Saturday, August 11, 2012

When Cultures Aggress

Femmes de la Rue is the title of film student Sophie Peeters documentary about the men who hassle women on the streets of Brussels. These are mainly men of North African origin who do much more than booty-pinching Italian men of old (which is more of a myth at this point) ever did. The question really is: does European feminism have the stomach to deal with a real issue facing women?

Long List of Disillusionment: Europe’s Olympian vision of its future has dimmed to a flicker

Europe’s Olympian vision of its future — great power plus universal indispensability as a beacon of reason — has dimmed to a flicker
writes John Vinocur in his International Herald Tribune column.
Without willingness to accept a dare or two, the situation is unlikely to brighten soon.
The European Union’s debt and deficit grief, compounded by a crisis of political will, is much more than a bad moment that puts progress temporarily on hold.
The community’s faster-higher- stronger thread of grand ambitions has frayed. And the vision meant to give it direction, an independent political role — and to project Europe to the world as something wiser and more responsible than other great powers — has faded.
There are no doubts tingeing the European Union’s exceptional practical achievements, like a single regulatory system or open internal borders. And no one could disparage smaller successes — on the order of reduced mobile phone roaming charges, which save the average E.U. business traveler €1,000 annually. The problem involves once-great-notions associated with Europe that now seem empty and overreaching, shaking confidence in its claim to unlimited promise.
Beyond concern for the euro’s permanence, the list of disillusionment is long.
[And since the year 2000], Europe’s notions of becoming a geopolitical co-equal of the United States and China have shriveled.
With France doing most of the imagining — and successfully attaching a European nameplate to its own strategic goals — the Continent was cast as a pole of power in a notional construct called a multipolar world that was aimed at counterbalancing the weight of the United States. This still sounds very visionary, but has become unrealistic — as did a French-inspired plan, supported by the Russians, to rival the dollar as the world’s single reserve currency through a basket of other currencies featuring the euro.
Neither concept has weathered the reality of Europe’s incapacity to bring a convincing close to its debt and deficit misery. The G-20 summit meetings, a French idea and a pop-up showroom for multipolarity since 2008, have markedly declined in significance. In parallel, the French-German blueprint to build a European defense force, a symbol-to-be of its independence from an American-led NATO, is no longer a priority.
Germany, in turn, has focused almost all its visionary energy on Germany. Since reunification, and with the founding of the euro, it has regarded itself as “normalized,” or no longer required to play the role of its partners’ constant benefactor.
… all the same, an important initiative could take shape with enough credibility and ambition to make Europe look alive, bolder and in refocus mode: a trans-Atlantic free trade zone.
Advocacy of such a goal by E.U. leaders is a political dare because it exposes the time-wasting hollowness of Europe’s desires concerning multipolarity and reserve currencies.
… Could [Angela] Merkel, François Hollande, and David Cameron — all of whom would have a hard time turning their backs on a shot at some real economic renewal and job growth — jointly put this year’s American presidential candidates on the spot and propose a trans-Atlantic free trade pact?

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Return to their Natural State

French State Run Broadcaster Delights that they Can Once Again be Irrationally Abusive to an American Political Figure

The francophone branch of France 24 has taken to some rather 2002-esque looking criticism of America, now that Mitt Romney is in French journalism’s myopic view. Below is a translation of a “débat” (as they refer to them in the original Klingon) that Erik reported on this past Friday. It involve the usual amplification of whatever leftist vulgarity the newsroom chortles about. It is essencially a masturbatory rant:
The World According to Mitt Romney
By Anne-Diandra Louarn on 31/07/2012 - 16:48

On the occasion of a six day European tour, Mitt Romney hoped to prove his international stature. On balance, the Republican candidate's gaffes seem to have made a lasting impression.

In London, "Mitt, the idiot"

On the eve of his arrival in Britain, the first leg of his European tour, Mitt Romney was critical of the organization and security of the London Games. "Disconcerting" and "bleak" are the adjectives that the Republican candidate for president of the United States used, referring to the failures of the security company G4S and the threat of strike by British customs. Romney, who was the organizer of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, was seen immediately lambasted by the English press. "Mitt the twit", headlined "The Sun", July 27. Stung by the Republican, the reaction of Prime Minister David Cameron has also not made to wait: "We hold the Olympics in one of the most popular, active and lively in the world. Of course it is easier if you organize them in the middle of nowhere."
Make a note, people, because this is the first and only time a French scribbler has citied in a positive light anything from any part of the British press outside of The Guardian. You are unlikely to ever see it again.
Other gaffes are highly esteemed as well. The former Massachusetts governor announced he would meet the head of British intelligence, an interview that should not have been revealed. He also clumsily called the Labor leader Ed Miliband "Mr. Leader," [ED.: as if he would be expected to address them with any of this trash] he had obviously forgotten his name.

Controversial remarks in Jerusalem

.Continuing his tour of Israel, Romney has raised more than a million dollars from American Jewish donors. His speech, welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, caused outrage on the Palestinian side.

Commending Israel for its booming economy, Romney explained that the difference between the Israeli GDP and that displayed by the Palestinian Authority was "cultural". Deemed "racist", these statements were immediately criticized by Saeb Erekat, a close associate of President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
Referring to earlier in his speech, "Jerusalem, the capital of Israel," Romney had already angered Palestinians.

In Gdansk, Romney saves face

The third and final stop, Poland, seems to have gone better for Mitt Romney. The Republican candidate has received the indirect support of Lech Walesa, former Polish President and 1983 Nobel Peace prize winner. If he felt it would be "moved" to display an official position, however, he confessed he was "very excited" after his interview with Romney. The Republican candidate has not made any statement to the press but took time to pose alongside Walesa, icon of the anti-communists.

Although no misstep has been noted during this last stop, across the Atlantic, the Romney’s six days trip is far from convincing. The American business press points out that the Republican candidate has carefully avoided European countries at the heart of the debt crisis, while the U.S. are also feeling the impact. "This trip is more like a vacation!" crowed the FT. The decision to oust the euro area from his journey echoed fairly strict bound by Romney last June during a broadcast on CBS: "We will not send checks to Europe. We “will not bail out European banks. We will stay here to support our economy, " he said.
The point of this paragraph being WHAT exactly? That the world’s business is European interests, and nothing else? That Israel is now part of Europe?

Is there no awareness of cause and effect when in the face of their eternal, never-ending, spitefulness and hopelessly inept management of the financial crisis, that they expect America to bail them out at the expense of Americans?

We then move on to the soothing. The notion that they will get what they wish from the rest of the world, and that Obama will win re-election, and will do an about-face and lend them money to dispense as welfare or some other childish fantasy.

The fact is that Romney’s outreach to Poland undoes some of Obama’s disastrous management of relations with Poland, who is arguably our closest ally in the EU.
Obama, imbattable sur la scène internationaleObama, unbeatable on the international scene

Accused of being Manichean and considered too superficial in its vision of international relations is definitely not unique to the Republicans. And the many gaffes committed in recent days in Europe confirm the weakness of the former governor of Massachusetts. "Mitt Romney has offered Barack Obama a gift that is priceless for the presidency," according to "The Guardian". It must be said that the current U.S. President, a 2009 Nobel Peace winner, is particularly popular on the old continent. Warmly received during his European tour, candidate Obama's speech in Berlin landmark and had raised hopes.

Increased popularity, once elected, over his Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the world record holder of diplomatic travels, it was said "If Obama was competing for the presidency of Europe, he would receive 90% of the vote! His foreign policy is prudent, realistic and very popular outside of our borders," said EJ Dionne of the "Washington Post" in a radio interview on American radio network NPR.

Yet the American president had, too, made some diplomatic missteps in his campaign. One of the most publicized had just taken place in Poland where he had referred to a "Polish death camps" instead of Nazi extermination camps during an official ceremony in honor of a resistant Polish.

Finally, many political commentators relativize the impact of the provision of European Romney. "The U.S. presidential election is about the economy, not on gaffes or big speeches abroad", concludes the German conservative daily "Die Welt".

In a recent survey for the New York Times and CBS released July 19, Romney was - for the first time since the beginning of the campaign - expected to win the presidential election with 47% of likely voters supporting him, and 46% for Obama. The weakening of the president’s electability is due to a decline in Americans' confidence in its management of the economy, a subject traditionally reputed to be a Republican strength.
That reputation being demonstrated as we speak.

And sorry, EJ, Americans care about THEIR vote, not some servile state of channeling the wishes of those you and an eleite believe to be our moral superiors abroad on the basis of nothing.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Comparisons are Not Lost on the Reader

In memory of his endless supply of grievances and forgetfulness, The gem by Plantu about Hiroshima was published by Le Monde on 6-AUG-2005, 60 years to the day that the bomb than ended Japan’s war was dropped.

Another Steaming Pile of Plantu:

Uncle Sam:
As the beards from al Queda like to remind us: from time to time, you need to be aware of the massacring of civilians!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

If you Yankees were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help; There was a great King somewhere in your life

Althouse has a similar post (with the help of Meade), in text form (cheers to Instapundit):
Lord North: Look, if you colonists have been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by colonists and yeomen who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.

… There are a lot of smart people out there in the New World. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking British subjects of the Crown out there.

… If you yankees were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great King somewhere in your life. Some members of Parliament helped to create this unbelievable Royal Navy system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in French and Indian Wars and the East India Company.

Utopianism and its’ Limits

With a history of extremist utopianism, European elites once again might be dreaming their populations into social failure again. Take for example the fetish for redrawing maps, exemplified by the bleatings of one who assumed that not just people, but whole nations can be bullied into conforming to some new model way of being:
Alfred Heineken did more than just brew beer. He also thought about things, like the future of Europe and how best to proceed.

"I propose a United Europe of 75 states," he wrote in a pamphlet published in the summer of 1992, "each with a population of five to 10 million inhabitants."

Heineken, a creative old man with a lot of time and money on his hands, was famous for having wacky ideas. And the one about Europe was quickly forgotten.

Alas. Because 20 years later, it is more relevant than ever.
Why all this you ask? It seems to be solely driven by a desire to rule the world, despite a distinct lack of interest in actually policing any dysfunctional part of it on an as-needed basis. Otherwise, it somehow goes all the way back to the 19th century need to buy off ugly mobs with bread and circuses instead of offering them the right to create their own opportunity and healthy civil society:
Everything which has a function, one could argue, has an optimal size. A pen can be bigger or smaller, you still need to be able to use it.

The European welfare state has multiple functions. It needs to protect its territory from outside, uphold the rule of law, provide healthcare, education, take care of the roads and the forests and - to a more or lesser degree - distribute wealth.
After all, an elite governing a bankrupted mass, emasculated by taxation and grand projets can still be loved for giving away whatever is left that they can find, can they not?

In an age where technology can either make people as independent as ever before, or as servile as ever before, they choose the class warfare racket to be their oriflamme, and the vessel of their hopes.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Tennessee Tree House: Living, and Preaching, in an Appalachian Tree Cathedral

David Walter Banks has some remarkable pictures from Tennessee, where Horace Burgess has spent twenty years of his life building an enormous tree house that doubles as a… cathedral. In fact,
The tree house includes seven trees, including one of the massive oaks that are common in this region of Tennessee. Crossville is in the foothills of the Appalachians. The forest has been beautifully preserved.

Horace recovers all kinds of boards on construction sites. Rather than see them destined for destruction, he retrieves the pieces of wood and adds them to the building.

Sunday, Horace preaches before visitors. … Horace Burgess had lived a life of wandering after his return from Vietnam. One day he "met" God. A "born again" Christian, he has devoted his tree house to Jesus.

Visitors can leave the tree house and truthfully
say that while at the top, "they saw Jesus"

Non Sequitur Cartoon: The Department of Economic Management