Friday, September 12, 2008

Seven Years Later…

The website Five Years Later has has undergone a facelift.

The makeover occurred, appropriately enough, on September 11, for the website is named for the year it went up (2006) in relation to the year of the terrorist attacks on Manhattan and the Pentagon. It is no accident, therefore, that two or three of the top stories concern remembering the day of the 9-11 attacks.

Also commemorating September 11 is L'Insolent, which points out that the New York Times omitted any reference to the Islamic terrorist attacks seven years earlier on its front page of that date…

Draw Tippy, Journalism Version

There is a long-standing offer found in magazines and on matchbooks which urges the reader to "Draw Tippy" and win a scholarship to art school. The normal six-year old dutifully enters the contest by placing a transparent piece of paper over the hipcat turtle image and carefully tracing the contours. No skill required, great fun for those so freshly out of nappies.

The journalistic equivalent of "Draw Tippy" can be found in Alessandra Stanley's reportage (née, opinion) piece regarding Governor Sarah Palin's initial television interview. Not having seen the interview, it is obvious the Governor did well. How can you tell, start with the headline:
Showing a confidence, in prepared answers
Of course politicians never use prepared answers. Granted, journalists do not write the headlines. So what about the reportage heft:
Palin didn't look rattled or lose her cool in her first interview with Gibson, the network anchor, on Thursday night, but sailed through with general answers, sticking to talking points that flowed out quickly and spiritedly — but a little too much by rote to satisfy her interviewer that she was giving his questions serious consideration. When Palin seemed not to know exactly what the Bush Doctrine is, Gibson made a point of explaining exactly what it means — pre-emptive self-defense — and demanded that she tell him whether she agreed with it.
So, now the meme of the Left will be that Sarah Palin is too prepared. This after two weeks straight of Sarah Palin is too un-prepared. As with everything, the Left emotively bounces from meme to meme, clutching any straw - scraping every barrel. No logic, no rationality, no continuity, no thought required, just bleat on cue. Take the transparent media template, place it over the story, and presto.

Drawing Tippy may actually be a bit too intellectually strenuous an exercise for our friends in the media. On second thought, just ask the AVM about the Republican ticket and get roughly the same version of "events":
Republicans? Bizarrely, BusHitler caused hurricane Katrina by defenestrating the Palestinian puppies in Branson!!!! If you aren't joyless about this chimp in charge, as a matter of fact you are a Repooplicker acolyte of Pat Buchanan!!!! You should read "PEOPLE vs. ALBERTO Gonzales: a Tale of Hatred," by Barbra Streisand. It changed my life!!! Fundies!!
Cut, paste, file, yawn.

Things you are not supposed to notice

Hopefully Muriel Goldring, Aaron Katz, Leah Feller, and Herbert Harvey are still among us. If so, they should make sure and get a copy of yesterday's New York Times:
In 1951, Morton Sobell was tried and convicted with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on espionage charges. He served more than 18 years in Alcatraz and other federal prisons, traveled to Cuba and Vietnam after his release in 1969 and became an advocate for progressive causes.

Through it all, he maintained his innocence.

But on Thursday, Mr. Sobell, 91, dramatically reversed himself, shedding new light on a case that still fans smoldering political passions. In an interview, he admitted for the first time that he had been a Soviet spy.
The Rosenberg's, Alger Hiss, Morton Sobell, all booked in history. Which ancien lefty totém is next?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never submit, never surrender.

Seven years, seven verses

Reality Gets a "Cultural Exception"

Since when did you need a global consensus of opinion to declare a physical event to have happened? In Europe's notion of "the world" – the one where most people get third rate information from state-run news operations, and where our "wise global betters" appear unable to distinguish between an opinion and a fact.

The survey of 16,063 people in 17 nations found majorities in only nine countries believe al Qaeda was behind the attacks on New York and Washington that killed about 3,000 people in 2001.
A numerical superfluity of countries, wow, that sure tells you a lot. As it is, the world has to deal with the EU-gangbang crew at once using statistics on their scale as a single entity on one hand, and their large number of fiefdoms and statelets on another. Defined entirely by what seems convenient.

They're poor little third-world waifs when Africa needs peacekeepers, and yet a global uberpower when they want to shove their talking-shops and opinions down the world's throat.
U.S. officials squarely blame al Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden has boasted of organizing the suicide attacks by his followers using hijacked commercial airliners.
This is obviously questionable. After all, it's GOT to be up in the air, especially since al Queda proudly admitted to the attacks. But after all, we know they DON'T EXIST, and if there even WERE attacks, the US did it, and there were no planes too... and, and, and...
On average, 46 percent of those surveyed said al Qaeda was responsible, 15 percent said the U.S. government, 7 percent said Israel and 7 percent said some other perpetrator. One in four people said they did not know who was behind the attacks.
Behold the key to all of this – the obsessions reveal themselves, and the only thing people think they know emerges. Israel did it? Where did the Pope and Halliburton fit in if that's the case?

As for other things the loving, all-caring all-knowing world which is apparently dominated by truthers, is this:
World wants Obama as president: poll
The margin in favour of Senator Obama ranged from 9 per cent in India to 82 per cent in Kenya, while an average of 49 per cent across the 22 countries preferred Senator Obama compared with 12 per cent preferring Senator McCain. Some four in 10 did not take a view.
"Large numbers of people around the world clearly like what Barack Obama represents," GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller said.
Apart from his presenting us with implausible and diaphanous platitudes, what do they actually think he represents? He has no experience, no track record, his party elected him because he reminds them of various other diaphanous platitudes, and because they trhink no-one will dare argue with anyone who can wield the race card, only to find his campaign wondering how to politically impugn someone because they're a woman.

Apparently, "the world" thinks this enlightened and evolved.
A similar BBC/Globescan poll conducted ahead of the 2004 U.S presidential election found that, of 35 countries polled, 30 would have preferred to see Democratic nominee John Kerry, rather than the incumbent George Bush, who was elected.
Just who is defined here as "the world"? All of the world's 7 billion people who are such grand individuals who think for themselves being in absolute agreement?

Elsewhere, though most of the readers disagreed, there are others who can't differentiate between slander and opinion: On CBC's website, Heather Mallick reduces herself to calling all Americans slackjaws, with Republicans being even more slack jawed and states that all republican men have sexual problems. Apparently, we're also ALL hicks, a remarkable thing to hear coming out of the mouth of anyone who lives in Canada. Strange that she can't seem to help herself from spewing invective about the US in an effort to promote Sen. Obama's bid for the presidency.

As for having personal problems, Canadian media consumers have virtually been forced to listen to Mallick rattle on about her greatest subject as a writer – herself. This form of exosceletally public use of one's tedious unoriginal self, it seems, is not considered a personal problem but rather an amusement of sorts and de rigeur for the "public intellectual" lefty. That so many try the same thing, in the same way, with the same metronomic pattern of licensing their own hatres and soliciting pity is something we are supposed to find no less formulaic
A 2005 Globe and Mail column was revealing of Mallick's hate for the United States (although she's bashed America plenty of times before and since). It was during the CBC lockout and Mallick revealed the left leaning CBC was virtually all she watched. "Thanks to the CBC lockout, I no longer watch television at all, except for BBCWorld to see how Americans are at least buggering up their own country even as they damage the rest of the planet," wrote Mallick. "For all that we mock Americans, we must wonder why they bankrupt themselves, kill so lavishly, turn their children stupid and keep black citizens at the level they were at just after the Civil War." You can just feel the love.
As we've observed before, the greater an observer's anti-Americanism, the more likely they are to support Obama.

If indeed black people are 'kept' by some nebulous force controlled by other people at the same level of grinding poverty of post-civil war life, how is it that Barack Obama has made it this far? Mallick doesn't explain, but "the world", the one that is sure a dark, unstated force attacked on 9-11, and of course the-jihad-didn't-do-it iis sure to come up with as firm and plausible an explanation of how it is that the great invisible manipulators of people's arms and legs managed that one as well.

Redundant headline of the day

Let's be clear, when we are talking about trade unionists (and their assorted flunkies), there is no carpet or curtain, it is all fringe:

Real passion at the TUC fringe

One supposes that would mean the entire conference.

Foreign Aid

After spending a lifetime amassing wealth it appears Carlos Slim is moving into the charitable giving phase of his life:
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has bought a 6.4% stake in publisher of the New York Times, according to a US regulatory filing.
(Update: Yup, "New Commitment to Charity by Mexican Phone Tycoon")

Why is that?

Fear of what/whom?
Hans-Gert Pottering, President of the European Parliament, is still pushing for the Irish to vote again before euro-elections next year amid fears that the Europe-wide poll will become a referendum on the unpopular EU Treaty.
"Unpopular" does not necessarily equal "bad". However, when something has been hyper-explained ad nauseum by the "best and brightest" in Europe and voters still do not buy into the dream, one has to ask .... why is that?

One Truther's Meal Ticket

The French instigator of trutherism, Thierry Meyssan, is still out there “just asking questions” in the specious manner of someone trying to fabricate an ugly mob of morons with pitchforks. His latest theory involves implying that Sarkozy is a CIA plant because he once shook hands with an American.

Operation Sarkozy: how the CIA has placed one of its agents as President of the French Republic

To understand how a man who all agree today to see the officer USA and Israel have become the Gaullist party leader, then president of the French Republic, we must go back very far back.

We must take a long digression during which we will present the protagonists who are now their revenge.
In other words, to an earlier, mystical age where anything can be invented, and the gullible can wrest their belief that unicorns pranced across the continent of Atlantis.

At this point it’s alright, if you’re French, to question Meyssan’s patriotism. It really is. You can also question his humanity as well for constructing these loony evasions.
In 1977, Pal Sarkozy separates from his second wife, Christine de Ganay, which then binds with the No. 2 at the headquarters of the Department of State of USA. She marries him and moves with him to America. The world is small, is well known, her husband is none other than Frank Wisner Jr., son of the aforementioned. The function of this Junior agent for the CIA are not known, but it clearly plays an important role. Nicolas, who remains close to his stepmother, his half-brother and half-sister, begins to turn to the USA where he "enjoys" training programs of the Department of State.
The State Department, isn’t just NOT the CIA, it has almost always been at odds with it. As for having “junior agents”, it doesn’t fit the other slanderous allegation that they’re too paranoid to trust any furriner, and that James Jesus “come to Jesus” Angleton skewered infants on a spit. Never mind too, the fact that Sarkozy was in law school at the time, and that it’s hard to see how someone can be transformed into an agent of anything in a summer exchange program meant to form relations with that all-wise “outside world” that America is said to not people able to find on a globe because we are assumed to all think monolithically and uniformly that the earth is flat.

There’s something for everyone, even American lefties. Meyssan is out pimping the implausible idea that Democratic Party muckymuck Rahm Emmanuel is a Mossad agent. Here’s a newsflash for ya, douchenozzle. Rahm Emmanuel is neither that smart or trustworthy.

Meyssan, like so many well-dressed idiots in this world is looking for mythological explanations to the events he’s shown in the news, and specifically looking for ones that stroke his political chicken, and his prejudicial predisposed conclusions that have “vintage 1974” written all over them. Here he is working the “learned helplessness” angle where if you are passivated into a state of victimhood, you will believe that even your thoughts are caused by others’ actions:
Well before the Iraq crisis, Frank Wisner Jr. and his colleagues at the CIA planned the destruction of the current Gaullist and the rise of Nicolas Sarkozy. They acted in three stages: first the elimination of the Gaullist party leadership and taking control of that device, then the elimination of main rival right and the inauguration of the Gaullist party in the presidential election, finally the elimination of any serious challenger left to be certain of winning the presidential election.
Frank Wisner SR. worked for the wartime OSS and later the CIA, Frank JR. was a state department, and was advanced to a deputy secretary of state under Cyrus Vance who was appointed by that famous neo-con Jimmy Carter.

Those familiar with Meyssan know that none of these reaches and factual flaws come as no surprise. His task seems to be to keep throwing raw meat at an ugly mob for some unknown purpose. But the one purpose his actions don’t have is the stated one: investigative style journalism.

Ultimately he gets to his bugaboo in the last paragraph in order to efficiently recycle his earlier propaganda: Sarko is part of the collaborative “Bush/bin Laden” plans for our world. Trust me, whoever is elected in the US will get themselves a re-write including them in this theory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"We Seem to Have Forgotten Everything": The West's Soviet Holocaust Denial

L'important, c'est ce que le conflit révèle à propos de la perception qu'a la Russie de sa place dans le monde moderne et de la manière dont elle entend entrer en interaction avec les autres membres de la communauté internationale
writes former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski in Le Monde.
Là repose le principal défi de politique étrangère. Quand Vladimir Poutine a décrit la chute de l'Union soviétique comme le « désastre géopolitique majeur du siècle dernier », il ne s'est pas seulement exprimé au nom d'une étroite caste de politiciens et de responsables de la sécurité au sommet de l'Etat russe. Il a formulé un sentiment de perte partagé par une large majorité de la population russe.

…L'Europe et les Etats-Unis devraient travailler à concrétiser ces espérances dans le cadre de frontières légitimes. Nous ne pouvons accepter le contre-argument souvent avancé dans les milieux russes, que le déclin de la Russie a été le résultat d'un plan occidental délibéré pour l'ébranler, et dont la compensation devrait à présent prendre la forme d'une complète remise à plat des accords postérieurs à la guerre froide. C'est cette mentalité qui a été la véritable cause du conflit en Géorgie.

Malheureusement, il semble que certains en Occident soient disposés à partager cette vision des choses et à soutenir que le processus d'intégration euro-atlantique est critiquable parce qu'il a empiété sur les intérêts légitimes de la Russie, provoquant ainsi sa réaction. Bien que personne ne propose de faire marche arrière, beaucoup de voix s'élèvent pour suggérer que ce processus devrait être interrompu et les limites orientales de l'Union européenne et de l'OTAN, figées dans le marbre. Nous devons être clairs. C'est l'Europe du congrès de Vienne de 1815 et de Yalta de 1945. C'est l'Europe des puissances et des sphères d'influence, des grandes puissances fixant le destin des petites nations d'un coup de stylo. C'est l'Europe que nous sommes supposés avoir laissée derrière nous.

L'expansion de l'OTAN et de l'Union européenne n'a pas été le résultat de quelque grand dessein impérial conçu à Washington et Bruxelles. Elle est issue d'abord et avant tout du désir des nouvelles démocraties indépendantes d'ancrer leurs efforts de réformes au sein d'institutions internationales fondées sur des valeurs démocratiques. Le désir d'adhésion des nations européennes encore laissées à l'écart de ces institutions obéit à la même motivation. Si nous leur fermons la porte, non seulement nous violerons le principe d'autodétermination supposé être la pierre angulaire de la nouvelle Europe, mais nous créerons aussi une zone d'incertitude géopolitique, et peut-être d'instabilité, à notre porte.

Bien entendu, il faut éviter les tensions inutiles avec la Russie. Mais nous devons aussi veiller à ce que les stratégies visant à résoudre les différends et à éviter les conflits n'envoient pas de signaux de faiblesse, en particulier à un moment où les interprétations triomphalistes du conflit en Géorgie menacent de nourrir les illusions nationalistes. De telles erreurs de communication peuvent aussi susciter des réponses agressives fondées sur une assurance excessive, et l'idée, fausse, selon laquelle des opportunités sont à saisir. Ceux qui pensent que mettre un terme à l'intégration euro-atlantique fournira de quoi réparer rapidement nos relations avec la Russie pourraient avoir une mauvaise surprise.

…Continuer à freiner les plans d'action pour l'intégration de l'Ukraine et de la Géorgie reviendrait à envoyer un signal totalement erroné : cela indiquerait l'acceptation tacite d'une division de l'Europe en sphères d'influence. Nous ne pouvons donner crédit à l'idée que la Russie bénéficie d'un statut prédominant qui mordrait sur les droits souverains de ses voisins. Ce fut le premier objectif du conflit russe contre la Géorgie et nous devons être fermes en le rejetant, en application d'un principe de politique européenne — si maladroit pour nos relations que cela puisse se révéler à court terme.

Thierry Wolton's article on Russia's heavy Soviet heritage and the West's "[Soviet] Holocaust denial", also in Le Monde, deserves to be quoted (emphasis mine) in full:

…La plupart des analyses et commentaires consacrés à la crise russo-géorgienne passent sous silence l'héritage communiste qu'elle révèle. La chute de l'URSS date d'un peu moins de deux décennies, mais nous semblons avoir tout oublié. Or, il est difficile de comprendre ce qui se passe dans le Caucase sans intégrer cet héritage.

Nombre de bons esprits justifient la politique actuelle de la Russie en invoquant la continuité avec l'Union soviétique tout en négligeant la dimension communiste de ce que fut cette entité. On nous assène comme une évidence que Moscou veut simplement retrouver les frontières de l'URSS comme si celles-ci lui appartenaient de droit. Drôle de conception de l'histoire.

L'URSS s'est construite dans le feu et le sang, par l'écrasement des peuples du Caucase et d'autres encore, à l'ouest, au nord de ses frontières. Elle s'est consolidée par la mise en coupe réglée des peuples qui occupaient ces régions, à qui fut imposé le système communiste. Des centaines de milliers d'hommes, de femmes et d'enfants ont été assassinés ou déportés massivement, payant de leur vie cet impérialisme. Invoquer les frontières de l'URSS pour excuser aujourd'hui la politique de la Russie est une forme de négationnisme lorsqu'on oublie le drame de cette histoire.

Pourquoi escamoter ce passé quand les dirigeants russes en sont imprégnés ? C'est le précédent soviétique qu'ils ont en tête quand ils revendiquent de nouveaux droits impériaux. Vladimir Poutine, dont nul ne peut douter qu'il dirige à Moscou, est un nostalgique de l'URSS. Ne proclama-t-il pas, dès son entrée en fonctions, à la fin des années 1990, que la chute du système soviétique avait été la pire catastrophe jamais arrivée à la Russie ? Ce n'est pas l'Union soviétique en stagnation de l'époque de Brejnev que regrette Poutine mais celle triomphante et criminogène de Staline.

Les historiens russes ont pour devoir, sur ordre du Kremlin, de réhabiliter le dictateur, d'en faire un héros de la nation. Ajoutons qu'aucun dirigeant actuel n'a cru bon, jusqu'à présent, d'exprimer la moindre repentance pour ce passé. Au contraire, Poutine et les hommes en uniforme qui l'entourent se réclament avec fierté de la tradition tchékiste, du nom de cette police politique connue sous diverses appellations (GPU, NKVD, KGB...) qui fut le bras armé du Parti communiste, l'exécuteur de ses basses oeuvres.

Osons une comparaison hardie mais pertinente. Si au milieu des années 1960, soit deux décennies environ après la défaite du nazisme, l'Allemagne avait été dirigée par des nostalgiques de Hitler, plus grave encore par les héritiers spirituels des SS et de la Gestapo (ce que fut à la fois l'ancien KGB dont sont issus Poutine et son entourage). Imaginons encore que cette Allemagne décide, par exemple, de récupérer les Sudètes. Parlerions-nous avec autant de désinvolture de "frontières naturelles" ?

C'est parce que les Géorgiens n'ont pas oublié ce que fut l'occupation soviétique qu'ils ne veulent surtout pas d'un retour en arrière. De même pour les Moldaves, la Crimée, l'Ukraine (les prochains sur la liste de cette recomposition de l'URSS d'antan ?), sans parler des pays de l'Europe centrale et orientale ni des Baltes, nos compatriotes européens. Tous ces peuples ne sont pas frappés par notre amnésie et craignent la politique impériale de Moscou.

On peut certes évoquer les racines slaves présentes dans certains de ces pays pour légitimer la politique du Kremlin, mais pourquoi alors ne pas laisser aux peuples concernés le choix de décider s'ils souhaitent ou non s'abriter dans le giron moscovite ? Le régime poutinien, qui hait la démocratie, de crainte d'avoir un jour à rendre des comptes à des électeurs libres, n'est guère dans cette logique. La militarocratie au pouvoir au Kremlin conçoit le monde en termes de rapports de forces. Ces tchékistes, orphelins de Staline, ne connaissent pas d'autre culture politique.

Une Russie démocratique ne se serait pas lancée dans cette aventure militaire. Quant au discours qui consiste à interpréter la politique du Kremlin comme une réaction à l'encerclement occidental, à inverser la culpabilité en accusant Washington d'avoir poussé Moscou à réagir, il fait également fi de la nature particulière de ce régime. La diplomatie de nuisance pratiquée par Poutine sur la scène internationale depuis quelques années (chantage au gaz, blocage sur le nucléaire iranien, front commun avec la Chine, armement de la Syrie...) a de quoi susciter la méfiance occidentale. Cette diplomatie s'inscrit dans la logique de la politique menée par le Kremlin à l'intérieur du pays. Un régime qui opprime son peuple représente toujours un danger pour ses voisins. Après avoir muselé les Russes, la militarocratie poutinienne passe à l'offensive à l'extérieur. Et à l'instar de tout régime fort, celui-ci sait jouer du nationalisme pour faire croire à sa légitimité (les JO de Pékin ont fourni sur ce point une démonstration exemplaire).

Entériner le coup de force du Kremlin au nom du fatalisme géopolitique (la prétendue "zone d'influence" de Moscou) est le pire des services à rendre au peuple russe, à la Russie elle-même et à ses voisins. Un Poutine libre de faire ce qu'il veut en Géorgie se sentira encouragé à opprimer davantage encore son peuple et à lorgner sur d'autres prétendus dominions proches. Une blague de l'époque soviétique disait que l'URSS avait des frontières avec qui elle voulait. Ce n'est pas (encore) le cas avec la Russie actuelle mais l'homme fort du Kremlin en rêve sans doute.

Dans cette crise il ne faut pas se tromper d'analyse. La question caucasienne ne consacre pas un retour sur la scène internationale de la puissance russe mais sanctionne plutôt l'extrême difficulté qu'éprouve ce pays à sortir du communisme faute d'avoir su et voulu, jusqu'à présent, regarder son terrible passé en face. Au-delà des logiques d'Etat, il y a dans la situation présente une dimension morale essentielle qui devrait conforter nos démocraties dans leur bon droit par rapport à un adversaire (n'ayons pas peur du mot) qui aimerait bien imposer son ordre en Europe après avoir réussi à le faire chez lui, en s'inspirant d'une histoire condamnée par le sens commun.

"Nous semblons avoir tout oublié": We seem to have forgotten everything. "Une forme de négationnisme": a form of Holocaust denial. Indeed, this is proven all too well, once again, by the tasteless and gutless comments of Le Monde readers willing (and how!) to suck up to Moscow: comments that explain that Russians today are persecuted, and that notably the Russians of 2008 were/are the victims because… Stalin and Beria — who are compared to American gangsters! — were Georgian!!

  • l'URSS ? Parlons-en ! Staline et son tortionnaire n°1 Béria (et sa bande de voyous dignes d'Al Capone) étaient GEORGIENS, non Russes.
  • Le soi-disant héritage soviétique est dans la continuité du pouvoir des tsars ... y compris d'Anne de Kiev, tsarine de Russie. Quant aux Géorgiens Staline et Beria, ce sont les Russes qui les ont subis. Wolton oublit de nous dire que la Crimée n'a jamais été ukrainienne sauf depuis Kroutchev, que les Russophones sont persécutés dans pas mal de républiques ex-soviétiques
  • Les russes n'ont pas le gène de la terreur, cet article est réducteur et partial. A tout pouvoir il faut un contre pouvoir.Si les Russes se relèvent, tant mieux pour eux. On peut juste espérer que ça incitera les ricains à faire gaffe à leur stratégie internationale.(peu probable). Rien de neuf en fait. Le passage de l'URSS et de la chine à une économie de marché est peut-être la pire chose qui soit arrivée aux USA. A suivre
Where many Le Monde readers seem to be outraged by the comparison between Germany's Nazis and Russia's Commies — how dare anybody stoop so low?! — Rutgers University Professor of political science Alexander J. Motyl has this to say in the International Herald Tribune:
Russia's blitzkrieg against Georgia has taken place 70 years after the infamous Munich Agreement of September 29, 1938, when France, Britain and Italy agreed to cede Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in the hope of establishing "peace in our time."

Like Hitler's Germany, Vladimir Putin's Russia is a post-imperial authoritarian state that must expand. The Soviet empire's collapse in 1991 left the Russian population feeling humiliated; economic collapse in the early 1990s only compounded their demoralization. As in Germany, Russians blamed democracy for their collapse and humiliation. And, as in Germany, a strongman promising greatness and glory seized power, dismantled democracy, and created an authoritarian, hyper-nationalist regime with a personality cult based on promises to re-establish imperial greatness.

The war against Georgia is not the first instance of Russia's aggressiveness vis-à-vis its former colonies. Estonia was the target of a cyberwar; Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and the Czech Republic have been subjected to energy cut-offs; Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have been punished by trade sanctions.

These states, like all of Russia's non-Russian neighbors, know that the war in Georgia is really about them.

The Munich Agreement is considered a classic example of the perils of appeasement. Had the democracies said no then, it's possible that World War II could have been averted. At some point — and that point surely arrived with Russia's invasion of Georgia — the West must learn to say no to Russia. Expelling Russia from the G-8 would be symbolically nice, but Putin would respond with a laugh. Only an "anti-Munich" would say no in a meaningful fashion: Admit Ukraine and Georgia into NATO's Membership Action Plan — immediately. Putin will glare in response; he will threaten retaliation — and then, like all loud-mouthed dictators, he will acquiesce.


80% of people in the country that catapulted Jean-Marie Le Pen to the second round of its Presidential election in 2002 want Obama to be elected President in the US. If Obama were French, he wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of being elected for anything in France. In fact, the only place the French would support seeing his face would be on a soccer field.

Human oddities

Why are far more lucid and nuanced people interested in the choices of Bible-thumping, flag-waving, environment-killing, Big Mac-swilling, no passport having, gun-toting, authoritarian-capitalist, world has passed them by, sweat-shop loving, grossly over-obese, red-necks, in the first place:

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may be struggling to nudge ahead of his Republican rival in polls at home, but people across the world want him in the White House, a BBC poll said.

All 22 countries covered in the poll would prefer to see Senator Obama elected US president ahead of Republican John McCain.

In 17 of the 22 nations, people expect relations between the US and the rest of the world to improve if Senator Obama wins.

More than 22,000 people were questioned by pollster GlobeScan in countries ranging from Australia to India and across Africa, Europe and South America.

The margin in favour of Senator Obama ranged from 9 per cent in India to 82 per cent in Kenya, while an average of 49 per cent across the 22 countries preferred Senator Obama compared with 12 per cent preferring Senator McCain. Some four in 10 did not take a view.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Pépé LePen Opens his Pie-Hole Again

Terrorism More Likey to be Planned in "Les Banlieu Americain" as in Afghanistan, blah, blah, blah... and the usual tripe about 9-11, blah, blah, blah...

It's his special kind of French crazy.

Twist and Shout

Those who dwell in pristine echo-chambres should really spend a bit more time in reality before opening up the old keyboard and sticking both feet in it.

(Update: You know, reality)

"All the Specialists on Earth Agree": "the two planes [that crashed into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania] didn't exist! It's a total lie!"

On est absolument certain que les deux avions [celui qui s'est écrasé sur le Pentagone et le vol 93, écrasé en Pennsylvanie] n'existent pas ! Il n'y a jamais eu d'avion. C'est un mensonge absolument énorme.
Among general hilarity in Europe 1's "On va s'gêner" radio show studio, another lucid French artist (Jean-Marie Bigard is apparently close to Nicolas Sarkozy) uses Thierry Meyssan's L'Effroyable Imposture and other like-minded works to explain 9/11 to the French audience.
C'est un missile américain qui frappe le Pentagone ! Ils ont tué eux-mêmes des Américains !Tous les spécialistes de la terre sont d'accord là-dessus.

A Taste of their Own “Culture and Wisdom”

The French military is discovering just how much the French media loves to kick people when they’re down. They’ve made so much of a recent ambush that killed 10 French troops in Afghanistan, that they might as well be the Taliban’s press agents. Paris Match even did everything they could to make the failure into a glorious “Life Magazine” photo-essay moment.

J.C. Durbant cites Max Gallo’s article in Le Figaro:

The French army gets a taste of its own media's disloyalty

We know now that the Taliban can win the war in Afghanistan. Not because they have killed ten of our soldiers, or they will win a decisive victory on the ground. But because their military successes will be relayed by the media as a triumph.

(…) Contemporary wars are won not only by standing still.

Max Gallo

Durbant adds:
And it is being provided by this "parade" offered by the enemy.
Geared to excite withdrawal in the manner that al Queda got Zapatero voted in, the attack has proved a rousing success among the thoughtless, preaching press whose intellects are so great that they can only run in one direction.

In fact it’s a portrait of America in 1969 which has come 40 years late to them: the press are doing anything they can to get troops killed for the sake of the journalists’ egos.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Praising the Russians' "love [!!!] for the Ossetians and the Abkhazis": An LM Article Debunking Moscow's Claims Is Castigated by Its Readers

Toutefois, si, dans un cas comme dans l'autre, les décisions n'ont pas été approuvées par une instance internationale qui aurait pu leur conférer une forme de légitimité, en l'occurrence le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU, l'assimilation des deux ne résiste pas à l'examen. Aussi bien en ce qui concerne l'avant-guerre, la guerre elle-même et l'après-guerre, les situations au Kosovo et dans le Caucase sont différentes.

…Les frappes de l'OTAN sur le Kosovo et la Serbie, à partir de mars 1999, ne sont pas la décision unilatérale d'une puissance soucieuse de reconstituer son glacis, mais le résultat d'un long processus international. Le tournant a été, en février 1999, l'échec des négociations de Rambouillet et le refus du président serbe, Slobodan Milosevic, de se conformer aux décisions de l'ONU. On ne constate rien de tel dans la démarche de la Russie, qui, considérant le Caucase comme sa chasse gardée, rejette toute intervention des Nations unies et pratique depuis plusieurs années une politique d'annexion de facto des régions séparatistes de la Géorgie. Ce qui est vrai pour l'avant-guerre et la guerre elle-même l'est aussi pour l'après-guerre. …

Moscou ne voulait pas négocier. Dans ces conditions, il est difficile d'assimiler le processus d'indépendance du Kosovo géré dans les enceintes internationales après d'interminables débats au fait accompli en Abkhazie et en Ossétie du Sud, à la suite d'une guerre éclair de six jours et d'une décision unilatérale de la Russie prise en deux jours.

… Le parallèle entre le Kosovo et le Caucase est révélateur de deux conceptions opposées du système international. Du côté des Occidentaux, la tentative maladroite, parfois hypocrite, d'accommoder une évolution du droit international pour dépasser la contradiction entre, d'une part, le principe de la souveraineté nationale et de l'intégrité territoriale, et, d'autre part, le droit des peuples à disposer d'eux-mêmes. … Du côté de la Russie, on a une politique de puissance misant sur la création de faits accomplis. Vladimir Poutine se situe dans la pure tradition de l'URSS.
Using precise examples as well as common sense, Daniel Vernet debunks Russia's alleged parallels between Georgia and Kosovo (albeit naturally with hemming and hawing and in nowhere the same castigating language as with any crisis that America is — directly or otherwise — involved in), only to have the vast majority of Le Monde's readership erupt in accusations of the newspaper's "anti-Russianness" blinding them from seeing attempts to prevent Russia from becoming an energy superpower as well as America's hand at play, coupled with a defense of the Russians' "love [!] for the Ossetians and the Abkhazis" and a desire for "la possibilité pour l'Ossétie et l'Abkhasie de sortir de la menace permanente du nationalisme géorgien". What the "Munich-spirited" readers are doing, in effect (as a couple of rare readers point out), involves "rewriting the recent history of the Balkans" while "ignoring Russia's total unilateralism".
Curieuses réactions des lecteurs... Certains réécrivent l'histoire récente des Balkans, oubliant que seule la politique nationaliste pan serbe de Milosevic a provoqué le chaos. D'autres absolvent l'impérialisme russe, soudain réduit à une réaction de "peur" face à "l'offensive" de l'OTAN. Louer les nationalismes archaïques, dénigrer l'occident contre toute évidence historique, flétrir les américains en toute occasion, ces réactions ne donnent pas tort à M. Vernet. Elles sont l'esprit munichois.
It must be the same readership that extols the Russian flag flying over Sebastopol, with words such as "the Ukrainians" showing themselves "incapable of a constructive dialogue"!

It is not the first time that Le Monde readers have shared their oh-so-lucid thoughts on Georgia (or any other matter) with the blogosphere…

Olavo de Carvalho's Open Letter to America

Jeff Nyquist has an interview with Olavo de Carvalho, in which he quotes the Brazilian philosopher's open letter to Americans
Any anti-American lie — even absurd — is taken immediately for granted, as pure truth. Any pro-American word I write is immediately explained as the deed of a professional liar "sponsored by Wall Street". … Hundreds of powerful non-governmental organizations have millions of dollars (even from the Ford Foundation) to spend in anti-American propaganda, but the Brazilian journalist who fights against them, with his own personal resources, with [no support, American or local], is accused of being "sponsored by Wall Street".
Reminder: From Brazil, More Evidence of the Left's Fight Against the Powerful, For Democracy and Objectivity, Against the Suppression of Free Speech, and For All Voices to Be Counted and Heard (not to mention the struggle against recurrent witchhunts that characterize America and the right so well…)

Market Doings

As those "free" markets are busy turning chicken-shit into chicken-salad, what better way to kick-off the week:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The newest state-owned enterprise, You!

The wonderful thing about the internet is the ability to have a peek at the unfettered and unfiltered nature of the truly bizarre machinations of unreconstructed statists. Feral leftists if you will. By all means go bow and scrape before our collective betters and justify your existence:
There is no campaign against the super rich: there is a campaign that they justify their pay and make their appropriate contribution to society, which is something quite different.
The hard-core Left: never about lifting up, only about dragging down.

Violent anti-Semitism: for France, it's not a bug, it's a feature

3 Jewish teenagers beaten on a Paris street in the 19th arrondissement (where a young French Jew was chased down and beaten into a coma in June). The police, as usual, refuse to confirm the anti-Semitic nature of the attack.

A leading French anti-Semite lets you know what he thinks.

Prague Spring, Part Deux?

Let's hope the upcoming Czech turn at the EU Presidency (that Rota) is indeed as refreshing as they are planning:

Of course, per the DW article linked above, there will be critics:
The clip, airing on nationwide television since Thursday, says nothing about Prague's agenda for the 27-nation bloc.

Instead, critics argue, it's a rebellious yet toothless jab at Brussels that gives a telling glimpse into a small nation's insecurities.
No doubt the un-named critics are the very same types who are so secure in the current state of the EU that they would heartily welcome a referendum on Lisbon in every member state.

Of course watch for the officialdom of Bruxelles to pull the rug out from underneath the Czech's at every turn next year. Always note, in the zero-sum mindset of large bureaucracies it is not success (writ large) which is the over-riding goal. The goal of a bureaucrat is making sure that the other guy does not get success (writ small) no matter how deserving.

Man Ray Sunday

Yum yum, eat ‘em up.