Saturday, October 02, 2010

Bauhaus and Neo-Bauhaus: a Natural but Ironic Choice

From a city that is philosophically more of a hybrid than it is European, Mediterranean, or Near Eastern, and might be one of the most substantive laboratories of Bauhaus and it’s many there-afters. It is present day Tel Aviv.

A new city, it was to make every effort to look into the future, not into the hard, class separated, hatred laden past, so the “new” style, a forward looking one, seemed a natural choice, despite the fascist use of modernism in Italy and Germany in a state-authoritarian and institutional role.

The Last Best Hope

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny — on November 2 (thanks to Mark)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Greenie Social Engineers: "Believe of Die," and Other Forced Conversions

Aren't you glad that there is a whole new generation of "social activists" willing to as "how many millions have to die to make a perfect society?"

Done hand in glove with The Guardian, (a.k.a. the provisional wing of a school of thought that makes excuses for leftist authoritarianism,) behold a campaign directed at intimidating children to do their political bidding through operant conditioning - possibly because persuading intelligent adults is just too much to be bothered with. After all, it's a lot easier to inculcate a belief in a man-emitted carbon apocalypse in children who haven't yet developed a firm grip on science and the natural world.

Attempting to access children without the consent of their parents, employing tacitly inferred threats of violence and torture, these "campaigners" are using the tactics of cultists and pedophile sexual predators. I'm sure they've invented a morality for themselves that permits them to think that THEIR issue is more important than fostering the independent thinking of children, or the authority of parents.

The Danish Art of Hygge

The Danes have a word that's hard to translate, and no foreigner can hope to pronounce, but it's as Danish as pork roast and cold beer
we read in The Danish Art of Hygge (tak til Valerie).
It's hygge, and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul.

The closest we can come phonetically is "hooga," if we try forming our mouths for "ee" while saying "oo." It doesn’t translate directly into any other language but we can illustrate it in action.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the immigrant enclaves outside France’s major cities, the U.S. embassy in Paris sponsors urban renewal projects, music festivals, and conferences

The United States Embassy in Paris has formed a network of partnerships with local governments, advocacy groups, entrepreneurs, students and cultural leaders in the troubled immigrant enclaves outside France’s major cities
writes Scott Sayare from Bondy in a New York Times article sent by Duncan who adds that "I guess Obama can't resist organizing a community."
The residents of this poor, multiracial Paris suburb say they have been abandoned. For 30 years, they say, the French authorities have written off Bondy and neighborhoods like it, treating their inhabitants as terminal delinquents and ignoring their potential.

This, residents note, is not the approach taken by the United States Department of State.

…Begun in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks as part of an effort to bolster the image of the United States within Muslim communities across the globe, American outreach in these hard neighborhoods — often referred to collectively as the “banlieues,” or suburbs — has grown in scale and visibility since the election of Barack Obama.

…With an annual public affairs budget of about $3 million, the Paris embassy has sponsored urban renewal projects, music festivals and conferences. Since Mr. Obama’s election, the Americans have helped organize seminars for minority politicians, coaching them in electoral strategy, fund-raising and communications.
Oh, great! Export ACORN's "experience" to France's banlieues
In an April meeting organized by the United States Embassy in Paris, Samuel L. Jackson meets students in Bondy

Whine, Counter-whine

Europeans in Brussels are Revolting

Unloved 'eurocrats' look on at Brussels protest
Which I suppose is just a symptom of the socialist disease of trying to find someone else to pay for your comforts.
But the image of the Brussels gravy-train ignores the fact that thousands of EU secretaries, porters and other junior staff take home just €1,400-or-so each month and work on temporary contracts with no job security.
If, that is, IF you’re a part-timer or a temp. The best job you can find, you say? That hardly sounds like it’s structurally “uncompetitive.”

Given the mobility of the workforce, and the fact that you can always resign from it, if you think it such a miserable sweatshop, would indicate that those salaries are actually at a fair market value.
Simon Coates, from the EU Council's FFPE union, said that when officials move to Brussels their spouses often have to give up work and they lose the support of their extended families in terms of child-care.
No, they didn’t HAVE to give up anything, because you didn’t HAVE to take the job that required relocation, you Candy Ass.
"EU salaries [for low- and mid-ranking officials] are no longer competitive. There are no good career prospects here, so we are finding it hard to recruit people from countries such as the UK, Sweden or Germany," he added.
And here we thought that they were the champions of all that was good and pleasant in the world – like “living wage” mandates and “rights” to all of life’s material needs.

“Austere,” is it not?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Paris sera toujours Paris!

Alas, the culture of discussion and debate...

The Techno Parade was meant to mimic Berlin's now equally violent "Love" Parade. Taken 25 September.

Researchers Trying to Discover Ape Connection to AIDS Instead Link Malaria to Gorillas

AIDS researchers doing research on the links of that disease to Africa's ape population have instead discovered the connection of malaria to the gorilla, writes Catherine Vincent in Le Monde.

They’re All into Greek

Much as Greek protesters opposed austerity of any sort, and in fact wanted MORE benefits, despite the fact that there is no-one left to suck dry to pay for them, protesters will be descending on Brussels demanding to expropriate more from the grandchildren they won’t have:

Tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into Brussels, hoping to swell into a 100,000-strong march on European Union institutions later in the day and reinforce the impact of Spain’s first nationwide strike in eight years.

All the actions sought to protest the budget-slashing, tax-hiking, pension-cutting austerity plans of European governments seeking to control their debt.

In an ironic twist, the march in Brussels comes just as the EU Commission is proposing to punish member states that have run up deficits to fund social programs in a time of high unemployment across the continent. The proposal, backed by Germany, is running into opposition from France, which wants politicians to decide on sanctions, not rigid rules alone.

“It is a bizarre time for the European Commission to be proposing a regime of punishment,” said John Monks, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, which is organizing the Brussels march.

“How is that going to make the situation better? It is going to make it worse,” Monks said in an interview with Associated Press Television News.
A fact rapidly disproved by Germany’s relatively low unemployment rate and the fact that they actually have some GDP growth.

Of course this only happens when you bet your entire future on the government’s social policies.

Elsewhere in the land of Greek wisdom and savoire vivre:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A new discussion space has opened where the compatibility of large Muslim and other populations with national laws and culture is being challenged

The base line in Europe for what politicians say and do about immigration and the role of Islamic communities in their countries is moving
writes John Vinocur in the International Herald Tribune.

It is shifting in a way that mainstream politics now permits its leaders to say flatly that immigrants, Muslims in large part, must accommodate the rules and traditions of the societies they enter, rather than vice versa.

In recent weeks, there have been paroxysms of controversy in Germany over a critical book on the place of immigrants there, which found substantial public support. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of targeting immigrants for quick political gain. In both cases, a new discussion space has opened where the compatibility — or ability to integrate — of large Muslim and other populations with national laws and culture is coming under challenge.

It is a European event, in France’s case overlapping the country’s treatment of foreign Roma, or Gypsies, who have overstayed the three-month welcome automatically accorded citizens of Bulgaria and Romania as members of the European Union.

Good, you could say, in the sense that the issue confronts an often muzzled truth about European life and a matter of genuine public concern. Unsettling, you could insist, because it has erupted at a time of limited European economic perspectives, national leaders with weak public support, and, mostly from the left, reflex rebuttals using words like Nazism or racism to condemn what is, in many respects, a new frankness.

… The European Union … has relatively little to offer when it comes to clarity on immigration issues, having no common quotas, a minimum of specific regulations, and rules that encourage free movement across borders. The Union appears not to have advanced on the question since late 2004, when the filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in Amsterdam by a Muslim extremist; the Dutch government, chairing an E.U. summit meeting in Brussels, considered it inopportune to bring the issue of Muslim integration before its partners.

I don't know whether the figures and the conclusions in the video above
(shookhran to Mark) are true, but anyway, it is well worth seeing…

“But IMHO being right is more important than being liked.”

Reader Doug left the following prescient note in the comments on the common expatriates’ hatred of ones’ own:

I'm an ex-pat buckeye who's been living in Germany for 19 years after being stationed here for 6 years before that. and you can believe me when I say that I've lost more friends than won because of my views. And I do have a useful job.
[ ... ]
.The last 9 years have in many ways been the hardest in my life. But IMHO being right is more important than being liked. and from experience I can say that many useless expats love dragging the US down. Some fools enjoy ingratiating themselves with their hosts no matter what. I even went as far as to hang a picture of W in my lab just to f#&k with people.
A picture of George Bush where it can’t be avoided is also something one can truly do to test people’s ‘tolerance’ for ideas other than their own, especially those who are more interested in talking about their own breadth than actually practicing it. Are these ‘inclusive’ lefties not the ones saying how they must “get in the face” of those who don’t carry their water?

When it comes down to it, most leftists’ touted Agora of Ideas®©™, is a sullen and silent breadline where all are forced to finish off their LuRPs and are forced to profess their thanks for it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Le communisme n'a tué que 100 millions de personnes ; Il faut lui donner une autre chance !

Following Guy Sorman's common-sense decision to refer to Phnom Penh as The Nuremburg of Communism because of the Cambodian capital's Khmer Rouge trials, Le Monde gets inundated with reactions from intellectuals and readers saying that Karl Marx and his theories should not be rejected — how dare he?! — because of "mistakes" by communist régimes…

Or, as the Protest Warrior T-shirt proclaims:
Communism has only killed 100 million people; let's give it another chance!

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...

...of somebody else. Michael Philips points out a problem with American expats: they’re a huge source of anti-American invective. A funny thing for people too detached to still genuinely understand the place and the people that they’re generalizing about.

I remember 40 continuous years of idle expat discussions, cocktail parties and dinner parties where Americans are the first and most vocal to express hate for Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh.. the list is endless and the patois is pure hate-America Liberalism.
It’s also noteworthy that virtually NONE of the sort Expat one hears spewing (out of a presumed need to be liked by strangers,) is involved in some productive job – it’s always the case of an intern for an NGO with a social goal, or a student, of a political type, but one rarely finds this with someone working full time in Finance, Engineering, Science, or even teaching.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Infantile" is the Word Used by The Economist for Tea Partiers and Other Conservative Americans Who Place Their Trust in the 1787 Constitution

Just in case there is any doubt that The Economist has veered — massively — to the left… Following the magazine's calling Tea Partiers (and therefore people of the American heartland) bitter and brainless ("Too much anger and too few ideas"), the London weekly is back in form this week, with Lexington referring to the beliefs of "constitution–worshippers" as "infantile"

As a thoughtfully detached reader notes,
Lexington overstates the case of “constitution–worship” in order to create a caricature of Tea Party belief, the easier to apply his extensive wit and prose in vanquishing his own straw man. Tea Party activists no more believe that the Constitution alone can solve the complex political issues of the day than a business chief executive officer believes that his vision statement provides the day to day objectives, priorities and tasks of his business. And while acknowledging the greatness of the Constitution and the visionaries who wrote it, Lexington gratuitously diminishes his own approbation by inappropriately implying a moral equivalent between the Framers non-partisan backroom deal making (for the sake of the new country and all citizens) with today’s rigidly partisan backroom deal making of the current Congress (for the political and financial advantage of the Democratic party and their supporters). All this being said, Lexington is right on one key point: the Constitution, thanks to the Tea Party, is rightfully enjoying a dramatic and much needed revival.
Another reader opines:
Another Lexington column riddled with logical fallacies. As others have noted, the Constitution was initiated as a contract which delineated the enumerated powers of the federal government, with the 10th amendment providing the explicit language to that effect. The constitution does not "provide answers to the hard questions of today's politics", nor should it--but it does provide a durable framework for participants to provide those answers. A body of law in a federal system requires a hierarchy, and the constitution is at the top of that hierarchy. Dismissing the foundational document as a "text put on paper in a bygone age" betrays a profound ignorance of the sound governing principles in that document--principles which are, in fact, timeless. The dismissal of the conservative arguments that the federal government has usurped the sound governing principles of the Constitution rings hollow. Lexington dismisses these arguments as "idolatry"--a straw-man rhetorical device worthy of Obama's worst style. The fact is, a government truly based on rule of law must adhere to the principles of a constitution--defenders of the current bloated federal state are unable to cite this basis, hence their attack on those who would pare the government down to it actual legal basis. Thus the "first principles in every political generation" may in fact be found by consulting that "text put on paper in a bygone age". The only alternative is an arbitrary and capricious rule by the whims of powerful men.
Another reader, saying what a sad, straw argument, adds:
Contrary to what was stated in your article, the Constitution was not written in 100% agreement by like-minded bigots that hated poor men, women and slaves. It was argued and fought over, tooth and nail, by some of the greatest minds in History. Many of whom came from different backgrounds, and had differing opinions on those very issues. It's amazing the thing got written, much less ratified. It’s considered one of the best compromises in history. … Lexy. Baby. Simple question: have you even read these documents you’re so quick to dismiss?
Another reader is less polite:
"Infantile" is an excellent word for yet another phoned-in Lexington column. Never one to actually examine the beliefs of those who disagree with him, Lexington broadly caricatures, then derides his opponents. Not every problem requires a solution mapped out in the Constitution- gay marriage, to use your example, being an area best left to the states (oh wait, that is in there- it's called the 10th amendment. Read it, you supercilious jackass). The whole point, if you remove your head form your posterior, is that many, many things in life do not require federal legislation, or administration, or oversight of any kind, which is why the Constitution restricts the authority of the government. True, it was not written for the purpose of restricting government, but in expanding the authority of the federal government, it was designed to be self-constricting, mainly to answer the concerns of those who worried about the kind of overreach we have today. Please refrain from opining until you learn something about the subject. Thanks.
Update: Most of the issues brought up by The Economist are not as clear-cut as leftists would like and, in any event, were settled already, over 150 years ago: Abraham Lincoln and the Founding Fathers' Supposed Embrace of Slavery Along with Their Alleged Rejection of Women's Rights

Abraham Lincoln and the Founding Fathers' Supposed Embrace of Slavery Along with Their Alleged Rejection of Women's Rights

This week, The Economist published a screed describing the tea parties' "constitution-worshippers" as "infantile".
When history is turned into scripture and men into deities, truth is the victim. The framers were giants, visionaries and polymaths. But they were also aristocrats, creatures of their time fearful of what they considered the excessive democracy taking hold in the states in the 1780s. They did not believe that poor men, or any women, let alone slaves, should have the vote.
As far as The Economist's history lesson is concerned, if Lexington had any real knowledge of history, allegedly coming from the framework of "modern politics", he would know that most of the issues he brings up are not as clear-cut as holier-than-thou leftists would like and that, in any event, they were settled already (over 150 years ago, which seems a lot for a progressive like him who has little but scorn for anything not modern), by none other than Abraham Lincoln.

• Regarding "excessive democracy" and not giving the poor the vote, briefly this: the founders did not found a democracy, they founded a republic. They did not want a land of mobs, they wanted a land of laws. By kowtowing to the poor, the state pulls down the rich; by protecting the rights of everybody (including the rich), the state ensures the poor can at least try to raise themselves into a wealthier class.

• Regarding not giving slaves or blacks the vote: during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Stephen A. Douglas, like today's constitution-rejecters, pointed out that slavery had existed since the revolution and the constitution — except that in his case the argument was to make the point, contrary to what today's holier-than-thou moralists hold (that the framers were nigh-despicable and that we should have no admiration for those terrible slave-holders), that slavery was a good thing and was something intended by that time's slave owners.

At Galesburg in October 1858, Douglas spoke words that mirror those of today's founding father scorners (as nothing but slave-holders), except, again, his argument was to defend the fathers as well as slavery:
Let me remind [my opponents] that when Thomas Jefferson wrote that document, he was the owner, and so continued until his death, of a large number of slaves. Did he intend to say in that Declaration, that his negro slaves, which he held and treated as property, were created his equals by divine law, and that he was violating the law of God every day of his life by holding them as slaves? It must be borne in mind that when that Declaration was put forth, every one of the thirteen Colonies were slaveholding Colonies, and every man who signed that instrument represented a slaveholding constituency. Recollect, also, that no one of them emancipated his slaves, much less put them on an equality with himself, after he signed the Declaration.

Abraham Lincoln responded that what Stephen Douglas is asking you in the audience is:
Is it possible to believe that Mr. Jefferson, who penned the immortal paper, could have supposed himself applying the language of that instrument to the negro race, and yet held a portion of that race in slavery? Would he not at once have freed them? I only have to remark upon this part of the Judge’s speech … that I believe the entire records of the world, from the date of the Declaration of Independence up to within three years ago, may be searched in vain for one single affirmation, from one single man, that the negro was not included in the Declaration of Independence; I think I may defy Judge Douglas to show that he ever said so, that Washington ever said so, that any President ever said so, that any member of Congress ever said so, or that any living man upon the whole earth ever said so, until the necessities of the present policy of the Democratic party, in regard to slavery, had to invent that affirmation. And I will remind Judge Douglas and this audience that while Mr. Jefferson was the owner of slaves, as undoubtedly he was, in speaking upon this very subject he used the strong language that “he trembled for his country when he remembered that God was just;” and I will offer the highest premium in my power to Judge Douglas if he will show that he, in all his life, ever uttered a sentiment at all akin to that of Jefferson.

At Quincy six days later, Lincoln pushed further, pointing out that people who declare that the founding fathers wanted, that they instituted, or even that they tolerated slavery (whether to praise said fathers or to demonize them) are assuming "what is historically a falsehood":
I insist that our fathers did not make this nation half slave and half free, or part slave and part free. I insist that they found the institution of slavery existing here. They did not make it so, but they left it so because they knew of no way to get rid of it at that time. When Judge Douglas undertakes to say that, as a matter of choice, the fathers of the Government made this nation part slave and part free, he assumes what is historically a falsehood. More than that: when the fathers of the Government cut off the source of slavery by the abolition of the slave-trade, and adopted a system of restricting it from the new Territories where it had not existed, I maintain that they placed it where they understood, and all sensible men understood, it was in the course of ultimate extinction.
As for the Declaration of Independence, Honest Abe said in June 1857 that
the authors of that notable instrument … did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all [men] were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere. The assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, not for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.
• How about women's lack of the vote? Again, Lincoln's career is illustrative. Two events during his electioneering are well known, but the — obvious — ramifications have not been inferred. During his 1858 campaign for the Illinois senate, one huge banner said
Westward thy star of Empire takes its way
Thy Girls Link-on for Lincoln
Their Mothers were for Clay
If the feminists' version of history is true — that of long-suffering martyrs with no rights, horrifically oppressed by their male tormentors — this sentence (whom the daughters support(ed), whom the mothers endorse(d)), which was accepted by all, male and female alike, makes no sense. Nor, indeed, does the very presence of innumerable females at the Lincoln/Douglas debates and other such public political events. Unless, of course, you go along with the leftists' (self-serving) view of history, that everyone prior to members of the modern left — male and female alike, again — were dunces fooled by the evil forces of reaction and/or capitalism… Could it be that American females were not that victimized as we are led to believe?

Indeed, during the 1860 election, Lincoln got a letter from a 11-year old girl prompting him to grow a beard. Grace Bedell wrote that
I have got 4 brother's and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. … I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can.
Fancy that! Women (or American women) — even 11-year-old girls (!) — were not long-suffering martyrs, oppressed horrifically by the male tormentors, but individuals discussing politics and attempting to persuade and cajole and "tease" (and/or terrify?!) the (oppressing) menfolk in their lives into voting for the candidate of their choice (and probably into doing many other things — like taking out the garbage)!

Guess what: perhaps it turns out that the male vote of the pre-20th century was not a male vote at all, but a family vote, one that happened to be carried out by the (titular) head of the family…

Related: All the viceless leftists' (self-serving) arguments against the fathers, such as that brought up by The Economist, are thoroughly dissected and examined in detail the books by Harry Jaffa

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace

Peace Out!