Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Nigerian Widows Now Have… Their Own Domain Name!

Well, they're Kuwaiti widows, actually, but the exotic-country widows (you know, those who have nothing better to do but to give you millions of dollars) now have their own domain name.

Just when you think they aren't many ways Nigerians/Kuwaitis/whatevers can take the scam any further, you get one of those ubiquitous emails, and find out it's from a…

I suppose that is supposed to make it more (?!?!) believable when reading Mrs Veronica Farooq Turaki's claim that she
inherited most of my husbands Bank deposits and properties after his death, which includes the sum US$8.5Million deposited in a Bank in the U.K which no one knows about.

AmeriKKKa is Just SUCH an Awful Soul-Crushing Place

According to one Briton sharing his experience with others of his move to the US, the country isn’t the abyss of cannibalism and grindingly medieval as the European branch of the 40millionpeoplewithouthealthinsurance! reciting robots of recycled recorded complaint would have you believe:

After all the trials described previously with our move to the USA, an obvious question is "Was the move worth it?"

The short answer is a definite "Yes". Even though we found the move to the USA a big challenge, we know we made the right choice overall.
Relocating was definitely a good move for us:

- The quality of life here in Redmond is vastly better than we had in London.
- The scenery and beauty of the area is just phenomenal.
- Crime and violence are low here.
- Medical treatment is phenomenally better if your employer has a good healthcare plan.
- The kids have integrated well into the school system and are enjoying all the activities like sports and recreation that is available to them.
- We moved from a 1100 sq foot house in London to a 3800 sq feet house in Redmond, in a vastly better location, and for about the same price!

Overall, we have grown as a family and individually from the relocation experience, and I would recommend it to anyone if they get the chance.
Oh, the horror! Bring that emergency supply of hope and change right away so that this sort of thing never happens again! This narrative may not be!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sarkozy's seemingly boundless capacity to move from old friend to new, from passionate old position to eager new standpoint (as a Gaullist reborn)

Soon enough, according to some Europeans, Germans in particular, the Sarkozy fantasy and free-fire zone will reach its limits
writes John Vinocur.
The demarcation would be Barack Obama's entry in the White House, bearing issues like Iran, Afghanistan, and France's capacity to function as a team player in the context of its return to NATO's unified command in April.

It's then that the rules allowing Sarkozy's seemingly boundless capacity to move from old friend to new, from passionate old position (as a would-be Atlanticist) to eager new standpoint (as a Gaullist reborn) grow very much tougher.

Obama will have too little time to waste - and too much power, credibility and persuasiveness - not to ask Sarkozy if he wants to risk a return to French irrelevance by promoting his own importance with a policy hodgepodge he and France can't deliver.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Television "Never Shows What Really Takes Place" in France's and Europe's Prisons

"Même les SDF dehors, ils sont mieux que nous", témoigne un détenu devant sa fenêtre.
With the help of a camera smuggled into their Essonne detention center, inmates held in the prison of Fleury-Mérogis spent several months filming the interior of their cells and their jail.

No spectacular revelations, as Luc Bronner points out in Le Monde (nor, of course — from our part — any chicken little hand-wringing about the alleged abhorrent fate of the martyrlike prisoners), only this: are Europeans really apt (or that apt) to give lessons to the Americans on social policies? (Especially when the judgment made by the continent's proud citizens — i.e., that in forward-looking Europe, unlike backward and clueless America, prisons are "reinsertion centers" — turns out to be nothing but "la communication officielle de l'administration pénitentiaire".)
"Quand on est en détention, on voit plein de reportages télé sur les prisons, nous explique un des vidéastes en demandant l'anonymat. Mais ils ne montrent jamais ce qui se passe vraiment parce que l'administration organise les visites et ne montre que les bâtiments en bon état. On s'est dit qu'il fallait montrer l'autre côté de la détention." Ils mettent aussi en avant leur volonté de casser l'image positive des prisons pour une partie de la jeunesse des quartiers. "Beaucoup pensent qu'aller en prison c'est pas grave et qu'ils en sortiront plus forts. Nous, on veut leur montrer que c'est vraiment la merde et que tu deviens fou là-bas."

Des détenus ont aussi accepté de témoigner sur la dureté des rapports sociaux au sein de la maison d'arrêt. "Ici, contrairement à ce [que disent] les gens, c'est la loi du plus fort. (…) Chacun a son terrain. (…) Pour faire mes marques, j'ai dû me bagarrer au départ", explique l'un d'entre eux. Plusieurs fustigent le comportement des surveillants, volontiers insultés et accusés de pratiques humiliantes. …

Un des détenus interrogés lance un "appel" pour que le public arrête de croire que la prison est un "lieu pour se réinsérer". "Moi, je me suis fait attraper pour un petit fait, de catégorie correctionnelle. Je suis passé en comparution immédiate, on m'a condamné. Moi, maintenant quand je marche en promenade, je marche avec des tueurs, avec des meurtriers, des trafiquants internationaux. Et je le vous cache pas qu'à certains moments ça donne envie."


On BFM on January 2, Erik Svane will be discussing 2008 and its elections, along with Democrats Abroad rep Constance Laborde (details will follow)…

Snake eyes

Somebody said something about man-made global warming, somebody said something about doubling-down, somebody said something about that "free" shrimp cock-tail, somebody said something about house rules:

The ongoing snowstorm has stopped flights from landing or leaving at McCarran International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
"No planes are departing for Las Vegas from anywhere in the U.S. right now," said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.
You gotta double-up to catch-up.

They Had to Hang a Pork Chop Around His Neck to get the Dog to Play with Him

The EU has stopped funding to “5-6” western-balkans news operations that they were paying to cover their circus in Brussels. Bra-vo, and all that, but the question really is: why would they need to pay anyone to cover them to begin with?

Until the end of 2006, the European Commission supported all TV correspondents coming from EU candidate states. This was first a scheme first applied to the correspondents of 12 countries that are now part of the EU.
Then it was our turn in the “Western Balkans”. This technical aid consisted of cameras, editing studios and a chance to send our stories via satellite. The first 12 beneficiaries of the scheme were happy to receive this aid until the day they entered the EU. Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia were to follow. Back in 2003, the EU gave these countries a clear perspective of eventual membership, right?But almost two years ago, the European Commission reorganized the budget in order to redirect the money earmarked for “media support”. They cash was top be redirected towards civil society, they said. So, money that once went on media support is now going to go directly to the countries for the purposes of staging workshops, seminars and similar activities, including sporadic help for several TV broadcasts. This initiative is fine, but what about the correspondents, the people that are at the centre of happenings? Who better than us can directly and instantaneously inform people about political events concerning our countries?
The simple answer is to start media support of civil societies, whatever the hell that chilling, ademocratic sounding thing is – as opposed to proving so be so uninteresting or so unable to market virally that you have to put cash out on the street.

I find odd though, that the title of the blog reporting on this is called “shooting the messenger”, as though it’s perfectly normal for a government entity to pay journalists, and a sign of harshness when they stop paying them.

Elsewhere, demanding students ask: What am I? Chopped liver? Frankly, yes. Yes you are.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008



All my life I've known better than to depend on the experts. How could I have been so stupid, to let them go ahead?
Generally speaking, pick your topic and apply the above in very large doses.


Just like a three-day bender in Amsterdam, something always comes along to harsh your buzz dude. In this particular instance, reality intrudes:

Many American environmentalists are also rubbing their eyes in amazement. Just as a new US administration looks ready after eight years of Bush stagnation to make real efforts on climate change, the Europeans seem to be getting cold feet.
The possible irony of Euro-centric eco-sanity is indeed delicious to think about.

Don't these Little Lefties Know that ‘Hate is not a Family Value’?

Drug addled ‘young militants’ hunt Jews in Mumbai.

Drug addled ‘young militants’ hunt Jews in Berlin.

Last Wednesday, hundreds, if not thousands, of students ostensibly protesting poor conditions in German schools stormed the main building of Berlin’s historic Humboldt University: smashing windows, occupying seminar rooms, strewing rolls of toilet paper in the lobby and courtyard, and even setting at least one fire. Most astonishingly, the protesters also laid waste to an exhibit in the entry hall of the building devoted to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. The exhibit was titled “Betrayed and Sold: Jewish Businesses in Berlin 1933-1945.” According to reports on the German news site Spiegel-Online and in the popular German tabloid Bild, virtually all the poster boards making up the exhibit were damaged and, as photo evidence shows, some were fully ripped in two. Eyewitnesses cited by Spiegel-Online say that the rioters who destroyed the exhibit were adolescents around thirteen years old.

Interviewed by Spiegel-Online, a researcher at the university reported that when he informed rioters that the university had visitors from Israel and asked “What will they think?” one young man responded “F*ck Israel!”
[Scheiß Israel] and proceeded to attack him. Reacting to suggestions that the students may not have realized what the subject of the exhibit was, police chief Peter-Michael Haeberer told Bild: “Leaving aside the fact that university employees and other witnesses pointed it out to them, even a dyslexic could not have failed to recognize that it was an exhibit about the persecution of the Jews. The perpetrators knew exactly what they were doing.”
All in the name of liberating something or other, of course.

“fighting the system”, and demanding the “ Demokratisierung der Schulen
The incident occurred merely three days after Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German dignitaries solemnly commemorated the 70th anniversary of the infamous Kristallnacht pogroms, during which thousands of Jewish-owned shops and synagogues were destroyed throughout Germany.
As with the riots in Greece, there is an unrepresented degree of organization to this, with the adolescent ragers at Indymedia playing a hidden role. In Berlin, it even gets richer. Looking desperately for something to trash, a group engaging in Fagan-like organizing of students as young as 13 posts stickers around the city calling for “school strikes” over just about anything they believe the world should give them for free, including jobs – this of course, without being able to square that claim with the demand that capitalism disappear. As we’ve seen before over and over, these things go down a lot easier if you know nothing about the world, and have even less life experience than your average 17 year old.

To the French, One Iraqi Shoe-Thrower Becomes the Symbol of His 30 Million Countrymen

Au printemps 2003, en signe de vengeance et de mépris, les Irakiens frappaient de leurs chaussures les statues monumentales de Saddam Hussein jetées à terre par les troupes américaines. Cinq ans plus tard, ils les jettent à la figure du chef de la coalition venue les libérer d'une sanglante dictature, en le traitant de "chien".
Voilà ce que nous apprend (sic) Le Monde! A moins que j'ai mal vu les images de la télé, ce ne sont pas 30 millions d'Irakiens (!) mais… un seul (!) qui s'est mué en jetteur de godasses.

Dominique Dhombres renchérit en affirmant — in so many words (et à la grande joie des lecteurs du Monde) — que le mot de la fin de la guerre d'Irak, ce n'est autre que
ce lancer de chaussures à Bagdad.
Le Monde (et ses lecteurs) ignorent allègrement 1) les condamnations du geste par de nombreux Irakiens, tout comme ils ignorent allègrement 2) que si un journaliste avait été l'auteur d'un geste similaire contre Saddam Hussein (ou contre, mettons, Assad ou contre les Mollahs, pays dans lesquels ce geste a été loué "spontanément"), il aurait eu (au minimum) les bras arrachés.

Comme le dit Gateway Pundit : "Funny. This never happened at a Saddam palace before?" The reporter "did not have his tongue cut out, did not have his arms broke and was not thrown off a roof. Now that's success." Gateway Pundit ajoute : "Of course, we have an idea what al-Zaidi would be going through right now if he were held in an Egyptian prison."

Enfin, 3) tant Le Monde que ses lecteurs présentent (à travers leur correspondante, Mouna Naïm) Mountazer Al-Zaïdi comme un Irakien type, alors que jamais, ô grand jamais, il n'aurait jeté une chaussure ou quoi que ce soit sur Saddam Hussein, vu que le dictateur était son héros et que — justement — le journaliste de Al-Baghdadiya travaille pour une télévision pro-saddamite ; sa "protestation" tient donc à peu près autant du symbolique que si, après le printemps 1945, un journaliste allemand, de tendance nazie, avait jeté ses bottes sur Franklin Delano Roosevelt ou Churchill pour tous les morts que les Américains et/ou les Anglais — et non Adolf Hitler — avaient causé durant la 2nde Guerre Mondiale.

Update: Ralph Peters agrees…

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

High School Musical

You probably already know what a watermelon is. Look it up in the dictionary, and you should find Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s face should be there. High among his priorities are the silencing people who don’t agree with him, and trying to relive his childhood (which was actually quixotic by European standards) of abetting fugitive terrorists.

His latest tantrum was a passive-aggressive sit-down protest in front of Czech president Vaclav Havel’s person, presumably because he exists, and hasn’t drunk from the same cup as Cohn-Bendit, a leftist flunky for any revolutionary notion that a 15 year old is unsophisticated enough to embrace.

He then moved on to the Lisbon Treaty. "I don't care about your opinions on it," he said. If the Czech Parliament approves the treaty in February, he demanded, "Will you respect the will of the representatives of the people?"
Which is exactly where the problem lies. It’s the ‘representatives of the people’ of other EU member states that the people who voted in the Netherlands, France, and Ireland when they were voting on referenda themselves, sans non-representative representation voted in by people other than them.
He then reprimanded the president for his recent meeting in Ireland with Declan Ganley, the millionaire leader of the "No" campaign in the Irish referendum, claiming that it was improper for Klaus to have talked to someone whose "finances come from problematic sources".

Visibly taken aback by this onslaught, Klaus observed: "I must say that no one has talked to me in such a style and tone in the past six years. You are not on the barricades in Paris here. I thought that such manners ended for us 19 years ago" (ie when Communism fell). When Klaus suggested to Hans-Gert Pöttering, the president of the EU Parliament, that perhaps it was time for someone else to take the floor, Pöttering replied that "anyone from the members of the Parliament can ask you what he likes", and invited Cohn-Bendit to continue.

"This is incredible', said Klaus.
The post-vote attacks on Declan Ganley have really been rather hilarious, and egged on and caused by many in the press as well. They included things like complaining that he’s made his money ‘in business’, accused without basis in fact of taking money from the CIA (while ironically neglecting to mention that the US government has been begging Europeans to get their act together as a group,) and nicknaming him ‘The Mysterious Mr. No’ when he’s made his position on matters as plain as day. This kind of smear that the attention-seeking left likes to pull, and an inability to absorb any new idea since 1917 despite their love of “la provoc” that’s all too typical and stale.

Elsewhere: the german pulisher with a near monopoly, Bertelsmann, is trying to dictate to the incoming US president America's terms of surrender to them. Since they effectively bought-off Senetor Obama, the stunt might just work.
The Washington, DC-based Bertelsmann Foundation presented its Trans-Atlantic Briefing Book for the Obama administration on Thursday, 13 November 2008 in the US capital. The Briefing Book is a policy blueprint that offers strategies for foreign-policy cooperation between Europeans and the new American leadership during their first consultations in early 2009.

The Bertelsmann Foundation, the only non-partisan pan-European think tank in Washington, DC, wrote its Briefing Book from a distinctly European perspective. The Book describes the go and the no-go areas of major foreign-policy issues. It realistically considers the shortcomings of the European institutions and EU member-states. The Briefing Book highlights the numerous fields of trans-Atlantic cooperation and focuses on the viewpoints of Brussels, London, Paris and Berlin.
They might just manage to Talibanize us after all.

Again, is this some sort of end-run telling us that they are "speaking for the representatives of the people"?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Slicing and dicing 2008-style

One would think that winning the Nobel Prize for Economics would instill just a wee bit of self-confidence in the New York Times' op-edist Paul Krugman. As seen previously, Mr. Krugman tends to get his fingers a bit singed when pontificating on European affairs.

Never-the-less, todays effort:

So here’s the situation: the economy is facing its worst slump in decades. The usual response to an economic downturn, cutting interest rates, isn’t working. Large-scale government aid looks like the only way to end the economic nosedive.

But there’s a problem: conservative politicians, clinging to an out-of-date ideology — and, perhaps, betting (wrongly) that their constituents are relatively well positioned to ride out the storm — are standing in the way of action.

No, I’m not talking about Bob Corker, the Senator from Nissan — I mean Tennessee — and his fellow Republicans, who torpedoed last week’s attempt to buy some time for the U.S. auto industry. (Why was the plan blocked? An e-mail message circulated among Senate Republicans declared that denying the auto industry a loan was an opportunity for Republicans to “take their first shot against organized labor.”)

I am, instead, talking about Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and her economic officials, who have become the biggest obstacles to a much-needed European rescue plan.
Is Mr. Krugman aware that Germany has (unfortunately) a "grand" coalition of government of left and right? The slicing and dicing started above but really grates here:

As in the United States, monetary policy — cutting interest rates in an effort to perk up the economy — is rapidly reaching its limit. That leaves, as the only way to avert the worst slump since the Great Depression, the aggressive use of fiscal policy: increasing spending or cutting taxes to boost demand. Right now everyone sees the need for a large, pan-European fiscal stimulus.

Everyone, that is, except the Germans. Mrs. Merkel has become Frau Nein: if there is to be a rescue of the European economy, she wants no part of it, telling a party meeting that "we're not going to participate in this senseless race for billions."

Last week Peer Steinbrück, Mrs. Merkel’s finance minister, went even further. Not content with refusing to develop a serious stimulus plan for his own country, he denounced the plans of other European nations. He accused Britain, in particular, of engaging in "crass Keynesianism."
Anyone with a modicum (or a modem) of interest in European affairs knows that the person leading the charge on the German reluctance (not necessarily unwarranted) to jump in feet first and without thinking is indeed Peer Steinbrück. However, Herr Steinbrück is not "Mrs. Merkel's finance minister". Herr Steinbrück is the finance minister from the Social Democratic Party portion of the coalition government led by Frau Merkel.

The point of the post goes back to the beginning of Mr. Krugman's piece:

But there’s a problem: conservative politicians, clinging to an out-of-date ideology — and, perhaps, betting (wrongly) that their constituents are relatively well positioned to ride out the storm — are standing in the way of action.
Who knew, Peer Steinbrück and the left-wing Social Democrats in Germany are amongst the "conservative politicians clinging to an out-of-date ideology". Perhaps this post is rather dancing on the head of a pin, but shouldn't we expect more from our Nobel Laureates?

Just think it is sloppy work on behalf of Mr. Krugman, sure....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Times, they are a Flailing

Like the hoax that could set Belgians running to rationalize and the bombing that brought down a Spanish government, the fact that Europeans don’t want to be a nation with responsibilities, but rather a power vacuum magically held in high regard for their image of themselves, it’s an apparent function of character. That sort of character is the product of a million silly ideas about what one thinks human nature COULD do if you could will it away, one that can no longer use the excuse of what it thinks is its’ own experience, and will only be purged from our lower GI tract when the ‘68ers become too old to care about the sound of their own voices.

In the process of discussing India’s options following the Mumbai attacks, Barry Rubin has a point that while painful to hear is the obvious codex of our modern age:

The problem here is that the international community is not exactly courageous. There are those who sympathize with the terrorists, those who apologize for the terrorists, and those who are afraid of the terrorists.

What is truly frightening is how much the world is afraid of the terrorists. An example: In 2006 the Israel-Hizballah war ended with a UN ceasefire resolution. The UN, meaning more than 180 countries, pledged to patrol southern Lebanon and keep Hizballah forces from returning there. It also promised to help stop arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to Hizballah. In fact, after two years the UN armed soldiers in Lebanon have done nothing. Hizballah has returned and rearmed. What happened? Hizballah, and Syria, hinted that if the UN forces did their job they would be attacked. The entire world surrendered to Hizballah.
And to think that it was those very nailbiters that decided that they had to step in just so somebody else doesn’t do something about the way the Iran-Syria-Hizballah complex has ravaged Lebanon’s future and “regional stability” – that very nebulous and impossible that thing the Europeans keep pretending is itself a virtue worthy of permanently accepting tyrannies to maintain.

Indeed we may even have to wait until the real stupidest generation has permanently stopped talking about itself to see a change.