Saturday, December 17, 2005

The French tractor fetish persists, explained by the usual crap

Next week” has come and gone, and nothing has changed.
«Today, direct CAP subsidies make up, on average, 90% of a farmer's pre-tax income. That suggests that the average farmer would barely scrape a living without such aid. But the figure masks wide variations. For market gardeners, the share is below 10%; for quality wine-growers, it is 8%. Over a quarter of payments go to just 5% of farmers, according to the Groupe d'Economie Mondiale (GEM) at Paris's Institut d'Etudes Politiques. It calculates that the biggest 30 farmers—among them, Prince Albert of Monaco—get an average of over €390,000 each a year. That is 217 times the average received by the 180,000 or so smallest farms, which make up 40% of the country's total.»
Meanwhile a “free range” activist with colorful friends is still chasing sheep.

Hey, Lefty - afraid of where that purple finger has been?

«Iraq's Election Day was a glorious success. Now on to the hard part.»
To the left, the absence of spontaneous post bombing perfection, hot and cold running Mecca Cola, and room service no longer seem to be the first thing on their minds anymore, but the near-silence is deafening on the left side of the turf now that they're at this point of development. Probably because there isn’t enough bad news about their ideological opponents to get them out of bed.

“On to the hard part,” indeed – start eating your hat.

The whole thing has been hard. The only difference is that the likes of those who scribble for the NYT didn’t really seem to want to notice it before. There is one thing we can excpect: we'll know they're on board when they try to take the credit for it.

Update: Tammy Bruce points out who the real loser of the Iraqi election.

All in the name of self esteem, I’m sure

Caution: narcissism at work. Via MND we hear of a 40 year old guilt trip queen in the Real Estate business “empowering her sales team” in an unusual way.

«SOUTHLAKE -- Kimberly Dobbs and Alicia Fruin had been close friends for at least two years. So Dobbs was eager to help through her charity for needy babies when Fruin said she had ovarian cancer and could not pay her medical bills.

But instead of cancer treatment, Fruin used the money to augment her breasts two bra cup sizes, bilking the Little Angels charity out of nearly $15,000.

Fruin told the couple that she had three months to live because her cancer was terminal and that it had spread to her breasts, Barbara Kilgore said.

At the time, she had no idea their friendship was cloaked in deception, said Dobbs, whose Southlake charity, Little Angels, was founded in 1998 to assist babies in need at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

We were very upset [that] she would do something like this," Dobbs said. "How could she claim to have cancer and play on people's sympathy? She stole from innocent babies."»
Marketing tactic or just plain evil? We report, you decide. From her pitch as a ”seminar coach”:
«Self Description
My committment to communication and life-long learning allows me to support those around me, especially my clients, in their endeavors. I am not as committed to my bottom-line, as I am committed to yours!

Building a global coaching and training company where all businesses, large or small, have the opportunity to succeed.

• A strong personal belief in life-long learning.
• Language/communication skills. Almost any problem in business and in life, is a communication issue.
• A strong drive to help others grow professionally

Qualities & Strengths
Ability to identify whether you need to plan or get into action and provide the structure and focus needed to help you succeed.»
How unique, how very innovative. One barely ever reads about someone’s ‘committment to communication and life-long learning’, let alone twice in the same blurb. A ‘strong drive to help others grow professionally’ seems to also go well with the indelicate reference to “sweater meat.”

Maybe she should have used the same tagline as the next person listed on her nitwit index who posed for her photo with two small dogs and wants you to “uncover your radiance

Al-Beeb imagines itself informative, lavishes eggcups on itself

Nick Cohen being his usual bright, witty, kick-ass self points out some of the things that makes the BBC public affairs programming little more than a over-grown version of the Gerry Springer Show except for the fact that it’s completely unaware of itself. From his column in the Evening Standard:

«I turned on the Today programme yesterday morning and thought I’d got a feeble comedy show instead of the news.

A sub-Michael Moore clown was doing a turn the gist of which was that George W. Bush was the stooge of the Haliburton Corporation. John Humphrys was the next act. He shouted at Lord Falconer for so long and with such assurance in the righteousness of his beliefs, the Lord Chancellor was barely able to get three words out in reply.

I may be surprised, but I don’t expect tomorrow’s programme will feature a comedian mocking Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. Nor do I expect to hear its presenters tearing into Charles Kennedy about the Liberal Democrats shameful failure to support the beleaguered liberals and democrats of Iraq.

If they do, it will be a first. I haven’t heard one opponent of the war given a hard time on Today in three years. Not even George Galloway.

The BBC’s managers must recognise that if they recruit arts graduates and put them in West London, they will inevitably have to deal with a middle-class liberal bias.»
hm. Haliburton. Stooge. Bush. Novel and innovative programming indeed. Someone please send Nich Cohen a box of steaks. Even if he’s a vegetarian.

Friday, December 16, 2005

On giving

It’s long been suspected that the more socialized a society is, the more loathing and generalized envy there is among its’ citizens. However all previous comparisons have had too many other cultural factors involved to indicate anything reliable – until now. No nation is more similar to Canada as the United States is, and Canada’s Fraser Institute has just published a comparative study of charitable giving in Canada and the United States.

«The average donation in the US ($3,731) is over three times more than the average donation in Canada ($1,165) even before accounting for differences in the value of currencies. In Alberta, Canada’s top-ranked province, the average donation ($1,468) is only 18.6 percent of the value of the average donation for tax filers in Wyoming ($7,888), America’s top-ranked state. Even in Rhode Island, the lowest ranked US state, average donations are close to $1,000 more than in Alberta. These differences become even more pronounced when currency differences are taken into account.»
Looking under every US flag, Menorah, and set of golf clubs for the most callous people trapped by the false conscienceness of capitalism, we have found them. The argument that people doing their part WITH THEIR TAXES is a abject ruse. The taxpayer isn’t doing the giving, the lawmaker is being charitable with the taxpayer’s money.

It also provides just enough of an emotional shield for the taxpayer to assign the needy off of the plane of reality and into an realm of abstraction – one where they can also be romanticized and politically exploited. They need not be faced by a person, and certainly not by you. “The State” will deal with them. So like a bad parent resigned to let the school system teach children values, we add one more detachment between the human and himself.

It also helps to actually make enough to be ABLE to be generous.

Freeze. You’re surrounded by idiots.

Not exactly bored suburban teenagers, and not exactly the
bridge and tunnel crowd:
« The arms were found in a garage in Clichy-sous-Bois just north of Paris. Agents found several pounds of TNT, assault rifles, revolvers, ammunition, ski masks and bulletproof vests.

Investigators believe the weapons were used to carry out robberies in France. Some money may have gone to Abu Musab Zarqawi's group Al Qaeda in Iraq, officials said.»

Merci for Your Support

Thanks to your vote, we are the runner-up in the European department of the 2005 Weblog Awards. Thanks to all the blogs which participated, thanks to all the people who voted, and well-deserved congratulations to David and Ray of Medienkritik.

Perfidious Germania

Reactionary capitalist apparachiks outpace the grand and glorious revolutionaries by preventing minorities from voting, rigging Diebold voting machines, and signing up the recently undead to vote for them.

Redefeat DMK!

Stop the madness!

Anti-Americanism in the IHT

Today, my letter to the editor was printed, slightly shortened, in the International Herald Tribune. FYI, here is the original version:
Scot Lehigh claims that anti-Americanism is at best non-existent and at worst exaggerated, referring to the tired old canard that "it is only our leaders they are against" (Anti-Americans? Not on my trip to Europe, Dec. 10-11). Really? Is that so?

Tell me, how often have the Europeans commented on the disdain they have for, say, the leaders and/or administrations of Russia, China, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Iran, and (Saddam's) Iraq, and that with the same vehemence they reserve for Uncle Sam?

How often have they held mass demonstrations against the fighting in Chechnya, the conflict between Ethiopie and Eritrea, and the Iran-Iraq war?

How often have they held vigils against the death penalty in China, in Saudi Arabia, or in Sudan, and when did they ever express "concern" over how prisoners in those countries were treated?

Those Frenchmen who stated proudly "Chirac had the balls to stand up to Bush", how did they react when their president said that France would not mention human rights during a visit to the Kremlin because it was necessary "to show consideration for Russian sensibilities"?

How did those humanists react when Paris lit the Eiffel Tower in red for the visit of the Chinese president, when the government banned Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian from attending the Paris Book Fair, or when Chirac, along with fellow peace-lover Gerhard Schröder, tried to resume selling weapons to the saber-rattlers of Beijing?

There was not much of a reaction, was there?

The truth is, the Europeans didn't (and don't) care.  They didn't care one way or the other for one simple reason:  they were issues in which Uncle Sam was not involved.

Anti-Americanism is quite alive: it is the practice, on a regular basis, of double standards.  Nothing more.  And nothing less.

The “good global citizens” of the EU want the US to be more like them: les faux culs

Rich Tucker addresses a theme of Euro-politics. Never really doing what you say you will, and becoming defensive and hostile to those who do. After all, who can afford to allow someone to hold one to your own standards:

«For some reason, even though most countries are falling short of the pledges they’ve already made, they’re eager to make even more. Before leaving Montreal, delegates agreed to hold new talks “aimed at producing a new set of binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions that would take effect beginning in 2012,” as The Washington Post put it. “We should not underestimate the strength of this package,” Stavros Dimas, the European Union’s commissioner for the environment, said about the new deal. “Kyoto is alive and kicking.”
Not really.

Once again, the U.S. declined to participate in the charade. Our clarity was, apparently, confusing. “If it walks like a duck and talks like duck, it’s a duck,” American climate negotiator Harlan Watson told the other delegates when they tried to lure him into a new round of talks. That was too much for foreign delegates. “I don’t understand your reference to a duck. What about this document is like a duck?” one reportedly asked.

Maybe if Watson has tap danced around the truth a bit, said something such as “we’ll sign the agreement as long as we don’t have to abide by it,” the Europeans would have understood. Sort of like what Bill Clinton did while president. “Keep in mind, I supported Kyoto,” Clinton told the conference on its final day.

You see, to global elites, Kyoto is like a lousy Christmas gift: It’s the thought that counts. “It was signed up to by every single nation on earth, and if America now tries to walk away ... I think this is not just an environmental issue, it’s an issue of transatlantic global foreign policy.”»
That’s an air that the fetishists using climate for political purposes never, ever really want to clear. Their meal-ticket is a never ending theater of posturing, imposing new requirements, and ginning up an enemy to the benefit of no-one.

Defining prosperity down

The power hungry "radicals" of the left have to maintain a set of hysterical causes going at any given time to keep themselves on the radar, and to keep their supports purple enough in the face to keep their mean ticket.
Jack Kemp writes about one such front in the left's assaults whose only purpose is to convince themselves that they have some virtue at all:

«The Bush administration deserves enormous credit for resisting this thinly disguised attempt to disadvantage America economically under the pretext of environmentalism and the pseudo-science of global warming. Scientists cannot even agree on whether global temperatures are rising, falling or staying the same, much less find scientific consensus on what might account for any changes in average temperatures. The administration should use these discussions to unmask the hostile, anti- American agenda that lies beneath this nonsense.

According to Fred Singer, University of Virginia scientist and professor emeritus, the data on global temperature are ambiguous, at best. The climate clearly warmed between 1900 and 1940, long before modern industrial activity consumed much energy. Between 1940 and 1975, when industrial carbon emissions accelerated, the climate cooled and then warmed again for a brief five years. Since then, the most reliable data indicate the climate has been cooling just slightly.
"Certainly," Singer says, "it has not been warming ... and there is no evidence that man is causing the warming."

If the models don't even square with what's going on now in the real world, how can any reasonable person place confidence in what they predict for the future, especially if taking action based on those dubious predictions means inflicting incredible damage on the economy and consigning people to a declining standard of living?
The calls for radical reductions in carbon emissions are a frontal attack on American global economic pre-eminence and a pretext for replacing the current international system of sovereign nation states with a global government possessing the far-reaching authority to engage in economic leveling and redistribution.

The best statement of this [the Kyoto supports'] agenda can be found in a Harper's magazine article by Bill McKibben titled "The Great Leap."

McKibben revealed the real agenda behind Kyoto and its progeny when he said, "The goal of the 21st century must somehow be to simultaneously develop the economies of the poorest parts of the world and undevelop those of the rich - to transfer enough technology and wealth that we're able to meet somewhere in the middle."

Global warming is not really about the global climate at all; it's about global government turning the whole world into Old Europe or stagnating Japan. This most recent round of eco-hysteria - along with its predecessors - is simply a thinly veiled effort to do by international treaty, and eventually global government, what Communism failed to do, namely define global prosperity down in the name of "equality."»
- as if the Zero Sum Game which was never true can be made true. By McKibben's logic, for him to be concidered wise, everyone else must become a fool. The trend has nothing to do with natural science, but a desire to validate poor scholarship and science in the name of its' authors. It embodies the vanity of the comfortable and detatched who remain enamored with failed ideas and utopian models that have led us to disasters in the past.
The idea that these jerks have is that in order to make the rest of civilization "feel better" that we have to be worse off, so that they don't have any goals in life. It's a joke to the rest of us, including the developing world, but in the sankpdbox that it's advocates live in it's supposed to be globally meaningful. In reality it's an emotional problem shared by leftists.
They want the admiration that comes with being the first to change things somehow and we're supposed to admire them unquestionably for simply knowing better. If you've ever witnessed a faculty lounge disagreement, you'll notice that they even do this among themselves.

It's about personal power, or more accurately their own powerlessness because the rest of the world doesn't drop everything and carry through their ideas into practice.

"Drive Slowly, You Know What I'm Saying"

Il faut les attraper, les salopards, il faut les choper et en buter un.

Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme tell us the last hours of Firmin Mahé, the Ivory Coast rebel who died while in custody of the French military.
Roulez doucement, vous me comprenez.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What exactly is it that the like of Jose Bové want?

It seems to change weekly. Right now they don't want protectionism, tomorrow they will - and call it "food security". The WTO has a set of issues all its' own which they seem to be trying to muscle in on. Its' fearless leader seems either disintersted, like the Cheshire Cat, or resigned to the chaos of the circus of NGOs and protestors that seems to follow the circus of conventioneers around the world.
But just WHAT IS IT that these sign carrying political groupies want? These are the same people who talk like crazed do-gooders who actually resemble survivalists and want us to live the same “sustainable” existence that characterized the hard-bitten poverty that took generations to struggle out of before the industrial revolution and the advent of modern farming. That “sustainable” existence really wasn’t – it could barely sustain people.

The planet should only listen to them at its’ peril before we all agree to live a life which could have come off of Steinbeck's pen.

The Big Black Book of Saddam Hussein: "I am angry with those who mix the crimes of the Americans with those of Saddam when they are not comparable"

The youngest Hakim detained was only 14. His father and two brothers, together with 13 other relatives, were executed within the first weeks of detention. He and the rest were held in Abu Ghraib, 22 in a cell that measured 4mx6m. There was no running water and a hole in the corner served as a toilet. Recounting his detention in the book, Abdoul al-Hakim says: "The worst moments? It was all terrible, but the worst was the fear of being executed. Each time we heard the lock turn we were silent; it could be the moment to leave, for me, for another. I am angry with those who mix the crimes of the Americans with those of Saddam when they are not comparable."
The best riposte to the God-damn-America camp, Rebecca Weisser notes (merci à RV), is a scholarly and sober 700-page volume that has just been published.
Le Livre Noir de Saddam Hussein (The Black Book of Saddam Hussein) is a robust denunciation of Saddam's regime that does not fall into the trap of viewing everything in Iraq through a US-centric prism. The writers - Arabs, Americans, Germans, French and Iranian - have produced the most comprehensive work to date on the former Iraqi president's war crimes, assembling a mass of evidence that makes the anti-intervention arguments redundant.

…The obsession of many journalists and commentators with the fruitless hunt for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons has meant much of the evidence of Saddam's atrocities in liberated Iraq has been under-reported. Sinje Caren Stoyke, a German archeologist and president of Archeologists for Human Rights, catalogues 288 mass graves, a list that is already out of date with the discovery of fresh sites every week.

"There is no secret about these mass graves," Stoyke writes. "Military convoys crossed towns, full of civilian prisoners, and returned empty. People living near execution sites heard the cries of men, women and children. They heard shots followed by silence."

…Saadoun Kassab, an engineer who helped build Abu Ghraib in 1957, a prison that was designed to hold 4000 prisoners, was later to be held there for a year. He told Chris Kutschera, the book's editor: "When I was imprisoned in Abu Ghraib in 1985, there were 48,500 prisoners. I was imprisoned for eight months in a space 1mx1.5m, a box. I was sometimes in there for a fortnight without going outside. I wanted to be interrogated to get outside, to see daylight and human beings. All that because I said hello to Saad Saleh Jaber [son of a former Shi'ite prime minister from the time of the monarchy]. I saw people die."

…In Saddam's Iraq no one, not even the dictator's closest relatives and collaborators, was safe. Tariq Ali Saleh, a former Iraqi judge and the president of the Iraqi Jurists Association, writes that during the reign of the Baath party from 1968 to 2003, the security services arrested and imprisoned people without charging them, with no access to a lawyer or contact with their family. Everyone was targeted, including women and children. Torture was systematically used to secure confessions including beating, burning, ripping out finger nails, rape, electric shocks, acid baths and deprivation of sleep, food or water.
While the "robust denunciation of Saddam's regime that does not fall into the trap of viewing everything in Iraq through a US-centric prism", unfortunately the editor could not refrain from putting up on the back cover precisely those parts of Bernard Kouchner's introduction that form an anti-American, pro-peace-camp diatribe (see Présentation de l'éditeur).

What our soldiers died for

[This] is what our soldiers died for: a world in which Middle East dictators no longer murder their own, ruin their own societies, and then cynically use terrorism to whip up the Arab street and deflect their own self-induced miseries onto the United States. This is the calculus that led to 9/11, and the reason why Saddam gave sanctuary to 1980s terrorists, the killer Yasin who failed in his first attempt to take down the twin towers, and the likes of Zarqawi.
Victor Davis Hanson

I love George Walker Bush because I think he's a revolutionary

Who said that? (merci à Bertrand Latour)

We Are Not Amused by Ali G, Kazakhs Say

"Kazakhstan is as civilized as any other country in the world!" Borat, as he is known, boasted in a Web site posting that is actually the work of the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, star of "Da Ali G Show," a television comedy in Britain and the United States.

"Women can now travel on inside of bus, homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hat and age of consent has been raised to 8 years old."
Kazakhs are not amused by Ali G's Borat, writes Doreen Carvajal in a frontpage article of the International Herald Tribune.

Inside, Dan Bilefsky profiles the Baltic Iron Lady, aka Estonia's Vaira Vike-Freiberga:

…she cautions that Latvia is still living in the shadow of a Russia that, she says, has not come to terms with its lost empire or past transgressions: suppressing Latvia's culture for 50 years, banning its flag and deporting tens of thousands to Siberia as part of an effort to Russify the country.

"It's hard for Russia and its leaders to swallow the independence of countries it has been coveting since the time of Peter the Great," she said, referring to the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

"Russia has a problem recognizing us as a sovereign country. They tell us we never had a Tolstoy or a Dostoevski. I enjoy reading these writers, but they have no bearing on our right to be here."

Der Spiegel, Move-On – same thing

Via EU Rota points out the ‘C’ in CIA on a Der Spiegel cover might stand for Canada, which it perfectly appropriate if you’re looking for an evil, underhanded regime driven by an oil industry anding emitting earth-hating unctuous gasses. Hardly the ant’s pants that Move On would look for.

Sod off Swampy

Chinese sheep are trembling in fear. Under pressure from the French government Jose Bové’s expulsion from Hong King has been reversed. Look out, HK, Swampy McSheep-boy is coming to town – and he’s one wild and crazy guy. What the Chinese should REALLY do is march him to the border with North Korea so he can be with his buddies:
«HONG KONG bowed to pressure from the French Government yesterday and lifted an expulsion order on Jose Bové.

Christine Lagarde, the French Trade Minister, asked the authorities to let M Bové into the territory after he performed a characteristically showy stunt, going on to France Inter radio live from a detention centre at the Hong Kong airport.

“Upon my arrival in Hong Kong they seized my passport and took me to a detention centre,” M Bové said.

Mme Lagarde asked the French consul-general in Hong Kong to make contact with the local authorities while her staff sought a promise from M Bové that he would behave during the summit.»
That puts the nanny state in a whole new light, doesn’t it?
«M Bové, 53, who casts himself as a martyr to capitalist oppression, is awaiting an appeal against a three-month prison sentence for destroying fields of experimental genetically modified crops.

As a known troublemaker with a criminal record, he has been barred from visiting summits in the United States and Canada in the past.»

Vote now for the very best blog in Europe (hint hint). This post will remain at the top as all new posts appear below it.

Training a Generation of Anti-Americans: France's School Books Paint America as a Predatory and Savage Hyper-Power

I recently attended a seminar in which Nicole Bacharan discussed the subject of her book, Should We Be Scared of America?

Her answer was, basically, no, although she couldn't help adding that we (and the Americans) would be better off without Bush, his team, and their policies. Question-and-answer time was filled by Frenchmen (and -women) asking, How can you say that we should not feel scared of America, when there is Bush's adventurism? When there is John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz? When poor Mexican immigrants are forced to wave the flag, the poor devils? (Sigh…)

Most interesting, perhaps, was the fit that Nicole Bacharan had while looking through her daughter's history book. Where America was discussed, not once would the word "capitalism" be used without a word such as "savage" being used along with it. But where China was discussed, she saw lengthy paragraphs on Mao's economic policies with the phrase "five-year plan" followed by the words "(six million dead)" in parentheses!

Little wonder that Christine Champion and Vladimir Volkoff have written Disinformation Through the Education Ministry. Little wonder that a history teacher and a journalist have joined forces to write a book about anti-Americanism in France's teaching manuals. In Students Under the Influence (i.e., SWI or Studying While Intoxicated), Barbara Lefebvre and Ève Bonnivard ask whether French schools aren't in the process of training a generation of anti-Americans?

The United States is presented as a predatory hyperpower and the coverage of September 11 "push the student to accept verbatim the political claims of Bin Laden, who depicts himself as a liberator of today's damned of the Earth" (the expression used for the workers in the Communist Internationale song). One writer, it is said, accepts the terrorists' propaganda wholesale, believing that "America was fairly punished for having starved the planet."

Needless to say, Le Monde's Martine Laronche manages to relativise this, but in Unholy Alliance, David Horowitz already established quite conclusively that today's far Left has made common cause with new Islamist fanatics.

Don't forget to vote (nudge nudge wink wink)…

Update: a non-profit association trying to
fight back, SOS Éducation, faces a lawsuit…

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Leave him be, or I’ll... I’ll...

They already got to Kermit, but if they try to get rid of Piglet, I’ll, I’ll... well, I’ll be VERY unsure of myself.

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast? said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It's the same thing," he said.
(shuffling feet)

Bullets fired at Christmas carolers at a Sydney Church

They used to pick off Christians in southern Lebanon because they were Christians - why not in Sydney?

«Cardinal Pell says those attending the service at St Joseph's Primary School at Auburn were harassed as it commenced.
Towards the end of the event, the local priest heard gunshots. »
Sydney's Catholic Archbishop George Pell said bullets were fired at a school staging Christmas carols in Sydney's west on Monday night.

Tip of the fez to Tom Pechinski

Say, where is that “big book of international law” anyway?

Confused as ever about the concept of sovereignty, luvvies commenting at the BBC’s Newsnight page are hoppin’ and hoppin’ over the “legal” nature of war. Only they’re doing it at the intellectual level of the sandbox. International law is the interpretation of differences between legal systems and the study of law as it applies to treaties.

There is no “big book of international law,” stupid! That’s called hegemony. Remember that? The thing the US is always accused of?

Tip of the fez to Biased-BBC for tuning us in to the best comments on the Beeb-bot site that I’ve ever seen, especially as it related to yet ANOTHER deconstruction of GWB sorry... Bu$hChimpyHitlerburton, which consumes about 25 to 30% of the airtime output of the BBC World Service:

«Oh for Gawd's sake, can't you find something new to talk about?
- Alan»
and this clown who doesn’t seem to be able to recognize the difference between journalism, advocacy, and agitprop anymore:
«Without question, the BBC is the best broadcasting organisation in the world - I happily pay my licence fee. Well done, the BBC. I look forward to the programme. For far too long have we had the wool pulled over our eyes! Countless people have been killed and lives destroyed and for what? Let's follow the money and see who is getting rich out of this war. And as for the critics, if you would rather watch Pop Idol, feel free.
- Arnie, London»
The condescension is hilarious. If you didn’t drink from this guys cup, apparently you’re intelligence is at the aomeba level. Elsewhere common sense prevails:
«This is disgusting, by even producing this programme it's clear the BBC thinks that the allies are guilty. It's not up to the BBC, or a "selected jury" to decide, but the people by democratic process. Which is what they did at the last election, with not much effect. If this isn't clear unbalanced, bad journalism, then I don't know what is.
- Andy»
The general temprament of the commenters tell me that many 'peace camp' types really ARE confused about what law is anyway - calling the thing a 'trial', pretending that their warm fuzzy intentions are in fact 'law' somewhere, or even knowing that the world is not as requlated as their mircomanaging little town councils.

The Higher Standard Argument

Check out Glenn Greenwald's brilliant essay on anti-Americanism in Europe (thanks to Instapundit). In a comment (slightly modified here), I added the following:

One of your detractors claims that anti-Americanism is nothing but what "occurs that right-minded people hold those with whom they most closely identify -- for example, with respect to the European democracies, America -- to a higher standard and expectation of conduct than those with whom they share no such identification -- China and Iran, for example."

This higher standard argument fails because it twitches the subject. First, we are told that Europeans are interested in reason, in solidarity, and in human rights. Now we are told that they are against the strongest nation, that they are focusing on the only nation where they can make a difference, that they are holding America up to higher standards.

That would be fine if doing so did not subvert the human standards argument in the first place. Why should you make a fuss about a prisoner who is forced to crawl with a leash around his neck and not for someone whose arm was amputated by Saddam's henchmen, whose eyes were torn out by Iran's mullahs, or who was forced to drink the water from his toilet (a hole in the ground) in Stalin's gulag?

As for the argument that that they are focusing on the only nation where they can make a difference, who is really in need of all the energy, mental and physical, that they are directing against Uncle Sam? The murderer whose execution did not occur until after 24 years on death row or the businessman who was shot in the back of the head two days after his trial?

In any case, if you were honest, you would see that the emotions (anger, revulsion, fury, disgust) that "activists", both stateside and abroad, feel when learning of an American "sin" simply don't come up when learning of a (far worse) sin in (Saddam's) Iraq, China, or North Korea. (There, it's more like, "Oh yeah, we are against that too, by the way", and, if you press them a couple of times, they often get impatient with your "obsession".)

If what the activists claim were true — that their concern is genuine and general for all humanity — you would expect the feelings to be (at least somewhat) the same, even if later there were a (supposedly necessary) intellectual choice to make when directing those emotions into a program against a specific target.

What good does all this so-called human rights posturing against Uncle Sam's alleged (and minor) sins do for the Kurdish widower, for the Sudanese orphan, for the Chinese widow forced to pay the bullet that blew out her husband's brains (and that, not 24 years after the trial as with Tookie, but the day following a trial in which the defense lawyer was hardly allowed to speak)?

The answer is it doesn't do them any good at all, and those individuals' persecutors, whether the torturers in question or the country's leaders, are in no way the type to "learn" anything from Uncle Sam serving as a "example" (although their representatives at the UN would argue so — and that in never-ending speeches).

There aren't 36 different explanations for focusing on America's molehills while ignoring, downplaying, and explaining away the mountains in China, North Korea, and (Saddam's) Iraq. It is anti-Americanism, pure and simple…

How the French Élites Remain in Power, Making Themselves Rich in the Process: "The intransigence is unbelievable"

French citizens, who see the rise in unemployment and the fall in their standard of living, are paying an increasing price for having voted for their nomenklatura during the last three decades
wrote Jean-Christophe Mounicq (merci aux archives d'RV).
These elites behave as if France were theirs. They control the Parliament and enact laws but do not respect them. They distribute commissions to mistresses of ministers with Elf Aquitaine, they lend billions without calculating risks to Credit Lyonnais , they resort to illegal means to finance political parties, such as the Socialists with Henri Emmanuelli or the Gaullists with Alain Juppé. Despite multiple instances of illegal behaviour French elites are rarely sanctioned.

The socialo-gaullist elites, who control French media groups, buy their support by distributing money to Communist (CGT) and Trotskyite (FO) unions, to 7 million public servants (often useless), to 12 million retirees (often pre-retired), plus millions of immigrants living on welfare. But French politicians are so "generous" that even with the highest taxes of any OECD country, they chronically accumulate huge debts in all public entities: state, regions, cities, social programs, public companies. Having been unable to balance any French budget for more than 30 years, they are driving France to a financial crisis that will shake all of Europe.

"Enarques" also control many major French companies and banks, including private ones. Nostalgic for the glorious past of France, Napoleon is often their model. The current foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, wrote a book on Napoleon I and praises the former French emperor as vehemently as he denounces American "imperialism." Messier, who brought his once wealthy company close to bankruptcy, was often described as thinking he was Napoleon.
This helps explain the report from Anthony Browne and Nicola Smith:
FRENCH farmers were accused of holding Europe and the world to ransom yesterday after official figures obtained by The Times revealed just how far European Union subsidies are skewed in their favour.

Three times as many French farmers receive large subsidies from the EU than those of any other country. In total, France receives almost twice as much direct subsidies for its farmers as any other member state, and they are mostly channelled to large farmers rather than traditional small-scale land holders.

Despite the huge discrepancies France steadfastly refuses to countenance any reduction in farm subsidies, bringing the EU budget negotiations in Brussels and the World Trade Organisation talks in Hong Kong, both climaxing this week, to the brink of collapse. …

Neil O’Brien, of the Open Europe think-tank, said: “The world trade talks will fail because the EU won’t budge, the EU won’t budge because France won’t budge, and France won’t budge because its farmers have it over a barrel.”

Claire Godfrey, trade policy officer at Oxfam, said: “This is holding so much up. It is holding the EU budget and the WTO talks to ransom. The intransigence is unbelievable.”

The European Commission figures show why French farmers are so attached to the EU subsidies. More than 131,000 French farmers took €20,000 (£13,000) or more from Brussels in 2003, far more than the combined total of 104,000 farmers from Britain, Italy and Germany who receive that amount. About 3,200 French farmers secured more than €100,000 in subsidies. The biggest beneficiary in France was a rice farmer in the Camargue, who received €866,290.

In total, French farmers received €7.38 billion in subsidies in 2003, more than twice the total of the UK, Italy or Germany. The EU subsidies are highly skewed in favour of large farmers. In 2003 the richest 1.6 cent of EU farmers received 27 per cent of all subsidies. The poorest 54 per cent of farmers received only 4 per cent.

…Chris Davies, the Liberal Democrat leader in the European Parliament, said: “The French have to face up to the reality of the modern world. The CAP is not providing protection for the traditional French farmer in the way seen in the French popular imagination.”

…In a pamphlet last week, the Centre for European Policy Studies, an EU-funded think-tank, described the phenomenon of politicians receiving money from CAP as a form of legitimate corruption. The author, Richard Baldwin, said that it “helps to explain the CAP’s gravity-defying ability to transfer large sums to large landowners in the name of social solidarity”.

Greenies all bunched up in a knot

The EviroSpinner unspins the goonie-fest in loon-land

«The Montreal conference on climate change has been an eye-opener. It has demonstrated a truth which for a long time has been only partially apparent: namely that, for many delegates and Green 'hangers on', punishing America for electing George W. Bush is far more rewarding and important than tackling climate change. Listening to the commentators on this morning's Today programme (BBC Radio 4), it was abundantly clear that their totally misplaced 'satisfaction' lay in humiliating America. Moreover, the Today programme itself appeared to be encouraging this agenda.

For anybody genuinely worried about climate change, Montreal is bleak. First, many countries which take the 'moral high ground' in public are quietly the very worst offenders. Hypocritical Canada (Paul Martin was unbelievable in his attack on the US) has seen its emissions rise by 24% (on the Kyoto-base 1990-levels); Japan, which gave the name to the original Kyoto Protocol, by 18%; and the statistics for some of the ever-pious European countries take the breath away - Spain up by 42%, Portugal up by 37%, and merry Ireland and Greece up by 26%. In contrast, the US - the non-ratifier of Kyoto, note - has seen its emissions rise by only 13% (and they have fallen 2% under Bush!). So who is the bad boy?»
Imagine that – a drop in emissions. All this while experience a much higher degree of the sort of poverty ending growth that Europe has. While social programs make people more dependant, a job makes the very notion a thing of the past.
«In the end, for those poor souls who are desperately worried about climate change, there can be only one measure of success - dramatically declining emissions. But there is no evidence whatsoever that this conference will lead to any such thing. Indeed, the myths of carbon trading are likely to increase overall emissions, while binding targets are now off the agenda.

Bashing America may be fun (for some), but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the deeper realities. Indeed, Mr. Bush may have done far better politically to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol - and then to ignore it, just like everyone else. That would have been yet another triumph of PR over substance. 'Talking-the-talk' is cheap - in every sense. »
The metrics themselves are highly selective. Nonetheless, it's what you DO with the energy that really matters. Instead of just flattering itself, the US creates jobs, growth, and stabilizes the global economy and security environment. More than anything, it protects the world from the rampage of EUtopian trade measures on the poorer in the world by being a viable market for it, and making enough to be generous and wise in their regards.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Scott Burgess points out how the Indy has lost its’ grip on reality.

French "Values" on Their Version of "Sesame Street": What Characters Should the French Invent for 5 Rue Sésame?

Thirty-six years after the original "Sesame Street" made its debut in the United States, Elmo has left his familiar neighborhood for a fresh wave of globalization, bound for countries that are discarding dubbed American versions for local productions inhabited by denizens with names like Nac, Khokha and Kami.
In an article about the globalization of Sesame Street, Doreen Carvajal informs us that
France is the latest country to offer up its version with 5, rue Sésame, a quaint street of tall buildings and bright blue skies, flower boxes and, of course, a tidy village bakery stocked with baguettes. But certain American puppets are gone, including one that you might expect could rattle French sensibilities: "Sesame Street's" floppy-armed front man, Kermit the Frog.

"It took us a year and a half to launch this show," said Alexandre Michelin, programming director for France 5, a state-run public television and co-producer with Sesame Workshop of the two-month-old show. "We had to adapt it to keep 'Sesame Street' values and ours, finding a way to make it work with French issues."

For rue Sésame, that means there is a glancing scene of a tall suburban building, laced with graffiti - a nod to suburbs around the country that were engulfed in rioting a few weeks ago. The local bakery is run by Baya, an Arabic-looking woman, although - in another reflection of French sensibilities - her origins are never mentioned.

Big Bird has also vanished, replaced by an enormous yellow character, Nac, whose trumpet nose, vivid colors and whimsical nature were tested with children and reviewed by a French psychologist. The American bird disappeared because the French co-producer wanted a unique and distinctive puppet star that could also be a mascot for their station.

…Within France, the creators of 5, rue Sésame are studying their completed shows and considering whether some cultural values need further adjusting.

"We had the feeling that it was a little bit too sweet, too nice," said Michelin, the France 5 programming director. "We need some irony. It's very difficult to evaluate, but we have the feeling that in France we can be a little edgier."
Rack your brain to think of characters who would be naturals on "5, rue Sésame". By all means, share your thoughts in the comments section…

Don't forget to vote (nudge nudge wink wink)…

Francophone literature is widely taught in the United States and very little in France

…one member is said to have privately grumbled that he would sooner vote for a homosexual than for an Algerian.
Mary Blume has an article about Assia Djebar, the first Muslim, and only the fourth woman, to enter the Académie Française. Among the tidbits that the French are not aware of, is that Francophone literature is widely taught in among the clueless Americans and very little in France.
Francophone literature, which is widely taught in the United States and very little in France, is broader than notions of national identity or than the codified language that the Académie defends. Used as it normally is to define the French of citizens of former colonies, the word "Francophonie" can be subtly racist and patronizing, but to Djebar it ranges more widely to include even such non-French nationals as Samuel Beckett and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Meanwhile, Roger Cohen has a story about a French Muslim in China…

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

As Europe's Wise and Educated Élites Warned, Iraqis Want U.S. Forces to Leave Their Country — All 5.7% of Them

Iraqis are NOT anxious to see foreign forces leave the country
writes Judith Apter Klinghoffer (hat tip to Instapundit who links to Pierce Wetter [no more pie for Howard Dean]).
When asked what would be the worst thing that could happen to Iraq in the next 12 months, only 8.9% chose "occupation not leaving Iraq."

When asked what would be the best thing that could happen to Iraq in the next 12 months, only 5.7% chose American forces leaving Iraq.

One thing is sure, American media fails to reflect the reality reflected in this poll.
And what about Europe's media outlets, whose only words are "chaos", the "reign of insecurity", "massacres", and, last but not least, the horrors of "the occupation"?

German-American Blog Carnival

Dee Cherman-Amerikahn Plog Karnifal isht op. Ton't missh oudt! Mohr invormation hier und hier.

Speculate all you like

but who do you even think there is LEFT who had the means and the cover to murder Gibran Tueni? The only ones left with the inclination who are yet to be disarmed or allow some sovereignty.

They have so much to lose, that they might even resort to their doomsday option. Stifla!

Ignacio peut se faire ramoner

Book review by Pascal Menoret in the December issue of 'Le Monde Diplomatique' for the recently published book 'Al-Qaida dans le texte':


Contournant la censure appliquée au discours d'Al-Qaida par les médias français ...

Bypassing the censorship applied to Al-Qaida's message by the French media ...

(what a joke, this is the same French media that portrays OBL has a plunky prankster on Canal+'s Guignols and routinely refers to Al-Qaida terrorists as activists).


Pour de nombreux lecteurs, ce sera une surprise, tant le discours d'Oussama Ben Laden et d'Ayman Al-Zawahiri échappe à l'enclos théologique dans lequel on l'avait un peu rapidement enfermé.

For many readers this will come as a surprise given the fact that Ossama Bin Laden's and Ayman Al-Zawahiri's messages are freed from the theological boundaries that have been too hastily applied to them.

The book review goes on to criticise the inclusion of a fourth text attributed to OBL but apparently tainted because it was discovered by the US Army and was not subject to a thorough verification which would guarantee that it is, in fact, written by the saintly gentleman himself.

The book review contains no mention of terrorist attacks, beheadings, or other forms of activism routinely practised by the disciples of the authors.

The party of perennial sour grapes

French Communist Party accuses France 2 of bias against them
«Marie-George Buffet is very angry at Francetélévisions. Yesterday, the direction of the PCF officially raised a "sharp protest" at France 2 because is wasn’t invited onto the broadcast of «A vous de juger» (You be the judge) on Thursday evening on the topic "can the left govern?". The broadcast brought together DSK for the PS, Voynet for the Greens and Besancenot for the LCR. "the not inviting the PCF testifies to an ostracism and a was excluded from the public discussion on France 2. It is inadmissible!", said the PCF in an official statement, before meeting with Arlette Chabot, news director, and Patrick de Carolis, chair of Francetélévisions. Arlette Chabot assured them that France 2 had "no desire to shut out the PCF". "the PCF protests because it thinks that it deserved a place at the table and that it would be the only one to convey an antilibéral message, while our job it is to produce programs as we wish and invite who we want. This time, there was no communist guest, but there was of them last time and probably on the next broadcast." On thursday evening, «A vous de juger» (You be the judge), had 3,3 million viewers.»
Let's summarize, even though she though the Green party are puppy-in-the-blender free-market types:

Fifth column Commies: wahhhhh! How dare you think something without consulting us!

Fifth column media: Go shit in your hat, but on the other hand we’ll do whatever you like. Please don’t call on our employees to go on strike.

A strange code of morality would allow the killing of Rabia but not his stressful questioning to prevent further murders

There's also last week's ABC News report that 11 of 12 captured al Qaeda kingpins who have talked only did so after being waterboarded
opines the Wall Street Journal.
This would appear to contradict so many glib suggestions, such as those in an open letter yesterday from Congressmen calling themselves the New Democrat Coalition, that such techniques "just plain don't work." The truth is that sometimes they do work.

But let's say waterboarding were banned. The critics are still conveniently vague about just what interrogation techniques they would allow. The Post frowns on "other CIA pressure methods." Well, what are they? Sleep deprivation? Exposure to hot and cold? Stress techniques such as kneeling for a long time? Or how about good cop-bad cop interrogation of the kind practiced in the average American police precinct? That can certainly be "degrading" and "cruel" if you interpret those words in the most expansive manner.

Part of the problem with interpreting those words is that they depend on the context. All things being equal, we can't think of a worse human rights abuse than blowing someone to bits with a Hellfire missile. Yet no one objected when that happened to al Qaeda leader Hamza Rabia in Pakistan two weeks ago. If certain individuals can be ethically targeted for death in a war, then wouldn't the same hold true for rough interrogation methods? A strange code of morality would allow the killing of Rabia but not his stressful questioning to prevent further murders he might plan against innocent civilians.

Some of the more sophisticated critics recognize this, as well as the possibility of "ticking bomb" scenarios. … And don't forget "rendition"--the turning over of captured terrorists--to the likes of Egypt or Syria, the practice favored by the Clinton Administration because it lacked the nerve to handle captured terrorists outside the criminal justice system. We trust the CIA more than Egyptian intelligence, but where are the "torture" critics on the morality of this practice? The truth is that if the McCain Amendment passes, rendition will almost certainly increase. Perhaps this will be the next liberal target, until every al Qaeda detainee is treated no differently than a common thief.

Russia's Near Abroad

Le Monde presents Marie Jégo's big dossier on Russia's near abroad, along with her piece on the Chinese ally, an audio-visual (?) portfolio on "the Putin machine", Christophe Châtelot's article on Ukraine's "incontournable" partner, and Sylvie Kauffmann's interview with the Project on Transitional Democracies' Bruce P. Jackson.

Meanwhile, Judy Dempsey reports on the Ukraine revisiting its somber past from Soviet times…

France, inexcusably, is blocking a global trade deal that would benefit the world's poor

AT THE TIME OF THE INVASION of Iraq, the idea of boycotting French products — freedom fries, anyone? — was all the rage among American conservatives
editorializes Los Angeles Times (merci à RV).
Well, maybe liberals around the world should soon issue their own call to boycott French products. That's because France, inexcusably, is blocking a global trade deal that would benefit the world's poor.

… The United States has plenty of trade-distorting farm subsidies and import quotas, but the European Union is the real villain here, thwarting any progress. While the Bush administration has made proposals that would dramatically overhaul Washington's support to American farmers, the European Union's trade negotiators made it clear before the Hong Kong meeting that they would not go beyond current proposals, which the rest of the world find laughably insufficient.

France's government considers even the current weak-kneed EU position too aggressive and is defiantly threatening to renege on any deal. Britain, the Netherlands and many other EU members have been struggling to roll back the unsustainable Common Agricultural Policy, which eats up nearly half the EU's budget, hurts the developing world and disproportionately benefits French farmers. But French President Jacques Chirac, a former agriculture minister, obstinately insists that he and then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cut a deal in 2002 to freeze farm support in real terms until 2013. Never mind all those people around the world struggling to get by on $1 a day.

France plays a pivotal role in EU trade policy. It likes to think of itself as a champion of the developing world, but its posture in these trade talks belies that claim and is a moral stain on the nation.

France's business leaders understand that a broader trade deal is in the nation's interest. That concept eludes most of the nation's people, though.

Question to EUro fetishists : ever feel like you've been cheated?

Looks like those secret CIA flights were OK'd by a deal that the EU has been keeping secret throughout their campaign of bogus indignation.

From the academic wasteland...

...we find little of it discussed in the media to be proud of. Deutsche Welle’s English service hints to the existence of an admission on about how ‘elite’ Universities need to be established in Germany. By ‘elite’ they mean its’ new definition – having competitive enrollment. In my youth, university places in West Germany were made oddly noncompetitive, but hard to get. Choosing academia over a vocational pursuit had to occur at the 8th grade which reduced the pool of dedicated students. There was also grade-tracking that went as far back as age of 7 to enter certain fields. It’s a programmatic response to a ‘tragedy of the commons’ created first by micromanaging the whole mess, and then by rationing. By making it largely free it is abused, has to be rationed, and is nearly made worthless in some areas of study.

Unwilling to adapt to the fact that some students flower at different ages, the worst kind of social hierarchy develops which has little to do with performance or diligence, but of persistent test-taking, and the laziness developed after one passes a gate on that path.
It’s been found that one third of post-graduate study by Germans happen in the United States, precisely because of the open but competitive architecture of the free-market for education in the US, and the closed architecture at home.

In any even the DW-World radio piece reveals what troubles many in old Europe. The decision to permit new private Universities to grow into a Uni-like scale is needed to ‘get the crown back’ – I suppose from the only other nation discussed in the segment, the US which has been education as many as 100 000 German graduate students each year. The intent hardly seems academic, but motivated by envy. Sobeit. If that’s what it takes to create excellence there, I hope it succeeds. But the sentiment reveals a longstanding trend in the developed West: the dominance of gibberish in academia.

«It is one of the most depressing aspects of the brilliant French culture that opinions so fundamentally silly should command so much prestige.»
- John Bowle

Deconstruction in its’ own breeding ground and its’ penetration of fields other than Abstract Philosophy has been a plague on the inquisitive mind, and reducing the public regard of philosophy itself as well as academia. There are good reasons for people to call it nonsense, in spite of the fact that their critics will call them ‘peasants’ or ‘plucs.’ Especially when there is cover to be found in the imaginings and admiration of an MSM that can make neither heads or tails of what they admire when it’s plain to see to even the most detached observer.

How does this figure into the Uni? Simple – neither of the sentiments or motivations have anything to do with learning or the pursuit of knowledge in any field. They both seem to have at their base the notion that new ideas are impossible, and that our job now is to avoid any development in the interest of revising predating notions for the pursuit of glory.

In Intellectual Morons, author Daniel Flynn writes of Foucault who took the same star status as Derrida, he quotes Foucault in his criticism of deconstruction:

«One professor he hired, Judith Miller, gleefully confessed to awarding course credit to strangers on the bus. Echoing Foucault, she denounced the university as a product of ‘capitalist society’ and promised “I will do my best to make sure it [the university] functions worse and worse.” The monster came back to haunt him. A degree from Vincennes became meaningless, and the caliger of students who enrolled soon reflected this. Eventually students began disrupting his classes.»
In the interest and the same manner that he advocated. In 1969 he joined a philosophical sort of mob that want to do away with structure and hierarchy in his university, and make it a sort of Mao’s Army which would be nothing more than a proverbial ‘chinese fire drill’ in practice. Open enrollment, government direction in the absence of structures typical and specific to academia – it nearly describes the very thing that those who want to found ‘elite’ universities in Germany want to erase.

That anyone took that experiment in academic chaos seriously, only to have 35 years of mediocrity take its’ place is baffling, but true.

Foucault also wrote broadsides supporting Islamic revolution presumably for no other reason that it would induce revolutionary violence. The taste for unnecessary bloodshed is not rare among scholars who paint themselves as radicals. It fits his concept of a society which could only make us all dumber by erasing the point of departure that we develop knowledge from by confusing doubt for depth. It likely indulges their notion that their powerlessness of being nothing more that a scribbler doesn’t actually exist, that their ideas cause physical events and actions. It is a power trip.

It only had one purpose. Flynn quotes Foucault:
«“We are subject to the production of truth through power and we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth”
Since to him truth was arbitrary it wasn’t truth at all. Power, not justice or truth is what mattered.»

Both notions are intellectually suicidal since they are the inverse of what we know – that which is shown to us by evidence of occurrence. Following truth leads to the beneficial environment which allows for power. The exercise of ‘power’ as he understood it, is a moral choice, not related at all to whether one accepts anything specifically to be true.

«A simple criterion for science to qualify as postmodern is that it be free from any dependence on the concept of objective truth
wrote one postmodernist academic couple, as if to say that pretending that we all really know nothing makes whoever calls it that way the most precient, and proceeds to question nothing in response.

Even reaching the creative and improvisational arts, we find unbelievable leaps of deconstruction raising ire among the knoledgable:
«And then Susan McCleary, who’s like the Bessie Smith of this movement—writing about Beethoven’s Fifth, she says that “one of the most horrifying moments in music occurs” when “the carefully planned cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the rattling, murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.” Anyway, I wanted to say to the bartender, “no more drinks for Prof. McCleary. And make sure she gets a ride home.”»
In one way, Foucault is right: Down with the University, at least as it is oftentimes when it actually functions at the disservice of humanity by thinking that it exists only for itself or by forcing individuals’ obsessions onto students whom they try to hold captive. Especially when the academic wants to tell you who dictates the power, and in doing so, takes it away from the individual student.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Do (Clueless) Americans Refer to Jack Chirac or Francis Mitterrand?

He has only been president five years (added to the four of his same-named father) and they still can't spell his name

Update: And how long has Condi been in the administration?

Attac: "Surely we should be united against the common enemy”

One of the most powerful weapons against the anti-American crowd, I have always felt, is Monty Python's Life of Brian.

There is of course the What have the Romans ever done for us scene (video), and then there is the scene where Brian and his revolutionary comrades from the People’s Front of Judea are sneaking through Jerusalem's sewers in order to strike a blow against the occupying hegemon and hyperpower, i.e., against "the bastards" who have "bled us white".

Suddenly, the members from the People’s Front of Judea bump into the members of the Campaign for Free Gallilee. When the groups realize they are both on a mission to kidnap Pilate's wife, they immediately start slugging it out with each other.

“Brothers, brothers!" shouts a despairing Brian. "We mustn’t fight each other." He pleads with them to return to their senses: "Surely we should be united against the common enemy.”

As one, all the fighters freeze and, turning in unison to defend themselves against this new foe, shout out in horror: “The Judean People’s Front!?!”

Brian, unbelievingly: “No, no, the Romans!”

Everybody relaxes, and lets out sighs and nervous laughter. "Oh, yeah yeah, yes, yeh he’s right”

Anyway, that scene is what came to mind as I have been reading about the travails that Attac and its president, Jacques Nikonoff, have been going through…

For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government; that is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones

Today is the birthday of Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1918- ), the Russian Writer who wrote
For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the 20th century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.

I can say without affectation that I belong to the Russian convict world no less than I do to Russian literature. I got my education there, and it will last forever.

If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?

It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones.
A couple of months ago, Le Monde's Florence Noiville reported that
The "rentrée littéraire" - the September start of the literary year - is as French as the baguette or French cheese. This year, it so happens, there are about as many new French novels as there are cheeses in France: 449, to be exact. The difference is that while the number of cheeses hardly changes from year to year, the total number of French novels published never stops rising. It has doubled in 10 years; everyone in France, it seems, has a novel lurking inside them.

Another difference - a consequence of the first, perhaps - is that a certain number of these new books are pretty odorless and flavorless. If they all come out at once, in September, that's so they can have a chance - at least in theory - of carrying off one of the fabled literary prizes that are awarded in autumn, like the Goncourt or the Renaudot.

The prizes, too, are peculiarly French; their juries, unchanged from year to year, battle with one another to see who will be the first to crown the book everyone is talking about. The result is that from the end of August to the end of October each year, publishers, literary critics and judges compete in an absurd marathon - with the authors themselves often left far behind. …

Nowhere man, please listen

This is what pandering gets you

It gets you threats. Know your audience, they say. In this case the audience can smell fear, like a shark that knows blood is in the water.

Le Figaro:

« With a Kalashnikov hanging on the wall behind him, the man who issued these threats on a video distributed by Islamist websites is an old acquaintance of the French intelligence services and of Algeria's Rachid Ramda.

"It is our legitimate right to hit France because we are at war against this country. I call on all the mujahidin of Syria, Lebanon, the countries of the Levant and elsewhere to strike (at its) heart and its interests, wherever they may be."

Having fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, he met Usamah Bin-Ladin in 1988. He is cited as one of the sponsors of the London attacks this July and of the Madrid attacks of March 2004.

Born 26 October 1958 in Aleppo (Syria,) Mustafa Setmarian Nasar [name as published], alias Abu Mus'ab al-Siri, was arrested on 31 October in Quetta, southwestern Pakistan. He apparently left a spiritual testament in the form of a one-hour video filmed shortly after the 7 July attacks in London and mainly devoted to that event. »
The statement is both worth of being remembered and ignored. Thought of when observing people taking criticism of the US seriously, no matter whose mouth it comes out of, and for whatever reason. And ignored because talk is cheap.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Every problem of a European power vis-à-vis the United States becomes a European question, a European problem, a European matter of interest

In conjunction with the two-century-old history of Americanism presented by Kathy Krajco, John Rosenthal offers us this quote (which, after all, is hardly extravagant and should not be taken as anti-Americanism by "our American friends"):
The Americans: a vital question for the future of Europe and the world…. It takes precedence over all other questions and leaves all merely European disagreements in the shadows. Their meddling in European affairs is closer than one generally thinks. The idea of a European [customs union] will become indispensable. The sooner the better. Every question or problem of a European power vis-à-vis the United States becomes a European question, a European problem, a European matter of interest. Thus, it will be necessary that the attitude of England becomes clear and explicit. England will have to choose sides…
Who would say something like that? Chirac? Schröder? Hmmm… We wonder

Why would the political line of the Quai d'Orsay sometimes — often — serve as the editorial line of the AFP?

Do you remember the 1944 birth of France's "independent" newspaper?

The Transatlantic Intelligencer has more on the 1957 birth of the AFP:
The Tuesday edition of Le Figaro (29 November) published a rather rambling essay on the AFP or Agence Presse-France by the ex-President of the organization Lionel Fleury. Fleury’s reflections leave little room for doubt that the raison d’être of the AFP is not simply to inform, but rather to “inform” in such a way as to serve the French national interest as defined by the French state. [What is such a function otherwise known as?] The raison d’être of the AFP is, in short, raison d’Etat.

Here some revealing extracts from Fleury’s article…
John Rosenthal also presents more on the "synergy" between the agendas of "independent" groups and those in power, as well as a piece on how France's mainstream media operate when it comes to people they disagree with…

Update: To noone's surprise, it seems like the Ipsos polling house is in the same league as the rest of 'em…

Raise a Purple Finger in Solidarity with Free Iraqis

Just dyeing your finger purple is the first step toward showing your solidarity with the Iraqi People, Purple Finger for Freedom points out (thanks to Clifford D May, who recounts being taken to task by sophisticated Europeans).
Twice this year, Iraqis have shown their courage, defying the terrorists — risking their lives to exercise their right to vote.

They will vote again on December 15.

Shelby Dangerfield, a 10-year-old Montana girl, demonstrated Americans' solidarity with freedom-loving Iraqis by inking her finger purple last January.

From December 12 - 15, let's follow her example by inking our index finger purple.
Submit your pictures

Spare me their bullshit humiliation

Never mind the bomb belts, here's the Nativity. Pope to Christians : stop being dhimmis.

Air flights versus flights of fancy

With characteristic childishness, Brussels foams with faux indignation over something they didn’t just consented to, but concealed: flight that carried the hardcore badasses off to the crowbar hotel.

Today’s Telegraph (UK) reports:

«The EU agreed to give America access to facilities - presumably airports - in confidential talks in Athens during which the war on terror was discussed, the original minutes show. But all references to the agreement were deleted from the record before it was published.

The document, entitled New Transatlantic Agenda, EU-US meeting on Justice and Home Affairs, details the subjects discussed by the 31 people present. The agenda included the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and extradition agreements.

According to the full version, "Both sides agreed on areas where co-operation could be improved [inter alia] the exchange of data between border management services, increased use of European transit facilities to support the return of criminal/ inadmissible aliens, co-ordination with regard to false documents training and improving the co-operation in removals."

But this section, and others referring to US policy, were deleted - as a "courtesy" to Washington, according to a spokesman for the EU Council of Ministers.»
They weren’t deleted out of politesse, they were struck out because of the schizoid inability for the EU to admit to the positive and effective nature of any policy out there other than their own. If provide successful, they might have their feelings hurt.

To do this they have to make themselves believe that one must quibble over arbitrary categories of where a killer might fall into the Geneva Convention before detaining him, regardless of whether or not their conspiring to murder or already have.

In the mean time, they and their zombie-like ideological backer continue with the usual business – wasting years and billions on ineffectual “feel-good” programs and conferences, signing treaties they’ll never conform with, and perniciously criticizing cultures with enough self-esteem to take it sitting down.

Hey, maybe if the whole nutty trazi cabal could be convinced that terrorists cause pollution, they might think differently. What am I thinking? Agent Orange sprayed 40 years ago still matters more to these idiots than bio-terrorism.