Friday, December 31, 2010

Good-Bye, Friend

Geraldine Hoff Doyle was the real-life model for the World War II era We Can Do It posters, an embodiment of the iconic World War II character Rosie the Riveter.

Oooooooooh New Year! Thass th'Time I Wanna See

(thank yuh to Duncan…)

Voilà la Culture Gogo-gôchistes qui Rayonne sur le Monde

One of the underlying arguments commonly raised against commerce is the Marxist presumption that all wealth is derived from either exploiting natural resources or forcing humans into slavery.
Notes business guru-cum-evil-genius Michael Phillips.
When confronted with the Marxist view that all commercial productivity is inherently imperialistic, simply ask the question: ‘Could one salaried employee out produce five slaves?’ The answer is 'Yes'. Slaves are very unproductive, very difficult to manage and Marxists are hanging on to the slavery idea long after the commercial world has discarded it.
Nowhere is this rhetoric more commonly found (at every turn) than in the workers’ paradise of western Europe. The first clue is the misidentification of any and all non-governmental economic activity taking place in civil society as capitalism. It displays an identical ignorance of it that I came to know behind the iron curtain: founded on what little information about it that had been offered to people, and all of it was deliberately negative.

The idea that the idea... the rhetorical grenade to be precise, is something the syndicalist / lynch-mob fantasy left is hanging on to with all of its’ will is precise. Precisely because it is such a fake argument, and is simple enough to thrust onto children who have no life experience to differentiate it. It’s done in the hope that it will produce in them an adherent, knowing full well that ideas that contrived can only be inculcated where there are opportunities to program the target at a vulnerable developmental stage.
The reason is simple. The level of management (and government support) required to use slaves is great and their productivity is nil.
Which, rather ironically, is exactly how the Comecon Marxist-Leninist economies operated: they were filthy with regulatory carpriciousness and ineffectual middle-management, and treated the worker for what he and she was: a captive of the state. Every instiution you were tied to was its’ own plantation, and leaving the society or dropping out was rarely an option.

How a modern leftist can observe those truths, and process the difference between what they want to call slavery with what was an objectively real, living, slavery is most telling.

The counter-argument was that these states didn’t practice “real” socialism. How would they know? The practices of these states were as philosophically consistent as Marx and Engels’ teachings had proscribed. Is what was really there – slavery – not real enough for them?

Whiffs of Tom Lehrer: It's in the Koran

(Shookhran to Damian)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Classic case of Being Irrelevant

Justice commissioner Viviane Reding on Monday criticised the US for lacking interest and not having yet appointed a proper negotiator on an over-arching data protection agreement with the EU. Her words came as the bloc's own data protection supervisor slammed the EU internal security strategy for being unclear about privacy.
Yadda, yadda, yadda...
"From the outset, we have noted an apparent lack of interest on the US side to talk seriously about data protection," Ms Reding said in a statement, two weeks after holding talks with US attorney general Eric Holder and interior minister Janet Napolitano.
She said that the US is interested in negotiations on specific data-sharing deals with Europe, but that there was less movement on the over-arching data protection agreement [than] she had the mandate to negotiate.
The officially irate Reichsminister Reding continued to expect someone to show up anyway, I suppose for the pointless Kabuki theater that they need to look relevant:
"They have not even appointed a negotiator," Ms Reding pointed out, adding she "expects" the telephone number of the negotiator before the end of the year.
The possibility that others don’t agree with the efficacy of negotiating domestic laws with a foreign entity may not have fallen upon the infallable Empirial Adjutant Reding.

As in: there’s nothing of any note to discuss until the EUvians get a policy, and Congress empowers a mandate. Elsewhere from by bulging “sign it and forget it” pile:
"The EDPS regrets that although the communication refers to privacy and data protection as fundamental rights, the EU commission does not explain how this will be ensured in practice," it noted.
That's alreight. It looks like the world is unwilling to take you seriously anyway.

Is France Pioneering the Sale by NATO Countries of High-Technology Military Equipment to the Kremlin?

Since a low-key Christmas Eve announcement of a French sale of assault ships to Russia,
reports Doreen Carvajal regarding the Mistral from Paris,
high-level government deal makers have boasted about the multimillion-euro deal like it was a soccer game triumph. “France wins,” declares the Web site for the Élysée Palace.

But critics — particularly among Russia’s neighbors including Georgia, Estonia and Lithuania — are raising alarms that France may have pioneered the way for other Western countries to sell Russia whatever they have to offer, from high-technology military equipment to rights for oil pipelines.

“It’s a scandal,” said André Glucksmann, a French philosopher and critic of the deal. He said in an interview on Tuesday that the announcement was timed for the busy Christmas season to bury the “dirty details.”

The boxy, 600-foot-long Mistral vessel is an advanced helicopter carrier equipped with a command center and hospital for military landing operations. It is the first major arms purchase by Russia abroad and the first sale by a NATO country, illustrating the shifting role of an alliance once conceived to counter Soviet military power.

One of the sticking points in negotiations was whether the deal would include advanced naval weapons and defense systems. In the months leading to the deal, a series of French officials softened their stand, saying that France was willing to supply the technology without restrictions.

Naval Industry: France Wins!
Russia chooses Saint-Nazaire to build its new boats

Besides using an infantile term (boats instead of ships, or navires), the Elysee website completely ignores the military aspect of the deal…
…The Baltic states have long raised concerns, keenly aware of the comments of Russia’s naval chief, Adm. Vladimir S. Vysotsky, who last year bluntly evaluated the potential benefits the equipment could have offered during the five-day Georgian war in 2008: “Everything that we did in the space of 26 hours at the time, this ship will do within 40 minutes.”

…Much of the geopolitical wrangling about the deal emerged in secret American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. In February 2010, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates raised the issue with President Nicolas Sarkozy and France’s defense minister at the time, Hervé Morin.

According to the ambassador’s report of the meeting, Mr. Gates noted that Russia failed to honor an armistice in Georgia brokered by Mr. Sarkozy. Mr. Gates also was scornful of the top deal makers: “Russian democracy has disappeared, and the government is an oligarchy run by the security services.”

Update: Autonomous Mind has more on "France’s traditionally self serving actions":
Russia was delighted that the Élysée was on board, on message and sowing disunity around western Europe. … The obvious conclusion to draw was that French had identified in Russia an opportunity for an advantage and vested self interest was at play

Moral Repugnance at a Glance, even by the Standards of a Death Cult

Two European quasi-thinkers write a tome about the world that they would like to shove down humanity’s throat, and then interview one another.

Smugness and the pretense that we will “all be shocked”, it seems has become a virtue.

Taz: Herr Leggewie, Herr Welzer, the economy is showing signs of recovery. Isn't the global financial meltdown going rather well?

CL: It depends how you look at it. At least greenhouse gasses emissions are dropping. I haven't seen any bankers dangling from the street lamps but the stock exchange tickers are up and running again, and trade in those idiotic derivatives is booming.

HW: It's business as usual, it's as if it'd never happened. Except that the bill for crisis management will have to be footed by the generations to come.
As if there will be no “price for generations to come” for what they want:
HW: Quite the opposite. We are calling for cultural change, which would be worthwhile even without a crisis. It still makes sense to reject the hegemonic culture of waste and the civil religion of growth even without climate change and economic crisis – and it's fun too.

CL: We've had a lot of very positive feedback from people who've had it up to here with the world as we knew it and who believe that now is the time to build a better world by pooling our resources. The political class has no idea that all around them, a new type of extra-parliamentary movement is forming?

What form is it taking?

CL: The Pirate Party, for example, or the climate alliances and new protest movements.
The morons actually think they’re funny too.
You obviously enjoy making apocalyptic jokes. Or how else should we interpret your romance with crisis?

HW: Why do people always have to talk about the apocalypse and loving crisis whenever you tell it like it is?

Why indeed?

HW: Look, I'll put it very simply: what they sell us as realpolitik these days is a complete illusion, because it doesn't address any the problems of the future – climate change, dwindling resources, mounting water and food deficits, the escalating global conflict potential, the exploitation of our children's future. If you look at it this way, it's the realpoliticians who seem who have a fondness for crises. Crises also provide an excellent opportunity to score points for tireless crisis management. This is good for distracting from the fact that there is nothing on the political agenda.
None of which is real. So, by all means, start up that entirely pointless and fake “zero population growth” movement again. Advocate mass suicide, genocide. Bring back that authoritarianism for the sake of man crap if you think it germaine. Bring it back even if you think it’s Jackie, Tito, Marlon and/or Michael if you think you should... Just impose it on yourselves, you noisy parasites.

Nor is getting caught up in every detached, uninvolved whiner’s complaints become an actually theory of anything, which is why you end up resorting to the only theme that DOES fit, which is that the Apocalypse is nigh, so hand over your dope and underaged girls or something.

Look, it’s very simple: humanity has heard this argument, and it hasn’t just been debunked by reason, it’s disproved itself. Interestingly enough, it managed all of this without the promulgators of the theory being “in charge” of it, or to their apparent disappointment, others.

But for the crown that falls for this routine, it seems that any kind of “sciency” sounding credentials will do.

Harald Welzer is a professor of social psychology. His lastest book is called “Climate Wars.”

Claus Leggewie is director of the German Advisory Council on Climate Change. Leggewie is also a member of the the scientific advisory council of Attac

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Modern Social Graces in the Age of Politcal Correctness

Leftism is Now Little More than an Adolescent Lynch-mob Fantasy

Proven to us every day by those that promote it. Even adherents to the (more or less) decayed ideas of envy-laden, class-warfare promoting Marxist-Leninism find that to be true. Don’t be surprised:

Then almost immediately, [the blogger] History is Made… told me, he turned to Indymedia to find it full of claims that Wikileaks is a Mossad/CIA false flag operation to deflect us away from the real conspiracies…
It’s a natural fit for “troofing” in it’s many forms, repeated over and over, over time with no actual examination of the events, outcome, origins, or anything else. For these buffoons, it all comes out the same way:
“Sadly, Indymedia offers a platform to invent caricatures of the Israeli state and of its policies. Instead of recognising the political context, it helps to perpetuate an image of Israel, and of Jews, as sinister conspirators with a secret plan to turn the world into one massive settlement.”
Once the lying starts, expect it to continue. The question really isn’t one of the promoters of these idea thinking that people are after them, (given their importance, and all that divine illumination that they offer,) but why people really AREN’T after them.

Chalking it up to yeaning for a hip edge, those that want to remain respectable are in on the act too.

Obama's Failure to Close Guantanamo? It's the Fault of Bush and of the Trap Laid by His Evil Henchmen

It's all Bush's fault! Bush Derangement Syndrome is back in force in France (but did it ever leave Europe's shores?), as Le Monde — which obviously has no idea of the contents of the Geneva Convention — describes the Guantánamo situation as a "judicial trap" (and "a pure illegality" concerning "that camp of shame") laid by lying, conniving, treacherous officials of the Bush administration. With most Le Monde readers adding their habitual hooey, this of course means in turn that Barack Obama is but a poor defenseless victim of the evil Bush — as you can see in the piece's title (Barack Obama Caught in the Guantanamo Trap) and in very first sentence.
Le piège juridique installé par l'administration Bush, ancrée dans l'idéologie de la "guerre au terrorisme", se referme sur l'administration Obama. En janvier 2011, le président américain devrait signer un décret présidentiel autorisant l'internement sans jugement et pour une durée illimitée de certains des détenus de la base militaire de Guantanamo, à Cuba.

…Ce piège, mis en place après les attentats d'Al-Qaida du 11 septembre 2001, a d'abord consisté à inventer une catégorie juridique, nommée "combattant ennemi illégal", dans le seul objectif de déroger au droit américain et international, en particulier au droit de la guerre codifié par les Conventions de Genève.

Dès lors que lesdits terroristes n'entraient pas dans les catégories usuelles du droit, on pouvait aussi bien créer la prison de Guantanamo que pratiquer sur eux la torture, pour peu que des "avis juridiques" les décrètent conformes au droit.

…Selon le principe de la prophétie autoréalisatrice, en légalisant de facto un "trou noir" juridique, l'administration Bush a créé des prisonniers non justiciables.

Le 21 mai 2009, M. Obama reconnaissait que ceux-ci constituent "l'enjeu spécifique le plus difficile qu'affronte" son administration. Aujourd'hui, par décret, il se retrouve empêtré dans cette situation exorbitante et en passe de confirmer, à son tour, une pure illégalité : la privation de liberté sans fin imposée sans jugement à des êtres humains.

"You broke it, you fix it", dit un dicton américain : celui qui casse doit réparer. Washington, sous George Bush, a "cassé" le respect que devait son administration au droit international. Barack Obama entendait le rétablir. Face à un Congrès où les républicains (massivement) et les démocrates (majoritairement) privilégient les impératifs de sécurité sur toute autre préoccupation, il assure toujours vouloir y parvenir. Et, à terme, fermer ce camp de la honte.

Mais, en attendant, il en vient, lui aussi, à déroger au droit international. La facilité consisterait à suivre le point de vue d'un Jack Goldsmith, ex-rédacteur des "avis juridiques" de George Bush ; il conseillait récemment à M. Obama de s'en tenir à une norme simple : "Ne jugez pas les terroristes, enfermez-les." Le réalisme est de se souvenir que l'abandon du droit finit toujours par se retourner contre celui qui s'y laisse entraîner, même s'il croit ne le faire qu'à titre conjoncturel.

related: What should enrage every decent citizen is that the real torturers — from Zimbabwe to China, from Syria to North Korea — get a pass from the political left ("The demands to shut down our Guantanamo lock-up for terrorists have nothing to do with human rights. They're about punishing America for our power and success.")

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gogo-Gôchistes Pédophiles

John Rosenthal follows the money on the state sponsored hate speech behind Roman Polanski’s film The Ghost Writer. It won “best picture” in the European Film Academy awards, and like virtually all European films shows in the credits a gaggle of state funded sponsors, and other barriers between the product and its unviability.

The entire effort is to advance the “lapdog” argument, as if the tunnel of mirrors, the same one that convinces people to ignore or even defend Polanski’s pederasty, isn’t one big lap of operant conditioning and servility.

The film is a kind of amalgam of “good European” pieties (e.g., the righteousness of the International Criminal Court) and delirious anti-American phantasms. It follows the trials and tribulations of a ghostwriter working on the memoirs of a former British prime minister. In the midst of his assignment, the ghostwriter gradually uncovers the “appalling truth” — as the official synopsis puts it — that his employer had been under the control of the CIA while residing at 10 Downing Street.
Never mind that the population is so cheap and lethargic that “Culture Ministries” are needed to buoy the arts, films, and the like, even those that pander to the obvious which one would think not need state support, get it.

Full of delusions and excuses, dependant on enablement and ignoring the norms of right and wrong, we might as well call it the politics of pedophilia. A fitting end to a society that largely believes that children aren’t worth having, were it not for one’s need to see others as creatures only worth keeping around to exploit for your ego and pleasure.

Selective WikiLeaks and its handpicked print media: the 5 papers that do most to propagate the dismal view of American power and U.S. foreign policy

A more glaring violation of WikiLeaks’s supposed commitment to “radical transparency” could hardly be imagined
notes John Rosenthal as he examines what turns out to be 'the farce that is WikiLeaks’s self-styled “Cablegate”,' pointing out that
whereas WikiLeaks has withheld the documents from the public [not even 1 percent of the reported total have thus far been published on its website], five handpicked media organizations have enjoyed exclusive access to the complete stash. … the selection of the five newspapers enjoying privileged access has clearly not been arbitrary.

Germany’s Der Spiegel, Britain’s Guardian, Spain’s El País, France’s Le Monde, and America’s own New York Times. Not only are these five of the hoariest dinosaurs still roaming across the international old media landscape. Taken together, they are probably the five print media of reference that have done the most over the last decade to propagate the dismal view of American power and American foreign policy that passes for “leftism” nowadays in both Europe and the United States itself. (Italy’s La Repubblica could be added to the list.) Why were precisely these media and not others given privileged access?

The exclusive access provided the five old media dinosaurs has given them an unfair competitive advantage vis-à-vis their competitors and thereby an obvious economic boost. … But the exclusive access has also given the fabulous five old media organizations the opportunity to pick and choose among the cables and to spin their content in accordance with the precepts of the anti-American Weltanschauung.

And spin they have. Der Spiegel and its treatment of the story of the Egyptian imam Abu Omar provides a revealing case in point.
Read the whole thing, notably the (numerous) times that the papers' "editors appear to have not deemed the revelations regarding [subjects such as Khaled Al-Masri] as newsworthy" ('Whether out of ignorance or deceit, news organizations like Der Spiegel and WikiLeaks’s other privileged “media partners” have as a rule neglected to divulge its contents [those of an Italian arrest warrant published years ago] or even its [the warrant's] mere existence to their readers')…

The Pause that Refreshes

Crazy Mixed Up Pup, 1956

An animated fillum directed by the criminally insane Tex Avery, inventor of characters like Screwy Squirrel, Chilly Willy, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. Find me JUST ONE of those characters that isn’t struggling with their inner demons, why dontcha?

Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Makes Super Marine Come True

(A big nice thaaank youuuu to sweet Duncan)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Trees are Farmed, You Snapperheads

As in, they are no different than any other agricultural product. A trained chimpanzee could figure than out. Then again, we have confirmed to us the fact that Greenies aren’t quite as intelligent as trained chimpanzees.

Via Tim Bleeeah, we find something I’ve run into elsewhere, (with the evil LEED mafia,) wherein they do not want you to print their document in order to “save the trees”. They do this by locking the PDF file that it’s formatted in.

These people are inept:

The WWF format is a PDF that cannot be printed out. It’s a simple way to avoid unnecessary printing. So here’s your chance to save trees and help the environment. Decide for yourself which documents don’t need printing out – then simply save them as WWF.
To illustrate the enfeeblement of these louts, think of it this way. Not printing a document that you will use, as if the tree it came from wasn’t already replanted, is like not eating corn because you're worried that the world will run out of corn cobs. After all, what with all of those corn-type farmers committing suicide in India, and all... even if you won’t buy the fact that it’s old growth corn, that there won’t be anyone left to plant it.

Green Eggs and Epistemological Certitude

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

- Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nicolas Sarkozy: a common French-Chinese front against the United States?

Europe is so besieged by problems that on some days it looks as if its common currency and hopes for unity are disintegrating
writes John Vinocur as Barack Obama, according to Nicolas Sarkozy’s annotators, is preparing to receive the French president on Jan. 9.
All the same, Nicolas Sarkozy will head to Washington early in January for a conversation about reorganizing the world monetary system in a way that might just mark the United States as the real global force in decline.

For the last two years, the French president has been arguing that the dollar’s role as the single global reserve currency doesn’t reflect what he insists is a multipolar world with no further reason to kowtow to the greenback.

Now, as president and agenda setter in 2011 of the Group of 20 consultative body of leading economic nations, Mr. Sarkozy is leaving his bully pulpit’s specific aims and tactics on the dollar fluid — an imprecision difficult to avoid against a background of the euro’s daily ducks and dives.

Still, in the words of Le Monde last month, he is “counting on making the G-20 his magnum opus and finding a solution to the world’s monetary imbalances with, if necessary, a common French-Chinese front against the United States.”

…In his own pre-election year circumstances, Mr. Obama seemingly could not let pass an argument that tacitly centers on nudging or shoving the dollar aside or to a diminished role among the world’s currencies, and is based on a premise (or creed) of American decline.

Troublingly to some, Mr. Obama said this year, in reference to Afghanistan, he does not hold classical views of what constitutes America winning or losing a war. But he has never gotten into the business of reinforcing widespread assumptions of an American acceptance of multipolarity — a notional world of “equal” and competing powers in which the United States concedes loss of its primacy, whatever its many qualifications.

The dollar is not just a symbol of that primacy. The surrender of its prerogatives would damage the United States’ position in the financial and monetary worlds, and very possibly impair America’s military commitment to its allies in Europe and Asia.

Mr. Sarkozy embraces multipolarity, a decades-old Gaullist notion, as if it were a kind of divine commandment.

Where are the Left’s Professional Complainers on THIS One?

Hardly a day goes by when there isn’t some verbal drive-by shooting of Vatican: the actual closure of the Galileo trial issues, or statements about the use of condoms notwithstanding, the play only makes reference to they “having taken so long”, not that they actually took place. It all arises from the Leftist commentariat’s culture of complaint. Perspective is never sought, and events are only cited as examples of their dissatisfaction at something “the others” are insulting their sensibilities with.

As with the bizarre, unrecanted and unrevised defense of the likes of Pol Pot and Mao, it’s not real. It’s only a show. It only bears mention when it is so far outside of common sensibility that it is morally indefensible. So where are they on this subject? A whole movement was silent about the Cultural Revolution, even as it was trying to convince us that the riot s were for “free speech”, despite the fact that all sundry knew that it was just another one of history’s Communist totalitarian roundups.

After 40+ years, the occasional former “students” in China who played out a much more vast Salem Witch Hunt in the Cultural Revolution are admitting some fault and express regret for the personal and social harm that they caused.

The reconciliation and apologies took place among a group of old people: Cheng Bi, retired teacher from the Beijing Foreign Language School, 86 years old; Guan Qiulan, retired teacher from the Peking University Auxiliary Middle School, 81 years old; Li Huangguo, retired teacher from the Beijing Mineral Industry Auxiliary Middle School, 79 years old. Across them are their former students: Shen Xiaoke, Hu Bin and Guo Canhui, all over 60 years old.
Which age, too much age if you ask me, they are seeking redemption and forgiveness to salve their souls.
Now, the Red Guards want to apologize to those teachers whom they and their "comrades" slapped and spit upon many years ago.
I say don’t give it to them, if they waited until the age in which one needs it to do it.
In recent years, Li was clearly suffering from dementia. She could not eat, she could not talk and she was clearly confused. It was hard to say if she was aware that someone was making an apology to her. When people visit her at night, she can occasionally name one or two of them. Her husband Dan Zhongjian told her, "Your students came in the afternoon to apologize to you." Li Huangguo nodded her head.
Which I suppose makes it an awful lot easier if a response isn’t expected due to dementia, emotional exhaustions, and the like.

It’s the kind of face saving that these “Talibs”, former “students,” simply do not deserve. They’re only doing it so that they could stop feeling bad, as if it was about their hurt feelings to begin with.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And Daddy Drinks Because you Cry!

Australia’s foreign minister :

said Wednesday that the U.S. government is responsible for the leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic memos and cautioned against blaming the website that published the secret cables and its founder.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other American officials have said that WikiLeaks acted illegally when it posted the sensitive files — memos from American embassies around the world
In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Assange called Manning a political prisoner and said he believes the U.S. is trying to get the soldier to testify against him. He called on human-rights organizations to investigate.
If we are to believe the allegations, then this man acted for political reasons. He is a political prisoner in the United States. He has not gone to trial. He has been a political prisoner without trial in the United States for some six or seven months,”
You can attribute political motives to anything – including serial killing, if you're willign to torture post-facto wordplay and PR Tonsil Hockey. Did that make Jeffery Dahmer a “political prisoner” too?

This is what the bien pensent global governance simpletons call justice and transparency: any sort of treason that makes them feel good. That really is how limited they are in depth and complexity.

Violence and Gun Control: Facts Which Europeans and American Leftists Conveniently Ignore

In the readers' section of Mark Frauenfelder's Boing-Boing article on shotgun safety, Instapundit notes the "the wussy comments from Brits. Pathetic."

As a dual national (Danish-American) living in Europe, I am no longer surprised by the Euros' (self-serving) superior attitude to the United States, as well as that of their leftist American enablers.

When I am told of how superior Europe's gun control, and its (allegedly) attendant lack of guns and its (allegedly) attendant lack of violence, are to all that mindless violence in the United States, I ask: "Do you mean, in an American city such as… Marseille? Or an American city such as… Bastia? Or an American city such as… Palermo?"

For a gun-free zone like Europe, France for one has recently seen a plethora of crimes with automatic pistols, Kalashnikovs, and explosives.

Oh! say the Euros (after a few seconds' thought — they have to process this, you understand), but those murders are committed by gangsters! Those are the Mafia, you see! Suggesting that — by some strange, and immutable, natural law of the universe, or by some kind of honor amongst thieves that is never broken by any individual, not a single one — the mobsters (or those in Europe, at least) never use violence upon your average, honest citizen; they only commit violence amongst themselves!

Note to fairy tale-believing Europeans: the main target of most criminals in most countries is indeed the honest, common (hopefully defenseless, peaceful, and non-violent) citizen (rich or otherwise), not other criminals. Having said that, it turns out that much of the gun violence in the United States is also between criminals.

It is also important to know what is being compared: (open-society) America, unlike (closed- — or more-closed- — society) Europe, allows for many more figures than Europe does; notably, it allows for a full slew of statistics.

Because the killed-by-firearms statistics, notably, are given as is — as figures with no explanation as to the context of the shootings (an honest citizen gunned down by a mugger? a schoolboy riddled with pellet wounds by accident? one drug addict shot in the back by another? an intruder killed by a grandmother defending herself?) — unthinking Europeans and their (just-as-unthinking-and-just-as-ready-to-jump-to-(self-serving)-conclusions) American enablers imagine shooting by firearms to be endemic throughout American society — an indelible aspect of American life — and go around parroting phrases such as "(Any and all) Americans are always ready to shoot one another!" while mocking the (artificial) caricatures of "people [living] with … constant fear in their lives".

Meanwhile, the Europeans' own (statistics-deficient) killings are always to be accompanied by some sort of qualifier which minimizes the deeds (intra-mob violence, etc)… Notice the bemused witness of a bank robbery in the TV news report who describes the "war scenes" in Seine-Saint-Denis (00:33) as "unrealistic, it's like being in an American [!!] movie."

From my Everyday Meetings with Common Europeans series, meet the Spanish artist who would not go to America:
I was having una conversación with a Catalan artist during a weekend in Barcelona, when he told me he would never go to los Estados Unidos. My eyes must have rolled around while I let out a sigh… "¿Porqué non?" I asked, not really interested and not really curious (i.e., too blasé) about what kind of inanity I would hear this time around. In complete seriousness, he gave me his reply:
Because zee police weell shoot you!
Apparently, a number of Europeans think that not one of America's 300 million citizens is without a (at least one?!) gunshot wound…
As for another town in Southern Europe, a French friend said he could hardly open a copy of Nice-Matin on a daily basis without seeing a news item about one more violent crime. But maybe some Brits will say that Southern Europe cannot be a standard for the whole continent. Well, first of all, they have (conveniently) moved the goalposts (all Europe used to be far more peaceful than, and superior to, that hell-hole of violence across the pond; when the facts to back that up are proven to be — ahem – wanting, they reduce the area to fit their self-serving viewpoints). Secondly: So how about Northern Europe, then? Scandinavia, and mainly Denmark (aka the happiest place on the planet Earth), is torn by wars between motorcycle gangs… But apart from that small and insignificant detail…

Europeans parroting their élites' (self-serving) platitudes about the superiority of peaceful (and generous, and civilized, and tolerant, etc, etc, etc) Europe as opposed to violent (and blinded, and uncivilized, and clueless, etc, etc, etc) America can only do so by boxing facts into different compartments and refraining from using their brains…
Related: Don't forget to check out Americans Anonymous

Merry Christmas to Everyone out there in Blog-land

I think a nice classic film is a nice thing to share today. It's a romantic comedy/drama about the trials of a couple who meet, fall in love, and face life's challenges. It's George Stevens' Penny Serenade, starring Carey Grant and the delightful Irene Dunne.

Pa had given me a lot more

In a land called America (thanks to Larwyn), Rian B. Anderson on "the best Christmas of my life."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob

(Thanks to Valerie)

Merry Weinacht, Deutschland, and Auf Wieder-bye-bye

Just a thought for the day from Euro-topia:

The superiority of Germany’s so-called “social market economy” is an article of faith for virtually all of Germany’s major political parties (with the possible exception of the “post-communist” Left Party, which would prefer an outright socialist one). The expression is commonly associated with Ludwig Erhard, post-War West Germany’s first economics minister under the Christian Democratic Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. In current usage, the expression strongly connotes a rejection of a “pure” market economy or “unbridled” capitalism, such as the advocates of the “social market” model presumed to exist in the United States and other “Anglo-Saxon” countries.

In a series of seminars held recently in Berlin, Ankara, and Abu Dhabi, Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation examined the “commonalities” between the social market economy and “Islamic economics.”
Which I suppose would make me (as I’ve pointed out to the pointiest of French heads,) an Arab Anglo-Saxon. I thus ask how that can be. Easy: the same way you can have a society inspired by the Christian moral ethic called “Sharia compliant™©®” a few centuries later.

Those clowns would sell their Grandmothers for a nickel.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Here comes Santa Claws

Here comes Santa Claws (thanks to Jana)…

Forget Everything that you Think You Know About Ideas of National Character

There is no longer any such thing, especially if you think it will defend you from harm.

The Swiss are defenseless. Who cares, you ask? The Swiss do. They just aren’t in any position to do anything about it. René Zeller writing in Neue Zürcher Zeitung where he is the domestic affairs editor, discusses a 2010 official army report. The Swiss are not in a position to defend themselves on their own.

"Independently of party colours, it must be understood that left to its own defences Switzerland cannot defeat a single terrorist group, that autonomous defence is unrealistic against airborne attacks and that ethnic gangs couldn't care less about where borders lie. The Federal Council, the defense minister and the head of the army should be more stout-hearted. If they meekly limit themselves to focusing on the lowest security denominator Switzerland's defense will be nothing more than empty sabre-rattling."
Picture an integrated “pacifist” Europe, and a similarly passivated Switzerland. The societal response to a social disturbance to that calm has been feared by many an observer to look more like a pagrom than a judicious defense response: which may be the only thing these senile citizenries may be able to do quite soon. To wit, their ability to sell anyone their beautifully machined small-arms will do nothing for their own stability either.

What could emerge is a continent-sized plane of chaos, where all security and self-defense is local. Some county-like elements might do better than other, but setting aside the appurtenances of ‘Alternate history’ novel, the Swiss government report is uniquely aware of one thing that the bien pensant European zeitgeist might not: that gangs, tribe-like drug operations, and ideologically driven terror organizations aren’t going to respect borders for the sake of some concept of sovereign integrity. They just aren’t.

Just like with GWOT, the idiot’s arguments against it that dwell on the Geneva Convention and some nebulous misinterpretation of what International Law is, draw civil society into a greater and more insecure exposure to personal harm – to be “martyred” for a cause not of their choosing. They will not care about Switzerland’s neutrality, its’ self-interest, or ‘global persona’.

Greetings from the Death Camp of World Peace

Are the collectively thoughtful looking for a gift ideas for “Winter White Night”? Then go no further than to fuel the petit bourgeoisie behind the Ché bobblehead.

Planes and Trains Cancelled: "Kindly Postpone Your Christmas Holidays Until February!… Thank You for Your Understanding!"

Plantu adds his two bits on the subject of Christmas travelers stranded by Europe's bad weather (slideshow)…

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waiting for Commandant Sitzpinkler

And here, I thought ”values” were to be officially regarded as a “wedge issue” of those evil conservatives. Otherwise:

The crisis of Europe is a crisis of values. In the last few years there has been no equivalent of the idealism that cemented the European project back in the 1950s. I am on the side of those who believe that ideas do matter and that the EU cannot simply be run by competent technocrats (no matter how efficient they may be). Technocrats may offer a brain to the EU project (although this is debatable!) but they cannot offer a soul. And it is the soul that is currently lacking in the European project.
Actually, you don’t sound like that at all. You sound like someone who is comfortable with the idea of non-management of the mechanism of a state with unchecked powers led by an ideological class that doesn’t share, preferably without a means of succession of power consistent with societies outside of the third world.

Plus, the world knows how Europeans have historically filled power vacuums, even when practicing some form or another of participatory government. Somehow kreeping leftist authoritarianism is what they’re left with – even the feel-good stuff ends up looking like Soylent Green in one way or another.
Too many commentators focus on covering the current European financial problems. Although the deadlocked financial situation of the EU cannot be disregarded one should also pay attention to the political/ideological vacuum of the European Union.
Really? I guess that sort of “soul-searching” isn’t going to stop the commentariat from fantasizing about forcing an ideology on the proletariat:
A crisis of ideology is also evident in the EU. The uncritical acceptance of a deregulated free-market vision within the EU circles has damaged the economy of the Eurozone and is no longer viable. The EU became a political space where a conservative free-market mentality has gradually taken over without any major thinking and debate. This kind of “acquis” has silently been imposed in every EU policy area by the large majorities of the EU establishment.
Funny how some world-views are expected to defend their lives, and take the heat for all of the world’s problems – even those caused by the irrational, never-ending expansion of the welfare state.

You Know the Jig is Up When...

...Even German Leftists Notice the Gore Effect
From Berlin’s normally smug, “social justice” loving BZ

...„and when Cancun fails?”
...„This is no time to be accurate, Luv.”

For a Gun-Free Place Like France, a Plethora of Crimes with Automatic Pistols, Kalashnikovs, and Explosives

In France, which is always giving lessons to clueless Yanks regarding such things as violence, trusting in the police (and in other authorities), and gun control versus the obsolete right to bear arms, there has been a surplus of violent crime sprees recently — notably in Seine-Saint-Denis — with witnesses refusing to speak unless under the cover of anonymity, with outlaws using "battlefield weapons", and with journalists speaking of "scenes of war".

Télézapping : Nouvelle attaque d'un DAB en Seine-Saint-Denis
envoyé par lemondefr. - L'info internationale vidéo.
December 21:
les malfaiteurs sont repartis avec un butin - une partie de la somme contenue dans la machine - blessant deux employés de la banque, après avoir fait usage d'explosif, de pistolets automatiques et de kalachnikov. … Ces actes sont certes moins nombreux mais ils sont à chaque fois "de plus en plus violents". [Yves Bordenave]

December 15: L'attaque d'une agence de la banque BNP Paribas à Dugny (Seine-Saint-Denis), à l'aide d'une voiture-bélier (par trois hommes qui ont réussi à prendre la fuite)
est survenue au lendemain du braquage plus violent d'une autre agence de la BNP Paribas à Aulnay-sous-Bois. Les malfaiteurs avaient utilisé de l'explosif pour faire sauter le distributeur automatique de billets (DAB) et n'avaient pas hésité à tirer sur les policiers. Un employé de la banque avait été blessé par l'explosion.

La brigade de répression du banditisme a été chargée de l'enquête. Depuis environ deux ans, la région parisienne, particulièrement la Seine-Saint-Denis, est le théâtre d'attaques de DAB à l'explosif ou à la voiture-bélier, perpétrées par plusieurs équipes, dont certaines ont été démantelées par la police.
December 15:
Deux personnes ont été blessées, dont une grièvement, lors de l'attaque d'une agence bancaire d'Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis), mardi 14 décembre. Les malfaiteurs, en fuite et recherchés, ont utilisé des armes lourdes contre les policiers arrivant sur les lieux.

"J'ai vu une voiture en feu au milieu de la rue (à 50 mètres de l'agence) puis j'ai entendu une forte explosion", a raconté un témoin. "On a vu de la fumée, on est sorti pour voir ce qui se passait, à ce moment-là on a vu des hommes armés faire exploser la porte, rentrer et ressortir, l'un d'eux a tiré une rafale alors on s'est mis à l'abri, il n'y avait pas encore de policier à ce moment-là", a témoigné Angela, s'exprimant aussi sous le couvert de l'anonymat. A l'arrivée d'une équipe de la brigade anticriminalité, les assaillants ont ouvert le feu avec une Kalachnikov AK47 et un pistolet automatique pour couvrir leur fuite, selon la préfecture. Aucun des policiers présents n'a été blessé, même si leur voiture a été atteinte par les balles. Les quatre malfaiteurs ont pris la fuite sur deux scooters. Leur piste a été perdue porte de Pantin quand ils ont disparu sur l'autoroute A1…

The Internet, as Seen 15 Years Ago

"It might become as popular as the Minitel"
The internet, as seen in France's TV news reports 15 years ago (they even have trouble pronouncing the word (at 00:30 and 01:00))…

Internet vu par les JT, il y a quinze ans
envoyé par lemondefr. - L'info video en direct.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

There’s Nothing Quite like Presumptive Do-gooders Flinging Dung Like Irate Zoo Primates

Cancun Climate Protesters Throw Feces, Destroy Property

As usual, protestors representing all sorts of causes and organizations were present at the confab. They included anti-globalization demonstrators, communists waving flags featuring mass-murderer Ernesto “Che” Guevara, save-the-trees types, native American groups, and countless more. Most were upset about different aspects of the “climate” negotiations going on inside — secrecy, bullying, exclusion, bribes, and countless other problems — and were there to demand some sort of remedy. Others were simply upset with “capitalism.”
What? No Rotarians? Focus, now, people! It’s civilization we’re after!

The irony is that they tend to trash things and create bad press at events meant to pander to them, and basically exceed to their terms in spite of “the will of the people”.

Global Warming Causes "Chaos!": 3-Km-Long Queue of Travelers Outside London's EuroStar Train Station and 500-Meter One Inside

Global warming Heavy snowfalls are causing problems for Europe's trains as well as for Europe's planes, but that means, of course, that the biggest nuisance is for the passengers of those means of transport, some of whom waited for over nine hours in a queue prior to boarding the Eurostar in London.
"C'est assez impressionnant, témoigne Jean-Hébert, parvenu à rentrer mardi midi à Paris. Toutes les portes de la gare sont fermées sauf une à Saint-Pancras. A l'intérieur, il y a une très longue file de voyageurs en attente qui serpente, sort, fait le tour de deux à trois pâtés de maison. Il y a bien 3 kilomètres de queue à l'extérieur de la gare et 500 mètres à l'intérieur."

…Des amies [de la correspondante du Monde à Londres, Virginie Malingre], arrivées dimanche soir à 18h30 à la gare, pour un TGV prévu initialement à 20h30, n'ont pas pu rentrer à l'intérieur de Saint-Pancras. Revenues sur les lieux, à l'aube, le lendemain matin, elles ont patienté plus de neuf heures dans une file d'attente avant de pouvoir mettre le pied à 16h30 dans une rame.

Télézapping : "Je veux un avion grand comme ça !"
envoyé par lemondefr. - L'actualité du moment en vidéo.

Sauve Qui Peut

The Future, as Always, is Bleak

Consider yourself having been Bolkenstiened.

Frits, the Don Rickles of European public intellectualism:

Commissioner Frits Bolkestein who remarked that Dutch Orthodox Jews should consider "emigrating to the United States or to Israel," because there is “no future for them” in the Netherlands
Geert Wilders:
"it is the anti-Semitic Moroccans who should emigrate."
I hope that you'll appreciate that I saved this one for Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Help Us, O Leaders!

Even Games are in on the Game
Daily Shopper News
Fearing a planet-wide extinction from a massive asteroid headed towards Earth, world leaders are faced with the inexorable task of ensuring human survival.
What would we do without leaders?
RAGE is a groundbreaking first-person shooter set in the not-too-distant future after an asteroid impacts Earth, leaving a ravaged world behind. You emerge into this vast wasteland to discover humanity working to rebuild itself against such forces as raider gangs, mutants, and the Authority - an oppressive government regime that has a special interest in you in particular.
You see, the worst-case scenario for all of htose "global governance" types, is to actually deal with an issue that isn't:

a) a fake one promoted by activists who try to peddle it as an existential issue,


b) something that "could" happen but are betting won't, so they can peddle it as an existential issue.

Why zat, do you ask? In order to have a summit somewhere and appear "to lead".
So it makes perfect sense to transpose it into the isolated and auto-stimulatory world of a first-person-shooter computer game.

Julian-Christ? Crucified? By the Empire? French Newspaper of Reference Prints Opinion Comparing WikiLeaks' Assange to Jesus

First Che Guevara… Now Julian Assange.

Among the half dozen letters to the editor that Le Monde (aka France's newspaper of reference) chose to publish over the weekend in its print edition on the subject of WikiLeaks — besides the letter bemoaning the fate of "the poor American soldier" (PFC Bradley Manning,) who "is risking some 50 years of prison" — is one comparing Julian Assange to none other than Jesus Christ (and Julian's followers to Jesus's disciples).

In the rest of his letter (from Montreal — must be another of Québec's fanatic Anglo-Saxon-haters), Christian Feuillette builds on this comparison with bromides such as the one that "in 2000 years, humanity has not evolved and truth is still as hated as ever" and that (therefore) this "enemy of hypocrisy [Julian Assange] will probably end up like Jesus-Christ, crucified by the empire" (Uncle Sam — naturally). But not to worry: the message of this "Christ of modern times" — and what follows is, just to make sure and in so many words, repeated twice in the letter — "will survive him through his disciples and will end by emerging triumphant."
Julian Assange, celui par qui le scandale arrive, et qui menace avec WikiLeaks l'ordre du monde, tout comme l'Evangile le faisait il y a deux mille ans, peut être comparé à un Christ des temps modernes. " Ce fou, cet insensé sublime " (comme disait Nerval), ennemi de l'hypocrisie, était alors celui qui menaçait l'ordre établi et ébranlait les colonnes du Temple. Traqué, condamné par les docteurs de la foi, son message lui survivra à travers ses disciples, et finira par triompher. Julian Assange, sur qui pèse déjà une fatwa des docteurs de l'establishment, finira probablement comme Jésus-Christ, crucifié par l'empire. En deux mille ans, l'humanité n'a guère évolué et on déteste toujours autant la vérité. Pourtant son oeuvre de salut public, relayée par ses disciples et par la magie de l'Internet, finira aussi par triompher.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

WikiLeaks: when Michael Moore's Sicko film was shown to Cuban doctors, they were 'disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba'

Nothing but the utmost praise is what Michael Moore has had for Julian Assange but he probably hadn't read the following WikiLeak first and, as VI puts it, "The more I read of the Wikileaks documents the more I think it has backfired on Assange's attempt to smear the US. This is one of my favorite revelations":
Cuba banned Michael Moore's 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a "mythically" favourable picture of Cuba's healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a "popular backlash", according to US diplomats in Havana.

The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so "disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room".

Castro's government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it "knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them."

…according to the FSHP, the only way a Cuban can get access to the hospital is through a bribe or contacts inside the hospital administration. "Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is 'off-limits' to them," the memo reveals.

…The memo points out that even the Cuban ruling elite leave Cuba when they need medical care. Fidel Castro, for example, brought in a Spanish doctor during his health crisis in 2006.

Movietone Sunday

This odd little bit of Soviet pre-war propaganda has it's charms: for one thing, there is an imaginary enemy. The film revolves around the establishment of Aerograd, a fictional city on the Pacific Ocean shore.

Imaginary, that is, until the hero taunts a Japanese warrior committing Seppaku.

It's all in very poor taste, with typical Soviet values. Rather amusing given that the Soviets barely blinked when the Japanese occupies Korea, Manchuria, and committed genocide in Nanjing.

It's 1935, so the paratroopers and the aircraft that carry them are almost entirely fictional.

We're all reds now!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Unwitting Political Statement of the Year

Purdue website calculates asteroid damage
Indianapolis Business Journal much damage a comet or asteroid would cause if it hit Earth? ...You can customize your asteroid and pretend it's headed for the Windy City. The code jockey is quoted as saying:

Dude, we're hosed!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Global Warming Continues Apace

In Sweden. Does the Gore Paradox apply to societies that have a “progressive” rep too?

Sweden in 'coldest December in 100 years'

“There were a number of days in a row with below-freezing temperatures, so called ice days. And that we have that before Lucia (December 13th) hasn’t happened in more than 100 years,” she said.

You can Pick your Fin, and You can Pick your Friends...

But you can’t pick your friend’s Fin.

Now all they need to do is actually stop avoiding any meaningful involvement with anything that happens in the world that would require a commitment larger than writing a few press releases and expressing either “concern” or “deep concern”.

Their first chief spook is a much-lauded cop who doesn't seem old enough to have enough life experience for the job, unless he's got some kind of Doogie Howser super-powers or something.

Do the WikiLeaks revelations suggest a greater degree of tough-mindedness in the Obama administration than some of its critics give it credit for?

WikiLeaks’s avalanche of diplomatic revelations has been widely portrayed as evidence of waning American power, retreating U.S. influence, and a no-we-can’t foreign policy
writes John Vinocur.
A former C.I.A. case officer, getting in his licks, spoke of “damage to American credibility that is incalculable.”

But after a few weeks of getting accustomed to the torrent, there’s a case to be made that the disclosures’ most significant effect is removing a part of the discrepancy between what the United States really sees, hears and thinks of the world — now increasingly apparent via WikiLeaks — and the soft-edged presentation often made of the country’s ongoing confrontations by President Barack Obama’s White House.

… leaked cables report an Élysée Palace official telling an American diplomat — in contrast to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s public embrace of the Russians — that Russia seeks to “remodel” the post-Cold War map, let the West sink into the “Afghanistan swamp,” and do nothing to change the status quo in Iran.

… On balance, does all of this suggest a greater degree of tough-mindedness in the Obama administration than some of its critics give it credit for?

Timing is everything

In the interchangable world of comedy (the low variety) and politics (any variety), timing is everything:

Ireland, where it is virtually impossible to obtain a legal abortion, will most likely have to rewrite its laws after a European court ruled Thursday that it had violated its own Constitution by failing to provide abortion services to a pregnant woman who had cancer.
Putting aside the topic being ruled upon, do you think the proverbial phone call was made to Strasbourg asking the court to "sit on it" until the bailout vote was in the bag. If you think the timing is merely coincidental, are you really that gullible?

They Get Mad when the World isn’t After Them

The Wikileaks “heroes” are little more than a provisional wing of the crackpot subculture of 9-11 Truthers and Holocaust deniers. Michael C. Moynihan reports in Reason.

Last week, I wrote that the widely-linked article positing that the CIA was behind a Swedish woman’s accusation of rape against Julian Assange was authored by a Russian-born, Swedish-domiciled, multi-aliased anti-Semite and Holocaust denier currently writing under the name “Israel Shamir,” a.k.a. Adam Ermash or Jöran Jermas. The broader point had little to do with the efficacy or morality of WikiLeaks—there are plenty of debates available on the narrower issue of government transparency; this isn’t intended to be one of them—but was concerned with how ideology and confirmation bias (WikiLeaks is a good thing, therefore Assange must be defended, and the CIA has done bad stuff in the past so—cui bono?—Assange’s accuser must be a Langley asset) can lead mainstream media figures into the fever swamps of Internet conspiracy theory.
Expect the THEREfores to include negatives that can’t be proven, and allusions to mysterious characters who will later emerge, based solely on the first unassociated name or face that comes along.
Three of the journalists interviewed for the story—Cecilia Uddén, Lotta Schüllerqvist, and Peter Löfgren—claimed that Wahlström falsified quotes, leading the magazine to withdraw the story and issue an apology. Heléne Lööw, a historian of fascism and European neo-Nazism, commented that the Wahlström story contained all the “elements that one would find in a classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.”

A member of Ordfront’s editorial board, writing in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, lamented that the piece was ever published, citing Wahlström’s “close working relationship with Israel Shamir,” without pointing out just how close the two were.
The famously sober and accurate Russian media is a perfect hand-in-glove fit for the fevered brows of this sort too.
According to reports in the Swedish and Russian media, the broad strokes of which have been confirmed by a WikiLeaks spokesman, Shamir serves as the group’s content aggregator in Russia, the man who “selects and distributes” the cables to Russian news organizations, according to an investigation by Swedish public radio. In the newspaper Expressen, Magnus Ljunggren, an emeritus professor of Russian literature at Gothenburg University, outlined Shamir’s close ties to WikiLeaks and his position “spreading the documents in Russia.” (The article is illustrated with a picture of Assange and Shamir in an unidentified office.)
Isn’t the heroic cry of the Wikileaks siren so much like the “calls for transparency” that 9-11 Troofers and heeb-hating Holocaust denying obsessives? It’s not so much that it has the same stench, but the same characters involved, and strikingly, popular support from the same “normal”(ish) people crawling around among the broader public that give it a margin of respectability.

Wikileaks’ entire exercise doesn’t just look like the act of a handful of loons able to function in a larger ‘straight’ world, but of a classic effort geared at using the press to construct doubt in spite of common sense.

Half the story...

Our Source? The New York Times:
Casting aside their differences over how to contain the continuing debt crisis, Europe’s leaders on Thursday pledged to do “whatever is required” to defend their embattled currency.

They also agreed to create a permanent support fund for the euro after 2013 — something they hope will be a first step to calming the markets.

But even as they moved to restore investor confidence, the seriousness of the euro’s plight was underlined by events in beleaguered countries. Spain paid a sharply higher interest rate on an auction of long-term bonds than in its previous sale, reflecting investor fears about the country’s indebted economy.
Re: Spain, maybe. On the other hand, maybe the ECB is just taking a break from the buying spree it has been on the last couple of weeks. When you hear about the PIIGS having "successful" debt auctions, ask yourself, "Is that because free-ish market actors are subscribing -or- is it a contrived 'success' because the ECB has stepped in with the cheque book?"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

WikiLeaks and the U.S. Embassy in Paris: French "journalists do not necessarily consider that their foremost duty is to monitor those in power"

According to the Paris embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks (and here retranslated from French), writes Xavier Ternisien in Le Monde, American diplomats explain the situation of the press in France
by the fact that "the most famous French journalists often come from the same elite schools as many government officials. These journalists do not necessarily consider that their foremost duty is to monitor those in power. A number of them see themselves as intellectuals, preferring to analyze events and influence readers rather than report on the facts."

The embassy adds that "the private media in France — in print and broadcast media — continues to be dominated by a small number of conglomerates, and the French media are regulated more and subject to more political and commercial pressures than their American counterparts." It puts the emphasis on the rise of the Internet media, especially on blogs, which are a popular means of expression among minorities and NGOs.

They Call this a “Minimalist” Summit

Maybe they’re cutting back on the hookers and nose-candy.

The stated purpose of this near monastic modesty is:
to not surprise the markets.

Car. Ditch. Slurpee. Har-Dee-Har. Etcetera.

Le Monde reports that 43% of young men and 37% of young women from the “sensitive zones” are unemployed. Unemployment overall in ‘da hood is just below 19%, a figure they can’t even match in Michigan, as hard as they seem to try.

It’s obviously George Bush’s fault.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don’t Forget to Double-Bag it

Yet another summit: EU summit to tackle Treaty change

And here I thought it was still called global warming. The rest of it sounds suspiciously like an unwanted email:

A range of enlargement issues and the EU's 2020 growth strategy are also on the agenda, with EU high representative Catherine Ashton and EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule scheduled to participate in a Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting in Brussels on Monday.
Not to get that confused with stuff they will do absolutely nothing realistic about:
Also on the agenda for Monday, foreign ministers will discuss developments in a range of different trouble-spots across the globe, including Sudan, the Middle East, Somalia, Côte d'Ivoire, Afghanistan and Iran.
They really should start wearing special hats at their conventions.