Photo courtesy of Powerline.
Unglaublich. Here, have some imagery.
In a country where virtually nothing happens without the government’s consent and control, the Danish Embassy burns down in Damascus. Is it the usual public chaos or mendacity or hubris?
Is it time for the EU to finally face its’ own ‘global test?’ Hint: the testers will not grade favorably on a curve. Euro-lefties will have to shake off their senility for a while.
the frenetic hostility to the United States, to globalisation, and to free markets serves as an alibi to hide critical work [on communist régimes].
« In July 2001, Bond said, "[Bush] has selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing, and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection."»Of course it’s just a matter of time until they
The only generalisation I can offer is that in an irrational world if a prudent course has been followed, you make yourself eligible to capitalize on luck if it happens to strike. If you have not made yourself eligible, you may never be aware that luck is at hand. By all this I mean: Learn typing, master maths, learn to draft a convincing letter, and do not evade challenges. Making oneself eligible to seize the breaks if and when they come is the only sensible strategy I know. Be prepared to make full use of any stroke of luck, and even if it never comes, the preparation in itself will be a worthy effort.
As Your Majesty requested recently, in order to divert public attention from the regrettable demise of a small number of pilgrims in Makkah during the last Hajj, Saudi newspapers were instructed to revive the four-month-old story of cartoons about the Prophet (PBUH) in a Danish newspaper, and turn it into an attack on Denmark, together with a "spontaneous demand by the people" for a boycott of Danish goodswrites Muttawa, the Religious Policeman, aka the Royal Press Secretary, in a memo to His Royal Majesty (Shookhran to Danny Lemieux, peace be upon him) while an infidel girl dares to forget her place and raise her voice (may Inge Jessen suffer a thousand strokes of flogging).
So far this has worked reasonably well, although major Danish exports are bacon and lager beer, which we do not import, except as "special consignments" for some members of your family. There has also been some unfortunate "collateral damage" in that "Nido" was wrongly identified as a Danish product when it is in fact Swiss; also the boycott has resulted in several thousand Third World expatriates being laid off in the Saudi plants of the Danish dairy company Arla. However we cannot be expected to take the troubles of the entire world upon our shoulders.
What is becoming to a concern to me is the "Denmark fatigue" that is clearly emerging in our newspapers. It has been an enormous strain on them to produce up to four reports a day from a story where nothing is essentially happening. It is also apparent that "reader fatigue" is setting in, and that instead of yet another article on Denmark, they would much prefer to read in great detail all the minutiae of Your Majesty's travels around the world, the full transcripts of your after-dinner speeches, and other matters of great interest and importance.
Thus, the statement
Twenty-seven countries are in this category and twenty-six managed to produce the high-tech passports. France is the sole exception and the reason why is not surprising given the feisty nature of the nation's unions. France is still churning out low-tech versions because of an ongoing legal tiff between the Interior Ministry and unions that took action to block the government from using a private printing company to manufacture the documents instead of the state-owned national printersis carefully and deliberately sandwiched between the opening
A "visa crisis" is being blamed for the decline in French visitors, which dates to a U.S. law passed in 2001 that requires mainly West European countries to manufacture special electronic passports for tourists and business travelers seeking to enter the United States. Twenty-six countries developed the documents. One didn't. And therein lies a tale of French politics, union protest and lines of citizens left out in the cold. On Monday, the U.S. Consulate in Paris was the destination for a snaking line of almost 200 people in a grim, wintry mood despite dreams of family vacations in Dallas or conga lines and cocktails in Miami Beach. Joseph Madai gripped a sheaf of papers against his chest in the cold and muttered that next year he was trading a Miami sojourn for Africa. Nathalie Debril staked a spot on the cold sidewalk, fresh from a flight from her home in the south of France to get to the one U.S. Consulate that was issuing travel visas. "All this for a week's vacation," huffed Debril's boyfriend, Laurent Lebecq. "We're not emigrating. We just want to travel to Dallas."and the close
"…to be honest, French people are a bit proud and it makes me feel a little like I'm coming from a third world country to get a visa. And now I will have to wait again in line in the cold."Meanwhile, the IHT's John Vinocur has an interesting article on how, because "the White House wants to avoid a possible military confrontation with the mullahs in the run-up to congressional elections in November", contrarian France has stepped in.
Unlike in the United States, where new political grief would await whatever Bush might say, or shies away from saying, about dealing with Iran beyond its eventual referral to the United Nations Security Council, in France there is no serious domestic downside built-in to challenge Chirac's [aggressive] approach.It just goes to show that it really doesn't matter what Bush, or what America, does, whether it's war-like or anything else. If France opposes Uncle Sam, then basically the whole population realizes that the country is on the correct path and knows to withhold criticism.
Frankfurter Allgemeine: As an atheistic French Jewish intellectual, you do not exactly fit the description of the kind of person who people in rural American like seeing coming up their driveway. How were you treated?
BHL: With a lot more warmth than an American on a similar journey in France could expect. There were hardly any personal animosities or Francophobic comments.
Of course, Jacques Lefranc was neither stabbed, beheaded, or blown up, but still, his punishment came from the French side — aka the land of debate, openness, tolerance, reason, republican values, and never-cave-inness (even though his boss is French-Egyptian) — so that must have hurt.
Incidentally, Le Monde 2 has a portfolio on Hamas. (One of the pictures turns out to be three election posters on a green wall; when I first saw the thumbnail, I thought it was a game show on Palestinian TV with three contestants vying to hit the buzzer first.)
Meanwhile, Davids Medienkritik has a list of Danish products to buy.
As for Dan Kauffman, the CoC editor asks that we sign the online petition.
As readers have noticed, France Soir and Die Welt have thrown themselves into the mêlée by publishing the offending cartoons that appeared in Jyllands Posten last September. With Lou Minatti adding for good measure, "these cartoons should be reprinted in every country that desires free speech."
A caveat, however. The Europeans jumped to the rescue of a fellow European, and of a lightweight, at that, an underdog.
Would they have been willing to do the same for an American newspaper? Or for a British one, for that matter?
(In case you are interested in voting, the poll in the top right-hand margin reads as follows: "Should caricatures that offend Muslims' religious feelings not be published?"
• Should not be published
• Should be published
• Don't know.
Press on Abstimmen to vote.)
I also wonder: Would the French and Germans even publish a poll, were, say, some sort of scandal to involve a Christian denomination in America?
Color me skeptical, but I cannot be an optimist when when all a typical German can be obsessed about in this world is the need for "criticizing the United States", when she compares "American misdeeds" (which are "anything but democratic and humane") to "Al Qaeda's crimes", and when she can write
It is sad that there is nobody out there in the world who has the courage to stand up to the American government, except for the Osama bin Ladens.(It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Jutta Haggenmiller heils — sorry, she hails — from Munich.)
Where is Aubenas, Malbrunot, Plantu and the others? Why didn't they create a committee to support their fellow journalists?While we're at it, a question to ask is: Is it true that Islam forbids the making or the showing of pictures of the Prophet Mohammed?
Is the EU going to protest against the burning of one of its Member States flags?
As far as John Rosenthal can tell from the usual searches,
the NYTimes did not bother to report this episode. Leave it to the Times, however, via its Parisian edition the International Herald Tribune, to find someone (William Pfaff) to identify the obviously extreme French position – i.e. one should not even talk – with the European position as such and, by way of some amazing non-sequiturs, to put the blame for the entire affair on – who else? – George Bush.Update: It's still all the Americans' fault.
If "Russia is reawakening its nuclear arsenal and becoming authoritaiean and aggressive again" it's the Americans' fault!
In a letter to Jacques Chirac, former Prime Minister Michel Rocard brings up the tired, old mantra that tension with Moscow is due to "our ever-lasting distrust" and that, instead of following the Americans in their "mistake" of expanding NATO after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact "without speaking up" ("everybody approves, nobody discusses"), the organization ought to have been dissolved.
Despite how relatively tame the [Danish newspaper's] pictures actually are (compared not only to Western standards, but also to the vicious, anti-Semitic propaganda regularly churned out by Arab cartoonists), the [Jyllands Posten's] drawings have literally inflamed the radical Muslim world and its apologistswrites Michelle Malkin.
…those groups most vocal in demanding tolerance from others are usually themselves the least tolerantadds Kathleen Parker in her article quoting Doug Marlette, another cartoonist under an Islamist death threat:
"The genius of Western democracy is that there should be no 'special' rights or privileges for any group or class of people. All are created equal and are treated equally under the law. Law is insensitive that way. And so is intellectual inquiry. And so is good satire."Doug Marlette, who also says "No one is less tolerant than those demanding tolerance", incorporates that sentence in a moving reply that is a must-read.
Of course, all this is ignorant of the utmost respect that citizens of the Muslim world, Muslim cartoonists (shookhran to RV) as well as others, are in the habit of showing for outsiders.
Update: Is it true that one is not allowed to show pictures of the Prophet Mohammed in Muslim countries?
Why should we allow enemies to annihilate us simply because we lack the clarity or resolve to strike a reasonable balance between a healthy skepticism of government power and the need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves from such threats?asks Debra Burlingame who answers that it "is an insult to those who died to tell the American people that the organization posing the greatest threat to their liberty is not al Qaeda but the FBI."
The mantra of civil-liberties hard-liners is to "question authority"--even when it is coming to our rescue--then blame that same authority when, hamstrung by civil liberties laws, it fails to save us. The old laws that would prevent FBI agents from stopping the next al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi were built on the bedrock of a 35-year history of dark, defeating mistrust. More Americans should not die because the peace-at-any-cost fringe and antigovernment paranoids still fighting the ghost of Nixon hate George Bush more than they fear al Qaeda. Ask the American people what they want. They will say that they want the commander in chief to use all reasonable means to catch the people who are trying to rain terror on our cities. Those who cite the soaring principle of individual liberty do not appear to appreciate that our enemies are not seeking to destroy individuals, but whole populations.The sister of one of the 9/11 plane pilots goes on to discuss the mainstream media's "opportunistic coverage":
the media, mouthing phrases like "Article II authority," "separation of powers" and "right to privacy," are presenting the issues as if politics have nothing to do with what is driving the subject matter and its coverage. They want us to forget four years of relentless "connect-the-dots" reporting about the missed chances that "could have prevented 9/11." They have discounted the relevance of references to the two 9/11 hijackers who lived in San Diego. But not too long ago, the media itself reported that phone records revealed that five or six of the hijackers made extensive calls overseas.
NBC News aired an "exclusive" story in 2004 that dramatically recounted how al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, the San Diego terrorists who would later hijack American Airlines flight 77 and fly it into the Pentagon, received more than a dozen calls from an al Qaeda "switchboard" inside Yemen where al-Mihdhar's brother-in-law lived. The house received calls from Osama Bin Laden and relayed them to operatives around the world. Senior correspondent Lisa Myers told the shocking story of how, "The NSA had the actual phone number in the United States that the switchboard was calling, but didn't deploy that equipment, fearing it would be accused of domestic spying." Back then, the NBC script didn't describe it as "spying on Americans." Instead, it was called one of the "missed opportunities that could have saved 3,000 lives."
Hold on. Wait a minute. The CIA is not involved? Nor the American army? Oh, it's in Russia… Well, that's another story.
But that's okay. European human rights activists can still find another scandal to rail against, such as… — oh, there's a good one: the Louvre lending art treasures to an American museum for — get this! — American dollars!
Wouldn't you know it? Critics are already up in arms and, to noone's surprise, they are castigating globalization. (No wonder France tried too keep it a "state secret".)
The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.Thus starts the Sun article of Ira Stoll (shookhran, Carine, Resilience, and BarcePundit).
The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, … told the Sun that the pilots of the two airliners that transported the weapons of mass destruction to Syria from Iraq … told Mr. Sada that two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, Mr. Sada said. Then Special Republican Guard brigades loaded materials onto the planes, he said, including "yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel." The pilots said there was also a ground convoy of trucks.As much as the terrorists and the Saddamists will dislike it, I wouldn't be surprised if they dislike it less than will the West's Bush- and America-bashers around the world.
The flights — 56 in total, Mr. Sada said — attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.
…Mr. Sada acknowledged that the disclosures about transfers of weapons of mass destruction are "a very delicate issue." He said he was afraid for his family. "I am sure the terrorists will not like it. The Saddamists will not like it," he said.
The average journalist, the average media pundit, the average citizen, the average Joe, the average Jane is in no way a military specialist, nor a specialist in Iraqi (and/or Syrian) geography, nor a specialist in geo-political strategy. And yet he (or she) knows — beyond the shadow of a doubt (witness the scoffing, the snorts, the guffaws, and the scorn) — that: Saddam had no WMD, that Saddam was in no way involved with sponsoring terrorism, and that Bush and the neocons lied.
This, in spite of the fact that the world is regularly informed of secrets which it hadn't known about before, secrets that are/were 10 months old, 10 years old, 50 years old; or, at least, if it had reason for suspecting the truth, secrets that it wasn't sure about before.
However, as W Thomas Smith Jr points out,
Many in the mainstream media have been so successful at debunking any evidence, proof, or substantive facts as they relate to the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection, that any new information supporting any facts those of us in-the-know already know will simply be rejected.It's all anti-Americanism, Ladies and Gents. That is all it is…
A former military intelligence analyst, who currently works as a civilian contractor, believes he has found a cache of extremely confidential--and very shocking--audio recordings of Saddam Hussein's office meetings. The audiotapes, which had apparently been overlooked, were found in a warehouse along with many other untranslated Iraqi intelligence files. These tapes are extremely significant, since they may be the best evidence yet of Saddam's secret intentions concerning weapons of mass destruction.
Before 9/11, many intelligence experts were convinced that a very strong and important Iraqi WMD connection existed, only to change their minds when no concrete evidence of that connection could be uncovered in the three years following the beginning of Iraqi war.
Because of the considerable historical importance of this stunning recent development, the contractor who obtained and reviewed these tapes plans to release them to the public on February 17, 2006 at the Intelligence Summit, a non-partisan, non-profit conference open to the public, scheduled to be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia that weekend.
Michael Phillips has the enviros (and much of the far left right now) pegged:
«The absence of protests about the plutonium powered generator on the Pluto orbiter two days ago has meaning to me.It’s time they joined that pantheon of eminently forgettable bits and bobs of historical driftwood.
They have discounted the threat of Saddam Hussein’s weapons program, they attacked the president and the intelligence services for over reacting to the threat of nuclear weapons and they oppose preemptive military action against Iran and North Korea. They have little moral standing to protest a cigarette package amount of plutonium.
Lastly, I believe that the great 45-65 year old post hippie generation is so depressed by their perceived failure to change the world, that they can do little more than smoke dope, watch TV and pop Prozac.»
Meanwhile, Steve over at Marxist Byproducts points out further that the left's hand is still twitching: the ACLU is still targeting legal methods that a government has to protect its' population, much like the British who were willing to fight the First World War to the last Canadian.
Mr. Sand points out just how loony and misdirected the boycott on Danish goods really is. But the boys from bitter-end have turned their love of universal peace on the Danish media’s internet outlets going on the theory that Danes will understand the text, accept, and suddenly start crying at the sight of redirections and denial of service attacks:
«What hasnt been reported is, that Denmark has likewise come under cyber attack. From the paper Politiken [ED.: site is still inoperative] friday:Lovely little boycotters. They are the world. They are the children, and so forth...
Hacker attack paralyzed news media
A large number of Danish papers´ web versions have crashed. Suspicions immediately center on the hacker attacks being because of the Mohammed-drawings in Jyllands-Posten.»
We, those who have been entombed alive for life… we ask for the reestablishment of the death penalty for ourselves. … Enough hypocrisy! We'd rather get it over with … than to see ourselves die a slow death. … Noone speaks about long sentences anymore, which are [nothing less than] slow death penalties.As it happens, Le Monde published an op-ed piece by a lawyer many years ago castigating (French) justice for keeping life behind bars as a sentencing option, because obviously life in jail consituted cruel and unjust punishment for the poor criminals which in no way could be endorsed in today's avant-garde, humanistic, and cozy societies. And, sure enough, solitary confinement is compared to Middle Age dungeons:
Carlos claims that his long years of solitary confinement constitute "inhuman and degrading treatment," banned by the European Convention on Human RightsIn any case, it would seem that the human rights activists should not fully turn their disapproving eyes on America just yet. If ensuring satisfaction among their prisoners is their goal, they still seem to have quite a lot of work before them in Europe. Indeed, in light of the revelations above, they need to make a 180º turn, because they have been going in the wrong direction, in the diametricaly opposite direction of the one that at least some of the people they claim to stand up for have been demanding…
Any American with a big urge to write a book explaining France to the French should read this book first, to get a sense of the hazards involved. Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French writer with a spatter-paint prose style and the grandiosity of a college sophomore; he rambled around this country at the behest of The Atlantic Monthly and now has worked up his notes into a sort of book. It is the classic Freaks, Fatties, Fanatics & Faux Culture Excursion beloved of European journalists for the past 50 yearsGarrison Keillor reviews American Vertigo by Bernard-Henri Lévy (it is the same author who tried to debate Bill Kristol), and notes how during BHL's American road trip (with chauffeur), the Frenchman, with "his X-ray vision", regularly "blows his radiator", "goes out of his mind", and "walks into a wall".
As always with French writers, Lévy is short on the facts, long on conclusions.Update: The above helps to explain why the Boston Globe's "skeptical" Alex Bean "can't take Lévy seriously at all" and why, at one point, he "burst out laughing."
…there's nobody here whom you recognize. In more than 300 pages, nobody tells a joke. Nobody does much work. Nobody sits and eats and enjoys their food. You've lived all your life in America, never attended a megachurch or a brothel, don't own guns, are non-Amish, and it dawns on you that this is a book about the French. There's no reason for it to exist in English, except as evidence that travel need not be broadening and one should be wary of books with Tocqueville in the title.
Meanwhile, Arrno Klarsfeld enters the fray regarding France, its (so-called) collective memory, and its attitude towards the past, whether harkis or slaves. It is on everybody's lips these days, including those of Dominique Dhombres, and Jacques Chirac has now asked that the part of the law that led to the debate be abrogated.
Strangely enough (because it was in the same paper edition of the paper as the above articles), Gérard Courtois's book review of the Edwy Plenel book that castigates the newspaper that he was editor-in-chief of for eight years has already become but an abstract on the Le Monde website.
«"It's my third time in Caracas within the space of two years," said Kate Fox, a 21-year-old anti-globalisation activist who has travelled from Washington DC.How DARE he! Doesn’t he realize that property is THEFT, (wagging finger in the air,) and that profit is the conspiracy founded by the world’s dumbest evil genius Chimpy MCHitlerburton-Pretzelchoker?!?
"Venezuela is without a doubt the new Mecca of the Left. It used be Havana, but Venezuela is definitely the place to hang out now if you're against capitalist exploitation."
However, street sellers in downtown Caracas have also realised the potential of exploiting the huge market for left-wing souvenirs.
Many of them have switched from selling pirated DVDs and CDs to T-shirts showing the face of President Chavez or old classics like Che Guevara.
"The Chavez T-shirt is my bestseller," says Luz Castillo, who owns a little stall next to the conference centre for the Caracas World Social Forum. "I've sold six shirts within the space of an hour. I'm making a profit of $7 per item."»
Is it for technical reasons? Not at all.Because the interior ministry chose a private printer (Oberthur), the bureaucrats and the unions of the state-owned Imprimerie nationale (société de droit privé à capitaux publics, to be precise) are suing the state in order "to protect jobs".
VDH opines on the irony of the current cycle of leftist demands:
«Then the senator argued that bin Laden lives “because Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon didn't use American troops to do the job and instead outsourced the job of killing the world's #1 terrorist to Afghan warlords, this cold blooded killer got away.”The political success of the likes of Rodham-Clinton and Kerry in pandering to their penthouse constituents seems to involve throwing them the sort of red meat that requires a highly damaged short-term memory. Though it CAN succeed, would they really want to win the White House that way and then have to dance with the one who brung ‘em?
About the same time, Senator Clinton intoned of Iran, “I believe we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations. I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines.”
[. . .]
First, if the United States did seek to engage mostly indigenous Afghan troops or Pakistani soldiers, or if we did allow Britain, France, and Germany to run negotiations with Iran, then such “outsourcing” might be better described as “multilateralism.”
Such joint efforts are precisely what Democrat stalwarts like Kerry and Clinton prefer to the old “going it alone,” “unilateralism,” and “alienating our allies,” when the United States largely handles problems itself. I have no doubt that daily missile-firing Predator sorties across Pakistan, or American planes over Iranian nuclear sites, would be met by howls from Europeans, Middle Easterners, and, at the opportune crest of popular indignation, Kerry and Clinton themselves.»