Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fix Bayonets!

RIP, Lewis L. Millett, who received the Medal of Honor during the Korean War for leading what was reportedly the last major American bayonet charge…

All those in favour, say Aye. Opposed, No. So ordered!

Now sit down and shut the hell up!

The Chair rules that sometimes this whole democracy thing can be a little bit too cumbersome.

If it's Farage.... know it is going to be good:

His Pre-existing Conditions are Entirely Political

Which is why THIS old man will never face a death panel. It turns out that Neo-Nazi and politically active Democrat James Von Brunn, is having all of his medical issues taken care of by the loving teat of Gub’mint. Inasmuch as a non-felon would not get the same degree of care and attention after the system is nationalized, we will find ourselves competing for resources with attempted mass murders, all thanks to the lefty over-powerful fetishisation of the State, a trait that world view shares without question with history’s fascists and tyrants.

Same as it ever was

Q: How do we know our fearless leaders are eminently qualified?
A: Because they tells us they are, of course.

In the rarefied air where those CRU emails detailing fraud, deceit and corruption of the scientific process, do not exist and are never to be spoken of, a leader emerges:

Connie Hedegaard, named as the next European Union climate commissioner, will oversee a possible EU decision to force energy and manufacturing companies in the world's biggest greenhouse-gas market to deepen emission cuts.

The current Danish climate and energy minister must also resolve an EU legal dispute with East Europe that has raised the regulatory risks in the European emissions-trading program, the cornerstone of Europe's policy to fight global warming. The bloc sets carbon-dioxide quotas on power plants and factories and forces those that exceed their limits to buy spare permits from businesses that emit less.

Scientist? climatoligist? astro-physicist? Hardly:

Connie Hedegaard holds an MA in Literature and History. She has been active in government on and off since 1984, when she was elected as the hitherto youngest member of the Folketing, the Danish national parliament, where she sat for six years. In 1990, she left politics to pursue a career in journalism. Over the next 14 years, she worked as a journalist at the newspaper Berlingske Tidende, took the post of Director of DR Radio News, and was the anchor for Deadline, a Danish TV news program.

Diving back into politics in 2004, she became Minister of the Environment.
Politician, journalist, hack, the perfect background for our esteemed betters. Let the hagiography begin!

Lieutenant Colonel Allen West for President

The Constitution says "promote the general welfare", not provide welfare; it's about setting conditions for our success! Right now, if you're not careful in the United States of America, we have a class warfare that's going on: you got a producing class, and you got an entitlement class… (1:55; thanks t0 Grimmy)

This isn't "denial," it's just common sense: The large majority of Americans were right all along

Tens of thousands of scientists share our [skeptical] views, including many whose credentials are far superior to those of the dozen or so alarmists the media quote and promote
writes Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute and editor of "Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change," by Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer.
The implications of these e-mails are enormous: They mean the IPCC is not a reliable source of science on global warming.

And since the global movement to "do something" about global warming rests almost entirely on the IPCC's claim to represent the "consensus" of climate science, that entire movement stands discredited.

…Polls show that only a third of Americans believe global warming is the result of human activity, and even fewer think it is a major environmental problem. This new scandal, combined with a huge body of science and economics ignored or deliberately concealed by the alarmists, proves that the large majority of Americans were right all along.

The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinion about global warming to stop and reconsider their position.

The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is real evidence they should examine and then comment on publicly.

(Merci to François)

Update: Paul Driessen adds:
The stakes are incredibly high. [The alarmists’] bogus, biased “science” is being used to justify expensive, intrusive, repressive, abusive treaties, laws and regulations. The new rules would undermine economies, destroy jobs, close down companies and entire industries, impoverish families and communities, roll back personal freedoms and civil rights – and enrich the lucky few whose lobbyists and connections enable them to corner markets for renewable energy technologies, carbon offsets and emissions trading.

For the most destitute people on the planet, the repercussions from this fraud are even higher. … The entire IPCC and peer review process needs to be repaired. The alarmists and self-appointed censors who have corrupted the system must be replaced with scientists who will ensure honest inquiry and a full airing of all data, hypotheses and perspectives on climate science, economics and policy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

White House's Science Czar Is Involved in Climategate

This is rich! The Apologizer-in-Chief's Science Czar is involved in Climategate:
the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John P. Holdren, is a key player in the Climategate e-mails flap, which is shaping up as the biggest scandal in the history of modern science. …the Canada Free Press this week revealed that the former Harvard professor and Al Gore global warming adviser features prominently in the thousands of e-mails and other files made public after the hacking last week of a computer server used by the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit.

The most embarrassing item for the Obama Administration may be a 2003 exchange between Holdren [who has a history of alarmingly extremist views] and editor-in-chief Nick Schulz…
Do read the rest from Newsmax…

The True Danger Comes Not From Meat or Children, But From the Millenarian Myths and Mythology of Ecological-Marxist Political Correctness

Malthusian theses are rearing their heads anew, writes Frédéric Lemaître in Le Monde, as the ideas of Thomas Malthus become seductive again:
Entre ceux qui doutent des capacités de la planète à nourrir 9 milliards d'individus en 2050 — après, le chiffre devrait diminuer — et ceux qui sont convaincus que la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique impose une moindre pression démographique, les thèses malthusiennes font à nouveau des adeptes.

…L'économiste Daniel Cohen a résumé la situation aux Journées de l'économie de Lyon. Au moment même où, grâce à la mondialisation, une partie importante de l'humanité sort de la loi de Malthus et s'apprête à rejoindre le niveau de vie des Occidentaux, la contrainte écologique nous rappelle que le monde que l'on croyait infini ne l'est pas.
Because a divorce reduces the number of people per home, some specialists (sic) hold that a divorce has more of an impact on global warming than a birth.
Les dirigeants chinois ne se privent pas de rappeler aux Occidentaux que l'état de la planète serait pire s'ils n'avaient pas limité les naissances à un enfant par famille. En France, le député (Verts) Yves Cochet propose de cesser de verser des allocations familiales au-delà du deuxième enfant.
Typical among the reactions of Le Monde's readers is this one praising China's authoritative abortionists' can-do spirit:
Quant à dire qu'il n'existe pas de méthodes, la chine a prouvé le contraire. Quand on veut, on peut.
Much rarer is the following comment:
Malthus avait tort hier, ses héritiers ont tort aujourd’hui. Le vrai danger ne vient pas de la viande ni des enfants, mais des mythes et mythologies millénaristes assénées par la pensée unique écologico-marxiste qui aboutit à ce que l’on souhaite des solutions « à la chinoise » qui relève du totalitarisme le plus liberticide. L’enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions et bientôt, des commissaires écologiques viendront noyer nos nourrissons après avoir fait fermer les labos qui font de la recherche OGM.

One is left to wonder why they felt the need to rig the game in the first place, if their science is as robust as they claim

The impression left by the Climategate emails is that the global warming game has been rigged from the start
is the subtitle of a piece in the Wall Street Journal as the title uses the word "forge" in both meanings of the word. (See how Obama's White House is involved…)
…the furor over these documents [those in last week's leaked-email and document scandal] is not about tone, colloquialisms or even whether climatologists are nice people in private. The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at in the first place, and how even now a single view is being enforced. In short, the impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.

According to this privileged group, only those whose work has been published in select scientific journals, after having gone through the "peer-review" process, can be relied on to critique the science. And sure enough, any challenges that critics have lobbed at climatologists from outside this clique are routinely dismissed and disparaged.

…The scare quotes around "peer-reviewed literature," by the way, are Mr. Mann's. He went on in the email to suggest that the journal itself be blackballed … In other words, keep dissent out of the respected journals. When that fails, re-define what constitutes a respected journal to exclude any that publish inconvenient views. It's easy to manufacture a scientific consensus when you get to decide what counts as science.

The response to this among the defenders of Mr. Mann and his circle has been that even if they did disparage doubters and exclude contrary points of view, theirs is still the best climate science we've got. The proof for this is circular. It's the best, we're told, because it's the most-published and most-cited—in that same peer-reviewed literature.

Even so, by rigging the rules, they've made it impossible to know how good it really is. And then, one is left to wonder why they felt the need to rig the game in the first place, if their science is as robust as they claim. If there's an innocent explanation for that, we'd love to hear it.


The Opinion of a Morocco Native: Obama Is an Arab

A Moroccan acquaintance of mine who loves Obama (and Clinton) while hating Bush (Bush a foutu la merde partout) — and who would probably part ways if we ever should start talking politics — said today that yesterday Obama had sent his best wishes to Muslims making a pilgrimage to the Mecca. That was followed by these sentences:
Tu sais qui c'est, Obama ? Obama, c'est un Arabe. Son père, il est, je ne sais quoi, sa mère c'est une Américaine, mais lui, c'est un Arabe.
Ny reply was that I was sure that a lot of Americans would agree…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So, you would like a career as a stenographer*

Alister Doyle, Reuters Environment Correspondent Stenographer cuts and pastes directly from the latest enviro talking points, the Copenhagen Diagnosis:

(insert your own favourite end of he world scenario here)
The odd part of Mr. Doyle's particular stenographic effort:

Many of the authors were on the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...
In light of recent events, is this bit of knowledge suppose to be an actual selling point for the Copenhagen Diagnosis? Still, as pavlovian as the piece is, it could always be worse. You could be reading this outright CRU apologista piece by Stacy Feldman.

* With apologies to true stenographers for the association

Former Attorney General in Paris for Speech on the Subject of “Balancing Democracy, Justice, and Security”

In a public speech at The American University of Paris on November 21, former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey spoke out on the issues of “Balancing Democracy, Justice, and Security”.

General Mukasey’s thoughts were particularly relevant and timely given the recent shootings at Fort Hood, Texas [see my post on the left's (demented) double standards and Ann Coulter's post], and the decision by current Attorney General, Eric Holder, to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several co-conspirators in a New York civilian court (sorry for the lower case problems throughout the text of the speech).

My remarks here initially were advertised as involving balancing democracy, justice, and security, and a couple of months ago that presentation would have been rather optimistic and bordered on the bland. My view at that time was that by and large there was not a whole lot of balancing necessary in the sense that our security could be maintained without giving up much if anything in the way of democracy and justice.

I still believe that. But one of the unyielding facts that go with democracy is that elections have consequences, and in the past several weeks the consequences of our elections in 2008 appear to have been dramatic.

When the administration in which I served left office, there was in place after some delay a set of regulations for trying detainees captured on foreign soil and charged with war crimes before military tribunals. A substantial part of the delay had been caused by litigation initially over the president’s authority to establish such tribunals in the first place, and then over their lawfulness at all, in cases that before, say, 2002, would not have been litigated in federal cours at all. But the cases were litigated, and the Supreme Court held that even the authorization for the use of force after September 11, 2001 and the detainee treatment act in which Congress at least implicitly recognized authority to try war crimes before military commissions were not specific enough, and so Congress obliged with the military commissions act of 2006 which, as the title would suggest, explicitly authorized such commissions.

As I said, the procedures were in place and all was in readiness when we were told a week ago Friday – somehow in Washington lots of things that don’t go down easily tend to get announced on a Friday – that the Attorney General had decided on his own authority to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 atrocity and the man who, again by his own boast and videotape evidence, was the person who beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl – we are to bring him, and Ramzi Bin Al Shibh, the operations director of 9/11, and others involved in planning and carrying out the attack, to the United States for trial in a civilian court.

As I mentioned, we were about to try these men for war crimes in a military tribunal, where they would have had counsel cleared to see and handle classified and otherwise confidential information, where a courtroom had been constructed unlike any in the United States with technology specifically directed at handling classified documents and other information transferred from anywhere on the globe in secure fashion.

The detention facility at Guantanamo, which i have visited, compares favorably with medium security prisons in the United States, which i have also visited, principally because it is remote and inherently secure, and thus there is no need for the kinds of restrictive conditions imposed on the kinds of dangerous prisoners we have in this case in maximum security facilities in the United States. In fact, during my visit to Guantanamo I was able to see the high value detainees, who are under 24-hour video surveillance, but was not able to see Khalid Sheikh Mohammed himself because he was out visiting with a delegation from the International Red Cross. I did manage to see his cell, however, and am happy to report to you that at least until he is actually sent to this country he has for his private use an elliptical machine that is the same make and model as the one I used to have to wait my turn for in the gym of the building i lived in as Attorney General. I doubt he will have it that good once he gets here, but then of course the lawsuits over his prison conditions that are certain to be filed once he arrives might even achieve that.

Some of you may recall that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said on more than one occasion when he appeared before the military commission that was to try him that he wanted to plead guilty, and some have suggested that if he does that in a civilian court the trial might not take all that long. Two responses to that: first, his initial response to being captured was that he would see his captors with his lawyer in New York, so this is someone who intends to and will use the system in any way he can to create as large a spectacle as he can, whatever system he is in. The military commissions regimen did not allow for the kind of theatrics that are available in a civilian proceeding, so he offered to plead guilty and use the process of capital sentence as his stage.

Now he has a far different and a far bigger stage, and there is no reason to believe he will refrain from using it, particularly when one benefit might well be access to classified information that must be disclosed in discovery that takes place in civilian trials or that comes out in open court, whether as part of the government’s direct proof or as part of a defendant’s examination of witnesses in order either to discover such evidence or make it appear to a jury that the government is trying to hide something.

The argument has been made that the Classified Information Procedures Act – or CIPA — that applies in civilian courts would allow the government to protect classified information by providing summaries and the like, along with the claim that no ground is lost here because the procedures in military tribunals are “based on” CIPA. Several problems with those arguments:

First, CIPA was written for very different circumstances from the ones that face us now. It was enacted in 1980 to combat the threat of what is called graymail in espionage prosecutions, where defendants essentially threaten to disclose classified information in open court. It does not provide special protection for intelligence sources and methods, and even if an attempt were made to use it to that end, it would fall short because in any event a defendant is entitled under the rules in criminal cases to what is relevant and can help in his defense, and if a defendant chooses to represent himself, that is a constitutional right that cannot be interfered with without risk of reversal.

Also, CIPA provides no mechanism for a judge to make an independent ex parte assessment of the reliability of intelligence sources and methods that underlie otherwise admissible evidence. Presumption even as to classified information under CIPA is that it be disclosed if discoverable or relevant, with the determination made by a civilian judge; the presumption in military tribunals is precisely the opposite. [Part Two] In any event, not all sensitive information is classified. Lists of co-conspirators, for example, which tell our adversaries who we know about and who we don’t – can be quite useful to them, as such a list was to Osama Bin Laden in 1995 when his name appeared on one and he left the Sudan, and if we try to classify broadly, the criticism will be raised, as it is frequently, that the government over-classifies information.

Wholly apart from that, the requirement under CIPA is that all issues of classified information be resolved before the trial, including appeals if necessary. So the government basically would have to disclose before trial what classified information it intends to introduce, whether by summary or otherwise, and then litigate the propriety of the classification and the adequacy of any summary.

How long will such a trial take over all? The indictment containing the charge has not yet been filed in district court. After it is, there will be pretrial motions to suppress evidence based on failure to comply with rules that apply in a civilian court – Miranda, technical Fourth Amendment requirements pertaining to searches and seizures, and the like – delay in the bringing and trial of charges, perhaps a motion for change of venue on the ground that a fair jury cannot be empaneled in New York, and the like.

Those pretrial proceedings, including the CIPA proceedings I mentioned earlier — are likely to consume years. How do we know? Consider a simple case like the one against the lawyer who represented the so-called blind sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, who was the spiritual guide in the first World Trade Center bombing and tried to inspire other such events. That lawyer, Lynne Stewart, was charged with violating prison rules by carrying messages to and from the sheikh when he was in jail, including messages dealing with the waging of holy war by his followers. The offense started in 1999; the charges were filed in 2002; the trial started in mid-2004 and took eight months; the sentencing did not take place until 2006, and the appeal was decided last week, with the conviction affirmed but with the case remanded to the district court for resentencing because the sentence was too lenient. Another appeal is sure to follow, with eventual application for review to the Supreme Court. Even if that is denied, that denial would only begin the process of petitioning for habeas corpus relief if there is a claimed denial of constitutional rights.

And what does that mean for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? His trial would be infinitely more complicated. Unlike the Stewart case, or even past terrorism cases tried in civilian courts, the case against him and his co-defendants was not investigated in the same way that conventional cases, even conventional terrorism cases, if one can imagine such a concept, are investigated. He and his cohorts were captured abroad by military personnel who did not administer Miranda warnings and who had no reason to believe that whatever information and evidence they gathered would have to be processed the way evidence is processed for presentation in court. This was not CSI: Kandahar, or Pakistan.

We have to remember also that included within the Sixth Amendment right to a lawyer, under applicable Supreme Court jurisprudence, is the right to self-representation. So a defendant like KSM could choose to represent himself and turn the proceedings into a forum for presenting his views and grievances. How do we know that might happen? Look at the sentencing of Zacarias Moussaoui. The trial proceeding itself took about a year, with Moussaoui at times exercising his right to self-representation and delivering tirades in court; the entire case took about four years from start to finish, and that was in a case where the defendant pleaded guilty.

I haven’t gone into issues of physical security for the participants in such a trial, from the judge to the jurors to the physical facilities that house the defendants and serve as the venue for the trial. You can well imagine those; we have seen those before; I have seen those before.

And it is more than simply the physical security of those people and places immediately involved in the proceedings themselves. I said a while ago that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would use the proceedings as a stage, as the occasion for a spectacle to serve the purpose of the ideology he stands for. That tendency obviously isn’t unique to him, or to Zacarias Moussaoui, and it needn’t be confined to a courtroom. The terrorists who shot and killed and burned in Mumbai were interested in holding the stage and the world’s attention. That was proved beyond any conceivable doubt in the recent disclosure of cell phone conversations that took place between those carrying out the destruction and those supervising them, where one is told “you have the most important target; the media are showing pictures of the Taj.” that is a reference, if you recall, to the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai where much of the destruction was carried out.

An attack like that, or an attack on subways or malls, whether in New York or anywhere else in the United States, becomes that much more inviting an event if the trial itself is brought within easy reach of the media.

And where are these people to be confined, assuming some penalty other than death is meted out to any of them? We are assured by the Attorney General that Special Administrative Measures – so-called SAMs — will apply to them so that they will be kept in solitary confinement. What we are not told is that these Special Administrative Measures were supposed to apply to Richard Reid – you recall him, the fellow who tried while he was a passenger on an airplane to set fire to explosives in his shoe, the so-called shoe bomber, who probably would have succeeded had he not spent too much time walking around the wet streets of London on a rainy day – those measures were supposed to apply to him, but he brought a proceeding at the maximum security facility where he is confined, claiming that these measures interfered with his right to pray with others, and the Justice Department, under the current administration, did not contest the issue and simply agreed to lift them.

And all of this – the burden, the risk, the delay – are supposedly being undertaken to serve the rule of law and to show that we are not afraid, as the Attorney General has said, and because civilian targets were his and civilians killed, as he testified this week, and [Part Three] to prove, as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee has said, that we are a law abiding people.

Let’s take a clue from Orwell again and look at that use of language.

Serve the rule of law? What about the military commissions act? It certainly doesn’t serve the rule of that law which Congress put in place precisely to deal with cases like this.

Show that we are not afraid? A military commission is not an exercise in fear, and a civilian trial is not a display of bravado. Both are legal proceedings – the one suited to war crimes like the ones at issue here and the other suited to conventional prosecutions.

And then we come to the showing-we-are-a-law-abiding-people part. Of course, when there was no other forum we have tried terrorists in civilian courts before, including Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh; Ramzi Youssef, the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing and planner of a series of airliner bombings that would have happened if he had not been caught when some of the explosives detonated by accident in his apartment in Manila; and the perpetrators of the embassy bombings. So if the world was not impressed with that then one wonders whether one more trial is needed to make the point. Of course, we know the terrorists were not impressed, or whether they were impressed or not they certainly were not deterred – their response was September 11, 2001.

As difficult and problematic as that situation is, we have had yet another incident that regrettably was driven off the front pages by the Attorney General’s announcement, and that was the massacre at Fort Hood apparently perpetrated by an army major, a psychiatrist who had ministered to soldiers at Walter Reed before being sent to Fort Hood, who subscribed to a militant Islamist faith that led him to use what were supposed to be professional lectures to advocate attacks on United States troops, to cast accusations against them and their mission, who communicated by e-mail with an known Al Qaeda recruiter, a cleric who praised suicide bombing and fanatical opposition to this country and all it stands for, and who just before he began his deadly assault shouted Allahu Akhbar – Allah is great – a phrase with which we became depressingly familiar on September 11, 2001 and afterward.

How did we get here?

In 1946 George Orwell wrote a remarkable essay called Politics and the English Language, which I used to require each of my law clerks to read before they took up their duties. He wrote that essay just after World War II when the nature of Soviet communism was becoming clear to anyone who had the will to see and hear, and his thesis was simply that language influences our thoughts and our politics, and vice-versa, and that when we permit sloppiness and benign abstractions to infiltrate our language, sooner or later they will infiltrate our politics as well, and that when we try to justify things that cannot be justified, or to refuse to face things that must be faced, we will resort to language meant to conceal what we are saying from others but that winds up concealing it from ourselves.

And so we have in place an administration that absorbs the following facts: the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the attacks on our military facilities at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen, the attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 more, the nearly simultaneous bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed hundreds, and of course the atrocious attack on September 11, 2001, that killed nearly three thousand people in our own country – it absorbs those facts, as well as the formal declaration by Osama Bin Laden and others who share his beliefs that they are at war with the United States, and refuses to use the term war to describe the struggle we are in, and refuses to use the word terrorism to describe what it is we are up against.

And so, we have phrases that are substituted for stark reality and appear to be meant to conceal it. Instead of a war, we are told about “foreign contingency operations,” and instead of terrorism, the person in charge of Homeland Security refers to “man-caused disasters.”

And that kind of linguistic anesthesia makes it a lot easier for the Attorney General to make the announcement he did.

And the response of the administration to the shooting at Fort Hood was that we must not jump to conclusions.

Just as we had in place protocols for trying defendants before military commissions, so too we have in place protocols that permit the FBI to gather intelligence and to open investigations. However, those protocols do not permit the opening of investigations based on First Amendment activity alone, and a great deal of what Major Hasan did before the Fort Hood shootings was First Amendment protected activity.

That may well be something we have to rethink, whether there is a difference between an investigation undertaken for the purpose of gathering intelligence and an investigation undertaken for criminal purposes may provide a basis for distinction.

But before we do any of that, we are going to have to take the advice of, as coincidence would have it, given our venue, a French philosopher – Blaise Pascal – who taught that the first rule of morality is to think clearly. We are going to have to face the fact that what we are engaged in is a war with an ideology and people who follow it in the name of religion. That is what we are going to have to oppose, and without apology, and without believing that we have something to prove to the world that makes it necessary to abase ourselves or make ourselves less safe.

We are in a city where the United States actually was born – because it was the Treaty of Paris that finally ended hostilities between us and Great Britain. This is a highly appropriate place for us to think about what the United States must do to make sure that it continues to survive.

Thank you.

Only 23 Years of Mis-Diagnosis

More news from Europe's superior health care system…

Is America's Problem Obama's Policies? Non, Writes Le Monde; The Dragon Is American Citizens' Fears and Doubts Which Obama, Knight-Like, Must Confront

Barack Obama's fall in popularity has finally made the front page of Le Monde, but not without Corine Lesnes managing to put a positive spin on it, needless to say.

"Barack Obama Faces Up to America's Doubts" is the headline on the front page, while that of the story proper inside shouts that "Barack Obama Must Confront Americans' Fear on Unemployment".

In the course of her article, Corine Lesnes mentions the victory of Bob McDonnell in Virginia, helped by a slogan (Bob's for jobs) that she calls "hollow but smiling". Hollow but smiling? What then, can't one say about "hope and change", for God's sakes?! If that had been the slogan of a Bush, a McCain, a McDonnell, or a Palin, probably then Le Monde would have called it "creux mais souriant" too… But: hope and change was the slogan of a leftist state interventionist, and so the man who uttered it is characterized as among the most intelligent men ever to have walked the face of the Earth.

Corine Lesnes goes on to conclude her article with a comparison of the Apologizer-in-Chief with Ronald Reagan, noting that the latter's unpopularity in 1982 did not prevent him "from triumphing in the election of 1984."

More splices than a bad hair weave

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I guess we are not supposed to remember the Lisbon Strategy

As with every failure, pretend it just doesn't exist and do the same thing all over again and again and again and again and again:

The European Commission launched a public consultation period on Tuesday (24 November) on a new 10-year economic plan for the European Union.

Le Monde's New York Times Supplement: "C'est de la fausse ouverture, de l'autovassalisation, de la participation à l'américanisation de la France"

After an existence of less than eight years, Le Monde's weekly New York Times supplement is about to expire, writes Véronique Maurus in Le Monde, because of the economic crisis. In April 2002, Le Monde's ombudsman reports (whe reports now and her predecessor reported then) that the decision to add the supplement was met with a howl of derision.
"Votre attitude me fait penser à ces intégristes islamiques qui affirment que le Coran est intraduisible et qu'il faut le lire dans le texte arabe", renchérissait l'autre. Le président du Forum francophone international s'étranglait : "C'est de la fausse ouverture, de l'autovassalisation, de la participation à l'américanisation de la France", tandis qu'un lecteur lyonnais parlait de "dérive technocratico-atlantico-marchande".
.. As recently as last March, Le Monde was getting angry emails by upset readers. The new reactions bemoan the disappearance of the 8-page weekly…
Paradoxe : il a fallu que, dans le numéro du 7 novembre, un encadré annonce la fin de ce supplément pour qu'aussitôt le tollé reprenne, mais dans l'autre sens. Oubliées les critiques, les remarques acides, la défense de la francophonie en péril ! Lettres et courriels déplorent unanimement la disparition de ces pages en version originale.
In response to the ombuds(wo)man's column (in general) one reader reacts as follows:
Je ne manque jamais les articles de V M et me rejouis de cette maniere condescendante de traiter le courrier des lecteurs : on a fait ceci, des lecteurs disent cela, on fait cela des lecteurs disent ceci. Conclusion implicite : vous etes des...veaux! Conclusion non ecrite, on s'est plante, internet bouleverse la donne, la direction n'a pas compris les changements, on annule tout et je suis chargee de rendre publique cette erreur strategique de la direction precedente en l'attribuant au lectorat!

First, There was an Emptiness of Being...

Then, they pretended to be debating “the artistic merits”.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tales which warm the heart...

Unless, of course, it was your account which was being siphoned:

A bank worker who shifted money from the accounts of well-off customers to help cover the overdrafts of poorer ones has been sentenced in Germany. The media are describing the woman, who took no money for herself and is now repaying €1.1 million from a tiny pension, as a female Robin Hood.
Of note:

She tried to transfer the money back once the audits were over, but that wasn't always possible because some of the poorer customers had run up ever-increasing overdrafts.
Maybe they ran up ever-increasing overdrafts because they faced no consequences for their reckless spending in the first place?

Attention On Deck!

Why? Just because. Thanks to the very good taste of OMMAG.

Who, in the Middle East, Uses Human Shields and Who Represents Fanaticism? Why, Israel, Bien Sûr…

Force est de constater qu'aujourd'hui, sans doute plus qu'hier, le gouvernement israélien porte la responsabilité du blocage.
Bad, bad Isreal is doing "all it can" to compromise Barack Obama's peace efforts in the Middle East, deplores Caroline Fourest in Le Monde (an opinion (piece entitled Israel Versus Obama) in which she is joined by most Le Monde readers) as she lauds Elie Barnavi's book, Aujourd'hui ou peut-être jamais. While she sympathizes with Barnavi's hope (and change?) for "an American [i.e., an Obama] peace in the Middle East", she claims that the U.S. veto of Israel's indictment following the Goldstone report on "the Gaza war" weakens the American position for imposing peace. And who is it that represents fanaticism (and who is it that uses human shields) in Fourest's book?
A force d'utiliser les colonies comme boucliers humains, Israël entretient un fanatisme qui n'est pas le moindre de ses ennemis "intérieurs".
More fairy tales from Fourest? Why not:
En revanche, la page Bush est bien tournée. L'illusion d'un choc entre un bloc musulman et un bloc occidental a vécu.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We could not agree more

Emphasis added, of course.

It is disturbing that the Bush Administration sought and received advice from the fossil fuel industry on the leadership of an important scientific body such as the IPCC. A politicized IPCC threatens the integrity and credibility of the scientific process.
Moreover, maybe someone can explain why every time Mann and his colleagues draft another curve, the temperature in 2000 gets warmer and warmer after the fact...

Paris Public School Teacher Wanting Her Students to Concentrate Receives a Letter From the Class Telling Her to Go F*** Herself

While Americans debate public health care in the wake of the well-known (and utterly undeniable) benefits of the public education system, the reactions to a public school teacher in Paris who wanted (who wants) her (final year) high school students to listen in English class and refrain from using cel phones, putting on makeup, and otherwise failing to concentrate were as following, reports Maryline Baumard in Le Monde:
  • She was threatened verbally and her USB memory card was stolen
  • Nearly all the students signed a letter to the school director "strongly" advising him (vivement) "to undertake a change of teach"
  • When the director refused, they sent a letter to "the teach", advising Claudine Lespagnol, 58, to change her attitude and to "stop making remarks every time we have a phone in our hands, because it is a waste of time". If such were not to happen, they concluded in a parody of a school report ("if there is no effort to change on your part…"), "we have only but a few words to tell you: Go f••• yourself" (allez vous faire enc..." — the article does not mention whether the "masking" of the word "enc•ler" — which actually happens to be stronger than the F word in English (since it only involves sodomy) — was the reporter's doing or if it was "masked" in the students' original letter, but it seems fair to assume that it was the former).
Subsequent to the teacher's complaint (regarding the letter, the threats, and the theft), according to Maryline Baumard's report, the school director happened (cough cough) to fall ill and go on sick leave, an inspector stated that those facts are unacceptable while adding, deploringly, that "collective sanctions do not exist", and a teacher's union representative reported that during a meeting regarding the problem, "the idea of proceeding with the exchange of English teachers was invoked in the name of 'continuity of public service'."

Even someone working for a leftist, statist news paper, like Maryline Baumard, could only have a common-sense reaction: Does the continuity of public service mean simply having someone standing in front of the classroom or does it entail teaching a subject?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Small is no Longer Beautiful

Consistent with the big Euro-topia theme that privacy and individual rights are meaningless, The Netherlands will start monitoring automobiles to charge a per-kilometer tax on mere locomotion. Not only does this make smaller cars less appealing, but forces on drivers yet another cost to install what amounts to an ankle bracelet of the sort found among “non-custodial prisoners” on their vehicles.

The Cabinet approved a bill Friday calling for drivers of an average passenger car to pay a base rate of euro0.03 per 1 kilometer (7 US cents per mile), beginning in 2012. Drivers of heavier, more polluting vehicles will pay more, and the cost will go up for driving in peak hours.

GPS will track the time, hour and place each car moves and send the data to a billing agency.
Bear in mind that this is in addition to the taxes on fuel, which discriminate very definitely on how much of it you consume.
- Tip o’ hat to Shy Guy

"Thanks heaps"

What a difference a day makes.

Just yesterday, the science on man-made global warming was settled, a done deal, irrefutable, pristine, absolute, just ask those pushing that particular argument. Yesterdays argument is what my bookmaker would call a "cod-lock".

Now today, we find that those very same individuals pushing that particular argument are a bit more, oh .... how would we put it, nuanced:

But this is fine, since the IPCC AR4 and other assessments are not saying the evidence is 100% conclusive (or even 90% conclusive) but just "likely" that modern is warmer than M[edieval] W[arm] P[eriod]. ...
So, we are to spend/curtail billions and billions based upon, "likely". Does anyone know at what point "likely" becomes a "guess"?

Todays argument is what my bookmaker would call a 50-50, maybe yes - maybe no.