Saturday, August 15, 2009

Remembering a Flight to Freedom

On 15 August 1961, 19 year old trooper Conrad Schumann was photographed taking flight to freedom. The image is an icon, and demonstrated to the east, as well as those enamored with the Marxism that has nowhere to lead but to totalitarianism, that the “people’s revolution” hardly represented many of the people at all

That young, newly trained NCO was there to guard the construction of the barbed wire barrier that was to become the Berlin wall, then in it’s 3rd day. He, like scores of east Germans knew what was coming. We might be able to see it all again in Venezuela quite soon. In Bolivia, it’s already starting. The “Revolution” must be guarded from losing all of its’ Revolutionaries.

To quote Bertolt Brecht’s reflection on the East German uprising of 1953:
Stating that the people had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only by redoubled efforts.

Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?
Such as it was with that ironic humor, that “Berliner Schnauze,” of a man who himself a believer in the DDR could never bring himself to renounce his Austrian citizenship, went the notion of listening to Communists make arguments about their states, the ones trapping people inside and making it functionally unlawful to criticize nearly anything meaningful the state does – to listen to them argue that they were the true democracies and held the keys to the freedom of people from tyranny.

Reflecting on that uprising, the leaders of the DDR proved to be true to form:
Ulbricht and Pieck had plenty of experience talking to the workers, but not talking with them. Moreover, demonstrations that were not organized by the state were beyond their ken. In their eyes, this was revolution, or, more accurately, counterrevolution,...
Which is to say that it was a thing that they were rather good at repeating a contrived and rationalized narrative about, but wouldn’t recognize in any real terms if they had to face it: a people speaking out on their own volition, a democracy, the notion that they are in power at the will of the people, or even the very idea that they possess any free will. All the people were to them were instruments before who one made an argument that you though that they could parrot back to you.

As was repeated then to the point of drawing mockery was an overarching truth: they simply couldn’t grasp the idea of freedom that America proved could be theirs’ too. Given the continued venality of the public politics on the continent, the poor regard held broadly about the lack of concern for the philosophical meaning and the virtue of people knowing that they are as free as they reasonably can be over their fate - it remains true.

1890: A Warning From the Tomb

(Thanks to Larwyn)

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Agents of Blame" Wreck a Reunion

Quelle couleur, les amerloques en question ? Contrairement à ce qui se passe chez nous, les SDF sont souvent des Noirs, là-bas.
The working of the French public’s mind where politics (or cultural animosity – same thing) is fascinating, at least from an ethological perspective. The usual Munichois commenters at FDS run across and equally fevered story at Rue89 about the City of New York “exporting its’ homeless to France”, carefully omitting information to permit those who enjoy wallowing in their agony to assume that they are shipping over a thousand crazy bums who show signs of violent mood swings.

It turns out that we’re talking about a voluntary program of family reunification for down on their luck folk to get back on their feet somewhere where they can be more firmly grounded, and (as would interest the sofa-bound “revolutionaries” at Rue89 and the crackpot nationalists supremacists,) a couple and their three children rejoining the childrens’ grandmother in Normandy.
“The person I spoke to in the shelter informed me that if I have a person I could stay with in Puerto Rico, that I could get help to go,” said Mr. Correa, who worked as a mechanic in Carolina, on the north shore of the island. They will stay with Ms. Mojica’s father. “I feel very happy because I’m going to be able to get back to do the things that I know how to do,” he said.
The usual amusement, of course is all taking place in at François’ fever swamp, where several punctilious francophone correctors of others’ details refer to Hizzoner as Blumberg. Several first reactions had nothing to do with the piece, but leap to ask if “Blumberg” is a Jew, and one of the first wonder “quelle couleur” that massive horde of SDF “Newyorkais” is.
Ce bloomberg , maire feuj de N.Y.,a le même comportement qu’un certain Adolf H.,de sinistre mémoire…
- which is funny, given the usual soft touch they take to Hitler, and just about any other fascist that Europe has created.

In other words, all the usual, garden variety questions you get from a French citizen when they have the chance to hate anonymously. All without thinking for a moment that this same bunch of mental knob polishers is wild for the idea of ejecting from France anyone who resembles a foreigner to them, often regardless of their citizenship, impact on the state treasury, or much else.

Of course no francophone day can be complete without a good conspiracy theory suggestion , where one must immediately confuse random, self-serving opinion for fact as well!:
Vous n’y êtes pas les amis. Cette solution n’est que temporaire, car une fois que la construction des tours remplaçantes du défunt « World Trade Center » sera achevée, et bien les SDF new-yorkais pourront rentrer chez eux, et ils ne seront plus SDF.
Mes sources, je les tiens de Larry Silverstein (le gars qui a racheté le complexe du « World Trade Center » juste 5 semaines avant les attentats du 11 septembre et qui a pris une double assurance contre tout accident, et contre tout attentat, double JackPot), de Frank Lowy, de Lewis Eisenberg, et de Ronald S. Lauder.
I wonder what day of theirs’ is really complete without some nutty “troofer” theorization, mentioning (as someone does with this item) a vague link between the name “Blumberg”, the existence of “financiers”, and Israeli technology exports. All such murky and menacing stuff. There has to be a link!

What practically split my gut was the Desouche commenter that called this the “deuxième débarquement”, or 2nd D-Day, as if America’s target was France. There’s more sincerity there than you would think. As far as the FDS reader’s political proclivities are concerned, since D-Day did spell the beginning of the end for Fascism, they WERE under attack.

The psychic pain of being that stupid must be a heavy burden. That too is obviously the generalized fault of America, no doubt.

Ho hum...

More settled science:

Is the Amazon rainforest recovering? New studies suggest that the long-term consequences of deforestation may not be as bad as predicted, as vegetation makes a comeback on abandoned agricultural land.
Either someone did not get the memo -or- someone has secured air-tight funding.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard

Grassroots Versus Astroturf? Really?!

While Democrats dismiss and sully conservatives for allegedly engaging in an Astroturf protest, it is they themselves and their alleged grassroots protesters who come out with preprinted signs while the conservatives have them basically hand-made and -painted (thanks to Larwyn)…

The two camps can be seen together in a black-and-white photo accompanying a Gerald F. Seib article in the European edition of the Wall Street Journal.

And 1989 Couldn’t Come Soon Enough

On this day in 1961, the barbed wire barricade that was to become the Berlin Wall went up. They had 28 more years imprisonment in Stasiland to look forward to.
Oh, boy. “Free” health care.

Naughty, naughty

Fresh from using off-shore entities to faciliate structured transactions for tax-abating purposes, the Guardian gets caught out on the hypocrisy tip again:

Guardian Media Group lost £24m on foreign exchange derivatives last year as the slumping pound played havoc with its hedge fund investments.
Lefties using those vile hedge funds and destructive derivatives? Tsk, tsk

Pity the little people:

The Guardian News & Media editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger received an 11% rise in salary and benefits to £445,000 for the year to 29 March.

The GMG chief executive, Carolyn McCall, took a 39.7% pay cut* last year, receiving a total package of £498,000. The previous year McCall received a total of £827,000, including a salary of £424,000 and bonus of £385,000.

In the year to 29 March, McCall's salary remained almost unchanged at £472,000, she received no bonus and her benefits totalled £26,000.

Tim Brooks, the managing director of Guardian News & Media, the GMG division that publishes the Guardian, Observer and, received a total package of £256,000. This represents a 33.6% drop on the last financial year primarily due to him receiving no bonus.

Mark Dodson, the chief executive of Manchester Evening News publisher GMG Regional Media, had a cut of just under £100,000 in his package to £309,000 last year.

John Myers, the former chief executive of GMG Radio who left the company at the end of February, received a 140% year-on-year boost in his remuneration package from £227,000 to £545,000, due to a payout from a loyalty scheme. Myers received a basic salary of £210,000 and a bonus of £333,000.
*Salary "cut" meaning salary "increase"


Going along with the theme of this particular New York Times article on healthcare anecdotes (the general subtexts are touched - what is wrong with you people, nobody has healthcare, mass deprivation, insert hand-wringing here), a question arises: If this is true regarding the number of individuals "lining up" for free healthcare in Los Angeles, CA:

Hundreds of volunteer doctors, dentists, optometrists, nurses and others are expected to serve 8,000 patients by the end of the eight days.
How does the remaining population of Los Angeles county not queued up at the end of eight days (9,854,049 individuals or 99.9% of the total county population not involved) get by on the health front? Afterall, if the "problem" of healthcare is so acute one would expect the free facility to be absolutely gridlocked.

Not going along with the theme of the article, how are these bits of information reconciled:

For the second day in a row, thousands of people lined up on Wednesday — starting after midnight and snaking into the early hours — for free dental, medical and vision services, courtesy of a nonprofit group that more typically provides mobile health care for the rural poor.

Set up for eight days of care, the group was already overwhelmed on the first day after allowing 1,500 people through the door, nearly 500 of whom had still not been served by day’s end and had to return in the wee hours Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, volunteers provided 1,448 services to about 600 patients, including 95 tooth extractions, 470 fillings, 140 pairs of eyeglasses,96 Pap smears and 93 tuberculosis tests, the organizers said.
"Thousands", in the general sense, implies some plural version of "thousand" (singular). The article itself shows 1,600 (hundreds not thousands) individuals being treated after day two. The number of individuals "lining up" rather means nothing, unless of course the story needs a bit of a dramatic punch. No, this is not nit-picking. The intention of the story is to imply "thousands" of Angelinos are desperate and scrounging creatures thirsting for even the glimpse of an aspirin.

The above, yet another healthcare article which reinforces and underlines the no-doubt straight-faced musing of one reporter on the subject:

But Jessica Yellin, CNN's national political correspondent, commenting on Senator Cardin's town meeting in Hagerstown, Md., pointed out what news people already know: when journalists cite outright misstatements by public officials, the American people "don't seem to trust us."
Gosh, really?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Comparing the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain: on the whole it is better to be a dog

In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to compare the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain,
writes Theodore Dalrymple in the Wall Street Journal,
and on the whole it is better to be a dog.

As a British dog, you get to choose (through an intermediary, I admit) your veterinarian. If you don’t like him, you can pick up your leash and go elsewhere, that very day if necessary. Any vet will see you straight away, there is no delay in such investigations as you may need, and treatment is immediate. There are no waiting lists for dogs, no operations postponed because something more important has come up, no appalling stories of dogs being made to wait for years because other dogs—or hamsters—come first.

The conditions in which you receive your treatment are much more pleasant than British humans have to endure. For one thing, there is no bureaucracy to be negotiated with the skill of a white-water canoeist; above all, the atmosphere is different. There is no tension, no feeling that one more patient will bring the whole system to the point of collapse, and all the staff go off with nervous breakdowns. In the waiting rooms, a perfect calm reigns; the patients’ relatives are not on the verge of hysteria, and do not suspect that the system is cheating their loved one, for economic reasons, of the treatment which he needs. The relatives are united by their concern for the welfare of each other’s loved one. They are not terrified that someone is getting more out of the system than they.

The latter is the fear that also haunts Americans, at least those Americans who think of justice as equality in actual, tangible benefits. That is the ideological driving force of health-care reform in America.

…oddly enough, one of the things about the British National Health Service for human beings that has persuaded the British over its 60 years of existence that it is socially just is the difficulty and unpleasantness it throws in the way of patients, rich and poor alike: for equality has the connotation not only of justice, but of hardship and suffering. And, as everyone knows, it is easier to spread hardship equally than to disseminate blessings equally.

…And I mean no disrespect to the proper function of government when I say that government control, especially when highly centralized, can sap the will even of highly motivated people to do their best.

…There are parts of Glasgow that have almost Russian levels of premature male death. Britain’s hospitals have vastly higher rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (a measurement of the cleanliness of hospitals) than those of any other European country; and survival rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease are the lowest in the western world, and lower even than among the worst-off Americans.

…Therefore I, who have no solution to my own health-care problems, let alone those of the United States, say only, beware of health-care economists bearing statistics that prove the inevitability of their own solutions. I mistrust the fact that, while those people who work for commercial companies (rightly) have to declare their interests in writing in medical journals, those who work for governmental agencies do not do so: as if government agencies had not interests of their own, and worked only for the common good.

The one kind of reform that America should avoid is one that is imposed uniformly upon the whole country, with a vast central bureaucracy. No nation in the world is more fortunate than America in its suitability for testing various possible solutions. The federal government should concern itself very little in health care arrangements, and leave it almost entirely to the states. I don’t want to provoke a new war of secession but surely this is a matter of states’ rights.

…And what I want, at least for that part of my time that I spend in England, is to be a dog. I also want, wherever I am, the Americans to go on paying for the great majority of the world’s progress in medical research and technological innovation by the preposterous expense of their system: for it is a truth universally acknowledged that American clinical research has long reigned supreme, so overall, the American health-care system must have been doing something right. The rest of the world soon adopts the progress, without the pain of having had to pay for it.

“Agents of Change” Hold a Reunion

They were just, y’know, revolutionaries, who wanted to, y’know, change things, y’know? The sad thing is that no-one could really look at the faithful and their “Manson Family Values” and say out loud what they really wanted, if you could get a coherent thought out of them:

Marxism, except with them in dictatorial charge of civilization, legal pedophilia, and free buds for them and their friends.

Our self-styled bipartisan president is telling his critics to shut up, while his partners in crime are calling them un-American and Nazis

Our self-styled bipartisan president is telling his critics to shut up,
writes David Limbaugh (in his article about the "hubris, arrogance, and deceit of President Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership [which] are breathtaking"),
while his partners in crime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues, are calling them un-American and Nazis.

… It wasn't enough for Pelosi to call us Nazis. She also co-wrote, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, an op-ed in USA Today calling us un-American and projecting her own nefarious tactics onto her opposition.

… How can these government propaganda ministers sleep at night? They are the ones misrepresenting the legislation and closing their meetings to genuine dissent.

… Obama … obviously thinks that he has the unilateral right as president, with 53 percent of the vote, to use our money to impoverish and enslave us and destroy our health care and that we have no right even to object. We only get to speak every two years.
Meanwhile, Phyllis Schlafly says that "We are seeing a coordinated smear on those who oppose socialized medicine" while Dennis Prager writes that the
worst part of the liberal mantra, "Dissent is Patriotic," however, is not that is meaningless. It is that it is apparently meant solely to defend liberal and left dissent. Dissent against the right is inherently patriotic.

Dissent against the left is another matter. To Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and to the New York Times Paul Krugman and every other left-wing commentator I have read on the issue, those who dissent against the Obama/Democratic Party health care plan are not only not patriotic; they are Nazis, mobs, white racists (according to Krugman's non-sequitur thesis) and are always organized. They are activists sent by health insurance companies, the Republican Party, or by some other nefarious right-wing organization.

…Like most of the left since Marx, the American left today has created an image of the world to which reality is subservient. Left-wing theories define reality, not vice versa. And in that closed world, left-wing dissent is patriotic, while dissent against the left is fascistic at worst, or paid for by the greedy at best.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

How Abraham Lincoln really emerged the victor of the Lincoln-Douglas debates (Merci à Dan)

Look, Someone just made a Funny!

If they’re more interested in the social outcome of movements than of science, why don’t they just use re-education camps? Citing a rather odd item for the FT which reads like a treatise on the growing of turnips, anti-individualist Richard Murphy huzzahs the shoving of ideas down the throats of economics students, but pair back the subject matter so that when you’re done, they’re little more that Comintern graduate bookkeepers who follow a recipe book of desiccated past ideas that appeal to Murphy.

They should take as their motto Keynes’s dictum that “economics is a moral and not a natural science”. They should contain not just the standard courses in elementary microeconomics and macroeconomics but economic and political history, the history of economic thought, moral and political philosophy, and sociology. Though some specialisation would be allowed in the final year, the mathematical component in the weighting of the degree should be sharply reduced.
Great idea: impose you own views on them, but don’t continue the advancement of the actual subject. Remember, free will is only “free will” in his world.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Clawback Nation

Lo, the gentle “farmers” of France, such as they (and their attorneys are,) are fighting off a misappropriated malaprop of €500 000 000 that the government of Frankistan wants back.

The government, under pressure from Brussels, will require producers of fruits and vegetables reimbursement grant an undue amount of half a billion euros.
How they don’t think it’s already been spent is beyond me.
The french state will require producers of fruits and vegetables, according to a requirement of the European Union, the repayment of subsidies paid between 1992 and 2002, totaling around 500 million euros.
And from the “too polite to tell ourselves the truth” department:
Brussels considers that the aid has distorted competition.
Which (if you haven’t been paying attention to the decades of the passionate defense of subsidies for “cultural reasons”) was the idea.

- Thanks to Pat Patterson
(who is an evil genius.)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

In the Workers’ Paradise, all our Growlers will Sound the Same

Communism: it can’t even help you take a dump.

To each what isn’t stolen or lost to incompetence will be given...

Silent Scream

Just how DO you Zapatero an otherwise developing nation?

Spain has gone from being a European model for growth, creating more than a third of all euro-zone jobs over the past decade, to having the region's highest unemployment rate.

With 4.13 million people out of work, Spain's unemployment hit 17.9 percent in the second quarter. The EU statistics agency Eurostat puts the figure even higher, at 18.1 percent.
Nonetheless, Europeans take the usual tack: march against global issues that are beyond the control of their local governments, but display their ‘therapeutic invective’ anyway.

Dig it!: Circus People!