We're not talking about professional businesses here but about thousands of people who do unpaid work for their children and others. The people's representatives in the EU - the European Parliament - have realised that and supported the exemption by 521 to 50 votes. The Commission however, with its non-elected bureaucrats, is now demanding that what belongs to Caesar must be rendered unto Caesar. To comply with this demand the small clubs will have to become bureaucratised. It's no overstatement to say that the position of the treasurer - already a thankless task - will be harder to fill than ever.Ironically, even Swedes get that this is micromanagement.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
George Whitman, the American-born owner of Shakespeare & Company, a fabled English-language bookstore on the Left Bank in Paris and a magnet for writers, poets and tourists for close to 60 years, died on Wednesday in his apartment above the storewrites Marlise Simons.
He was 98. …
More than a distributor of books, Mr. Whitman saw himself as patron of a literary haven, above all in the lean years after World War II, and the heir to Sylvia Beach, the founder of the original Shakespeare & Company, the celebrated haunt of Hemingway and James Joyce.
As Mr. Whitman put it, “I wanted a bookstore because the book business is the business of life.”
Overlooking the Seine and facing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the store, looking somewhat beat-up behind a Dickensian facade and spread over three floors, has been an offbeat mix of open house and literary commune. For decades Mr. Whitman provided food and makeshift beds to young aspiring novelists or writing nomads, often letting them spend a night, a week, or even months living among the crowded shelves and alcoves.
He welcomed visitors with large-print messages on the walls. “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise,” was one, quoting Yeats. Next to a wishing well at the center of the store, a sign said: “Give what you can, take what you need. George.” By his own estimate, he lodged some 40,000 people.
…Mr. Whitman was famously frugal and expected the bibliophiles residing in his store to work a few hours every day sorting and selling books. Yet he also invited uncounted numbers of people for weekly tea parties to his own apartment, or for late-night readings enriched with dumplings or pots of Irish stew.
Some guests later described him as a kind and magnetic father figure to needy souls but also as a man who could throw tantrums and preside over the store’s residents, sometimes up to 20 people, like a moody and unpredictable dictator.
Mr. Whitman had variously called himself a communist, a utopian and a humanist. But he may have also been a romantic himself, at least concerning his life’s work. “I may disappear leaving behind me no worldly possessions — just a few old socks and love letters, “ he wrote in his last years. Paraphrasing a line from Yeats, he added, “and my little Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart.”
Friday, December 16, 2011
Just about 15 years ago, Martin Feldstein, the Harvard economist and former adviser to Ronald Reagan, wrote that the coming of a common currency to Europe promised “incompatible expectations about the sharing of power.” There were future conflicts in play, he argued, making an intra-European war “too real a possibility to ignore.”That is how John Vinocur starts his latest International Herald Tribune article.
Over-the-top, Reaganite musings, some said. Neither the great bang of war nor its whimpers has materialized.
After another in a series of debt and deficit crisis summit meetings last week, the European Union, still uncertain about eliminating the markets’ disbelief in its probity, has locked itself into a survival plan that turns the euro zone’s back on growth to seek stability alone.
The results of the decision: A perspective of stagnation as the culmination of 18 months of fibbing and stalling about Europe’s financial and economic reality that markets saw through and may continue to doubt. And a gap in enthusiasm (in truth there is none) between the E.U.’s common currency and its citizens — a Brussels official describes Europeans regarding the euro as a “convenience” rather than a necessity — at a moment when the euro zone’s leaders have chosen to confront a likely recession with savings and rigor but no parallel plan for a surge in activity.
… Mr. Feldstein’s war, of course, has not occurred, and the achievements of the E.U.’s common currency are real. But he had a sharp sense for trouble.
… So: The E.U.’s situation about a decade after the coming of the euro is, no war, but no hard-wired plan for growth. And now, after the French fade, an absence of any member standing up as expansion’s advocate while the chancellor talks about a marathon of “stabilizing” to last a decade.
We are indebted to Michel Foucault for identifying, in his January 1979 Collège de France lecture (The birth of bio-politics), the originality of this school of liberalism, which makes constitutional regulation and judges the levers and principle guarantors of the construction of a political order founded on a strict respect for economic freedom and free competition.Bio-politics. Whatever, Spanky. On planet earth, we call this mental masturbation. What they’re calling “Liberalism” was identified long before 1979.
To that end, they desperately try to understand the world around them that they’ve been ignoring for decades, the dead secular Gods of nationalist-socialist mythology are being dredged up in this case to explain Angela Merkel’s views on European economics. It’s as if using big names mean that they know enough to appear to be correcting her. After all, she’s though to have all the money that these finger-wagging
Why would they then not resort to this tortured explanation of the lack of EU level legal empowerment of the ECB in the way the US Federal Reserve can act. Hence, they go hat-in-hand to Berlin, and the illiterates at Libé think this is some sort of dark art for reasons that their dyspeptic leftist frustrations with the lack of dictatorial control in their favor can’t digest.
Her direction has once again confirmed the precarious status of political legitimacy in the European Union: the credibility of the euro cannot be safeguarded by apolitical measures alone.Further to the sick penchant to claim by identification, other miscellaneous vilified historical characters are used. This is meant to lend some veneer of accuracy and intelligence to the specious practice of thinking that you’ve just named things for the first time because you didn’t think they existed before, at least not in the low-altitude the left orbits in.
This is not a Bismarckian policy, as Arnaud Montebourg has so awkardly asserted, but one that is based on one of the most well-established schools of liberal thought, “ordoliberalism”, which emerged between the wars in Germany and was popularised in the postwar period as “the social market economy” by the influential Christian-Democrat Ludwig Erhard, who was Minister of Economics from 1949 to 1963 and Federal Chancellor from 1963 to 1966.Otto von Bismark could not be reached for comment.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
A 62-year-old man from Drammen in southern Norway has received a 7-year jail sentence after he was found guilty of sexually abusing his two young daughters.Kid, if you don’t want to ride in the van, don’t take the candy, I say. Otherwise it’s back to an enlightened solution in that enlightened society: no real punitive consequences.
He denied committing the offences and told the court the older girl’s claims were financially motivated.Elsewhere: real consequences await those commiting the grave crime of trying to introduce Ms Supply to Mr. Demand.
The district court, however, found the accounts of both girls to be credible and ordered their father to pay each of them non-pecuniary damages of 200,000 kroner ($33,600).
A Russian smuggler is detained for transporting underage butter across state lines.
Last Friday, customs officers stopped a Russian at the Norwegian-Swedish border and seized 90 kilos of butter stashed in his car.Why is this such a severe social disturbance of the placid nation proud of it’s orderly ways, laws, solidarity, and nicely concealed child molestation?
Norway has a butter monopolist called “Tine” that is deliberately protected from foreign competitors by government-imposed import tariffs.
A downgrade of France's AAA credit rating would not be justified and ratings agencies are making decisions based more on politics than economics,European Central Bank policymaker Christian Noyer said on Thursday.
"In the arguments they (ratings agencies) present, there are more political arguments than economic ones," said Noyer, the head of the Bank of France and a member of the ECB's governing council.
Yeah, why can't these ratings agencies be more like our elected and un-elected elites who .... ummmm, well ..... you know, present arguments based upon economic and not political ones.
Last week, he was a real bad guy (as well as the Big Bad Newt), earlier this week, he was electrifying (in the negative sense), as well as divisive, and today (quoting a Jonah Goldberg article; not surprisingly, MSM reporter Corine Lesnes reads the Los Angeles Times but not Townhall), he is Newtzilla! And all that in Le Monde's… headlines!
Of course, we also get comments from horrified readers complaining of Newt's "criminal" remarks, sputtering that "Gingrich is worse than Bush," not only in terms of fiscal matters, "but also in terms of foreign policy", and regretting, basically, the existence of elections and of democracy…
Add to that the opening sentence which may be one of the most condescending in the history of the mainstream media:
Despite his Playmobil-style haircut and the face of an aging baby, Newt Gingrich and his carnivorous smile are not fooling anyone.The Corinne Lesnes article goes on to refer to the "savvy" Newt as "controversial" (we already had him being divisive) and to call his policies "at best unrealistic and at worst demagogic."
Malgré sa coupe de cheveux façon Playmobil et son visage de poupon vieillissant, le sourire carnassier de Newt Gingrich ne trompe personne.
…les propositions de Gingrich ne brillent pas par leur originalité. … ce plan paraît au mieux irréaliste, au pire démagogique.Corinne Lesnes goes on to quote… Mother Jones and the New Yorker, ending her piece — from an allegedly serious daily, aka France's newspaper of record — with John Cassidy's tongue-in-cheek "festive" list of the "40 Nicest Things [You Can Think of to Say] About Newt" (Number 1: “He’s the one to get Obama reelected”).
Et ses adversaires ne vont pas le rater. La chasse est déjà ouverte : sur le mode de la dérision, The New Yorker a organisé un appel à contributions pour établir une liste des "40 choses les plus sympathiques que l'on peut dire sur Newt Gingrich". Numéro un de ce vrai-faux concours de gentillesse : "Gingrich est celui grâce à qui Obama sera réélu."That's right, the French are echoing liberals' snarkiness and getting voluble about the Republican's embrace of Gingrich ensuring Obama's reelection.
Avec un peu de chance les républicains l’élisent... et le peuple américain effaré renouvelle B Obama !At which point, all we can say is this: there can't be many better arguments in favor of an American's opinions and policies being the correct ones than the fact that he leaves the French spitting with contempt and hating his guts. And there can hardly be a better argument for the that man to run for president of the United States on the Republican ticket.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Economic power is not the only criterion for global power. What matters is how political systems respond to new crises. And from this perspective, the EU is still in with a chance, writes Dutch historian Dirk-Jan van Baar. Excerpts.Writes Dirk-Jan van Baar in de Volkskrant, ignoring THE LAST TWO YEARS OF EUROPEAN FISCAL CHAOS AND LACK OF LEADERSHIP.
Add to this rthe oft-used argument that political power is not the only criterion for global power and that military power is not the only criterion for global power, and you get the perfect rationalization for 500 million of the world’s richest people free-riding on the backs of the rest of humanity.
Taking passivity and inaction to a higher, more noble and superior plane, he goes on with a predictable related theme of somehow comparing Europe to the US, for which there is no rational basis to do so in this context:
The American president is behaving accordingly : he thinks America must get its own economic house in order before embarking on further foreign interventions. If even the most powerful man in the world thinks that Washington has taken on too much, then one can tend to agree with historian Paul Kennedy (who wrote on the theme in his 1987 work The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers) that America is suffering from imperial overstretch.The search for analogues and examples, I suppose, must go on.
Not only is Newt Gingrich divisive, he goes as far as "plunging the party into a deep state of division"
Newt Gingrich is electrifying America's Republicans, writes Corine Lesnes in Le Monde, before pulling out that age-old leftist expression, he is "divisive." Not only is he divisive, nor is he simply divisive, he goes as far as "plunging the party into a deep state of division."
Newt Gingrich s'est installé en tête de la course à l'investiture pour l'élection présidentielle de novembre 2012 aux Etats-Unis, plongeant le parti dans un profond état de division. Aucun des candidats en lice ne semble en mesure de "marier le soutien de la base et de celui de l'establishment", relève Nate Silver, l'auteur du blog électoral du New York Times.Then the woman who called Newt a real bad guy calls on… the New York Times' in-house RINO for testimony!
… Un vent d'affolement s'est emparé de la classe politique républicaine, qui a commencé à faire rempart contre la candidature Gingrich. Les caciques ont l'oeil sur les sondages qui montrent que Mitt Romney est le républicain le plus menaçant pour Barack Obama.
"Personne à Washington ne pense que Gingrich peut gagner. Et Washington est l'endroit où on le connaît le mieux", a résumé Kathleen Parker, une éditorialiste républicaine, dans le Washington Post..
David Brooks, l'un des éditorialistes conservateurs du New York Times, généralement magnanime, lui a attribué tous les traits excessifs des années 1960 : "Narcissisme, autosatisfaction, intempérance." Comme le savent tous ceux qui ont travaillé avec lui, "il causerait un tort important au conservatisme et au Parti républicain s'il était désigné", écrit-il.Narcissism, self-satisfaction, intemperance? Doesn't that sound like somebody by the name of… Barack Obama to you?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
5 Dead, 123 Wounded During Attack on Belgian Christmas Market: Some Politically Incorrect Points You Will Hardly See Many of in the MSM
Five people killed in a single assassin's attack on a Liège Christmas market, 123 wounded (BBC Videos) besides the killer who committed suicide immediately afterwards.
In such a bloody and tragic context, how many politically incorrect details are we allowed to point out straight away?
• Well, besides the fact that all this occurred — yet again — in famously (and proudly) gun-free Europe, and
• besides the fact that the name of the killer who struck at a Christmas market is Arabic and/or Muslim (Nordine Amrani), how about
• the fact that if this recidivist had not been let out of jail on conditional release, five people would be alive today while 123 of their countrymen would not be in hospital. Indeed, had the jail authorities, like most of Europe's political authorities, not suffered from "tolerance"-itis©, all these scores of people would still be looking forward to a merry Christmas with their families…
Related: For a gun-free zone like Europe (always ready to give lessons to clueless Yanks regarding such things as violence, trusting in the police, and gun control versus the obsolete right to bear arms), France for one has recently seen a plethora of crimes with automatic pistols, Kalashnikovs, and explosives.
• Violence and Gun Control: Facts Which Europeans and American Leftists Conveniently Ignore
All of our problems today come from trying to maintain an unsustainable form of social economy, and yet the moaners want more of what they think other people have.
Instead they resort to tortured logic:
In practice, liberalisation and austerity are making matters far worse. In Greece, Ireland and Portugal, adjustment packages imposed from the outside but with the collusion of domestic governments have resulted in sharp falls in economic activity, large rises in unemployment and painful social dislocation. Government deficits have risen.So if you don’t buy the line that it’s all the fault of people trying to take the giveaway monster, then at least blame Germans for “repression,”
Work by Research on Money and Finance and others has shown that the build-up of debt in peripheral economies was not the result of government profligacy. The fundamental cause has been diverging competitiveness between the economies of the periphery and those of the core, above all Germany. By heavily repressing the wages of its own workers, Germany ensured that there was no chance for peripheral economies to compete, locked as they were into monetary union and unable to devalue their currencies.
AKA harmonizing their wages with the rest of the zone.
This divergence of competitiveness resulted in entrenched structural imbalances between core and periphery, leading to surpluses for Germany and deficits for others. These deficits in peripheral countries were matched by borrowing abroad resulting in accumulation of private and public debt. When the sub-prime crisis struck, public deficits soared as private liabilities were taken onto government books, tax revenues fell and social security payments rose.Which is another way of trying to say that governments borrowed more because there was no income left to tax. This may be the first time any main-line European brain has thought of this concept. Too bad that the conclusion drawn isn’t the obvious one: that spending is too high. In fact the though is being used to prop up an even stranger and less plausible argument: that wages and prices should be fixed after the fashion of wartime America and corroded Marxist-Leninism, and that German wages should be structurally fixed higher for similarly simplistic social effects.
So if the European states are all hunters, without also mentioning the Dutch, the Germans should (for the sake of equality of outcome) set out unarmed. Nonetheless in the interest of public self-pity, even those they employ should imagine that they are Bambi in this scene.
As always, even the “austerity” of curtailing middle-class welfare by trying to get a grip on public service pensions, staff size, and the like is characterized as a political fascism:
As the eurozone crisis worsens, proposals to resolve it are becoming increasingly authoritarian. Two in particular are now widely advocated by commentators across the political spectrum. First, that technocratic governments should be installed to carry out necessary reforms in stricken economies. Second, that in the short-term the European Central Bank could halt the crisis, if only Germany could be persuaded to drop its opposition.Hilariously, the Bundesbank’s only real position is to not lend for the sake of public spending, but only debt restructuring.
This, of course, cannot stand. There’s a political cadre to fund, and votes to buy at a tense, critical time. The really funny part is that the same Germany that it is imagined could be compelled to go naked in order to clothe her neighbors is now a straw-man synonymous with “the bosses”, like the purposely misunderstood “1%” of the Occupy Wall Street complex of economic illiteracy, demonization and ignorance.
How far do you get saying “you’re just plain evil because of who you are – now buy me lunch and give me your shoes” ?
Cet "indigné" d'un nouveau genre ne condamne pas l'économie capitaliste, bien au contraire. Cet admirateur des économistes autrichiens Friedrich Hayek et Karl Popper la voudrait plus claire et transparente : "Personne ne sait comment fonctionne le budget de l'Etat. Moi-même, j'ai mis trois jours pour trouver tous les chiffres. L'information financière, dit-il, est présentée comme occulte et ésotérique. Mais l'économie n'est pas si compliquée. Il faut juste qu'on l'explique mieux. Pour cela, il aurait fallu qu'on nous parle moins de Ruby", lâche-t-il dans une allusion au dernier des scandales sexuels de Silvio Berlusconi.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I can tell you that it seems to have always been guilt and shame based, exceedingly simplistic, and reminiscent of chattering and political classes who rarely contact reality.
It ain’t pretty.
Perhaps the most comical argument for bailing out Greece has come from Merkel’s CDU Labor Minister and outspoken feminist Ursula von der Leyen, who has been vocal in her support for “helping the Greeks get back on their feet.” In a recent appearance on a weekend talk show hosted by TV celebrity Günther Jauch, Ms. von der Leyen went after those who criticize Greece’s spending habits and bloated state bureaucracy. According to van der Leyen, such a captious judgment does not take into account the close resemblance between the “Greeks at the present hour and the Germans in 1945, when we were a battered people.” To the Labor Minister, assisting the Greeks seems the proper thing to do. It is “like the CARE-packages that the Americans sent us after the War.”Remember the asinine prejudice about German policy and motives having something to do with a disappointingly false reputation for kinkiness? Well here’s it’s flip side: the equally asinine need to ameliorate the no-longer-existent harm caused by an imaginary “national personality attribute” by sufferers of the cult of leftist victim theory who so believe in that the notion of class warfare can have a “national personality”, that they see it all within the prism of their own Stockholm Syndrome.
This last comparison borders on the lunatic, except when a German politician is trying to be “nice.” Then it simply reflects the dominant national culture. Perhaps the Germans should insist on a fundamental right which the Americans once exercised: to carpet with bombs an enemy country and then hang its leaders as war criminals. Once having done this, the Germans could get on with the good stuff, such as providing those they’ve mercilessly “battered” with chocolate bars and sewing kits. Like other German politicians, von der Leyen is accustomed to the double kowtow (der doppelte Kotau), which involves simultaneously sucking up to the Yankees and non-German Europeans. Whereas Germans were once feared for lunging at their neighbors’ necks, now they’re delighted to be at everyone’s feet.After all if the European public, and particularly German society, is good at one thing, it’s licking the boot that kicks you. This comes well after one is conditioned into the old misguided belief that the state is the only vehicle of relief, scholarship, and humanism itself.
Recognized by some is the malleability of governance theory to the convenience of leaders avoiding verbal confrontation within the EU tribe. It’s consequences are themselves frequently absurd and remind one of the forehead-slap-worthy hijinks of the UN. The difference being that states regularly ignore the suggestions and dictates of the “singular world body”:
Presumably the banks, which made loans to the Greeks at the German government’s urging, will have to be saved as a first step to dealing with Greek insolvency. An article in the relatively right-wingPreußische Allgemeine Zeitung explains a ridiculous situation: The Germans have the same representation in the EU Council as Cyprus and Malta combined, yet they contribute 28% of the organization’s available capital as opposed to the 0.3% given by Cyprus and Malta. Germans are watching their earnings decline while paying for other countries’ insolvency, yet they seem determined to make their problem even worse. Although Germans gripe about the bailout, the vast majority support leftist parties that will give away even more of their money to foreign governments. German voters snub and even despise parties such as the Republikaner which oppose the bailouts.All of whom are wrong in their own way, considering that they are an economic area as dependant on exports as they are consumption, and find themselves competing with Burmese indentured labor and a Chinese workforce laboring under Pinkerton gang-pressers, but have upward labor cost pressure priced in an inflated currency. If growth is your only way out of this pickle, even the fiscal hawks have a few more realities to embrace, and they sure as hell don’t involve reputations for national kinkiness and images of the not-yet-brought-low beating their fellow Europeans into servile callowness.
Which is fair. And — indeed — even (more than) a little funny.
But still. How many leftist cartoons have we seen regarding Barack Obama, compared with conservatives like Newt or with a Republican president like Dubya? And how many (of these relatively rare) Obama jokes made it, in terms of popularity, to the New York Times' top 10?
What is it about "focusing humor and satire on the people currently in power" (not their out-of-power opponents, not just them or overwhelmingly them, at least) that leftist writers (and readers!), aka self-declared objective neutrals, do not understand?
(And check the right-hand side of Brian McFadden's Think Tank cartoon: besides the fact that conservatives — unlike liberals — are not supposed to teach citizens "valuable life lessons" (what a ridiculous conceit!), how dare Newt treat reporters of the mainstream media bent with anything but the utmost respect?!)
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Financial Times Deutschland reported:
"We will possibly need to make more power intervention,"[Ed.: subsidies] said a spokeswoman for network operator Tennet. Of the failure of the two gas-fired power plants in the north: "If it were up to southern Germany, the situation would be difficult." Because of high wind power capacity in the North German Plain, the gas-fired power plants are seldom used, found Tzschoppe’s closure plan report. The two plants combined generate nearly 1,000 megawatts of power - almost as much as a nuclear power plant. Best run in operation 1000 to 2000 hours per year, they have been running only a few hundred hours.Plans on track to deindustrialize? Yes. In more ways than one, we finally get to see the structured enfeeblement of an advanced society in action.
The Federal Network Agency has not scheduled a closing date of the Statkraft plants. After last week’s submitted monitoring report, the Authority expects to terminate in addition to about 3,000 megawatts of nuclear power plants are coal power from the grid in 2013, but no gas-fired power plants. Power shortages threaten the network, especially in southern Germany.And now for the ugly truth: business defined by political goals fail.
But in the face of high gas costs and relatively low electricity prices were to achieve even with new gas-fired power plants currently barely adequate margins indicated Tzschoppe.And what it all boils down to is the money that isn’t there, which “to save the planet” will become a cost that they will have to drop on the foot of a public that doesn’t have much of a choice in where their power comes from.
The price of electricity would have to reach reach 85 to 90 euros per megawatt hour in order to justify investments in new gas-fired power plants - about 50 percent more than it costs now.The exhausted and angry postwar allies couldn’t have done any better.
Sarkozy to DSK Pre-IMF: "In the States, Women Are Different; I'm Warning You, Be Careful with the Women"
Les deux hommes – ex-députés, avocats d'affaires, venus à la politique sans passer par l'ENA – s'apprécient. Ils se fréquentaient de temps à autre, avec leurs épouses. En 1993, au début de la cohabitation, un premier dîner a eu lieu au Fouquet's : Anne Sinclair présente le ministre du budget à son mari, qui vient de perdre les législatives. Ils se retrouvent sur l'île de la Jatte, chez Cécilia et Nicolas, ou chez le couple Strauss-Kahn-Sinclair, avenue du Général- Maunoury, dans le 16e arrondissement, ou encore chez Jacques Attali pour une pendaison de crémaillère. Entre eux, une forme d'estime et de connivence sociale.
A son "frère" Brice Hortefeux, Nicolas Sarkozy glisse un jour : "Quand je pense comme on m'a emm… pour mon escalier de Neuilly, je ne sais pas comment lui ferait dans une campagne !" A Alain Minc, quand les préparatifs de la course à l'Elysée du socialiste deviennent patents : "Tu sais bien qu'il ne PEUT pas se présenter…"
Et à l'intéressé, les yeux dans les yeux, un jour que le patron du FMI a fait le voyage de Washington jusqu'à la rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré : "Dominique, toi et moi, on ne nous aime pas, on est pareils, on est des métèques, on aime le fric et les femmes, raconte Michel Taubmann, le biographe de DSK. Mais les femmes, aux Etats-Unis, ce n'est pas pareil. Je te préviens, fais attention avec les femmes."