Saturday, January 24, 2009

And you thought the relationship between government and the media is cosy now...

Just wait:

President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday unveiled a mini-stimulus package worth €600m to help "save" the French newspaper industry from a plunge in advertising revenues, high production costs and the effects of its difficulty in adapting to the internet age.

The measures costing €200m ($260m, £188m) a year over three years include doubling the amount of government advertising in newspapers, reduced social charges for newspaper delivery workers, a postponement of a planned increase in postage costs, and more generous tax breaks for investment in digital services.
No doubt the New York Times is drooling with anticipation to write an editorial praising the forward-thinking progressive nature of this programme. Well, can you blame them:

(Editor's note: As of 2135h CET no decision has yet been made as to whether ¡No Pasarán! will be lining up for a piece of the action. Should regular readers notice a marked change in the tone of posts, rest assured the decision was made and the cheque has cleared.)

In Large Part, the Media are Little more that a Self-Managing Propaganda Operation

This, from a friend:

Headlines On This Date 4 Years Ago:

"Republicans spending $42 million on inauguration while troops die in unarmored Humvees"
"Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"
"Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, ordinary Americans get the shaft"


Headlines Today:

"Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only .....$120 million"
"Obama spends $120 million on inauguration; America needs a big party"
"To everyman Obama shows America how to celebrate"
"Citibank executives contribute $8 million to Obama Inauguration" (after their bail out).

The Liberation of Iraq

(Thanks to Val)

Swirling information

A recent rash of articles are hinting, pondering, and discussing a very possible brewing issue for Europe, a real currency crisis. The latest hits close to home for many readers:

France’s AAA rating may be at risk as the deepening economic slump erodes tax revenue and forces the country to raise borrowing, according to ING Groep NV.

“I’m not saying France is going to be downgraded, but the level of debt puts them in a spot of danger,” Padhraic Garvey, head of investment-grade debt strategy in Amsterdam at ING, said in an interview. “Their AAA rating is under stress.”

Standard & Poor’s affirmed France’s AAA rating last week, assigning it a "stable" outlook.
S & P hedges in their outlook with a jargoned comment:

The French economy "will again begin to expand once the global economic uncertainties fade," S&P said Jan. 13. "Should the large budgetary imbalances and relatively high gross debt deteriorate over the medium term beyond our expectations, the ratings would likely come under downward pressure."
Translation, maybe a 40ish% chance of being downgraded. Despite being with the New York Times, Landon Thomas has an informative article and points to a key problem for our euro:

For some of the countries on the periphery of the 16-member euro currency zone — Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain — this debt-fired dream of endless consumption has turned into the rudest of nightmares, raising the risk that a euro country may be forced to declare bankruptcy or abandon the currency.

The prospect, however unlikely, is a humbling one. The adoption of the euro just a decade ago was meant to pull Europe together economically and politically, ending the sometimes furious battles over who could devalue their currency the fastest and beggar their neighbor.
The important part being the euro has been run as a political rather than economic currency. None of this is "news". The very rules for euro entry and membership, written by the Germans in the 1990's, were meant to keep the less fiscally sound in Europe (Italy, Greece, Portugal) from free-riding on the back of, at the time, more prudently fiscal members of the EU. These rules, the Stability and Growth Pact, were of course jettisoned for political reasons in the early 2000's when France and Germany ran afoul due to cratering economies and mountains of governmental spending (aka "social justice" to some). Should we even go into the strong suggestions that the whole convergence process when the euro began may have been built on rather questionable economic data being reported?

One wonders if the first president of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, had it right when he said in an interview with Deutsche Welle in 2002:

DW: A central part of the treaty would no doubt be the Stability Pact, the criteria now in place for current euro zone countries. Those criteria are now being discussed in European capitals -- especially the three-percent cap on deficit spending. What do you think about suggestion criteria should be softened, especially in light of Germany's economic troubles?

WD: I would be very much against it. The criteria are only just in place. It's natural that there are times when it really bites and causes difficulties for some European countries. Then countries talk about changing it. But I'm one who thinks you should never change the rules in the middle of the game. The fact that some countries are now having difficulty meeting the criteria -- like Germany, France and Italy. It is precisely because of the fact that in the recent past, when everything was going well, they didn't grasp the opportunitiy to better consolidate their public finances. Now, because they haven't done that at that time, they are sitting on their blisters. But that's no reason to change the rules. It's all the more reason to finally do what should have been done long before. Out of the 12 euro zone countries, eight have already reached that goal.
A currency can and should be used for political reasons, sparingly and when needed, but this should not ecplise the over-riding purpose of a currency, which is to provide a relatively stable economic instrument allowing for the facilitation of the transfer of goods and services.

Regardless of what should be and what actually is at the moment, this current spate of articles, coupled with the sterling plummet in the UK (aka southeast Iceland), foreshadow nothing good for the euro, Europe, or the global economy.

Still think politicians and ever more governmentalism are the answer? Enjoy the blisters.


Just what your computer needs:

The European Union is considering forcing Microsoft to distribute rival browsers as part of Windows, the software maker disclosed in a regulatory filing this week.

As part of its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission filed on Thursday, the software maker offered more details on the EU's statement last week that it believes Microsoft's inclusion of a browser in Windows violates antitrust law.

Microsoft said that the EU is considering forcing computer makers, known as original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to offer multiple browsers with new Windows PCs.
Lest you think this is all about helping the poor defenseless consumer, please disabuse yourself of such a quaint notion:

Microsoft also noted that the EU is also seeking to "impose a significant fine based on sales of Windows operating systems in the European Union."
Does an individual who is unhappy with Internet Explorer yet totally incapable of finding and downloading any number of readily-available, non-Microsoft, and free web browsers actually need to be engaged on the internet in the first place? A user cull via digital Darwinism might be what we all need anyway.

Added bonus to help insure the European consumer bureaucratic class with job security for years to come:

And that's not the only area where Microsoft faces further EU action. Microsoft confirmed that an investigation into Office may still be ongoing.

"In January 2008, the commission opened an additional competition law investigation that relates primarily to interoperability with respect to our Microsoft Office family of products," Microsoft said. "This investigation resulted from complaints filed with the commission by a trade association of Microsoft's competitors."
Note to Redmond, consider the Gazprom solution.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The crushing wisdom of crowds...

Some may not be happy that the very same people voted for President Obama (get over it), however the very same crowd does seem to have their priorities in order for 2009:

As Barack Obama takes office, the public’s focus is overwhelmingly on domestic policy concerns – particularly the economy. Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation stand at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for 2009. Meanwhile, the priority placed on issues such as the environment, crime, illegal immigration and even reducing health care costs has fallen off from a year ago.
No points for coming in dead last.

Wouldn't a cash advance on the credit card have been cheaper?

Or maybe even a loan shark?

While this transaction still qualifies as a gift to charity, Mr. Slim makes sure the 14% vig is firmly in place.

Stop the "presses"?

Shock, horror, alert The Hague:

Timothy F. Geithner, who took a big step toward confirmation as Treasury secretary on Thursday, told senators that the Obama administration believes China is "manipulating" its currency, suggesting a more confrontational trade stance toward that country than under the Bush administration.
The article then goes on to detail nothing in terms of background on the issue or how this "manipulation" may or may not be happening. Putting aside the factless article and the sheer hubris of any western government at this time lecturing the Chinese (or any country) on currency and/or economic manipulation, there is a silver-lining to be found:

Mr. Geithner’s comment, made in writing to the Senate Finance Committee hours before it voted 18 to 5 to recommend that the full Senate confirm him, is certain to anger the Chinese government and raise fears that it could sell off some of its huge reserves of dollars.
Could this not help the US Treasury and US Federal Reserve in terms of "providing liquidity into the system"? Outside of that, just think of all the electricity, labor, material, and printing costs the Chinese would be helping to offset should they decide to help the west with a little ad hoc "quantitative easing".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Left-leaning Mushy, Middle-mindedness is a Political Creed Founded of Stereotypes and Slander

David Frum, writing in Canada’s National Post comments on some B-actress’ infantile ramblings employing universal morality as a way of saying people don’t agree with her are somehow lesser people. It goes along with the dimness that a logo-branded presidency would appeal to.

It is telling just how it is that kind of thought attempts to divide people along the lines of who they are, not what they do, or of the content of their character while advertising some “unifying” magic that they’d like to think they have some sort of franchise over: seem European? Good. Spout leftist sayings: good. Seem “Canadian-ish”: good. – all this in spite of the reality of the individual, as if one could extend this to ur-Europeans Hitler and King Leopold, or to ur-lefties Stalin, Erich Honecker, etal.

It's almost a psychological rule: The more you espouse "compassion" in your politics, the more likely you are to be selfish in your personal behaviour.

How often do we hear the generosity of Europe contrasted to the "savage individualism" of the United States? Yet Americans give vastly more to charity: per person, more than twice as much as the Spanish, more than three times as much as the French, seven times as much as the Germans and 14 times as much as the Italians.

Despite working an average of 400 hours more per year than their European counterparts, Americans are 15 percentage points more likely to volunteer their time than the Dutch, 21 points more likely to volunteer than the Swiss and 32 points more likely to volunteer than Germans. (Indeed, 80% of Germans never volunteer their time for any cause at all.)

If we must have stereotypes, let's at least have accurate ones. Not only are conservatives sexier than liberals -- they are kinder too.
Why would anyone need to continue to make this point? Simple: the pedantry of the left who promote themselves as having a monopoly on wisdom, compassion, caring, and anything else that might garner the love of strangers continues to not bear out as speciousness, as they employ their stated compassion as a weapon against those who don’t agree with them – to brand them with some sort of logo.

Pourquoi ceux qui manifestent ne se révoltent-ils pas quand on massacre les Indiens du Chiapas, les Tibétains ?

"L'intensité des réactions épidermiques d'un grand nombre de lecteurs" : Readers of Le Monde (over 100 so far) protest against Pierre Jourde's common sense (already, he has Juan Goytisolo and Frédéric Encel to contend with in Le Monde's pages)…

Update: "Shame!" "racist" shout the latest comments from Le Monde readers, which have now risen above 170, including one (from a h.ouriemchi) which states that Pierre Jourde's column defending Israel should only be allowed if Osama Bin Laden is also allowed to write a column for Le Monde ("Le jour où le MONDE publierait une tribune de Ben Laden je dirai que cet article est un droit de réponse juste et équitable")! Meanwhile, while one of my comments was accepted, another — the last paragraph and last line of this post sent in as quotes from Guy Millière's book — was refused twice, without any reason whatsoever given… (End of update)

("Je suis surpris par tant de 'simplisme' de la part de cet enseignant", "Je suis surpris de voir que l'auteur travaille à l'université", "J'ai honte que l'université soit à ce niveau la. sans doute fallait il une signature de prof pour donner de l'autorité à cette opinion (je ne dis pas "pensée) nullissime", "Cette rédaction de M. Chose est clairement hors sujet", "Quelle série de clichés et de contre-vérités!", "Quelle arrogance", "Un texte d'une rare faiblesse", "assez faible intellectuellement", "sans interet", "un raccourci indigne d'un universitaire", "propagande", "Pure propagande", "C'est de la propagande de bas étage qui dessert la cause qu'elle essaye de défendre … Laissez ces articles à Paris Match, on attend mieux du Monde", "M. Gourde se gourre complet", "Le magicien a parlé", "un article indigne", "Pitoyable", "INSIGNIFIANT", "Insupportable", "le mensonge devient grotesque", "Une analyse indigne d'un intellectuel", "le galimatias de ce prof", "Tribune assez nauséabonde", "do not feed the troll", "cette grosse bète pleine de haine et de fureur", "Enfumage des cibles, bombardements verbeux, tirs de missiles vipérins", "ils me font vomir tous ces écrivains sans talent, ces philosophes 'experts en tout' qui veulent nous imposer leur iédologie et leur propagande", "Franchement, quand on lit un tel torchon, on comprend pourquoi croît la haine de l'Occident. Texte odieux !", "Quelle folie pousse donc Israël et ses soutiens de l'acabit de P. Jourde à toujours alimenter la haine et la guerre ?", "Mais quelle horreur que ce texte! ... vous devriez avoir honte!", "Ce passage est le plus ignoble que j'ai lus dans Le Monde depuis des années", and the very first comment: "Article absolument insupportable, mal écrit, et bourré d'autant de préjugés que les coupables de crimes antisémtites contre lesquels il prétend s'élever." [… By the way: "la polupation"? "Le Didacteur"? "un raccourci [qui] désert la cause"?])

In Houdna, Guy Millière explains the strong sentiments against Israel as well as against Uncle Sam (or: let's get to the root problem of the hate):
Marxistes, tiers-mondistes, communistes, socialistes, «anti-impérialistes» qui commençaient à être en manque avec la fin de la décolonisation, ont eu ainsi, quasi providentiellement, un nouveau peuple à libérer, et c'était un peuple fabriqué tout exprès pour qu'ils veuillent sa libération. Ils ont eu peuple souffrant sur lequel se pencher, et cétait un peuple fait tout exprès pour qu'ils se penchent.

…Ceux qui voulaient jeter par dessus bord ce qui pouvait leur rester de culpabilité par rapport au génocide entrepris par Hitler ont trouvé une extraordinaire opportunité : si des juifs se conduisaient comme des Nazis, le passé honteux de l'Europe était effacé. Si en plus, les Américains soutenaient les nouveaux nazis, la libération de l'Europe par l'Amérique était effacée, elle aussi.

Table rase égale : Europe propre.

Can Animals Judge Character?

What did the pooch know that Le Monde could never figure out?

Affable donut -or- Crushing vise?

Sometimes things move fast, per the EU-Observer:

A major new gas pipe connecting Russia to Germany will be up and running by 2011 Russia predicts, with Paris expected to join Berlin in giving the scheme political backing inside the EU.

"The need to diversify routes of supplying gas from my country to EU member states has been underlined by this crisis," Russia's EU ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov, told EUobserver on Tuesday (20 January), as Russia's transit deadlock with Ukraine came to an end.

"The Nord Stream project will now be expedited and I believe that in early 2011 it will able to provide gas," he added.
His Excellency the ambassador is entirely correct in calling for the diversification of energy routes into the European Union. What His Excellency fails to mention is the flip-side of the very same coin, diversification of energy sources into the European Union.

The easy thing to do is shake tiny fists of rage at Russia for not being a dependable source of energy. This dance takes two. Russia, now and in the future, is merely putting their own national interest and goals in the forefront of this somewhat pressing issue.

It is the European Union who is truly acting poorly in this current and future saga. A "union" is defined as:

a. The act of uniting or the state of being united.
b. A combination so formed, especially an alliance or confederation of people, parties, or political entities for mutual interest or benefit.
Those European Union members who will "benefit" from the Nord/South Stream pipelines must know they are hanging fellow European Union members (Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) out to dry post-2011. The failure to recognise this reality, the failure to even mention this reality, and the failure to plan for this reality will further belie the hollow notions of "solidarity" and "union" in the European Union. In short, the continued failure of leadership.

Again, do not turn east and shake tiny fists of rage at Russia, they are playing the long game of national interest and strategic planning. Moscow is not playing tricks, no hiding, completely transparent and upfront as to how this will play out. In the meantime Brussels is playing right into their hands.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Free-riding Freddy

As did the Irish commander of the Darfur and Chad expedition did, British defense secretary John Hutton points out that Europe’s money isn’t where its’ mouth is in Afghanistan.

"There should be no-one in NATO who believes that all that is needed is a bit of soft power, a bit of nice warm words for the Afghan government. That is not going to beat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban," Hutton said in a press conference in London ahead of a keynote speech later.

"We need a full complement of effective forces and we don't have those in theatre at the moment."

Without naming specific countries who he wanted to do more, Hutton added that it was not fair to expect the Americans to do all the "heavy lifting."

"We are going to have to do more, all of us in ISAF need to understand that, if we want this mission to be successful," Hutton said.
The point has been made often enough before by authorities in European NATO member states. There too, virtually nothing became of the complaints. Even Nicolas Sarkozy, someone who actually gets the problem, could only commit another 600 troops and get away with it politically, while the US has scheduled a surge of 30,000 troops to oppose what is expected to be a post-winter assault by the Taliban and al Queda to take large parts of territory out of the hands of the Afghan government. Those 600 French troops, as professional as they are, still represent a relative commitment by population of 1/10th of the force the United States is.

The problem is quite simply that the public in European societies aren’t ever convinced that there is much of anything worth defending, correcting, or fighting for. It’s why so many are willing to resort to calling for any other instrument (talks, dropping aid in the zone, placation of one form or another) because at the moment the question comes up, it doesn’t sound openly like the language of evasion.

It doesn’t ever seem to be a matter of dealing with an issue like supporting Afghanistan’s nascent pluralism, but of dealing with what someone is asking of them.
In his speech Hutton was set to accuse other European countries of "freeloading" on the back of US and British military commitments in Afghanistan, according to the Daily Telegraph and Financial Times.

Speaking to reporters, Hutton added: "We've got to step up to the plate, everyone in NATO's got to do that and the point of my remarks later on today will be to say it is not honest, credible or I think sustainable for us constantly to say, 'well the Americans can do it all.'

"That isn't an alliance, that's one-way traffic. That's not good enough."
And if a statement like that, like so many we’ve heard before, moves the issue an inch in one direction or another, it would be a miracle. Just when it is that the European public at large is moved to act on any of their famous empathy for those suffering and for the concept of defending the freedoms and human rights remains to be seen.

Surely they already get the fact that for America, unilateralism is still the only option, but other than the likes of John Hutton, the issue is one of managing the “social awkwardness” of continuing to milk America’s capacity to commit.

For the Europeans though, that complex is actually a lot closer to home. In their back yard, in fact:
That NATO cannot work effectively with the European Union - particularly in Kosovo and Afghanistan - is incomprehensible to me. I do not disregard national concerns about the lack of formal agreements for contact between EU and NATO missions. But I do not accept that our armed forces should suffer the consequences. Nor that we should be hampered in addressing shared security concerns.
To contextualize just how close something has to be to barely matter to them, Kosovo directly abuts the border of an EU member state, Pristina is 243 km from Thessaloniki, and yet not only was an American intervention required, 10% of the personnel there are American. The EU’s outward disposition and structure, as well as that of any bilateral effort by more than one EU member state at present is such that it can literally do nothing relevant for itself by itself.

The public seems unconcerned.

Good-Bye Friend

RIP, Andrew Wyeth

You have foolishly traded your freedom and mine — what little there is left — for the chance to feel good

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes.
Thus writes Anne Wortham (center) who is black and who grew up in the segregated South (merci à Stu et Trish) but who says "I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America."
For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival – all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Change in Washington’s Culture is Obvious

“A New Birth of Freedom,” you say? “Renewing America’s Promise?” How cute. They get to sound all sweet and bubbly while kicking the other half of the population in the shins about somehow taking away people’s freedoms and breaking society’s compact. Underhanded invective - it’s so like the left to try to make it all sound so mom-and-apple-pie.

I wonder if these whiny dookie digging elves had a hopey-changey tag phrase too.

Good-Bye, Friend

There's more

Plus this

Bush Sells His Soul for Foreign Oil. Oh! Wait!

Can you imagine the outrage should Bush, Cheney, or any member of the Bush administration be involved in a news report of this order?
Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, will join the board of the Russian oil company TNK-BP as part of a peace deal between its co-owners, BP of Britain and a group of Russian billionaires
writes Reuters in the IHT.
A spokeswoman for TNK-BP said Schröder's popularity and connections in Russia made him a good hire.

France 24 Talk Show

Tuesday, between 4 pm and 5 pm (French time), I will be in a debate with a Democrat Abroad on France 24's English channel

Naughty, naughty


For the Met Office the forecast is considerable embarrassment. It has spent £33m on a new supercomputer to calculate how climate change will affect Britain – only to find the new machine has a giant carbon footprint of its own.

"The new supercomputer, which will become operational later this year, will emit 14,400 tonnes of CO2 a year," said Dave Britton, the Met Office’s chief press officer. This is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by 2,400 homes – generating an average of six tonnes each a year.
From the very same:

The Met Office recently published some of its most drastic predictions for future climate change. It warned: "If no action is taken to curb global warming temperatures are likely to rise by 5.5ºC and could rise as much as 7ºC above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Early and rapid reductions in CO2 emissions are required to avoid significant impacts of climate change."
Just not that rapid it seems. Also:

Alan Dickinson, Met Office Director of Science and Technology, said: "We recognise that running such massive computers consumes huge amounts of power and that our actions in weather and climate prediction, like all our actions, have an impact on the environment. We will be taking actions to minimise this impact."
Sleep mode? Hibernate?

Naturally, just as the warming causes the cooling and the cooling causes the warming, this dump of massive CO2 into the atmosphere will actually mean less global warming/cooling not more:

Dickinson believes, however, that the new computer will actually help Britain cut carbon emissions on a far greater scale than those it emits. He said: "Our next supercomputer will bring an acceleration in action on climate change through climate mitigation and adaptation measures as a consequence of a clearer understanding of risk. Ultimately this will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."
Mr. Dickinson may very well be correct. The point being that if any non-government body (eg. private sector) took actions which introduced this amount of CO2 into the atmosphere they would immediately be dragged to The Hague or worse, endlessly harangued by the type of folks populating the Met's "climate change" office and the echo chambre at the Guardian.

…that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' ... I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ... And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.

Monday, January 19, 2009

March of the Sycophants

It looks like political wash-up Ségolène Royal said she would turn up in Washington DC for the inauguration. Le Parisien:

Ségolène Royal announced on Monday in Poitiers that she's going to Washington to attend the inauguration ceremony that will install Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. president on Tuesday 20 January at the White House. « I will visit the United States to attend the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama.»

« I will leave on Saturday (January 17) and return the following Thursday,» said Ségolène Royal, on the sidelines of the wishes to the press, the regional council.

She will stay with « a family » and "has no program even arrested. But should meet with the team of economists of the new U.S. president, she said. « When I look at what Barack Obama on preparing the plan to relaunch his country, I see at the forefront of his plan: education, training, innovation, the environment, the key levers to overcome the crisis, » said the President of the region. Issues that we offer in that area, those things we believe in , these are the real tools of a new development model, » she concluded.
Gee, thanks, but I though it was “the Danish model” you were trying to peddle in France, if memory serves.

Never mind that it sounds like she wasn’t invited and was gate crashing, just get a look at the foregone conclusions swimming around in the vocabulary and conception of leadership as power: it’s “his” country, he’s “relaunching” it, Obama is being “installed” of all things. The tools of the “new model” you see, are a bunch of things that we’re instructed to worry about, and fight “the man” – whoever it is we’re told is “the man”.

Ségolène Royal political deathwatch update: one can’t stress enough how much her trip to Washington is so much like her desperate campaign attempt to have an International affairs cred by going to China. She recently got her block knocked off of as her party’s chief starving proletarian by someone far to her left. From her blog we see that she’s out-and-about in DC free of the burden of anyone politically useful paying attention to her.

From her blog, we find that she’s more than willing to bow and scrape to Mr. Obama if it can get her back on the good side of her own party by comparing him to a pantheon of Presidents, civil rights leaders , and tries to tell us that her new hero is fulfilling the life work of any American the French happen to respect. In this rather sad opportunity she’s taking to get herself onto her potential voters’ radar, we discover a rather loony notion she has that the White House has the levers over what she thinks is a simple, 2 dimensional command economy.
This reconciliation has also expanded political and economic determinants in the current crisis. Barack Obama gave to political legitimacy, which between Reagan and Bush had too often been denied. He may thus be supported by the central government to boost and regulate the U.S. economy. Admittedly, there's Lincoln and Martin Luther King in Obama, but also of Franklin Roosevelt.
Yes, her supporters are in large part stupid enough to believe all of that. Especially the part where there was no 8 year Clinton presidency between Reagan and Georges Boosh.

According to the shallow in Europe, which in France includes a large number of her supporters, the dint and trope of American black men is somehow part of the civil rights movement in some roundabout, tropish sort of way. Even if they weren’t even alive at the time, and they don’t take into account what the actual person being compared is saying or doing. It could just as well be your accountant, and the thought would come to mind with most European socialists.

Sooner or later, she has to get back on the campaign bus, of course:
For France, I draw from two perspectives. First, take the initiative of European integration. On the other hand, diversify our friendships. We must open a constructive dialogue with South America, Africa, India, China, the Middle East. On my way to Chile, the Middle East and China during the presidential campaign, on my way from Argentina, India and Morocco, I have tried my position, to show that concern.
This, despite that fact thatshe wont make any distinction between governments IN the Middle East (Lebanon or Syria?), South America (Venezuela or Columbia?), and Africa (Sudan or Chad?), which makes it, like this trip to DC a picture tour to energize her supporters back home. Both of them.
From her weekend plans we discover that she’s going to museums, memorials, and:
A working meeting with associations involved in community leadership and the organization of communities (community organizing).

Inspired by the action and method of Saul Alinsky, this form of social intervention aimed at strengthening the capacity of the residents of neighborhoods to act on their lives and become master of their destiny. It deeply influenced Barack Obama, who was himself community organizer in a black neighborhood of Chicago and Hillary Clinton, who wrote a dissertation on the work of Alinsky.
Yes, that underhanded Gramscian bait-and-switch artist Saul Alinsky.

Kudos to the French Air Force's Pilots

Un pilote français a mené une opération de sauvetage aérien dramatique en Ecosse, venant au secours de deux jumeaux nés prématurément sur une île des Hébrides extérieures, un archipel au nord-ouest de l'Ecosse
writes Le Monde.
Le major Oliver Luneau … qui a servi à deux reprises en Afghanistan devrait passer encore quelques mois sur la base de Lyneham (sud de l'Angleterre) avant de réintégrer l'Armée de l'air en France.

McCain’s campaign was pitiful and failed to bring up even the most basic issues of the Obama candidacy

Make no mistake, it was the RNC that forced [McCain's] candidacy upon us. … The Republican party used to be the conservative party and stood for something. Now your lust for increasing party membership and political power has left you with neither. You have abandoned Republican conservatives and conservative principles and have abandoned your voter base in an attempt to grow the party.
After wrestling with this decision for two years now, California Republican JR Dieckmann has resigned from the Republican party. In his letter to the Republican National Committee, he writes that
They tell us that January 20, 2009 will be an historic occasion in American history. I agree, but not for the reasons they give. It will be the first time in history that a majority of American voters have not only elected a black man to POTUS, but also elected an unqualified, no résumé, unaccomplished, radical left, and likely illegal alien, without ever demanding personal history, educational records, health records, military records, or proof of citizenship from this man. He is an absolute zero on qualifications for POTUS.

We expect this from Democrats, but we also expect that the Republican Party would have made an issue of these shortcomings and the lack of qualifications of Barack Hussein Obama. We expected that the Republican party would have made an effort to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to see that our laws are followed. The Republican party shares the responsibility for this abomination in their negligence and refusal to stand up and fight for our Constitution and conservative values.

You and your Democrat-Lite candidate, John McCain, did neither and allowed this illegitimate candidate to usurp the office of the president. McCain’s campaign was pitiful and failed to bring up even the most basic issues of the Obama candidacy. Issues not only of his citizenship, but his dark associations with radicals (other than Bill Ayres, which was a non starter), his empathy with Islamics, his complete lack of understanding of the Constitution, the free marketplace, American history other than black separatist history, and the principles of freedom and liberty on which our country was founded.

America used to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. You have simply allowed this America to be trashed by your liberal counterparts with little or no resistance.

You have no backbone to stand up for what is right and decent. In Congress, you give and give and Democrats take and take, then stab you in the back when they gain majority power. You should have learned years ago that congressional Democrats are not your friends, they are your opponents and must be treated as such, just as they treat you. There can be no compromise between the two opposing forces of liberalism and conservatism; of socialism and capitalism. You have lost sight of what it means to be Republican. You have allowed the socialists to take over the country without a fight.

You have allowed liberals to pull the entire country into a socialist cesspool of immorality, atheism, socialist indoctrination masquerading as education, welfare handouts, infanticide, environmental extremism, government dependence, and lack of personal responsibility. These are the very opposites of the American foundation. We expected the Republican party to defend the American experiment, not hand it over to the communists.

C'est inacceptable! C'est un scandale!

Zees eez most ootrajeeoos!
sputters Hervé.
'ow dare zey?!?!

And' zees! zees ees even more ootrajeeoos!!

Zere's only one explanayshun: zees is CIA infiltrashon to undermine ze rayonnement de la France.

In common with the UK Government, Saddam's own generals, the French, Chinese, Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies, and of course SIS and the CIA

…the cold light of history will absolve Bush of the worst conspiracy-theory accusation
writes Andrew Roberts:
that he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. History will show that, in common with the rest of his administration, the British Government, Saddam's own generals, the French, Chinese, Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies, and of course SIS and the CIA, everyone assumed that a murderous dictator does not voluntarily destroy the WMD arsenal he has used against his own people. And if he does, he does not then expel the UN weapons inspectorate looking for proof of it, as he did in 1998 and again in 2001.

Dalai Lama's Take on George W Bush

From the Dalai Lama, universally toasted as a symbol of peace, nonviolence, tolerance, and openness (as well as a provider of examples to the types of retarded, reactionary, and clueless neocons who have dominated Washington for the past eight years):
I love George Bush

Sunday, January 18, 2009


This article (née, recycled press release) from the Guardian may not necessarily strike the reader as "news" in so far as it is the usual fare. Topic: End-of-the-world environmentalism. Plot: Screaming headline, vague research cited, a common-sense void.

What makes the article interesting is the first and last paragraphs. Paragraph one:

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added.
There is then the rest of the article. An article the astute observer could no doubt recite from rote memory before even reading one word. Tim Worstall has a bit on the particulars. Then there is the last paragraph:

As a result of his fears about sea-level rise, Hansen said he had pressed both Britain's Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences to carry out an urgent investigation of the state of the planet's ice-caps. However, nothing had come of his proposals. The first task of Obama's new climate office should therefore be to order such a probe "as a matter of urgency", Hansen added.
So, what we have here is a classic plea for more funding. Scare-monger, use the word "consensus", a little sleight-of-hand with the "facts", a vaguely mentioned piece of research, then move in for the kill with the request for more funding. You see, the point is not about climatology (studying it, seeing how it works, seeing what man's impact is, etc.) the point is about getting more funding.

Funding is the outcome.