Saturday, March 01, 2008
Mark Boyle was a man with a dream. He was so convinced that a world without the evils of money is possible that he set out to walk from Britain to India without spending a penny in order to prove it.But that cruel, cruel world struck back. He didn’t make it past Calais.
Adding insult to injury, he had to "touch money" in making the trip.which is even funnier considering his stated profession.
Specifically, the 28-year-old businessman and his two travelling companions had failed to consider the likely reaction when they arrived in Calais and attempted to blag their way across the proud Gallic nation without being able to speak French.What? No “we are the world” altermondialistes to share mung beans and hemp sandals with them? Was is because he’s a hated bidniss-man? Who knows and who cares. His burning quest to walk to the “anti-money” cliché in his mind, a Ghandi’s India that never really existed, would surely meet with resistance in that heated Indian business environment, as well as all those capitalism-hating cultures on the way. Which reminds me on an old joke...
How many Sephardic Jews does it take to outsmart an Armenian businessman?Which makes me wonder if this guy with primitive notions of economy (why barter money when you can barter big heavy rocks?) kind of guy appreciated the fact that money actually got him home after he was 1% of the way into a journey that mooching (and other Europeans) couldn’t.
Le Salon Beige brings us us this status report on the decay and deorbiting of the that society of well educated "great thinkers":
A reader tells us of a visit to the Basilica of the Kings of France with his children, he was surprised by a book there titled "Journey of Discovery for young people"
On the one hand, on page 8 we find it says, "Dagobert, the first king buried in Saint-Denis." The first sentence of paragraph is "A contemporary of Muhammad, Dagobert is the king of the Franks from 629 to 639." On the other hand, on page 9, in a paragraph titled "Question", the first sentence is: "In the Bible it says that the angel Gabriel, the same people who brought the Koran to Mohammed, came one day announce to Mary, betrothed to Joseph, that she would soon have a son named Jesus. "
The booklet does not (yet) end with "a long, long time ago, the mosque in Saint-Denis was the Basilica of the kings of France."
Peering into the EU political blogsphere, one can’t help but find an in-genuine feature or some sad absurdity when you look closely at a great many of them. While there are some really good and original ones out there, almost any of the blogs found looking for a substantive discussion on political, budgetary, economic, “macro-level” social issues, and international relations, one finds the type of blog funded by commissions, commission or government funded institutions, and so forth. I can’t help but ask where the enthusiasm is if it requires a committee, a grant, and a dance on the fine line between a government outreach website, and something trying very hard to look creative and genuine only to seem academic.
Outcome?: one hell of a sedative, and in most cases less traffic than gonzo blogs like this one which is funded by nothing, isn’t networked to much of anything, let alone anything official, and doesn’t require interns, employees, or anything else. It’s as though they never heard of the invisible hand.
Some absurdly appear to be about the EU, but are little more that a compilation of news feeds about the UN. While most of these are in fact supposed to operate as a dialogue mechanism for think-tanks and journals, it looks like something did because it was suggested a blog was something a respectable operation could not do without, over some sort of social anxiety one had to do – not seeming to have wanted to do.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. If the fabulous brainiacs involved in a think-tank end up being characterized by a depressing looking thing that captures less interest than a monthly newsletter, I don’t see what good it does. Oddly enough it’s the authors and operators themselves, who are probably interns or the least-senior employees that provide for far more provocative and interesting reading on their own blogs – which is to say that this is not the kind of thing one can program and buy in the way so many European social and development efforts are engineered, while others still have parenthetical relationships to semi-publicly funded entities, press operations, but have distinctly political goals.
It leaves the impression that in the EU there isn’t much of a ‘line’ left between the roles of those speaking on behalf of government, private political players, universities, and the individuals who write for them. One already sees that most anyone under 25 can’t understand their distinct state roles, and just why separation produces its’ own transparency.
It won’t be long for that sort of society to assume everything they hear or read comes from the same ‘giant it’ whose motives will be so entirely opaque that people will give up on asking what their motives and intentions are. Something like Oceania, here we come...
Friday, February 29, 2008
Jean-Claude Milner and Fabrice Jambois wax eloquently about Karl Marx as Le Monde puts a volume of (Marx's) philosophy on sale, while stating (reassuringly?) on the front page (top right, in reddish purple) that Karl Marx has not said his last word. (While France's élites and Le Monde's editors think it educative to add a volume of Marx's thoughts to a collection of philosophers for the undying benefit of the country's citizens, Atlas Shrugged has still not been translated to French…)
In Jean Birnbaum's interview of Jean-Claude Milner, the philosopher (?) states that Marx's economic doctrines "entirely" deserve the interest they are currently regaining — this in spite of the fact that, as Milner himself acknowledges, the "great thinker" had nothing but contempt for matters as diverse as the State, suffrage, the institutions, powers, the right of law (just about anything, really, that had to do with… the functioning of a state and a nation!, something you come to realize as the list starts reading like Monty Python's What have the Romans ever done for us?). Milner adds that although Lenin's "improvisations" in statesmanship led to catastrophe, they happened to be nothing if not "brilliant".
Je serai le premier à soutenir que les doctrines économiques de Marx méritent entièrement le regain d'intérêt dont elles bénéficient. Mais est-ce là l'essentiel ? Je ne le crois pas. Pour la politique, on ne peut pas passer sous silence le prix que Marx a dû payer pour se détacher de Hegel : l'absence de toute réflexion véritable sur les institutions. Sur l'Etat, sur le suffrage, sur les pouvoirs, sur le droit, rien que de la critique hautaine. C'est pourquoi il a fallu que Lénine improvise - brillamment, certes, mais l'improvisation dans ces domaines est interdite : elle a conduit à la catastrophe.…"rien que de la critique hautaine"! Isn't this the reason — the real reason — that Marx is so beloved by the Left in the Western world?
As David R Henderson recalls from his youth in The Joy of Freedom, a
former communist told us of his intense resentment of the fact that he was smart and had nothing, while the rich were dumb and had a lot. "That," he said "was how I became a Marxist. I hated the rich." We were shocked. We had thought that virtually all intellectuals came to their views via their intellect, not via their resentments … His route to Marxism was a very common one. "The number of people who become Marxists by reading Marx," I still remember him saying, "can be counted on the fingers of one hand."
It's all plain for those interested in "open democracy" to see...
The New York Crank mourns the probable withering away of a town in Ohio that was host to non-conformism due to its’ proximity to a college. I wouldn’t be as pessimistic as he is. I’ve run across quite a few towns that fit the bill, many of whom don’t have a student population but remain slightly warped. They are different in the sense that they’re blue collar and slightly warped, but the warpees feel far less compelled to write novels about their buds who live in the hallucination down the street (it’s the third yurt on the right, in fact, but don’t let the cat out...)
Thursday, February 28, 2008
"Those who want to destroy the common agricultural policy don't believe in Europe. There is no reason to leave the field open for our American friends, U.S. farmers," said Sarkozy.Lou Minatti points out a flaw in buried deep in the foolish rationale of behind which European subsidies in general and French subsidies in particular. That is, that the US as the standard big bad wolf of all things rationalized to be digestible and acceptable to the European listener:
"They don't do it for us, why should we do it for them?"The weenie being hidden here being not just a severe manipulation of the way farm business is treated, but to the tune of $2.47 per person per day, shows it to be a de-facto nationalized economic sector. Underlying this crop cult is that it’s also the third (if not the sixth or seventh) third rail of political discussion in France, and in the perfunctory statements on the subject get their perfunctory straw man of America attached to it as if it was strategic, as if it was 1958, and as if they were Soviets. They feel completely at ease making an equivalency comparison when their intervention is 34 times greater than that of the US.
Population of France: 64.5 million.
Agricultural subsidies: $58.5 billion/year
French annual agricultural subsidy per capita: $906.98
Population of the US: 301 million
Agricultural subsidies: $7-8 billion/year
US annual agricultural subsidy per capita: $26.58
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Photo: Radio Netherlands who gave the poster child of this week's spate of Microsoft abuse a halo as if she was the post-modern Virgin Mary of Europeans' almost completely unquestioned anti-captialism.
Nonetheless, the EU deserves the thanks of Microsoft shareholders for the little bump in Microsoft's share price that has come on the news. You can see the effect of having these thieves rule that you aren't allowed to charge for your own intellectual property can have. As incredibly parochial as they are, the connections between business and government in Europe remind one of a real form of collusion that the twits yelling and screaming about Halliburton, Exxon, and Coca-Cola can only dream of.
Maybe they need to do business the European way, and perhaps "justice" would turn its' head away if Microsoft expanded it's workforce in Ireland.
[Bernard] Kouchner is a devotee of crisis, drama, danger — a résistant eager for an evil worth resistingwrites James Traub.
Over time, like a number of European intellectuals, Kouchner migrated from the radical left to the antitotalitarian center. In 2003, he argued for a humanitarian intervention to oust Saddam Hussein. He is, by French standards, stoutly pro-American. On foreign policy, with only a few exceptions, he shares the views of the conservative Sarkozy. In less than a year, the two have torn France loose from its Gaullist moorings. They have, however, run into opposition at home; the French seem to be suffering from a serious case of motion sickness.
…Christine Ockrent, Kouchner's wife and one of France’s most admired journalists, told me, “The reason they get along so well, which is kind of surprising, is that they prefer action to theory.” They share a metabolic intolerance for the great French indoor sport of abstract speculation.
…Kouchner had just come from Washington. “There is a change in the relationship,” he said. “It’s not the return of France to the U.S., but the return of confidence between France and the U.S.” Important disagreements remained, but he had told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, “I will never betray you” — a blunt reference to January 2003, when Dominique de Villepin, then foreign minister, shocked Rice’s predecessor, Colin Powell, by abruptly announcing that France would never support an invasion of Iraq.
…But the French are far more comfortable with, or at least accustomed to, Gaullist realism; and, at least in the cafes and parlors of Paris, Kouchner is routinely tarred as a “neoconservative.” This term, which has virtually replaced “fascist” as the epithet of choice on the left, more or less means “one who wishes to use the instruments of state to promote values,” though of course, post-2003, it carries the whiff of “warmonger” and “American lackey.” Kouchner did, in fact, envision a humanitarian intervention in Iraq, blessed by the U.N., as the supreme achievement of the doctrine of ingérence.
…For Kouchner, all this is part of the same battle he’s been waging with the left since he started picking up boat people in Vietnam: “Are they concerned about victims? No, they are not. They were not. The first slogan before the creation of M.S.F. was ‘There are no good and bad victims.’ For them, bad victims exist.” Abstractions mattered more than people. It was, in other words, something Kouchner — and not only Kouchner, perhaps — disliked about the French.
…I asked Kouchner if he had accomplished what he hoped to accomplish in Islamabad. “Yes, but it’s only the beginning,” he said as we drove through the silent streets of Paris. “What matters is that we are back in Pakistan. And we are back in the Middle East and in the gulf and in Africa. And we are now back in the heart of Europe.”
“What do you mean ‘back’? Are you saying that the French had disappeared?”
“We were there; but we were not a factor.”
“Because of Douste-Blazy?”“No, no, it was Chirac. Chirac!” And now Kouchner told me that when he and Sarkozy met with Bush, Bush said, “Chirac promised me that in the end he would be with us on Iraq. And then he betrayed us.”
Moussa Deme laughs out loud at the idea that the French would elect someone like [Barack] Obama, 46, to any political officewrites Celestine Bohlen in the International Herald Tribune.
"In France? Never," Deme, a 22-year-old Senegalese-born student, said on the way home from his job at a restaurant in Paris. "In France, it is impossible for a black man even to be mayor. They think it is enough that we are on their football team."
…"The French political system is archaic," Jazouli said. "In business, sports, music, entertainment, you find diversity in France. Not in politics."
Holding to the "republican" principle, France makes no distinction among its citizens by race, religion or ethnic origin. Still, minority representation in its political sphere remains a distant dream.
…His candidacy holds out hope for France's minorities, says Christine Ockrent, host of a popular French TV talk show and author of a book on Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"The fact that he is of mixed blood brings out the idea of reconciliation," she says. "For all sorts of reasons, the U.S. is more advanced than France in terms of race relations. Remember, until eight or nine months ago, we had an all-white government. France is in no way an example."
There are times when I sit alone on my balcony by moonlight and gaze out over the fir trees toward the pastures, shrouded in mist and lost in the silence of a village forfeit in time, and I wonder if this is the world in which I was meant to be born. From a self-absorbed, fevered Jew hating, American hating self-isolating mountain man to gangs of violent skanks, Eutopia's great “investment in people” is really paying off.
But even the most hardened officers were stunned as they arrived at the scene. The participants in what has become known as the battle of Chelles bus station were all girls aged between 14 and 17.The Times of India calls this (toungue in cheek?) “The New French Revolution”
A recent battle at a Chelles bus station highlights the problem seen throughout French cities, Sunday Times reported. When police learnt that rival gangs were planning a showdown in Chelles, east of Paris, they prepared for the sort of violence that has become routine in France's troubled suburbs.And with a society where that's increasingly normal, the likes of the “truth seeker” doesn't see any need to rethink his pet criticisms Europeans have of the rest of that world that they just don't understand. It's amazing that these culture-wide obsessions could go on for a century without more people noticing it and discussing it, especially in those superior “self-actualized” societies.
DownEastBlog turns its’ gaze at Belgian socialist dingleberry Dirk Van der Maelen and his ilk. He’d like to see the US negotiate with the Taliban and al-Qaeda (as if there were a command structure that could commit their ‘cells’ to anything,) and thinks that sending a mere four Belgian fighter-bombers to Afghanistan is too much.
Remember, these were the Europeans who wanted more than anything to be involved, and not have the United States ‘go it alone’, and aver now that no war is winnable, unless you take into account their desire for the Taliban and al-Qaeda to win their wars.
"Now that George W. Bush sees the end of his term, he realizes all the more that he will enter history as the president who lost two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan). Hoping that American troop reinforcements can turn the tide in a lost cause, the US are pushing for more. But do we really want to go to Afghanistan to save the honour of Bush?He goes on to conflate the miserable 1.3% of their GNP that goes to the military, and mainly to pensions loaded into it at that, as the straw that’s breaking the Belgian camel’s back. Never mind the social boondoggles and near world record taxes... their budget deficit is George Bush’s fault. I wonder if anyone cares to remind him that two decades before Bush entered office, their dept was 2-1/2 times that same GNP, a proportion of debt to output five times greater than that of the United States.
Therefore we plead to open the debate and, e.g., think about a bigger role for the UN. A greater UN-mandate directed at development and stabilization, reinforcement of the institutions... that is what the country needs. No poodle wagging his tail running after Bush without a thought, in the process wasting money which harms purchasing power or, worse, endangers the lives of soldiers and/or citizens."
Actually, they seem to be adapting pretty nicely.
Make no mistake about it, by channeling their hatred of the realities of conflict in the world at America, their desire to see express pacifism is a lie hiding behind a tacit desire to see the west suffer attack.
And now they are dead wrong in opposing the dispatching of a mere flight of four fighter bombers to Afghanistan to be deployed against islamic extremists of the worst possible kind - who just days ago blew up 80 marketgoers in the worst carnage since the country was liberated in 2001.Vlaams Belang, Flanders' only truly conservative party. This situation is called the so-called cordon sanitaire. With regards to the Taliban, however, the gentlemen propose to hold talks with the "moderate ones" among them.They consider the ¼ strength battalion they have doing what amounts to traffic control at the airport a huge sacrifice and support by the socialist, and yet the Belgian government wanting to commit four measly aircraft and crews is supposed to bring the rest of the world to tears for their commitment to global security.
What do our moral betters from the SP.a propose then, apart from getting the UN involved? Well, as you probably know by now, Messrs. Claes, Vandenhove, Vandelanotte and Van der Maelen, to name but a few, are the co-authors of a pact between Belgium's so-called democratic parties to never talk or form coalitions with the
I get it. For socialists, talks with the VB are haram. Talks with the Taliban however are halal. You know what talks I prefer? I can't wait till those four F-16's start pounding Dirk Van der Maelens preferred speaking partners.He can also ask them just how it is that his conversation and friendship could have averted 9-11 too. Vanderhofe encapsulates the ignorance of that world view perfectly.
If the government decides to commit our country and our soldiers to such a dangerous, lost war, it is only logical that this decision is explained as quickly as possible in Parliament. In addition, because of this engagement, Belgium will become more than ever the target of terrorist attacks."
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Paris réfléchit au déploiement de centaines de soldats supplémentaires hors de Kaboul, où est actuellement concentré le contingent françaiswrites Natalie Nougayrède in Le Monde.
Leur destination serait des zones de combat potentiellement intense, de préférence la région est de l'Afghanistan, face aux régions tribales pakistanaises, indique-t-on à Paris.
…L'Elysée semble déterminé à renvoyer en Afghanistan des commandos des forces spéciales françaises. Celles-ci avaient été partiellement retirées en janvier 2007 par Jacques Chirac (sur 200 hommes, seuls 50 étaient restés pour former les forces spéciales afghanes).
…Pour Paris, le dossier afghan s'insère en outre dans une séquence diplomatique plus large, qui met en jeu l'ambition affichée par M.Sarkozy de relancer l'Europe de la défense à l'occasion de la présidence française de l'Union européenne, au second semestre 2008, de même que l'idée, lancée en août 2007, que la France puisse "reprendre toute sa place" au sein d'une Alliance atlantique "rénovée". Ce dernier point pourrait, indiquent des diplomates, faire l'objet d'annonces au printemps 2009, lorsque sera célébré le 60e anniversaire de l'OTAN.
Par un affichage fort sur l'Afghanistan, en rehaussant le profil de la contribution française à l'ISAF – faible, en comparaison avec celle d'autres pays européens, et en proportion des capacités de projection françaises –, Paris veut améliorer sa position de négociation face aux Alliés sur les grands chantiers de la sécurité et de la coopération transatlantique.
Fascism, at its core, is the view that every nook and cranny of society should work together in spiritual union toward the same goals overseen by the state. "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State," is how Mussolini defined it. Mussolini coined the word "totalitarian" to describe not a tyrannical society but a humane one in which everyone is taken care of and contributes equally. It was an organic concept in which every class, every individual, was part of the larger whole. The militarization of society and politics was considered simply the best available means toward this end.Click to read more quotes from Liberal Fascism…
…In the liberal telling of America's story, there are only two perpetrators of official misdeeds: conservatives and "America" writ large. Progressives, or modern liberals, are never bigots or tyrants, but conservatives often are. For example, one will virtually never hear that the Palmer Raids, Prohibition, or American eugenics were thoroughly progressive phenomena. These are sins America itself must atone for.
Meanwhile, real or alleged "conservative" misdeeds — say, McCarthyism — are always the exclusive fault of conservatives and a sign of the policies they would repeat if given power. The only culpable mistake that liberals make is failing to fight "hard enough" for their principles. Liberals are never responsible for their historic misdeeds, because they feel no compulsion to defend the inherent goodness of America. Conservatives, meanwhile, not only take the blame for events not of their own making that they often worked the most assiduously against, but find themselves defending liberal misdeeds in order to defend America herself.
Much of EUtopia is a developmental backwater that can’t but help wag it’s finger at the world over some imaginary virtues that they pretend to report. Among them is some notion that they have no gun crime. As if to say that human nature was somehow different on their patch, and that they’re immune to theft, jealousy, hatred, and greed, they’ll joyously sneer at the US when they objectively know how much worse it is in Brazil, Venezuela, or even Russia and large parts of eastern Europe.
It’s what makes this kind of report add some cognitive dissonance to the way some are enamored with their precious little state religion of social protection:
A Beretta? A Taurus? In Brussels the number of weapons in circulation have tripled in five years! The prices!Oh boy!
In Brussels, a clean, never used handgun sells for € 500 to € 2,000 for the most popular gauges. The Kalashnikov goes for 2,000 to € 2,500. Heavy weaponry (the basic type RPG-2 rocket launcher) can be ordered from € 3,000 to 3,500. And a Beretta handgun, probably a 9mm is selling for € 2,000. A real rip-off if you tell me. Something only a criminal can afford. The honest people will likely have to opt for a cheap Brazilian Taurus, but then again, no American should talk. Most of our handguns come from European manufacturers anyway. The very same manufacturers are virtually barred from selling their own product in their own countries. But Hey, who are we to viciously make european employees redundant...
Without giving an address nor explain everything in detail, note that the process is already extremely convenient. The activity has always been closely connected with prostitution.Which was legalized in order to “make safer”. In the land of superior social management and intervention, I though there was no need to be concerned with street crime? Which makes you wonder why prostitution had to be decriminalized to begin with.
A good place to start for those who want an illegal firearm is the Brussels railway stations of [the shabby] Gare du Nord and [newly rebuilt] Gare Midi. We saw yesterday many weapons stashed behind concrete slabs and false ceilings, in a search with the police.
They confirmed that they aren’t just sought out by crooks anymore.Gee! I wonder why a non-criminal would need such a firearm?
Monday, February 25, 2008
The Americans were Puritans or adolescents or naïve or God-fearing moralizers. The French were cynical, incorrigible, discreet and suave. Sex on the Seine and sex on the Potomac were distinct sensations, the former enriched by intrigue, the latter threatened by exposureThus writes Roger Cohen in the New York Times as he denotes changing customs.
Images such as these comforted the French and Americans in their different views of civilization. There was no point in each country having a universal messages if it was not dissimilar even at the very point of Yeats’ “shudder in the loins.”
But of late some of these images, stereotypes if you prefer, have begun to blur or even cross over.
Which president, after all, currently speaks of God as the “the rampart” against “the folly of men”? Which president is suffering heavily in the polls for the roller coaster of his amorous adventures? Which public seems more concerned with the personal sexual foibles of its political leaders?
Saint Hedwig’s Catholic Church in Mitte district of Berlin, part of the former East Berlin
Under Erich Honecker’s Communist regime, the faithful in the DDR had to be brave to attend services. I vividly remember these defiant souls filling it on Sundays having to contend with the fact that at high Mass 4 men, (plainclothes cops,) sat in the back row of the church with cameras. Even though they were there to intimidate worshippers and gather anything they thought useful to use as blackmail, they would even stand and kneel when they should have.
Impetuous young man that I was, I made a point one Sunday of sitting right in front of two of them who were sitting side by side, and decided to NOT kneel to make it hard to get a good shot in, and remained standing during communion to obstruct (for once) their picture taking. After hearing from them something that almost seemed like a mumble, I took my laissez-passez out of my front pocket and put it in my back pocket so that they could see part of it sticking out.
Fast forward to the present day: adjacent to two buildings undergoing renovation, and undergoing some renovation itself, the church is wrapped in a car ad. Even without the legacy that makes St. Hedwig’s a sort of denkmal (monument) to at least two of the four freedoms, I wonder, dear readers, if you think it’s appropriate to temporarily turn the narthex into a billboard, or if going through a few months of tastelessness is acceptable. It’s worth noting that in Germany churches receive state support from a steuer that tax-payers can opt in to by indicating their membership in a church and a willingness to support the fund. It’s then not that likely that the screened ad on the tarp was needed for unavoidable financial reasons.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
If/when similar types of information shows up in the hands of the Russians, Chinese, no squirming if you approve of these sorts of tactics
European Union panel [that had] serious doubts about the legality of a Bush administration program that monitors international financial transactions [and that planned] to recommend tighter controls to prevent privacy abuses?asks Nosferateux. How dare the Americans?! How dare they act so frivolously and how dare they attempt to subvert democracy in that heinous manner?!
Well, it turns out it is all about double standards…
A really easy test for those who approve of the British and German governmental tactics in "obtaining" this type of personal financial information on individuals: Would your reaction of "stick it to the man" and "right on brothers/sisters" be the same if "BushCo" was the one paying the tab for the very same information?
Check out the basic idiocy of this idea. Better still, try to tease out of this if the author is actually saying anything at all:
A common theme in the two studies is to situate regionalisation at the “meso” or intermediate level between domestic imperatives and the exigencies of globalisation. It is by teasing out the interplay between these three levels that the authors of these two nuanced and detailed studies provide an innovative contribution to our understanding. In doing so, they provide us with further keys to understanding the role of the European Union as an international actor in relation to other regions.