Saturday, April 09, 2005

The vessel of Euro-lefty hopes

World class caring and loving socialism, world class healthcare...

«I am sure that Venezuelans are really excited to see what they can expect in just a few short years!»

hat-tip: John Ray

The Guardian: «The NHS is turning to Cuba for inspiration on how to improve its services. Officials from the Department of Heath and 100 GPs visited the Caribbean island which, despite being short of medicines and money after decades of a US-led economic embargo, manages to deliver excellent healthcare at a fraction of our cost.»

The Toronto Star: «.In Cuba today, people with HIV are guaranteed access to free medical care. And nobody can be fired from their jobs because they are carrying the virus. There is clearly a strong commitment on the part of the political leadership in Cuba to undertake a wide-ranging and comprehensive HIV/AIDS action plan - domestically as well as internationally, as part of Cuba's activist foreign policy.»
Which they should, given that their soldiers in Africa where the ones banging the Spider Monkeys. The problem is the young Chomskybots who cant register reality of Castros human warehouse and crimes against humanity.

The Krugman double lindy

It's been a really entertaining to watch the spiraling intellectual decline of Paul Krugman.

Rich Tucker exposes Krugman's inability to identify the obvious:

«A favorite game in my house is called “Piggyback Ride.” One of my boys hops on my back, and we attempt to frighten their mother, who convincingly calls out, “Oh, I’m so scared.”

She’s just pretending.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman isn’t. He’s really frightened that conservatives … may start killing liberals.»

Then again there's also Krugman's nutty idea that Conservatives don't make good scientists and, ergo, shouldn't teach. The Harvard Larry Summers kerfuffle reveals that he may be partly right - conservatives refuse to stomp out in a huff in the face of impiricism, and don't see much use in pandering to committee and review panels of non-scientists who want to do things like find genetic determination for gayness but not reproduction, or that there's a stupidity determinant which is only found in their political opponents. hm. Real science...

Besides, wouldn't most conservative scientist try to start their own enterprise or do strictly praxis type real-life work in industry anyway instead of dealing with a horde of loopy 19 year olds?

From our comment section we’ve found one of his fellow travelers. We all know that his limited vision channeled through seeing a band in a club certainly is enough to provide a complete guide to life and the way of the world:

Et les ricains, je connais un trés bon groupe de punk-rock allemand qui s'appel Spermbirds. Vous devriez un peu l'écouter, ça vous déboucherait le cerveau et vous ouvrirait l'esprit.

Mais c'est vrai qu'il est facile de pointer du doigt les néo-nazis (que je ne cautionne en aucun cas), quand chez soi on a le taux de morts par armes à feux le plus élevé du monde. Et surtout n'oublions le KKK, ah oui c'est vrai c'est du folklore...
C'est quoi ces sites anti-français et anti-européens ?

Messieurs Mesdammes les ricains et autres crevures capitalistico-impérialistes, je vous pisse à la raie.
Mmm – no illumination there, the Klansmen went after Republicans and Catholics with the same spring-in-their-step as they did with black people who refused to submit to their forcedul proscriptive social policies. The kind of thing the left, guys like Democratic (the left) Party Senator Robert Byrd might force on your beloved 'sheeple.' Plus, I dont think you'll really illuminate anyone with that tune, but it does sound like you just learned a new ‘knock-knock’ joke. Nonetheless, I don't think there are roving bands of Marines herding innocent Europeans up and force feeding them McDo...

Not much is happening everywhere you find Socialistic practices and lefty though not having any sort of balance or complement. It’s a death cult of sorts, making a earthly utopia for only one generation…

A ‘What, Me Worry?’ view of the future

«On housing, Mr Delanoë pledged at his election to reintegrate the Parisian population by buying up luxury properties, mainly in up-market areas of Paris, and making them available at lower rents to poorer tenants. This he has done by buying up properties in the west and centre of the city and thus making several hundred new apartments available as moderate rent dwellings, or HLMs (Habitations à Loyer Modéré), although this has not been welcomed by all the current residents, who accuse him of pointless social engineering. He says that this policy will reverse the trend of poorer people, especially younger families, abandoning the city altogether as well as reintegrating the city population, a policy already practiced in other European cities such as Munich.»«His policy is based on the ‘Law for Solidarity and Urban Renewal’, passed by France’s Socialist Government in 2000, which makes it compulsory for communes of more than 50,000 people to have rent controls in at least 20 per cent of the housing stock by 2020. The aim is to standardise the principal of ‘social variation’, and prevent neighbourhoods slipping into either very rich or very poor ghettos. Mr Delanoe applies this law to each of the 20 arrondissements (districts) of Paris, which vary between 30 per cent social housing to one per cent. He wants to make the obligatory minimum threshold of 20 per cent apply evenly across the whole of the city.»

All one can be sure of is that rent control REDUCES the quantity, quality, and diversity of the housing stock. What property owner would invest a cent into a rent-controlled building other than to keep it from being condemned? The south Bronx that became so famous for looking like West Beirut circa 1983 is a result of those ‘progressive’ rent control policies. While the do-gooders look at capitalism as being inequitable, the socialistic policies promise to be permanently inequitable.

What else would you expect from a pillow-biting, evolutionary dead-ender? There really is no ‘next generation’ to really worry about if you won’t or can’t have kids. If one only wants to project ones’ feelings on the young, and don’t care about their lives in anything other than an aesthetic way, then who cares?
The only way to guarantee ‘removing social variation’ is to make everyone miserable, and give the poor no way UP and OUT of poverty. Nor does anyone have a way to ‘slum’ in a low rent district while saving up or striving at a new business.

Economist Thomas Sowell has addressed many of the silly old saw policies in specific. They are things like height restriction and excessive environmental regulation which have the effect of reducing housing supply, raising the cost imposed on the builder, and thus the buyer – with no rendered addition of quality or value.
To quote Sowell who was reflecting on similar policies:

«As the realtors say, the three big factors in housing prices are location, location and location. In California, and probably some other places, there are three other big factors -- liberals, liberals and liberals. [note: in American English a ‘liberal’ means a ‘leftist’]

Liberals love to have the government do nice things -- without the slightest regard for the costs or the consequences. Greenery is nice. Open space is nice. It is nice to have buildings that are not too tall. There are all sorts of nice requirements you can put on builders before granting them permits to build.

There is no cash register ringing as the costs of all these nice things keep adding up. It is all done with a wave of the government's magic wand. Not having added up any of these costs, liberals are then shocked and outraged when they discover that apartment rents are stratospheric and housing prices astronomical.»

Other’s still have looked closely and done the non-PC thing of questioning the un-named notion of ‘smart growth’ planning which effectively creates miniature elitist faux-towns where environmental restriction and forced aesthetics are the rule, (again with an effect on the time lying fallow before building) which forces up the cost and means that the only way the developer can break even is to build luxury units.

It gets worse – a study conducted in California looked into the actual effect of forcing developers to build moderate-priced housing as a condition to permitting them to build at all. It took over 20.000 housing units off of the market while adding 384 of the programmed ‘moderate price’ units. Be warned – reducing supply is WHY rents and houses in California are costly in spite of large quantities of land, just as it is in any European city. What do they have in common? It’s the feel-good regulation, stupid.

But what the hell, eh? If you can’t have kids, and don’t care about anyone else’s kids, there IS no future.

and of course, CBS runs to l'AFP with the storyquelle surprise, CBS court se cacher dans les jupons de AFP pour pleurnicher
Too bad he wasn't killed on the spot.
Dommage qu'il ne soit pas zigouillé sur le champ.

Worse than Russia under Brezhnev…

On Thursday, a guest on a Canal + talk show said that America under Bush was worse than the Soviet Union under Brezhnev.

I am not positive who the celebrity speaking was (at the exact moment that I turned on the set, the host was repeating what he had just heard); it may have been Jean-Marc Barr or Jennifer Ayache, but I think it was Tariq Abdul Wahad.

In this, the Descartesian nation of debate, no person, needless to say, rose to express even a limited sense of contradiction. Or even to ask whether the Poles, to take an example of people directly concerned by the Soviet leader, were likely to agree with the statement.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Do Like Us, and Give Peace a Chance…

Why can't those clueless Americans listen to pacifist Europeans like Zapatero, and make the world a safer place by refraining from turning to violence and refraining from choosing the (outdated) military option?…

And then there was the one about…

Bill Clinton and the Pope die on the same day, but a mixup in the afterlife paperwork sends them to the wrong places: the Pope goes to hell and Bill goes to heaven

In these other, independent, jokes, we hear what happens after the mix-up is corrected, and the Pope ends up in Heaven while Bill ends up in hell… (The first time I heard the latter, it was about Dubya heading to Hades, and the role of Jesse Jackson was taken by Clinton himself…)

Necro Heckling for fun and profit

Currency lad brings you: Wojtya Derangement Syndrome

«Elsewhere, in a swirl of Rothmans smoke that announced to the world after only one draft that "we have a loon," scatterbrained contrarian Christopher Hitchens appeared on the balcony of Slate and began channelling the sectarian snobberies he learned in England long ago. The programmatic gist of his urbi et orbi was the recrudescence of good old fashioned anti-Catholicism. I'm not talking about slightly suspicious Masonic provincialism either but the Giant Rosary For The Statue of Liberty stuff from the days of yore. The Kennedy brothers - part of "a cabal" - were Catholics, you see, and so were the Diems of Vietnam and - *sips scotch* - something something something... For most of the article I felt as though the reader was lying on his back next to Hitchens, both looking skywards as the great man tried to point out the cloud that looks just like Senator Joe McCarthy.

It began with the disturbing enjoyment many zealots around the Western world took in the death of Terri Schiavo.»


Zee pozitive attitude
A hilarious attempt by Raffarin to chat in English and support the European Constitution at the same time: 'Win the yes need the no to win against the no'.
Hilarante tentative de Raffarin de causer en anglais et de soutenir en même temps le 'Oui' à la constitution européenne: 'ouine Zee yes neede Zee No tou ouine auh gain Ze no'.

Faut voir leurs gueules longues comme des pissotières
En désuète Ripoublika Franska, les pédés l'ont dans le culte.

Be Not Afraid

From “The Best of the Web”, a story originating from the IHT which would never appear on the BBC’s “Have Your Say” section under something like “The Pope: your memories…”

Roger Cohen of the New York Times' Paris edition tells a moving story about how the young man who was to become Pope John Paul II saved the life of Edith Zierer, who became Cohen's grandmother-in-law, in 1945 after Edith, then 13, had been liberated from a Nazi camp in Poland:

In a corner of the [train] station, she sat. Nobody looked at her, a girl in the striped and numbered uniform of a prisoner, late in a terrible war. Unable to move, Edith waited.

Death was approaching, but a young man approached first, "very good looking," as she recalled, and vigorous. He wore a long robe and appeared to the girl to be a priest. "Why are you here?" he asked. "What are you doing?"

Edith said she was trying to get to Krakow to find her parents.

The man disappeared. He came back with a cup of tea. Edith drank. He said he could help her get to Krakow. Again, the mysterious benefactor went away, returning with bread and cheese. . . .

"Try to stand," the man said. Edith tried--and failed. The man carried her to another village, where he put her in the cattle car of a train bound for Krakow. Another family was there. The man got in beside Edith, covered her with his cloak, and set about making a small fire.

His name, he told Edith, was Karol Wojtyla. . . .

I do not know what moved this young seminarian to save the life of a lost Jewish girl.

That was no mere display, it was a passion for the support of life and a defiance of the devil. It was a matter of morality, not a “those were the days” things. Evil was as real then as it is now. So what to make of our actions? American commentator Mona Charen touched on it in a recent column pointing out that we are faking our emotions as we’ve seen with the impersonal outpourings for a pop-culture type like Princess Diana, but are at something of a loss when we deal with the death of a man who every action and reminder point to a well developed relationship with moral precept:

Culture, Weigel argues, determines civilization. Without its distinctly Christian history, Europe would not be what it is. To cite just one example, Weigel recalls the 11th century "investiture" controversy between Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII. The pope won, and the victory established an important principle that would have profound consequences for the development of what would later be called "civil society." The principle established was that the state "would not occupy every inch of social space."

She also quotes Weigel thus:

George Weigel, the theologian who produced John Paul II's masterful authorized biography "Witness to Hope," has a new slender volume out that addresses Europe's sickness of the soul. In "The Cube and the Cathedral," Weigel begins with a series of questions that limn the problem:

«What accounts for disturbing currents of irrationality in contemporary European politics? Why did one of every five Germans (and one third of those under 30) believe that the United States was responsible for 9-11, while some 300,000 French men and women made a best-seller out of 'The Appalling Fraud,' in which author Thierry Meyssan argued that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by the U.S. military.»

It’s not about the times we live in, as though we have no control over our appetites and thoughts, it’s about what we choose to find important to our very beings. When we refuse to see things for what they are at the risk of our feelings and our feelings alone we try to concoct facts to support them. Fear takes over, and we could never be that one person who simply looks into the face of evil and bundles the suffering in a cloak, risking something that is nothing more than an earthly life for what’s right.

Hey look! It's «Hitler on ice!»

... and NDP crackheads will be dressed up in Penguin suits...

Base residents: meet your new neighbor.

Adulating in good old fashioned ignorant cultural hatred, the German skinhead NDP party is setting up it’s national hatred center (presumably to dress up like a beer hall and play “let’s putsch, leibschen” right next to a US military family housing area.

Un-freaking-glaulich. David’s Medienkritik reports.

From *spit* their statement:
«"On the occasion of the separation of the USA from Great Britain on the 4 of July (so-called Independence Day) we plan on Sunday evening, July 2, 2005 to inaugurate our liberated zone with a large anti-American culture festival.»

«Motto: "No to slavery, the rule of money and imperialism: Dissolve the USA now!" Further major events are planned."»

They must be so proud of themselves - spewing hate on the spouses and children of American service personnel, and spouses and children of civilian DoD employees - many of whom are German. As a frienf told me: they stick their tongues out at American citizens knowing that they won't return the hostility. Brave, very brave.

Never mind the fact that they are so arrogant, narcissistic, and self-centered that they think that they have the right to dissolve a nation becuase of their precious little feelings.

Can you imagine that – neo-nazis supremacist types tch-tching ANYONE about capitalism, and accusing the US of having slavery and being imperialistic. Who were those people in the Koncentrationslagern?, and why where they there nearly a century after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation? They’re truly grasping at straws to find a popular issue. They think they may have found one in the ubiquitous anti-americanism in Germany, but may find themselves linking German Anti-Americanism to Neo-Mazism itself. Fine – knock yourself out, arsheleckern.

Hop on over to Medienkritik and read the whole thing.

Race to the bottomMême face, même race
Paris race riots are nothing new. It's just getting harder for the press to cover them up. Riots in nearby suburbs routinely go unreported and those that are reported quickly vanish down the memory hole. In early 2001 gangs erupted during a weekend afternoon in the shopping center of the 'La Défense' business district and fought with knives and axes. Although the event was reported at the time, the French press Pravda has done a good job of stuffing that episode down the memory hole. Here is CNN's take on it, as well as a French language article from ... the Guardian.
Les émeutes raciales autour de Paris ne constituent pas un phénomène nouveau. Il est juste plus difficile pour la presse aux ordres de les ignorer. Les émeutes en proche banlieue ne sont pas mentionnées et celles dont les bruits arrivent jusqu'à la presse nationale s'y évaporent aussitôt. Un weekend du début 2001, des bandes rivales ont surgi en plein jour aux Quatres-Temps de la Défense, où ils ont livré bataille avec des haches et des couteaux. Bien que l'incident ait trouvé un certain écho à l'époque, la presse Pravda franchouille a fait le nécessaire pour le faire disparaître de la mémoire collective. Voici l'article de CNN ainsi qu'une page en français publiée par ... le Guardian.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Understanding Iraq in a Nutshell

Reporting on the new developments at the head of Iraq, Le Monde's main article describes a country "at war" while the editorial laments "Iraq's chaotic situation, in which violence has not let up since the end of the American war". Apparently, there was no violence before the onset of the "American" war, and the situation at the time (i.e., when Iraq was not "at war") was in no way chaotic.

As for Courrier International, that weekly shows, with this week's title ("Iraq after two years of occupation"), how much the lucid French have understood about Iraq and on the feelings and viewpoints of its inhabitants

Hey, that's a nice cellphone you got there, whiteyDis-donc petit blanc avec ta belle tête de victime, je kiffe ton mobile
Wake-up call. Following the recent Paris race riots, 56% of French web users believe that anti-white racism is a widespread phenomenon in France.
Le réveil a sonné. Suite aux émeutes raciales à Paris, 56% des internautes estiment que le racisme anti-Blanc est quelque chose de répandu aujourd'hui en France.

I think I actually hear crickets…

Where are the howls of complaint about the death penalty?
Moonbat Central points out that in the Palestinian Authority capital punishment is being applied to common rapists and murderers – you know them – the left calls them victims and heroes of the post-modern post-civilization. I’m sure you also remember capital punishment – that’s the thing that European howl about when it’s practiced in Texas after years of appeals are exhausted.

To reiterate what my "blograde" Erik once wrote:

Can you hear the silence?

An economy that dares not speak its' name

Silvain CHARAT writes in TechCentralStation:

«Just like big cities often have their own peculiar neighborhoods -- Little Italy, Chinatown, Greek Town, etc. -- the EU has its own Little USSR. It's called France.»
It’s not all bashing amusement. It gets at a critical flaw in the functioning of the economy, with discussion of even the smallest of changes becoming anathema to the public. It forces public officials to either give up any change or carefully speaking in euphemisms and secrete code.
An example:
«Recently, Jean-Marie Cavada, a well-known French MEP from the center-right who was formerly a popular TV presenter, went so far as to proclaim that Europe needs a "social economy for the market".»

«This is especially worrying given France's leadership role in the European Union. And it must not be underestimated, since it threatens the very fundamentals of market-based economy. This counterproductive leadership was shown twice in recent weeks.»

«France has no interest in promoting free trade. So it promotes its own collectivist agenda, based on market control and the welfare state, as being the inspiration for the European social model.»
Charat concludes:

«In this political fight, France is a pivot because of its leadership [in the E.U.]. That is why, as Alain Madelin, former French minister of finances and historical leader of French classical liberals, would say, what France needs is a Perestroika. It is in the interest of Europe, and only free traders can start such a movement.»

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The triumph of morality and hope over fear and despotism has never been fully understood by the post-Vietnam American left

It turns out that not only do all people prefer freedom to slavery, but also all governments rest to some degree on the consent of the governed
writes Brendan Miniter.
In repressive states this is the consent to stay locked in fear. But that fear lasts only as long as those oppressed believe that openly struggling against the repression is a futile effort. The North Korean regime stays in power because individuals make the calculation that one man speaking out will only succeed in drawing a long prison sentence--or worse--for himself. But if all those who despise the regime were willing to take to the streets, we'd learn that the ranks of dissenters are actually far larger than the those who benefit from the government's continued existence. If the chains of fear were broken, the regime would fall.

This was once dismissed as utopian. But it's what is happening in places like Ukraine, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan today, and it is precisely what began to happen in Poland in 1981, reaching fruition throughout Eastern Europe in 1989. When a pathway of emigration was opened up to the West, those under Soviet control lost their fear. In short order crowds gathered around the Berlin Wall and pulled it down. Faced with such widespread protests in the streets, the Evil Empire soon found itself on the ash heap of history. Poland is free in part because Pope John Paul II stood up to the communists around the world and emboldened millions by saying with his words and his actions that there will be a moral accounting for what is done here on earth.

This triumph of morality and hope over fear and despotism has never been fully understood by the post-Vietnam American left. That's why we still hear theories that Mikhail Gorbachev was the one who brought the Soviet Union in for a soft landing--as if pressure from within and from the free world didn't force that landing upon him. This misunderstanding has also now found new life in opposition to George W. Bush's push for democracy in the Muslim world. It is true that John Paul despised war and wasn't willing to lend his moral capital to the effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein by force. It is also true, however, that the pope recognized the moral good in freedom over tyranny. He never tired of chiding world leaders of all stripes and of all faiths to respect the basic human rights of their people.

Human rights are no less important for Muslims as they are for anyone else. Until Iraq's elections, it was easy to assume that Iraqis didn't really want to be free. Looking across the Middle East, Western policy makers had for decades assumed that Arabs were not meant to be free. But that assumption, like the Iron Curtain, is now falling as people lose their fear to speak out. Partly this is due to America's military might in Iraq. But in Lebanon, Egypt and perhaps even the Palestinian areas, the chains of fear are starting to slip. People in the Middle East are starting to hope and have faith in their future.

When will René Lévesque show up and shout «Vive la France Libre?»

Quebec rejected sovereignty when the public realized that it would hit their pocketbooks. Many corners ofFrance is favouring rejection the EU looks like a similar reaction, which too ran along the lines as it does today in France. It also fits a larger
of getting in on transnationalist efforts, and use the threat of sabotage to exert influence beyond the nation’s scale.

Ultimately both Lévesque and Trudeau opposed breakup just as Chirac prefers EU accession, except that their issues were much larger than that of economy, but went to philosophy and culture tempered by the viability of the outcome.
To be sure this is in the hands of the French public, which is an off position for a European state to be in. It is down to the vote – there aren’t many “re-vote until we hear oui” tactics that will work.

The point is that each of these movements is driven by enlightened self interest and open discussion. Something they are loathe to engage now. Any political movement that tries to put itself above debate, and attempts to banish discussion of criticism is totalitarian in nature and doomed – but generally only after it harms people.

Post-modern Idol

Tony Blair, the Icarus of Europe's Body Politic (Huh?)

Now that Australia's John Howard has been reelected, America's George W Bush has been reelected, and Denmark's Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been reelected, let's see how other members of the coalition of the willing have chances of being punished for siding with Uncle Sam (poodle-style) and choosing war over "peace". Silvio Berlusconi, it is true, is not doing too well at the moment, but let's see how Bush's foremost ally is faring.

There are two constants in MSM articles about Tony Blair . The first is that they all point out how much he has suffered because of his "ill-advised" decision to ignore British opinion polls and follow Dubya's arrogant, war-like policies.

In March the New York Times' Alan Cowell spoke of "how far Mr. Blair has fallen, Icarus-like, from 1997". According to an editorial in the same paper,

As everyone knows, Mr. Blair has made Britain an unwavering member of President Bush's coalition of the willing in Iraq, at his own political peril.
During the Labour Party's 2004 summit at Brighton in September, Le Monde's Jean-Paul Langellier reported how Blair had felt compelled to exercise "uncommon humility concerning Iraq" and the allies' inability to find any WMD. (The PM, though, refused to present any excuses for having caused the departure of Saddam.)
Tony Blair remains threatened in Brighton by a political defeat on Iraq.
In an IHT letter, an Englishman writes that
Nicholas D. Kristof states that "Tony Blair genuinely believes in the Iraq war." On behalf of my countrymen, I assure you that he is one of a small minority. Most of us are opposed to the war and want our troops to come home.
Back in July, Robert Harris specified that Blair had led the bulk of the Labour Party "into an unpopular and possibly illegal war", allying it "with the most reactionary American administration in living memory." And that was in the Daily Telegraph.

And on and on it goes, with reports on the war's impopularity, on the BBC, on officials' suicides, on the scandal of British torture in Iraq, and so on. (Here are some more horrid photos from the British troops in Iraq…)

It should perhaps be mentioned that this hand-wringing is not new. One year before the Iraq war (and barely six months after 911), the Economist's Bagehot investigated "what his critics take to be unquestioning loyalty to America".

Then, of course, there was this grumpy Brit ranting about Blair's hankering

after what, when all the rhetoric and fancy packaging is stripped away, is a client-state relationship with America.
Roy Denman goes on to ask, "does Tony Blair have to accept immediately every dot and comma of the American plan?" and "How can a Britain intent on being America's poodle ever fit [into the EU]?" So, is Blair Bush's poodle? No, Clinton's. Denman's article appeared in the International Herald Tribune in February …1998.

And over the years, the former representative of the European Commission in Washington has made it a habit of following the self-serving EU line (and its "every dot and comma") in which falling in step with the EU is an unqualified victory towards a brighter future while falling in step with Washington is nothing less than the darkest of ignominies.

Of course, this is only one double standard which, it turns out, to nobody's surprize, that many of Blair's critics (whether claiming to be objective or otherwise) are constantly applying. Including in the basic definition of democracy.

Thus, a Londoner asks in the IHT:

On the subject of democracy, is there any chance some of it may reach Britain in the near future? In the coming election, a thoroughly discredited, increasingly paranoid and repressive government, led by a quisling prime minister, who is deeply despised, is certain to win a third term of office. And there is absolutely no chance of an American withdrawal.
"Certain to win a third term of office."

Therein lies the rub, eh?

This brings us to the second constant in all MSM articles about the husband of Cherie Blair. Once they've explained what a mistake (or what a crime) the "thoroughly discredited, increasingly paranoid and repressive government" has made in ignoring the will of the British population (i.e., opinion polls) — something that often takes up more than half the article — they then comment almost nonchalently that the "deeply despised … quisling" is likely to win the elections — a task they sometimes get rid of in a sentence or two. Indeed, the Labour PM is slated to win an unprecedented third-time consecutive electoral victory.

Thus, in the New York Times article in which he compared Tony to Icarus, Cowell goes on to say that in the final analysis, "Few people here think that Mr. Blair and Labor are headed for defeat in the end."

As for Le Monde's Langellier, during the Tories' congress in October (one week after the Labour summit), he reported that Britain's opposition party is losing steam, that three voters out of four do not consider it ready to return to power, and, last but not least, that the party has nothing to gain by opposing Blair on the Iraq war.

Indeed, a Guardian poll places Iraq only at the 10th rank of British preoccupations (far behind health, education, and security), and in fact 49% of Britons (an increase of 9%, as opposed to 42%) want Her Majesty's 9,000 soldiers in Iraq to remain in place until the establishment of a "stable democracy". (Which, incidentally, puts the lie to the common claim mentioned in both IHT letters mentioned above.)

In fact, according to a Langellier column (written two weeks before his article about the above-mentioned Labour summit),

Tony Blair has the best chances of succeeding himself.
No wonder the piece is called Tony Blair Is Back! (By the way, Jean-Pierre Raffarin has disputed the charge that his British counterpart is simply running a vassal government to the United States.)

As for the Economist, an article mentioned positive views of Uncle Sam, something that is downplayed — if not ignored outright — in the MSM media, American and British as well as elsewhere. Specifically, it mentioned a poll on the eve of the president's visit to Britain in November 2003 that "showed a majority welcoming Mr Bush and believing that the war was justified, and that America is a force for good in the world. Labour voters are especially supportive." And that poll came from the Guardian!

Again, needless to say, its content goes totally against the grain of accepted wisdom, not least that of the two IHT readers mentioned above, especially the one from London who bemoaned the alleged absence of democracy in Britain, and the fact that Blair's predicted reelection victory means that the voters' desires aren't being respected.

As for the Telegraph article, Harris writes that

And yet none of it seems to matter. Blair enters his 11th year as Labour leader, Gordon Brown's grumblings notwithstanding, entirely secure from external threat; only his own appetite for the job remains in question.
This post could end here, but what is most interesting about Harris's piece is his conclusion that Blair's success is due to the fact that, in the final analysis, he is a Tory PM running a Labour government:
Little wonder, therefore, that the Tories are in despair as to how to deal with him. A Conservative prime minister presiding over a Labour government is a devilishly difficult coalition to defeat, and Mr Blair's staunchness in supporting America's war on Iraq — in contrast to Michael Howard's recent vacillations — has begun to find resonance in the most unlikely reaches of the political spectrum.

"On course to a comfortable victory at the next general election, prescient, brave, eloquent and in charge … a prime minister not just a party leader … if he wants to, he can win again" — this was not some Blairite lackey outlining a rosy future for New Labour, but the ex-editor of The Daily Telegraph — and official biographer of Margaret Thatcher [of all his predecessors, she is the one with whom Blair evidently has the closest rapport] — Charles Moore

Read how much truth there is to the
charge that Blair is America's poodle

Read some memorable Tony Blair quotes

Don't forget to thank Tony

He's got the French peggedEn voilà un qui connaît les franchouilles
Frits Bolkestein, commenting on the rising NO vote six weeks from France's referendum on the European Constitution: 'It is a fact that democracies are not for people who are afraid'.
Frits Bolkestein, donne son avis au sujet du NON qui s'incruste à 8 semaines du referendum français sur la Constitution européenne: 'Il est vrai que les démocraties ne sont pas pour des gens peureux', a ajouté l'ancien commissaire européen.

Making away with the goods?

There he is making away with the goods:
Labour's hard fought trust from the general population.

The Tory International Man of Mystery gives us a hint at what to expect - a New Labour victory in Britain followed roughly a year later by a palace coup / happy putsch which makes Ol' Gordo the New PM, and as such the default European keeper of relations with the U.S.

Quoting David Cowan another total brainiac, IMoM the ne'er de well gives us a foretaste of what could be:

A New Prime Minister: A Conservative Take on Gordon Brown:

«At a recent celebration in London addressed by Mr. Brown, the mildly eccentric Socialist Member of Parliament Tony Benn suggested that socialism is going to make a "surprising comeback." Apart from smoozing with what used to be known as the "Loony Left," Mr. Brown has been shoring up his support amongst other members of Parliament, while the current incumbent looks increasingly like a lame duck. If he steps into Prime Minister Blair's shoes, unelected, then we will find in Britain a truly elected dictatorship.»

For goodness sake Mabel, it's time to hide the sheep again...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Once Again, Europeans Dazzle with Their Avant-Garde Sophisticated Positions and Viewpoints

Whereas the uncouth, clueless Americans only see things in a primitive, retrograde, black-and-white fashion, and their sorry excuses for media outlets are invariably biased, it is a relief to realize that the sophisticated Europeans have developed much more nuanced points of view

Afghan Warrior

Afghanistan has its first blogger, Afghan Warrior. Check out Waheed's website (turban tip to Avary).

When a free man enjoying the blessings of a free society promotes an equivalence between real democracy and a sham, he's colluding in the great lie

…being perpetrated by the prison state.
The [progressives'] assumption is always that there's some middle ground that a less "doctrinaire" pope might have staked out: he might have supported abortion in the first trimester, say, or reciprocal partner benefits for gays in committed relationships
writes Mark Steyn as he attempts to explain why progressive Westerners never understood John Paul II (Gratias ago, RV).
The root of the Pope's thinking — that there are eternal truths no one can change even if one wanted to — is completely incomprehensible to the progressivist mindset. There are no absolute truths, everything's in play, and by "consensus" all we're really arguing is the rate of concession to the inevitable: abortion's here to stay, gay marriage will be here any day now, in a year or two it'll be something else — it's all gonna happen anyway, man, so why be the last squaresville daddy-o on the block?

We live in a present-tense culture where novelty is its own virtue: the Guardian, for example, has already been touting the Nigerian Francis Arinze as "candidate for first black pope". This would be news to Pope St Victor, an African and pontiff from 189 to 199. Among his legacies: the celebration of Easter on a Sunday.

That's not what the Guardian had in mind, of course: it meant "the first black pope since the death of Elvis" — or however far back our societal memory now goes. But, if you hold an office first held by St Peter, you can say "been there, done that" about pretty much everything the Guardian throws your way. John Paul's papacy was founded on what he called — in the title of his encyclical — Veritatis Splendor, and when you seek to find consensus between truth and lies you tarnish that splendour.

Der Spiegel this week published a selection from the creepy suck-up letters Gerhard Schröder wrote to the East German totalitarian leaders when he was a West German pol on the make in the 1980s. As he wrote to Honecker's deputy, Egon Krenz: "I will certainly need the endurance you have wished me in this busy election year. But you will certainly also need great strength and good health for your People's Chamber election." The only difference being that, on one side of the border, the election result was not in doubt.

When a free man enjoying the blessings of a free society promotes an equivalence between real democracy and a sham, he's colluding in the great lie being perpetrated by the prison state. Too many Western politicians of a generation ago — Schmidt, Trudeau, Mitterrand — failed to see what John Paul saw so clearly. It requires tremendous will to cling to the splendour of truth when the default mode of the era is to blur and evade.

EU mortally afraid of murderous Caribbean tin-pot dictator

Do not provoke Fidel, says Louis Michel, the EU "development commissioner".
From the Telegraph (UK):

«Mr Michel's visit was intended to herald a fresh start for friendly relations between Cuba and Europe, following the EU's recent decision - under heavy pressure from the socialist government in Spain - to suspend diplomatic sanctions imposed on Havana in 2003.

Mr Michel, a Belgian, said he was encouraged by signs of change in Cuba and declined to offer support for a planned dissident "congress", uniting 300 Cuban rights groups.»

Samizdata’s Brian Micklethwait: «The EU would do better to concentrate on developing itself.»

Mass hostage taking

Doctors striking "in the spirit of dialogue and reflection" because people might need to go to the hospital.

JP and Ronnie

The passing of Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan in the same year underscores a great coincidence of history: Nearly three decades ago, two men shared the same view of communism and the same vision of ending it, and they both stepped onto the world stage at roughly the same time
reports Fox News (watch the video).
"What the two men shared is that they were simply unimpressed with communism's claim to represent human nature and to represent inevitability," said Radek Sikorski, former Polish deputy foreign minister.

Booker T Washington on Character and on That Which Is Worth Having

Today is the birthday of Booker T. Washington, the American educator (1856-1915) whose ideas and viewpoints would hardly endear him to today's masses of Europe:
Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.

Character is power.

Character, not circumstances, makes the man.

I let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him.

I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. Out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race.

The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts.

We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.

No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.

The opiate of the masses: actual opiates

Three million europeans a day pass the doochie by the left hand side.

If you don’t think it matters, take a good look in the eye of the driver next time you step into a taxi. This chart does a nice job of showing the uselessness of both criminalization and legalization, both of which are meaningless without a population that puts some value in personal responsibility which the nanny state can’t.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: there is no respect for what a bunch of discredited dead commies imagine was the opiate of the masses. Message delivered by a bunch of discredited living commies: tolerance and diversity means never allowing non-leftists to express themselves. The evidence is clear: common sense can only make it’s way into the back channels only when the keepers of civilization can’t control it.

The elephant in the living room?: the french left doesn't want to fly flags at half mast for a European head of state because of his faith.

What do these things have to do with one another? Each is evidence of a social force. Faith used to be respected as an individual’s right and perogative, now it isn’t. Personal responsibility as well. These are the sort of social forces they prefer to promote: ones that benefit no-one, keep old wounds open, maintain bitterness, and are obsessed with “the other” in society.

Le Pape aura emmerdé les pédés jusqu'à la fin
Le weekend de la mort du Pape, le Sida-thon fwançais n'a récolté que 4,35 million d'euros au lieu des 7 millions d'euros prévus. Les pédaloïdes n'ont pas fini de le prendre dans le culte.

French flags at half mast, just like their dicksDrapeaux franchouilles en berne, tout comme leurs moignons de queues
France's secular ayatollahs, reciting their bureaucraptic scriptures with madrassa like fervor, are not happy about the French government's decision to fly its flags at half mast for the Pope's burial.
On dirait qu'en France, la chose religieuse a le vent en Pape. Les ayatollahs de la laïcité fwançaise, qui récitent leurs évangiles de bureaucrottes avec une frénésie rarement vue en dehors d'une madrassa, ne sont pas contents de la décision du gouvernement fwançais de mettre les drapeaux français en berne pour l'enterrement du Pape.

Just waiting for a white riotIls ne sont pas de sales racistes anti-blancs, ils ont juste un côté antisocial
Libération PropagandaStaffel publishes a puff piece by a bunch of humanist intellectuals claiming that the systematic mugging of white demonstrators by 1000 suburban kids shouldn't have any racial meaning read into it. Thankfully, there are a few reactionaries in France.
Libé PropagandaStaffel a publié un article par une flopée d'intellos zumanistes qui prétendent que l'agression systématique de manifestants blancs par 1.000 (tali)banlieusards ne doit pas être soumis à une lecture raciale. Heureusement, il y a encore quleques réacs en Fwance.

No question of race here. Unless you are talking about France's race to the bottom.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Grandstanding: How Europeans Use the UN and Other International Bodies to Boost Their Own Self-Image While Lambasting Uncle Sam

…and acting counter-productively in devising solutions to crises of life and death…

America: Arrogance or Common Sense?

Europe: Principles or Grand-Standing?

When lambasting Bush and America for arrogance, unilateralism, insensitivity to others, and/or opposing "the international community's desire for a fair and impartial legal system", there are several things that America's detractors usually (and conveniently) downplay and/or leave out.

Foremost among the numerous examples, anything negative touching the United Nations — such as the hushed rape of Timor (thanks to Gregory) or the makeup of the UN Human Rights Commission (thanks to Joe, more below) — is either ignored or receives only the most basic treatment necessary (read first para) for the media outlet to be able to say "Oh, but of course we covered that too; no doubts about it, we displayed the objectivity expected of us!"

With regards to the International Criminal Court, John Rosenthal points out that France's position "will be a matter of pure grandstanding". The resolution recently presented by Paris was

designed precisely to embarrass the United States and make it appear as somehow “soft” on war crimes — even though, in fact, the US government has taken a more severe line on the events in Darfur than both the leading European governments and the UN bureaucracy.
What the French will not tell you, Rosenthal adds, is that
France at one and the same time ratified the statute of the court and declared that it did not recognize its jurisdiction over war crimes — except when alleged to have been committed by non-French citizens or on non-French territories.
It’s little known that France was in fact once upon a time a major opponent of the ICC and even now refuses to accept the jurisdiction of the court over charges of war crimes directed against its own military.
The reason that that is a little-known fact, of course, is that it is the type of fact that does not contribute to French grandeur, and so it is one that French politicians, journalists, and citizens do not make a big fuss about.

Another "detail" that none of the ICC's champions mentions:

Although its name gives the impression that it is an “international institution” in the same sense as, say, the UN … in fact the ICC represents the international equivalent of a “private” court. It is “owned”, so to say, by just those countries that are its members. Not only does the ICC statute come nowhere near to meeting the due process standards of American law, but its mode of financing is such that its partiality is practically guaranteed.
With regards to the absence (to say the least) of "the due process standards of American law", Edwin J Feulner specifies that
Americans would hardly recognize the ICC as a court. For example, defendants may face double jeopardy, hearsay evidence, absentee trials and other things not permitted in American courts. Should we abandon these protections just because they are not part of international law?
And to give an example that gives the lie to the claim of ICC impartiality, I have already shown how its spirit is perfectly symbolized by the fact that its champions (official and otherwise) have made a big fuss of going after General Pinochet (a dictator out of power for the past 15 years) while doing nothing against Fidel Castro (a dictator in power, with seven times as many victims to his name).

This is where Richard Bernstein's article about the United Nations Human Rights Commission comes in.

…it has been business as usual at the commission, uneven and inconsistent. This year, as in almost all years, there will be probably five resolutions criticizing a single country, Israel. There will most likely also be some action on North Korea and Sudan and perhaps a resolution on Cuba, too, though this year many diplomats predict that Cuba has the votes from sympathetic members in Africa and Latin America to see it voted down. But no Arab dictatorship besides Sudan will be in the dock, nor will Iran, or Congo, or Russia, or Togo, or, in fact, many of the others among the 50 or 60 of the world's remaining dictatorships.

The underlying problem? No less an authority than Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, determined in his recent report on UN reforms that the commission had fallen under the influence of dictatorships, who seek membership precisely to deflect attention from themselves.

"The inmates are very close to being in charge of the asylum," Keven Moley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said, agreeing with Annan's assessment.

Many developing countries, by contrast, see the commission as a sort of postcolonial Western tool of domination, judging the "Southern" countries but not the Northern ones. The Europeans seem to lean to a middle position in this matter, being more likely to play ball with the various geographic groups whose tendency is to protect their fellow members: the African Union in the case of Zimbabwe, for example. This leads members of the Bush administration to see the Europeans at the Human Rights Commission in the same way they see the Europeans in general: as too soft, too accommodating, allergic to bold action.

"We are ready to take chances for freedom," Moley said. "They'll take no risk that leads to instability."

You will note that, although he leads his article with three incontrovertible examples, the New York Times' Bernstein could not even bring himself to state the obvious, but (besides using the limp "uneven and inconsistent") had to format its title as a question (Are the foxes guarding human rights at UN?). This seems to be the piece's conclusion:
…it does seem fair to say that there is a real Euro-American cultural divide here. The Europeans understand perfectly well the invasion of dictatorships into the commission, but they have faith in the necessity of such international organizations to do good, and they want to be patient, hoping to make them work. The Americans are convinced that in the real world of self-protective and cynical dictatorships, the UN often tends toward a kind of tyranny of the majority, and the American goal is to fight back, rather than to go along in the hope that things will change.
But in typical MSM fashion, Bernstein accepts other countries' assertions uncritically, mindlessly agreeing that whole populations share one point of view, and not reflecting to think that when "other countries" are mentioned, it is actually the spokesmen of governments with self-serving motivations and with largely acquiescent media outlets, régimes who often have a large say (to say the least) in determining the information that their citizens receive and that they are instrumental in shaping.

This applies both with regards to European members — those who claim that a "quieter approach often works" (it is true that Saddam Hussein, for one, said as much) — and with regards to the aforementioned authoritarians — the same who would have us (and their own populations) believe that "developing countries … see the commission as a sort of postcolonial Western tool of domination, judging the 'Southern' countries but not the Northern ones."

In this perspective, Bernstein lets Germany's commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian aid reply to the Americans — he lets him have the final say, in effect — by invoking the… ICC, by castigating the Americans for not countenancing that court, by nonchalently implying that it is all the Americans' fault, and by thereby joining the chorus of self-serving voices putting the blame for the paralysis on America (here, Washington's "blackmail of shame"). Bernstein does not intervene to protest that the ICC is not the impartial body that Europeans like Tom Königs claim it is.

In other words, that, too, was "a matter of pure grand-standing", designed (once again) "to embarrass the United States", and that by people, governments, and institutions loudly broadcasting their self-serving points of view with their attendant ugly prejudices of Uncle Sam, showing little regard for truly bringing an end, say, to the blood-letting in Darfur. And this is the type of policies many people, in the U.S. and abroad, would have Washington kowtow to and follow.

De Gaulle's Tattered Legacy

[Charles de Gaulle's] meritocracy produced two working generations of talented, dedicated administrators who gradually moved to the top of France's business and political establishments
writes Jim Hoagland in the Washington Post (Merci to the Ashbrook Center).
How you respond to "the French" depends in some measure on how you react to dealing with the smartest kid in the class, who cannot resist occasionally reminding you of that fact. You may not find that as invigorating as I (usually) do.
The article of Zhim O'glan' (as he is known in France) is based on the two cases of "noxious mix" that are undermining the crème de la crème — the first being the fact that
the French elite — and the system that produced it — is on trial this spring in a Paris courtroom, where 47 political party activists and business executives stand accused of falsifying government contracts to provide France's main parties with secret campaign funds.

If these people did participate in a corrupt, long-standing conspiracy to parcel out hidden business payoffs to France's Gaullists, socialists, communists and others, the probability that the country's most important political leaders were not involved approaches zero. France's political class operates as the country's central nervous system.

In the second case, this
noxious mix is creating a challenge to the other big idea, which de Gaulle adopted, reshaped and sold to the French public as a matter of national survival. That is the concept of a united Europe — united under French intellectual leadership and political parity with Germany (which also has ideas, but does not have the bomb).

France's leaders have been stunned by recent public opinion polls that show a clear majority of the electorate intending to vote against the European Union's draft constitutional treaty in a May 29 referendum. A "non" from France would kill the treaty and open an existential crisis in the 25-nation union.

These two trials of France's elite — the legal one in Paris, the political one of coaxing a "oui" to a more politically integrated Europe — are merging into a policy maelstrom that swirls beyond France's borders.

As his domestic challenges mount, Chirac seeks refuge and armor in foreign policy decisions and meetings. To reassure the electorate that French rights are not threatened by the new constitution, he has been busy defying the existing procedures and powers of the union's executive arm in Brussels.

Of course, defying Uncle Sam on a regular basis plays into this as well.

Some Realities Behind the French-Love-to-Debate Myth

A row has broken out at state-owned television station France 2 over the cancellation of a programme featuring EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, amid claims it was stopped under pressure from President Jacques Chirac
the AFP reports.
Staff representatives accused station president Marc Tessier of caving in to the government, which feared Barroso's April 21 appearance on the popular debate show A hundred minutes to convince would boost the "no" vote in the referendum on the EU constitution.

Chirac was furious at remarks made by Barroso defending the Bolkestein directive, and at last week's EU summit in Brussels he was overheard telling senior aides to find a way to have the broadcast cancelled, Le Monde reported. A few hours later Tessier made his call.

Le Monde also noted that Tessier is hoping to be re-appointed shortly to his post — a decision on which Chirac's influence will weigh heavily.

There was no official reaction from Brussels, but Le Monde quoted unnamed members of the EU Commission as saying that the affair made France look like a "banana republic."

This, in the country whose citizens, politicans, and media outlets like nothing better than to castigate Fox News and invoke it as being typical of all media in America; whose citizens gleefully mock Americans as being blinded and the vassals of Washington; and who pose their own society as a shining example of liberty for all, with the attendant willingness to debate freely and openly take into consideration all opinions and points of view.

Free Enterprise, Trudeaupia Style

Courtesy of Kate McMillan

Maya Angelou on Bitterness Versus Anger

It occurred to me, after reading the following quote by Maya Angelou (the US writer and performer whose birthday it is today), that the basic difference between Europeans and Americans is the (society-wide) cultivation of bitterness in the former and the (individuals') willingness to experience anger in the latter.
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
This is not unrelated to the fact that courage is a value underrated, mocked, and castigated among the status quo- and stability-loving Europeans (unless it is the courage to confront — and direct anger towards — relatively harmless would-be adversaries such as Uncle Sam).
Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
In addition, Maya also said that
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

And the Bataan death march was just a nature walk

Robert Mugabe is spinning a kinder, gentler image of privation by promoting labor on farms repossessed from their owner and given to his cronies, and calling it "obesity tourism."

Are they laughing at the irony of eco-tourism? The benefit is that Guardian writers will be able to see their workers’ paradise in action.

Chapeau to Moonbat Central