Saturday, April 18, 2009

S-A-T-U-R-DEE-A-Y Night!

The cheque has cleared

French fishermen on Thursday lifted their blockade of Channel ports, providing relief to thousands of British motorists, but vowed to resort to other forms of action in pursuit of higher fishing quotas.

The fishermen allowed ferry traffic to resume in and out of Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne after late-night talks on Wednesday with the French government, which ended with the promise of €4bn ($5.3bn, £3.5bn) in compensation.

They Still Look Backward to me

The new heights of present-day weirdness are not that different that the heights of warped left authoritarian weirdness of old. Case in point: the 19th Socialist Utopian Edward Bellamy was as obsessed with state control and socialist control over the lives of individuals as he was in love with war for no reason, and using nationalist sentiment to enlarge the power of central government, NOT the actual cohesion of a free society.

It [Bellamy’s book “Looking Backward”] was the third largest bestseller of its time. It appears by title in many of the major Marxist writings of the day. "Nationalist Clubs" sprang up in the USA and worldwide for touting the book's ideas. It was tranlsated into every major language including German, Russian and Chinese. It even influenced socialists in the countries of the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part): 65 million dead under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; 49 million under the Peoples' Republic of China; 21 million under the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSGWP).

Edward influenced his cousin Francis Bellamy, famous for the Pledge of Allegiance, created for promoting their dogma in government schools. The Bellamys admired the military and they wanted the entire economy to ape the military. They called their dogma "military socialism" and "Christian Socialism" and they wanted government to take over all schools and create the "industrial army" from children to spread the Bellamy vision. Francis' early pledge was the origin of the straight-arm salute of the NSGWP, as discovered by the historian Dr. Rex Curry, author of "Pledge of Allegiance Secrets." Shocking photos are on the web.
And to think that the book itself was a fantasy “alternate history” novel of the US in the year 2000 being a Socialist paradise. Does “patriotic taxation’ sound familiar now? Doesn’t it seem to fit better into the historical context of one of its’ ideological cousins, Fascism? Didn’t it seem to transit those great ‘nationalist’ borders though transnational relationships that didn’t seem to want borders for itself as Socialism and Fascism did?

That 19th century idealism sounds an awful lot like the tortured arguments about equalization by destroying wealth and success, or the obsession with executive pay. In fact it sounds like the trained imprint, no less meaningless, no more plausible as to why we need it, and with no more depth, no matter how hard they try now as then:
"I would give a great deal for just one glimpse of the Boston of your day," replied Dr. Leete. "No doubt, as you imply, the cities of that period were rather shabby affairs. If you had the taste to make them splendid, which I would not be so rude as to question, the general poverty resulting from your extraordinary industrial system would not have given you the means. Moreover, the excessive individualism which then prevailed was inconsistent with much public spirit. What little wealth you had seems almost wholly to have been lavished in private luxury. Nowadays, on the contrary, there is no destination of the surplus wealth so popular as the adornment of the city, which all enjoy in equal degree."
The sad thing is that he authored the United States pledge of allegiance.

The irony is that the brutal anonymity with which man was held under past tyrannies is the same as the one promoted by the socialist of old, as well as in the present day as ‘humane’, and the ahuman haters that call themselves ‘progressive’ say this is as much as legacy we have as the enlightenment. Maybe, but so are monarchies, and we no longer see any use for that legacy other as an object lesson of what NOT to do.

Luckily there is a thing called American exceptionalism, one applied to itself and well moderated by those that the likes “social theorists” like Bellamy detested.
Edward's book Equality (1897) shows his disdain for individuality and differences and his desire to make everyone the same. The book did not equal its prequel in success.
Funny thing about academics when they let their guard down. They forget that they aren’t supposed to be on a first name basis with their idols.
What should you name as the most prominent feature of the labor troubles of your day?"

"Why, the strikes, of course," I replied.

"Exactly; but what made the strikes so formidable?"

"The great labor organizations."

"And what was the motive of these great organizations?"

"The workmen claimed they had to organize to get their rights from the big corporations," I replied.

"That is just it," said Dr. Leete; "the organization of labor and the strikes were an effect, merely, of the concentration of capital in greater masses than had ever been known before.
And so the left’s present day “rhetoric” if you can actually call it that sound suspiciously like it’s been plagiarized, unaware of its’ failed foundations or the fact that it’s largest real-life test, the Communist states degenerated into failure by their precepts, and not by it not going “far enough’ or being “pure enough”.

So in the mean time we can look forward to people today who are ignorant of both history and human nature trying to refashion the way these ideas are implemented. The problem is that the ideas, the phrases, and even the voodoo dolls that they want to take joy sticking pins into - are the same.

Weekend quiz

Armed with just these two items:

1) Politicians
2) Pension funding for the very same politicians

See how close you can come to figuring out the story prior to even reading the article?

How did you do?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Edward Luce must watch CNN

A rather straight forward FT article on TARP funds (still no answer as to what will happen to those funds once repaid) turns nasty:

Meanwhile, the mood music is getting steadily uglier. On Wednesday, fringe Republican groups entertained the country with a collection of "tea parties", protesting at tax increases. The fact that Mr Obama is cutting taxes for the large majority of Americans, albeit by small amounts, did not damp their sense of outrage.

The fact, also, that this "grassroots" protest was heavily sponsored by Fox News, Rupert Murdoch's "fair and balanced" channel (meaning that it was, in fact, an "Astroturf" rather than a "grassroots" event) should not remove its underlying message. Most Americans – Democrats included – detest bailing out Wall Street. Whose side is Mr Obama on, they wonder: the banks' or the public's?
There are many ways to look at this tail-end of the article smarminess, the most important relates to the "large majority of Americans" receiving a tax cut. Let us be clear, when individuals speak of tax cuts they are speaking of income tax cuts. The equally odious Social Security tax is part of the mix when speaking of "tax cuts" but the by-and-large is, tax cuts = income tax cuts. With this fairly simple knowledge it is easy for any individual (even a journalist) to run the numbers, they are quite telling as to whether a "large majority of Americans" are receiving a "tax cut":

2006 (Latest Year Available) Individual Tax Returns

- US population: 298,754,819
- Total Number of returns filed: 135,719,160
- Average Number of individuals per return: 2.20
- Total Number of returns filed by the bottom 50% of filers: 67,859,580
- Average Number of individuals represented by the bottom 50%: 149,377,410
- % of US population represented by the bottom 50% of filers: 50% (shock)
- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the bottom 50% of filers: 2.99%
(Editor's note: It is at this point which the noted FT paras are effectively spiked as 50% of all Americans effectively pay no income taxes by which to qualify for a "tax cut". Unless of course "large majority of Americans" has been re-defined.)
- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the bottom 75% of filers: 13.73%
- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the bottom 90% of filers: 29.21%
- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the bottom 95% of filers: 39.86%
- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the bottom 99% of filers: 60.11%
- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the top 1% of filers: 39.89%

The portable version (and journalistic friendly) of the data above:

- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the bottom 50% of filers: 2.99%
- % of all Federal income taxes paid by the top 50% of filers: 97.01%

Source: Internal Revenue Service (US)

‘Tis and Age-Old Question, Ducky

Where do I get one of these?

Elsewhere, the Frogman wonders if they make a bigger model for polar bears and manic depressive instruments of the German welfare state.

¡No Pasarán! (sie werden nicht durchkommen)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Regarding Obama, France's "President is annoyed by what he sees as the naivety and the herd mentality of the media"

Wow, Obama's crusade (so to speak) to get America respected again is going well — really well! (Merci à d'Un Can et à Hervé…)
Mr Sarkozy is pouring cold water on President Obama's efforts to recast American leadership on the world stage, depicting them as unoriginal, unsubstantial and overrated. Behind leaks and briefings from the Elysée Palace lies Mr Sarkozy's irritation at the rock-star welcome that Europe gave Mr Obama on his Europan tour earlier this month.…

"The [French] President is annoyed by what he sees as the naivety and the herd mentality of the media," said a journalist who is privy to Elysée thinking.

…according to the Sarkozy version, at the Nato summit in Strasbourg, Mr Obama was meekly yielding to Turkey's refusal to endorse Anders Fogh Rasmussen as the alliance's new Secretary-General. It took pressure from Mr Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel of Germany to stiffen him up and change his mind, say the French.
Update (Merci à l'Arwyn):
The French President, who will host his U.S. counterpart on the beaches of Normandy on 6 June for the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Landing, is ironical about "obamania": "I will ask him to walk on the Channel, and he will... "

Let the prangings begin*

Dropping all the usual faux-cerebral pretense, the raging taxaholics over at TR-UK state things clearly in terms of where they stand when it comes to you and your the governments money:

This is tax injustice. Collecting tax owing is part of tax justice. £200 of unpaid tax is more important than £200 of overpaid tax credit being reclaimed. The latter may, after all, be official error. The former is taxpayer omission.
Injustice redefined, £200 of your own money left in your own pocket. £200 of your own money not finding its way into the cesspool of governmental spending, the stocks are ready for you ..... you greedy bastard. As an aside, £95 million of wasted tax monies poured into British MP expenses (per annum) has yet to rate a mention on the TR-UK website.

The reader is of course welcome to visit the TR-UK website and leave comments. Given the Stalinistic nature of the TR-UK site when it comes to comments, I suggest you fit yourself with a scolding bridle first, far more effective

*Alternative title for this post, "Why we should Pick the Gold Teeth out of a Cadavers Mouth"

It does not get on your plate by magic

Rather hard to know which end is up here. Trade union members taking "direct action" in order that they actually be allowed to work:

The fishermen have blocked the ports of Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk to protest EU fishing quotas, notably of cod and sole in the English Channel and the North Sea. They say that the quotas are too low and that small-scale fishing is dying while fish stocks are robust.
Generally speaking, not asking for any special favours or quid pro quo, just the ability to do their jobs. These are individuals who can and want to work. Their paths to employment are of course blocked by governmentalism in the form of fishing quotas (read: environmentalism). So instead of allowing people to work, governments whip out the goody bag (read: your tax monies):

French agriculture and fisheries minister Michel Barnier announced Thursday (16 April) that his government is ready to release some €4 million to appease fishermen whose blockade of English Channel ports has now entered its third day.
The very same governmental types yammering on ad nauseum about "putting people back to work" actively keep people who want to, and have the ability to do so, from working. Trade unions who regularly and often call for evermore governmentalism get their pair in a wad when evermore governmentalism is carried out. Worlds collide.

How does this re-work the old proverb about giving vs. teaching someone about catching fish?

Plantu wants to go Bareback on the Pope

In the spirit of parsing any phrase in favor of emitting any pointless smartass comment to make one sound clued-in, but it brings me back to his parzadox: the one where he insists that SOMEONE ELSE is forcing someone to agree with any view of the world he disagrees with through repetition and exclusion of any alternate viewpoint. Pure Plantu Projection.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Still Making Beeg Trouble for Crazy Moose and Squirrel

From the world’s weirdest police blotter, we discover that it’s no wonder the local males emigrate or drink themselves to death:

The robber, a 32-year-old man identified by as "Viktor," burst into the salon at around 5 p.m. waving a pistol and ordered all of the stylists and clients to hit the floor and toss him their money.

At this point, 28-year-old Olga, whom describes as a "delicate" girl trained in martial arts, was apparently still standing when she offered to hand over her cash. But when Viktor tried to accept her contribution, Olga surprised him with a quick punch to the chest, knocking the wind out of him before she flipped him to the ground.

Olga proceeded to tie Viktor up with a hair-dryer cord, gagged him and dragged him into a storage room.

Curiously, reports, Olga instructed the others to keep working, telling them that the police would soon arrive.
With that same pluck that this region has to offer, what with it having turned out Georgy Zhukov and all, we then discover more about her delicate ways:
She tied him to the radiator with handcuffs covered in frilly pink fabric, gave him some Viagra and had her way with him several times over the next 48 hours. When she finally let him go on the evening of March 16, Viktor had been "squeezed like a lemon,"
Choice pickins, indeed. She had to pay for it too.
"What a jerk," quoted her as saying. "Yeah, there were a few times. But I bought him new jeans, gave him food and drink, and gave him 1,000 rubles when he left."

The following day, Olga filed a complaint with police, asking that Viktor be charged in the salon robbery.
It’s no wonder the smart women leave too, many finding being trafficked to Saudi Arabia as “entertainment” a preferable option to having these folks as your neighbors.
First, he went to the hospital to have his injured genitals treated; then he went to police and filed a complaint asking that Olga be brought up on criminal charges for committing "actions of a sexual nature" that left him with injured sexual organs, according to a copy of the complaint posted on

Olga was apparently incensed when she learned of the complaint. She had, after all, even tried to be nice to her purported captive.
She FED him, after all. I guess she’d have to if she needed it THAT bad.

- a tip of the Yshanka to Tim Bleeeah

And Now we Take a Strange Kind of Solace

At Least Billy Carter Wasn’t a Sexual Predator

Of course to the media, silence is golden. Unless your name is Palin, or have a certain party political affiliation.

The DHS Report Can't Be Right! Remember? Obama Assures Us That He Respects Members of the Armed Forces, Who Are Doing an Outstanding Job

Wait a minute! This can't be right!


Barack Obama assured us — and the servicemen themselves — that he respects members of the armed forces (veterans and all), who, he said, are doing an outstanding job…

And now, this?! (Thanks to Larwyn)

No, no, no, it cannot be right…

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teabag the Left

For soooooo many reasons.

Funny that, a "anti-capitalism teaparty" which was claimed would drawe 400 drew a few people who dragged their kids along. At least two of the people in the shot, the old fellow in tweed and the guy in the Code Pink scarf, are lefty lobbyists who run a chop shop "organization hosting" operation representing (or manufacturing concent, as it were) for dozens of organizations out of their office suite. The old chap himself is quite a capitalist in his own right.


The Doofus of the day is a cartoonist.

Buried deep in so many European minds is a frothing paranoid psychotic who’s sure the world is after them, among other evidence of just how addled the human mind can get and still appear to function. In this case Belgium based German language doodler Ben Heine has clearly been making too much of light entertainment, and has cast the POTUS in his image of a cop engaging in some “good kind of police brutality” on the road to creating a special kind of paradise for European cartoonists. It really doesn’t say much for his view of black people, cops, or Americans, all of which appear to be nothing more than predictable puppets to him: a mile wide and an inch deep.

In the spirit of freeing Tibet with pointless little stickers for decades on end to no effect, his tagline of his life is the delusion that “peace begins with a smile.” Since that kind of passivity has never succeeded once in human history, his failure to see this means that he wins the booby prize.

‚No pasarán' (sie werden nicht durchkommen)

In the age of Obama (eh oui), the béret comes back in reaction to the neverending delusion of US cultural imperialism

I have no problem with people clinging to their traditions and national or regional identity, on the contrary
comments Hervé, who brought notre attention to the return of France's béret.
But [Peter Allen's Daily Telegraph article] is yet an other example of how French are full of shit. 10 years ago the beret was laughed at as the ultimate symbol of le beauf (yokel, redneck), racist, bigot, chauvisnistic. Now it only comes back in reaction to the long-fantasized US cultural imperialism. Can't wait to see the return of the slip kangourou...
Notwithstanding the economic crisis, why now? Wasn't Obama's arrival in the White House supposed to bring an end to all kinds of anti-American speech, demonstrations, and manifestations? Without further ado, The Daily Telegraph's Peter Allen:
Now after years in decline, the Gallic headgear is back in fashion with manufacturers reporting a doubling in sales.

Young people in major cities including Paris are leading the revival, embracing the beret as a symbol of a rural past in an increasingly Americanised world.

Patricia Jourdain, a style commentator who runs a designer boutique on the fashionable Rue Jacob in Paris, said: "The beret is as far removed from the baseball cap and other manifestations of US culture as you can get. Following the collapse of the Anglo-Saxon economy young people are harking back to their roots, showing they're proud to be French."

…Stephane Jacquet, a milliner from Bourges, south of Paris, told the Connexion newspaper: …"The beret is perhaps synonymous with France's rural past where life was supposedly easier and simpler than today."

The fact remains, whether the request comes from George W. Bush or Barack Obama, some European contingents only do the equivalent of light housework

When it comes to actual risk, this links up to Mr. Obama’s assertion that he got ‘’strong and unanimous support” on Afghanistan at the Strasbourg NATO summit. Which, if you mean more European troops engaged in more Afghan combat missions, just didn’t happen.
Thus writes John Vinocur regarding "a week’s presidential visit that largely involved wanting to be liked and resulted in mixed messages".
The fact remains, whether the request comes from George W. Bush or Mr. Obama, some European contingents only do the equivalent of light housework — while the Dutch, the Danes and the British are very much apart on the dangerous southern front with the Americans and Canadians. The problem is so present that at a symposium on European-American cooperation last week a participant asked, with a knowing look, if “military to military relations are being undermined by the distinction between those who fight and those who don’t?”

The European player who gave Mr. Obama such high marks for his performance at the G20 had a harsher view of his aversion to press further for greater European engagement: “Obama was too deferential and listened too closely to some really pathetic explanations. He got fobbed off. And this is a guy who has rock star status! He could have pushed much, much harder.”

Russia: Mr. Obama spoke of a “terrific meeting” in London with President Dmitri Medvedev. But unless he told Mr. Obama he had just been woofin’, nothing countermanded his announcement two weeks earlier that the Russian armed forces would begin “rearmament on a grand scale in 2011,” concentrating on strategic nuclear capacity.

The effect was troubling. An American I spoke to said there was some concern that Western Europe could be misinterpreting (Willfully? Never!) the degree of tolerance in the administration’s line about pressing the reset button on Russia policy.

Broadcast as a big American concern two months ago by Vice President Joe Biden (“writ large” were his words), energy security, or turning around Europe’s dependency on Russian natural gas, wound up fudged into Item 57 in the NATO summit declaration.

As far as NATO cooperation with the E.U. goes, there are West Europeans said not to like the juxtaposition of the words energy and security. That sounds too much like contemplating something military in the event of new political extortion by Russia involving Europe’s fuel supply.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Fantasy: How They See Themselves

Staged PR photo, issued by the European Commission

Essencially, the European Commission took credit for aid given by member states, whether it had anything to do with the Commission or not. But as always, the smug must find something over which to scratch their chins in concern:
"We just recently had figures from a study which we commissioned talking about the cost of non-Europe – bad coordination among donors, bad coordination of our rules. The cost of not having Europe is quite amazing, horrifying according to the initial figures of that study," commissioner Michel said.
In other words, they were guilty of not being European in some way. Besides, this whole “meeting and exceeding of targets” dog and pony show is old hat.
Aid output, that new measure of individual virtue – which is to say taking making an involuntary act of ‘donation’ out of the taxpayers’ money – has dropped.

Could they care less? Yes. They care less. Especially when all your selfless acts are forced on you.

The EU claims it has already met its 2006 target but today's report, which was compiled by more than 1,800 NGOs across Europe, argues that once inflated aid is taken away, genuine aid actually fell far short of the target, only reaching 0.31 per cent. If the current trend continues poor countries will have received €50bn (£34bn) less from Europe by 2010 than they have been promised.

Four countries, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, failed to even reach their promised 2006 targets in the first place. Italy remained the smallest contributor of foreign aid in Europe despite being a G8 member.
As if that what the G8 was even for to begin with.