prove our viability," Landrieu notes, neighbors rose to the challenge, launching 72 committees on everything from grass-cutting to covering swimming pools so that citizens wouldn't feel that they were returning to abandonment. "People were coming out of the woodwork to see what they could do to help," says Landrieu. Saint Paul's Episcopal School also opened a resource center offering residents cleaning equipment and information on hiring contractors.
By the summer of 2006, people were returning in earnest. When Landrieu moved back into his home about a year after Katrina, he had five or ten neighbors in a three- to four-block area; six months later, the population had quadrupled. Today, 44 percent of Lakeview's population is back, according to GCR-a particularly significant accomplishment because so many of its properties were totaled, meaning that residents were returning not to recoup the value of houses but to build new ones from scratch.
An even higher success rate is happening in Broadmoor, a hard-hit neighborhood with more black residents than white and household incomes that range from poverty-level to the high six figures. There, over 70 percent of households have returned-partly because the great majority had flood insurance, partly because the neighborhood's historic houses hold up relatively well to storms, but also because of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, which worked tirelessly to contact displaced residents and convince them that they would have plenty of company and support in rebuilding. Broadmoor shows that neighborhoods with strong institutions don't have to be ethnically cohesive, like the Vietnamese-American pockets of New Orleans East, or wealthy, like Lakeview, to recover.
While small, neighborhood-based organizations have helped spur recovery in places like New Orleans East, Lakeview, and Broadmoor, larger institutions like New Orleans's Preservation Resource Center (PRC) are playing a big role, too. Dedicated to fixing up historic properties, PRC realized that its traditional mission took on new importance after the hurricane. "People were coming back to flooded, moldy houses," says executive director Patricia Gay. So a few weeks after Katrina, PRC began holding workshops on how to eradicate mold, providing free cleaning supplies and lists of contractors. The group also began bus tours to convince evacuees that damage was fixable, launched online groups so that returning homeowners could learn from one another, and started a "selective salvage" operation, working with FEMA to save historic doors, windows, and moldings from houses too far gone to fix. "I don't believe this city is disposable," says PRC's Kristin Palmer, who runs one of PRC's rehab programs.
PRC's pre-Katrina rehabilitation of low-income and elderly homeowners' historic houses assumed new urgency after the storm. So far, the effort has brought 72 families home. "We cluster homes, do three, four, five houses on the same street," says Palmer, in order to create confidence that historic neighborhoods are coming back. PRC also fixes up and resells vacant historic properties, which tend to be less vulnerable to storms, since they're sturdier than modern homes and are located in older neighborhoods that flood less regularly and drain more quickly than newer ones do. Last year, restaurant manager Heather Lolley moved from Lakeview to one of PRC's lovingly refurbished properties, a $132,000 house on the higher ground of historic Holy Cross. Her new home is made of "bargeboards," water-resistant wood planks that were once part of a boat that traveled down the Mississippi.
PRC hasn't entirely stuck to its pre-Katrina playbook, however, partly because of a stubborn economic fact: New Orleans's houses were cheap before the storm only because their construction was paid for long ago. Returning New Orleanians, including renters, need houses, but substantially rehabbing flooded properties or building them from scratch at $130 per square foot can be unaffordable for citizens of modest means. What to do?
PRC took a market approach, endorsing something that may sound unusual for a preservation group: "kit-built" houses. After Katrina, local firm Wayne Troyer Architects joined forces with architect Andr,s Duany to design five models of a "Katrina Cottage" that would fit into the long, narrow lots of comparatively high-ground Holy Cross. The cottages follow traditional New Orleans home designs, so as not to harm the neighborhood's historic character; meet 140-mile-per-hour wind-speed codes; and are made of materials resistant to mold, rot, and termites.
PRC has gotten on board, winning approval from New Orleans's Historic District Landmarks Commission to build the cottages, and it will break ground on the first four as City Journal goes to press. Thanks to PRC's volunteer labor and the low cost of materials for mass-produced kits, the organization hopes to build brand-new houses for under $70 per square foot. Pam Bryan, who runs PRC's construction program, notes that the kits are available at Lowe's home-improvement stores for $36,000 to $40,000, so that returning residents who aren't working with PRC can buy them, too.
Urban planners aren't wrong when they see in disaster an opportunity to try something new. Katrina has afforded local architects and their clients just such an opportunity, both in severely flooded areas and elsewhere. But they're seizing it with their own money and property, not with public funds.
BRAZIL: Offend a homosexual ... Go to prison for 5 years
Teachers, pastors facing 'criminalization of homophobia'
Christians will face prison for speaking out against homosexuality if Brazil's Senate passes a bill approved unanimously by its House of Representatives. The measure is considered the country's newest attempt to promote homosexuality, disguised as an act to prevent discrimination, the Catholic News Agency reports. If anyone prevents actions of "homosexual affection" in public or private locations open to the public, they could face up to five years in prison for doing so, the Association of the Defense of Life reports. The bill also seeks to penalize private and public school administrators with up to three years in prison if they refuse to hire openly "gay" teachers. According to the CNA, the measure will force prison time for any "moral, ethical, philosophical or psychological expression that questions homosexual practices."
The ADL claims the bill could spell disaster for churches and teachers. "[A] priest, a pastor, a teacher or even an average citizen who says in a sermon, a classroom or public conversation that homosexual acts are sinful, disordered or an illness could be denounced and detained," the association said.
Only weeks ago, WND reported the president of Brazil said "opposing" homosexuality makes you a sick person, and he believes such thoughts need to be criminalized. Brazilian chief Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who won a narrow re-election following a cash-for-votes scandals, held the First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals to condemn the biblical belief that homosexuality is wrong.
Lulu, on June 5, not only officially opened the event to promote homosexuality across his nation but also issued a presidential sanction for the conference. Calling for "the criminalization of homophobia," he said opposition to homosexuality is "perhaps the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head." He said "prejudiced" people need to "open their minds and clean them." Other speakers encouraged homosexuals to claim to be part of a civil rights campaign that already has brought reforms for treatment of blacks, the elderly and the disabled. They also announced the nation's public hospitals soon would begin to perform sex changes on people.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.