Saturday, January 31, 2009

Missing the point

Interesting to read the dispatches in the US regarding a natural disaster going un-noticed:

Utility crews renewed work in subfreezing temperatures Saturday in their effort to put the power back on for nearly a million customers left in the dark by an ice storm that crippled parts of several states this week.


Local officials grew angrier at what they said was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In Kentucky's Grayson County, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management Director Randell Smith said the 25 National Guardsmen who have responded have no chain saws to clear fallen trees. He said roads are littered with fallen trees and people shivering in bone-chilling cold are in need.

"We've got people out in some areas we haven't even visited yet," Smith said. "We don't even know that they're alive."

Smith said FEMA was still a no-show days after the storm.
As this is winter in the northern hemisphere, everyone should have known this was coming. Just as "hurricane season" denotes the possibility of hurricanes, winter denotes the possibility of snow, ice, and cold temperatures.

One element which is missing from this current natural disaster is the now curiously quiet chorus of US media types normally ready to pounce on every shivering shiverer in order to make political points. The New York Times editorial page, silent; Maureen Dowd, silent; Paul Krugman, silent; Bob Herbert, silent.

If only they showed the same Katrina-esque zeal during this particular natural disaster......

Then again, with a new and more amenable ruling class in Washington, pointing out the silence of the New York Times on the failure of government now rather misses the point of the whole exercise.

All hail the new laconicism.

A Complex of Small Minds and Lame Excuses

If we could only have another one of those Abba Eban style studies on the European mind, we could see just how simplistic and flawed the general reasoning is: a “modern” Paris Imam says that the Gaza conflict makes it hard for him to talk to French Jews, because he “differentiates them from Israelis?” No. Certainly not. The palpably lame Christian Science Monitor thinks it has to find a moral equivalency argument of its’ own to merely report the story saying:

Esther Benbassa, chair of Jewish studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, says one effect of the Gaza bombing already visible is "to remove the taboo of the Holocaust" in common speech, both among Arabs and ordinary French. "I don't agree that Gaza and the Holocaust can be compared, but I note a willingness to do so. I understand that, even if I don't agree with it. It's something new."
All those “venomous Jews” eh? As if opening up their mouths to incessantly apologize for something that they themselves haven’t done to people whose victimhood is limited to being offended that something is happening to SOME PEOPLE they want to identify with and not others.

But never mind that, these are the great minds of the conversational, intellectual society that Parisians continually claim to be. Their tender sensibilities and humanism require a tap-dance to even mention the fact that the French to compare the Israelis retuning fire at people who fire rockets at them as a Holocaust.

This doesn’t come as a novelty. That meme has been bouncing around in the Arab mind for the past 40 years when the Holocaust could no longer be plausibly denied. It is, however only been 20 years since this madness has dominated the majority of Europeans, who should know something of the Pagroms, Holocaust, etal., and reveals the ethnological bigotry and simplistic reasoning widespread in the population: that the nationalities, or more to the point their image of the nationalities forms comparisons by way of involvement. Jews figured as the biggest group of victims of the Holocaust, therefore the feel like you sound smart, one must find an inversion by which one can point a finger in the air at false surprise. “Those Jews” (as if the survivors of Auschwitz and Birkenau were the ones returning fire today) must be at fault as they are magically connected because they fit into the same simple category that that average european can understand: the tribal pigeon hole.
"Solidarity with Palestinians has at its roots a feeling of disenfranchisement in France," says Ms. Benbassa. "Migrants from North Africa are astounded to find that when something happens to Jews it is treated with great importance in the media, but when something happens to Arabs or blacks, it is not."
As though this was anyone’s fault but that of the paranoiac society that they live in, “in the heart of Europe”.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Does banning freikörperkultur contravene Schengen?

Amazing to see what gets people all hot and bothered. Confiscatory taxation, no. Ever growing governmentalism, no. Diminishment of civil liberties, no. Feckless leadership in government and/or commerce, no. Mindless labour unionism, no.

Naked German ramblers, yes:

When the first nude walkers came over the border the tranquil, neutrality-loving Swiss tried to pretend it wasn't happening. It was only when it became clear that the invaders had a plan of conquest — even if they had no clothes — that the Alpenhorns sounded the alarm.

Now the Swiss authorities are trying to fend off hordes of German ramblers dressed in nothing more than a rucksack and walking boots. The influx appears to have been started after a German mountaineering website declared the Swiss wilderness a "paradise for naked ramblers".
Don't forget the bug spray.

Populism Ran out of Reality a Long Time Ago

Many Europeans, in a roundabout and vague way see Barack Obama as some sort of Civil Rights Leader®™, because something in their limited frame of understanding tells them that it somehow should be that way. Whatever. It’s not like they’ll ever lay off of the stupid juice.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Behind the crickets

Remember the fuss about "windfall profits" the oil companies were "making" back in the day under BushCo™? Seems as though the very same oil companies are now suffering from "windfall losses":

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's largest oil company, posted its first quarterly loss in 10 years following a record plunge in oil prices, and warned that industry conditions "remain challenging."

The fourth-quarter net loss was $2.81 billion, or $0.44 a share, compared with a profit of $8.47 billion, or $1.36, a year earlier, The Hague-based Shell said today in a statement. Revenue fell 24 percent to $81.07 billion.
Oddly no word from the usual suspects who pushed the favoured saw of the statist hard-left tax-and-destroy ethos crowd back in the very same day as a way to "punish" those very same oil companies. Tim Worstall muses regarding one such group of usual suspects, Compass:

However, if, logically, those "excess profits" should be windfall taxed away in the good times then those "excess losses" should be subsidised in the bad times, no? So why isn’t Compass out there calling for a subsidy to Shell?

Two possible reasons I suppose. The first being that they’re too dim to understand what is going on, the logic of their own position. The second is that there was no logic to their earlier demands for a windfall tax. That it was just a circle jerk for frothing lefties.

I have to admit that I can see truth in both explanations.
Rinse and repeat, inserting your own favourite statist hard-left socialistic pressure group in lieu of Compass.

The intellectual, cultural war waged against the USA

This interview with Dr. Walid Phares might be of interest to lateral thinkers
writes Ellen Sundstrom.
Dr. Phares claims there is an intellectual, cultural war waged against the USA. That over the years sums of monnies have been invested in Ivy League Universities i.e. Harvard and Georgetown and that the Jihadist lobby is impacting the classrooms.

Europe Loves Gitmo

Indeed they do love it. Without it, how could their politicians keep feigning to have meaningful, strident opinions that they can fill the airtime with and by which try to seem relevant.

Now it’s okay. Now it isn’t. Now they want them, now they don’t.

Barack Obama has signed an executive order to close the GuantánamoBay detention center – among other things, in response to a barrage of “international” criticism of the center and of the Bush administration’s policies toward its inmates. But – believe it or not – in February 2002, the EU Parliament passed a resolution approving of the Bush administration’s policies and explicitly stating that the Guantánamo inmates do not qualify for Geneva Convention protections.
It’s the same old passive-aggressive fear and loathing in Europe. Once upon a time, they were all for Gitmo because it gave them a way of not having to take their “one-time residents” “nationals” and “citizens” who were ready to murder their way to paradise, now after years of publicly telling their populations that they then wanted it to end, they were privately telling Washington that they wouldn’t take the detritus of war on splodey-dopes.

Now the stalling tactic is different: they aver that they want “the innocent ones” whoever they are, and they want the US to declare them the innocent ones, so that they don’t have to put their money where their fat fotzen are and blanketly declare the innocence of Gitmo “alumni” themselves.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — European Union leaders said Monday they were willing to take in prisoners being released from the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay — but stressed that American authorities must show ex-inmates pose no security threat before they can be resettled.

Foreign ministers from the 27-nation bloc discussed the fate of up to 60 Guantanamo inmates who, if freed, cannot be returned to their homelands because they would face abuse, imprisonment or death. The prisoners come from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Afghanistan, Chad, China, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The EU's foreign and security chief, Javier Solana, said Europeans wanted to help on humanitarian grounds.

But he said no EU state could act until President Barack Obama's administration gets its Guantanamo case files in order and can demonstrate that prisoners do not pose credible security risks.
Let’s face it: those remaining are the ones who either have a much worst fate going to any of the countries that will take them, or they really are a threat.

So, which is it? Apart from the fact that the entire conversation they’re having is with their “imaginary friend in Washington”:

Finland's foreign minister, Alexander Stubb, said Guantanamo inmates would become eligible for resettlement only once they passed through U.S. scrutiny and courts and were granted official status as political refugees.

"Then, we'll have to have a look at that individually," said Stubb, who also is chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. "If there are people who are not tried and are let free, but they can't go back to their own countries, I think we in Europe should take our responsibility."

But Stubb emphasized the widespread view that the U.S. administration was not yet in position to clear any terror suspects.

"We are jumping the gun here a little bit, because the Americans haven't given us an offer or required us to take anyone on board," Stubb said.

Burning down the House

Yet again the French are on strike. This time, among the usual collection of everybody striking over their own petty demands that they expect the rest of society to attend to for them, is the over-arching theme of this economy wrecking event – they are striking against the global economy.

The best I can gather from interviewed agonists and such is that in large part people are mad at the French government’s intervention to prop up the banks and major industries, something the blithering idiots are usually all for. Normally, a trend away from socialistic dirigisme would be a good thing for the overall potential of a healthy economy, but these protestors, including the bolshy CGT, Reds, etal., are protesting that the largesse of the state is being directed at the economy at all and not limited to relieving them of the cost of social free-riding.

Even the employees of the Euronext stock exchange are marching. Just what is it that they think the ‘social compact’ is supposed to do for their racket that the rest of the people in their same union won’t protest?

Never letting a crisis go to waste, the left are ready to exploit your misery for the sake of their power-grab, and opportunity to wreck the economy for good with methods borrowed from the largely agrarian 1930s. As per the Boy wonder Olivier Besancenot:
Olivier Besancenot, the young leader of France’s extreme left is hoping Thursday’s strike will be the first step towards another French revolution as the recession bites and protests multiply across Europe’s second largest economy.
“We want the established powers to be blown apart,”
As usual, the thing they don’t get when they are pretending to care about the larger society is that they don’t – they want someone to cover their individual wants and needs, and can’t get past the fact that sooner or later there is no-one else left to tax, and that the pitiful little sums that ARE broadly redistributed reflect that ugly fact. Irrationally, they demand some more, demand anyone who makes a shade more than them pay higher taxes, and slows the process of productive wealth generation (the only thing one CAN tax) even further. Grim a bunch as they are, relatively speaking, they are still the leisure class. What the public sector workers are accomplishing by striking is beyond me.

They are even dumber than the American far-left.

Only a small part of the dialog seems to have anything to do with aiding those who were made unemployed or are facing hardships related to being out of work or unemployable for one reason or another.

If you can get though the unfocussed clamor of broad, universal complaints, it is in effectas though they are protesting the unrelenting persistence of gravity, and think the government, the collective, or anyone other than they themselves – can somehow reverse it.

There ain’t no cure for gravity, people.

"Les talibans semblaient moins craindre les observations aériennes que leur localisation grâce aux cartes SIM de leurs téléphones"

Jacques Follorou tells the story of the French businessman, a former legionnaire who fought with Commander Massoud, who was a hostage of the Taliban for three weeks…
Les gardiens alternaient entre les combats et la garde du prisonnier. L'otage se souvient les avoir entendus raconter certaines de leurs opérations. "Ils avaient attiré des commandos américains dans un guet-apens en laissant un portable allumé, avec lequel ils avaient communiqué en arabe dans une maison abandonnée, puis avaient miné le lieu ; ils étaient contents, le piège avait semble-t-il fonctionné."

Le 19 juin, alors que la routine de la vie d'otage s'est installée, Johan Freckhaus saisit une conversation entre deux gardiens : "Il va être échangé", se disent-ils. "Je pensais qu'ils parlaient de mon codétenu irakien, mais c'était pour moi." Il est transféré, en plein jour, sur une moto, les yeux bandés, dans la cour de la maison d'un mollah local, proche des talibans, où il retrouve ses deux ingénieurs. Une liaison téléphonique avec un négociateur français, chargé par la France d'obtenir sa libération, annonce l'issue de l'épreuve, alors que, cachée dans un recoin, la fille du mollah fixe l'otage du regard. En guise d'au revoir, "Elias" lui glisse, "si on te reprend, on te tue, on n'est pas copains", puis lui demande, peu après : "Qu'est-ce que tu penses de moi ?"

L'un des deux hélicoptères Caracal de l'armée de l'air française basé à l'aéroport de Kaboul récupère alors les otages. Rapatrié sur l'une des bases des services secrets (DGSE), à Orléans, l'ex-détenu français est interrogé quelques heures après avoir atterri. Dans l'avion du retour, Johan Freckhaus, comprenant la somme de moyens déployés pour sa libération, s'inquiète, en souriant, de la facture qu'il va devoir acquitter. Un membre de la DGSE lui rétorque, sur le même ton : "T'inquiète, tu pourras jamais rembourser."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Trying out their new Vainglory

Since when is it that an a UN type like Manfred Nowak, albeit a political beast of a UN type, would need to throw red meat at an ugly mob?

It did not take long. On January 20, the very day of the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the new president of the United States, Germany’s ZDF public television broadcast a report in which UN “torture rapporteur” Manfred Nowak called for the new American administration to prosecute outgoing President Bush and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on torture charges.
Assmonkey. When have you ever once tried to get even so much as an "operational pause" out of Mobutu, Mugabe, or a genuine despot torturing to maintain a grip on unelected power?

Nowak, you might recall, was a perennial fixture on the UN missing persons/human rights racket in the former Yugoslavia where a suspiciously small to non-existent number of actual genocidal murderers were detained. He at once called human rights in Bosnia “a local matter” and calling for this silly bit of super-national overreach by which to masturbate.

That said, let’s have a look at the man’s intentions: to make people parrot a few words that reassure him on the subjects of human rights – I assume by this he means to say that this is the leaving unabused the innocent, but I haven’t found his definition of it.
To Prof. Nowak, human rights in general is a worldwide issue and not a western society issue. There have been many positive changes in the last 20 years, especially concerning the widespread public awareness of and respect for human rights. It is important to promote the dissemination of human rights standards and democratic values in order to create a basic human rights culture which involves all people and cultures around the world.
So go ahead, world: be primitive and savage. Just say the magic words and you can get away with it. In the mean time, we’ll go after the government that says what they’re doing, who they’re doing it to, and isn’t by any normal definition of torture doing anything those blessed, angelic, Europeans aren’t doing.

Don’t Forget to Hide

The irony of risk adversity in Europe is that a mere threat on the internet can both scare the bejeezus out of the public, stir governments to do whatever they can to be taking no action to stop it, and immediately prompt a public display of self-abuse. As is some anonymous outfit called “Islamic Jihad Union” will be more deferential as a result or that there is anyone among them that one could negotiate with in a way that will assure anyone of anything.

The Belgian stiffie has re-emerged in Germany, again.

The German public television station first reported on the video, which is being attributed to Islamic Jihad Union, a radical group active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the video, which features details of dead children and injured people, six men threaten violence against Germany.

"We have a few surprise packages prepared this year," the men reportedly say. "Allies of the occupation powers must always reckon with our attacks."

Germany currently has 3,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in that country.

The video also made reference to the latest conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"For 10 days the world has watched as Muslims in the Gaza Strip have been massacred," the men in the video reportedly say. "Where is the US? Where is Mrs. Merkel and her cabinet?"
In case you’re wondering, the al-Qaida flavor of Jihad had not started fixating on Israel until well after 9-11, and it’s purpose was merely to prop up its’ waning popularity. Then, as now, and potentially into the future, the aversion therapy the Americas put them on has done on “the Arab/Muslim/irate crowd” street what appeasement has never done: caused the angry to stop and think of the real consequences of the casual, decades long call for the blood of Jews, Americans, Europeans, Gays, Secularists, Pluralists, etc., etc., the straw men they had built up in the societies they live in.

Which is to say that this is the first time in the more savage corners of that broad collection of subcultures we misidentify as the “Muslim World” the “Arab World”, etal., that the concept of coexistence and compassion have had to be grappled with. You can thank George Bush for that.

C'est comme ça

Leftist, as usual, are trying to criminally prosecute people for disagree with their world view.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, on Monday issued a subpoena to Mr. Rove, seeking his appearance at a deposition Feb. 2. Mr. Conyers wants the former aide to President George W. Bush to answer questions on the Justice Department's firings of U.S. attorneys in 2006, among other matters.

[ ... ]

"Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it," Mr. Conyers said.
If the rhetoric sounds familiar, just rip a page out of history: a 1967 East German “documentary” interviewing US Air Force pilots and Navy aviators downed over North Vietnam. The only difference is that even Conyers isn’t capable of matching the false rhetoric of an East German propagandist, as mendacious as it really was.
Interviewer: Lieutenant, you are experiencing in practice an example of socialist humanity. The President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, has stated that the people here are capable of differentiating between real criminals in the background, who hold the decisive positions of government, and their tools who carry out their plans by dropping bombs and firing rockets. You are enjoying here more or less the advantages of this socialist concept which does not absolve you of guilt or minimize your actions, but does differentiate in each case between the initiators of a policy and their mere tools.
So let’s be frank. The goal of that Kangaroo court questioning was the same as Conyers’.

Peter Hitchens marks just such a signpost on the way: the left would like to revive memories of the “great society” while they turn us into a latter day Yemen.
Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell , or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship, its nearest equivalent, is focused on a man who actually did something.
I really don't see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers.

[ ... ]

Just look at his sermon by the shores of Lake Michigan. He really did talk about a new dawn, and a timeless creed, (which was yes, we can!). He proclaimed that change has come. He revealed that, despite having edited the Harvard Law Review, he doesn't know what enormity means. He reached depths of oratorical drivel never even plumbed by our own Mr Blair, burbling about putting our hands on the arc of history (or was it the ark of history?) and bending it once more toward the hope of a better day (Don't try this at home).
To wit:
The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world.
Suspicious of welfare addiction, feeble justice and high taxes, totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique.
Even the “economic recovery plan” and the idea that international relations will make your citizens personally liked abroad has a familiar sounding ring to it:
There has been many a confirmation of our firm conviction that the internal development of socialism necessitates an objective growth of the possibilities and requirements of international cooperation between the fraternal countries. The results attained by each individual country will be all the better, the more comprehensive use is made of the chances offered by internationalist cooperation. For this reason the GDR pursues an active policy of intensified dovetailing between the economies of the GDR and the USSR and of deepening socialist economic integration.

Major projects such as the joint power grid, participation in the construction of a natural gas pipeline, the GDR's modern power stations and the ESER data processing system are the outcome of this policy. Nowadays there is no task of major importance which the GDR does not tackle in fraternal cooperation with the USSR. Suffice it to mention the efforts made to ensure the raw materials and energy base or to master promising spheres of scientific and technological progress such as microelectronics. At the same time, the wide range of ties between the GDR's combines and scientific institutions and their partners in the fraternal socialist countries is becoming even more ramified. Economic efficiency and also the personal experience of friendship and internationalism, that leaves its impression throughout a lifetime, are the result of this cooperation in training, research and production ...

It will be one of our vital concerns in the years to come, together with the Soviet Union and the other states of the socialist community, to achieve scientific and technological advances that embody top standards, to harness them for the people's well-being, which will also help strengthen the economic positions of socialism in the world. The good results obtained encourage us in our intention to tackle projects of even greater dimension with optimism and consistency.
Really, there IS no place like utopia.

France's convoluted internal political debate on NATO

… the French message can be confusing, especially at the point where its convoluted internal political debate on NATO, weighted with factionalism worthy of Italy's 12th century Guelphs and Ghibellines, runs into the reality of just what France wants in terms of a European NATO pillar
writes John Vinocur in his article about "a country that for close to a half-century maintained a gap between itself and NATO for its own advantage."
Bruno Le Maire, the new French minister for Europe, speaking last week at a symposium in Paris on relations with the Obama administration, said three things that were not readily understood by all of France's allies.

First, that Europe had to have "our own doctrine on Iran"; that NATO must be redefined in April "so that we know what organization we're entering"; and that a Europeans-only military operational headquarters in Brussels "had been agreed to in principle."


The puzzlement is that NATO has been redefining itself for a decade, that the operational center has little future in any realistic time frame, and that a "European doctrine" on the Iranian threat — not exactly a unifying notion since Le Maire himself said intra-European agreement on security issues was "unbelievably difficult" — sounds plain baffling.

For a U.S. official, Sarkozy's real task before giving the final go-ahead is to resolve the internal French debate and make sure his base is with him. The official said, "You want it all lined up in advance."

Beyond their internal debate, the fact is also that very little has been done by the French (while reducing their defense budget and cutting back their military presence in Africa) to support the American expectation that they would be a leader in steering the rest of Europe toward greater investment in defense.

This too: Sarkozy's perceived haste in resuming the EU's "strategic partnership" talks with Russia after it invaded Georgia — coupled with his placing more blame on Ukraine than the Kremlin during their gas supply dispute — hardly advanced France's self-portrayal as a more consensual future leader for all NATO's members, particularly those from the old Soviet bloc.

Gibing at Europe's "most important politicians" last week, Poland's conservative president, Lech Kaczynski, said their failure to stand behind the Ukrainians "proved once more that a country that gets drawn into a dispute with Russia cannot count on any effective help."
Update: Denmark's Uffe Ellemann-Jensen refers to the paper tigers of Europe while calling the EU's policy towards Russia "the Three Monkeys" policy:
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and you won't be touched by the evil … the three monkeys is a precise picture of many big European countries towards Russia.

Le prisonnier "est en train de mourir"

Yet another report about a prisoner's death (this one not a suicide), is the subject of Alain Salles' article in Le Monde.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gaia is a cruel mistress

The Origins of the French-American Conflict, as Seen by a De Gaulle Foe

While America was giving lavishly of her blood and her money for the great democratic idea of human liberty, General de Gaulle was inclining more and more toward a neo-fascism that was the very thing America had set out to destroy. Only the United States could liberate and save France, But General de Gaulle was unwilling to admit this. Even on D-Day when the Americans landed on the Normandy beaches, he refused in his radio "Appeal to the French People" to acknowledge their sacrifice and heroism. … In London, in Algiers, in Paris, wherever he has gone, he has left behind him a trail of mistrust, ingratitude, and hostility toward America.
A 1945 pamphlet against Charles de Gaulle has been republished. Originally an admirer of the French officer, Henry de Kérillis turned against the general as World War II progressed. Because of the powers that De Gaulle kept accumulating, Henry de Kérillis warned that he would institute the equivalent of an effective dictatorship in France and, more to the point, that he was behind the French-American conflict (or, rather, the Gaullist-American conflict), a conflict which he (Henri de Kérillis) deemed entirely artificial.

If You Have Any Interest in the Doctrine of Free Speech…

Tom Trento interviewed Geert Wilders at The Hague, the day before the Dutchman was charged with hate speech.

Think Locally, Act Feebly

Global Village Idiots: Zapatero’s Socialist industry minister, Miguel Sebastián is resorting to good old fashioned European nativism, urging Spaniards to “shop patriotically”, as if they were cloth-cap wearing, lunch-pail toting old-fashioned factory worker reds who occasionally show up to work sober.

Mr Sebastián then did some simple calculations. Consumption was expected to fall by €7bn ($9bn, £6.6bn) this year, causing the loss of 120,000 jobs. If each Spaniard introduced the “Spain factor” into their shopping and purchased just €150 of Spanish-made suits or toys instead of foreign goods, then those jobs would be preserved.
That should do wonders for exports, and says quite a bit about the thought behind the call: when it doesn’t work, trade restrictions, even those within Europe, would have to be put in place to make the theory support the sentiment.

Between all the tribalism, small-thinking, and ego propping delusions, that benighted “globally thinking Europe” forming an “ever closer union” is looking more like a sitcom based on Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

Good luck with all that.

Monday, January 26, 2009


It is an odd feeling when one finds themselves agreeing with the chairman of Germany's Social Democrats:

Franz Müntefering, chairman of Germany’s Social Democrats, hit out against bankers on Sunday, describing them as "gangsters" and a threat to democracy, amid discussions over ways to step up support to the country’s ailing banks.

"Most of the bankers are competent and responsible, but there are also some beatniks, pyromaniacs and gangsters," he said in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

"Some have lost track of what they were doing. Others risked everything. And further bankers have lined their pockets. This is a burden for democracy," said Mr Müntefering, famous for branding financial investors as "locusts" in 2005.
Now, will the chairman agree that the very same comments hold true for many politicians, government officials, and trade unionists? Or, would that be missing the point?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Left’s Conditional Love of Society

VDH asks “whither the shredding?”

If you are a civil libertarian, if you are in the ACLU or a law professor, or a liberal in good standing who swore that George Bush from Texas, with strut and twang and mangled vocabulary, destroyed your liberties with FISA, with the Patriot Act, and with Iraq, then please extend that outrage to Barack Obama, for whom all such shredding of the Constitution suddenly has become merely complex and problematic rather than fascistic. Please list, cite, name just one instance from 2002-8 in which you lost your freedom, or you were censored on the library internet, or you were followed around by the FBI, or your letter to the editor earned a wiretap, or even one instance of the loss of any freedom under Bush—and if so, just one example of how the election of Obama has once again restored your lost liberty. Nothing in the abstract, please—something concrete, an example both real and personal.
Did you notice how the Constitution suddenly just unshredded itself? That wiretapping is just A1-OK and that no-one is unhinged, stamping their little feet, and holding their breath? Could have something to do with fantasies of being able to wiretap republicans… all in the interest of “social justice” of course.
In a major August 2008 decision released yesterday in redacted form, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, the FISA appellate panel, affirmed the government's Constitutional authority to collect national-security intelligence without judicial approval. The case was not made public before yesterday, and its details remain classified.
Somewhere along the way we “un-apocalypsed”. How and why did that change so quickly?
For all the political hysteria and media dishonesty about George W. Bush "spying on Americans," this fight was never about anything other than staging an ideological raid on the President's war powers. Barack Obama ought to be thankful that the FISA court has knocked the bottom out of this gambit, just in time for him to take office.

Begging the question

As the economic "crisis" is in its relative infancy, is this sustainable for any amount of time:

Across the whole of the UK, 49% of the economy will consist of state spending, while in Wales, the figure will be 71.6% – up from 59% in 2004-5. Nowhere in mainland Britain, however, comes close to Northern Ireland, where the state is responsible for 77.6% of spending, despite the supposed resurgence of the economy after the end of the Troubles.

Even in southern England, the government’s share of spending is growing relentlessly. In the southeast, it has gone up from 33% to 36% of the economy in four years.

The state now looms far larger in many parts of Britain than it did in former Soviet satellite states such as Hungary and Slovakia as they emerged from communism in the 1990s, when state spending accounted for about 60% of their economies.
Southeast Iceland awaits.

The Left Current Bleat is, in Essence, “Stop the Recovery”

One Suicide Every Three Days in France's Jails

One hundred and fifteen inmates committed suicide in French jails in 2008, or about one every three days, writes Alain Salles regarding a report disclosed in Le Monde.

2009 seems a promising year, so far, for Frenchmen bragging about their superior system to clueless Neanderthal-like Americans, as 13 people committed suicide during the first 14 days — as attested in and by a full-page article on the 13 unfortunates in the dead-tree version that, (although it appears right next to Salles' 2008 report article in the newspaper) strangely enough, does not appear on Le Monde's website…