Saturday, October 24, 2009

Once Upon a Time I Used to Love Entertainment Like This…

I still do, but… The older I get, the more I see (or the more I suspect, at least) that some of the most beloved books and/or movies of my youth are really paeans to leftism and liberalism. There are some "treasures" that are hard for me to to "give up" (and hey, maybe I shouldn't even try), but such is the case, I suspect, to my deep regret, with the films (or at least some films) of Sergio Leone (I love some of those Ennio Morricone tunes, which I used to listen incessantly to at one point as a teen-ager), whose fifth western, Duck, You Sucker, which will be shown in a restored version.

Incidentally, following his three Man With No Name westerns (starring Clint Eastwood), Sergio Leone (who shares a birthday with moi) embarked on a second trilogy. The first and last films, "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "Once Upon a Time in America", reflect the Italian director's intent, but the title of the middle film, over his vehement objections, was changed (by his producer) to Giù la testa in Italian and to Duck, You Sucker (aka A Fistful of Dynamite) in English. The screenplay's original title, which captures far better the spirit and romance of the epic films Leone was seeking to make, was Once Upon a Time During the Revolution. (Only the French kept the original title…)

A Typical Bobo Family Gathering

Note the hosebag that says she wouldn’t do a boy because it turns her off, not that it’s wrong. Or that the nephew of the former president appears to be joking when he says that screwing rent boys that are under 14 is disgusting, as opposed to, say, wrong.

Escaping Babylon only to Escape it Again

Freedom lover Bernard Martoïa writes his thoughts on Claude Reichman’s site. As on his own blog, using the theme “America on Bread and Water”

Each annual visit to the United States gives me the opportunity to regain freedom. For the Europeans and the French in particular, freedom is very secondary to equality. To each his own priorities.
Crisis obliges them. Americans are living on bread and water. Unlike the French, they do not spend their time moaning blaming others. The dominant feeling seems to be: "We have lived too long beyond our means. We speculated immoderately. This is the price you pay. We have to just do it learn our lesson. That's it!” They behave like adults, not getting spoiled and irresponsible as is too often the case in France.

There are two Americas that should not be confused with one another: the liberal and atheistic coasts and big cities, that European tourists identify with, and the other - that of the conservative and religious rural counties. The authentic latter is the one I feel deeply connected to. The first is that of a consumer Babylon that doesn’t hold much interest to me except for the museum collections. Apart from the obligatory passage through Logan Airport in Boston during my last trip, I rather hasten to flee to the Republican hinterland.

On this year's itinerary I only considered two states: New Hampshire and Maine. Unlike other tourists, I don’t rush through. This gives me time to discover a country and also meet people at the mercy of my stops in my town for supplies.
The circuit of a typical French holiday is to swallow 4000 kilometers of tarmac in a fortnight. He wants to see the Grand Canyon, the national parks, Yosemite or Death Valley in California, and of course Las Vegas and San Francisco. That kind of tourism is well suited to these ephemeral times,
Une impression chasse vite la précédente. But what can it remain of your memories after that kind of roller-coaster ride?

Each time a French person asks my opinion on this or that American tour, I warn its too big for my appetite for discovery. The distances are not the same as in Europe. The advice is ignored. I never managed to convince a tourist to narrow his itinerary. My philosophy of travel is not compatible with modernity. Snobbish, the French tourists feel compelled to visit natural sites and well known cities, then they hasten to return. I do not know Boston, but I know Massachusetts I walked it twice: from North to South in 2001, and from south to north in 2007.

For a month I was lucky not hear a word of French. What a pleasure to escape the endless summary judgments against Americans that they do not know!

As I move slowly, and even more this year because of the extremely difficult terrain of New Hampshire which is like a giant staircase (my hourly average fell sometimes a mile), I have ample opportunity to observe the day and note in the evening, my impressions by the light of a headlamp in my tent. I want this book in English to render the best evidence of my experience.

The economic crisis in America is more profound than suggested by Ben Bernanke, who said that his country had resumed growth in September, but I have not seen a single crane! Le secteur du bâtiment est sinistré. The construction sector is acutely damaged. The only active work site I saw was the renovation of a small section of Route 27 in Maine, which connects Auburn to the Canadian border. In contrast, I counted twenty-four cranes at the construction of a new terminal at Frankfurt, Germany for the European consortium EADS’ giant A-380,

The revival of Keynesian government that Obama has benefited Wall Street and the nineteen major U.S. banks deemed "too big to fail" as the interventionist saying goes. I felt in the rural population, an implacable hatred against unwarranted rescue of the wealthy on Wall Street. On the other hand, the French are cattle that politicians can say anything to. Arthur Schopenhauer once said: "Hatred comes from the heart, contempt of the brain, and these feelings are beyond our control." The 2010 Congressional elections will prove to be exciting.
The original is here. Shakespeare did always sound better in the original Klingon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Irony Alert

A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.

The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany's economic recovery.

Signatory Peter Vollmer told AFP news agency he was supporting the proposal because he had inherited "a lot of money I do not need".

He said the tax would be "a viable and socially acceptable way out of the flagrant budget crisis".

The group held a demonstration in Berlin on Wednesday to draw attention to their plans, throwing fake banknotes into the air.

Mr Vollmer said it was "really strange that so few people came".
Gosh, strange indeed.....

Oh, Wait, BHO; All Countries — Even Our Closest Allies — Do Not Think They Are All Equal and Alike

Who will be the new Europe’s countries-in-chief? asks John Vinocur. Nicolas
Sarkozy’s aides could hardly be more direct: France and Germany. The two nations, it is said, “will constitute the heart” of a new phase of European history.

The phrasing is smooth, rubbed free of asperities, but the message unequivocal. As Pierre Lellouche, secretary of state for European affairs, put it in an article this month, “It’s up to us today to put into Europe’s service the unity achieved between France and Germany” since the outbreak of the global economic crisis last year.

To make the point to the world, France is preparing special ceremonies on Nov. 11, marking the end of World War I, and on Nov. 9, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Beyond commemorating the end of centuries of wars and hatreds across the Rhine, the events will project a French notion of joint leadership.

At the same time, the idea’s presumptions and acceptance require both a suspension of judgment and a leap of faith by the rest of Europe, not to mention many of the French and Germans themselves.

Mr. Lellouche, in a conversation, argued that “the crisis forced the two nations closer. The other European nations won’t be afraid of France and Germany leaguing together against them. No one fears that anymore.”

In fact, a sophisticated concern among their neighbors and their own citizens might well be about the unity of France’s and Germany’s political and economic goals and methods.

…But Mr. Sarkozy seems to see a European political constellation at hand where Conservative euro-skeptics are in office in Britain, Italy and Spain’s leaderships are weakened into insignificance and the United States is bored into indifference.

…Up until now, the parties of [Germany's] new coalition haven’t fully shown their hand on who leads Europe. It might not mean much in January, but last May, the likely Free Democrat foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, made a first attempt at stating his international convictions.

“In European policy,” he said, “Luxembourg is as big as France.”

It’s Like a Mummer Parade of Satisfying Self-Hatred

Even having lived in “merry ‘ol” Deutschland, what I can figure out is why the stereotypes of the place being a self-referencial hell keep proving themselves. The idea that the culture is absorbed in finding itself (or rather everyone but the critic) a miserable, socially unaware creature unable to do better despite it’s never ending hemming, hawing, and rumination is not improved much by offensive and absurd stunts that make a mockery of even their best intentions, incapacitated by guilt as they are.

Taking a page out of Hollywood’s joke book about 40 years late is this, a man in poorly executed blackface out to punk unsuspecting “inherently race aware” Germans that they are “inherently race aware”. It makes great imagery, especially with the tree in the veldt whacky comic sendup, but fails hugely in other ways.

First of all, there are only a handful of black Germans, so the “great inhumanity” that’s being redressed here probably isn’t a function of black Germans being treated differently in great non-existent droves, but the desire for some German Peckerwood to wag his finger at a bunch of other German Peckerwoods, while exploiting their awkward position in German society.

Basically, in case you’re wondering what being treated differently and being looked askance is like in Germany, it doesn’t require one to be black to experience it, or in any other part of western Europe for that matter, because even the “anti-racism” crowd has an equally vile moral flaw: they almost uniformly assume that the identity they associate with you is a shorthand for what they assume is your ideology. This is why they try to attribute fascism with conservatism, when virtually every fascist I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading seems to more in love with the state and it’s socially managing, controlling, and redistributive capacity than anything else. To let any if it happen to begin with, your right and wrong needs to have been bypassed. To vainly dwell and campaign on the pretext that only racism or some particular kind of bigotry get through that is itself an attempt at using a technicality to get around the need to judge right from wrong for yourself, and then man up, something that’s now a discredited concept if you take “pop-ethic” seriously.

Those that do appear to believe in the universal truth of a tribal/racial zero sum game, much like this “post partisan”, “post racial” President who we are led to believe was found in a field in cornfield in Kansas with a one-way ticket from Krypton tucked into his diaper:
When he delivered his speech on racism in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama touched upon this issue of how race and class conflicts often get tangled up together. He spoke about "the resentments of white Americans" who feel threatened by gains made by blacks in American society. He went on to say that "to label (white Americans) as misguided or even racist without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns (also) widens the racial divide and blocks the path to understanding."
That idle mindless pap in that speech, which is actually extraordinarily uninspired, we are now told, is to be regarded as a breakthrough, an earthquake, and of “I Have a Dream” box set quality. It isn’t, because hardly a soul remembers it, remembers anything said in it, and has now to be TOLD to try to memorize phrases from it and give it a regards normally conferred on someone who DOES touch people deeply such that the resonance gives us reason to remember it.

It’s why they’re still shocked, even in adulthood, to find anything that seems like an inversion - such as a Jew criticizing Israel, or an Arab criticizing Islam, or anything that doesn’t conform to that simplistic and ignorant shorthand - thrilling and different. It’s an attitude and set of opinions that some believe makes them MORE humanistic and socially aware than others. Note that I said “attitude” and “opinion”. Having an opinion is largely regarded as “doing something” by this elementary thinking, which makes sense on a continent where having certain opinions and offending people is actually actionable behavior. Fortress Europa doesn’t have so much a wall, but a very, very this skin.

Otherwise, in an interview with filmmaker Michael Haneke, we may all wallow in clichéd bleakness on cue to lend a filmmaker some glory. Why? Because that’s the regard we are told to give it. It’s what culture vultures do when they think so little of the public that they don’t think that they can infer or interpret it for themselves.
Haneke: I think it's a little simplistic to explain a work through the psychology of its author. In other words, that Haneke has emotional problems, so I don't have to take his films seriously. By using this argument, the viewer retreats from the challenges of the film. People often use this approach, but I'm used to it by now: What kind of a person is Haneke, to be making those kinds of films?

Can you hear that? It’s about Me-me-me-me-me!!! and if you criticize that, it shouldn’t be taken that way because Me-me-me-me-me!!! can’t take it.

But the real crowd please must be this sort to apologia, self-loathing, and quick and dirty exit from facing the facts of life, and it to loves a good cliché about the assumed view of the German soul:
Haneke: You could see it that way. It isn't a coincidence that the village is called Eichwald. When strictness becomes an end in itself, and when an idea turns into ideology, it becomes perilous for anyone who doesn't comply with this ideology. The film uses the example of German fascism to talk about the mental preconditions for every type of terrorism, whether it comes from the right or the left, and whether it's politically or religiously motivated. Wherever people are in a hopeless, unhappy and humiliating situations, they will grasp at any straw that is handed to them.
...none of which makes any sense if you’re al all familiar with the reality of any of the usual popular whipping boys. The counter-ideology is itself a strict one that is meant to prevent one from using moral reasoning to come to terms with fascism, terror, or anything else on the reality-avoidance hit parade: all of which, like the avoidance principal itself requires moral self-evasions to enable evil. A million lectures, platitudes, and good intentions are a poor substitute.

What Part of This Would a Bien-Pensant Twit NOT Find Spiritually Disturbing? (v1.1)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Those intra-statist fights can get ugly.

There Are Ominous Signs That the Earth's Weather Patterns Have Begun to Change Dramatically, With Serious Implications for Every Nation on Earth

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively…
Ten months after Time Magazine's monumental study on "a global climatic upheaval" (whose "effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic"), Newsweek is finally starting (or: finally started?) to see the light as well, and acting responsibly to direct citizens' concern toward the "advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather" (thanks to Harrison).
The central fact is that after three quarters of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down. … Meteorologists … are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century … the resulting famines could be catastrophic … some of the more spectacular solutions proposed [include] melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers…

BHO is a president who, in attitudes and policies, is closer to the elites of Western Europe than any of his predecessors

Last year, writes Michael Barone,
America elected a president who, in attitudes and policies, is closer to the elites of Western Europe than any of his predecessors.

In the next few weeks, unless you stop it, your president will sign your freedom, your democracy, and your humanity away forever

At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed, stated Lord Christopher Monckton (former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), speaking before the Minnesota Free Market Institute at an event at Bethel University in St. Paul on October 14.
Your president will sign it. Most of the third world countries will sign it, because they think they’re going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regime from the European Union will rubber stamp it. Virtually nobody won’t sign it.

I read that treaty. And what it says is this, that a world government is going to be created. The word “government” actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity. The second purpose is the transfer of wealth from the countries of the West to third world countries, in satisfication of what is called, coyly, “climate debt” – because we’ve been burning CO2 and they haven’t. We’ve been screwing up the climate and they haven’t. And the third purpose of this new entity, this government, is enforcement.

How many of you think that the word “election” or “democracy” or “vote” or “ballot” occurs anywhere in the 200 pages of that treaty? Quite right, it doesn’t appear once. So, at last, the communists who piled out of the Berlin Wall and into the environmental movement, who took over Greenpeace so that my friends who funded it left within a year, because [the communists] captured it – Now the apotheosis as at hand. They are about to impose a communist world government on the world. You have a president who has very strong sympathies with that point of view. He’s going to sign it. He’ll sign anything. He’s a Nobel Peace Prize [winner]; of course he’ll sign it.
As we noted before, The Nobel Prize Was to Get BHO to Scandinavia at the Exact Same Time that the UN's Climate Change Conference Is Taking Place (also, The Nobel Prize is really Obama's payback for disciplining the unruly United States and taming it to be a member of the European family of nations)… Incidentally, a lot more studies will need to be conducted regarding foreign countries' contributing funds to BHO's campaign last year to help bring all of this about…

Every Time You Drive a Car, Jesus Strangles a Puppy

Scaring children about something that they can do nothing about for reasons of political vanity.

In the UK, government sponsored child abuse is okay if it’s “for the cause”.

This is what activists of the civilizational dead-pool call “raising awareness”. Meanwhile the “huge number of people killed by Global Warming” might starve and impoverish due to natural coldening.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A French Father, a French Vigilante, a French Hero

Because the justice system (the German justice system) refused for more than 10 years to extradite the man who killed his teenage daughter 27 years ago, writes Yves Bordenave in Le Monde, André Bamberski decided to take matters into his own hands and have the murderer kidnapped in order to bring him to justice in France.

For kidnapping Dieter Krombach (too bad — I shouldn't say this, I guess (?) — too bad Bamberski didn't kill the dirty piece of human scum), Bamberski is risking 10 years in jail.

After leaving her husband three decades ago with their child, Bamberski's former wife moved in with Dr Krombach, who proceeded to abuse the Bamberskis' daughter, and finally, one day (when Kalinka was 14), poisoned her. In the ensuing 27 years, Germany and France both judged Dr Krombach, with Germany declaring the case closed and France condemning him to 15 years behind bars. Germany has refused to extradite the "good" doctor, and has repeatedly put pressure on the French not to go forward with asking for extradition.
Les autorités allemandes n'ont eu de cesse d'interférer auprès des autorités françaises. En mars 1995, à la veille de l'ouverture du procès de M. Krombach en France, l'ambassadeur d'Allemagne s'était déplacé jusque dans le bureau du président de la cour d'assises, Didier Wacogne, afin que celui-ci renvoie l'affaire aux calendes.
In the land (on the continent, really) that is always blasting Wild West America and its vigilante justice, reader comments are almost universally in favor of France's vigilante.

Among the reactions are those of two readers:
Honneur au père qui venge son enfant

Si l’Etat et la Justice manquent à leurs devoirs, alors, le monopole de la violence légitime dont profite l’Etat doit être considéré comme caduc et c’est un droit, et même un devoir, pour le citoyen que de palier lui-même à ces manquements.
A support committee for André Bemberski has been set up on Facebook

What Part of This Would a Bien-Pensant Twit NOT Find Spiritually Disturbing?

Those terrible Americans...

....always standing in the way of the rest of the world:

Discord reigned supreme at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday (20 October), with the most notable failure in the area of climate financing.

The Swedish EU presidency had hoped to reach an agreement on individual member state contributions towards a EU pot of funding, destined to help developing countries tackle climate change.

"It is a disappointing outcome, that we weren't able to reach an agreement," said Swedish finance minister Anders Borg after the meeting.

Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken described the meeting as a "fiasco", adding that the likelihood of failing to secure a global deal in Copenhagen this December to replace the Kyoto protocol was now "very real."
Yes, those terrible, terrible Americans.

Western MSM Reporter "Stupefied" to Learn that the Estonians Consider Soviet Occupation As Bad As, Or Worse Than, Nazi Occupation

Following Czechia and Poland, the third article in Le Monde's "Mémoires à vif du communisme" series is devoted to Estonia. In The War of Memories in Estonia, Piotr Smolar tells of learning with "stupor", first, the fact that in Tallinn's occupation(s) museum, there are two twin locomotives on display — one with the Nazis' swastika and the other with the Soviets' red star — and second, the content of the museum's signs, which state that
from the point of view of the number of lost lives and the intensity of oppression which the people suffered from, the German occupation was not as hard, in truth, as the Soviet occupation which predated and followed it.
Piotr Smolar feels the need to qualify the reality of the sentence being "factually correct" with the fact that it is "intolerable to a Russian". It already says a lot (about Western media as well as about Western education) that a reporter from the West's mainstream media who has grown up in Western society should be "stupefied" by the fact that the victims of communist oppression (the period from 1940 to 1991 is known as "the 50-year war" in Estonia) think — and say — that it was no better (sometimes, it was worse) than fascist oppression.

Some outtakes:
En pénétrant dans le Musée de l'occupation à Tallinn, … Les visiteurs … se retrouvent aussi nez à nez avec deux locomotives jumelles. L'une porte l'étoile rouge, l'autre la croix gammée. Première stupeur.

La deuxième arrive. Il faut lire les panneaux d'explication. On y découvre des faits, mais aussi beaucoup de commentaires. "Pour l'Estonie, ce fut un demi-siècle divisé et schizophrène dans tous les aspects de notre existence." Ou encore cette phrase, factuellement exacte mais insupportable pour un Russe : "Du point de vue du nombre de vies perdues et de l'intensité de l'oppression dont le peuple a souffert, l'occupation allemande n'a pas été aussi dure, en réalité, que l'occupation soviétique qui a précédé et celle qui a suivi."

L'histoire, en Estonie, n'est pas une simple matière scolaire ou un objet de colloque pour chercheurs aux bonnes manières. C'est un combat. Une reconquête, un affranchissement, lié de façon étroite à la nouvelle indépendance, acquise en 1991.

…En juin 1940, les troupes soviétiques occupent le pays, incorporé sous peu dans l'URSS. Près de 8 000 "ennemis du peuple" sont arrêtés. Près de 30 000 hommes sont enrôlés de force dans les rangs de l'Armée rouge.

A l'été 1941, les Allemands envahissent à leur tour l'Estonie. C'est difficile à admettre, vu de l'ouest du continent européen, mais nombreux sont ceux qui accueillent les nazis favorablement. Près de 40 000 personnes se portent volontaires pour combattre dans la Waffen-SS. Ils ne sont pas mus par une conviction idéologique, mais par l'idée de porter un coup décisif à l'oppresseur soviétique. On trouve donc des Estoniens dans chaque camp totalitaire, de gré ou de force.

"Le passé nazi, c'est quatre ans. Le passé communiste, c'est cinquante ans, rappelle Marek Tamm, jeune et brillant historien. … Après la guerre, la répression soviétique est terrible. En quelques jours, en mars 1949, plus de 20 000 Estoniens sont déportés en Sibérie. 3 000 meurent en route.
3,000 victims, that's as many as died during General Pinochet's entire career (you know, the piece of fascist scum whose acts to destroy democracy — contrary to those of communist régimes whose "intentions" were "good" — were entirely unforgivable) and those occurred during the 1949 deportation alone. The article goes on to speak about current relations between Estonian-speakers and Russian-speakers, but when speaking about the monument to the Red Army that the Tallinn government moved from the center of the capital to a military cemetery, Piotr Smolarjust like the New York Times before him — forgets the Russian cyber-war that the republic's giant neighbor visited upon it (again, two full pages do not seem to be enough to find the space for this despicable treatment of a tiny country).
[Selon les] Russes hostiles à toute politique d'estonisation du pays … la communauté russe serait systématiquement humiliée. Cet état d'esprit est résumé avec humour par le professeur de droit international Evhen Tsyboulenko, Ukrainien vivant dans le pays depuis 2003 : "Un alcoolique estonien ne se cherche pas d'excuse. Un alcoolique russe a toujours une bonne raison de boire : on le discrimine !"

… Maksim Reva, 34 ans, expose un point de vue inverse. Il raconte posément son engagement au sein de Notchnoï Dozor ["ronde de nuit"]. "Je me considère russe. Ce n'est pas une nationalité, mais une civilisation", dit-il en préambule. … Il manque un mot, le plus lourd, le plus connoté, dont les Russes abusent au point de le vider de son sens. Il arrive, après une gorgée de bière au miel. "Nous avons été victimes d'un lent génocide."

Et alors, les répressions staliniennes ont eu lieu partout, pas seulement contre les Estoniens. Ce sont les Russes qui en ont été les principales victimes."

Le même argument est utilisé vis-à-vis des Ukrainiens, dans la grande polémique historiographique sur l'Holodomor, l'extermination par la famine de 1932-1933. Là aussi, les Russes s'accrochent au fait que les millions de morts étaient de toutes nationalités, comme s'ils étaient terrassés par un virus, plutôt que victimes d'une planification politique dont il faudrait identifier les auteurs, au sommet du régime stalinien.

With Russians complaining of "a slow genocide" — notably in the town of Narva — the article ends with an upbeat note about a Russian businessman who made the voluntary decision to make Estonia his home, and was recently rewarded for "exceptional merit" with the rare honor of receiving Estonian nationality.

Has the American Family Court System Become Totalitarian?

Has the American Family Court System Become Totalitarian? asks , as the founder and president of the Ruth Institute (a project of the National Organization for Marriage) reviews the books of Alec Baldwin and Stephen Baskerville.
Easy divorce opens the door for an unprecedented amount of government intrusion into ordinary people's lives. This unacknowledged reality is the subject of Taken Into Custody, by Stephen Baskerville. With penetrating insight, the political scientist exposes the truly breathtaking consequences of no-fault divorce for the expansion of state power and the decline of personal autonomy.

First, no-fault divorce frequently means unilateral divorce: one party wants a divorce against the wishes of the other, who wants to stay married. Kim Basinger dumped Baldwin for no particular reason, unleashed the power of the Los Angeles Family Court system to inflict pain on him and, in the process, inflicted untold damage on their child. Second, the fact that one party wants to remain married means that the divorce has to be enforced. Baldwin wanted to stay married and to continue to be a husband and father. Yet, the coercive and intrusive machinery of the state must be wheeled into action to separate the reluctantly divorced party from the joint assets of the marriage, typically the home and the children.

Third, enforcing the divorce means an unprecedented blurring of the boundaries between public and private life. People under the jurisdiction of family courts can have virtually all of their private lives subject to its scrutiny. If the courts are influenced by feminist ideology, that ideology can extend its reach into every bedroom and kitchen in America. Baldwin ran the gauntlet of divorce industry professionals who have been deeply influenced by the feminist presumptions that the man is always at fault and the woman is always a victim. Thus, the social experiment of no-fault divorce, which most Americans thought was supposed to increase personal liberty, has had the consequence of empowering the state.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Green salad tossers

Mounds of hypocrisy, served with a heaping helping of nuance:

NOBODY goes out to dinner in the San Francisco Bay Area to eat food flown in from Europe. Right here is the spiritual center of the Eat Local movement, which has persuasively argued the political, environmental, ethical and culinary benefits of cooking with local ingredients and supporting local agriculture.

San Francisco is also in the heart of the California wine country, with Napa and Sonoma to the north, and the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey wine regions to the south. Restaurants here that so prominently credit their local food purveyors on their menus no doubt feature local wines loudly and proudly, right?

Not quite. A surprising number of Bay Area restaurants, including many dedicated to cooking with local ingredients, offer wine lists dominated by European bottles.

What gives? Is this hypocrisy pure and simple?

"We recognize that it's a tricky thing, and it's a little hypocritical, but we also recognize there's a certain style and authenticity that you can't get anywhere else," said Chris Deegan, the wine director at Nopa, a popular restaurant north of the Golden Gate panhandle. Nopa's Web site declares, "We serve simple food created with seasonal ingredients sourced from local purveyors," but its wine list is overwhelmingly European.
Funny how the allowed foibles of our green authoritarian betters are merely giggled away as a certain joie de vivre. For those unallowed foibles which other individuals may enjoy, a one-way ticket to Folsom.

MSM Reporter's Seven-Month Captivity in the Hands of the Taliban Opens His Eyes to an Incredible Revelation

If anything is the special report of the week, if not of the month, for the New York Times, then it can only David Rohde's multi-part series on his seven-month captivity by the Taliban.

But the money quote from this mainstream media reporter came in part one:
Over those months [of captivity], I came to a simple realization. After seven years of reporting in the region, I did not fully understand how extreme many of the Taliban had become.
How extreme many of the Taliban had become. Are you kidding?! Hello! This is what American conservatives have been saying for years! I know we are all clueless and beyond the reach of help, but maybe the (remote) possibilty exists that now and then, we have something (remotely) wise to say…

In a similar vein, now that Barack Obama's foreign policy (or lack thereof) has been criticized not by American conservatives, but by Václav Havel (namely BHO's refusal to meet with nothing less than a modern-day Gandhi), suddenly Maureen Dowd drops all the scorn and the irony, and jumps (somewhat) on the bandwagon. Apparently, a fellow American (any fellow American) who criticizes the Apologizer-in-Chief is nothing but a racist dreg of society, but a member of the European élite who does so — and noone is saying that Vaclav Havel should not be listened to (au contraire) — is the source of all wisdom. In Dowd's words:
The tyro American president got the Nobel for the mere anticipation that he would provide bold moral leadership for the world at the very moment he was caving to Chinese dictators. Awkward.
Well, Maureen, you know what? That is, basically, the exact same type of message that we conservatives have been voicing (or trying to voice, when you deign listen to us without snorts, snickers, or eye rolls) for months… But it is only when a member of the European élite jumps in that she is ready for a bold suggestion:
Our president would be well advised to listen.
But American conservatives? Listening to them doesn't make sense (in fact, the quicker we can shut them up — Fox News, talk radio — the better). So why, specifically, is it that listening to the former Czech president makes sense?
Havel is looking at this not only as a moral champion but as a playwright.
"Not only… but also…" Oh, but of course — that explains everything…

Spengler knows Donkey-nomics

When they’re done with today’s mindless, unquestioning idolatry of a politician, they might want to try to figure out how to spin what will be his miserable legacy.

Starving the economy of funds by “trying to help it” does not get you a Nobel Prize.

Was Anita Dunn’s ‘Maoism’ Prattle Still Just Said in Jest?

Obama’s “Manufacturing Czar” (who knew we had one of those), makes an interesting point by also invoking Mao as “the communications Czar” has – except, he pretty directly brings up and sums up Maoism, a variant on Marxism/Leninism that doesn’t even have a pretense of social concern to it. He notes that all power comes from force, which is an interesting obsession for an elected administration to have.

Call it a sort of international solidarity with the likes of the budding and practiced tyrants in Venezuela, Belarus, Iran, Cuba, Bolivia, and such. Maybe he’s reflecting on the fact that the left didn’t even have to say “make your last vote count”.

Why we (heart) the 1980's, v.37

“It is only a minor compromise,” Havel says of Obama's snub of the Dalai Lama; “But with these minor compromises start the big and dangerous problems"

Vaclav Havel had a question as he opened a meeting with the New York Times' Alison Smale.
Was it true that President Obama had refused to meet the Dalai Lama in Washington?

Mr. Havel is a fan of the Dalai Lama, who was among the first visitors to Prague’s storied castle after Mr. Havel moved in there as president, the final act in the swift, smooth revolution of 1989. A picture of the Dalai Lama is displayed prominently in Mr. Havel’s current office in central Prague.
Told that Mr. Obama had made clear he would receive the Dalai Lama after his first presidential visit to China in November, Mr. Havel reached out to touch a magnificent glass dish, inscribed with the preamble to the United States Constitution — a gift from Mr. Obama, who visited in April.
“It is only a minor compromise,” Mr. Havel said of the nonreception of the Tibetan leader. “But exactly with these minor compromises start the big and dangerous ones, the real problems."
One letter to the editor noted that the Nobel Prize winner (i.e., the Tibetan leader) snubbed by the Nobel Prize winner (i.e., the Apologizer-in-Chief) is nothing less than a modern-day Gandhi and that
The American president would do well to heed Mr. Havel’s warning that coddling of rights-abusing nations is a “road to hell.”
(Incidentally, at least four paragraphs of the International Herald Tribune version were omitted in the online version of Smale's Václav Havel report, including the final para with the "road to hell" quote.) Even Maureen Dowd has dropped her usual scorn and irony to say that
The tyro American president got the Nobel for the mere anticipation that he would provide bold moral leadership for the world at the very moment he was caving to Chinese dictators. Awkward.

"Crypto-intelligentsia of our country": France's conspicuous network of socially connected, similarly schooled politicians, artists, and intellectuals

Regarding the Roman Polanski case, Michael Kimmelman presents an unusually good article on French intellectuals, on what regular French folks call “the crypto-intelligentsia of our country,” and on the French élite's (if not the people's) long history of lionizing celebrities, as well as on the élite's collective "Gallic shrug"…

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fort Apache Redux

Below is a translation of an article by Luckas Vander Taelen, Flemish Parliament Green Party MP, “The Ghettos of Brussels” published in Belgium’s Le Soir newspaper on 6 October 2009

I live in Forest, near an area that stretches from the Rue Merode to the Midi railway station and that can only be described as a ghetto, even with the largest bias for multiculturalism.

My daughter has long since abandoned to entering the area. While she feel comfortable at home, she has quite often (and once too often) been insulted. I cross the area daily by bicycle and daily find it a new adventure. Cars are double parked, drivers block intersections to talk to one another, youths follow you and stare as if you were on their turf.

Do not try to speak up when you feel a need to: the last time I ventured that myself, I took caught the undivided attention of an observer who could not have even been 16 years old, who went into an offensive tirade ending in him telling me he was "fucking your mother." It was much less serious than last time, when another young Moroccan driver had been annoyed by my behavior: I dared to take my right of way. His honor was so offended that he could needed to restore it by spitting in my face.

So above all: people keep silent, because when you try to explain that 70 km/h is too fast in 30 zone, you hit head on the dignity of a new young Belgian who can not bear that someone ban something which is ready to do battle.

Some twenty years ago, I was convinced that the new young Belgians were assimilating quickly. But now, in Brussels, a generation of "rebels without a cause" have been raised that continue to feel aggrieved and annoyed. Everything is always the fault of others: Belgian authorities are racist, while within their own families, young North African boys are untouchable. When police arrested a youth in Molenbeek, the father immediately organized a protest because her son "did not even steal an apple."

Last year, a ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles ) study showed that efforts by authorities in problem areas have meant that young people no longer see the need to leave them. This creates a village mentality in a big city.

The daughter of Moroccan friends has a Belgian boyfriend. She never goes out with him in this neighborhood because she will immediately be scolded. While almost all young immigrants have Belgian nationality, they do not identify with this country. Quite to the contrary: "Belgian" is used as an insult.

You hardly ever meet young single women in the neighborhood, even less so a tavern: they are not even tolerated. When a friend in town ordered a coffee, she quickly understand that she should not expect to be served. When I go biking in the Merode neighborhood, I know that until I pass the Gare du Midi, I will not find a woman by herself at an outdoor café, never mind the hypocritical sexual morality that requires young ethnic minority women to remain virgins until their wedding night when everyone knows that hospitals Brussels will repair a woman’s hymen in a simple operation ...

Until last week, a French-Moroccan artist exhibited a remarkable exhibition in Brussels: a series of prayer rugs with shoes. The art gallery was immediately the target of telephone threats to send the message that the work was vulgar. The unrest was triggered by a pair of red shoes with high heels exposed near a prayer rug, because the artist wanted to address the issue of "the place of women in Islam." But this is no longer possible in Brussels: the exhibition was dismantled after a few days.

We should perhaps ask ourselves why we agreed that principles like artistic freedom and the equal rights of men and women do not apply to everyone in this country.

Why do we not dare to stand up for what is fundamentally important?: a respect for the laws and values of countries in which we live? Banning the headscarf is not a solution. But yet how strongly do we dare defend what we consider important?

The merit of the left was to claim more attention to discrimination and social exclusion. Unfortunately the problem is more profound: we were afraid of being accused of imposing our values on immigrants.

These are my values too, and they are too important to let them be lost.

Controversy Over Afghan Ambush Erupts Between France and Italy

Le Monde's Natalie Nougayrède brings us an article concerning the Afghans' alleged hostility against French troops, while Jacques Follorou points out that the battle deaths of a dozen French soldiers in an ambush last year has led to controversy between the French and the Italians, who were in the area previous to the French taking over.

According to the Times of London, the French let down their guard because the Italians had not informed them that if the area seemed peaceful, it was because they were paying bribes to the local Taliban chieftans. Conversely, gli Italiani failed to inform the local Talibans that they were going to be replaced by the French, and the latter's patrols were seen as a break in the agreement…

Besides being fairly insulting to les Ritals, Le Monde's readers included one saying that we might as well replace Hervé Morin (the defense minister) with Jean Sarkozy…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Geronimo: More Lessons in Simplistic U.S. History

What with Geronimo's great-grandson touring France, Annick Cojean has an article on the Apache warrior in Le Monde, in which we learn that Harlyn Geronimo is suing the American government, demanding that the U.S. government allow the body of his great-grandfather to be reburied (from Fort Sill, Oklahoma) on the Apache people's ancestral lands near the place (on the Gila River in New Mexico) where the Apache warrior was born.
L'avocat chargé de l'affaire, Ramsey Clark, ancien ministre de la justice sous Johnson, et volontaire pour des défenses généralement plus sulfureuses (Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic...) l'a assuré que la loi de 1990 sur la protection des tombes indiennes et leur rapatriement conférait toute légitimité à l'initiative des descendants du héros apache. Et il n'est que temps, dit-il, de rendre justice à la sagesse ancestrale des plus anciens habitants d'Amérique.
Annick Cojean's filler on the alleged theft of the Apache Indian's skull mentions three generations of Bush family members who belonged to the Yales secret society of Skull and Bones, without mentioning leftists such as John Kerry, and ends with Harlyn Geronimo recounting ominously that "President Bush [presumably, 43] never deigned answer my letter" in that regard…

Not until the end of the main article do we learn, incidentally, that Harlyn is suspicious of Obama's claims regarding minorities and, indeed, that he voted for John McCain…

Nowhere, however, in this page-long article on Geronimo, do we deviate from the simplistic tale that the peaceful natives were nothing if not the victims of the United States. Nowhere do we learn that the Apache people's ancestral lands were not the barren lands of Arizona and New Mexico — that is where the Apaches had to resettle after their true lands, the plains, were stolen, yes, but not by the whites albeit by… the (peaceful?) Comanches — or that the earliest tragedy in Geronimo's life was the massacre of his family by… the Mexican army.

Indeed, contrary to American soldiers (!!), Mexican soldados in the field knew that they had no pity to expect from Geronimo's Apaches; if the man born Goyakhlay is known by a Spanish surname, it is because when Mexicans knew who they were up against, they would pray to Saint-Jerome…

The Nobel Prize Was to Get BHO to Scandinavia at the Exact Same Time that the UN's Climate Change Conference Is Taking Place

Addressing Barack Obama with the familiar "tu" (nice how BHO's "new direction" is leading to more respect for the United States as well as for his own person, n'est-ce pas?), Le Monde's Hervé Kempf has figured out the reason why BHO won the Nobel Peace Prize: the Apologizer-in-Chief will be heading for Oslo, meaning that (since Norway is neighbor to Denmark) he will be right next to Copenhagen at the exact same time that the UN Climate Change Conference is taking place in the Danish capital — a summit to which he will invariably be invited — and having the moral obligation to go (back) there, he is likely to (in Hervé Kempf's words) "shake opinion in your country" and sign (on to) the global climate deal.
Les jurés t'ont décerné le Nobel de la paix pour que tu viennes à Copenhague, lors de la conférence mondiale sur le climat. Recevant le prix à Oslo, le 10 décembre, tu seras moralement obligé d'aller à Copenhague dans la foulée, et de signer l'accord. Les jurés d'Oslo t'invitent à forcer ta nature de compromis, à bousculer l'opinion de ton pays. Ils pensent que la paix du monde dans les décennies à venir va se jouer là, à Copenhague, et que les Etats-Unis, donc toi, en détiennent la clé.
Listen to what COP15 president Connie Hedegaard declares, in no uncertain terms: the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy at the head of the UN Climate Change Conference
is adamant that Copenhagen will “seal the deal”.

“If the whole world comes to Copenhagen and leaves without making the needed political agreement, then I think it’s a failure that is not just about climate. Then it’s the whole global democratic system not being able to deliver results in one of the defining challenges of our century. And that is and should not be a possibility. It’s not an option,” Connie Hedegaard tells in an interview.

She calls Copenhagen a “window of opportunity” which should not be missed, arguing that it may take years to rebuild the momentum.

“If we don’t deliver in Copenhagen, then I cannot see when again you can build up a similar pressure on all the governments of this world to deliver. So I think we should be very, very cautious not to miss the opportunity,” says Hedegaard, adding that “it would be irresponsible not to use the momentum now”.
The momentum would seem, deliberately or otherwise, to get the Apologizer-in-Chief involved by any and all means possible. As Dick Morris and Eileen McGann wrote, the
Nobel Prize is really Obama's payback for disciplining the unruly United States and taming it to be a member of the European family of nations. Europe wants to reverse the American Revolution and re-colonize us, and it sees in Obama a kindred spirit willing to do its bidding.

They can start with “Ode to Joy” and end it with “Play Ball”

Guess what only took them 16 months:

Parliament sets up economic crisis committee

While speculation on future high-profile jobs continued apace on Wednesday (7 October), parts of the EU institutions attempted to concentrate on the job in hand – namely the tackling of the economic crisis.
And that crisis was committeed just in time.
Not to be outdone, the commission issued its Annual Report on the Euro Area 2009 also on Wednesday.

The document says "signs of economic stabilisation are emerging", but warns that "the strength and resilience of the recovery has yet to be fully tested".
Tackle away. Tackle away. In the mean time, we’ll be trying to figure out who it was you weren’t being outdone by. Another EU in a parallel universe, perhaps?

You might want to pass a law making deflation unlawful or something... that should take care of it in time for the cocktail hour.