Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekend Caption Quest

Pyramid Power is so, like, Next Week

Once compared to some western civilization figure that is no long forgotten in Europe, the once politically meaningful Ségolène Royal has, like so many others in her generation and cultural temperament, decided to cruise the astral plane of something alien enough to seem philosophically unchallenging. Favoring an image more like that of Cheech and Chong than that of a Social Democrat, she has in post-election orbital decay decided to give up on deifying the state in favor of deifying either herself or the good buzz she’s getting off of these smooth buds (known to the natives as fumer du shit ).

Désirs d'Avenir (Hope for the Future,) was always an over-reaching title. Now, at least, it’s look is as hopelessly naïve as its’ name.

Charles Bremner has more.
Followers still see her semi-mystical persona as the best hope for the self-destructing French opposition. Others see her as a fading diva. She did little to help herself this week with a revamped internet site.

Hoots of laughter greeted the launch on Tuesday of the new-look home of Désirs d'Avenir, her personal brand (screen grab above). Cheesy and old-fashioned, it looked like something invented by a cult. "Is Ségo in a relationship with Tom Cruise?" wondered one commentator. Another called it "digital suicide".
Then again, building a bridge to the 13th century was never a problem for people who like their peasants to nasty, short, and brutish lives that makes the sympathetic electoral profiles better, almost making them seem needed by some living person too.

What’s illuminating a frightening about the site she put up, is that it probably is very much hers. She seems to have either conceived of the theme or provided some college-age flunky quite a bit of input. At the very least we get to cringe as we peer into her mind.

More to the point, one of Charles Bremner’s commenting readers has more.
cannot believe it. The damage-control replacement homepage is even worse than the previous one.

France is lost. All this quality of life stuff is the light coming from a now extinct star. Can you believe that this woman graduated from one of the most exclusive universities in the country ?
Why yes. Yes I can.

It's interesting to contrast the administration's "wise" diplomacy abroad with its willingness to go nuclear at home

The administration that disbelieved intelligence under George W. Bush now believes every word it's told
writes Investor's Business Daily, while Mark Steyn points out that
It's interesting to contrast the administration's "wise" diplomacy abroad with its willingness to go nuclear at home. If you go to a "town hall" meeting and express misgivings about the effectiveness of the stimulus, you're a "racist" "angry" "Nazi" "evilmonger" "right-wing domestic terrorist."

It's perhaps no surprise that that doesn't leave a lot left over in the rhetorical arsenal for Putin, Chavez and Ahmadinejad.

…In a sense, the health care debate and the foreign-policy debacle are two sides of the same coin: For Britain and other great powers, the decision to build a hugely expensive welfare state at home entailed inevitably a long retreat from responsibilities abroad, with a thousand small betrayals of peripheral allies along the way.

A few years ago, the great scholar Bernard Lewis warned, during the debate on withdrawal from Iraq, that America risked being seen as "harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend."

Who would have thunk it?

My goodness, did anyone really think they would live to see the day when one could not trust the word of a convicted human trafficker?

Even a serious criminal should be able to visit his newborn daughter, the justices of the appeals court in Arnhem must have thought. There are no regulations stipulating when a prisoner may or not be granted leave. The justices considered the circumstances and consented to a week's leave for convicted human trafficker Saban B., who is serving a 7.5 year prison term.

The appeals court took into consideration that Saban B. (38) had already served more than half of his prison sentence while being held in pre-trial detention. And that his case would not be concluded until 2010 because of a pending appeal. Saban was convicted last year of leading an international criminal human trafficking network for years along with his older brother Hasan. The gang violently forced more its trafficking victims into prostitution.

In granting the leave, the appeals court went further than the public prosecution office which had consented earlier to two days' leave. And so Saban B. left prison on 7 September for a week. He was required to surrender his passport and report to the police on a daily basis.
How do you think the story ends?

Friday, September 18, 2009

At the end of the day, liberals want the government to be generous so they can avoid being generous on a personal level

For liberals, the health care debate apparently boils down to the psychological qualities of the two sides
concludes Ashley Herzog.
Nice people want socialized medicine, and mean, selfish people don’t.

…As long as liberals are going to play psychologist and turn a serious policy debate into petty speculation about their opponents’ emotional states, they should read “Makers and Takers” by Peter Schweizer. Afterward, they might just shut up about liberals being nicer and more generous than the rest of us.

As the American Spectator’s Richard Kirk wrote, Schweizer presents “peer-reviewed sociological data that show liberals are generally more selfish, more focused on money, less hardworking, less emotionally satisfied, less honest, and even less knowledgeable about politics than their conservative counterparts.”

…The General Social Survey consistently finds that conservatives give more of their time and money to the less fortunate. For example, conservatives are more likely to volunteer for charitable activities than liberals (27 percent to 19 percent). Arthur C. Brooks, author of “Who Really Cares?” found that charitable donations average $2,210 for conservatives and a paltry $642 for liberals—and that’s after excluding donations to churches and other religious organizations.

And despite their self-righteous posturing, the people aggressively pushing Soviet-lite policies in Congress are the least generous with their own money. Schweizer reviewed tax forms and found that Al Gore gave $353 to charity in 1998—or .18 percent of his income. At least Gore was slightly less stingy than John Kerry, who didn’t give a single cent to charity in 1995. As a percentage of income, left-wing villains Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Dick Cheney have been more generous donors over the years than Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and Michael Moore.

…At the end of the day, Schweizer concludes, liberals want the government to be generous so they can avoid being generous on a personal level. Let the taxpayers feed the poor, shelter the homeless, even take care of other people’s gravely injured parents and spouses—because they don’t want to.

Remember this the next time a liberal portrays the health care debate as a battle between the selfish and the selfless.

More nuance

Something tells us the violent radicalism decried by US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi yesterday is not the violent radicalism of Northern California detailed in this 1975 Time magazine article:

Within this array of leftist activity hide the underground revolutionaries. They strike and burrow underground again in such places as the working-class neighborhoods of Los Angeles and the Mission District in San Francisco or the squalid slums of East Oakland and Sacramento. In addition, many terrorists are believed to be hiding among the students and transient street people of Berkeley's South Campus section. Furtive meetings between the underground and aboveground activists undoubtedly take place in the area's many coffeehouses, bars and parking lots. Other good meeting places are the parks known to students as People's Park and Ho Chi Minh Park.

State and federal law-enforcement officials admit that they know little about California's revolutionary underground. Charles Bates, chief of the San Francisco FBI office, points out that the groups are small, tightly knit, deeply suspicious of strangers, and thus virtually impossible to infiltrate.

What is known is that the groups are growing increasingly violent. FBI officials suspect that radicals have committed some of the state's recent unsolved murders. Among these is the slaying of Wilbert ("Popeye") Jackson, a black activist who the FBI believes was killed because radicals suspected—incorrectly—that he was a squealer. Last year the radicals claimed responsibility for 19 bombings in California; so far this year they have set off 50.

Many California radicals follow the teachings of Mao, Che Guevara, French Revolutionary Regis Debray and Carlos Marighella, the Brazilian terrorist tactician. Marighella advocates violence as a way to encourage government authorities to overreact. He theorizes that a government will inevitably impose harshly repressive measures that will "radicalize" nonviolent citizens and thus bring on the revolution.
There does seem to be a common thread amongst these violent radicals from 1970s Northern California, anyone care to take a guess?

Nice Snowjob, Sparky. You Almost had me Sold.

That incredibly stale old saw about how the French work to live,blah, blah, blah, and that Americans live to work, blah, blah, blah, has not only never seemed true to me, but seems like a rather absurd case of whisting past the graveyard when you see just how desperate people get in the near fascistically illiberal European employment market.

Some of the other suicides left notes blaming work conditions. One 52-year-old employee who killed himself in July left a note that blamed "overwork" and "management by terror." "I am committing suicide because of my work at France Telecom," he wrote. "That's the only reason."
As sorry as it is for those it’s effected, it’s strange thing to find when the national party line is that the over-management, narrowness of choices, regimentation, and under-competitiveness is an acceptable price for instituting conditions which are supposed to lend themselves to a higher quality of life for a workforce otherwise also being paid.

As if the idea of just quitting, even in that chaumers paradise was considered worse than ending your life, or otherwise didn’t dawn on them as an option. In more fluid and risk-taking environments, this kind of corporate Seppeku just doesn’t seem to happen.

Closures, Redundancies, Unemployment Cause 'Econocide'

In the face of rising unemployment, business closures and a massive wave of layoffs, the French administration is concerned that the recurring suicides could be seen as evidence that their economic stimulus programs are not working. Politicians and chief executives are proposing a whole row of measures to help ease any stress, tension or conflict that the approximately 100,000 workers at France Telecom may be feeling.
Where Americans largely believe that their employers don’t own them, but rather just rent them, strangely enough, a company really DOES own you in that kind of environment.

Stranger still is the rate of these regrettable suicides at the French telephone company, 13/100 000 per annum is at the same rate per capita as that of the US Army which burdened with the emotional stress of war. It certainly makes the fate of the nearly unfirable French communication worker a rather strange phenomenon.
Shortly after France Télécom was privatized in 1997, the global telecommunications industry started undergoing big changes. The business came under pressure as consumers abandoned predominantly fixed-phone-line services in favor of mobile phones and Internet services.

Still, France Télécom is having more trouble than others cutting costs: 65% of the 100,000 people at the company have civil-servant contracts -- dating to the time when the company was owned by the French state -- and therefore can't be fired.
I put it down to learned helplessness, and the creation of a kind of dependency on the company that if broad and far-reaching in either their intrusion or pandering when it comes to their employees - comparable to that of an out of control welfare states. Slowly, but surely, over the course of decades of building expectations, can convince many that their well being is not really something that they need to take any responsibility over themselves. It also constructs the expectation of a level of trust that a corporate entity can’t provide. If family members have been occasionally been known to let their kin down, how on earth can you expect the telephone company to do better?

The fact is that it’s only a job, not a war. I find it strange that it would take the much lectured and mythologized Americans, living in their supposed worker’s dystopia to tell them this.

They’ll Reach out their Hand if you Unclench your Sphincter

The EU: not competitive enough for Communists.

"Foreign investors must come to China in a more aggressive and competitive form [if they are to win the contacts],"
said Mr Qin.
"Nobody wants to buy white elephants."
A Perestroika in Europe? Fat chance.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do you have this in a 42 long?

Putting editorials into action

Global citizens are prompted to take a nuanced and prosaic view of things today by the NYT editorial page:

It has been nearly 20 years since Congress repealed the provisions used during the cold war to deny visas to prominent foreign intellectuals, artists and activists because of their left-leaning politics, including the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and the British novelist Doris Lessing.

The Bush administration eagerly revived the practice, barring numerous people from entering the country for speaking engagements or conferences or to teach at leading universities — all under a flimsily supported guise of fighting terrorism.

Months ago, a group of free speech advocates, including the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union called on the Obama administration to end ideological exclusions and to review dubious visa denials. We hope Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton takes heed.

As long as visitors to the US are not advocating violence, who would not agree? Perhaps we can start with this recent case:

The Honduran interim President, Roberto Micheletti, says the US has revoked his diplomatic and tourist visas.
Well, no need to carry the nuance that far, now is there.

“The East European countries went out on a limb for America during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan; Now they feel they are getting whacked”

With the Apologizer-in-Chief — courageously — deciding against the deployment of missiles in Poland and Czechoslovakia, we are once again witnessing the Obama Doctrine at work:
  • Abandoning our allies,
  • emboldening our enemies,
  • and diminishing our country
Earlier, Judy Dempsey had come with this:
…with Barack Obama in the White House, the deployment of the missile shield in Eastern Europe is no longer a given, as defense experts question its costs, its effectiveness and even its location. As a result, the certainties of the Bush era have given way to a sense of betrayal — but maybe also realism [yeah; realism in the Jimmy Carter/Munich-type mold] — on the part of the East Europeans.

Throughout the Bush administration, the East Europeans had supported the U.S. war on terrorism. They had broken ranks with many other European Union countries in supporting the invasion of Iraq by sending troops. They had turned a blind eye to renditions and interrogation centers (though there were also West European countries that did that).

“The East European countries went out on a limb for America during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Ron Asmus, director of the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “Now they feel they are getting whacked.”

Indeed, Washington’s special relationship with Eastern Europe seems to be over. Mr. Obama’s dithering over whom to send to Poland last month to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the beginning of World War II confirmed that.

Much more important for the administration is its goal of “resetting” its relationship with Russia after years of neglect by Mr. Bush. Russia, whose support is needed for issues like Iran, nuclear proliferation and the Middle East, dwarfs the importance of any East European country for Washington.

As it turns out, the announcement
made for unfortunate timing, as Thursday is the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, a date fraught with sensitivity for Poles who viewed the Bush missile defense system as a political security blanket against Russia. Poland, along with many other countries in the former Soviet sphere, worry that Mr. Obama is less willing to stand up to Russia.
Like we said, the Obama Doctrine at work:
  • Abandoning our allies,
  • emboldening our enemies,
  • and diminishing our country
Update: Tony Blankley adds (regarding Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad):
For the greatest nation on earth to accept such impertinent treatment by so vile a despot is a profound lesson in humility.
In France, Le Monde's Munich readers are already reacting in typical Munich fashion:

Excellente nouvelle! Obama comprend parfaitement qu'il s'agissait d'un projet agressif et impérialiste detiné, non pas à contrer l'Iran mais à menacer la Russie. Il faut dialoguer et non pas menacer…

Le principe de ce bouclier est une ineptie … La volonté d'installer le "bouclier" doit être cherché ailleurs [i.e., some sort of treacherous plot hatched — needless to to say — by (conservative) Americans].

Home Schooling Takes Root in France

Home-schooling is also developing in France, writes Martine Laronche in Le Monde, although none of the parents interviewed said outright that it was to counter the state's leftist teachings.
Contrairement à une idée répandue, ce n'est pas l'école, mais l'instruction que Jules Ferry a rendue obligatoire. Pour enseigner en famille, il suffit, à chaque rentrée scolaire, de faire une déclaration au maire de sa commune et à l'inspecteur d'académie. Le phénomène reste marginal mais tend à se développer.

…Marie est très critique. "Les enfants ne vont pas à l'école pour le plaisir d'apprendre, ils y vont pour les copains. Sans leurs camarades de classe, ils refuseraient d'y aller." Le père d'Adrien, dont elle est séparée, était hostile à une scolarisation à domicile. Il a finalement accepté, à la condition que l'enfant soit inscrit à un cours par correspondance.

"L'école, ça rend un peu violent. Si on ne se défend pas, on va être le mouton noir, considère Adrien, très à l'aise. Et puis, à l'école, on a une maîtresse pour trente enfants. On prend une journée pour faire ce qu'on fait en deux ou trois heures à la maison. Moi, je peux aller au musée, faire des sorties l'après-midi." Les copains ne lui manquent-ils pas ? "J'ai de nouveaux amis, beaucoup plus sympas, moins violents, plus calmes."
A couple of readers add:
Voir aussi le site de l'Ecole Vivante : … Un colloque doit avoir lieu à Chambéry sur le sujet les 14 et 15 novembre. Pour consulter le programme :

Pour en savoir plus, les trois associations nationales (il y a aussi des associations locales) :
Led'a : Les enfants d'abord
Laia : Libre d'apprendre et d'instruire autrement
Cise : Choisir d'instruire son enfant

Children of the Scorn

Over at Atlantic Community, a sort of -reaching for the margins- of idea-land outreach think-tank funded by the German-Marshall Fund that is loosely directed to studying NATO, a thought has emerged that suggests that Germany is neither fully integrated with the West, and isn’t married to it.

The speculation in founded on the idea that young Germans agitate for ideas that would inherently push Germany away from NATO, the EU, and “the west” in general. It’s specious. Take it from a relative “old goat” who has long observed German society, (both former sides of it,). German students agitate about anything, but abandon it for the safety and comfort of an income and sleeping indoors. The exception comes with the seemingly endless array of ideologically oriented fellowships and other paid activism, but that really isn’t why I don’t see much in Hans Kundani’s argument.

1. It’s an especially myopic assumption when it’s partly founded on what is likely ones’ own view of oneself within the framework of the argument. If one is a student or former student who saw a lot of “red-green-eat only harvested tree bark” agitation, the unquestioning and pedantically predicable theme of student political activity in Germany, it’s easy to assign too much importance to it.

It ends for most of them once they develop even the slightest amount of meaningful life experience. Which is to say, the stuff they did on their own initiative and invention - not that of the hairy, middle-aged political organizers that scope out for the fresh meat on Campus every year. Once they get away from the aging neo-Marxists with the musty bouquet of serial monogamy with one single-issue after another, things really change for them. They get to live and think for themselves, not hear others try to convince them that they really are actually living and thinking for themselves.

2. To begin with, Germans, as a society, probably can’t imagine “going alone”, even if just as a matter of public image, not in the way the evil American “non-concentualists” (read: that they are “out of the fold” when they aren’t dominated by the left whom Europeans falsely assume are their kind of transnational progressives).

3. Alignment with power centers to the east, which is to say either Russia or Asia Minor is inconceivably risky/scary/unknowable to the German public, especially as the “near abroad” of Poland, Hungary, the Baltic States, and the like, are hitching their fate to western Europe, if not the United States directly.

4. Germans generally underestimate the degree to which they ARE Western civilization, if not an essential shorthand outline for “the west” and –Europe- itself. It’s hard to find any social or cultural interest uniquely associated with the culture of the Atlantic that isn’t also dominant in Germany, and at least partly German in origin. Moreover, when you look at the ways German work, play, save, invest, build, worship, conduct themselves in a community, and try to carve out their personal autonomy in, you’ll likely find that they are more likely to resemble Americans and Canadians than they are Russians, the people of the Near East, Asia Minor, or other western Europeans for that matter.
The idea that they’re creating their very own new path, veering off, or Age of Aquarius or whatnot isn’t supported by much of anything. When you look at how quickly migrating Germans adapt to American, Canadian, or Australian life compared to anywhere else, even part of the EU that are economically similar to Germany, it’s hard to say that a population that is more likely to import and adapt habits and ideas from the west of it, rather than initiate them, will ever take up anything else on a dime.

To take, for example, an improbable and culturally disconnected interest in, say Reggae, elementary anti-corporatism and anti-everything-socially-functional-ism, or the Kabuki theatre of marching with red flags as an indicator, is to not be looking too far beyond ones’ very immediate surroundings, or ones’ self-image.

And why is this not front-page news?

No penalty for guessing:

The Obama administration has privately concluded that a cap and trade law would cost American taxpayers up to $200 billion a year, the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15 percent.

A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year.

Paraphrasin' around

Unlike many in these murky sewer-like parts of the internet, your very humble junior host has a lot of time for NYT columnist Maureen Dowd. Do not get me wrong, her columns have long lost any sense of zip, punch and wit which marked that space's ascendancy, but there is still something about l'bohème which still sparks an interest.

That being said, another poor effort yesterday at prodnosing the great unwashed on the great civility and decorum which is was the capitol of the United States, Washington, DC:

When House Democrats, and a handful of Republicans, reprimanded the congressman on Tuesday evening for refusing to apologize to his colleagues for breaking the rules, it was quite a wonderful way to improve America.

It was a rare triumph for civility in a country that seems to have lost all sense of it — from music arenas to tennis courts to political gatherings to hallowed halls — and a ratification of an institution that has relied on strict codes of conduct for two centuries to prevent a breakdown of order.
And so on it goes bemoaning the breakdown of civility in the US. This particular portion set my mind thinking:

But partly due to the Internet, the standards of behavior in this new country are terrible.
But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken addendum in the air: But partly due to the Internet, the standards of behavior in this new country are terrible. So unlike when we called the shots and determined what is and what is not news.

Our betters just do not get it, that country is gone.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is Michael Moore a racist?

With the release of Michael Moore's latest fictonalised docu-drama, "Capitalism: A Love Story", the mind goes back to an earlier work of Mr. Moore, the book "Dude, Where's My Country?"

The reason for thinking back, the book in question was heralded at the time as:

"But his book is intended to serve as a handbook for how people with liberal opinions (which is most of America, Moore contends, whether they call themselves "liberals" or not) can take back their country from the conservative forces in power."
'So what' you say? Well, the client-media state in the US is all atwitter about the claimed (ie. false) underlying racial overtones to widespread dissatisfaction with the current US President Barack Obama. One of the phrases used by the teabaggers which has the client-state media up in arms claiming racism:

But I began to suspect that race was a factor for at least some critics when I heard them shouting about "the Constitution" and "taking our country back." Maybe Obama's health-care plan is an awful idea and his budget is way too big, but how exactly is any of this unconstitutional? Clearly, for some folks, there's a deeper rage at the man occupying the White House.
In summary, "taking our country back" liberals to conservatives = good. "taking our country back" conservatives to liberals = racism.

Hypocrisy? of course
Double-standards? naturally
Further rendering the word "racism" meaningless? unfortunately so

What’s Green on the Outside and Red on the Inside?

A whitewash by a pliant and politically servile press, that’s what.

Twists, turns, an underlying truth

In this particular case all problems stem from the failure of government-run health-care and government-run health-insurance. A twofer coming to a town near you.

One bets the NYT wishes they had this article back -or- edited a few more times to at least give it that sheen of private insurance failure.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How Is That New Respect for Our Former Foes Workin' for You, BHO? (III)

Venezuela's Chavez Draws Closer to Moscow and recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Mr. Chávez arrived in Moscow on Wednesday and, in usual form, delivered a speech at a local university railing against the United States.
Good job, Apologizer-in-Chief!

Oh, By the Way, We Forgot: The Victim Who Was Kidnapped and Beat Up Happened to Be Jewish

Only halfway through Yves Bordenave's article in Le Monde of a Nanterre youth beaten, humiliated, sequestered, kicked in the eye, and threatened with the fate that Youssouf Fofona and his gang of barbarians bestowed upon Ian Halimi, do we discover that Matthieu, 19, is in fact (beyond being gay) Jewish.
Matthieu est homosexuel et son père est de confession juive.
But as it happens, having this fact come in so late in the "game" is only "normal": as the final sentence reads, the judge threw out the antisemitic (as well as the antigay?) character of the attack:
le caractère antisémite de l'agression, un temps envisagé, avait été écarté du dossier.

This leads one reader to comment:
Quelle tartufferie! "sale juif" mais on ne retient pas le caractère antisémite de l'agression. Cela fait penser à ces articles du Monde, où les journalistes expliquent benoîtement qu'aux Buttes Chaumont, les agressions contre les jeunes portant la kippa n'étaient que des "affrontements entre bandes". Ou encore lorsque le Monde nous expliqua que la jeune fille entremetteuse pour Ivan Halimi était une jeune blonde Française moyenne. On apprit plus tard qu'lle était brune et d'origine iranienne.
Incidentally, another reader points out that
ces reglements de comptes très violents entre jeunes pour des vols commis par l'un d'eux sont d'après ce que je lis courants et ne donnent pas souvent lieux à une plainte

When in Doubt, Hide the Weenie

The European elite’s long tradition of “redefining” things that illustrate apparent problems is legend – redefining infant mortality, and other sorts of asking what the meaning if is is. However one penchance the EU would like to pick up from the French, is the redefinition of GDP figures to take into account social multipliers and modifiers not derived from impirical sources – in effect destroying the value of any hard-gathered data to spook the public and markets into a false confidence about their economy.

The European Commission has published a roadmap for developing new environmental and social indicators to measure the real prosperity and wellbeing of nations beyond traditional GDP. The reflections could affect the strategic goals of the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs.

GDP growth is the main indicator for measuring the effectiveness of recovery plans launched last year to restore economic growth.
Why yes, yes it is. So the way to evade the ineffectual nature of borrowing for capital injection on this scale is basically to lie about it. In effect, having a petit cannon to take the edge off of the hangover, remorse, and herpetic itch that you woke up with.

In reality, all it could do is make people’s lot worse by polluting the data from which large groups of people and markets make decisions. In effect it will create market bubbles, and inevitable bursts. Worse still, the reality of these bursts will be inured into further unrealistic economic data. But what the hell, from their perspective, it’ll be worth it for a little PR. Expect similar reality inverting abstractions from ObamaNation if things go any further south too.
According to the EU executive, the reflection could also "contribute to setting new strategic goals for the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy".

"The special importance of this system is that it would include stock-taking of natural resources and human and social capital, rather than just the use of these resources. The system would also focus on the role of eco-systems in providing welfare," declared the Commission upon announcing the initiative in 2007.
Which is to say that ”Instruments exchanged shall be augmented to reflect instruments NOT exchanged”... Got it? Similarly: new job losses can then stay the same as those who have given up looking can go beyond being excluded, but added to the roles of the employed. A deeply buried footnote with indicate that “employed” has been redefined to mean anyone who isn’t actively looking for a job.

Ideologically, it fits the bill, since the notion the left have held onto so far is that the only use statistics have, is for conflating into menacing quasi-facts for their shock value in the jamming of overbearing centralization policies down an otherwise wiser public’s throat.
Ecological and carbon footprints are "close candidates" for developing indicators for a comprehensive environmental index to complement GDP, according to the Commission. But it stresses that "both are limited in scope," as the carbon footprint only takes into account greenhouse gas emissions and the ecological footprint excludes any impact on water, for example.
The reason they are close candidates is because they are so pliant, given the selective means by which THOSE figures can be ginned up drawn.

One thing we know from half a century of Marxist-Leninism is that the accurate rendition of reality provides for the flux that keeps revolutionary emotions raw and pliant, and in the favor of their ideological objectives – which invariably involve trying to make a “new man” by rewriting the laws of nature. What’s been firmly established at this point is that the not-openly-stated instincts of both the EU and the current US Administration, is that they defer to the methods of hyper-centralized statism and policy imposition in a way that is no different than that of the former Soviet Union and its’ then satellites.
At the initiative of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, France set up a high-level Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress in 2008. The commission is chaired by Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, an American economist, and aims to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, real people see the GDP to mean the GDP, from which accurate impressions of social progress, particulary poverty, can be clearly and realistically understood, not hidden in a miasma of predetermined inferences.

This, as we’ve seen all too often before in European history, is an attempt to control the interpretation of reality based on what the public is permitted to learn, and limited from knowing. If they really think that they’re offering up some “brand new age of freedom” world view, the destruction of instruments like those is the way to go, not recycling the contemporary equivalent of “announcing another successful 5 year plan”. I wonder if they really realize that they appear to be living in a philosophical near-past that they should otherwise take heed of, one characterized by the chewing-up of a frail population in the name of improving their lives. The view itself is a regurgitation lebensraum delusion, handed off to a new generation, a new “human mass”, when in reality the mass needed to be permitted to release its’ cogs into enabled individuals who can act autonomously.

The failure of their history is to see people as “the people” which could be handled and controlled as a unit, a tool, and an inconvenience. It’s also those that buy into it who have such a hard time grasping what it is Americans mean by their freedoms. No matter how often the people of rump Europa get donkey punched by dictat and history, they never seem to grasp even the outline of this idea.

Then, the “ideal man” was stupid and pliant. For whatever collection of popularly shared reasons for which the evasion is supposed to be a cure, (normally the reason used is the ‘climate change’ hostage-taking brand of environmental issues), the forgetful children of the meek who inherited the continent are trying it again.

What do Eastern European Communists and American Democrats have in common?

There is nothing “constructive” in bargaining about a criminal and immoral law
writes Bojidar Marinov.
Eastern European Communists and American Democrats are like a thief that is caught with the stolen thing in his hand. He refuses to admit his guilt. He wants to have “constructive dialog.” “Let’s bargain,” he says. “Let’s come to a mutually acceptable decision. If you don’t bargain, you are a fascist.”

There should be no bargaining until the thief returns what he has stolen. Just like the Communists 20 years ago, Democrats are trying to negotiate about something that isn’t theirs: Our money, our health, our lives.

French Financing Helps Israelis Make Movies About War Crimes, the Alienation of Women, and Other "Disasters of Israeli Policies" and Society…

France and other EU countries — meaning French and EU taxpayers — are financing Israeli film productions, writes Jacques Mandelbaum in Le Monde:
le développement des coproductions, majoritairement européennes, qui financent désormais un tiers de la production cinématographique locale. Depuis 2001, date à laquelle un accord a été signé entre les deux pays, la France est ainsi devenue le partenaire privilégié du cinéma israélien, avec une trentaine de films soutenus, soit deux fois plus que l'Allemagne pour la même période.
And what kind of immortal films can you expect from this "undeniable virtuous circle"?
Un boucher ultraorthodoxe de Jérusalem, marié et père de famille, se prend d'une passion irrépressible pour un jeune et bel étudiant d'une école talmudique [Tu n'aimeras point].
What else, you ask? What a silly question… Israeli films on "war trauma, war crimes, the alienation of women, ethnic marginalization, religious fanaticism" (more often than not, Jewish orthodox fanaticism, probably), as well as "the real state of tension inside [Israeli] society and of the government that represents it", and, last but not least, "the disaster of Israeli policies". In spite of that, it is claimed that no, not to worry, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not eclipsed by the internal troubles of Israeli society.
…la comédie douce-amère La Visite de la fanfare, d'Eran Kolirin, et le film d'animation Valse avec Bachir, d'Ari Folman (respectivement coproduits en France par Sophie Dulac et Serge Lalou), pour citer les cas les plus flagrants, ont été des succès internationaux et ont attiré chacun plus de 300 000 et 400 000 spectateurs en France.

Mais plus encore en termes artistiques, tant ces films ménagent avec brio la recherche formelle et l'acuité du regard critique porté sur les vicissitudes sociales et politiques d'Israël. De Kippour (2000), d'Amos Gitaï, à à Z 32 (2009), d'Avi Mograbi, en passant par Mariage tardif (2001), de Dover Kosashvili, Mon trésor (2004), de Keren Yedaya, Avanim (2004), de Raphaël Nadjari, Beaufort (2008), de Joseph Cedar, ou My Father My Lord (2008), de David Volach, le nuancier esthétique est d'une grande richesse. Comme le spectre des questions abordées, qu'il s'agisse du traumatisme ou du crime de guerre, de l'aliénation des femmes, de la marginalisation ethnique ou de l'intégrisme religieux.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Soft, Thoughtless Lefty “Journalism”: to Mislead is to Lead

ABC’s Good Morning America gushes patronizingly, claiming a town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg has no cars, and Americas should too, so there, (because EVERYONE lives in Manhattan like they do, right?, and who needs the productive part of the economy anyway?)

What they didn’t bother doing was to check Google maps or which reveal what’s true of a lot of towns in Germany as well as the United States for that matter, even in the areas that aren’t a tourist trap – a few pedestrian blocks in a town of 500 people.

Vauban is a new neighborhood of 5000 inhabitants and 600 jobs 4 km to the south of the town center in Freiburg, Germany. It was built as "a sustainable model district" on the site of a former French military base.

View Larger Map

However, the appeal of this to the likes of a intellectually servile hacks at GMA is really the regime of it all:
Most of Vauban's residential streets are described as stellplatzfrei - literally "free from parking spaces". Vehicles are allowed down these streets at walking place to pick up and deliver but not to park, although there are some infractions as the system depends essentially on social consensus - there are few official controls. Each year, households are required to sign a declaration stating either that they do not own a car, or that they do, in which case they must buy a space in one of the multi-storey car parks on the periphery, at a cost of 17,500€ (in 2006). The city-wide car club has the greatest concentration of its 2,500 members in Vauban – at least ten of its cars are stationed around the district.
taxation, requirements to make a personal declaration of ideological buy-in, and “Ausweis bitte” commandeering of personal choice at the alter of a disinterested observer’s drummed in, yet very elementary rationale.

Nonetheless, a highway runs through it: the 331 and 3 to be specific. Meanwhile, back at One Astor Plaza, the 1972 vintage home of GMA’s studio and brain-trust, the view is of a glass curtainwall building that is a virtual Superfund site of superfluous energy loss. Luxuriate, if you will, at the building in a pederast pedestrian proletarian paradise, and avail yourself of the...
Indoor valet parking. Credit cards accepted. Space available days, evenings, overnights & weekends. Vans & motorcycles not allowed, minivans allowed.
...which presumably has parking spaces especially reserved for the lecturesome and hypocritical.

Crypto fascist, heal thyself.

"It is a lie, plain and simple"

One of the problems with Joe Wilson's You lie outburst — a double standard, actually (yet another) — is that Barack Hussein Obama has been, directly or otherwise, consciously or other, been using the same epithet against the Republicans for years.

Let us not even go into the fact that during George W Bush's 2005 State of the Union, he was booed by Democrats. There was no "you lie" (that, or the equivalent thereof, came for after his speech was over and he had exited the halls of Congress), true, but on the other hand, that was multiple members of the opposition dissing the president, not just by one…

Just the same day and over the previous week, the Apologizer-in-Chief had been speaking of "bogus claims", falsehoods (both of which are equivalent to saying lie, in — granted — a polite way) and "bickering" (which says that other people's arguments are not arguments, but simply misinformation — lies? — because "true" opinions can only be from the left) as well as "all the misinformation that has been spread over the past few months". So BHO never seems to call anybody liars, but… it's pretty close…

In fact, right before the South Carolina representative's outburst — what undoubtedly led to it, in fact — Obama said:
There are those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false.
You're right. That does sound — that is — more refined than Joe Wilson's outburst. However, with BHO's history of so — yes, let us call it that — denigrating the opposition, more of us should take a closer look at the subtext of his, and other leftists', message (which was summarized in Van Jones' epithet).

In fact, less than 45 seconds before Joe Wilson's outburst (2:13), Obama said, unreservedly and to Democratic applause, about one of the conservatives' talking points, "It is a lie, plain and simple" (1:30, another, ahem, viewpoint here, incidentally). True, BHO never says "YOU lie" or "YOU, Such-n-Such, are a liar", but the general effect, after a history of uncountable repetitions, is the same…

Update — from Charles Krauthammer:
Obama doesn't lie. He merely elides, gliding from one dubious assertion to another. This has been the story throughout his whole health care crusade. …

Obama doesn't lie. He implies, he misdirects, he misleads -- so fluidly and incessantly that he risks transmuting eloquence into mere slickness.

The Sign That Says It All

(Thanks to Robert Tracinski)

Barack Hussein Obama is your new American idol

The fundamental question is this: Do you believe that in America, we are a people of the government, by the government, and for the government? Or do you believe that in America we have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?
(Adrian Murray, 04:15)

Look, BHO, Adrian Murray quotes Abraham Lincoln too (08:15, also here, where we hear that "Barack Hussein Obama is your new American idol" — Spasiba to Valerie)

'Tis the season

How do we know the holiday season is right around the corner? Easy, a new tradition has cropped up over the past few years by which one can set their calendar to:

Cash-strapped Ukraine may be unable to pay its gas bills in the coming winter, the chairman of Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly has warned, raising fears of a repeat of last winter’s European gas crisis.

Alexei Miller said that while Naftogaz, the Ukrainian state gas company, had said it could meet its bills until the end of the year it was unclear what would happen in January, when Ukraine is due to hold hotly-contested presidential elections.

"The risk is that in January there will be an election and the payment for January's supply will be due on February 7," Mr Miller told academics and journalists on Saturday. When he asked Naftogaz executives what would happen, they swore and said they did not know, he said.
No need to worry though. Afterall, all those shiney new windmills that have been coming on-line will surely make up the difference in any disruption.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

31 Seconds in....

... h/t to l'ubiquitous Steve Rogers:

I, Too, Am a Potential Terrorist

How about you?

(Shookhran to potential terrorist Valerie)

Vaporware marches and other true stories

If you are waiting for the soul-searching op-eds delving into the deeper meaning and intricate prosaic nuances of the march in Washington yesterday, should you hold your breath? I would suggest one does not. The reality of the foto on the left began the process of being air-brushed out of the collective memory by the client-state media about a minute or two after the last speech was made (if that):

Meanwhile, it may just be me but why is it that the only time I actually think about the skin-colour of the President of the United States is when I am reminded to do so by the NYT:

The normally nonchalant Barack Obama looked nonplussed, as Nancy Pelosi glowered behind.

Surrounded by middle-aged white guys — a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club — Joe Wilson yelled "You lie!" at a president who didn’t.

But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!
The columnist in question has elevated their game from that of "quotation manipulation" to that of outright "quotation creation". Perhaps those of us who truly believe in judging individuals by the content of their character versus the colour of their skin have it wrong? Afterall, those in the employ of that paper of record are our political and cultural betters. Those of us who see individuals as individuals must be doing something wrong.

Finally, where did the current laconic statist meme of "You just can't talk to these people about healthcare, they do not even understand the issues" generate from? I have heard and read it in the past few days, from whence is the genesis?


As Fresh Today

A fascinating new feature to this blogphere thingy we’re trapped in: The Orwell Diaries. Winner of a Webby Award, one can’t help but wonder how they will congratulate the author.

- Thanks aplenty to the eponymously named Pat Patterson.

Elsewhere: the real people revolution can’t be far off, now that Orwell’s 1984 has been translated into and published in Vietnamese. The publisher is quite obviously some kind of Ernst Blofeld evil genius character.