If you think Stern has already sunk to its' deepest, and could dig no further Davids Medienkritik reveals that they can. The title of this entry has the overdramatic and contrived nature of the typical item in the german popular press whenever the US is involved.
Now get a load of this Stern dookie:
"The History of the USA: No nation has ever dominated the globe like the USA. And its people could care less about the rest of humanity."Not to be outdone there is always the BBC which has a facinatingly quiver-lipped habit of trying to hide it's quiet envy at anyone who escapes a lot in life that they can't understand. They have a little thing called BBC Online where they can broadcast policial screeds worthy of the Third Reich.
In their high sophistication and intellectual depth, they use CERTAIN ACCENTS as means of displaying negativity. Case in point: a 'documentary' about gambling addiction. They present a mock casino advert which obviously makes the casino out to be satan's disengenuous handmaiden while shaking the change out of people's pockets and convincing them that the tax money makes them great citizens. The accent? One of their butchered attempts at a generic American accent of the broadcast variety. One that they seem never to get right anyway.
Virtually every new radio documentary that they promote uses this childish signifier. They might as well be throwing red mead and PCP at the public, waving their arms, and howling 'nya nya' as a means of informing and entertaining them.
It's sickening, pathetic, and well beneath the mentality of their audience, if not insulting to their intelligence. Who do thie think they're fooling?
Now look at THIS little ditty. At first they were selling it as a sort of "who runs the companies and the media" thing which one would expect to find a platform with which they could plump themselves up with the notion that their programming is free. Far from the case.
This documentary is called "Who runs your world?" It's now being peddled without much of a veil, answering it with "George does".
Note that under "debate in" there is no obvious option for english, and that even though they run a promo for it every 90 minutes on the BBC World Service, they make it hard to get to from the English language page. I had to get to it through the "World Service Trust" (non-profit, surely) based in NEW ZEALAND.
You can also dig the leading questions on their "quiz" about power - where the only possible outcomes are limited to a view that power has nothing to do with leadership or ethics, but possibly something nasty like religion and war.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
If you think Stern has already sunk to its' deepest, and could dig no further Davids Medienkritik reveals that they can. The title of this entry has the overdramatic and contrived nature of the typical item in the german popular press whenever the US is involved.
Val MacQueen writing in Tech Central Station points out the underhanded and mendacious reporting by the BBC on the deadly effects of hurricane Katrina.
« This was not, however, the way the BBC's foreign correspondents saw it. British viewers got more dramatic eyewitness reportage from Matt Frei, actually on a freeway overpass in New Orleans. He reported with heavy irony, " [after days of neglected misery], the cavalry is on the way." - unable, as always in a Bush context, to resist western movie clichés. In any event, did Frei's eyes deceive him? It was clear from watching the footage that General Honoré and his 40 vehicle convoy were not "on the way" but were on the streets of the city and in control.Maybe they didn't want to notice this. As a BBC listener, I have begun calling it “monitoring enemy broadcasts” – the fact remains that in their frezy to find a political angle, they really aren’t informing anyone, not “adding value” that would make them any better than Yahoo News, Google Video, or raw feeds for that matter.
Back to the flooded streets and Hewitt speaking from his boat to a camera that was presumably held by a BBC man walking backward through the shallow water. It was unbelievable, he said angrily, how long it was taking the authorities to come to these poorest neighborhoods to rescue people, although he had to raise his voice as he spoke as there were three or four helicopters hovering overhead winching people up. Needless to say, help was "too little, too late". Why no large wheeled vehicles, he demanded? Instead, "it's pickup trucks and guns. More guns than doctors." Well obviously, to have equal numbers of both, military personnel would have to carry a doctor as well as a gun.
Back home in London, the prestigious current affairs show Newsnight weighed in. Moderator and inquisitor-in-chief Jeremy Paxman, under normal circumstances possessed of a sharp intelligence, suffers, like so many other on-camera BBC employees, from a form of Tourette's syndrome whenever President Bush's name is mentioned. Among his comments on the program, according to blogger Natalie Solent, were "This is going very badly for the Republicans", despite that the Republican administration in Mississippi was doing blazingly well and the collapse of New Orleans civil order was solely caused by Democrat ineptitude. Unable to stop himself, he kicked out again, hopefully, "This is going to have a big impact on the way President Bush is seen by history, isn't it?"»
If their notion of sophistication is the cowby movie cliche that I hear daily from them, then they deserve to be ridiculed, have their frauds exposed, and then sacked.
"... Maurice G. Dantec, réputé le plus américain des auteurs français contemporain, à la fureur néoconservatrice dérangeante, ..."
"... Maurice G. Dantec, who has the reputation of being the most American of contemporary French writers, with his troubling neoconservative furor, ..."
Dernière apparition publique en France ce soir à la Cigale.
Inner City Minister Sues Democratic Party For Reparations
« In his 100-page brief, Perryman concludes that the past racist policies and practices that were initiated against African Americans by the Democratic Party - were no different than the policies and practices that were initiated by the Nazi Party against the Jews. In both situations millions of lives were destroyed.»From Perrymans legal brief:
«During the past 21 decades the Democrats successfully disguised and concealed their horrific acts against the African Americans by operating and committing these acts under the following aliases: the Confederacy, Jim Crow, Black Codes, the Dixiecrats and the Ku Klux Klan. Congressional records, historical documents, and the letters and testimonies from several brave black citizens revealed that these groups werent separate independent organizations, but were actual auxiliaries, divisions and/or the legislative efforts of the Democratic Party. The debates on the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 further revealed that these auxiliaries were committed to use every means possible to carry out the Democrats racist agenda of White Supremacy, including: lynchings, murders, intimidation, mutilations, decapitations and racially bias legislation and adjudication.»
Friday, September 09, 2005
Cel phone communication is hard to come by on trains, but at one point I heard I had a message on the answering machine. I called the number to hear the message. It was my (New York-born) mother, and all the message said was to please call back: "There has been a series of catastrophes in the States".
Befuddled, I headed out into the corridor and called my parents, and after answering, my mom said I should talk to my dad. I listened incredulously as my father explained that planes had been deliberately flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and that both Twin Towers had collapsed.
Needless to say, I headed back to the dining car in another state of mind, totally closed off and unable to communicate with anyone.
At one point, three or four members of some state-owned company (they may have been EDF) entered the dining car. Although they discussing the day's events, they were obviously heading to Paris to demonstrate against the government, and during their conversation, I overheard one of them making a joke (sic). With a snicker, he said "Ils l'ont fait exprès pour saboter notre manifestation" (They [obviously meaning the Americans] did it on purpose, in order to sabotage our demonstration). Alhough the others barely laughed at what was obviously an instance of sophisticated humor à la française (smiles were in order, though), the comment should give a better idea of the real state of friendship harbored towards America then the presumed one extant in the myth of the squandered sympathy.
I was too emotionally drained to react to this comment, and anyway without a radio and a TV set to get a better idea of the situation, the extent of the terrorist attacks was hard to believe. I had listened to learn more, and had certainly not expected anything but empathy for Americans.
(Meanwhile, fellow webmaster Bill was taking a drink in a Paris café — listen to his experience with French proclamations of ever-lasting friendship.)
Anyway, another two hours went by without news, without images of any kind, and when I arrived at Gare de Lyon, I rushed home faster than I ever have before, arriving drenched with sweat just in time for the 8 o'clock news. That night I hardly slept, as I stayed up in front of the TV all night long, wishing, wishing drastically that the news wasn't true.
At my office the following day, there was certainly nobody among my fellow journalists who had anything sympathetic to say about 911 (or what they had to say they certainly weren't sharing with the guy wearing Old Glory on his head).
The previous August, I had joined a group of a dozen hikers (all of them French) in crossing the Himalayas at a point in northern India, and we had decided to meet again at one of our apartments on the Saturday three weeks after our return from the trek. This turned out to be September 15.
A couple of people brought their companions along. Eventually discussion turned to the events of the previous Tuesday. I never expected anything but sympathy to be shown (like I had on the train), but one female hiker's boyfriend obviously had none. I don't remember if he actually said he was happy about 911 or in so many words that Americans deserved it, but he certainly had not the smallest empathy for them, saying he hated their guts.
That is where I lost my cool.
"So that is the famous French solidarity, huh?!" I interrupted from my chair.
He tried to say something, but he wasn't about to get the chance.
"So that is the famous French generosity, huh?!" I bellowed.
He again replying, but…
"So that is the famous French tolerance, huh?"
I got up.
The others were begging me to drop the matter, to shut up.
"So that is the famous love of fellow human beings, huh? I am so-o-o-o impressed!"
His girlfriend was begging me, begging both of us, to let the matter drop, but I piled on with acerbic irony.
"Do you have any other examples of France's famed lucidité, we would love to listen to them!"
The other people were alarmed, they seemed to think we were going to come to blows, and, truthfully, both then and later, I felt like I was battering him, except by the use of words instead of fists.
"Oh, I am so impressed by your avant-garde feelings of solidarity towards the entire world — please, please, can you give us some lessons!"
Suddenly, the guy got up, crossed the room towards the front door of the fifth-floor apartment, and — walked out. Leaving his girlfriend behind, he started running down the stairway. In my fury, I still managed to register surprise, because that was the last thing I expected.
I sat down again, fury still registered on my face, and the topic quickly changed to something totally unrelated to international news.
The point is that, as John Rosenthal (among others) has pointed out, the story of the squandered sympathy is nothing but a myth: Over the following months, or years (weeks?), we are told, America's president (i.e., Bush) and his government squandered the sympathy that the world generously bestowed upon America in the immediate aftermath.
As it happens, the comment I heard in the apartment occurred four days after the terrorist attacks, and the comments that I heard in the train and that W heard in the Paris café occurred within hours (if not dozens of minutes) after learning of the terrorist attacks.
Those give quite a different context to the expressions of friendship such as those seen by clicking on the photo above. As many of our French commentators make clear, what is said in public (and nobody denies Europeans' mastery in handling the délicatesse of diplomacy) and what is said behind one's back can be quite a different matter; in any case, the friendship is tinged (soaked, rather) with (self-serving) paternalism.
Close friendship with America: it is all a lie, folks, it is all a lie. (Or if you want to be charitable, at best it is self-deception.)
« Hernandez’ not-so-well-written article, if I’m reading it correctly, seems to be a celebration of race-based sado-masochist sex in which black people get off being whipped and called “nigger” while others get their rocks off impersonating Auschwitz guards.It never dawned on me, however that some of those ‘progressive’ protestors who litter our streets might in their minds be wagging their bums in delight at the sight of certain symbols.
A product of the 6O’s, I really don’t care what people do to turn themselves on, it’s all fine by me. But the clear implication of this article and its distribution by AlterNet seem to strongly suggest that there is something “progressive” about all this, something that lefties ought to embrace under their umbrella of ...um...diversity.»
It's actually quite amusing how many peace protesters out there will advocate societal violence to seize power for a leftist minority, unable to consolidate it with the notion that they say they're doing it "for the people".
Only when they want to achieve their affection through forcable submission, or long to be used with neglect for the soul. Progressivism seems to try to found itself on the health of the mind and body. Maybe its' most violent advocates choose that path to coceal their disappointment in themselves. Personal liberties are part of a trusting and caring social philosophy, not something to reserve solely for oneself.
The actions are a symptom of a wayward soul – in this case being told that abusing one another emotionally makes them part of a ‘community’.
«…A five day period of an unfolding natural disaster was not enough to merit any federal attention or direct help from President Clinton.
[ … ]
Curiously, the role of the federal government never came up in the University of Chicago Press's interview with Mr. Klinenberg. FEMA and Bill Clinton were never mentioned in the interview.
No one will every really know how many people died.»
Profiteering in a disaster area:
«Oprah Winfrey has taken a helicopter tour of hurricane-ravaged New Orleans with the city’s Mayor Ray Nagin for a special “Oprah Winfrey Show” airing today, entitled “Oprah on Location: A Special Report from the Katrina Catastrophe.”
Meanwhile, Oprah’s protégé, Dr. Phil McGraw, was in Houston last weekend consoling the thousands of evacuees housed in the Astrodome for an impromptu “town meeting” that was taped for a future “Dr. Phil” show.»"Protégé"... okay, stop laughing, will ya?
It's happening might seem only natural, but it's wrong.
Expatica Germany editor David Gordon Smith completely misses the point of citizenship. Even shallower, are his eternal solution for what is at best a temporary problem (to HIM that is.) The solution, he says, is to avoid feelings of exclusion:
«However so-called 'third country' nationals also need to have the right to vote in national elections. Quite simply, anyone who has the right to permanent residence in a country should have the right to vote there. If not, immigrants may feel like second-class citizens. With the recent rise in Islamic extremism in Europe, the need to ensure immigrant communities feel part of wider society is more pressing than ever.»Note that in Germany, all prisoners can’t vote. One should realize that they shouldn’t when you think that getting one’s vote BACK is an incentive to reintegrate into society. In the UK the standing government did its’ best to disenfranchise members of the armed services for nothing other than political reasons. I’ve heard multiple complaints and frankly find it appalling. Not that we haven’t seen it in the US.
One should ask how wrong THAT is. But to give a second vote to people who can and often DO vote in another nation of citizenship?
Are you kidding? At that point should nations disenfranchise their own citizens abroad?
What IS a nation anyway? In its’ most basic form it’s a culture (or defined group of them), a language (a defined group of them), and borders (in the case of the EU, a defined group of them.) If Smith is serious about issues related to citizenship, or its’ meaning, he shouldn’t advocate the erosion of the meaning of citizenship itself. He should first ask who among those entitled to vote has been unable to.
His proposal is not well thought out. In fact it is a sort of mild treason. Not against the expat’s nation of citizenship, but to the expat’s neighbors.
There is a reason for citizenship. It’s to ask an individual to commit decision of a certain level of importance to the society they choose to make their lives in. This is partly expressed by voting. Smith proposed that people should be able to leap over the component that involves a personal decision that requires the immigrant to think through where his or her future lies.
« Think non-citizen suffrage couldn't work in practice? It already does, in New Zealand. Since 1975, permanent residents who are not New Zealand citizens have had the right to vote, without the country descending into anarchy.»New Zealand is an island group without a large influx, a problem keeping many of it’s citizens at home, and has arrived at this as a result of the politicization of immigration.
Those are the WORST reasons to take Smith up on his idea.
«I've been thinking about this. One of the differences between Europe and America is that while both sides of the pond engaged in the horrific practice of slavery, America was stuck with cleaning up the mess and Europe cut and ran. For example, Haiti and most of the Caribbean. For example, Brazil. For example, Mexico. Europeans LOVED the slave trade and profited handsomely. When it became too odious, they cut and ran. Leaving us to clean up their mess.I merde on them too. Couched in pretensions of seeking insight the European press are basically doing everything they can to kick a victim around. This tender ministration will not last long. I expect the pretense of concern to disappear in about a week.
Then there's Africa. Europe pretty much raped Africa to death over the past 150 years. When I look at a map of colonial Africa, I see a sea of European-"owned" countries. Like in the Americas, Europe cut and ran. Africa is now a basket case thanks to Europe, and all Europe can do is demand more money from America to solve the problem.
Excuse my French, but I merde on Europe's opinions when it comes to racial issues. Once Europe cleans up the messes they have made around the world, THEN they can criticize us. »
Thursday, September 08, 2005
(Incidentally, French pride in the superiority of their journalistic tradition and, indeed, of their entire society led me to write the following letter to Le Monde seven and a half years ago.)
If there aren’t any Roma, Turks, or Jews around, I guess we’ll have to do.
«BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- A conservative German minister in a southern state has caused uproar by saying U.S. President George W. Bush should be "shot down" for his handling of the crisis in hurricane-struck New Orleans.
Andreas Renner, Social Minister in Germany's southern state of Baden-Wuertemberg, clarified later that he had only meant Bush should be downed politically.
During a visit to a local company on Tuesday, Renner said of Bush: "He ought to be shot down."»
Okay - just ONE more time… Andreas, HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH THIS:
Good on ya, fellahs!
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
And the pre-cambrian left couldn’t wait to make a Juppé out of him and anyone else who tries to move their cheese. Never mind the fact that the left’s policies have consistently created poverty, misery, stupid policies, and social hatred, the pansies have been reduced to trying to trip him at any occasion possible. They plan to make a early a shambles of the state once again this fall, whether there is anything to gain from it or not.
No better are these sick little mall-rats who, like the left, see everything in the universe through the prism of power and control. Pathetic. Simply pathetic.
Like John Rosenthal, Melanie Phillips discusses Nidra Poller’s authoritative summation of the Al-Dura affair, where a France 2 TV news-crew was found to be complicit in constructing inthifada “oppression video” – the set up of which got a child killed, and not by the IDF, but by a Palestinian combatant.
«The rest, as we say in French, is literature. There can be no further attempts to reconstruct the incident by adding to those 55 seconds since, as France-2 has now revealed, there is no additional footage.»It needs to be understood how difficult is was for this story and it's investigation to get out. For nearly a year the segment’s producer as well as their news executives stonewalled. At its’ core is the very worst of journalism – making the news that you’re supposed to report. It’s beyond unethical, it’s an empirious abuse of one’s position, especially when the employer is a state funded broadcaster.
« It was later on that same day that a cameraman for France-2, a channel of the state-owned French television network, captured the death of a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy, allegedly shot in front of his helpless father by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. A news report, dramatically narrated by France-2’s Jerusalem correspondent, was instantly aired and was offered free of charge to the world’s media.
The effect was immediate, electrifying, and global. Overnight, Muhammad al-Dura became the poster child of the incipient Palestinian “struggle” against Israeli “occupation” and a potent symbol of the genocidal intentions of Israel’s government. A doctored photomontage was soon produced for Arab-Muslim viewers, featuring an imported image of an Israeli soldier apparently shooting the boy at close range.»
And it isn’t without larger consequences:
« That the death of Muhammad al-Dura was the real emotional pretext for the ensuing avalanche of Palestinian violence—and a far more potent trigger than Sharon’s “provocative” visit to the Temple Mount—is attested by the immediate and widespread dissemination of his story and of the pietà-like image of his body lying at his father’s feet. Streets, squares, and schools have since been named for the young Islamic shahid. His death scene has been replicated on murals, posters, and postage stamps, even making an iconic appearance in the video of Daniel Pearl’s beheading. His story, perhaps the single most powerful force behind the Palestinian cult of child sacrifice over the last years, has been dramatized in spots on Palestinian television urging others to follow in his path, retold in a recruitment video for al Qaeda, and immortalized in epic verse by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.»That avalanche has led many to their deaths in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and everywhere a Jihadist was inspired by France 2’s staged footage.
« Within days, an elaborate narrative was being disseminated to flesh out the elusive details of the 55-second video. On October 3, 2000, testifying under oath before the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the cameraman Talal Abu Rahmeh alleged that Israeli soldiers had intentionally, in cold blood, murdered the boy and wounded the father. Abu Rahmeh’s testimony was precise and vivid. There had been, he said, a five-minute exchange of fire between Palestinian policemen and Israeli soldiers. This was followed by fully 45 minutes of gunfire coming exclusively from the Israeli position and aimed directly at the man and the boy crouching desperately behind a concrete barrel. According to the cameraman, he had captured on film a total of 27 minutes of this fusillade, risking his own life in the process. As an experienced war photographer, he could attest without hesitation that the Israeli outpost was the only position from which the boy and the man could be hit.[ … ]
But we do have extensive evidence of what was occurring at Netzarim junction on September 30, 2000. More than a dozen cameramen were at the junction filming the action that day. They were all Palestinian, but they were working for Reuters, AP, NHK, France-2, and other prestigious networks. Aside from Abu Rahmeh’s footage, brief excerpts from what they shot have appeared in news broadcasts. But hours of outtakes also exist, and their eloquence is astounding. I cannot claim they show everything that happened, but enough raw footage exists to substantiate what follows.»Jeambar was lauded by the media and the ‘high society’ of France’s political and social life. Under scrutiny, Jeambar’s story fell to pieces.
«But the bubble of tolerance protecting the French media had begun to stretch and tear. Three months after their October 2004 meeting with France-2, Denis Jeambar and Daniel Leconte came forward with their side of the story. The gist of their essay, published in Le Figaro after being rejected by Le Monde, confirmed the MENA release while chastising both Rosenzweig and MENA for jumping to the unwarranted conclusion that the death scene had been staged. Jeambar and Leconte also enjoined France-2 to make a full disclosure, withdraw its unjustified accusations, and recognize the incalculably damaging effects of its report in inciting violence and blackening Israel’s name.»Immediately, someone needed to save his hyde.
« The very next day, Enderlin responded with an article in Le Figaro suggesting that his distinguished colleagues join him in a sort of gentleman’s agreement to lay the affair to rest. His broadcast may have been hasty, he wrote, but it was justified on the grounds that the public had to know the truth, because so many children were being killed. He should have said, “were going to be killed,” because Muhammad al-Dura, as his father proudly proclaimed, was the firstshahid, and Enderlin’s broadcast itself was instrumental in much of what followed. But, more than four years later, Enderlin was still trying to defend his report as an accurate reflection of the situation on the ground.»It’s a fascinating look into the ugly world of news-making, and another kind of post-mortem for an ‘activist’ press which would like to think it owns its’ own facts, and the right to get a child killed for THEIR flavor-of-the-week cause.
While only 13% of Americans polled believe that Bush is primarily responsable for the Katrina fallout, the French press continues to sound the anti-Bush drumbeat, all the better to ignore the looming European economic slowdown (in truth, it was very slow already, so this is going to be, like, well, alot slower. In response to the trickle-down economy, the Europeans invent the slow-crawl economy).
Jacques Salin, 47, a French resident of New Orleans now staying with relatives in Houston, complained that French officials should have done more. "When I contacted the French consul in Houston all they did was offer to reserve a place on an Air France plane for me," he said. "I could get the same services from a travel agent."Lesson one: The claim that European governments would naturally — mais naturellement! — be far more ready, humanitarian, and efficient than Washington is not necessarily true. Certainly, it is not a viewpoint shared by the European citizens dans le feu de l'action.
Salin weathered the storm at his home seven blocks from a levee that was breached. Referring to his government, he said: "They should have created a place where French people could gather together. It was a case of every man for himself."Lesson two: Those people who are in symbiosis with the rest of humanity and are reknown the world over for their generosity and for their tolerance and for their solidarity-mindedness, what seemed to be their fondest wish? To help their neighbors, Americans or other? No, to have a place where they could gather together amongst themselves (and, presumably, râler about those oafish Américains)…
But French diplomats said that, with probably the largest European community in Louisiana — about 900 French nationals living in Louisiana have registered with the consulate, and many others were not registered — the government had been working around the clock to help.Lesson three: Whereas in regards to Uncle Sam, the mainstream media, in America as in France as elsewhere in the world, will lead with the government's statements followed by criticism thereof; in regards to other governments, the MSM will lead with the criticism, waiting until the end to provide the government's response thereto (justifications, denials, etc) — thus allowing the authorities to have the final word, that final word being a piece of self-serving reassurance that all is well and that trust is warrented. This, in my view, is part of the double standards that amount, consciously or not, to anti-Americanism.
"We have special staff coming from Paris and consulates throughout the United States, going to shelters, hospitals, everywhere they can in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas to make sure everyone is O.K.," said Nathalie Loiseau, an embassy spokeswoman.Dieu merci, quel bonheur. (Lesson two again.)
"Thank god for the moment," she added, "no casualties."
Bureacracies "are poorly incentivized, if at all. Budgets ... make bureaucracy's managers first responders to constant political whim"
Naturally, it was all the president's fault. Everything is George Bush's fault in a dazed and rancorous nation. Whatever the actual defects of federal efforts to manage the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Bush is the boy to blame, because the federal government has become in our minds the guarantor of ... everything.While Claudia Rosett has praise for America, Roger Cohen scribbles nonsense about America's image (it never was up in the first place), and a former state legislator who represented the legislative district most impacted by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 adds his two cents' worth:
You can see the logic of it. In size, in cost and in presence, the U.S. government dwarfs every company, every institution and even every combination of governments. … how, if people are hungry and riotous in New Orleans, it must be Bush's fault. It must be, because he's the president -- and, as various Democrats would add, using their lips to make a rude and famous noise, never should have been.
Just what the political boo-birds would have done themselves to head off or alleviate the disruption in Louisiana no one is quite sure. The mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana traffic less in policy proposals than in invective. That helps a lot, as we all see. Yes, we need trucks and buses. And, yes, we need roads and streets to drive on.
A highly intelligent column by the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger suggests that a basic cause of the mess is over-reliance on bureaucracy, given that bureaucracies tend to personify inefficiency and waste.
"This was the primary lesson of the 9/11 Commission Report," Henninger notes. "Large public bureaucracies, whether the FBI and the CIA or FEMA and the Corps of Engineers, don't talk to each other much. They are poorly incentivized, if at all. Budgets ... make bureaucracy's managers first responders to constant political whim." Henninger's understandable preference, regarding the New Orleans crisis, is for infinitely greater reliance on private sector generalship, with bureaucrats functioning as "infantry."
Meanwhile, what about the looters and carjackers and rapists whose emergence and persistence in New Orleans must also somehow be Bush's fault? Here we get to another unpleasant byproduct of our reliance on government: namely, moral complacency.
The primary responsibility for dealing with emergencies does not belong to the federal government. It belongs to local and state officials who are charged by law with the management of the crucial first response to disasters. First response should be carried out by local and state emergency personnel under the supervision of the state governor and his emergency operations center.Indeed. The infighting has started to erupt…
The actions and inactions of Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin are a national disgrace due to their failure to implement the previously established evacuation plans of the state and city. Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin cannot claim that they were surprised by the extent of the damage and the need to evacuate so many people. Detailed written plans were already in place to evacuate more than a million people.
These dime-store Schickelsgrubers have killed this Schickelsgruber. Confirming that the Pali militants never evolved beyond their past behavior seen in southern Lebanon during the civil war.
That it occurred over a political disagreement sure makes a joke out of their babbling on about a commitment to peace, love, and understanding, and especially to all the people duped from the outside by suspicious NGOs into funding this rollerball drome of their violence which this pathetic lot consistently refuses to mention.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Quite different from an article in Le Figaro, which turns out to be a diatribe against the the United States and its oafish inhabitants. Here's the kicker: the "anti-American tripe" (merci à Michael Dundon) comes from an American journalist based in Paris.
I know Ted Stanger. I met him after the former Newsweek correspondent wrote a very funny book called Sacrés Français, and a bunch of like-minded expats and Frenchmen celebrated its publication together.
Many months later, I met a fellow admirer of his again (the same who had invited him to the dinner party on the Seine péniche) and when his name was mentioned, her eyes turned sad. With disappointment in her voice, she said that he had sold out. Indeed, his editor had "made" him write Sacrés Américains.
Offhand, you might think, where's the problem, it's simply writing a funny book about one nation followed by another book about another (about the rival) nation. That's not taking into consideration the differences in tone: while the first book was filled with light-hearted and sympathetic observations of a (single) foreign observer, the second basically revisited the (community-wide) judgmental scorn and self-serving prejudices applied to clueless Americans by the far superior French, taking that scorn (and the accompanying prejudices) for granted.
Although I can't say for sure, of course, I can imagine the author as well as the editor(s) having been subjected to a barrage of pressure from friends, colleagues, co-workers, and family members. That pressure amounting to what? To deciding that in the final analysis, France (or Europe) and its system come out on top (as more lucid, more generous, more tolerant, etc, etc, etc…)
I have seen this happen again and again, among expats I hardly know as among loved ones, and at times, truth to tell, it is not a little disheartening.
John Vinocur mentioned a famous example in the International Herald Tribune.
Faced with the constant barrage of news proving Americans' backwardness in all things worthwhile, along with constant pressure from their French friends, co-workers, and acquaintances (snorts, snickers, guffaws, tch-tchs, nose curls, head shakes, and dirty looks accompanied by "mais certainement vous pouvez admettre que Bush a commis des erreurs/a raconté des mensonges", "pourquoi vous êtes en France si vous pensez ainsi?"), foreigners and other American friends (whether consciously or otherwise) cave in, not wanting to face the heat and not wanting to rock the boat…
Incidentally, the journalist, whose Sacrés Français: le roman is to be published this week, has been mentioned on this blog before, with Douglas wondering, did you know that at points he was even more anti-American than the average Le Monde Web reader?
Johnson Mies Corbusier deconstructs a rather interesting letter which he called my attention to which typifies the bad juju on the east side of the pond:
«"France has proposed to help and we are happy to do so. It should help (and I think it will), especially in a region where the French culture most maintain its presence."»Corbu’s interpretation:
«This is in keeping with the French tendency to lay claim to all of its former colonies, whether they lost them 200 years ago (Haiti, Louisiana) or 50 years ago (Vietnam). Having lived in Louisiana, the affinity between Cajuns and French nationals is like settin side by side West Texas cowboys with contemporary Czech citizens. I hate to break it to them, but nobody speaks French…»translation:
«"I think that Mister Bush should use the army to bring in aid at the devastated population instead of shooting at looters. And to continue quietly his vacations was shocking for us in France."»Corbu’s interpretation:
«Am I to understand that the French perceive that the National Guard was brought in strictly to shoot at the looters and that they are not bringing aid? That it isn't the looters shooting back at the army or police but rather a case of the armed forces just targeting helpless victims just trying to survive? As I've seen it reported in every news outlet, the looters have taken up arms and have shot at innocent people taking care of the sick, or attempting daring rescues of the stranded.»Corbusier is right on the money. There is an absurd subtext floating around in what the situation looks like from what the letter writer is seeing in the press. To accept the way France 2 and France 5 reported it, you would have to believe that the Police were NOT there to actually help, bacuase that’s what the next group was supposed to come in to do ‘instead’, and likewise with the National Guard, etc., etc., etc. It like some fool on BBC R4 said about using cruise ships to house 7000 people temporarily – “only 7000?” The ‘co-presenter’ had to correct her saying that that certainly wasn’t the only thing being down. Response was a quiet, confused hush. Likewise:
«And for the amount of aid, we Americans are grateful for any offer but France's contribution is just a drop in the bucket. A couple of planes and a few million dollars doesn't come close to a private fleet of leased helicopters, a cavalry of privately owned rescue boats and hundreds of buses. I have a feeling that some French are completely unaware at the massive resources at our command.»Certainly. With a press manipulating the perception of events so wildly, how could anyone understand the magnitude?
It’s impossible to know precisely where a hurricane will strike land, or where the devastation will fall. If you put your emergency supplies and people too close to the hardest-hit area, then they, too, might be damaged or killed. If you place them too far away, they’ll be unable to reach the affected area in time, if at all. Placement of resources does not appear to have been the problem. Use of them, however, was a different storywrites Joe Mariani, a free-lance writer (many thanks to Molly) one of whose five lessons from the disaster is as follows:
There’s a reason we pay state and municipal taxes, and it isn’t so that our elected officials can sit on their hands and wait for Uncle Sam to bail us out of a crisis. For every inch of red tape in a city bureaucracy, there’s a foot of it at the state level, and a mile at the federal level. Emergencies demand swift action and clear communication to avoid the sort of chaos that Katrina has left in her wake.Otherwise, a former vice president of both CBS and Gannett (Lee Ellis) explains why he has decided to forsake MSM outlets like his own station, NBC, and CNN for that totally unserious, unbelievable, and untrustworthy spewer of propaganda, Fox News:
Watching both Fox and NBC after President Bush had been inspecting the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, I was shocked at how the nets and even some newspapers were trying to blame the Bush Administration for the slowness of help reaching these damaged cities. Obviously, Brian Williams and his news team do not know the laws nor do they know the past history of New Orleans, the city built in a bathtub of a swamp.After listing three other reasons, Lee Ellis concludes that
This is a city where the dead, for centuries, have had to be buried in above-ground structures because the water is so close to the surface of this sinking city. If coffins are put in the ground, they will rise to the surface as the underground water pushes them up. I have been to these cemeteries personally.
“Why did it take five days for Bush to help” has been the mantra voiced constantly by all the “Talking Heads” on TV. Here are the reasons.
1. It is against the law for any president to order troops into a city or across state lines without a request and permission from the Governor of that state.
John Armor, a First Amendment lawyer and one of my favorite writers, told me, “Federal law prevents the president from sending in the National Guard until the governor gives the order. It is little known, but the commanding general of the National Guard in every state reports to the governor, not the president, until the governor says otherwise. U.S. military units (regular Army, not the Guard) cannot be used because of the Posse Comitatus law, until the Guard has been authorized."
Bill O’Reilly was the only commentator that I heard who explained this on Fox News. All other network commentators seemed to allow the implication inferred by the viewers that this was all the fault of the Bush Administration. I guess the far left also works in mysterious ways!
Now you know that my television is turned to Fox News and why I no longer listen to NBC or its aide-de-camp, MSNBC!
The donneurs de leçons like to extol the notion of solidarity and understanding and sympathy with people's grievances
The BBC's Justin Webb has sounded gleeful and unusually energetic this week reporting on people misfortunes.
To boot, there was the Bush Snr./Clinton press conference where 20 seconds of Clinton's words which were an unremarkable press conference type of reply evolved from over-repetition on the BBC, to being augmented, to being interpreted into a 2 hour policy speech saying that Clinton entering into areas that he never did. In effect the BBC generated not just their own news, but had broadcasted outright lies.
The BBC's reporting of this was shocking in its' hatefulness. Almost as bad was that they for two hours had repeated the misreported story of 6 construction workers being shot by the New Orleans police. The real story was the that a gang of killers well educated in the trope of the almighty, holy 'hood rat thUgZ©™® tried to mug the contractors, and NOPD shot at and apprehended the rats. Instead of running AP's correction, the simply dropped the story from their top of the hour news reports.
The only act of decency or competence that they saw fit to report was of a retired royal marine, one Darryl Hill who as a hotel manager stuck around to protect the property in the Vieux Carré against the orders of City Hall to clear the city. Mr. Hall's interview was the only occasion where the BBC reported anyone saying that the Police and first responders who number more than 40 000 did anything well, decent, or right.
Pete, a commenter on the excellent Biased BBC blog also had this to say:
«Re. Bush and Trent Lott's home. I saw the piece on Sky News a couple of days ago and I'm 100% certain that Bush said he's looking forward to sitting on his porch when his home is rebuilt. Justin Webb, speaking on BBC R5's 6.00pm news broadcast did clearly state that Bush told his 'rich' friend that he's looking forward to sitting on his porch when 'we' (i.e. federal government) rebuild it. If I'm recalling Bush's words correctly then Justin Webb has lied on air about the President's words, he deliberately misquoted him to cast him in a bad light. If they weren't such a malevolent bunch it would be laughable.»
so while the Beeb is running around looking for misery as long as it's got black skin, it failed to even report that there are another 110 000 people in cities and towns other than New Orleans who also had to be extricated from the floodwaters by authorities to reach safety.
The conclusion I've come to is that beyond spin, the BBC can't even be trusted to report basic news events. They, like a handful of America’s hateful, reactionary left simply can’t put this issue in context. The Mayor of New Orleans had access to 400 busses on standby – the very busses that took people to the Convention Center and Superdome, but did not take the 8000 people who could be transported in each run them to higher ground. The other willfully blind analysis by the European press omitted the matter of magnitude. The area impacted left 1.1 million people outside of N.O. with the same problem. The area of impact of the storm and the floods is equal to that of half of France with three citied the size of Marseilles in their way.
Would they have been able to get upwards of a million people evacuated in 16 hours were they to have the same problem? I doubt it. Comparisons are being made to the wildfires in France, Spain, and Portugal that are predictable, isolated, and can be planned for. Comparisons are being made to the floods in Germany which didn’t match the scale of anything like this hurricane, and yet they gloat.
This came by way of a friend. It illustrated very well what sort of reaction comes from the media transmitting not a variety of views and complete information, but a steady drumbeat of talk whose only purpose is political and amounts to tossing red meat to the European public. Untimately they are trained into taking actual joy in it:
«Et le pire fut KOLOSSAL! Depuis 4 jours on ne parle plus que de cela dans les journaux tant télévisés que radiophoniques et la presse. Tous ces pauvres gens qui se retrouvent sans rien, même pas un vêtement, pas d'eau ni de nourriture, pas de médicaments non plus ni de lait pour les bébés, c'est terrible. Mais au delà de l'événement en lui-même, c'est la mise en oeuvre de moyens que nous percevons comme dérisoires face à l'ampleur du phénomène.C’est percu like a sever hurricane, asshole. Low and behold, in managed fashion this typical Gutmensch get to experience actual emotions for once in their lives – empathy with Tsunami victims and hatred for Americans in similar circumstances – often in the same breath.
Comment la 1ère puissance économiqque du monde n'est-elle pas capable de venir au secours de ses populations avec des moyens dignes de ce nom ? Nous pensons que ce n'est pourtant pas ce qui doit manquer ches vous tant en hommes qu'en matériels.On aurait cru vivre un autre tsunami avec les mêmes conséquenses sauf que les U.S.A ne sont ni le Sri-Lanka ni l'Indonésie ou la Thailande. La France (comme d'autres pays) a proposé son aide et nous en sommes bien heureux. Si cela peut aider (mais je pense que ça aidera) surtout dans une région ou la culture française doit être restée un peut présente. Je pense que Mister Bush, au lieu d'envoyer l'armée pour tirer sur les pilleurs devrait plutôt l'utiliser pour apporter aide et réconfort à toute cette population gravement sinistrée. Et de continuer tranquillement ses vacances ça a choqué ici. A un journaliste qui lui posait cette question: "Alors Mr le président, vous ne croyez toujours pas au réchauffement climatique ?", il aurait répondu : "Si nous parlions de la guerre en Irak" L'avenir jugera peut-être. Et chez vous, comment cela est-il perçu ? Bisous à toutes et à tous des euro-alsaciens.»
They also get the chance to show the universality of their affection for man by only helping people that in their minds they imagine are French in some way.
More disturbing is the idea that Federal help took 3 days to arrive in significant force, with an admiring look by the BBC’s Lise Doucette at the UN, “feeding lines” to Kofi Annan, as one Biased-BBC commenter put it. Insisting that they could have done a better job, it needs to be remembered that they could barely manage a thimbleful of aid in 10 days, but were more than willing to ride the coat-tails of those that didn’t wait for their “command and control”, while they shamefully seem to be riding the coat-tails of the finger waggers.
The height of this vulgarity, though, is coming from within America. In a press conference given by G.H.W. Bush and Clinton, as it was ending and the former presidents were walking away, one person in the back of the room asked:
«Mr. Clinton, what do you think of the opinion someone had that the levees were opened on purpose?»He turned his head away and refused to answer. Quite suddenly it seemed as though he was fighting back his anger that anyone would suggest such a thing.
What a vulgar question. What a vulgar thought. Somebody out there in the press had that as her first thought when the waters rose. To end at the news conference where we began, imagine for a moment that this cretin suggesting that authorities willfully flooded the city at the initiation of a step to rebuild shattered lives.
The French watch the Katrina catastrophe with unabated joy even while, in their own capital, poor immigrants burn to death -- and the buck is passed between the national government and city officials. Paris' mayor turns on the tears for the TV cameras and assures everone, anyone, that it isn't his fault. The strange fruit is not what is roasting in Paris' skid row flop houses.
Monday, September 05, 2005
We suppose such Schadenfreude is inevitable given America's economic vigor and current global dominance. The temptation to see the U.S. humbled is great, especially when that humbling can be exploited to justify assorted domestic political agendas and to bash a Bush Administration that is unapologetic about asserting U.S. powerwrites the Wall Street Journal (thanks to Kurt Schmautz) as it mentions, among other sophisticated strands of European thinking, the "gloating editorial in yesterday's Le Monde … (The French, for the record, don't blame Bienville for founding New Orleans below sea level in the first place.)"
That America has flaws is hardly breaking news, of course, least of all to Americans who debate their weaknesses endlessly in public and in a fashion the rest of the world can hear.There is penty of blame to hurl around, but before our French Bush-bashers get too cocky after listening to their élites explain how the destruction of Hurricane Katrina is entirely the fault of arrogant Americans, America's greedy capitalists, blinded warmongers, and others who don't share the solidaristic generosity (so naturally) prevalent among French intellectuals, they might want to ponder the following thoughts.
New Orleans' heritages of upper-class complaisance and political corruption -- the result of the city's French tradition -- work against a more broadly based commercial and economic revival. Without changes in these attitudes, historic New Orleans may revive, but the city will become little more than a theme park, like Venice, and not the great commercial beehive it once was.Indeed, writes a visitor to la Minute du Sablier:
What happened has been a problem since the foundation of New Orleans by a Frenchman, against the advice of his own engineers.The Economist adds that
Everybody agrees that some of this pain was inevitable. Ever since 1718, when Jean Baptiste le Moyne de Bienville, a French colonist, decided to build his settlement on a hurricane-prone patch of swampland surrounded by three huge pools of water (the Mississippi Delta, the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain), New Orleans has been living in nature's shadow.(Kind of reminds you — but to a far lesser degree, naturellement — of the brouhaha surrounding the unveiling of the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, whose architecture is entirely impractical for the task for which it is designed: protecting books. Plus ça change…)
Check Le Monde Watch pour une discussion en profondeur de Katrina en français…
That post starts out (in English) with the three following paragraphs:
Global warming and hurricanes - The hurricanes aren’t historically on the increase, and the number of the most serious – category 4 and 5 – is down compared to previous decades (EU Rota has some nice tables). Hurricanes are also a part of a natural decades-long cycle of changing temperature of the Atlantic Ocean.
Bush diverted the money away from flood-proofing New Orleans - Two problems with that – New Orleans has been on notice since the previous devastating hurricane Betsy in 1965. Bush has been in the White House for only the last five of these past 40 years, so one might as well blame every other President since LBJ for not doing enough – and then ask, why should all the blame be laid at the feet of the feds, instead of sharing it with state and local authorities?
One has to wonder what end do the French Education Ministry seeks to reach when it deems appropriate to permit such propaganda to be distributed to youngsters at a very gullible and influenceable age.VCrisis has more (gracias para Hervé) on the French high school course depicting "a romantic view of a kind leader" and of "a role model":
Hugo Chavez qualifies in the category of icons for the French seem to have a knack for despot and tyrants, [those] who happen to live in far away lands.The high school book, of course, is part of the vaunted programme of the éducation nationale, which commentors on this blog have lauded as entirely fair, just, and objective (and aren't we silly to believe otherwise?), not to mention in symbiosis with les valeurs républicaines.
The Economist chimes in:
…with the 51-year-old Mr Chávez on course to win total control of parliament by early next year, and planning to remain in power for another quarter of a century, “the law” is likely to become whatever he wants it to be.One may also wonder to what end the following atmosphere exists in France:
The stories that some [Venezuelans] have in regards to plain bullying and outright harassment by the Bolivarian Circles of Paris and its French counterparts, read Le Monde Diplomatique and its director's ATTAC group, are, quite frankly, outrageous.It may be, though, that the end maybe isn't so mysteriours. While millions of French subjects rail about America's propensity for oil and Bush's ostensibly waging a war for same, VCrisis points out a similarity with the French government's relation to Saddam Hussein:
President Chirac; is the Orinoco oil belt worth the indoctrination of France's teenagers?Only: in cases of the French (or their leaders) selling out French principles and virtues for oil, there are very few Frenchmen and -women to rail and rave and march through the streets of Paris…
I assumed that among military people and other people serving their country in uniform, notably, there was at least a degree of sympathy.
That may be the case.
But the anti-Americanism prevalent in France is so insidious and pervarious that it cannot keep from popping up in the most unexpected places. To be more specific, it's often more of a France-is-invariably-the-best mentality.a French-American commemoration in Cherbourg a year ago, I made an off-the-wall comment regarding the rumor that apparently, members of the French army would have liked to join the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq. Sure, said the old-timer. (And maybe many would have, I hasten to add.) Except, he added, "we" didn't think the decision to invade was the right solution.
"We"? Collective thinking? Collective wisdom? Collective decision-making? (One that is invariably more lucid than Washington's policies?)
I was not surprised. I lost some of my last illusions on a train ride about three years ago. This was in late 2002, after a New York fire engine had taken part in the Bastille Day parade of that year (another event that at the time had me thinking, wow, somewhere there is a real bond between the two).
On a journey through France on the TGV, I met a group of young firemen in the dining car, either still in pompier school or recent graduates thereof. (Incidentally, when French speakers complain of the predominance of English over the French language, I like to point out that whereas the French use the word "pumper" for the person whose job is to take on buildings in flames, the Anglo-Saxons use the expression "combattant du feu". Which do they think sounds more compelling?, I then ask, wondering aloud whether that example might not be a telling one.) Anyway, the firefighters and I fell into discussion.
Eventually we started talking about 9-11, and they were extolling the courage of American firefighters when one of them said
But of course their fire engines are not as good as the French ones.In normal times, I could have thought of many things to answer (have you made or do you know of an in-depth study therof, and how valid, and how definite, can it be said to be; aren't there differences [width and straightness come to mind] between old world and new world streets that need to be taken into consideration [and undoubtedly were, by the respective nations' truck companies, in conjunction, just as undoubtedly, with the firefighters who would man them]; if there were the slightest chance that a foreign fire engine were better than the ones Americans use, don't you think one of latter — at least — would raise all hell to either buy the foreign model or improve the build of the American ones).
But with these firefighters, I was taken aback.
France had to be best. It just had to. The country with the most logical people, and the most reasonable thinkers, and the most lucid intellectuals, just has to be best. This is taught from kindergarten up in a combination of deliberate and subconscious ways (from people — both parents and teachers — who have learned the same from their elders), it pervades the atmosphere, and it is reiterated a thousand times a day throughout French society.
Now, some may point out that only one pompier made the comment.
Yes, but none of the others contradicted him. None of the others even thought of contradicting him. It was taken as a given.
The subhead of this weblog reads as follows:
What expats and the mainstream media (French and American alike) fail to notice (or fail to tell you) about French attitudes, principles, values, and official positions…We keep hearing from well-meaning expats (and MSM outlets) that such-and-such is the opinion of the French (the aparent absence of individual thinking in these matters seems to faze noone) and that a French(wo)man "made such or such a comment that reflects French thinking". What they don't notice, or what they don't say, is that over and over and over again, discussions amongst Frenchmen or interacting with foreigners, whatever the external subject matter, return again and again to the same self-serving message and the same basic paternalistic subtext (one that is shared throughout much of Europe, at least the Western part thereof):
We are more reasonable than you, we are more tolerant than you, we are more solidaristic than you we are wiser than you, we are more lucid than you, etc, etc, etc…And if, as the sympathetic expats and MSM journalists report, it is true that such thinking is prelavent in France, it is 1) because it is self-serving and 2) because any thinking otherwise is frowned upon and remarked upon in disparaging ways ("Vous êtes anti-français/anti-européen?") and, yes, punished (if "only" by ostracism)…
Sunday, September 04, 2005
The French social model creates unemployment [and it] creates povertywrites Sylvain Chabat, preuves à l'appui (thanks to RV).
In response to Paul Krugman's fawning NYT article about France, The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid had lots to say (merci à Gregory) about le modèle français recently…
Susan Bell has more on France's young…
The time is gone when Dominique de Villepin — now French prime minister — was lecturing the United States at the United Nations and French President Jacques Chirac was telling the new members of the European Union that they lost an opportunity to shut upwrites Sylvain Chabat in the Washington Times (merci à Dusty).
Arrogance does not pay, and now the French government is adopting a low profile since the European project seems in a dead end.
European consensus has not been reached over the last two years which witnessed three crucial crises mainly due to the French stubbornness. In each of theses crisis, the same scheme is to be found: A French and German couple promoting a dirigiste agenda opposed to a free-trade group composed of Eastern, Nordic and English-speaking nations.
That was indeed the case during the diplomatic crisis over the intervention in Iraq, the political crisis over the referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty, and the economic crisis over the budgetary negotiations which failed this summer.