Saturday, December 04, 2010

Can she fend off the assaults of fanatical White House officials and Hezzbollah commandos in time to write and deliver her column before deadline?

(Thanks to Hervé who is… "speechless")

Channeling al Jezeera sur Seine

Call me when your moral compass stops spinning.

While belittling the death of American civilians is nothing new, this cartoon published on the web page “All Voices”, one which purports to reflect the opinions of “a world that has no other outlet,” it displays quite plainly that to many out there the WikiDump is not about “transparency”, but another quietly celebrated missile fired at Americans and at the United States.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Good-Bye, Friend

Hugh Prather, 1938-2010

NATO and Russia at Lisbon Summit: You just might want to put off a decision on sharing a system to defend against a nuclear threat from Iran

Alexander Golts, a Russian security and military affairs analyst with a reputation for considerable integrity and cheek … writing in The Moscow Times about his view of the [Lisbon] summit’s ultimate futility, insisted that, since the fall of the Soviet Union, grand notions of deep cooperation between Russia and NATO “inevitably” fall apart.
Thus reads John Vinocur's latest column in the International Herald Tribune.

Is that unreasonable, or just undiplomatic? In truth, there are seriously limiting elements both to the NATO-Russia relationship’s possibilities and to NATO’s own flexibility in acknowledging and confronting its members’ most serious security concerns:

• Russia, in its official military doctrine, continues to designate NATO as its prime external threat. …

• Iran was not discussed at the Lisbon meeting or mentioned in any of its documents, or in a message to Europe from President Barack Obama that preceded the conference. This may have been out of U.S. deference to Turkey and Russia, which do not explicitly acknowledge Tehran’s push for a nuclear weapon. Still, the silence appeared so mousy to President Nicolas Sarkozy that he said, “In France, we call a spade a spade” (well, sometimes), and, in a news conference, singled out Iran as the basic “threat” behind the need for missile defense.

• In comments about possible cooperation on a joint strategy (against the effectively whited-out Iranian nukes), Russia has insisted on “absolute equality” and murmured warnings of no deal otherwise. …

With this tone and level of noninformation, you just might want to put off a decision on buying a used car, not to mention sharing a system to defend against a nuclear threat from Iran. …

A coda: the high-pressure gush at Lisbon was successfully slip-streamed by France so that in the midst of all the self-congratulatory talk no one uttered a word about French efforts to sell the Russian Navy two helicopter-carrying assault ships, a NATO first. The French could certainly cheer, Long live Mr. Obama’s reset!

Former PM Michel Rocard: Villepin Identifies Himself with Napoleon, Whereas He Is More of a Cyrano de Bergerac Character

Sarkozy l'Américain is often criticized by the French for having opposed Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin's policies on the Iraq war, but as the WikiLeaks trove make clear, the future French president was hardly the only French politician upset with the duo's excesses in the mid-2000s; former prime minister Michel Rocard pointing out that Villepin identifies himself with Napoleon, whereas he is more of a Cyrano de Bergerac character…

Whatever Gave You That Idea?

Former external relations commissioner Chris Patten in 2004: The EU will never be a real power

Mr Patten expressed his scepticism that the EU will ever become "a real power," because "there is always someone in the room who is overly cautious, and will insist on looking at matters 'sensibly'," the cable reads.
They haven’t been “ready for prime time” for what seems like decades now. This, of course, as they’ve held one fake celebration after another inferring that their founding on paper half a century ago was serious or significant.

It’s a hard thing to believe, because they still aren’t serious or significant.
"To be a real power, Patten said, a country must be ready and able to adopt and implement a policy, even if the rest of the world considers it unwise. Europeans may agree or disagree with US policy, but they admire that the US is ready to carry out the policies it thinks best, no matter what the rest of the world thinks."
Sensible, meaning providing enough time and enough cover to enable inaction.

Quite the Role Model

Hey, Kids! This could be you!

It’s a sterile*, lonely unicorn†.
(The one on the right, dingus)

* rainbow love means never really making any little Unicorns
† They never existed outside of the imagination

Thursday, December 02, 2010

EUtopia’s “Sustainable” Future

Global warming strikes again: Europeans, normally so fond of lecturing all passing sundry that they deal so handily with everything while whoever they’re standing in front of can’t, struggle to deal with 8 measly inches of snow.

Shops running out of basics as lorries struggle to deliver.
Every male, no matter what his age, thinks that he’s Fritz the Cat, but gets arrested with apoplexy by the prospect of having to shovel the walk in front of the Cat pad.

Just put a dress on them. What a bunch of pansies. To think that they pretend to be humanity’s bold, wise oracles.

A Bush Admirer, Sarkozy Told W About His Coming Presidential Candidacy 16 Months Prior to His Formal Announcement

L'homme fascine les Américains autant qu'il leur raconte être fasciné par l'Amérique
writes Rémy Ourdan about WikiLeaks' Sarkozy revelations in Le Monde.
Il est le "président le plus pro-américain depuis la seconde guerre mondiale". … On découvre dans ces mémos que Nicolas Sarkozy et ses conseillers fréquentent assidument l'ambassade américaine de Paris, ainsi que les dignitaires américains de passage en France.

Signe de cette proximité, Nicolas Sarkozy, qui n'avait certes pas fait mystère qu'il pensait à la présidentielle "pas seulement en se rasant" et qui ne masquait pas ses ambitions, annonce sa candidature aux Américains le 1er août 2005, soit seize mois avant qu'il ne l'annonce, le 29 novembre 2006, au peuple français. "Je vais être candidat en 2007", confirme M. Sarkozy à l'ambassadeur Craig Stapleton et au conseiller économique du président Bush, Allan Hubbard. Pour la France, c'est déjà à l'époque une évidence, mais encore non déclarée. Pour les Américains, cette confirmation avant l'heure est une marque de confiance.

…Nicolas Sarkozy fait, lors de ce rendez-vous, une véritable déclaration d'amour aux Américains. "Sarkozy a exprimé son admiration pour le président Bush, écrit l'ambassadeur. Sarkozy a dit que, comme le président [Bush], lui aussi mettait un point d'honneur à tenir sa parole et à affronter honnêtement les problèmes réels de son pays."

Le ministre de l'intérieur n'hésite pas à critiquer la position diplomatique française devant des officiels étrangers. "Sarkozy s'est lamenté de l'état troublé des relations entre les Etats-Unis et la France au cours des dernières années, écrit le diplomate. Affirmant que c'est quelque chose que lui 'ne ferait jamais', il a évoqué l'utilisation, par Chirac et Villepin, du veto de la France au Conseil de sécurité [de l'ONU] contre les Etats-Unis en février 2002 [sur l'invasion de l'Irak] comme étant une réaction injustifiable et excessive."

Nicolas Sarkozy, toujours à l'occasion du passage d'Allan Hubbard, devient plus personnel. "'Ils m'appellent 'Sarkozy l'Américain', a-t-il dit. 'Eux considèrent que c'est une insulte, mais je le prends comme un compliment'. Sarkozy a souligné à quel point il 'se reconnaît' dans les valeurs américaines", écrit le diplomate. "Il a raconté que, lorsqu'il était enfant, il a dit à son père qu'il souhaitait devenir président. Son père d'origine hongroise a rétorqué 'dans ce cas, va en Amérique, parce qu'avec un nom comme Sarkozy, tu n'y parviendras jamais ici'. Prouver que c'était faux, a dit Sarkozy, est la pierre angulaire de ses efforts à la fois pour réussir [à devenir président] et à transformer la France."

L'ambassadeur en conclut que "Sarkozy est viscéralement pro-américain" et qu'"il voit sa propre ascension comme étant le reflet d'une saga à l'américaine".

Needless to say, Le Monde's French readership is hopping mad by Sarkozy's free market tendencies, by his pro-Americanism, by his "poodleness", and by his "treason" (to Chirac and de Villepin), leading Un "imbécile" to declare:
Noel avant l'heure pour les eminents commentateurs du Monde: antiamericanisme et antisarkozysme se rencontrent, livres sur un plateau par le compte-rendu pas-tendancieux du Monde. C'est vraiment trop, il ne fallait pas. Le millieme commentateur qui sort les memes cliches gagne le Grand Prix de la Previsibilite.

Proud, So Proud of their Miscellaneous, Parenthetical Factoids

Bertelsmann is a near-monopoly player in German publishing. Despite sitting in that sort of catbird seat, they are pretending to do the world a favor while trying to pry open new markets abroad. One way they’re doing this is by running a think-tank in DC. It’s director, Annette Heuser, previously of their international dealmaking unit, rather transparently describes it thus:

We want to position the Bertelsmann Foundation in the highly competitive and fast-moving market of think tanks and foundations in DC by defining ourselves as a "Center of European Excellence." By this, we mean to showcase European best practices for confronting challenges that afflict all our societies.
Which is to say, to propagate their ways not by example, but by making great news of what others should be doing to be more European.

What fine examples to they have for us to live by and admire them for? News about themselves:
Europe’s Fight Against Human Trafficking
Middle East: Difficult Negotiations Ahead
As if some European that they can put a claim on were intimately involved in any of these things in an effective way. We can see how well a decade of European negotiation with Iran has gone: they were chumped – used as cover to build nukes. They are proud of their role as willing idiots that enabled an aggressive buffoon who gets a woody thinking of genocide.

Otherwise, the their object lessons for humanity are all about Europeans dealing with Europeans: as if their internal matters were any more remarkable that anyone else’s internal matters, and that we’re somehow supposed to be proud of the fact that after a millennium of slaughtering one another, that they are, historically, in an “operational pause”.

So what is it exactly that can make people like this go away and take their underhandedness with them? Applaud them, continually, in the manner of a faked orgasm until their self-satisfaction is sated? Or should we tell them that their peace, that remarkable example of the absence of them being their usual selves, is founded on two things:

1. Their apathy, and
2. The rest of the world having had to nation-build them into a functioning society that stops dragging the rest of humanity into their blood-bathes, they fantastice social ideas that include collectivist-learned helplessness, Marxist-Leninism, and Fascism. You know... because they’re “efficient”.

They should be deported for mendacity, if not their surreal naiveness:
But on the macro-level, the greatest challenge for Europe and the US is demonstrating that democracies can deliver in today's world. We must demonstrate that democracies have the power to guarantee their citizens equal access to health care and education, and provide security on a local, national and even international scale.
As if that’s what democracies are, or are for, or that the same thing was accomplished by any past or present non-democracy.

Some of it rises to the kind of pedantry that we’ve all heard first hand for decades. All the while waiting for the European side of this imaginary great love/friendship/partnership to demonstrate ANY action founded on their words, even WITHIN the European orbit. Take, for example, the years of absolute unwillingness that they had for removing the thuggish regimes of the former Yugoslavia: people had to cross an ocean to do it for them. Even today, they had to hire the Eulex staff in the classifieds because no European government was initially willing to commit a single staff person themselves if there was much of any risk involved... and that’s IN EUROPE.
Right now, Americans shoulder a greater portion of the military responsibility in the alliance. For Europe, the true recipe for successful transatlantic burden sharing requires comprehensive, pragmatic diplomacy enforced by European military power, if needed, in a conflict. Europeans also must demonstrate more convincingly that they share the ultimate objectives of the Americans even in cases, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, in which both sides want different approaches.
Prove it. Prove to the world that your beer-drinking German louts in Afghanistan have accomplished ANYTHING rising to the level of the number of troops that are there.

Are we to admire ANY of the things they do, take it as an example, and THANK THEM for it? The European view, quite simply, is that there is greatness in what we are to SUPPOSE about them, generically, as a people in a far off idyllic well-managed and programmed glass and steel utopia. None of it is plausible because it’s entirely undermined by their stagnant and stubborn way of never actually doing much of anything for other cultures, much alone for each other, while telling us all how well we should think of them.

Otherwise they HAVE to keep prattling on about a Trans-Atlantic alliance, because it’s all about them. It IS their defense, and it IS their access to any plausible form of relevance in the world, all 500 million of them – the wealthiest entity on earth.

Delusions arise from believing what you continually repeat. Theirs’ is that they’re relevant and indispensible to humanity by mere virtue of their being, or their history, or any number of things other than their inaction and misguided attempts to compete in the human-intervention business with rest of the world not for the sake of those they’ll help, but for the sake of those they think they’re showing up.

And if that fails, pretend that it’s all about co-operation and it’s a small world after all internationalism. Like this bit of coercion and blackmail:
The legislature's rejection earlier this year of the interim SWIFT agreement with the US was, Barker writes, partially motivated by a desire to establish a more active role in policymaking. This was also a reason for the parliament's opening a liaison office in Washington, DC, making the EP the only legislature with its own presence in the US capital.
What do they try to call that dynamic? “Transatlantic Power House.” Their use of power, your house.

Wikileaks - A primer

Regardless of your thoughts on the the leaking of US documents via Wikileaks, you are undoubtedly curious as to how it all works on the inside. You can spend your time plowing through thousands of mind-numbing cables -or- you can take the quick and very accurate path to see how it all works (far more funnier as well - in a cringing way for those who have been there and done that):

"Sarkozy identifies with America; he sees his own rise in the world as reflecting an American-like saga"

…on Tuesday Mr. Sarkozy told cabinet ministers that the release of the documents was “the height of irresponsibility”
writes Katrin Bennhold regarding the WikiLeaks scandal as well as the release of documents pertaining to French diplomacy and to the French president.

President Nicolas Sarkozy is an unusually solid French friend of America. He is also a “mercurial” man operating in “a zone of monarch-like impunity” surrounded by advisers often too fearful to give honest counsel, according to leaked cables from the United States Embassy in Paris. …

Five years of correspondence between Paris and Washington chronicle a spectacular post-Iraq turnabout between one of the West’s most complicated diplomatic couples. Mr. Sarkozy, who took office in May 2007, was described even last year as “the most pro-American French president since World War II” and a “force multiplier” for American foreign policy interests. …

Paul Patin, an American Embassy spokesman, said Tuesday: “President Sarkozy has proved, time and time again, that he is a true friend of the U.S. France is one of our closest allies, and our partnership has only gotten stronger during his presidency.”

In general, few foreign policy disagreements surface between France and the United States under Mr. Sarkozy. … The delight among American diplomats at the arrival of a self-professed pro-American candidate after years of difficult relations with Jacques Chirac was evident in correspondence well before Mr. Sarkozy’s election.

In 2005, Mr. Sarkozy, then the interior minister, told Craig R. Stapleton, then the American ambassador, that although he would have advised against the Iraq invasion he still felt it “personally when American soldiers die in combat.” Mr. Sarkozy said he took it as a personal responsibility that “no U.S. Embassy or Consulate was so much as touched” in anti-American protests.

“Very much unlike nearly all other French political figures, Sarkozy is viscerally pro-American,” said a cable signed by Mr. Stapleton. “For most of his peers, the U.S. is a sometimes reviled or admired, but decidedly foreign, other. Sarkozy identifies with America; he sees his own rise in the world as reflecting an American-like saga.”

The kids are alright ........ really.

At every presser all we hear is that our Iberian brothers and sisters not only don't need any help with their financial problems, they are positively thriving. Odd then this selection from today's news:

Spain and Italy, the countries that with Portugal appear most at risk from being enveloped by the euro zone's deepening debt turmoil, are leading an effort to spur more decisive action from the European Central Bank in order to prevent the crisis from spreading further.

A €67.5 billion ($88.2 billion) bailout plan for Ireland that European Union governments signed Sunday has offered little relief from the crisis, dashing the hopes of European leaders. Since then, borrowing costs for the three governments rose sharply.
No worries at all, "panic" now being a sign of everything being alright.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


They’re Nothing but a Bunch of Whores

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – European governments negotiating with the US on the resettlement of Guantanamo Bay inmates asked for money and meetings with Barack Obama, while others refused to accept Chinese Uighurs for fear of upsetting Beijing, diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks show.
That’s some serious droits de l’homme, you’re sporting there as you codpiece, studly: give me the ones that won’t make you look bad, or anger a REAL epirious totalitarian regime like China. I can smell the bravitude from here.
The Bulgarian interior ministry, for instance, expressed willingness to accept two men, on condition that the US got rid of visa requirements for Bulgarian tourists and businessmen and helped with relocation expenses.
These were the Europeans who were begging to “shut down Gitmo”, and were trying to tell humanity that they were begging the US to just purdy pleeeez give them a Jihadist of their very own to hug and squeeze and call George. They promise to walk and clean up after them too.

The reality?
Even the Germans joined in the haggling, though Berlin had been particularly strident in calling for the closure of Guantanamo. Wolfgang Schäuble, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the country's interior minister until late October 2009, repeatedly rejected American overtures.
Berlin was particularly reluctant to take 17 Uighurs, originally from China, despite the fact that 500 of their ethnic brethren already lived in Munich, the largest such community in Europe. The Uighur community in Munich expressed a willingness to accept them into its midst. But Germany wouldn't allow it.
Oh, the poor innocent darlings! Victims of big, bad AmeriKKKa!
Islamists from Guantanamo are too dangerous, Schäuble insisted.

"The coldest start to December for centuries": Global Warming Worsens Across Europe

[In Germany] it was the coldest start to December for centuries
The urgent need for global warming talks in Cancún is felt across Europe as the situation grows worse

In the Russian capital, Moscow, temperatures dropped to -23.6C, the lowest on record for 1 December since 1931.

In Poland the mercury dropped even lower, with the eastern city of Bialystok registering temperatures of -26C. …

In Britain, thousands of schools were closed and police in the southern county of Surrey described conditions as the worst they had ever seen. …

Thick snow across Germany blocked roads, and caused flight cancellations and school closures. Bild newspaper said it was the coldest start to December for centuries, with some areas reporting temperatures as low as -18C.

The Boîte Noire is in Charge

As if they haven’t spent the past century trying to convince French society to rise up in arms against “the system” and trying to scare them into the belief that there is a Capitalist under their beds, Propagantastaffel now propagandizes that, to the contrary,

The new far right not only exerts a growing influence on national governments, it is also organising at a European level and could soon weigh heavily on the very workings of the EU, warns French columnist Bernard Guetta.
Otherwise when not “saving the people”, the strange complex includes the notion that they are some sort of better-knowing elite that otherwise “hate the people”.
Buoyed by a wave of social discontent that has swept across the continent, it is in the process of mounting a platform that brings together the defence of the welfare state, an aspiration for protectionism, and an attachment to liberal values that are supposedly threatened by Muslims. Represented by pleasantly urbane leaders, who appear wholly contemporary, it has attracted a hefty swathe of the working-class and urban youth vote.
In other words, since it smacks somewhat of the lefts class-warfare bogeyman routine, and they supposedly have that copywritten, one is supposed to not just oppose it, but not notice pretend that the left’s crash-testing of civilization is to go unremarked.

The candidate pool for Hollywood's chief lobbyist is filled with Democrats because it reflects the political leanings of Hollywood power players

A Brooks Barnes article in the New York Times on finding the film industry's chief lobbyist in Washington reveals some not-so-hidden truths about Hollywood.
The job, as chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, is supposed to be one of the most coveted gigs around. … The late Jack Valenti held the position for nearly four decades, and he not only wielded incredible power but also found time to maintain a Malibu tan.

Yet three studio chairmen, aided by headhunting firms, have been trying for almost a year to find a new leader to replace Dan Glickman, the former nine-term congressman from Kansas [who was secretary of agriculture during the Clinton administration and] who stepped down earlier this year after succeeding Mr. Valenti [who earned his political stripes by working as an adviser in the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson] in 2004. …

The search committee came close over the summer, zeroing in on Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator from Nebraska and president of the New School. But negotiations fell apart.

Now a new round of interviews is under way … one candidate is Christopher J. Dodd, the powerful Democratic senator from Connecticut, who is retiring. Bill Richardson, the exiting governor of New Mexico, is also in the mix, this person said.

One of the more out-of-left-field names under consideration is Vickee Jordan Adams, a former executive at the communications firm Hill & Knowlton and daughter of Vernon Jordan, the senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton. (The candidate pool is filled with Democrats because it reflects the political leanings of Hollywood power players.)

You can be sure that the New York Times would not be speaking so flippantly of an industry if the contenders for a similar post were all Republicans, nor would its alarmists (where evil conservatives are concerned) be minimizing the reason for the similarity of their background by hiding them inside a pair of parentheses…

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking News from the Land of Milk and Honey

Brussels says first ever citizens' petition does not count

"We've always said that we take their opinion very seriously but it's not an ECI as the legislation is not yet in place," Michael Mann, the commission's administration spokesman, told this website on Tuesday (30 November).
Once the obfuscating starts, expect it to continue.

First Came the Bail-Out

And then came the bale out.

Why Don’t They Just Go Back to Getting Hysterical about Google Street View ?

I really hope Europeans whip themselves up into their usual frothing impotent rage over the crumbs of hate that have been sprinkled by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. Observing Hermann:

In an embarrassing embarrassment following Wikileaks’ leak of leaked US despatches, US diplomats in Germany have been caught making the very same derisive remarks about leading German politicians that Germany’s critical media makes.
The New York Times, one of members of the provisional wing of Wikileaks, calls what Wikileaks is doing an exercise in “seeking transparency."

Transparency, my ass.

If they were seeking transparency, they would publish ANY NATION'S confidential documents, but they aren't. Their actions are more than mere tacit support of al Qaida and the Taliban. Their mission has been to undermine the standing of the United States, and the United States alone, and they are doing it in close coordination with a small coterie of press operations.

To begin with, those with access to SIPRNET and the Diplomatic Communications network who have been giving Wikileaks the documents are breaking the law, and are being openly treasonous. Wikileaks on the other hand, is at the very least violating copyright and trafficing in stolen goods to such a great magnatude that they have committed a high crime.

Wikileaks intention is to introduce so much doubt inside the practices of the staff of the State Department, DoD, NATO states' governments, even the Pakistani governemnt, that it will tip the balance of power in favor of Iran, Syria, al Qaida, the Taliban, and their network. Nothing else.

It’s this simple: if I had ever even so much as lost a confidential document, I would have been in serious violation of Federal Law and the UCJ. Some pendejo Pfc having a drama and is mad about "Don't Ask Don't Tell" who feeds a nihilist like Assange a quarter of a million classified documents gets a smug nod, and acclimation by the detached commentariat that would, if they had a nutsack, kill US soldiers for recreation themselves in a fit of anti-Vietnam-War-protest emotional nostalgia.

That the cables are not big news is irrelevant. In fact if you put it in contrast to the polite and diplomatic statements of the State Department and DoD, you immediately see the contrast between them and the European governments who seed highly slanderous characterizations of foreign parties through the press all the time. i.e.: Spiegel getting opinionated, libelous, and clearly mendacious German government commentary about George Bush, coupled with the citation of one statement about Gerhard Schroeder which was broadly accepted in the press at the time, with a retort today that "Bush was a liar" when it's quite clear that Gerhard Schroeder is the liar trying to build himself a legacy.

Does anyone out there NOT think that Erdogan ISN'T a bufoon? Or that Sarkozy ISN'T practicing the usual haxagonal irrelevant self-importance? Or that Putin isn't a simpleton pulling moronic international stunts as a result of the impotence that blunts his megalomania?

And as to Westerwelle: why does anyone think the rest of humanity need the approving smile of a disinterested non-actor in risky and relevant security affairs such as the German Foreign Minister? It's like caring terribly about needing the approval of the 3rd Consul at the Albanian embassy in Rome. I’m sure THEY think that THEY matter, but the rest of humanity doesn’t agree with them, and just nods as long as their checkbook is open.

What does Assange want? A world where governments exist in order to be accountable to the image-based reputations and opinions of some like him, but are unable to protect their populations. While he migh think that this will all turn us into Luxembourg, it is more likely to turn Luxembourg into Transnistria.

So as far as I’m concerned, let the bitches in Europe’s “grand nations’” “grand capitols” get worked up about a few mild little comments. It took them 5 years to get past ONE incantation of the term “old Europe”, and ONE little utterance of the words “Freedom Fries”, so let them pop a blood vessel. It will make a nice break from them beating off to the sounds of their own voices.

While our leaders discuss the fight against climate change in Cancún, hundreds of UK schools are shut down by global warming

This is the worst we've seen in 20+ years [2nd video]
While world governments gather in Cancún in order to fight climate change, global warming hits the United Kingdom:
"The UK has been experiencing the earliest widespread snowfall since 1993 … One Rothbury resident describes it as the worst weather to hit the region in over 20 years [and the motoring organisation named the] AA said it was on course to have one of its busiest days in its 105-year history."
We're gettin' a little bit fed up with it now, you know, I mean it's taken me an hour and a half to dig myself into the shop this mornin'…
"The coldest place in the UK on Sunday night was Altnaharra in northern Scotland, which recorded a low of -16.1C (3F).

"The temperature in Llysdinam, which saw Wales's coldest ever November reading on Saturday of -18C (-0.4F), was -12.9C (8.8F) on Sunday night.

"The temperature at RAF Northolt in west London was -2.2C (28F) but on Dartmoor it was -7.9C (17.8F)."

This is the worst I've ever seen it for time of year, without a shadow of a doubt. I was here in '63 and I remember 1963 and it wasn't anything as bad as this!
We must hope that world leaders in Cancún soon come up with a workable plan, because global warming has also been causing Scotland to struggle, with forecasters warning
that the cold snap will get worse this week, with temperatures plunging as low as -20C.

The coldest overnight temperature in the UK was Altnaharra in northern Scotland, which recorded a low of -16.1C.

(Cheers to Instapundit for the link)

In Britain, thousands of schools were closed and police in the southern county of Surrey described conditions as the worst they had ever seen. …

Thick snow across Germany blocked roads, and caused flight cancellations and school closures. Bild newspaper said it was the coldest start to December for centuries, with some areas reporting temperatures as low as -18C.

Monday, November 29, 2010

¡No Pasarán!

Unlike our betters, we don't make it up as we go along:
When European leaders set up the €440 billion ($583 billion) European Financial Stability Facility following the Greek crisis in June, they hoped it would never have to be used. But the Irish bailout has dashed that hope. If the rescue is finalized in its current form, the EFSF will have to issue bonds to lend as much as €17.7 billion to Ireland—with the likelihood of much greater issuance if other euro-zone members have to be bailed out. But who will buy these bonds? And how will they be priced?

The Washington Post Protests that Barack Obama Has Affirmed "American Exceptionalism" on "Many Occasions"

"American exceptionalism" is a phrase that, until recently, was rarely heard outside the confines of think tanks, opinion journals and university history departments.
In a Washington Post piece about m and how the phrase has been taken on by Republican contenders for the 2012 election, American exceptionalism and how the phrase has been taken up by Republican contenders for the 2012 election, Karen Tumulty manages to pull out the ol' people-who-criticize-leftists-are-traitorous-or-at-best-misinformed-and-now-allow-me-to-get-the-full-facts-out-to-you spiel, although arguably in a rather subtle fashion.

Well… maybe not that much. First, Karen Tumulty wonders about the evil that lurks, hidden, in the hearts of conservatives, comparing them to the so-called truthers — "making an insidious suggestion about the president himself" — and in the process stating as a fact that "assertions" that put into doubt the Dear Leader's narrative about himself (or his policies) are, and can only be, "false".
With a more intellectual sheen than the false assertions that Obama is secretly a Muslim or that he was born in Kenya, an argument over American exceptionalism "is a respectable way of raising the question of whether Obama is one of us," said William Galston, a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Having thus put into doubt the integrity of the individuals, and of the movements, opposing the Great Helmsman (or of whomever they make the ill-founded choice of associating themselves with, directly or indirectly), she goes on to "demonstrate" — again, as a given — that the reasoning of the opponents, if not "insidious", is at best false or misleading.
Much of this criticism harkens back to a single comment that Obama made at a news conference a year and a half ago in Strasbourg, France, during his first trip overseas as president. … The president's answer [to Financial Times correspondent Ed Luce] began: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
Karen Tumulty goes on to state that what "provided ammunition for Palin and other Republican critics" turns out to be wrong.
…while the opening sentence of Obama's answer sounded dismissive, the president's full statement was [in fact] more complex than that — and was indeed an affirmation of American exceptionalism…
To prove this contention — although she has no choice but to call the Apologizer-in-Chief's 2009 affirmation "arguably a qualified one" — she refers to the "many occasions" on which Barack Obama has made speeches in which he affirmed "American exceptionalism".

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer noted that Obama has declared exactly that on many occasions [that "American exceptionalism refers directly to the grant of rights asserted in the Declaration of Independence," and that it is a term "which relates directly to our unique assertion of an unprecedented set of rights granted by God" (Newt Gingrich)] — including in his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the moment that first brought the then-Illinois state senator to national attention.
Unfortunately, this contention is belied by two things. First, the 2004 speech is the only one of "many" perorations that Karen Tumulty (or that Dan Pfeiffer) specifically bring up. Couldn't either of them have mentioned (at least) one other speech as well, notably a more recent speech, say, one made after Obama entered the Oval Office? Or even one after he became the Democratic candidate for president?

Indeed, this brings us to the second point: the entire argument against Obama is that all the "good stuff" that he said when he needed to say them, while he was running for the top post, and what he has been saying once he got to the top post, is entirely different, and that what Obama has said, and what he has done, since becoming leader belies entirely what he said, and what he did, as a candidate (or, as far as the 2004 speech is concerned, as a candidate-in-waiting)…

"That was Quite an Outburst!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Has Ireland Just Signed a Huge Teaser-Rate Loan?

Qualified statements and obfuscation are what one should generally refer to as "clues" that something is up. What is the difference in these two statements:

A) The European Union has approved an €85 billion rescue package for Ireland which, if drawn down in its entirety today, would attract an average interest rate of 5.83 per cent.


B) The European Union has approved an €85 billion rescue package for Ireland which carries an interest rate of 5.83 per cent.

The difference being A talks about draw down conditions and average rates; B states the interest rate is a straight-forward 5.83 per cent, full stop. A is what the Irish have signed up for, a conditional teaser-rate loan.

A hunch says that, once the details are known in the next day or so, Irish citizens will find that the real interest rate they are being saddled with is far more than 5.83 per cent.

Any takers?

The Carter/Obama parallel: Both were exciting new candidates who ran for office using the word "change"

Both were exciting new candidates who ran for office using the word "change". Both appeared to grow disillusioned with the U.S. One was taken down by Ronald Reagan, what will happen to the other? Reporter Frank McCaffrey and ALG's Don Todd examine the Carter/Obama parallel.

Of course, a number of us made the Jimmy Carter comparison back during the 2008 election

Deplorable Reasoning

”Firing back” at an idea with an unrelated trope has become the gold standard in (anti) intellectualism by intimidation.

Two books have shaped German debate this autumn. Thilo Sarrazin's book "Deutschland schafft sich ab" (Germany is abolishing itself) and "Das Amt und die Vergangenheit" (The Foreign Ministry and the past). On first appearances they would seem to have little in common, other than they are both published by Random House. Actually, though, these books are intricately bound up with one another, two souls in the breast of the politically-minded Bildungsburger or member of the German educated classes.
After all, both arguments somehow become equal because they came out of the mouths of “a class”, a sorting mechanism from people outside of those being assigned to one class or another.

Somehow, Sarrazin’s mention of the disinvolved and least educated not participating in the larger society’s social and economic life, and a collection of essays about the largely now deceased staff of Germany’s postwar foreign ministry whitewashing its’ past are to become about something else entirely. Were those Ausenministarium folk really elitists? Maybe. But was it their class and education that drove their moral failure? This is a question that one may not ask in a post-you name it society.

Which “class” is it right to appear to be after today, all you Besserwisser types out there?

Where then, should we arbitrarily deposit out judgment on the likes of that elite “class” called opinion journalists such as the article’s author, Welt journalist Alan Pösner? We may not judge right nor wrong in an individual for fear of sanction or being held to account for our words, which is how constructing invective for a constructed class develops so much appeal.