Saturday, December 10, 2005
A close look at pop-culture, pop-writing, high-culture writ low, and the Kultursmog of western life reveals a few simple things. Among them is the fact that if someone is truly stupid he will tell himself otherwise, and still be non the better. After all it’s the “00”s, and there are still people listening to Cher. You know who you are. All four of you.
Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to meet every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.
Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn't conform to the usual mould,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do,
Never backs down when he sees what is true,
Tells it all straight, and means it all too.
Going forward and knowing he's right,
Even when doubted for why he would fight,
Over and over he makes his case clear,
Reaching to touch the ones who won't hear.
Growing in strength he won't be unnerved,
Ever assuring he'll stand by his word.
Wanting the world to join his firm stand,
Bracing for war, but praying for peace,
Using his power so evil will cease,
So much a leader and worthy of trust,
Here stands a man who will do what he must.
Surprised? The Guardian blubbers on due largely to her whiteness. She's not the first, not nearly. Most of the worst emerged from European echo chamber. Surprised?
Spiked-Online's Brendan O'Neill:
Degauque may be the first white woman to blow herself up in the name of…Islam or something, but she is not the first Westerner to do so. The 7/7 bombers were four British citizens who did British things such as play cricket; one was a student, another was a former teaching assistant. Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a transatlantic flight in 2001, was brought up in Bromley in south-east London; his co-conspirator, Sajid Badat, was a speccy student from Gloucester. The ringleaders of 9/11 may have hailed from the Middle East but they became radicalised while studying in Hamburg; likewise, the Madrid train bombers were from north Africa but had lived rather cushy lives in Spain for years. Ahmed Omar Sheikh, convicted in Pakistan of slitting the throat of American journalist Daniel Pearl, was a Briton educated at posh schools and the London School of Economics. Why should it be more shocking for the Belgian-born Degauque to execute dastardly deeds overseas than for Sheikh to do so? Because her skin is white and his is brown? Both were born, brought up and educated in the West, in fairly plush surroundings.One less zombie.
For me, the similarities between Degauque and these other al-Qaeda supporters or wannabe insurgents are more interesting than the differences. Like many Islamist terrorists, she had a good upbringing (according to an interesting study by Professor Marc Sageman, 72.5 per cent of 'global jihadists' in or around al-Qaeda are either middle class or upper middle class);
Friday, December 09, 2005
In this case the renegades think by acting on their idea of the public good, that their destruction of property is legal. The court (which seems to no loger have an actual concept of what property rights are) backed them.
«PARIS (Reuters) - the appeals court of Orleans (Loiret) released 49 people who had destroyed two fields of genetically modified corn in 2004 and 2005. The court found that they had acted "in response to a danger of the consequences of releasing GMOs into the environment, even though their use is permitted under French law, even though it’s in contravention with the constitutional law on maintaining healthy environment". The Green deputy Noël Mamère, himself found by a court in Toulouse for the same act, was delighted by a "great victory" and a "historical first". "It is at the will of the president of the Republic who introduced the environmental “Precautionary Principle” into the Constitution, he told Reuters. "For the first time in the history of justice, a French court comes to give legal backing to this principle and it is a great victory for rights." Noël Mamère requests from now on the final acceptance of the anti-GMO and a democratic debate in Parliament on the subject. The American firm Monsanto, owner of the two destroyed fields, had claimed 398.000 euros in damages.»Now aren't you a good little robot, Noël. The chemical pesticide industry must be pleased.
Consistent with any tenuous relation to the truth, sooner or later the lie becomes so sweet and useful that you start to believe it. John Rosenthal who runs the website and blog Transatlantic Intelligencer has an article on the current Tech Central Station discussing a situation which has grown into just that: the relationship between the Elysée and the AP/Ipsos polling operation, specifically the unusual amount of access, power, and priveledge extended to Didier Truchot.
«The most recent AP-Ipsos poll, released on November 11, brought bad news for President Bush. The headline told the story: "Poll: Most Americans Say Bush Not Honest". Coming just after the indictment of vice presidential aide "Scooter" Libby for perjury in the so-called CIA leak affair, the implication was clear: the majority of Americans were beginning to get what Democrats and Frenchmen had understood all along (or almost): "Bush lied!"Here they are reporting on themselves:
But this was not the first time that an AP-Ipsos poll had been the bringer of bad tidings for the President. Back in September, it was an AP-Ipsos poll that in the aftermath of Katrina first showed the President's approval rating falling below the landmark 40 percent barrier, thus confirming the widespread perception -- widespread, at any rate, in France -- that Americans were unhappy about the President's handling of and/or responsibility for extreme weather phenomena. Curiously, other polls conducted at the time (Rasmussen, CNN/USA Today) showed the President's ratings holding in the high 40 percent range.»
«AP press releases identify Ipsos coyly as an "international polling firm". Ipsos's own releases on its AP work describe the company as "a leading global survey-based market research company" -- as well as "non-partisan" and "objective". One would hardly expect them to say otherwise. But here is what neither AP nor Ipsos want Americans to know and assiduously avoid saying: Ipsos is a French polling firm. Not that this should matter per se. But AP and Ipsos undoubtedly fear that to many Americans it might or that, in light of the current climate of Franco-American relations, it might at least raise some doubts about Ipsos's impartiality and objectivity.»But the relationship with governmental power is a bit more disturbing, and looks like a case of one hand washing another:
The same sort of primitive push-polling was seen in the 2004 US presidential election, and was laughed at, even by some in the MSM. Why then would anyone believe a poll knowing who owns to two red bat-phones which are connected to one another? Simple – self flattery.
«During the two seven-year-terms of François Mitterrand, he was one of the advisors to the prince and he held open house at Copenhagen, the famous restaurant on the Champs Elysées not far from the "castle". Since he began working for Jacques Chirac, he has left the Champs and stays put in the XV arrondissement at lunchtime. Now, he merely delivers his confidential polls personally to the antechamber of the President.»
Belgium needs wankers. Oh, Happy, happy... while the French are trying to keep kids from entering the misery and psychological desert of collapsed families, ones which exhibit the highest propensity for domestic violence, by the way, people on the margins are trying to undermine it and do whatever they can to bring unhappy and socially dependant people into the world.
AFP: French lesbians exhausting Belgian sperm banks
«PARIS, Dec 5 (AFP) - French lesbians have been crossing the border to Belgium in search of medical procedures to get pregnant, which are denied in France, creating a new sort of baby boom at Belgian fertility clinics.Never mind the narcissistic adults projecting their worst ideas and their problems on children – think about how they think “diversity” is a substitution to a growing up without a good father, expecting familial moral support from a hospital, and exciting a new European moral “race to the bottom”.
Last year, 72 percent of the patients for insemination from sperm donors came from France, and the majority of them were lesbian, according to Dr Anne Delbaere, head of the fertility clinic at Erasme Hospital in the Belgian capital.
"We do not have sufficient sperm donations in reserve to meet all the requests" for insemination, Delbaere said at a recent conference on homosexual parenting in Paris.
Line and Magali, two teachers in the Paris region, have a lot of praise for the "moral support" they received from the Belgian hospital as Line went through 18 inseminations in three years before conceiving a daughter.
Delbaere said her Belgian clinic has been forced to limit appointments, suggesting that "it is perhaps time to change attitudes in France."
Since the French bioethical law of 1994, medical help for procreation is reserved for heterosexual couples who are married or who have been together for more than two years.
"We have friends of all sexes, sexualities, colors. Our daughters are not cut off from half the human race because they do not have a father!" added Boekholt, who with her partner has written a book about the experience.»
Meet generation “wasted load.”
An Expert's Admirable Principles: "I fully understand von Sponeck's opposition to the Iraq policy of the Bush administration"
Hans … Von Sponeck is frequently quoted in the German media (and sometimes in non-German media) as "expert" on the Iraq war. His criticism of President Bush and the U.S. Iraq policy is aggressive and polemic, and as such of course highly welcomed by his journalistic counterparts. In 2003 he received the Bremen Peace Award for the resignation from his UN post in protest "against the sanctions policy of the Security Council and in particular the USA, responsible for the death of several hundred thousand Iraqi children" (no mention of Saddam's responsibilities, of course).Thus writes an understanding David Kaspar abut this remarkable example of a human rights activist.
In the light of the revelations in the Volcker report I fully understand von Sponeck's opposition to the Iraq policy of the Bush administration. After all, as a result of the invasion, he must have lost a steady source of income...
Ideas in the minds of that elite will eventually filter down, to the point where some slick but ignorant journalist will find slogans that correspond
…it is necessary for a political thinker to learn how to writeRoger Scruton says to Max Goss during the latter's interview (in two parts) with the author of The Meaning of Conservatism.
Marx solved this problem, unfortunately, but then so did Burke. Good writing affects the minds of the literary elite, and ideas in the minds of that elite will eventually filter down, to the point where some slick but ignorant journalist will find the slogans that correspond, at his level of mental life, to those distantly and vaguely perceivable notions. This is in part what Plato had in mind, when he advocated the noble lie. Not “noble” but elegant; not a "lie" but journalism.I cannot begin telling how appropriate I found Scruton's conclusion in describing my feelings after years of research on my book on anti-Americanism in France and abroad.
I think conservatives should study the ideas and arguments that prevail on the left. There is always something to learn from these arguments, if only which way the wind of resentment is now blowing. And lifting your eyes from this joyless stuff, you will thank God that you are a conservative.
A single, superficial principle: oppose the powerful and back the weak, no matter what the powerful stand for or what the weak stand for
One of the main reasons our awareness of modern slavery remains so meager is that the flagship human rights organizations seem completely uninterested in the phenomenonwrites the University of Arizona's Uriah Kriegel (thanks to RV), echoing Ralph Peters and (more theoretically) Roger Scruton as he concludes that after "all, a right to one's own body is a condition of all other rights".
This is primarily because the perpetrators do not represent the kind of highly visible figures NGOs are eager to confront. Most human rights groups are driven today by a single, superficial principle: oppose the powerful and back the weak, no matter what the powerful stand for or what the weak stand for. …
Amnesty International is an unfortunate case, but many NGOs reveal similar propensities. Today's slave-owners and slave-capturers are usually Muslim fundamentalists who ride the African plains on horseback terrorizing local populations. But on the global stage, they wield virtually no power. As such, they do not excite the imagination of the majority human rights activists.
Instead of raising awareness and battling the existence of real-time slavery, the International Abolition of Slavery Day has become yet another occasion to rehash arguments for slave reparations in the US. Whatever your position on the issue of reparations, financial compensation to people whose current lives are comfortable (by comparison) should not take precedence over the liberation of actual slaves living in complete misery and utter destitution all over the African continent. Isn't there something rather perverse about the fact that concern for the treatment of terrorists agitates many of today's mainstream activists much more than concern for southern Sudanese people in the thralldom of Islamic fundamentalists?
While Martin parsimoniously lectures the US, his own corrupt softwood republic can’t meet Kyoto. In the mean time the UK’s fetishistic Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honerable Gordon Brown, MP makes North Sea oil more costly to extract, making Britain MORE “addicted to imported hydrocarbons,” imposes a greater cost on the population, mainly those with the least, while having no real answers themselves.
Meanwhile social manipulators see the never-ending, non-productive Green sludge tossing festival as just another fertile ground to peddle guilt trips, and take financial hostages. Nevermind the distance it has from the actual matter at hand in Kyoto, everyone knows what the real issue is. Never mind the implausibility of their endless stream of scarlet letter too. All it really is, is a lifestyle issue for euro-lefties, and has grown into a kind of dismal and pointless science like most everything else that they are obsessed with.
Petty despots are as petty despots do. So do their buddies who think that a country and a people can just go away.
Newsflash, spanky. The Europeans already did their best, and are still trying to get them off of their patch too.
Either way, they might need these.
International solidarity cannot be deaf or blind neither in the case of the objectives in the war of terror nor in its details of implementationshe lectures, but the photo shows a happy, smiling woman in a red party dress. She almost seems to be laughing at a joke, but that can't be, because everybody knows how seriously France takes human rights.
This is from the newspaper that could barely print a filler on the cases of torture in China. The articles appeared as China's Prime minister ended a fruitful visit to Paris.
During Wen Jiabao's visit, France's master of pacifism (aka French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, the guy who is determined, as he reminded his "American friends", that friends should be allowed to speak their minds) signalled efforts on strategic business-making were unflagging and emphasised their countries' cooperation, reiterating France's view that an EU arms embargo imposed on China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre was "anachronistic" and should be ended. Meanwhile, the Epoch Times (merci a RV) pointed out that
Protesters will neither be seen nor heard during the visit of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao to France this week, according to an order given by the French government.
The order, given last week, is seen by critics as the latest in an attempt to hide embarassing human rights violations through censoring overseas protest.
… The French government seems equally anxious to hide human rights protesters from Communist officials this time around.
Despite the extent of China's human rights violations becoming increasingly apparent the French government have appeared to even openly support the regime.
In a visit to China last April, the French Premier, Jean-Pierre Raffarin expressed support for China's anti-secession law on Taiwan which threatens the use of military force should Taiwan declare independence.
The French government is also one of the most vocal supporters of a lifting of the arms embargo imposed in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Free speech suspended for your own good - Suspended, because the people in charge are wise, caring, humane, more conversational, blah, blah, blah…
« Protesters will neither be seen nor heard during the visit of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao to France this week, according to an order given by the French government.
During a visit by Chinese leader Hu Jintao in January 2004, a number of foreign Falun Gong practitioners were detained by French police because they where wearing yellow, or had a logo which read "Falun Dafa is Good" on their clothing. The French government seems equally anxious to hide human rights protesters from Communist officials this time around.
The French government is also one of the most vocal supporters of a lifting of the arms embargo imposed in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre.»
Thursday, December 08, 2005
”I couldn't even begin to make up this stuff,” says our fearless Romania correspondent Kit. After the recent successful visit of US Secretary of State Condi Rice to Romania, HRW comes out of the woodwork. They seem to have engineered much of the Rendition hub-bub by showing journalists flight plans which have miraculously disappeared. Reports Kit:
«Cotidianul asks: "Can you show us those flight plans? Do you have them?"Hey maybe Huuuuman Rights Watch has access to that magical “Remote Control” system that “aviation expert” Joe Vialls prattles on about? You know – it’s the left’s fig leaf that permits them to not face the fact that there is such a thing as hate.
[Mr. Gulag,] Tom Malinowski answers: "We had access to them. Journalists from „TheNew York Times“ and „Newsweek“ have them. We were granted access to them and we were allowed to disclose the contents but we are not allowed to produce the actual copies."
Then he goes on to connect the dots between flights from the Middle East that they just KNOW were carrying suspects [I have no reason to believe this is not true. So what?] And well, they were probably tortured. No, wait they WERE tortured. We KNOW the CIA practices what "may be described as torture". Yep, you guessed it, water boarding.
The money quote: "Any intelligence agency can make mistakes, however well-intentioned they may be. Democratic countries don't make people vanish into thin air. That's what Communism did. Ceausescu and other dictators took people into secret places, away from their families, far away from a lawyer or an NGO." [Again, I don't know how creative the translator got here. It's much more likely that his words were: "denying them access to a lawyer..." But hey, I'm just a paranoid interpreter.]
Holy moral equivalence, Batman! I can't even begin to tell you how deeply offensive this is to hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans who were murdered, tortured (the kind of torture that actually leaves marks), taken away from their families, etc. Were ANY of those people waging holy war on Western civilization? Nope. Which is why there weren't that many cries of "Don't take the victims of Communism away from us!" back then.»
The final word goes to Wednesday’s Opinion Journal:
«If the Secretary of State weren't so diplomatic, she'd cancel her tour and say she won't come back until the Continent's politicians decide to grow up.
In return, it would be nice if once in a while Europe decided to help America with its security problem, especially since Islamic terrorism is also Europe's security problem. But instead the U.S. Secretary of State has to put up with lectures about the phony issue of "secret" prisons housing terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans.
Yet as soon as the Washington Post began reporting on the "secret" detention facilities, the pretend questions began. A shocked, shocked British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw wrote the U.S. on behalf of the European Union demanding "clarification" to "allay parliamentary and public concerns."
What gives? Mostly opportunism and political cowardice. The two countries mentioned in the press for helping the U.S.--Poland and Romania--ought to be applauded for doing so. But the European media have spun so many wildly false stories about U.S. detention policy that anti-American demagogues see an opening…
Ms. Rice's pledge that the U.S. isn't "torturing" anyone on European soil, or anywhere else, ought to be all the reassurance Europeans need. According to the CIA sources leaking these stories, the "secret" prisons were for housing only about a dozen top al Qaeda leaders, such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
And the most aggressive interrogation technique authorized against such men is "waterboarding," which induces a feeling of suffocation. That's rough treatment, but the technique has also been used on U.S. servicemen to train them to resist interrogations, and we suspect many Europeans would accept it if they believed it might avert another Madrid.»
Double standards abound in French life, policies, and conversations. From World War II and the Cold War to the Iraqi crisis, from McDonald's to the Kyoto protocol, from "poverty" in America to "savage" capitalism, from Latin America to the United Nations, I conduct a minute examination of French claims regarding the United States and those who oppose its policies.
Here is an extract…
Maronite Church Calls for International Probe into Mass Graves.
I wonder how this will be received or addressed at all by the “peace camp.” With their usual mewling and talking in circles, western leftists who are barely familiar with the region, many among them are comfortably finding common cause with yet another dweller of the dead pool for no other reason than to prop up their personal animus. If they miss Alexanderplatz circa 1982, they’ll find a great deal to love.
In the mean time they can go on and on about the “real” terrorists, and like a lunatic on the BBC World Service’s Newshour this afternoon, allege that the US has killed 1000 people for every victim in the World Trade Center, and that the 4 British citizens in Gitmo were continuously tortured continuously for 4 years. 2 818 000 people? Really?
The fact that the detention facility hadn’t even existed for 4 years doesn’t matter much to him, I’m sure. Nor do facts of real harm and oppression seem to matter to them at all.
The insidious insularity of their fantasies is so great, that they may not even be able to deal with the world outside their communes. They have the ideologies, they have the banners, they’re practiced in denial, now all they need is the Wall.
As for whether any among notice a Mass Grave at all, well, we’ll see.
…in a new [Danish] book, 12 prominent and influential women — artists, intellectuals and politicians — from the golden age of feminism in the '60s and '70s wonder whether gender-equality has gone too far.Ivar Ekman has an article on Swedish feminism and equality while Louise S Nissen describes a similar antifeminist backlash in Denmark.
Some of the women regret their earlier militant insistence that men should be soft and sensitive and want back the prefeminist "real man." …Of course, there is hardly anything new in this: I remember a classic SCTV sketch about a feminist TV program on which the host interviewed another radical feminist about their successes, and as the question-answer session goes on, the two women start getting more and more emotional as they describe the liberating effects of not having a man in their lives, not having strong muscular arms to sleep in, no children to run around in the house, and at the end their hankies are out as the sobbing host asks her sobbing guest to take her hand and raise them over their heads and proclaim "We are free! Free from men!"
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
It must be nice to be a terrorist or a terror suspect in Ye Olde Europey... No-one will interrogate you, no-one will extradite you, your rights will matter more than you victims', and all you have to do is wave the name of an exotic religion which has nothing to do with crime in order to make the hypocri-gentsia fearful.
Want to learn a real lesson from religion? As the Christian calendar recently marked the birth of John the Baptist, a lesson for present day culture is quite obvious: his father was muted by doubt, which isn't just what the ultra-left suffers from, but what they want to silence the rest of us with: construct doubt in others’, and then manufacture your own kind of consent.
Even leftists can learn from this: look at the facts where the terror culture's intentions are involved - see their goals, stop having doubts about whether it's wrong to oppose terror, and quit playing with fire. The rules they want to put in place, (their rule,) is suicidal for civilization.
I can almost see it now - some people on the continent who are so confused and fearful, that any mention of their "aboriginals'" religion making them wince... good. Face your own bigotry for once.
Raspail almost had it right. The demanding mod isn’t at the borders, it’s within, and it’s needy and white too. Nonetheless readers are still a bit befuddled.
«But the weak and deaf middle class man and the blind man remain unwitting buffoons. Still, miraculously, in the comfort of the rich meadows of the West, he shouts while digging his own grave: "Make the rich pay!"Says Phyllis Chesler of Raspail’s nightmare scenario: that there are so many calls for “social justice” that not only can the successful no longer help, but will die trying – not knowing that the whole thing was little more than vengeance on them for their presence:
He might finally realize that he IS that rich person, and that this cry for justice, this cry of revolution, howled by a billion voices, is against him and him alone that it’s aimed at.»
« Raspail first published this haunting and apocalyptic novel, Le Camp Des Saints (The Camp of the Saints) in France. In 1975, it was published in America, where it was compared to Camus's The Plague and to Swift's Gulliver’s Travels. The book imagines a flotilla of millions of immigrants traveling from the Ganges to France. The similarities between the fictional France of the novel and the France of today are easy to spot.Naturally, anyone today who doesn’t care for his work will call him a puppy-in-the-blender imperialist running-dog racist blah-blah-blah... This is quite indicative of their deficit of acceptance for ideas that challenge them or real concepts of Justice which doesn’t make these Pavlovian dogs drool on about “social” justice.
Consider the plot. An all-powerful, multi-culturalist intelligentsia, having taught France that it must atone for its racist crimes, swiftly joins compassionate French Christians in ecstatically welcoming the mass invasion that brutally destroys France. The solicitude of white Frenchmen—the priests, intellectuals, student activists, and prostitutes who wish to embrace and assist the implacably angry new arrivals—is repaid by death. And terror: The immigrants loot everything in sight. They murder for new apartments. France is run into the ground. Raw and relentless, the novel is as brilliant as Orwell’s 1984.»
What if you were a terrorist and a complete idiot?
«A sensible terrorist political warfare strategy tries to drive wedges into the enemy society by isolating the groups you will never be able to win over and appealing to as wide a base as possible. The Swords of Truth Brigades should not be threatening the CPT team; they should be holding a joint press conference to denounce the Coalition. The way they are behaving is comparable to the North Vietnamese shooting Jane Fonda with a firing squad instead of a camera in 1972. The terrorists really do not know who their friends are. They kidnap humanitarian workers. They target journalists. They bomb the U.N. Lenin must be spinning in his tomb.»What if you were a peacenik and a dupe suckered into sympathy only to be kidnapped?
«The Iraqi CPT mission statement notes that “the primary focus of the team for eighteen months following the invasion was documenting and focusing attention on the issue of detainee abuses and basic legal and human rights being denied them.” This is ironic of course because any abuses suffered by people detained by the Coalition are investigated and the perpetrators punished, while those “detained” by the terrorists are simply hostages, without rights, without due process, without options. Abuse — which is a tame word to describe actions up to and including execution by such vile means as slow beheading with a knife — is part of the standard tool kit in the terrorist arsenal. Whether CPT felt it important to document these forms of abuse is unclear, but I’m guessing not.»Nor do I. Common sense and the radical left rarely intersect.
Are there four detainees now hoping to be “adopted” by the US military of the Iraqi government?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
A plane crashes in Iran. The BBC World Service’s World (Don’t) Have Your Say by virtue of the callers that they screen, leaps immediately to the conclusion that the US’ embargo is at fault. Their news division did a slightly better job, but part of their hourly top news story includes the slam about spare parts for these 30 year old aircraft that are so completely ubiquitous that there are part-makers worldwide.
«The Iranian air force is believed to have about 15 ageing US-made C-130s in operation, dating back to before the 1979 Islamic revolution and the US boycott of Iran.The US' responsibility? Pardon me? Does the US embargo stop Iran from buying Russian, Chinese, or European aircraft? Iran has a terrible history with air crashes – mainly from Antonovs and other Russian and Ukrainian aircraft.
The country's civil and military aircraft have a poor safety record.
In 2003, an Iranian Ilyushin-76 troop carrier crashed in south-east Iran killing all 276 Revolutionary Guard soldiers and crew aboard.
Officials blame the high frequency of crashes on a lack of aviation spare parts due to US sanctions.»
Is the US somehow also responsible for the 10 story, 30 meter high block of flats built in the landing profile too? Did they build the gas compression station sited next to an apartment building?
For those comparing this aweful accident with the 9-11 attacks, one MUST ask: do they think that the crew of the C-130 acted with intent as al-Qa’ida did? It was overweight and not maintained – obviously the flight crew were all American lackeys, and not just negligent.
«Outside the conference, activists dressed as trees, insects and birds marched to call for the protection of rainforests.I saw a recent interview with Brazil Environment Minister who was deeply agitated by the allegations “the green beast” continue to make about the fate of the jungle. According to activist’s alarmist numbers the fainforest has been cut down and not renewed over the past decades at a rate that would have completely denuded it more than 20 years ago. In spite of the fact that it’s still there, people incapable of linear thought will still travel half the way around the world to dress up like trees and demand that the US do something about the birthrate in the third world:
"It would be nice if the U.S. would step up and start to take some action," said Ben Matchstick, a U.S. organizer dressed as a bird.»
«Environmentalists accused Washington of doing too little to fight a rise in temperatures from human activities that could lead to more storms, expanding deserts and worse floods, and could raise sea levels by up to three feet (one meter) by 2100.»I guess they’re also supposed to take care of every starving and sick person, give everyone a laptop, as many preservatifs and kapuchas as they can go through and never, ever, offend their religious sensibilities at the same time. Oh, and cough it up for yet another “crisis funding campaign” for yet another alphabet soup sub-agency that can’t seem to find its’ own nose, and will take away money from poor people in rich countries in order to give it to rich people in poor countries.
Thanks, but no thanks.
EU Rota has more.
Like the war in Iraq, the Civil War was supposed to be a brief battle over limited objectives, but escalated into a much larger--and more noble--fight. Lincoln didn't respond by bringing the troops home.
And neither should we.
If the United States has historically had more success in integrating its immigrants than Europe does nowadays, it's because the American work ethic makes greater demands on the newcomers than Europe's welfare societies - at the same time that America offers a job-related payback in dignity and the prospect of successwrites John Vinocur in the International Herald Tribune (which carried a column by Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy the previous day).
Simplistic theorizing? But maybe not so far from the truth. Marx and Gramsci pointed, variously, to the system in the United States as convincing in its claims that it provided a chance to rise in a society where all classes emphasize the virtues of hard work.
These days, following France's three weeks of rioting, largely by Arab and African Muslim immigrants, (mere "social disturbances," Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin explained to the world last week), there are a few European politicians taking a new look at the work ethic as a missing link in their countries' similar problems with integration.
This means a not so politically correct leap over the very real but incomplete explanation that discrimination and a lack of education are the essential causes of the high unemployment and the often angry alienation of Europe's immigrants.
Instead, the new thinking brings a focus to what has been called the failure of welfare-colonialism: Europe's allowing immigrants to become dependent on social handouts while letting a mutual commitment to work slide as a necessary bond in their integration.
The developing idea boils down to this: Because of the nature of the American ethos and the United States' less embracing social protections, immigrants coming to the country are prepared to seek work. In Europe, there are welfare-only alternatives to finding a job that create neither dignity for the immigrants nor, among the home folks, a sense of immigrants' contribution to society.
…In the past, Bertel Haarder the Danish education minister and former integration minister, had approached similar figures by saying: "It's not Turkish but Danish culture that's flawed. It's in Denmark where Turks have learned not to do anything for themselves."
…Haarder explained on the phone last week: "I don't think you can preach work. You have to send concrete signals, and we've been too unclear. We want to underline that in this country you have an obligation to work and educate yourself. Otherwise, there's the probability that immigrants settle in on welfare and that this goes from generation to generation. We're sending the message, to get something you've got to give something."
In Europe, I'd note that this message to immigrants can get tangled in the comforters and warm bedding of early retirement plans (Paris Métro drivers can hang it up at age 50 with full pay) and 35-hour work weeks. It's certainly not just another number when a poll shows Americans, in comparison with the French and British (and even the Swedes), are doubly convinced that hard work means far more than "luck and connections" in getting ahead.
…according to Fukuyama, America makes a value judgment that Europe does not: differentiating between the deserving poor who want to work, and those whose inclinations are elsewhere.
The sum was, he said, "In the U.S. model an immigrant gets dignity by contributing to the whole and by the dignity of his work. I think the Dutch are beginning to see this."
Other Europeans have before them. If Lipset's analysis of their thinking is correct, two monuments of Socialist theory, Karl Marx and Antonio Gramsci, the Italian revolutionary, went as far as identifying something admirable and even equalitarian in American society that could be linked to the place in which it holds work.…
Monday, December 05, 2005
Mao: You keep on negotiating even though you have no interest in a compromise solution and intend to win complete victory
In the years right after World War II, when the United States was striving to negotiate a deal between the Nationalist government of China and the insurrection, the Communist leader Mao Zedong formulated the strategy known as "fight fight talk talk"writes Richard Bernstein in The New York Times, as he describes Iran's negotiating strategy today and, effectively, Saddam's three years ago and that of tyrants always. Indeed, their being by definition not the negotiating type, the Times inadvertently puts the lie to all the hoopla about having negotiations bring about a workable, everbody-wins compromise in the Iraqi crisis. Bernstein adds that, with regards to Mao,
It was a brilliant success.
The idea was that even as you seek opportunities to make gains on the battlefield, to expand your territory and gain in strength, you keep on negotiating even though you have no interest in a compromise solution and intend to win complete victory. The talk-talk part of the strategy gives mediators the sense that they are doing something useful, while, by holding theoretically to the possibility of a negotiated solution, you deter great-power military intervention in support of your adversary. Iran seems to be following a similar strategy, and it has been working for the simple reason that the European/American plan provides no way effectively to counter it.
Something like a cross between a medieval disputation, the Moscow Trials, and an al Qaeda beheading scene: Into the heart of the "Seine-y triangle"
Alain Finkielkraut, 56-year-old professor, philosopher, author, and subtle commentator on current events … has been dragged into something like a cross between a medieval disputation, the Moscow Trials, and an al Qaeda beheading scene, simply because he deviated from the accepted interpretation of the violence then raging in France…writes Nidra Poller (merci à Jonathan Baum et Bertrand Latour)
Once the sharks had drawn blood a motley crew of French journalists, scholars, and all-purpose intellectuals rushed to devour the man who dared to speak his mind, inadvertently exposing their own mental and ethical poverty in the process.
Here in France, where no accusation against America or Israel is too scurrilous for official dissemination and mass consumption, Finkielkraut was beaten almost senseless for developing, with utmost precaution, a thoughtful analysis of the riots. …
Finkielkraut's forthright search for the truth led him into the heart of the "Seine-y triangle," where Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, Télérama, and Libération dictate the lockstep thinking that stifles French minds.
…Whatever distress this may cause today must be overshadowed by a far greater and ultimately inconsolable distress at the collapse of intelligent discourse in this France that he loves so deeply.
In much of Europe's public debate, the true meaning of human rights has degenerated into a tool that gives anti-Americanism an aura of legitimacy
The outrage on the Continent is deafeningwrites the Wall Street Journal (thanks to Michael Dundon and Max) in an editorial that echoes Ralph Peters.
Franco Frattini, the normally level-headed European Commissioner for Justice, threatened "serious consequences," including the unprecedented "suspension of voting rights" in the European Union for the Poles and Romanians if the allegations prove true. After all, "European values" would have been violated.
It is difficult to comment on the substance of the allegations because there isn't much substance at the moment. Both the Romanian and Polish governments have denied the reports, while Washington promised to look into the case. So for the time being, there are only allegations and a lot of moral outrage. That moral posturing, though, deserves a closer look.
We'd be the first to applaud Europeans for finally concerning themselves with moral principles instead of commercial interests. Many of the Middle East's problems, including terrorism, would be easier solved if Europe were seriously concerned about morality. Europe would no longer be Iran's No. 1 trading partner, and its companies wouldn't be able to attend trade fairs in Sudan anymore.
Unlike American companies--recently defamed in Germany as "(blood) suckers" and "locusts" by the former government--European firms are quite busy in Sudan. The chamber of commerce and industry in Stuttgart has enthused over what great opportunities Sudan's oil resources offer to German companies.
Lest people think they are doing something morally reprehensible, the salesmen from Stuttgart prefer to describe the massacres of black Africans in Darfur as "political disturbances." The German economics ministry, which sponsored the German pavilion at last February's trade fair in Sudan, will also support next February's event, the chamber of commerce assures its members.
Where is the outrage? How does that jibe with supposed European values?…
In much of Europe's public debate, the true meaning of human rights has degenerated into a tool that gives anti-Americanism an aura of legitimacy. The real, horrendous human-rights violations in the Middle East, North Korea, China, Cuba, etc., are largely ignored or relegated to news blurs on the back pages. For front-page coverage, you need an American angle.
It is often said that this has nothing to do with anti-Americanism but with the fact that democracies, such as the U.S., must be held to higher standards. Really? Let's look at some recent European violations of human rights.
In October, the European Council's Commissioner for Human Rights inspected what the French call a detention center for foreigners. Alvaro Gil-Robles believes it is more properly called a dungeon. "With the exception of maybe Moldavia, I have not seen a worse center," he said about the facilities underneath the Palais de Justice in Paris, located not more than a few hundred yards from Notre Dame.
And what was Europe's reaction to these astonishing accusations? A yawn, a few wire reports and press pickups; that's it. After all, those prisoners, locked up under horrendous sanitary conditions, without natural sunlight and ventilation, some of whom, according to one prison guard, have in desperation mutilated themselves and smeared their blood on the walls, were only simple illegal immigrants. No need to suspend French voting privileges on their account, that's for sure.
Let's imagine for a moment the media coverage, the moral outcries and the calls for inquiries if those unfortunates had not been harmless migrants held in the City of Lights but jihadi terrorists held by Yankee soldiers?
Or take the double standard about allegations that CIA planes have used European airports to bring terror suspects to third countries where they might be tortured. The fact that Europe routinely sends back thousands of asylum seekers to countries where they could be tortured does not make the front pages, though. …
If he could have proved that some of those poor souls trying to reach Europe to start a better life were in fact terrorists, and if he could have also somehow implicated the U.S. in their expulsion, he might have been able to get an audience for his complaints.
Anti-Americanism is so prevalent in Europe that it has permeated almost all areas of public discourse--from arts to politics to economies. "American conditions" is a popular German slur against alleged social coldness in the U.S.--one that former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has "successfully" used to reject necessary economic reforms. And just as it has poisoned the economic debate in Europe, anti-Americanism also poisons the debate about how to deal with terrorism. Any measure that involves the U.S. is almost immediately tainted as being beyond the pale.
L'Équipe has endured lingering criticism because it broke its [Lance Armstrong] story after the Tour ended, leading to suspicions of a conflict because of its ownershipwrites Doreen Carvajal as the International Herald Tribune reporter touches upon another typical case of conflict of interest in the French media.
"L'Équipe has a special position and it is definitely one of the leading newspapers and a distinguished representative of sports journalism," said Jens Sejer Andersen, director of Play the Game, a group that promotes openness in sports. "But I would say that it has no consistent editorial line with regard to critical sports journalism. L'Équipe is owned by the same holding company that owns the Tour de France and this has been used against it."
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Little to No Mention of French Anti-Terror Bungles or Chinese Torture; c'est normal, c'est pas l'Oncle Sam…
This, in the nation that screamed bloody murder for weeks, nay months, after the Abu Ghraib story broke, and loves nothing better than to bring Guantanamo up at any opportunity.
It's all double standards, guys, it's all double standards…
However, being treated to Véronique Mortaigne's articles on Tracy Chapman (taking up almost two thirds of a full page), so she can lash out at Dubya, quoi de plus normal?…
In the meantime, a couple of letters to the editor have arrived on the ombudman's desk to complain about Alain Finkielkraut's treatment ("Votre article n'est qu'un assemblage de phrases complètement sorties de leur contexte, dénaturées, arrachées de leur cadre global et transformées en simples phrases chocs, dignes du Front national", écrit Firas Abou Merhi (Paris)). Most, however, display that superior attitude of haughtiness which characterizes the members of a community in which the (already-arrived-at) common judgment (in this case, on racism) is taken not only as a given and as the epitome of reason and rationality but as the final word on the matter and, indeed, as a godsend. (Needless to say, it is eminently self-serving.)
Meanwhile, it would seem that less than one third of Frenchmen trust in the French justice system's ability to reform itself after the Outreau mess…
Iraq is a mess, Afghanistan a disappointment, our allies loathe us, and the promise of a foreign policy based on humility has turned into finger-wagging lectures about responsible discourse--not to mention declarations about being either with us or against uswrites Eliot A Cohen as he reminds us of the (in)famous tiny part of an 1820 speech, the remainder of which was forgotten just as much as the remainder of George W Bush's "axis of evil" was dropped from our memories.
This (admittedly caricatured) view of the current American predicament has yielded up a yearning for what the managing editor of Foreign Affairs has called "the perennial hangover cure" for American foreign policy--realism. No less a pillar of the establishment than Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to the father, has deplored the foreign policy of the son, and in print, no less, and has done so on the basis of this doctrine.Read the rest…
The realists--members of the policy and intellectual elite who approve and even envy the cool acumen of a Talleyrand, Metternich or Bismarck--believe that in foreign policy what matters is the national interest coolly calculated, the relationships of power, and the incurable nastiness of the human condition. They agree with Charles de Gaulle that "states are cold beasts," and that international relations are about the hard, unsentimental doings of statesmen. Domestic politics, including massacre or mere repression, is no one else's business: Foreign policy is the purview not of do-gooding charities and international organizations, of crusading idealists or enthusiastic naïfs, but of prudent politicians, who understand that attempting to carry the values of American civil society beyond our shores can lead only to trouble.
You know that you are about to get a lecture on the merits of realism when someone reaches for a line by John Quincy Adams, that superbly successful diplomat and unhappy president. The United States, he said, "goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." But herein lies a misunderstanding.
The unrealistic quality of realism can be found in this oft-quoted dictum, which formed a tiny part of a July 4 speech that Adams delivered in 1820. Yet he also insisted in his peroration that…
How strange that journalists pontificate post facto about all the mistakes that they think have been made, nevertheless conceding that here we are on the verge of a third and final successful election. No mention, of course, is ever made about the current sorry state of journalistic ethics and incompetence (cf. Jayson Blair, Judy Miller, Michael Isikoff, Bob Woodward, Eason Jordan). A group of professionals, after all, who cannot even be professional in their own sphere, surely have no credibility in lecturing the U.S. military about what they think went wrong in Iraq.Thus speaketh Victor Davis Hanson (thanks to Tom Pechinski).
Of course, the White House, as is true in all wars, has made mistakes, but only one critical lapse — and it is not the Herculean effort to establish a consensual government at the nexus of the Middle East in less than three years after removing Saddam Hussein. The administration’s lapse, rather, has come in its failure to present the entire war effort in its proper moral context.
We took no oil — the price in fact skyrocketed after we invaded Iraq. We did not do Israel’s bidding; in fact, it left Gaza after we went into Iraq and elections followed on the West Bank. We did not want perpetual hegemony — in fact, we got out of Saudi Arabia, used the minimum amount of troops possible, and will leave Iraq anytime its consensual government so decrees. And we did not expropriate Arab resources, but, in fact, poured billions of dollars into Iraq to jumpstart its new consensual government in the greatest foreign aid infusion of the age.
In short, every day the American people should have been reminded of, and congratulated on, their country’s singular idealism, its tireless effort to reject the cynical realism of the past, and its near lone effort to make terrible sacrifices to offer the dispossessed Shia and Kurds something better than the exploitation and near genocide of the past — and how all that alone will enhance the long-term security of the United States.
That goal was what the U.S. military ended up so brilliantly fighting for — and what the American public rarely heard. The moral onus should have always been on the critics of the war. They should have been forced to explain why it was wrong to remove a fascist mass murderer, why it was wrong to stay rather than letting the country sink into Lebanon-like chaos, and why it was wrong not to abandon brave women, Kurds, and Shia who only wished for the chance of freedom.
Alas, that message we rarely heard until only recently, and the result has energized amoral leftists, who now pose as moralists by either misrepresenting the cause of the war, undermining the effort of soldiers in the field, or patronizing Iraqis as not yet civilized enough for their own consensual government.
…Saddam’s trial will remind the world of his butchery. Despite all the ankle-biting by human-rights groups about proper jurisprudence, the Iraqis will try him and convict him much more quickly than the Europeans will do the same to Milosevic (not to mention the other killers still loose like Gen. Mladic and Mr. Karadzic), posing the question: What is the real morality — trying a mass murderer and having him pay for his crimes, or engaging in legal niceties for years while the ghosts of his victims cry for justice?
…Kurds and Shiites support us for obvious reasons — no other government on the planet would risk its sons and daughters to give them the right of one man/one vote. They may talk the necessary talk about infidels, but they know we will leave anytime they so vote. After the December election, expect them — and perhaps the Sunnis as well — quietly to ask us to stay to see things through.
Apparently [Emily] … is prone to long bouts of pointless mewling, and has established a collaborative relationship with several household mice instead of hunting them down like an imperialist aggressor bent on world dominationwrites BlameBush! (thanks to Piranha) about one less pussy in France…