Saturday, January 07, 2006
Wonkette writes a novelette. Every Gazette goes into a capsheaf of sweat.
Washington's very own village idiot, the apparently young woman who everyone pretends to take interest in and tries to be nice to, has written a novel.
Mark Gauvreau Judge writing in this weekend's WSJ pans it in 7 column inches, 3 more than the MSM's poster child of blogging deserves.
It's not Cox's fault. She's was fingered by the twitterati as a suitably shallow representation of a blogger for them to neither question, unravel, or understand. Fitting, given that her subject is so frequently herself or one fantasist analog or another or herself.
Next step in this info-tainment kabuki is likely little more that for some media outfit to sell her as a victim and then give her a talk show, all in a fit of how to "package a new product."
She's a gossip columnist covering the least interesting personal lives on earth. Political naïfs think she is a political blogger. The politically oriented think she?s a celebrity blogger. In other words, she had to do something to avoid editing trade newsletters or trying to find some other use for a liberal arts degree. Otherwise she can look forward to a lifetime of self-analysis and second guessing:
«Q: You talked about the other gossip columnists who are straight men and you're -Crossposted on Marxist Byproducts
A: Not a straight man.
Q: Right, not a straight man. But your blog is definitely focused on your personality and the fact that it's a woman.
A: I take advantage of that.
Q: Would it work if Wonkette, if the blogger behind Wonkette?
A: Didn't have the same personality?
Q: Well, if they weren't female or young or white or all these things that are so DC-friendly.
A: I think Wonkette could be not white. I think that could probably work. But I think it's weird. I mean, I think I have taken over the personality of the blog in a way that the other Gawker people haven't.»
Yet more idiocy from Ali Larijani, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council as reported by Adnkronos International, has issued further threats to Europe:
«"not to force the Islamic Republic to cut short the dialogue process and to opt for another scenario". Speaking on Tuesday night on state television he said: "We are for a strategy based on dialogue, but if the counterparty Europe plays dirty, then we will pass onto another plan that we have worked out and then there will be problems for the Europeans."They’re already under attack, and frankly, it already IS hell. In other words, “heads I win, tails you lose”.
"In this game, we are for a result that will be satisfactory to both Iran and Europe," said Larijani adding that "if we lose, the same will also happen to the other party (Europe) and they will have to prepare themselves to live in a hell."»
Knowing little, if anything about the reality of human nature (as opposed to having fantasist follies about it), Europe is thoroughly prepared to grab its’ ankles.
Germany and France’s mob populism at home has consequences. It’s cost of distancing itself from the US is serious and meaningful.
«The European talks, for their part, lack clear momentum and teeth; European foreign ministers have been refreshingly strong in their rhetoric but without results. Most important, the United States and Europe have failed to bring aboard Russia and China, whose vetoes in the U.N. Security Council could obviate any meaningful multilateral response.It no longer has the instruments to deal with a gathering storm, and has little choice left but to capitulate to the first tyrant that shows up with a slingshot.
Tehran has masterfully exploited the limits of the U.S. and European approaches, pressing ahead with elements of its nuclear program, seeking strategic allies whom it can tempt with its vast oil and gas resources and further suppressing democracy at home.
For all Iran's claims that it wants a nuclear program for energy alone, its leaders seem interested only in results allowing it to enrich its own uranium — a dangerous proposition given the mullahs' history of deceit and radical government.»
Crossposted on Marxist Byproducts
What are the LifeStraw, the LED lantern, the water jogger, the treadle pump, and the Xtracycle?
Brian Knowlton has an article on using brains and brawn for charity, rather than (backfiring) emotions (pity, guilt, sympathy, anger, etc).
Unless they have traveled abroad, most Americans have had little first-hand experience with high-speed trains, and the problems with the Acela service on Amtrak have left its customers with a slightly bad taste. Hence, as countries including Italy and Spain -- and emerging markets like China and Russia -- open their pocketbooks for huge high-speed railway development, the United States remains on the sidelines, vulnerable to losing out on new technologies for propulsion and vehicle control.
For those who thought railroads were basically 19th-century technology, think again. Thanks to miniaturization, newer trains have motors built into the axles of every second rail car, rather than concentrating the pulling power in the locomotive, as was done in traditional pull-push trains.
… American industry is largely sitting this one out. While some American companies, like the electro-motive division of General Motors and the MotivePower Industries division of the Wabtec Corporation, are doing brisk business with Chinese rail operators, their business is mainly freight, while the market for high-speed passenger trains is limited to a small group that has shrunk in recent years through a wave of mergers and acquisitions.
… Within Europe, the three leaders are vying to grab market share with snazzier and ever faster models.
Siemens introduced distributed power, meaning that electric motors pulling the train are distributed through the train's cars; that technology was used in trains for a high-speed line from Frankfurt to Cologne and will be used in trains on the Barcelona-Madrid connection.
Alstom will introduce similar technology on the new Paris-to-Strasbourg TGV line. …
In Europe, to be sure, the growth of the market is not without its obstacles. Some argue that the cost of high-speed rail is excessive, compared with the operation of no-frills airlines, and that it only indulges a European penchant to go first class whenever possible; others say the environmental damage is too great.… Marco Ponti, a transportation expert at Milan's Polytechnic Institute … likened [one] project to the English Channel rail tunnel, whose construction cost was almost double the original estimates. ''The Channel tunnel went bankrupt not once, but twice,'' he said.
Mr. Ponti, a former World Bank consultant, acknowledged, however, that ''there is a place for high-speed trains for medium distances and in very densely populated areas.''
Still, the governments in Rome and Paris are throwing their full weight behind high-speed rail. West of Turin, engineers are blasting a tunnel through the craggy Alps, and this fallItaly took tenders on 30 very high-speed trains and says it wants to acquire 100 in all. Its master plan foresees building high-speed lines in the shape of a T, from Milan in the north to Naples in the south, and from Turin in the west to Venice in the east.
In Asia, too, the European train builders face challenges. For one, there is competition from the fabled Shinkansen of Japan, the first high-speed train to go into service. That design was chosen by Taiwan for a 210-mile-per-hour train inaugurated last year from Taipei to the southern port of Kaoshiung. And while Asian contracts are lucrative, most countries insist on technology transfers including the assembly of most of the trains in local factories. Such requirements put pressure on the Europeans to continuously upgrade their technology or risk being overtaken by their own customers.
''The key is new technology,'' said Mr. Lacôte of Alstom. ''The Chinese market is very interesting,'' he said. ''They have the culture; they want to acquire the technology.''
Of course, not all of the Chinese acquisitions will be very high speed. Bombardier, which has a strong presence in China thanks to its Adtranz acquisition, does a brisk business in light rail and subway car construction. This year, Bombardier signed a long-range agreement to supply trains to China with cruising speeds of 120 miles per hour.
The Siemens contract for China calls for it to supply 60 trains with a cruising speed of 180 miles an hour to link Beijing to the coastal city of Tianjin.
And the United States? Despite the debacle of the Acela, European rail executives say that heavy population concentrations on the East and West Coasts and in the Midwest around Chicago make high-speed trains a natural. Mr. Moller of Siemens said, ''When the skies and the roads are full, they will turn to trains.''
Mr. Lacôte of Alstom said three conditions had to be fulfilled for a country to turn to high-speed rail: the political will, large population concentrations, and a level of economic prosperity adequate to pay for a rail system.
''In the United States you have the second two,'' he said. ''I am not sure that you have the first.''
What is happening in France is an excellent example of how weakness and corruption begets violence and terror
Now President Jacques Chirac and the French are reaping what they have sowedwrites Patrick Curry from Irvine, California.
For years, the French have been soft on terrorism. They consorted with the likes of Saddam Hussein. All the while the French vilified the United States, condemning Washington's hard line on terrorism and working diligently to undermine U.S. foreign policy on Iraq.
In spite of the sniping from the French, the United States has stuck to its belief that terrorists cannot be appeased. The only way to deal with terrorism is to exterminate the terrorists who cause it.
When the United States and its partners attacked terrorism in Iraq in March 2003, Chirac stood on the sidelines and rooted for his buddy, Saddam. Now that France is going up in smoke, the world can see the results of Chirac's policies of fraud and appeasement.
What is happening in France is an excellent example of how weakness and corruption begets violence and terror.
I enjoy watching the TF1 and the France2 evening newscasts on their respective websiteswrites Thomas W. Briggs of Fort Worth, Texas, in what turns out to be a useful reminder. They
both stream their entire broadcasts (no sports, however) after about a two-hour delay. France3 also posts all their little local newscasts, which can be entertaining around Tour de France time since the Tour is always the No. 1 local story when it comes through.
Anyway, I've noticed that the anti-American sentiment that's frequently expressed somehow does not end up in the analogue text-only articles on their websites -- or in Le Monde either. This effectively means that the nastier parts of the French slant on the news is effectively not linkable or, really, available at all to US bloggers or news services. (Now, that having been said, I did once manage via Andrew Sullivan to get the punch-line of an RFI audio-only op-ed from Andre Genestar of Paris Match fame into the New York Times: Mr. Genestar had noted the appalling revival of the Vichy-era expression "forces Anglo-Americaines" in early French news reports on the Iraq war.)
What I'm really trying to say is that French streaming video and audio is frequently way nastier and more hatefully anti-US than what you can find in text sources. You know this, I'm sure, but I'll bet not many do here in the US.
Libération ceremoniously defends the animal scum that rampaged the New Year's Eve Nice-Lyon train from Hell. Too bad for French Establishment Media -- et les pédaloïdes bloggers qui infestent les beaux quartiers -- the French grassroots is no longer paying attention to the man behind the curtain.
Friday, January 06, 2006
From Germany comes a report on a children's website that is anti-American through and through. Helles Köpfchen features a piece that rips into George W Bush over the Iraq war, a piece in which, unless I am mistaken, the name Saddam Hussein does not appear once!
And then there are the links: It features a link to the GeoLino website (sort of a National Geographic for Kids) which makes hay of the "fact" that "Bush has few friends". But it gets better: Helles Köpfchen links a piece on 9-11 that is titled "the WTC conspiracy" and containing "20 lessons from September 11", from questions about the identity of the hijackers becoming known so quickly to the use of Afghanistan for a pipeline.
Apart from that, German kids get their info from articles like Terminator Allows Tookie to Die, with photo captions such as The children's book author Stanley Williams, nicknamed Tookie, was executed on Tuesday at 9:01 am with a poison injection. That's right: the person executed was a children's book author!
In other words, kids in Europe are well on their way to a (mental) place where they distrust, fear, or scoff at America (while realizing that they themselves — conveniently enough — are the planet's wise and rational visionaries).
And to top it all, the leaders of Helles Köpfchen have been insulting the German blogs exposing this and threatening to fine one critic 5,000 euros every day for using their logo.
Head to Medienkritik for the appropriate links and to find where to contact the avant-garde visionaries involved in educating Germany's youth.
Update: In the Bush article, the Helles Köpfchen website make a big deal about the fact that "of course, we are grateful to the Americans for having (among other things) defeated Hitler" (followed by the ubiquitous "But"). However, as far as I can tell, the only allied soldiers that are ever identified in Ingo Fischer's Hitler article are the Soviets. Everybody else, the Americans, the English, etc (except for the paragraphs detailing the various declarations of war), etc, are only known collectively, consistently, and relatively anonymously as the Allies.
Some people might take offense and leave it at that. What I find particularly riling is that the Le Monde writer is the very same who wailed about the injustice befalling poor Saddam Hussein, an emprisoned dictatorial psychopath he lamented as a "cursed" man, "condemned to solitude".
Don Bateman … a senior engineer at Honeywell in Seattle, quickly changes the subject if anyone tries to give him credit for saving hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives over the past decadewrites Don Phillips.
However, the 73-year-old Bateman is widely recognized in aviation as having developed what is formally known as the "enhanced ground proximity warning system," which can help avert disaster for a plane on the wrong course.
"We owe him a debt of gratitude," said John Lauber, Airbus's senior vice president for safety. "Don Bateman is the individual who almost single-handedly wiped out controlled flight into terrain." Lauber was using the aviation term for perfectly good aircraft flown into the ground, the greatest killer in aviation until Bateman came along.
In this season of generosity, of morality plays about Scrooge and the Grinch and the global imperative to help those who are less fortunate, think a moment about this question: what if your gift could relieve Tiny Tim's misery for now, but risked perpetuating it -- or even worsening it -- in the long run?writes Michael Wines as he gives ammo to the "Trade, not aid" mantra.
This is no theoretical exercise, and there is no easy answer. Just this sort of dilemma is unfolding right now worldwide, in places like Zimbabwe. …
The United Nations and nonprofit charities with global reach are, as always, rushing to help. The World Food Program will distribute 331,000 metric tons of corn and other staples in Zimbabwe by 2007, nearly a third of all the donations it plans for southern Africa. The United Nations is building 2,500 shelters in Harare, the capital, to house the homeless.
Such generosity is welcome, but its subtext raises wrenching ethical issues. For in the view of critics, these humanitarian gestures will not simply save lives and ease misery, though they will surely do that. The critics say that the aid also will bolster Zimbabwe's authoritarian regime, which razed and burned the homes of those 700,000 citizens earlier this year, and commanded them to move into the countryside.
President Robert G. Mugabe calls the demolitions slum clearance. …
The world's aid to Zimbabweans is part of a devil's bargain, critics say: save the poor from hunger and exposure, but at the price of aiding the very rulers who are making them hungry and exposed in the first place.
Should such deals be struck? Implicitly and otherwise, they are struck all the time: In Darfur, relief organizations might be said to have aided the Sudanese government's ethnic cleansing merely by providing assistance to refugee camps set up by the victims of that cleansing. While refugees are fed and housed far away from their homes, the government can consolidate its hold on their former territory. …
Such moral dilemmas [as those regarding North Korea, Bosnia, and Rwanda] hardly overshadow the life-saving work that relief agencies perform. But the dilemmas are not trivial. Since the cold war ended, humanitarian responses to wars and political crises have mushroomed, sometimes supplanting more muscular diplomatic and military actions of years past. Sending aid, it seems, is easier, warmer and fuzzier than tackling the root problems that led to the crisis at hand.
As relief has become a preferred response to problems like refugee crises, dictators and warlords have become ever cannier at exploiting that aid. And the dilemmas have become more common and thornier. … Rarely, agencies do withhold assistance. After the Rwanda genocide of the mid-1990's, the International Rescue Committee pulled its workers out of refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo after concluding that soldiers behind the genocide were using the camps to regroup for further attacks. …
In almost every case, agencies swallow hard and offer help anyway, arguing that the greater good of saving lives and reducing suffering outweighs the ignominy of being a handmaiden to oppression. The real question, perhaps, is how that ignominy might be held to a minimum.
One option, experts say, is for relief agencies to publicize their devil's bargains -- to show the world how such blackmail works, and potentially to shame those responsible for it. Another is to press wrongdoers, publicly and in private, to stop rights abuses that humanitarians can document. Relief agencies have historically been loath to do that for fear that angry governments will bar them from helping victims of the abuses. …
In Zimbabwe, for example, the World Food Program and the United Nations Development Program have said little about the constraints imposed on them. But top United Nations humanitarian and housing envoys have been scathingly critical of Mr. Mugabe's slum-demolition program and have demanded that relief agencies be given wider leeway to aid its victims.
Humanitarian organizations can also be subversive. Even if they are sharply limited in their own efforts, relief workers can strike quiet alliances with local activists, leverage their influence with sympathetic government insiders and educate those they are helping about their rights.
Making politics through the cowardly proxy of soundbites, the BBC and others have been jumping for joy at Ariel Sharon’s illness, and do a little of the usual whitewashing of hatred while they’re at it. It sounds like “Mr. Breathless” can’t wait to report on people tap dancing on Sharon’s grave – largely due to the nonsense they’ve been telling themselves for years.
The group blog Jewlicious points out that even the Vatican has been drinking a little from the plastic tub of moonbat Kool-aid and points out some of the frenzy and confusion that comes with the press taking joy in the misery of one of their designated straw men.
Crossposted on Marxist Byproducts
Thursday, January 05, 2006
A picture of ‘post-revolution’ Evo Morales is emerging. And even Zapatero who is using selective immigration to smolder out his nation like ancient Sparta can’t barely deal with him.
Maybe El Zap he has to sweeten the deal like he did with a certain friend of his who also seems to be turning Europe into his bitch.
Former Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry was mugged by a gang of kids. The unfortunate event points out fallacy that expecting sympathy from twits is nearly as naïve as playing tonsil-hockey with someone who kind of looks like someone you’re afraid is after you – thinking that this would keep the real thug at bay.
Good work. You’ve just identified your prejudice.
«There is a sort of an unwritten code in Washington, among the underworld and the hustlers and these other guys, that I am their friend.»
In this case, the meme was the bitch that set him up...
Crossposted on Marxist Byproducts
In 1998, a French parliamentary committee attempted to investigate France's role in the genocide. But most of the evidence it sought was classified as a state secret.As a French military tribunal opened an investigation into allegations that French peacekeepers facilitated attacks on ethnic minority Tutsis during the 1994 genocide of more than half a million Rwandans; as the body of a former Rwandan government minister indicted on charges of involvement in the genocide had been found floating in a canal in Brussels (merci à RV); and as controversy keeps following the French army's role in Ivory Coast, one of the commanders of Opération Turquoise, Jean-Claude Lafourcade, comes out in favor of the "humanitarian action taken by France".
The arguments are well presented — as is that of lieutenant-colonel Marcel Abbonen from Ivory Coast ("Il y a eu l'affaire Mahé, mais il y a 1 000 autres exemples montrant que le bataillon a été exemplaire") — the only problem — again — is double standards.
Indeed, the general's explanations would be just as fitting a defense — moreso, probably, since the only charges of genocide lie with Saddam's pre-invasion régime — for the presence of American troops in Iraq.
Face au massacre des Tutsis au Rwanda en 1994, aucun autre pays dans le monde n'a eu le courage d'intervenir. On peut se demander pourquoi... La communauté internationale représentée par l'ONU avait été incapable d'enrayer le processus. Seule la France a eu la volonté politique et militaire d'intervenir pour arrêter les massacres en obtenant un mandat de l'ONU. Pourquoi les autres pays ne sont-ils pas poursuivis pour non-assistance à personnes en danger ? Pourquoi ne fait-on pas le procès des défaillances de l'ONU et de ses responsables ?
…Accuser aujourd'hui ces soldats de crimes contre l'humanité est inacceptable.
Now 71, Costa-Gavras has made his name with thrillers set against violent political backgrounds, such as "Z," "The Confession," "State of Siege," "Missing" and "Amen." Striking a horizon of targets, from dictatorships of left and right to the Vatican's ambiguous response to the Holocaust, he has grown used to complaints about his political take on historywrites Alan Riding, ignoring double standards such as the latitude given for the "good intentions" excuse, most notably, perhaps, the final image of "L'Aveu" with a graffiti-laden wall with the words "Lenin, wake up; they have gone mad".
With his latest movie, however, he has entered new territory. "Le Couperet" is another thriller, but this time set against a violent economic background. It presents murder as an allegory for the human toll of globalization. And it is happening today.
As the genocide enters its fourth year, the international community continues to defer to Khartoum, or even to suggest that the regime has reformed
Both the African Union and the Arab League have chosen the genocidal Sudanese regime to host their upcoming summitswrites Eric Reeves at TNR.
Could there be a clearer indication that African and Arab leaders don't care what happens to Darfur?
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Never mind the "droit de retrait" of the guards, and the cops waiting inside the station while the girl being molested, think about it: 20 aggressors, 600 passengers. That's 1:30. But I bet the passengers made use of their national right to surrender.Thus writes ¡No Pasarán! reader André Thiele, who was "at the station of Les Arcs just on that very Sunday morning, January 1st 2006" (see below)!
Isn't it sweet that France 2 takes notice of the fact that "les jeunes" risked their lives while running over the tracks to escape the police?
Before that, we have the aforementioned France 2 report". Noting the citizens' seemingly total lack of anything resembling courage and noting that the gendarmes discovered des voyageurs prostrés qui n'osaient pas intervenir, Carine wonders where are the cowboys when you (i.e., the French) need them? (The courage spreads as Le Nouvel Obs — which also identifies the "jeunes" in question, as Thiele's "research team" notes — ponder whether the police should be blamed.)
Une vingtaine de jeunes gens ont semé la terreur le 1er janvier dans un train Nice-Lyon en gare des Arcs (Var).¡No Pasarán! reader André Thiele brings a personal report:
Profitant du tarif spécial mis en place par la SNCF, ils venaient de réveillonner et de faire la fête à Nice, Cannes et Fréjus. Trois d'entre eux ont été interpellés.
On a assisté à "une véritable scène de pillage du train", selon le procureur de Draguignan. Une jeune fille de 20 ans a subi des violences sexuelles.
Après avoir fait la fête, des jeunes ont repris le premier Corail Nice-Lyon. Dès le départ de Nice, des incidents sont signalés. Des passagers sont dépouillés de leur téléphone portable. Des bousculades surviennent.
Un couple de Parisiens de 25 ans est méthodiquement dépouillé de ses portefeuilles, cartes bancaires, téléphones portables. Prise à partie par tout un groupe, une jeune fille de 20 ans, domiciliée à Besançon, subit des violences sexuelles.
"T'es mort. Tu vas crever!", lancent certains des agresseurs à l'encontre de passagers qui ont osé alerter des contrôleurs. Apeurés, des voyageurs s'enferment dans les compartiments. Estimant que la sécurité des passagers n'est plus assurée, le chef contrôleur fait alors usage de son "droit de retrait". Il appelle les gendarmes, et prend la décision de stopper le train en gare des Arcs.
Trois gendarmes arrivent. Ils ont dû attendre une heure et demi un dépôt de plainte formelle de la SNCF avant de monter à bord. [Three gendarmes arrive. They have to wait an hour and a half for a formal complaint before they could board the train.] Pendant ce temps, les jeunes continuent leurs saccages: poubelles renversées, sièges et rideaux lacérés, vitres fendues. Des "mouvements de panique" sont observés parmi les 600 passagers du train, rapporte le procureur.
Il faudra l'intervention massive de renforts de diverses brigades de
gendarmerie ainsi que de pelotons de surveillance et d'intervention de Draguignan et de Fréjus pour que le train puisse repartir. Peu avant l'arrivée en gare à Marseille, dans la confusion générale, la plupart des jeunes encore à bord parviennent à s'échapper. Ils tirent le signal d'alarme et s'enfuient sur les voies, au péril de leur vie.
I was there. I was at the station of Les Arcs just on that very Sunday morning, January 1st 2006, from 10h45 until 11h15, bringing my wife to the TGV back to Paris, where she currently works, while I flew back to Germany from Nice that same evening. And I can tell you: There was no sign of the incident left on that station. We stood there for about 20 minutes and could clearly see every detail of the not so huge track system, and there was nothing. They had cleared it all up, only 1 or 2 hours (max.) after the assault.
Yes, the French can be very tidy, if they want to.
German newspapers reported about it first (Die Zeit of yesterday). Only then did French papers react.
"In five years, certain councillors have never shown up", says one of the 231 members of the assembly with only consultative powers (but with a good salary and high benefits). "Only some 50 ever do any serious work." Some people can be seen reading magazines, says Robert Belleret. Others are going through their mail. Still others are trying to stifle their yawns, but not with too much effort. Fodé Sylla asks his neighbor (Luc Ferry) to pass some sweets down the line. Although the sessions are open to the public, the galley of the Palais d'Iéna is deserted.
If it was one drunken skinhead, Libération would have headlined that it was all Le Pen (and Bush's) fault
Richard Rahn writing in the Washington Times says Europe has its own particular sort of flu:
« This fall in status in Europe has resulted in a rise in envy and often an irrational dislike of the outside world (much of it directed at the U.S.). Many Europeans are in denial about the failures of their socialist or "social market models." All too many are woefully ignorant about the reasons for economic growth or failure. Europe is strangling itself in bureaucracy and killing incentives through excessive taxation. Now the Germans and French are trying to infect the new free market economies in Eastern Europe with this status flu.Crossposted on Marxist Byproducts
Though it may be tempting to gloat about the problems of the French and the others, it is in nobody's interest to do so. The United States, in particular, and its free market allies should be much more pro-active by supporting the pro-growth policies of some of the smaller and newer free market countries. Many in the European ruling elite put down pro-growth policies by disdainfully referring to them as the "Anglo-Saxon model."
The U.S. government ought to wage an aggressive information campaign in Europe to offset many factual misrepresentations about the U.S. in the European press -- particularly in health care, levels of poverty, schooling, crime, justice, etc. By almost any measure, though far from perfect, the U.S. comes out better than much of Europe.
Such a campaign will not cause Europeans to love Americans, but it might help force them to view their own failed policies more critically, the first step in bringing about change.
The vaccine for economic flu is economic literacy. European (and other) economic education organizations have been dispensing the vaccine, but their resources are too meager to stop the spread of economic ignorance. Americans have in general greater economic literacy, and hence have been less infected by economic flu, because private individuals and businesses have understood it is both their responsibility and in their long-run interest to support economic education programs run by nongovernment organizations.
As the European economic flu has become more acute, there are signs more of their citizens and companies are prepared to support those who fight for economic literacy. If Europeans were as familiar with the teachings of Hayek as those of Karl Marx, most of their economic problems would disappear.»
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
If Uncle Sam had had a hand in something like this, you can be sure the Euros would be shouting "arrogance!", "cold-blooded capitalists!", and "how scandalous!", with leaders and committees galore shouting for "unity in face of such infamy!"
With the Russian empire and its war for gas, all they can bring up are the expressions, Putin's "will to punish", "an excessive brutality", and Europe's "vivid concern", while a European commissioner has called for a meeting "to learn the lessons from the Russian-Ukrainian difference of opinion" and Le Monde reminding its readers that "offhand, there is no shortage to fear [reality check], notably in France" which, according to the independent daily's Jean-Michel Bizat, "displays serenity" and whose "Gaz de France has just elaborately celebrated 30 years of partnership with Gazprom".
Meanwhile, Alain Hertoghe asks
Vladimir pourra-t-il compter encore longtemps sur la solidarité contre-nature de ses anciens partenaires du "camp de la paix" anti-américain, Jacques Chirac et Gerhard Schröder, qui lui ont décerné un brevet d'authentique "démocrate" ? Concernant l'ex-chancelier allemand, pas de problème, il est devenu l'heureux salarié du groupe russe Gazprom. Le futur ex-président français aura-t-il lui aussi droit à une récompense du tsar Poutine pour son silence complice, notamment sur le drame de la Tchétchénie ? Nous verrons en 2007.Incidentally, do you remember how the Reagan administration was scoffed at for objecting to Moscow's pipelines ("with billions of dollars in aid from the Western countries that needed the gas" writes Craig R Whitney). No, the Europeans knew better, see…
And do you remember the brouhaha in the Fall about the world wide web and the apocalyptic proclamations about how untrustworthy Washington might shut off the flow of the internet. No, as always the lucid Europeans really know what, and who, is most to fear on this planet…
Gerhard Schröder's extraordinary career seems based on the so-far successful premise that whatever he does, nobody remembers for long, and that his personal alloy of metallic charm, chutzpah and feel for his countrymen's instincts takes care of the restwrites John Vinocur as he — again — reminds us that anti-Americanism did not start with a president named George W Bush.
Who recalls Schröder's two visits to Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow in 1980 and 1982, sandwiched between the invasion of Afghanistan and the targeting of Western Europe with Soviet SS-20 missiles? And Schröder saying then that Brezhnev looked more disposed toward talking peace than the Americans?Why am I still living in this God-forsaking sewer mess called Europe?
Or that Schröder opposed German reunification and the creation of the euro? And, with a certain consistency of reflex, once backed the proposed sale of German tanks to Saudi Arabia before its rejection by Helmut Schmidt's Social Democratic government, and last year, as chancellor, pushed the European Union to lift its arms embargo to China?
Here is a man, said Helmut Kohl, remarkable for consistently standing on the wrong side of history.
Now, Schröder is going with his instincts again.
Less than a month after leaving office in November, he's taken a job as the chairman of a Gazprom subsidiary, at time when the Russia of Schröder's close friend Vladimir Putin is intent on turning the enormous energy reserves Gazprom controls into a foreign policy lever that would reinstate Moscow as a center of world influence.
…During [the 1998] campaign, Schröder, in spite of a contact ban recommended by the EU, went out of his way to meet with President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, then and now a man described as Europe's last Stalinist dictator.
Who remembers? For sure, the Kremlin.
…Putin's clear goal in recruiting Schröder, reverberating in his failed attempt to hire the former U.S. commerce secretary Donald Evans to head another Gazprom offshoot, is to sign up tactical intelligence and political leverage - not just amiable front-men to shellac the conglomerate with an aboveboard sheen for Western investors.
Yet check this for Gazprom's presumptive probity:
The manager in charge of the company Schröder will chair is Matthias Warnig, a former major in the East German secret police, or Stasi, who currently serves as chairman of Dresdner Bank ZAO, a Russia-based unit of the German bank. A Wall Street Journal article, published 10 months ago, quoting former colleagues of Putin and Warnig, said Warnig helped Putin recruit spies in the West when the Russian president served as a KGB man in East Germany in the 1980s. The same article reported a Kremlin spokesman's denial that the two men knew each other as Stasi and KGB agents.
More: The new pipeline company itself is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, a town known as a tax paradise sometimes associated with companies run by the "capitalist locusts" Schröder's Social Democrats love to denounce.
…Reporting from Zug, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the leading Swiss newspaper, has investigated a Swiss lawyer who is the lone administrative board member of Schröder's pipeline corporation. It said he was previously an officer of a Swiss firm shown in Stasi documents to have furnished East Germany with strategically sensitive electronics from Western embargo lists during the 1980s.
Talk of an accumulating sense of discomfort! Just days before the German elections in September that propelled him from power, Schröder signed the pipeline deal that will carry Russian gas under the Baltic Sea directly to Germany, bypassing American allies like Ukraine and Poland. Announcement of his new Gazprom job followed weeks later.
…All alone in the great, big-bucks world, Schröder is likely to find his marketability as an international go-between discredited. Eastern Europe frankly does not trust him. Western Europe, in its calculating way, could be described as more than a little disturbed by his new associates.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Pamela blows the lid off of the beeb. And as usual does it with style and panache.
«The impact of BBC coverage cannot be understated.Note too at the end of this post the bald faced rewriting of the heart of a story through simple omission. That anyone would imagine them ‘neutral’ in places like the levant where they spin events any number of ways is astonishing. What will happen when the people whose fate they’re spinning for the sake of their dimwitted ideology turn on them?
Readers provided a full laundry list of complaints and we found the most effective way to condense the biggest offenses was in a simple list form. The examples of bias from the year past indicates a pattern of naïveté, dishonesty, forcing facts to conform to a narrow worldview and, arguably, a desire to inappropriately influence events - all paid for by British television viewers through the TV License Fee.»
Rock on Pamela.
The Nazis of old and the leftists of new have more in common than you can imagine. Their hatred of their own society is so deep that they’ll team up with psychotics who through their envy and resentment of humanity want to perform a clitorectomy on half of civilization. Otherwise, this Dutch language Nazi poster says it all: “With Germany against Capitalism.”
Thanks to John Ray’s excellent blog Dissecting Leftism for alerting us to the poster on the left. The poster on the right is younger in vintage, but older yet in spirit, and equally as hateful and ignorant.
The very least one could say is that they aren't dissimilar, and never that far away in it’s desire to control good people. It's become standard fare for those who behind a veil of pretense about being for ‘peoples,’ are not actually for people at all, and who are woefully blind about the past.
Crossposted on Marxist Byproducts
The first caption informs us that "Iraq is undergoing "a particularly deadly spring". This is typical MSM talk — akin to the "insecurity", the "chaos", and the "massacres", all of which suggest they were brought on by (Bush's) war and completely oblivious of the fact that those expressions described Iraq just as well — even better, in fact — in "peacetime" under Saddam Hussein. (The September 19 caption for a second photo album — 2005 in 100 dates — informs us that during his trials, "the former president … shows himself, during the three-hour court appearance, to be both attentive anc combative.")
In a three-sentence paragraph devoted to the "no" in the EU constitution referendum, the second caption devotes one whole sentence (one third of the caption) to informing us, with total seriousness, that after the "non", "the 25 members decide to lengthen the schedule for ratifying the project." Who are "independent" daily reporters Jacques Buob and Alain Frachon, after all, to put into question the decisions of their nation's and their continent's élite? (See also the resentful tone, shifting at least part of the blame to the Brits, in the June 1 and 6 captions of the 100 dates album of the year.)
Incidentally, L'Équipe's accusations against Lance Armstrong are taken as givens in several French photos of the year albums, including this one's July 24 caption. The Le Monde 2 album put it this way, devoting two sentences (and two thirds of the caption — not online) to the accusations: "The domination without equal of his team, the Discovery Channel Team … brings up suspicion about doping again. On August 23, the daily L'Équipe reveals that the American champion is said to have taken [aurait utilisé] EPOs during the 1999 Tour."
And thus the left (notably the MSM) works: the passive tense obliviating the need for the identification of any specific accusers (thus giving the accusation an objective aura). And the bringing up of rumors, which will continue to be repeated with more or less definite emphasis in descriptions of the target in the future, ensuring at least a relative lack of credibility of same (viz. the "lies" of Dubya in the Iraq war).
The third caption informs us that after the onslaught of hurricane Katrina on September 1 (2005), "the United States discover, stupefied, their vulnerability". This is a total rehash of the September 11 (2001) descriptions — again, using (abstract) nations as having emotions and suggesting, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, that Americans as a whole are a smug, cosseted, arrogant people, oblivious to nature, to disaster, to the rest of the world… (Paule Zapatka took this one on only four days after the attacks.) Using the same photo on August 29 (!), the second photo album explains to its readers that "Katrina points out the weaknesses of American society: poverty, absence of the state, and racism", adding for good measure that "dozens of countries, including Cuba and Venezuela, have proposed aid to the United States."
Nothing on the oil-for-food scandal.
Not a single photo.
Not a single word.
Not even in the 2005 in 100 dates album.
Le refus de la Constitution européenne a libéré les tentations nationalistes et protectionnistes, conduisant à une OPA intellectuelle de l'altermondialisme sur la gauche, Parti socialiste en tête, mais aussi sur une partie de la droite puisque le président de la République ne craint pas d'affirmer que le libéralisme constitue une menace pour la démocratie équivalente à ce qu'était le communisme au temps de la guerre froide. Dans le même temps, les émeutes urbaines ouvrent un vaste espace aux passions xénophobes et totalitaires, avec à la clé un puissant mouvement de basculement à droite de la société et, comme à la veille de 2002, une montée souterraine du vote extrémiste.Nicolas Bavarez has an article on the "archaism of a museum nation", or the sick man of Europe, in which "the morbid rhetoric of the commemo-nation … evicts the problems of the present for the virtual actualization of the past."
Pour prix des échecs et des revers dont ils sont les premières victimes, les Français ont acquis le droit de percer la bulle de démagogie et de mensonge qui dévaste la vie politique nationale depuis de trop longues années et d'accéder à une information objective sur la situation de leur pays et l'état du monde. Leur responsabilité vis-à-vis de leur patrie comme des générations futures consiste à cesser de s'en remettre à un président de droit divin ou à l'Etat pour exiger de ceux qui aspirent à les gouverner des choix cohérents dont ils assument les conséquences prévisibles. A conjurer les tentations de régression vers un passé mythique et les passions extrémistes, à sanctionner sans faiblesse les cyniques et les démagogues pour ouvrir résolument la voie à une nouvelle génération, en rupture avec la République des truqueurs et des gérontes, à qui il reviendra de reconstruire un pays moderne, puissant et respecté dans le monde du XXIe siècle.The French should have "the right to pierce the bubble of demogoguery and lies that has been devastating the nation's political life for too many years and have access to objective information of the sitation of their country and the state of the world."
We would hope that that would include objective information on America, on the capitalist system, and on related subjects, such as the alleged lack of leadership qualities of George W Bush and the supposed tragedy without parallel of the current situation in Iraq.
“Berlin Demands a ‘Reaction’ to Ahmadinejad” ran the headline in … the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (12 December 2005). This sounded surprisingly forceful. But whoever read the small type quickly understood the actual meaning of the headline: “ Berlin demands a ‘reaction’ to Ahmadinejad from everyone else”.After standing up for their eternal principles and speaking out forcefully against Uncle Sam in the Iraq crisis, those visionary forward-looking principled human rights protectors, the Germans, are standing up to Iran, we are informed by Matthias Küntzel. With all the force they can (cough) muster.
And what of Germany’s “Left” opposition? Should we not assume that privileging the most elementary human rights over the interests of the big corporations would be a special concern of the “Greens” or the “the Left” alliance? Far from it. Apart from some few exceptions, the “Left” has not been prepared to allow the Holocaust denier from Tehran to deprive it of its conspiracy theories and rage against “BuSharon”. “If the Iranian President Ahmadinejad did not exist,” writes, for example, the Berlin-based “Green” daily Die Tageszeitung (taz), “the USA and Israel would have had to invent him” (15 December 2005). Ahmadinejad’s words are only to be taken seriously inasmuch as they “provide a welcome pretext for the USA and Israel.”
…notice the urgent languagesaid Michael Crichton (danke zu Werner Steinzig) during a speech entitled Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century.
The situation is desperate, unprecedented action is necessary, ordinary values must be pushed aside, anyone who disagrees is dangerous and reactionary. Terror, fear, and the end of civilization.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
This is the type of action that Frenchmen the world over will cite as evidence that their society is the most humane and the most advanced in the world (certainly more than that of the damn Yankees) and that their social system a model for the world to follow.
Except, of course, that in doing "good", they are using others' people money. Tell a Frenchman that, and chances are this will immediately bring out an expression of disgust or rage, asking what kind of cold-hearted monster you are. I.e., thoughts to alternatives are not entertained in a society where emotion reigns.
Too bad the French think of Americans as nothing but thoughtless cowboys and know Davy Crockett as nothing but a frontiersman.