Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Implausible Arrogance of the European Mind

Plantu’s fevered mind comes leaking out all over the place: depicting Clinton as a sub-human idiot, and for absolutely no reason, throwing in his pet peeve about Sarkozy-as-vampire. Cap it off with his lie about his symbol of French society as youthful, positive, and innocent: “I don’t know why, but I’ve got a crush on Obama
“If the French voted in the U.S. presidential election, Barack Obama would win with flying colors. A very distinguished French Committee supporting Barack Obama brings together personalities such as Pierre Bergé, Yamina Benguigui or Olivier Duhamel, but also members of the right such as Axel Poniatowski. The charismatic Obama is a dream come true for blacks as well as whites.”
If, for a moment this was true, Hillary Clinton would not have near parity with Barack Obama, and John McCain would have parity with both. This is all part of the French delusion that they have more to say about things they think they understand than anyone else – that notion that something MUST have the imprint of their blab-arati to be true. This is patently false.

In large part Americans grew well past the notion of the factional “dreams of blacks, or even whites”. Not only have the overwhelming majority not seen ourselves in that simplistic a matter, we are also something incomprehensible to the unknown writer of that blurb: we are not French. They can’t possibly believe that they can take what boils down to as the primitive dynamics of their own civic life, and imagine that the same is true everywhere else.

Who are they to say that some plastic wrapped “charismatic” figure with capped teeth is “our dream come true” as though we were some sort of zombie-proletariat population like most PS supporters prove in their actions to be.
”This is not all: among Americans living in France, the Senator from Illinois is preferred by more than 70% of Democrat supporters, who have considered the chances of Hillary’s campaign”
To the simplest point: no. You DO NOT get to vote in anyone else's country. You do NOT get to stamp your feet at the foreign coverage of riots as bad PR and imagine that the US may not have an election without the approval of a intellectual class that hasn’t had anything substantive to say for four decades.

Behold it in amusement

I love the antiquated regalia and find it to have changed so little... hammer and sickle, a reference to the “racist America” that still makes the European left look like the Klan, the Soviets who fuelled the Vietnam War being touted as the mature peacemakers...

Change the names of the figures, and for L’Humanité, it just doesn’t seem like anything has ever changed.

Zinn’s Army

The high-spirited rhetoric seemed to me fuelled more by hatred of parents and teachers than by plans for the future.
writes Robert Fulford in Canada’s National Post as he reflects on the buffoonery of the 68ers that still try to strangle the good sense out of the world to this day.
All protests were against institutions in the West, none against Mao or the Soviets. It seemed that an entire generation had turned political. No one guessed that they would lose their ideology as quickly as they had acquired it.
Which reflects on the lack of depth behind the confused kids who then, like today are willing to look for evidence of evil under every American Flag, Menorah, or timecard.
When 1968 ended and things calmed down, much of what had happened seemed silly, a mass exercise in self-congratulation. Last week Tom Stoppard, the Czech-born playwright, said he didn't like 1968 much at the time (he was 31) and finds it embarrassing and repulsive in retrospect. "I loved the music and the dressing up but I couldn't take to the dialogue: a reductive argot of comrade-jargon and bogus wisdom derived from misunderstood eastern religions," words close to those he gives a character in his play, Rock 'n' Roll, which begins in 1968. His recent article in The Sunday Times of London carried the headline, "The year of the posturing rebel."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Olivier Wieviorka's Objection to Ken Burns' "The War": "A great part of [France's] territory was liberated without much fighting"

For Arte's broadcast of Ken Burns' The War, the French-German TV station has published the testimonials of some of its viewers.

Needless to say (see Arte: Casting Uncle Sam in the Most Negative Light Imaginable), French TV cannot let the occasion go by without having to publish Olivier Wieviorka's "nuanced" grumblings, tut-tuts, and facile post-facto criticism ("A great part of [France's] territory was liberated without much fighting", America's "troops sometimes take part in some dubious trafficking (gasoline and cigarettes, for example)", "there were 208 rapes in the Manche département alone", etc, etc, etc)…

Update: Read more about a systematic will to find negative information about the Americans in WWII or to minimize their contribution (the 60th anniversary of America's bloodiest battle on the European front, six months after D-Day, was basically ignored in France) while extolling the contribution of the French

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Save Tempelhof

Berliners vote Sunday. Observing Hermann’s got the dope on the fate of the legendary airport.

Further, on saving Berlin's history...

graben sie es..

All the Special Children

One of the organizers of the Euston Manifesto, a benchmark document for progressives who want to see an end to apologia for terrorism wrote an article on its’ 2nd anniversary in the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” web site.

From the preponderance of the tone of the comments, Guardian readers did the only thing they knew to do: blame Jews for this in their usual medieval manner. “This” being anything they’re thinking.

You make justified accusations of anti-semitism sound like a bad thing.

An Impenetrable Miasma

Be gone, foul spot.

Lack of transparency, including refusal of information, continues to top the list of EU institutions' sins against citizens, the European ombudsman said on Tuesday (15 April).

According to a fresh report, ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros received 3,211 new complaints in 2007 - compared to 3,830 in 2006 - with German citizens (16 percent), Spain (11 percent), France (eight percent) and Poland (seven percent) registering the most complaints.

The overwhelming majority of cases - 413, amounting to 64 percent of the total - were targeted against the European Commission.
”Targeted against?”
Some 28 percent of complaints fall into a 'lack of transparency' rubric, with Mr Diamandouros saying this fact should provide "an opportunity for EU institutions and bodies to demonstrate their willingness to be as open and accountable as possible".
An opportunity which, if a millennium of precedence cultural traditions are held to, will be ignored and then quietly killed off. Nonetheless then, as always, begins the journalistic cover and excuse-making.
Absolute transparency diminishes privacy, while absolute privacy undermines transparency, the ombudsman said, calling on EU institutions to strike the right balance.
Sure thing, Sparky. Whatever. Never mind the percs for now. Keep an eye on the political Percodan they’re trying to hand out.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Missing France 2 Rushes

Just released by France’s Media Ratings the missing France 2 footage from the story setup that lead to Palestinians shooting a child to prop up a story. France 2 has witheld this footage since late 2000 when the veracity of the claims that Israelis shot at the al-Duras were found suspicious. For more background, read Nidra Poller’s article on FrontpageMag on the Charles Enderlin affair.

The first 9 minutes.

The second 9-minute segment released.

The footage shot immediately after that in which the France 2 viewer was told that the child was dead.

Is France Becoming a Police State?

Le nombre de gardes à vue a explosé en sept ans écrivent Isabelle Mandraud et Alain Salles dans Le Monde.
La GAV s'installe et, bien que souvent traumatisante, se banalise. … "Il ne faut pas tout inverser, s'insurge un juge de Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis). C'est parce que la garde à vue est une atteinte aux libertés que l'on a donné des droits aux personnes concernées. C'est un comble de dire que l'on prive de liberté des gens pour les protéger et leur donner des droits !" … De tous les services de police, la sécurité publique est la plus "consommatrice" de GAV.
Christophe Mercier a publié un court texte intitulé Garde à vue : histoire vécue :
"Je n'arrive pas à retirer une grosse alliance et un policier dit qu'il va falloir la couper. Je proteste et il n'insiste pas. Je dois baisser mon slip, écarter les jambes et me pencher en avant. Je souris en pensant à Richard Virenque qui, lors de sa garde à vue, s'était senti humilié par ce détail…" "José" l'affirme : "La gardav', c'est l'enfer." [Hervé Niel, à la direction centrale de la sécurité publique, concède que] "Beaucoup de personnes écrivent suite à leur interpellation parce qu'elles sont traumatisées, vexées".
À un éditorial du journal Le Monde de renchérir :
en quelques années, le nombre de gardes à vue a explosé en France. Mesure de retenue des suspects pour une durée de vingt-quatre heures renouvelable, elle se banalise dans les pratiques policières. Prononcée de plus en plus souvent en cas d'infraction aux législations sur le séjour des étrangers ou sur les stupéfiants, et aussi pour les petits délits de la voie publique, elle est pourtant loin d'être une disposition anodine de la procédure pénale : c'est une mesure coercitive, la première porte d'entrée dans le circuit pénal français.

Pour la personne interpellée, c'est un moment d'angoisse et d'incertitude. Le gardé à vue est placé au secret, dans des conditions d'hygiène souvent douteuses ; il ignore quand les policiers mettront fin à la mesure et quelle en sera l'issue. … C'est une atteinte - une de plus - aux libertés.
En outre, il s'avère que les citoyens sont de plus en plus fichés, ce qui amène Alex Türk à dire au Monde : "Je m'inquiète de l'évolution globale".

Des interpellations un peu trop mouvementées, des policiers ivres qui font usage de leurs armes à feu
rapporte Isabelle Mandraud dans un article pour Le Monde deux mois plus tard.
A plusieurs reprises, ces derniers mois, ce type d'incidents a alimenté la chronique policière. … Malencontreuse série [de bavures policières] ? Ou bien cela traduit-il un malaise plus profond ? La question est délicate, car la France est l'un des rares pays d'Europe à ne pas publier systématiquement de bilan sur son activité et ses manques. Les dernières statistiques rendues publiques remontent à 2005. Des chiffres existent pourtant, consignés dans des plaquettes mais à usage interne.
Isabelle Mandraud termine avec un article sur une bavure précise : "J'ai perdu mon sang-froid, je l'ai traité de grosse merde", ce qui amène Samia à dire :
Chose qui semble moins grave mais parfaitement scandaleuse, l'attitude générale de la police. Langage grossier, arrogance, non respect du code de la route en temps de patrouille, jet d'ordures sur la voie publique, et toute sorte d'autres comportements inadmissibles de la part des fonctionnaires chargés de faire respecter la loi, alors qu'ils devraient être exemplaire. Jamais vu une attitude pareille dans des pays autres que les dictatures.

Une démarche très personnelle: The Paris Town Hall's Library Paints an 'Insouciant' Picture of the Nazi Occupation

A scandal is brewing over a Paris exhibit on the French capital under the Occupation (Les Parisiens sous l’Occupation, photographies en couleurs d’André Zucca) by a collaborationist photographer who worked, among others, for Signal.
Ce que nous donne à voir André Zucca est un Paris léger, voire insouciant. Il a choisi un regard qui ne montre rien, ou si peu, de la réalité de l’occupation et de ses aspects dramatiques : files d’attentes devant les magasins d’alimentation, rafles de Juifs, affiches annonçant les exécutions… Dans ces images, nulle trace non plus de la Résistance, pourtant présente à Paris dès 1940.
"The absence of any explanation about the propaganda element in the exhibit [on "German France"] is striking" writes Ségolène Allemandou. But then again, the only foe the average Frenchman (a city employee or any other) knows to make a stand against is the dreaded Anglo-Saxon capitalist pig, and so the city authorities appealed to artistic merit by calling Zucco's "a very personal outlook".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Deprogramming the Young Victims of the Cult

Stars and Stripes reported on the horror of what the dean of the South Korean Military Academy encountered when peering into the ignorance of the freshman class.

When the Korea Military Academy asked its incoming cadets in 2004 to name South Korea’s main enemy, they were shocked at the answer: 34 percent said the United States while only 33 percent said North Korea.
As in... their neighbors to the north who have been building short-range missiles and developing nukes. While lefty critics evasively insist that the RoK is not the DPRK’s target, they miss the point that the RoK is the DPRK’s only interest in the world, and seem more than willing to threaten Japan and the US in pursuit of controlling that interest.
The academy’s then-superintendent, retired Lt. Gen. Kim Choong-bae, was so concerned about the survey results he cut the cadets’ boot camp from six weeks to four.

During the two extra weeks, cadets attended classes on South Korean history to learn how the country got its independence, what happened during the Korean War, and the role the United States played in the war.

Teachers told them about the U.S. Military Academy at West Point class of 1950, whose cadets graduated less than a month before the start of the Korean War. Nearly 50 of those cadets were killed.

“The [KMA] cadets were shocked. They said, ‘We didn’t know that,’” Kim said.
But HOW could this be?????
The cadets told academy officials they had leftist teachers in middle and high school who told them the United States was trying to dominate South Korea.

“The young cadets were kind of victims of the wrong education. They were kind of indoctrinated by the wrong education, the wrong textbooks,” Kim said. “Youngsters have no idea what was the Korean War, what was the contribution by the United States. They’ve been educated with a different perspective for the past 10 years.”
Not that this is anything but predictable. Whatever their faults... teaching bald-faced lies to students, etc., they need to be cherished, go unchallenged, and lauded because it’s for the children. After all they’re just compelled to do this by the grand human imperative for peace, love, redistribution of misery, the pasteurizing of individuals into powerless tools of the state... You know, all that “liberation” that the leftists of the world are known for.

And all because they care about you. Now here’s your dog treat.
Kim said the anti-Americanism of four to six years ago has died down, but many South Koreans still believe North Korea wants to use its nuclear capabilities against the United States or Japan, not South Korea.

In the Evening Dews and Damps…

Here are some more altar-building fellows,
along with some more recent ones

What evil in the world does one Frenchman decry? "One of the most offensive slurs ever used in the French-bashing orgy that started in 2003"

Bear with me: I wasn't expecting to write about SuperFrenchy again soon. (Twice in two weeks ought to be enough, I figure, for, say, a three-month period.) However, he is back with his bogus (or at least overstated) argument about Matt Groening's “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”. So below — below the following paragraph — is my original response to his (next-to-)latest rant nine months ago. It is, incidentally (actually, not incidentally), the post that apparently broke the camel's back and got No Pasarán banned from his site.

(Notice how, at every point of his blog, the man who (just incidentally) works or worked for the French government comes out sputtering against the Simpsons' audacity to mock the French, (the alleged) "spit[ting] on us and on our ancestors’ graves", and any criticism whatsoever of France because of a dozen dead troops in Afghanistan (and all honor to them and to all their dead comrades, whatever their nationality), but how he has (and how those who think like him have) no compunction — none whatsoever — about 1) using the Simpsons to ridicule Americans or 2) caricaturing and demonizing American soldiers' effort in World War II or 3) using a tongue-in-cheek title for the war in Iraq [in his favor, he does get positive points for not retreading the most inane statistics on Iraq's civilian deaths] or, indeed, 4) caricaturing or mocking every war ever fought by the United States or 5) just making inane comments that supposedly prove the superiority of Europe and its society.)

Without further ado, here is my original response.
I don't "disagree" with SuperFrenchie. What I don't like are his double standards.

"Me, I think that what’s insulting is the expression [cheese-eating surrender monkies] in the first place." Really, SuperFrenchie? Is that so? Well, I have lived in France for over 10 years, and I don't know how many times I have heard such charming expressions as "Les Américains, c'est de la merde!" (The day before yesterday encore, at a café near le Parc Monceau, it was "Are you American? (pause) You should be ashamed of yourself.")

But what is really significant is that when you hear such comments, whether in leftist, in rightist, or in centrist circles, is how regularly everybody else seems to take such an ugly attitude as "normal"; i.e., no other Frenchman rushes in to confront the guy (or the gal) or even just to try to tone things down. (At those times, people did not know I was American, of course (or half-American). So among the things that SuperFrenchie (or any average Frenchman) does NOT tell you about France is what the French say behind Americans' (and others') backs.)

In fact, SuperFrenchie goes nigh berserk about "one of the most offensive [slurs] ever used in the French-bashing orgy that started in 2003". But Frenchmen like him will do little if anything about the pervasiveness of anti-Americanism in France, such as the fact that French schools teach children that Americans are nothing if not dumb, clueless, greedy, treacherous, and malevolent. SuperFrenchy goes berserk over "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" and alleged French-bashing, but that a show like Les Guignols is shown daily on French television doesn't bother him one bit! (Aah, c'est pas la même chôôôôôôôse!…)

SuperFrenchie has complained about books by American authors hostile to France. However, in France, they have "got books and editors saying that the main enemy of America has always been France". Is America being the main enemy of (or threat to or danger for) France and, indeed, of all humanity, not what you read about not only in untold French tomes, but in French newspapers day after day, month after month, year after year? Rather than American books being gratuitously anti-French, as Frenchmen allege, the fact that such literature is so ubiquitous in France is — precisely — the reason why a number of books on the subject have come out in America recently.

As to whether there is a difference between French enmity and its American equivalent, one traveled American points out where it lies: "Any criticism of France occurs in small doses and almost never in the mainstream media — unlike the near daily nonsense in the Paris papers."

But even those (small) doses are too much for France!

So: The French dislike being called cheese-eating surrender monkeys. In fact, he wags a finger at us as he smugly says that "calling others animal names is as low as it gets!" But the French like nothing more than calling other people(s) names (whether referring to animals or otherwise). And these names are always taken as nothing more than objective fact. (Thanks to cette rationalité française éternellement lucide.) For instance, God forbid that the charge of the British being the Americans' poodles or of Blair being Bush's poodle be considered an insult in France. It is taken a nothing less than an incontrovertible fact.

To quote Jean-François Revel:
Dans le charmant vocabulaire politique français, on traite Tony Blair de « caniche de Washington » et on multiplie les déclarations arrogantes à l'égard de l'Espagne, de l'Italie, de la Pologne et des autres pays du Vieux Continent qui ont suivi les Américains. C'est la façon délicieuse dont nous méprisons les autres membres de l'Union européenne.
And France's foreign minister (later prime minister Dominique de Villepin!) could write a book likening America to nothing less than a greedy, blood-lusty predator shark. Who in France objected then (and with how much force)? Oh, such a depiction, we must understand, is only an objective (and entirely self-serving) description; oh, so that's perfectly okay…

The constant here is that there is little that les Français love more than to make gratuitous charges against others. But being on the receiving end, and they are far less smug. In other words, they can dish it out, but they can't take it themselves. Indeed, in la société de l'ouverture et du débat, the theory that in one single case (Iraq or any other), the French may have not acted all that courageously cannot even be entertained — even only as a theoretical debating point! — without being immediately, automatically, and (very) angrily refuted offhand.

In fact, while SuperFrenchie says he welcomes "Groening’s regrets[,] I’d say he should have thought of it back in 1995. And I hope he’ll think twice next time before calling me and my family cowards and animal names!" So there you have it: you can call Uncle Sam and/or its allies and/or its capitalists "bloodsuckers" and "poodles", but heaven forbid that a humorist (!) — a humorist who bashes America (conservative, liberal, everything) 100 times more in his TV show than any foreign nationality, French or other — even considers (even considers one single time) that the French acted as cowards or, indeed, that they are anything less than a wonderful people deserving of nothing but praise. This, when France's president (not a humorist — not intentionally, at least) called Eastern Europeans blabbermouths and turncoats qui feraient mieux de se taire.

So there you have the root of the anger: The only response and reaction acceptable to French policies, whether by Americans (neo-cons or other), East Europeans, or other foreigners, is one of gratitude and kowtowing to the people who always are more lucid and always know best…

Indeed, for fear that it may be "misused" in the future, nothing untoward (except in a sympathetic way) must ever be said against les Français (and their culture of… debate), in a tongue-in-cheek way or otherwise…

Nobody in his right mind can fail to notice the difference between French anti-Americanism which has gone on, for decades year in and year out (and even centuries), concerning every subject under the sun, on the one hand and, on the other, the current attitude in the United States, which has far less (hardly anything, in fact) to do with amounting to being a "parodic counterpart of French anti-Americanism" than with the sentiment — real or false — that in the Iraq crisis, Marianne not only refrained from coming to Uncle Sam's help, but that she tried to stick a knife in his back.

John J. Miller and Mark Molesky appear to be doing hardly more than echo L'Ennemi américain, Philippe Roger's study of anti-Americanism in France over the centuries, an anti-Americanism that carries nary a counterpart in the United States vis-à-vis France. Moreover, theirs' is not a book like the one called 50 Good Reasons to Hate Americans, and it certainly has not become best-seller in the U.S. the way the latter has in France.

In contrast to the constant attacks on Uncle Sam in le Hexagone, how many quotes can you find from American leaders and the élite towards France? Before 2002-2003 — as SuperFrenchie states himself! — not many. And, more importantly, insofar as anti-French quotations can be found (and I can't think of any), to what extent does the leader owe his popularity (if any) to his anti-French remarks? Mark Twain and Dave Barry have also written about the French in humorous terms (which led to Twain being dubbed a "racist" by BHL!!), and Art Buchwald's first columns (for the New York Herald Tribune's Paris office) are replete with funny observations about France and its inhabitants. Except all three also wrote that way about other nationalities, being harshest with… Americans themselves!

The French can dish it out (they love to do so), but they can't take it!

In fact, what is it we always hear: we/they are not against Americans, we/they are only against their leaders and Washington's policies! But Americans — and even Frenchmen! — can not be against only Paris's policies without suffering opprobrium.

Certains prétendent que la marionnette de Stallone ne caricaturerait pas le peuple américain, mais bien leurs dirigeants politiques, les commandants militaires, les chefs des grandes multinationales, etc, et que ce sont contre ces leaders, et non le peuple entier, que l'on se défend… Or, nous avons vu que ce type de discours n'a rien de neuf : il se trouve que ces arguments soutiennent la présente thèse, car en d'autres mots, ses adeptes appellent les leaders américains racistes, barbares, sans sentiments humains, et avides de pouvoir et de dollars. Or, si de tels monstres (le mot n'est pas trop fort) sont au pouvoir depuis un demi-siècle, il s'ensuit logiquement que les sujets qui les ont élus peuvent difficilement être, dans leur vaste majorité, autre chose que… bêtes, avides, racistes, ou tout du moins (criminellement?) inconscients, et donc qu'ils sont quelque part, eux aussi — directement ou indirectement —, des monstres.

To say that that is not the same thing is deliberate hypocrisy; the number of times I have heard people say (with a self-righteous sniff) they did not like Americans or there was no way they would ever spend a vacation in the United States proves it so. But they will never tell you that outright.

Or they will add: "Oh but you have to understand us/those French individuals. It's (only) because what's going on now…" Well, apparently the same thing cannot happen in the opposite direction; nobody should be allowed to understand anger at France without its citizens suffering a major blood pressure going on.

And here is a good point to ask what is it exactly that happened? What is the difference between the "bashing" of the two nations? Here is one answer: French ugly attitudes came about (they have been existing forever, as we have seen) while sitting passively without risks on the sidelines; America's anger comes at somebody sitting on the sidelines offering gratuitous slander (not advice, thank you very much) while their (America's) politicians, their people, and their troops took risks (good ones or ill), took action, and put its citizen (soldier)s in harm's way, i.e., in mortal danger.

To quote Jean-François Revel again:
Les Américains n'auraient pas demandé mieux que d'accepter un partage des responsabilités si la France n'avait pas menacé de brandir son veto au Conseil de sécurité. [Mais] Notre ministre des Affaires étrangères s'est transformé en commis voyageur, en Afrique notamment, pour inciter à voter contre les États-Unis. Ce fut une faute de goût considérable. Autant la France avait le droit de dire « non, je n'approuve pas l'intervention militaire pour le moment et je ne m'y associerai pas », autant elle n'aurait pas dû se muer en centrale de propagande antiaméricaine
One Frenchman once said that jokes about France during the Iraq crisis hurt. They hurt the French. The French feel hurt.

In other words, according to those poor things, the Yanks were/are not only duplicitous and treacherous, they are insensitive and rude, those clueless clods.

Wait a minute, do you mind if we get real here? For just a moment?

How do you think Americans feel for being called imperialist? For being called duplicitous? For being called treacherous?

How do you think Americans feel for hearing, Yes, of course 9/11 was a tragedy, but, somehow, somewhere, they deserved it

Oh, that's not being insensitive. That's being intelligent and lucide! I see… (It's just a total coincidence, I suppose, that being lucide happens to mean slamming the American government's position and being pretty much in total symbiosis with the French government's policies…)

And how about America's allies in the Coalition. How do you think they feel for being called poodles? And for being told, ils feraient mieux de se taire?

While we're at it, how do you think the Iraqis feel about the various peace activists, governments as well as individuals, who opposed the American action? What about the Iraqi people's hurt? Isn't it slightly more important than that of the French?

Because the difference with the members of the so-called "peace camp" is that while the latter remained passive, the Americans and their allies took action. Whether or not you agree with their policy, they put their soldiers into harm's way. (As for the leaders themselves, you can hardly deny that, at the very least, they took unpopular — and electoral — risks in making the popularity-defying decisions they did.) The hurt the troops risk suffering is somewhat of a more poignant type than that which members of the peace camp have the luxury of haughtily complaining about from the comfort of their living rooms (or government offices or computer desks).

And you complain of the hurt suffered by the French?!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Where's a drive-by when you need one?

Remember that stupid French broad that became a naturalized US citizen and made a mockery of the ceremony in the process? Now she's got her panties in a twist over the use of the death penality in California.

Don’t Let the Door Hit Your Puckered Starfish on the Way Out

Never before, however, have we seen an entire political area vanish
Wrote Corriere della Sera
In the stunned eyes of the Rainbow people, the night was made even blacker by the triumph of Silvio Berlusconi, the impressive gains of the Northern League and the hard-to-refute claim of its secretary, Umberto Bossi: “The workers have voted for the Northern League”. Pause for effect: “The workers don’t vote for the Left any more. The Northern League is the new workers’ party”.
When they get stunned, they will likely follow the old script, and call this “Americanization” which by some miracle of illogic had not a single American involved, and on a continent where a cultural cleansing campaign to diminish the United States has been taking place for 40 years.
For the first time in history since the fall of the Fascist dictatorship, Italy’s parliament will not have a single “red” sitting on its benches […] The truth is that this tetchy, daydreaming, belligerently pacifist Left, which in recent years has said no to high speed trains, wind power, peace mission, pension reform and almost everything else, has lost on all fronts. […] As the Left glumly folds away its flags, Silvio Berlusconi, Gianfranco Fini and above all Umberto Bossi smile triumphantly in the background among the celebrating workers that the Left can no longer reach.
Inasmuch as they defined that history of political tumult, and that Berlusconi has been the first leader of the Republic to complete a term, it isn’t much of a surprise. On average, Italy has had an annual change of government called through overblown rhetoric, anger, corruption, and all the attendant lunacy of party-parliamentary politics.

You see, the parties have historically only addressed what they though the population wanted. The public votes for the party, the party forms the election lists and the governments... all is the party, not the individual. As such the notion of the individual’s reputation, integrity, etc., pale in importance to that of the parties’ internal jello-fights.

That hideous ‘cartel’ view of power, a sort of palliative on the way to creeping tyranny, is in fact that only home-made contribution European politics has made to democracy since the beginnings of an individuals’ rights before the law were founded in the Magna Carta.

- Via Brussels Journal

Our Effete, Sophisticated Friends, Part 281

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The proud French tradition of surrender

French electro-pop singer agrees to throw a few words of Franchouille into his Beach Boys inspired diddie before the Eurovision Contest. French politicos have not advanced an iota with regards to proposed reforms but they find the time for this stuff.

Should have stayed in his "Safe European Home"

I guess he hasn't blogged since December 7 because he was all tied up. I'll never be able to watch CNN Business Traveler with a straight face again. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

We Listen To This Trash So You Don’t Have To

Today on the ever quietly smarmy Radio Netherlands there was a segment on that baaad, baaad US government’s baaad, baaad boycott on the 1980 Moscow Olympic games. Left to your imagination was the divine pursuit of the Tibetan cause and the present confused popular call to boycott the Beijing games, or at the very least the opening ceremony. This was left for the listener to piece together on their own because, as we all know, this just can’t be made openly complicated or difficult without embarrassing the listener with the idea that the dynamics of one boycott which CAN be looked down on would be compared to one that one simply SHOULDN’T.

The once boycotted athlete did make a fine point: there might be some interaction between politics and athletics, and at the outset he thought the cause of finding a non-violent way to send the CCCP a message was laudable, that it did nothing to remove the Red Army from Afghanistan. Tacit message: the boycott just amounted to so many empty words.

One name that went unmentioned when discussing that dastardly US Gubmint boycott, that thing so evil that it still deserves abuse, was that of the President who though it to be a non-violent but tough move: that of Jimmy Carter, the only US president who kept a boy’s name in adulthood.

His name did come up in the usual haze of progressive warmth when his recent meeting with Hamas’ head in Damascus came up. Don’t forget that it took 9 years of back-channel negotiation with the IRA to come to the table. That Hamas is nowhere near the point that there is anything to talk to them about, and that this whole play is to the aged hippies in the western audience seems to go un-mentioned. In fact in the sphere of the left-dominated “free” press, this kind of thing MUST either go unmentioned or in roundabout terms that bruise the feelings of the journo who might still in the back of their mind, think that they still need to write it.