Saturday, September 17, 2005

More bursting pustules than ever before

If you think this follows the profile of global warming, please let me know how.

The BBC has nearly become an amusement park of contorted arguments. For the past two days the radio news has reported on a UN report looking at US reporting data calling out an astronomical rise in category 4 and 5 hurricanes over the past twenty years.

Myopia suggests that they compared it to the 1970-1979 era, which, as we know had no pollution at all in it. Leaded gasoline, apparently, absorbs CO2 if we read their conclusions correctly, unless it was maybe petroleum based polyester golf slacks, those ugly-as-hell Opels, and the last of the Dodge Darts…
«Records for the past 35 years show that hurricanes have got stronger in recent times, according to a global study.

This fits with mounting evidence which suggests the biggest storms around the world - hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones - are intensifying.

Some US scientists say that greenhouse warming may be driving the most severe events, such as Katrina, although more research is needed to be sure.»
Unamed scientists, and erm, might…

Surely they don’t believe that they’ve softened people’s minds that much, that a piddling pronouncement paragraph like that is imparting any information at all, do they? If there was NEWS, they would report it. If that wanted you to think they were cuddly concerned teddy bears who just want to be loved, they would run a pandering article and repeating the same nonsense in the news on an hourly basis for three days.

As they would like to see it.

"Content specially written for citizens"

E.U. political parasites, the tippy-top icing on an overly tall layer cake or goofy truisms, are feigning humanity by blogging.

Good luck kids, you sure have “the look” down pat.

«Katrina the storm has left people in despair, not only in the area directly affected, but around the world. What is happening to our climate? How do we prevent disasters? Why can‘t we help the poorest? This disaster unveiled the economic and social inequalities of the superpower and people do not like what they see…»
All about Europe, indeed… If that’s not amusing enough there’s always the wonderful world of comments from actual people - that to most politicians is like a cross to a vampire:
«Margot: "Forgive me for the following outburst! ... SO LITTLE OF ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED!"

I congratulate you. Your post is simply beyond parody. Liberal Larry himself( couldn't have done any better.

Margot: "Some of you criticise the Commission for not consulting or listening to people. "

Some of us would prefer if the Commission simply didn't exist at all.

The Tranzi world-view is the problem, not the solution.»
It gets even better. Some of it is just priceless.
«The entire EU farce is moving us all inexorably and inevitably to economic collapse, with its restrictive and destructive controls, clearly the EUro has been a failure, the EU is the most likely cause of war in Europe in the next 10 years.

You are risking the death of 200,000,000 people in Europe from economic collapse, disease and famine whilst you swan around having meetings of your obscene self interest groups.
[ ... ]
C'mon boys and girls: join in. Let's apply some 'people pressure' and try to turn anodyne platitudes into effective debate. Who knows, we may even get a Peter Mandelson blog. Now, that would be interesting...»
Down with the dominant paradigm!

Short of sight and left of everything

9-11 was an act of war. One that a handful of well placed leftists in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the US, would prefer to see the west surrender to. When you hear the banter – the repetition that we should have gone after every illiberal state in the Near East at the same time, or gone after Saudi Arabia before anyone else (to retaliate? And perhaps against the families of the 9-11 hijackers?), you realize that what they want is for the US to attack her allies. They often follow this closely by spitting out a rapid-fire quote from FDR or JFK, as if it’s a verse of gospel, and that there is something meaningful there, and not just the ‘zing’ value they feel by spitting it out at someone.

Tell you what – YOU folks surrender for the rest of us. We won’t get your backs when it finally sinks in just illiberal your beloved ‘outposts’ of the world are.

While the loony left is celebrating the 9-11 attacks as a ‘blow against imperialism’, they can’t seem to wrap their brains around their hatred that they only seems reserved for their own societies, authority figures that might resemble their parents, and teachers when they were young and wrap their souls around much of anything – like the end of free thought that they are busy promoting.

«Whereas on September 11, 2001, while Americans were attending to their daily routines, terrorists hijacked four civilian aircraft, crashing two of them into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, and a third into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and a fourth was prevented from also being used as a weapon against America by brave passengers who placed their country above their own lives;»
Reads US House of Representatives resolution 427.

Friends in high places. Six legislators voted against it:

John Conyers (D-Michigan)
Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
Jim McDermott (D-Wash.)
Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia)
Pete Stark (D-Calif.)
Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.)

Unless there is some political hay to be made out screaming their lungs out on Pacifica radio, or gives them the warm feeling of being smug, they will not “have anyone’s back”. They drank the kool-aid of hating their fellow man a long, long time ago, and their concern is an attempt to fill a gap left by a few baby steps toward personal maturity which gives them reason to be grievously embarrassed by their even more unhinged pasts.

I’m sure they think they’re standard-bearers of some sort of cause, if they could pin something down. They are rapidly becoming just that – promoters of PC oppression which seems blind to the horrors of terror, and the tyranny of Jihadists.

…the leaders of France could finally express their true sentiments without the nagging necessity of grudging gratitude toward the United States

writes Henry Nickel.
More than a half century of peace, secured largely by a strong American presence, allowed Europeans to evolve social models, possible only by diverting resources away from otherwise essential investments in defense. This distortion had negative consequences on both sides of the Atlantic. For one, it made the U.S. vulnerable to serious economic downturn and restructuring should the necessity of Cold War military expenditures come to a sudden end. In Western Europe, generations came to rely on artificial institutionalized welfare states, subsidized essentially and in large part through the diversion of what would have otherwise constituted military expenditures. Leaders across Europe basically knew they could count on U.S. intervention if any real threat emerged, while many of their constituents ignorantly criticized their American protectors’ presence. The end result was to slam a wedge between the Atlantic as the sledgehammers landed on the Berlin Wall. …

The terminator crossing into night

A beautiful image courtesy of Joe Rousé, one of our faithful readers.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sierra club responsible for the destruction of New Orleans

The Sierra club sued the USACE more than once to limit the environmental damage associated with raising the elevation of New Orleans’ flood walls (which failed) and the levees.

Emmett Tyrell:

« Ever since [2000, Al Gore] has been wandering the land looking for a friend and intoning preposterosities even more absurd than when he wrote his green classic, "Earth in the Balance." There he predicted that all the automobiles in America would soon be parked curbside while Americans squeezed into public transportation and enjoyed the ride. Now he champions the windmill over fossil fuel, no matter how many whooping cranes are slaughtered by the whirling blades. He is Don Quixote turned upside down.

What did the rude gods do to him this time? They forced him to cancel a speech scheduled for New Orleans where he planned to blame global warming for the hurricane season. You can be sure that when Hurricane Katrina scotched his appearance in New Orleans, Al, ever the opportunist, saw this idiotic speech as a splendid opportunity to summon the attention of the nation. Of a sudden Al would be the man of the moment. He might yet become president -- a
Green in the White House.

The very day he spoke a congressional task force reported that the levees that failed in New Orleans would have been raised higher and strengthened in 1996 by the Army Corps of Engineers were it not for a lawsuit filed by environmentalists led by who else but the Sierra Club. Among those "leaders of our country" to "be held accountable" for the flooding of New Orleans, would Al include the Sierra Club? How about the Save the Wetlands stalwarts? According to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times, a 1977 lawsuit filed by Save the Wetlands stopped a congressionally-funded plan to protect New Orleans with a "massive hurricane barrier." A judge found that New Orleans' hurricane barrier would have to wait until the Army Corps of Engineers filed a better environmental-impact statement.»
Shame and opportunism? They name is Al Gore.

Steyn weighs in on the UA93 memorial flap

A committee of gadsflies funded by the Heinz and Ford Foundations tried to flip this one past the public. They are a morally repugnant elite who have failed the public which doesn’t just do better, but knows better.

We are at war, not with Islam, but with Jihadists and terror. The morally repugnant elite wants the clear dissociation erased.

Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew

There is an impenetrable form of received wisdom among many in the UK who look at the result of adults’ failings and see little more than politics, not poor human judgment. Calling them “feral children”, would like to think that they know where all bad things come from – not a PERVASIVE ENOUGH welfare state. From the left-wing Observer:

«Hare has little doubt that they are 'the product of 20 years of Tory government'. They will replicate the degradation suffered by their parents, but will do so younger and harder. Fending for themselves, they do not even have access to the dole, let alone a doctor or a dentist.»
The truth lies elsewhere. They are the result of every public institution in Britain being the bailiwick of leftists, regardless of who’s in power, what data show, time, and most of all, math.

The children Hare refers to are teens and young adults right now. The only PM they have known is a Labour man with a party that remains as confused and bickersome as ever, with many still foolishly flirting with discredited Marxist projects.

Their parents spent a decade with the Tories, but that illustrates a simple point, if it is no better or worst, how could partisan social policy have anything to do with it. Politicos themselves are the ones who don’t get it - far from the realm of sanity, civilization’s underbelly doesn’t care about politics, and doubling the micromanagement of their lives through welfare is meaningless if they simply ignore it and don’t use it.

What he misses is the obvious – personal failings might seem politically useful in a war of attrition, but not to the people he’s writing about. Surely the publishing houses found their answer to the huge body of conservative leaning commentary on life at the bottom in the UK, and they couldn’t wait to do their part in the war against an ideological foe, not against material poverty, or poverty of the will itself.

Hare certainly is writing sincerely – publishers, such as they are, seem more likely to think that they’ve found their own personal “gotcha!” against the society they thrive off of and love to hate.

What lessons should Iraqi constitution makers learn from America’s founders?

asks John Zvesper.
In fact, the more instructive American experience for contemporary Iraq is not the American Constitutional Convention of 1787, but the American partisan conflicts of the 1790s. …

"All Iraq is not Fallujah and Tal Afar"

"Two weeks ago I was in Najaf," [Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq] says of the holy city (population 560,000) in the Shiite south. "I went into the streets and into the people and it was calm." He claims that 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces are calm: "All Iraq is not Fallujah and Tal Afar."
writes Daniel Henninger about the president of the “the world's youngest democracy”.
He acknowledged that Iraq's transition poses a challenge in the region: "All Arab states are afraid of a democracy. A democratic Iraq with different nationalities--Kurds, Arabs Turkomen, Shiites, Sunnis--will inspire all the Middle East. The Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, the Kurds of Iran, Syria, Turkey--when they see this, it will inspire all of them. For that reason none in the Middle East is helpful in having a democratic Iraq."
Speaking to Abu Bush (as the U.S. president is known in Kurdistan) after a closed-door meeting in the White House (merci à RV), Talabani reiterated that
"We will never forget what you have done for our people"
And why would Talabani say such a thing? Simply to be polite? To butter up the arrogant Americans? Because he is an American puppet? No, replies Clifford D May:
Talabani recalled Iraq's history of “violence, brutality and instability.”

In the Iraq of Saddam Hussein, he said, “infants were surrounded as much by fear as by their mothers' arms. …The mass graves contain many remains of children who paid the ultimate price for the imaginary crimes of their parents.”

He added: “In the mind of every Iraqi, Saddam tried to install a torturer. Saddam wanted Iraqis to fear even thinking freely, to not dare forming words to express their desire for freedom.”

Talabani called this regime by its correct name: fascist. “Baathist Iraq,” he said, “was the longest lived fascist state in history.” And today, because of the “continued virulence of Baathist fascism, we must defend our democracy while we build it; we must fight even as we vote.”

On Jan. 30, 2005, eight million Iraqis proved that they could do both at once. They risked their lives to go to the polls where they decisively rejected “the minority supremacists, the racists who believe that they have the right to rule.”

Talabani added sardonically: “Unusually for an election in the Middle East, the result in Iraq was not known in advance.”

Regarding ongoing efforts to give Iraq a constitution that would guarantee fundamental human rights, Talabani also doesn't know the outcome. Negotiations and compromises have produced a document that, he says, is “not perfect.” No one, he said, is “wildly enthusiastic about it.”

But that is “the good news,” he added, because it demonstrates that the negotiations were real and the compromises serious. “A document that the few cannot hold up as a banner of victory,” he said, “is a success for the many.”

Talabani is effusive in his gratitude for the sacrifices Americans have made in Iraq. The young American men and women on the front lines in places like Fallujah and Tall Afar, he says, are “fighting fascism with the same dignity and courage as the Great Generation of Americans who fought in World War II.”

He understands that Americans want to go home. He wants them to go home. But he hopes they will not leave until Iraqis have the means to defend themselves from “the home-grown fascists and traveling terrorists who afflict the Middle East.”

… The Iraqi president grasps what many Europeans and Americans do not: that in this century, as much in the last, it is the duty of revolutionaries to fight fascists and other enemies of freedom. “Democracy,” Talabani explained, “needs to be defended.”

Don't Ye Forget Now, Ye Dang Blasted @%^#*% Land Lubbers…

Blow me down if Monday ain't Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Iraq: The Better Question

Terrorism has been described as "the weapon of the weak," a weapon employed by those who cannot win in direct combat on the battlefield
writes Robert Tracinski.
That is the meaning of today's wave of bombings in Baghdad. The terrorist insurgency just suffered a defeat in Tal Afar--so they retaliate, not by attacking the US military or even the Iraqi military, but by blowing up Iraqi civilian day-laborers.

As a military strategy, this makes no sense. If the insurgents keep suffering losses on the battlefield, and they can only answer by attacking unarmed civilians, how do they expect to win the war? The better question is: who do they expect to win the war for them? The answer: the American left, who they hope will use new terrorist attacks as an excuse to claim that Iraq is a "quagmire" and call for a US withdrawal.

This is the sickening irony of the so-called "peace movement": that it is a crucial part of the terrorists' war strategy--and that the terrorists commit the worst war atrocities known to man precisely to appeal to the "peace movement's" alleged humanitarians.

Read more about the hostility of America's alleged intellectual "elite" to the ideals and even the existence of their own countryRobert Tracinski adds:
The problem with America's strategy in Iraq is that our leaders have refused to treat this as a regional war, acting as if they can defeat the insurgency in Iraq without confronting its sponsors in Syria and Iran. That's why it's encouraging when we occasionally hear some new tough talk against Syria

But we need more than just talk. It's time to show that we are serious by backing the talk with action. After all, wasn't the Bush Doctrine supposed to make no distinction between the terrorists and the states who support them? Why isn't that doctrine being applied to Syria and Iran?

Uncovering the True Racism in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

While pointing to Noemie Emery's tale of two cities (love that question at the very end of her article), Robert Tracinski quotes from White Do-Gooders Did for Black America by John McWhorter, a black man writing in the Times of London who agrees that some form of racism was at work, but not the form generally believed (both in America and abroad):
The publicly sanctioned take is that 'white supremacy' is why 80% of New Orleans’s poor people are black.... In fact, white America does remain morally culpable--but because white leftists in the late 1960s, in the name of enlightenment and benevolence, encouraged the worst in human nature among blacks and even fostered it in legislation. The hordes of poor blacks stuck in the Superdome last week wound up there not because the White Man barred them from doing better, but because certain tragically influential White Men destroyed the fragile but lasting survival skills poor black communities had maintained since the end of slavery.... There was a new sense that the disadvantages of being black gave one a pass on civility--or even achievement: this was when black teens started teasing black nerds for 'acting white.'...

In 1966...a group of white academics in New York developed a plan to bring as many people onto the welfare rolls as possible. Across the country, poor blacks especially were taught to apply for living on the dole even when they had been working for a living, and by 1970 there were 169% more people on welfare nationwide than in 1960. This was the first time that whites or blacks had taught black people not to work as a form of civil rights.... [G]enerations of poor blacks [have] grown up in neighborhoods where there was no requirement that fathers support their children. Few grew up watching their primary parent work for a living.... This is the hell that most of the people in the Superdome either lived in or knew at close hand.... Katrina is a tragic close-up of a group of people staggering after, first, a hideous natural disaster but, ultimately, an equally hideous sociological disaster of 40 years ago.

More here.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A permanent lapse of reason

You can be sure that when there are people doing this kind of thing that they really are quite bright, that public life just doesn't matter very much to them anymore, and see political life as nothing more than a way to project one's personal issues on others.

Wether a patriarchy actually exists is questionable. That this idiot wants a few women to form a matriarchy is unquestionable.

Party aims to ban marriage

«A new political party in Sweden says it will abolish marriage if it gets into power.

The Feminist Initiative, which expects more than 20% of the vote in next year's election, claims marriage "is not about love, but about ownership".

FI founder Tiina Rosenberg, said: "Instead of marriage we want to promote a co-habitation law that ignores gender and allows more than two people in a partnership."

But she said in allowing relationships to involve more than two people, the FI did not want Sweden to fall back into a "patriarchal structure" with one man having a harem of women.

"A man who lives with eight women in a patriarchal structure, where the man decides and the women obey is not what we are aiming for," said Rosenberg.

And in order to encourage men to vote for them as well, the party's all-female board is also calling for the introduction of a six-hour working day.»
This is a classic pattern of the far left. To get into power, give a faction here or there something they're Jonse-ing – apart from the fact that the part of the agenda that they aren’t telling you about (but provide a small hint at), is sandbox Marxism.
All is seen through the prism of power, wielding a great deal of it, and emotionally blackmailing society by weeping that you have none.

It’s bad enough that Scandinavia is drifting toward requiring a percentage of legislators to be of a certain sex requiring official to be of a specific sort, and rewarding non-winners in elections – when will they ask themselves why they’re disposing of democracy altogether for the sake of these political fetishes?

Destruction of the traditional family pattern for the sake of the state ideology’s power is something even the early Soviets abandoned. You can also tell that their economic skills are stellar.
After all, they don't want to free anyone from a social stricture at all - they want to force everyone else to live in their special little social dictatorship. It's obvious that Rosenberg and he party see people as nothing more than children that should be told what to do - after all, if a woman and man wanted to be married, why shouldn't they? If they're Christians then the state would be forcing them to commit a sin against their own belief system, on the theory that they should be forced to live by Rosenberg's personal philosophy for their own good. Besides, who would want to live in a country where they could only work 6 hours a day even if they want to work more to get ahead in life? It could be that she's just talking about men working 6 hours, but nevertheless...

Leftist feminism shows itself for what it is, totalitarianism, not liberation of any sort. The solutions it seeks are Marxist-Leninist because of their simplicity, and the prospect of labor free promises that are a lie. There ain’t no free nothin’ in this world. Even if the price to one person is zero, there is still a cost borne on someone.

Make no mistake about it, this is a risk of political repression that includes any other life choices as well as the repression of religion. Can you
think of any traditional philosophy that doesn't have marriage and parenting by a mother and father at the center of it? I wonder too how will they maintain the sham of "multiculturalism" if immigrants can't marry? Will existing marriages have to be dissolved? Will any owner/enterprise need to be dissolved if it requires more than 30 hours a week of anyone's time? They should call it the creation of misery through mass poverty plan, and put it on a game show called “who want to be a third world failure?

A forced world view which had atheism as its' centerpiece was the Nazis' organizing principle. Rosenberg's view is no different.

Where Were Prescott, George, and George W in 1963?

How could they allow this to happen?!

Don't they know about global warming?

How could they let so many people die?

Didn't they heed the warnings? Those leading (as Elisabetta Povoledo explains) to
one of Italy's worst disasters: a 1963 mountain landslide that raised a wave over the world's highest hydroelectric dam and swept away entire towns in the valley and killed at least 2,000 people.

Oops, sorry, that disaster did not occur in America! Forget the schadenfreude; nothing but hand-wringing is in order…

The Blame Game

Oil for Food is a story about what the United Nations is

U.N. incompetence and corruption enabled Saddam Hussein to siphon more than $1 billion from an oil-for-food program that was flawed from conception to conclusion, an independent commission said yesterday
writes Betsy Pisik. More than $1 billion. Think about that the next time you are told that the half million dead Iraqi babies (as counted by Saddam's Ministry of, ahem, Information) are the fault of the American-led embargo and, therefore, the fault of America itself.
Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette and other close aides to Secretary-General Kofi Annan suffered harsh criticism in the five-volume report by the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC), headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, which cited the complicity of U.N. member governments and Security Council diplomats.

Mr. Annan described the report as "painful for all of us" and immediately accepted responsibility for those shortcomings attributed to him. But he promised no firings or resignations in connection with the report's findings.

He was faulted in particular for failing to order a credible investigation of whether a contract was improperly awarded to Cotecna Inspection Services SA, the Swiss firm that employed his son.

The report also said Kojo Annan used his father's name in late 1998 to buy a $40,000 Mercedes and ship it to Ghana, securing a $6,500 diplomatic discount and saving another $14,100 in duties.

"He will have to speak for himself," Mr. Annan told reporters.

This is considered good enough. In the meantime, it is considered entirely appropriate for George W Bush to be pilloried for what his grand-father did before he was even born.

While the AFP describes French diplomats under investigation (Serge Boidevaix and others), Le Monde whitewashes Kofi Annan and manages, through the use of exclusive interviews with whining UN members, to turn the scandal into an anti-American (or an anti-neocon) piece (third para), including a sentence that criticizes the handful of journalists (such as Claudia Rosett, presumably) for following the lead of the neocons and, I surmise, not sticking to the official story.

Then there is the main story of the day, which Le Monde headlined on top of the front page of its dead-tree version as Bush surprend l'ONU en plaidant pour les pauvres (Bush Surprises the UN with His Plea in Favor of the Poor); (real) translation: apart from the Americans, their neo-cons, and the dirty capitalist pigs, everyone in the world lives in harmony (or would like to — supposedly including the leaders of Iran, of the [now defunct] Iraq of Saddam, of China, of Russia, of Sudan, of Zimbabwe, of North Korea, etc, etc, etc) and shares the dream of a bright future for all. Indeed, an editorial goes on to (yawn) lambaste "the Manichean tone of his usual speeches", "a certain arrogance", and "the calamitous situation in Iraq".

In that perspective (of all of the above), it is good to remember Claudia Rosett's investigations and how Mark Steyn pointed out that the only reason we know about Oil-for-Food in the first place is

because the US invaded Iraq and the Baathists skedaddled out of town leaving copious amounts of paperwork relating to the Baghdad end of Oil-for-Fraud
"No wonder the UN Opposed War with Saddam" I called my post based on Steyn's piece. Another Daily Telegraph article, by Francis Harris (merci RV), brings revelations about the three countries that, with Germany, did most to oppose Bush's intervention in Iraq, thus bringing them kudos from all over the world and earning them the coveted title, "Peace Camp".
Russia, China and France sabotaged UN Security Council efforts to crack down on Saddam Hussein's manipulation of the oil-for-food programme, the Volcker report says.

They worked effectively to assist the Iraq dictatorship, which, according to numerous Iraqi witnesses, had decided to give contract preferences to "companies from countries perceived as sympathetic to the lifting of [UN] sanctions, most prominently some members of the Security Council."

…The report names China, Russia and France as the main obstacles to a more effective system. Britain and the US repeatedly proposed changes, only to be blocked by the pro-Iraqi trio. The report says there was no sustained effort by the Security Council to tackle claims of corruption or the milking of the programme by Saddam.

No wonder the "peace camp" members opposed war with Saddam. As no small number of people in France claim to be experts in: principled republicanism; and in detecting liars; and in true pacifism; and in not believeing everything you hear; and in seeing the ugly truth behind grand-standing and claims of principles; and in spotting the good sides of leaders they normally don't approve of ("au moins Chirac a eu les couilles d'opposer Bush"), wouldn't it be appropriate if they, accordingly, would stop lauding their country and celebrating their culture at every turn of the road and if they would spread the criticism more evenly (as towards these men and the culture that spawned them).

Because, as you can see above, it has turned out (to nobody's surprise) that neither France nor any of the other "peace camp" members has/had the "couilles" to oppose Saddam or China or Russia or Iran or Zimbabwe or the United Nations or, indeed, anyone else who is not Uncle Sam.

Summing it all up is the Wall Street Journal :

Oil for Food is not about some isolated incidents of perceived or actual wrongdoing during the course of a seven-year effort to maintain sanctions on Iraq, monitor its oil flows and feed its people. Oil for Food is a story about what the U.N. is. And our conclusion from reading the 847-page report is that the U.N. is Oil for Food.

… Why Mr. Annan chose to see no evil on Iraqi sanctions violations, much less use his bully pulpit to denounce it (as he later denounced the Iraq war as "illegal"), is an interesting question. Our sense is that the U.N. Secretariat as a whole took the view that the sanctions regime was immoral and that Saddam was within his rights to break free of it.

Whatever the case, the Secretariat had a more than willing partner in the 661 Committee, and for reasons that are more easily comprehended. Iraq regularly steered contracts to Security Council members it believed were friendly to its political interests. Russian companies, for instance, did $19 billion in oil deals with Iraq, and French companies sold Saddam $3 billion in humanitarian assistance (much of which, the report notes, was diverted for Iraqi military purposes).

It's no coincidence, comrade, that France and Russia, as well as China (which did its own thriving business with Saddam) consistently downplayed the kickback allegations and pushed to have the sanctions regime eased. Only the U.S. and Britain made any effort to monitor Oil for Food for fraud, although even these efforts were lackluster until the Bush Administration came to office. We should also note the U.S. was itself guilty of looking the other way when it came to Iraq's oil smuggling through allies Jordan and Turkey.

So it was that the largest fraud ever recorded in history came about. Press reports often cite the overall size of Oil for Food at $60 billion, but Mr. Volcker's report makes clear that the real figure was in excess of $100 billion. From this, Saddam was able to derive $10.2 billion from illicit transactions. But the important point is that he was able to steer 10 times that sum toward his preferred clients in the service of his political aims.

None of this happened by accident. Mr. Volcker's report is replete with examples of incompetent U.N. oversight and tales of political wrangling among the permanent members of the Security Council. But the abiding fact is that it was the Western powers, not Saddam, who wanted Oil for Food at virtually any cost, because it offered the appearance of a meaningful policy in the absence of a real one, namely regime change. And it was the political convenience of this chimera that led the U.S. and the U.K. to tolerate, and the rest of the Security Council to feast on, the opportunities for corruption that were inscribed in the very nature of the program.

As for the U.N., it proved its worth to Saddam as the one hall of mirrors in which such shenanigans could take place. Yet even now we are told that "at least" Oil for Food fed the Iraqi people when they were on the edge of starvation, and this is accounted a U.N. success. That is false. Oil for Food offered a lifeline of cash and influence to a regime that was starving its people. The program did not corrupt the U.N. so much as exploit its essential nature. Now Mr. Annan wants to use this report as an endorsement of his "reform" proposals. Only at the U.N. could he dare to think he could get away with this.

Update: Robert Tracinski presented it thus:
President Bush gave a speech to the UN today asking its members to take vigorous action against terrorism--an exercise in futility, since the UN, by its very structure, serves and protects the world's dictatorships and terrorist states. (Note the scuttling, from a proposed UN reform, of an attempt to keep dictatorships from taking over the UN's human rights commission.)

Europe: the world’s tidy, slick, and chilly departure lounge

Joel Kotkin, writing in The American Enterprise Institute’s journal points out the simple fact of an overlooked aspect of immigration: that transiting between parts of the developed world.

«Yet even as the European masses headed to this side of the Atlantic for a better life, some intellectual and social elites insisted that Europe’s culture was better than anything found in the United States. As an intellectual, cultural, and artistic center, Europe was unsurpassed. That belief remains powerful today. Some, like American writer Richard Florida, have even suggested that some of the brightest and most culturally sophisticated young Americans—the much-ballyhooed “creative class”—may in the future seek their fortunes in Europe. Glowing journalistic anecdotes about cities such as Prague, Berlin, Paris, London, and Dublin have suggested that significant numbers of America’s best and brightest may end up expatriating themselves to the continent.
[ … ]
New Yorkers have a perfect one-word response for such claims: fuggedaboutit. Europe may be a great place to visit, but U.S. emigration to the continent is paltry—while the reverse flow from Europe to the United States remains at consistently high levels even with the somewhat bothersome screenings imposed after 9/11. While Europeans are no longer the primary immigrants to the U.S. (that role having been taken over by Latin Americans and Asians), they remain an important factor in the continuing re-invention of America.»
It’s awfully hard for proponents of the European social model (whatever that is this week) to argue the inferiority of the US as they always seem to lead to when the numbers don’t bear it out.
«The future doesn’t look much brighter for the continent. Under current conditions, according to the European Central Bank, the Euro Zone’s overall growth potential is roughly half that of the United States. The wishful notion that the E.U. would overtake the United States as the world’s “most competitive, knowledge-based economy” by 2010, much discussed at the time of European unification, has now been dismissed, even by many Europeans themselves, as wildly over-optimistic.

Under such circumstances, the United States remains a tremendous lure for many Europeans, especially younger, educated individuals. This is particularly true in technological fields, where Europe’s best brains are leaving in droves. Some 400,000 E.U. science and technology graduates currently reside in the United States, and barely one in seven, according to a recent European Commission poll, intend to return. “The U.S. is a sponge that’s happy to soak up talent from across the globe,” observes one Irish scientist.
Similar perspectives can be found in a host of other cutting-edge industries, including financial services, where, with the exception of London, New York has an almost unparalleled global appeal. Attempts to build a new European financial center in Frankfurt—sometimes called “Mainhattan” after the river running through the western German city—or in Paris, have failed to meet even modest expectations.
[ … ]
Amidst all this, it is perhaps not surprising that a powerful new wave of European immigration to the U.S. is taking place. This trend began in the 1980s, with fashionable affluents from West European capitals, and expanded to include many Eastern Europeans after the fall of communism. The wave has gradually grown to include Russian Jews, refugees from the Balkans, and new Italian, German, British, Greek, Polish, and other immigrants. Eastern European immigrants constituted one out of four New York immigrants in the late 1990s. They have also become an important factor in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. Even relatively out of the way places like Utica, New York and St. Louis have been revitalized by waves of European immigrants from new places like Bosnia.
All told, European immigration to the United States jumped by some 16 percent during the 1990s. Europe’s percentage of total immigrants to the U.S. rose crisply between 1998 and 2001. Visa applications dropped after 9/11, but then increased last year by 10 percent. The total number of European-born Americans increased by roughly 700,000 during the last three years, with a heavy inflow from the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, and France. These new immigrants have dispersed across many parts of the country, but have been especially drawn to New York, California, and Florida. Today’s westward human flow across the Atlantic is more critical to the future of the United States than mere numbers can indicate. In contrast to many of our other immigrants, newcomers from Europe, particularly those under 40, tend to be highly educated. And while frivolous “Eurotrash” socialites may gain the attention of the press, most young European migrants are hard-working, professionally serious, and ambitious.»
Olaf Gersemann writes in the same edition that:
«BERLIN—They call themselves “The Happy Unemployed,” and they fight “the dictatorship of wage dependency”—at a very leisurely pace.

Europeans who are unable to get work find the experience as stressful as Americans do. A German government report describes the personal afflictions that have sprung up amidst the country’s economic stagnation: “Depressive moods, general dissatisfaction with life, fear, helplessness and hopelessness, low self-esteem, resignation bordering on apathy, a low level of activity, social isolation, and loneliness.”

The inescapable reality is that the economies of the major countries on the European continent are basket cases: They produce the unemployed by the millions. Even more frightening, European economies are creating a new kind of stratified society, in which a substantial and growing minority is shut out from the labor market permanently through absurdly high minimum-wage requirements and overly strict regulations (like the employment protection laws that can make it almost impossible to fire people).»
It also doesn’t help that leftists ion the continent take comfort in the statements of an American economist who is so incredibly tainted by his political feelings as to be misleading:
«Princeton economist Paul Krugman, when recently comparing Europe and the U.S. in the New York Times, wrote that: “The big difference is in priorities, not performance.” Krugman’s assertion is basically this: The income gap is not the result of lower efficiency in Europe. It is the result of Europeans working less than Americans. Not because they can’t find work, but because they work fewer hours, preferring to spend more time with their families and on leisure activities. »

The cultures are diverging, and seemingly for good. The problem is that the Unites States is accomplishing socially what lefty Europe is intending to do, and failing at. At the same time pointing to the U.S. as failing the poor and the week when it’s succeeding in raising the standard of living of huge numbers of people.

Even over the course of 20 years of this pattern, many still maintain that same argument while a puzzled European public senses more distance with the ‘class in charge’.
«True, measured simply as GDP per hour worked, productivity is not much higher in the United States than, say, France. But what Krugman doesn’t mention is that America is close to full employment, whereas in Europe millions of poorly educated people can’t find an employer willing to pay them the artificially high minimum wage or willing to take a chance on such hires because they may be impossible to fire in the future. In other words, Europe seems to be so productive only because a large portion of its people are simply left out of the productivity statistics (and working life).
If labor productivity in Germany and in the U.S. continues on the same path as from 1996 to 2003, per capita income in Germany will grow by only 44 percent by the time American incomes double in 2026. Put differently, within a generation, Americans will enjoy twice the economic status that Germans do.»
Sooner or later the Old Europe’s political class will notice, and likely face their greatest fear – to be replaced by a different view. The public is not likely to look back kindly of those who held on stubbornly to social policies that grew unviable for so long. Perhaps a self-interested concern for their own legacy is what is lacking.

A Typical Week at Le Monde

While Laurent Zecchini has an article on a visit aboard a French nuclear submarine, Frédéric Bobin writes about the Chinese threat. Meanwhile, a typical week at Le Monde is filled with scorn towards America and (hand-wringing) apologies for France…

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Kobe, 1995

Todd Crowell: the Kobe earthquake is a better example for comparative analysis to the New Orleans floods than anything else.

«Yet the authorities were caught completely flat-footed when a 7.2 scale earthquake struck. The quake killed 6,433 people, injured about 40,000 and made 300,000 people homeless, some of them for years. Economic losses exceeded $100 billion, or fully two percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.

The government’s response was sluggish and confused. It took Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama nearly 24 hours to decide whether to dispatch troops to Kobe (though looting was fairly low). No clear lines of authority for disaster relief had been established that would permit an effective response.

Nobody complained about the performance of Japan’s equivalent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the simple reason that Japan had no equivalent of FEMA – still doesn’t to the best of my knowledge. The government couldn’t even declare a state of emergency.»

Maybe Ken needs a hug and some new windchimes.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s stupidity is breathtaking:

«KEN LIVINGSTONE provoked outrage yesterday when he compared an outspoken Muslim scholar who backs suicide bombings to the reforming Pope John XXIII.

The Mayor of London said that the position of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi was similar to that of the late Pope because he was the most senior Islamic scholar saying that Islam must engage with the world.

“Sheik Qaradawi is I think very similar to the position of Pope John XXIII. An absolutely sane Islamist,” Mr Livingstone said. »
I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think what John the 23rd had in mind by engaging other religions was to engage them with weapons fire, improvised explosive devises, and killing commuters.

What’s missing here (beside Livingstone’s lack of contextual grounding in religion) is good judgment. He has to decide if he’ll be duped by Jihad’s sideshow of using lesser proponents of violence to run a disinformation operation with the soft target of the minds of Britain’s leftists.

To oppose Jihadist Terror, one need not feel any sort of need to make a show of publicly engaging Britain’s Muslim political types, unless you are so convinced that they are the enemy of your own ideological enemies that you have to be their friend. It’s absurd. It even undermines leftism.

What ELSE has caused new eye problems recently?

Maybe M. Chirac joined the Bob Dole club.

Plastic Exploding Inevitable

German society on the Fritz. 5,000 suicide bombers in Krautland. The soft underbelly of Zeropean appeasement and capitulation is the good-for-nothing Franco-German couple-from-hell.


Americans know first-hand the menace of radical Islam. And now they have to deal with the real menace of a resigned and fatalistic Europe that is allowing itself to become an active base for radical Islam.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Stop PC before it kills again

To it’s oddly peevish and phobic proponents it’s some kind of virtue. By virtue, they mean anything you can use to hector people.

When they face the harm it does, they blame someone else. I, for one, have no idea what problem Political Correctness has ever solved.

«A team of Indiana firefighters, volunteering to help rescue victims of Katrina, went to Atlanta, where Federal Emergency Management Agency staffers told them that their job was to hand out fliers and that their first task was to attend a multi-hour course on sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity.
[ … ]
PC made Hazel O'Leary prohibit color-coded security badges at the Energy Department during the Clinton years, because NOBODY should ever have a better color badge than anybody else. The Energy Department is in charge of our nuclear weapons labs, like Los Alamos, where security became a bad joke when PC took over. Hazel O'Leary should have become a laughing stock, but she is probably thriving somewhere, spreading the virus.
[ … ]
PC made the Clinton Administration treat Osama Bin Laden with great regard for his civil rights. So in spite of multiple offers from the Sudan, the Clintonites could never decide what to do with Osama on a platter.»
To quote Dalrymple:
«Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.»

Usual rubbish ...

This newspaper foresaw everything except your reaction. --Bush: What reaction?

Clearly, they have work to do.

American Enterprise Magazine distills some conclusions about the elitist European hatred of Americans and the unremarkable history of it. It is definitely rooted in a contempt not of some world view, but of the stubbornness of their emotive views requiring some sort of reason and action.
«Unlike some forms of bigotry, anti-Americanism is most virulent among Europe's elites. Everyday Germans and Brits and Italians tend to be more appreciative of American culture, economic achievement, and government than their political lords. But ordinary Europeans have relatively little influence on the direction of their societies. The thing about European governance most striking to American eyes today is its comparatively undemocratic nature. In much of the continent, elections mean little, unaccountable bureaucracies and elites commandeer the most important decisions, the same people hang onto power endlessly, and policies that would not survive the test of popular opinion are simply instituted by administrative fiat. To cite just one example, direct election of mayors has been blocked in many localities, with national authorities insisting on appointing local leaders themselves.

Because of this unrepresentative politics, lots of ideas supported by a majority of the European public--like the death penalty--have no chance of becoming law. The tradition of a peasantry ruled by its "betters" endures in numerous ways.»
So as far as bad soap opera and histrionics are concerned, the continent offers the best in one-stop shopping.
«For evidence that obstruction of the U.S. is more important to many European elites than making progress in the world’s most dangerous flashpoints, look no farther than Afghanistan. The Afghan war was not controversial in Old Europe. It was universally agreed that the Taliban was a blight on central Asia, and that the al-Qaeda cells incubating in Afghanistan were a menace to the entire globe. Europeans accepted the urgent necessity of rooting out both entities militarily, and then rebuilding the Afghan government and civil society.

But once U.S. forces had done the dirty work of eliminating Afghanistan’s fanatical ruling cliques, did our European allies live up to their promises to help update that nation’s infrastructure, train its police, build up its courts, revive its social sector and economy? Scandalously, no.

...the Europeans immediately fell way behind on their financial pledges. Their troop commitments were not met. The German promise to train the Afghan police became a joke. European offers to reconstruct the justice system went nowhere. In all of these areas, America had to step into the breach to help suffering Afghans, and stave off disorder and a re-emergence of terror cells.
[ … ]
Having for years refused to fund their militaries, and lacking sufficient numbers of young men with patriotic martial spirit, the continental European nations could not project much righteous military power today even if they did have the will. You will often hear gassy rhetoric at European conclaves about how, as Spanish prime minister Zapatero recently put it, “Europe must believe that it can be in 20 years the most important world power.” But the stark reality is that only 3 to 5 percent of the 2.5 million personnel under arms in Europe today can be deployed, even for a short time. Due to its military weakness and diplomatic vacillation, “Europe is nearly irrelevant to the great issues of the future” in today’s conflict zones, notes my colleague Tom Donnelly in a new book.»
The question is, how much of the actions of European society and government are NOT driven by propping up prior failures? Is this an extended period of soul-searching on their part, or is it an unbreakable pattern?
«This kind of bilious grandstanding now dominates European diplomacy. Indeed, Europe no longer even attempts a serious and constructive foreign policy in many important areas. Quick: Name one thing the old continental European powers have done to help stabilize Iraq. O.K., France has detailed one officer (literally) to help train the Iraqi police. But when Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi wanted to meet with France’s president last year, he was refused. Instead of offering practical guidance to the new leader of one of the globe’s hotspots, Jacques Chirac rushed off to the deathbed of Yasser Arafat, whom he fawned over and called “a hero.”
[ … ]
“A leftist judge in Spain orders the arrest of a pathetic, near-senile General Augusto Pinochet eight years after he’s left office, and becomes a human rights hero... Yet for the victims of contemporary monsters still actively killing and oppressing—Khomeini and his successors, the Assads of Syria, and until yesterday Hussein and his sons— nothing. No sympathy. No action. Indeed, virulent hostility to America’s courageous and dangerous attempt at rescue.”

Krauthammer's conclusion is that the European Left's "concern for human rights turns out to be nothing more than a useful weapon for its anti-Americanism."»
Time seems to be running out.
«And it’s not just Americans whom Europeans are falling behind. The people who invented industrialism are now also being outstripped by residents of Asian and Latin American countries that have embraced globalization. Kotkin reports that Europe’s share of world Gross Domestic Product (which inevitably corresponds to international influence) shrank from 34 percent to 20 percent over the latest lifetime.

It was by adopting free-market capitalism that Asians and Latin Americans bolted upward—and in particular by copying productive ideas from the world’s largest economy (the U.S.) as fast as they could figure them out.
[ … ]
The irony is that for all their insistence on portraying the U.S. as a land of fired workers, poverty, and economic insecurity, it is now Europe where unemployment is twice as high and four times as deep, where immigrants and the young have far fewer openings, where the ladder of upward mobility has fallen to pieces. In terms of spending power, homeownership, educational opportunities, and so forth, even relatively low income.

Americans are now demonstrably better off than typical Europeans.

So which economic alternative is actually more “harsh on the poor and economically underprivileged”? Today’s socialized European economies bill themselves as generous and progressive, but in cold practice they are proving illiberal and reactionary. Reforms that could open up new fresh opportunities for stagnated workers are being blocked by Europe’s dominant class, for fear that a more freewheeling system might reduce the privileges of those currently in command.»
h/t – to RV

A quote: very bad lefty ideas. Why did they stop caring about free speech?

«But the Americans don't know anything about human rights.

We do not agree ... that the human rights of the victims are more important than the human rights of the terrorists.»
Graham Watson, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament.

Indeed a captured terrorist does have rights, but no effort should be expended prior to their capture which would place any person at risk becuase of the wooly headed way some people interpret it, and do it at the expense of society. Random bag checking in order not to seem like a profile is being drawn, frisking little old ladies, to save face with pressure groups who themselves are the ones who can't make a distinction between criminality and ethnicity.

Concider for a moment the Palestinian bus driver who didn't want a certain someone (who was also Palestinian) on his bus because he suspected him of wearing that season's chic new self detonating colors. Would his judgement survive that test if he was obliged to neither judge nor refuse? In case you're wondering, the refused passenger detonated hiself outside the bus, and only the bomber himself was hurt.

What's worse is the erosion of rights running along side it. Hard as it is for the European left to accept, you can’t stop people from talking and thinking, regardless what awful things they’re talking about. That's the greatest lesson of the 20th century which showed itself in the blood stained snows of the Gulags and Concentration camps.

Curtailment of speech, no matter how awful, is indeed throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

This is from a continent that while not taking the point in protecting their citizens against terror, feels perfectly comfortable identifying and not tolerating of abhorrent speech which will only drive incitement further underground and poison the air for everyone else in a way that the Patriot Act never did.

Palestinian Authority Animal House

They'll soon be pissing and moaning about the deep humiliation stemming from difficult conditions as justification for blowing themselves up.

... the overwhelmed forces were unable to halt looting of the area's prized greenhouses.

The greenhouses, left behind by Israel as part of a deal brokered by international mediators, are a centerpiece of Palestinian plans for rebuilding Gaza after 38 years of Israeli occupation. The Palestinian Authority hoped the high-tech greenhouses will provide jobs and export income for Gaza's shattered economy.

Réunion au sommet

Les Éditions Underbahn étaient fort bien représentées à la soirée Dantec.

Maladie métastatique à extirper du corps social

Que l'élève se trouve dans une madrassa au Pakistan, ou que celui-ci ait pris la forme d'une prothèse humaine suspendue à l'extrémité d'une onde de la mort Al-Jazirienne dans un apart' à Sarcelles ne change rien au problème.

Monday, September 12, 2005

DC at sunset

It's September 11th, and a cool night out. Quiet too. Crickets - lots of them. Gentle waters making a licking sound. Birds flying high and far off. A few pleasure boaters out. There is a skyline, but it seems far away, and quite mercifully it seems to be leaving us all alone.

The joggers seem as happy at they could be. A pall of anger over little detail might be falling in every part of town, but not here, and not right now. Someone more decent than that is running this place right now.

They can talk in circles all they like. Here, all I see is the river which never stops rolling, and a monument to Lincoln that they can't dismantle. I was hanging out with a kid who stopped here too. He set his truck by the curb and the stone balustrade overlooking the river.

He's a marine. Shipping out Tuesday. He wanted to see Lincoln before he left. He sensed the cool night air and the precious last minutes of sunlight. He seemed to want to have thins to remember. Another kid had a guitar. He came where he couldn't bother anyone with noise. I taught him the only good chords I know. He practiced them to the exclusion of everything around him, even the painting the sky made for him tonight.

The Marine's under no illusions. He's also under no derision right now – no girlfriend with fear and doubt, no buddies from home who won’t talk to him. No 'friends' second guessing him. He mentioned Lincoln's compromises.
Quite aptly he sought this place out. It will be in his mind while he is in a Wadi somewhere in the Middle East.

For me, a Wadi in the Middle East is on my mind while I'm here. Will the old hippies with the sour stomachs and the full bellies in the near-exo-suburbs, their inclusive Utopian experiment, really let them be free? Or will they tear through this too like they have everything else?

Will the people there be able to even have what people here seem to hate or ignore? Abuse and mock?

Today? Today, I think so. I think that it can. I think it will. When these men are done it won't seem as pure, we’ll disagree eventually, but it will be done. All war is bad, but their future will start right.

So right that none of the special people will ever want to mention it or notice it, and will find some details to complain about. I say to them: let them eat freedom.

Diplomacy with a carrot and stick

Bush Sidesteps Lebanese President in New York

«US President George W. Bush excluded his Lebanese counterpart Emil Lahoud from attending a reception in New York for leaders taking part in the UN summit next week.

But Bush extended the invitation to the Lebanese prime minister Foaud Sinioura to attend the reception.»
Clear enough, for you, Assad?

Where’s Bono? All is Bono, and he is everywhere

From practitioners of recreational compassion to abject liars - the euro-media claims to be sending aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina, but they really aren't. DW prattled on about sending 40 tons of aid, but put into a meaningful context, it's half of the mass of a 747's luggage hold. Never mind that they find a way to link the issues with any other lefty hobby horse they have on the air, but trying to leave no trace of it in print.

Meanwhile the BBC continues to use a natural disaster covering an area nearly as large as the UK for their pedantic vendetta against President George Bush.

Here’s a handy guide to looking at the European press’ output:

Suspect a pathological liar if:

the stories seem too dramatic or unrealistic
the lies seem to serve no purpose except to impress people or
the lies can easily be shown up
Remember, use this knowledge only for good, and never, never, for evil.

School: highway to unemployment

This blog’s good friend and occasional informant RV prefaced his translation of an article on the education system in France by Patrick Fauconnier published in the Nouvel Observateur with the following:

«You obviously already know the French are the most sophisticated, educated, clever and sagacious people around the world, a kind of beacon of universal erudition, don't you? Here is my translation, but please be tolerant, I was taught English in French schools -»
School: highway to unemployment.

Too many young French end school without any qualification. What follows is an investigation on the reason of such a waste, and how to save your children from sinking.

One would like to rejoice and be optimistic on this years 'rentrée' (back to school). But sometimes lucidity is saving. State's lucidity which confesses, at last, that terrible number: every year, 163,000 young people end schooling without any qualification. But reality is worse: about 270,000 young people -- over one third -- leave schooling "without marketable knowledge." The numbers are inexorable: 58,000 give up altogether and leave; 75,000 fail their CAP or BEP, those 'professional diplomas' certifying the basic knowledge any employer requires; 30,000 fail the baccalaureate. Then, 20,000 quit higher education with only a DEUG (university degree of general studies awarded after two years). And 89,000 fail at this very same DEUG, a simple diploma preparing to 'license' (4-years graduation) therefore unmarketable.

A National tragedy.

Result: 109,000 are "without practical knowledge" and 163,000 "without qualification" -- 270,000 young people, 37% of a generation -- try to get a job without certified training. Whence this calamitous paradox: in one hand the astounding number of unemployed youngsters, and on the other little companies who can’t recruit good employees. As a result the state eventually offers 1 000 euros to anyone who accepts certain types of work and agrees to be trained in hotels and hospitality, retail sales, insurance or in building construction trades.

[Fields which in virtually every other part of the world need no inducement to enter whatsoever, and where training is generally not in need of the intervention of national governments. In the US retail is one of the most readily accessed jobs, and the perfect starting point to move on to a better paying, more specific field, and rarely an end in itself.]

Let us not be afraid: it's a national tragedy. Because this observation comes 20 years after the beginning of massive rise in youth unemployment, self-contented (refusing to see the actual statistics), lacking in political courage (refusing to make students marketable), we postponed what was mandatory and inevitable. Now we pay at the high price: mass unemployment, fearing the future, stopped consumption, a majority of youngsters wanting to become civil servants [75%], the others fleeing abroad, enduring sullenness and depression.

A country leaving a third of her young without education digs its own grave. The sources of such a failure? First, too much 'academic' and elitist education, scorning anything about labour, enterprise, and management. Thus, it's the 'ABE' orientation: 'Anything But Enterprise'. Young people thus dream of the admiration in becoming sportsmen, musicians, stylists, or civil servants. As a result the school system amounts to little more than a sorting mechanism where rank eventually prevails over knowledge.

Result: teachers behave more like judges than coaches encouraging specific talents and traits seen in the students. For several years the OECD has been leading a long term study of education systems named ‘Programme for International Student Assessment’ or (PISA), among 250,000 pupils in 40 countries. During 2003-2004 questions were about the atmosphere ay school.

We discover that we're ranked last in school spirit. In math, we are below the average concerning the feeling of learning math fluently. As for teachers' sense that they’re supported in their work, we are 29th. Facing such statistics, how could one 'challenge the thermometer' or complain to the bearers of bad news and not look at the causes.

It’s wiser to look at how other nations do this. "In this investigation, Germany and France have very bad results. In Germany, that had a tremendous national impact. In France, one hardly heard about it," observes Walo Hutmacher, education sociologist in the University of Geneva. The most appalling is that, (according to the OECD,) we are the biggest spenders of tax monies for higher education, with one of the largest number of employees at 5th out of the 40 countries sampled.

Our pupils work in average 400 hours more than Scandinavians, who nonetheless placed first in the PISA test. Therefore, the solutions won't stem from curriculum adjustment, but an actual 'cultural revolution', a redesigning of its’ ends and the role of teachers. That's what the
[cutely named] 'National Debate [findings/study] Commission on the Future of School' headed by Claude Thélot was about. His report was trashed at the first grunt of the main teachers' union, the SNES. It's nothing about joining in the criticism concerning the “alleged” French decline, but simply that the school system is in urgent need of reformed.

- Patrick Fauconnier.

NouvelObs adds:

The percentage of students in France reaching higher education compared to other states which France’s cultural critics often compare themselves to:

Australia: 77%
United States: 64%
OECD average: 51%
South Korea: 49%
United Kingdom: 47%
France: 37%
Germany: 35%

France is ranked 30th out of the 40 OECD countries studied.

(Source: OECD)

Kills socialists dead

Etats-Unis: Un Colosse Aux Pieds D'argile ? – Is the U.S. a Giant With Feet of Clay?

According to France 5 the answer is: of course, do you think we would air anything on the U.S. otherwise? Doesn’t Serge’s Head Tilt give it all away?

«Qu'a révélé le cyclone Katrina ? Une Amérique raciste et la fin
de son hyperpuissance ? Est-ce un nouveau "11 septembre" ou
une catastrophe naturelle ? George W. Bush doit-il "déposer le bilan" ? Est-il fini ?»

On September 11th, a few of those arrogant self appointed big-brain types that France is so well known for decided that this would be a good time to engage in the usual class and nationality hatred on the air, and inviting viewers to gripe in a forum with the usual fashion with the usual arguments, much in the way a five-year-old takes comfort in repeating the same joke over and over.
«11 septembre 2001

Il y a quatre ans, jour pour jour, à New York, les tours jumelles s'écroulaient dans un nuage de poussière et de larmes. On découvrait alors, stupéfaits, abasourdis, une Amérique frappée au cœur, vulnérable. On découvrait alors une force terroriste capable de défier la plus grande puissance du monde.»
Riposte de Choc

It’s a good thing that this is what they think of as an intellectual assault on America. It has the appearance of a hen party after that had 2 Margueritas too many.

At the end of the show the presenter looked at European Regional Chairman of Republicans Abroad, Robert Pingeon and said something to the effect of “You, who speak French so well, I am sure you realized that everything we say about America is colored by our love affair with her” Pingeon calmly replied: “Well, I must have missed that” and said he’d have to watch the show again later to see if he had indeed missed something. Indeed he did. There is no love in the pretext he uses to convince himself of his abusiveness, and there certainly aren’t many facts.

The French panel wouldn’t let Pingeon finish more than 2 sentences at a time, for fear of him saying anything balanced, realistic, or convincing. Repeating a moronic statistical fiction circulating in American leftist circles, Jake Lamar, an American who hasn’t lived in the U.S. for 12 years, quoted the NY Times and said W. had created 17% more poor in the USA than before. With purchasing power rising, and unemployment below 5%, (less than half of Germany and France), it’s an impossibly stupid argument that hinged on 17 percent of black people in the US not getting poorer, but not getting more well off as quickly as the top quintile, even though the income growth itself exceeded inflation. It also would require one to believe that the entire U.S. population is black. So in the lefty mind, of course, no racism could ever exist since only white males could be racist, and every last one of them IS a racist in their minds.

The president, does even have a way of ‘creating poverty’ without it being stupidly obvious and politically suicidal. It’s one of the looniest bits of leftist received wisdom out there, and not only did the NYT repeat it, but an American who appears to have it in for his fellow citizens has no problem parroting it on TV abroad.

Lamar, on his website refers to himself as the ‘leading writer of his generation’, indicating of course that as an American that this is how he’s seen in the U.S. An amazing assertion given that hardly a soul, even among black writers and readers, hardly registers a blip if they pay any attention to him at all outside of fans of mystery novels.

Emmanuel Todd (the hatemonger is shown left) went on an on about how the U.S.’ pernicious flaw of not being European. Add to that the childish outbusts of Philippe Golub repeating over and over that the USA and Bush are finished – whatever it is that he thinks that actually means. When will he be honest enough to admit that a president in the US only gets 8 years? Bear in mind that Todd makes his living bashing the US abroad, possibly the least challenging task on earth, and easier than selling cut-rate heroine in Sarselles.

According to Todd, the decline of America has begun. While he was hogging airtime, you could see him smiling to himself once his little diatribes were over. Just grinning like a kid who’d just put one over on someone. Little do they know that the only people on the other side of the puddle paying attention to them are laughing, and are only mildly concerned about how this fits in with their benighted incitement and hate speech laws, and wondering if they will be met at the ferry with an ASBO.

Despicable all around. Think for a moment about the arguments that they were trying to make, and how small in scope and intellect their world really is.

This post written with the former E-nough-ista, Valerie.

The America-Bashers' Use of Symbolism on September 11

When confronted with the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, it has become a tradition for some to recall another event that occurred on another September 11.

On that date, in 1973, General Pinochet overthrew Chile's President Allende.

This is supposed to make us think. Hard.

The problem with this, of course, is that there have occurred 500 September 11s in the past 500 years (to take the first round number that came to my mind), with varying occurrences on various continents, in various countries, in various regions, in various cities, in various neighborhoods, and in various personal homes around the world, and just about any one of those occurrences could have been picked to make a comparison with (and provide matter for reflection on, and some kind of metaphysical lesson for) September 11, 2001 (or September 11, 1973, for that matter).

As I have written elsewhere,

If looking down their noses, [America-bashers] ask "Do you know what other event occurred on September 11?", answer "Yes, a terrible tragedy." Pause while they nod approvingly, then add "George Washington lost the battle of Brandywine" (in 1777) or even "Brian De Palma was born on that date" (so was Ferdinand Marcos, by the way), although I'm not sure to what extent that counts as a tragedy. If they object that they are referring to something more recent and more tragic than that, agree and say "you must be talking of Hitler ordering reinforcements to Romania" (1940) or "FDR ordering any Axis ships in U.S. waters shot on sight" (1941) or even "wasn't it the first TV broadcast of a Miss America beauty contest?" (1954). How about, "that was the date (in 1962) that the Beatles recorded their first single at EMI Studios (you know, 'Love Love Me Do')".
This symbolism makes as much sense as noting with alarm that our 40th president sported three names with six letters each, supposedly marking the alleged number of the beast.

(If any association with September 11 should be made — with regards to the 2001 attacks, that is, not the 1973 coup — as several readers have pointed out to me, it would perhaps make more sense to call up the 1669 defeat of the Muslim armies besieging Vienna, bringing an end to the Ottoman advance into Europe.)

But what it all boils down to this: for symbolism to have any kind of meaning, it needs to stay close to its subject and, in my opinion, reflect on the better angels of our nature. What it should especially avoid is collective guilt, not least because that collective guilt is necessarily one-sided, i.e., used exclusively against Americans and their allies (or, historically, by any group against any group's alleged enemies).

For instance, it would probably not be too difficult to search through Chilean history and find some kind of tragedy (nation-wide or otherwise) on a September 11 that proved that the 1973 coup d'état was the Chileans' punishment for the earlier disaster (notwithstanding the fact that many believe that Pinochet's coup averted a far worse catastrophe for the country). In another example, which is actually far more coherent than simply noting a similarity of dates, many state that every setback by Bush or by a Bush ally amounts to (well-deserved) punishment for sending troops to Iraq, but because members of the Coalition of the Willing keep winning elections, this symbolism is discretely ignored. (I call this the wait, wait, wait syndrome.)

The use of symbolism says far more about those who wield it than about those the symbolism is meant to describe (and judge).

So, anyway: we know the date that Pinochet grabbed power in 1973.


But what was the date that he relinquished power?

What was the date in 1990 that Pinochet handed power back to a civilian government?

The answer is: March 11.

Now, we all remember what happened in Madrid on March 11, 2004, don't we?

So what is that supposed to mean? What is that supposed to symbolize?

Somehow, we are led to believe, the wholescale murder of 3,000 people in New York and Washington would not, or might not, have occurred had a strongman with no link to (and probably wholly unknown to) the perpetrators not grabbed power on that same date 28 years earlier.

What is the wholescale murder of 191 people in Madrid supposed to mean? That it would not have occurred had that same strongman not handed power back and had he remained in power 14 years earlier?

Your guess is as good as mine…