Saturday, June 12, 2010

"We Con the World" Video Removed; But YouTube Never Silenced the French Parody, "We F*ck the World"; Why? When it is anti-Bush and Anti-US, it's OK

And so it transpires that Youtube has pulled the We Con the World video, allegedly due to a copyright claim by Warner/ Chappell Music, Inc.

Strange, then, that they never silenced or removed the numerous versions of the Guignols parody of the song for the French cable channel Canal + (there's even a karaoke version), called We F*ck the World.

Oh, wait a minute…

I forgot!

When an alleged copyright breach concerns a parody that is anti-Bush and/or anti-American (or presumably anti-Israeli), it is perfectly OK…

Multiculturalism at a Glance

Which is to say, either no culture, or ignoring the culture and mores of those who welcomed you.

A Dutchman who was arrested by Israeli commandos on board a boat underway to Gaza is said by intelligence services to be a leader in terrorist organisation Hamas, De Telegraaf reports.

"Amin Abou Rashed is the leader of Hamas in the Netherlands", said an intelligence source in the newspaper yesterday. "He appears in several intelligence reports under an alias, namely Amin Abou Ibrahim. He works for the notorious al-Aksa Nederland foundation, suspected of fund-raising for Hamas.
Note that he’s actually called Dutch, despite preoccupying himself entirely with interests that have nothing to do with the Netherlands, and actually brings missile risks closer to its’ cold, grey skies.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sending one post after another into the Internet wilderness can eventually get you on the front page of the IHT

For years, almost nobody paid attention to the sky-is-falling alarms of Edward Hugh, a gregarious British blogger and self-taught economist who repeatedly predicted that the euro zone could not survive
writes Landon Thomas Jr regarding the unheeded Cassandra about Europe’s fiscal problems, in what must surely be encouraging news for bloggers the world over.
Living a largely hand-to-mouth existence here on his part-time teacher’s salary, he sent one post after another into the Internet wilderness. It was the height of policy folly, he warned, to think that aging, penny-pinching Germans could successfully coexist under one currency umbrella with the more youthful, credit-card-wielding Irish, Greeks and Spaniards who shared the euro with them.

But now that the European sovereign debt crisis is rattling world markets, driving the euro lower almost every day and raising doubts about the future of the monetary union, his voluminous musings have become a must-read for an influential and growing global audience, including policy makers in the White House.

He has even been courted by the International Monetary Fund, which recently asked him to fly to Madrid to assist in its analysis of the Spanish economy.

"It’s a Global World” and Other Empty, International Vapidity

As if the notion wasn’t idiotic to begin with, this is why I don’t particularly care when I hear complaints that the US is not really part of the ‘global community’ and needs to ‘join’.

The Taipei-based Liberty Times quoted unnamed travel agents as saying that Chinese authorities were concerned that "it was easier for bald people to disguise themselves".
Maybe it’s some strange, inexplicable trauma some apparachik had after watching Telly Savalas flip his top in The Dirty Dozen, or something.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Smart Diplomacy: Dutch troops are expected to leave Afghanistan by August

So how's that new diplomacy working for you, Mr. Apologizer-in-Chief?

The BBC:
The government [in the Netherlands] fell when Labour [i.e., Barack Obama's fellow leftists and "humanists"] withdrew from the coalition after refusing to extend the Dutch contribution to the Nato force, as outgoing PM Balkenende wanted.

Dutch troops are therefore expected to leave Afghanistan by August.
The good news from the Dutch elections, of course, is that
The unexpected big winner was the anti-Islam Freedom Party, the PVV, which took its number of seats from nine in the last parliament to 24 — its best-ever finish.

The campaign had been dominated by a debate over the economy, which was thought to have eclipsed immigration as an election issue.

But the strong showing for the Freedom Party, led by the controversial Geert Wilders, is a sign that immigration was still a powerful theme…

Who are you Callin’ “Yeller”?

Do your best to get through the condescension:

Five years ago, China was the Great Yellow Hope of the European Union (EU). Brussels believed the Middle Kingdom was moving along the same path of postmodern pacificism being taken by Europe. Today, Europeans recognise this was a Great Western Delusion.
Or rather, a great European delusion.
Brussels began to see values in Beijing’s worldview that were invisible to countries closer to China. China, it was said, sought a multipolar world based on international law.
That’s the China that beheads prisoners and harvests organs before sundown, which, it seems is okay if you keep repeating “international law,” whatever European delusion is associated with that, and hoping they don’t imagine any seriousness in your population’s “Free Tibet” loons, those hardcore advocates of ‘regime change’ if there ever were any.
Its politik was all about soft power. EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, after a 2005 visit to China, spoke of an EU-China-US “triangulation” that would mould “a 21st century world order.” He envisioned a “cooperative Eurasia under Sino-European leadership and a China-centred US policy towards Asia.” Some saw Europe as an elder statesmen teaching the Chinese novice the ways of the world.
What arrogance. One can easily imagine that sort of arrogance at work too. The notion that the Europeans have been geostrategic big-dick daddies all along (when all they’ve been doing for half a century is warming the bench), and that the Chinese wouldn’t notice, or even submit to “triangulation” against the US, with whom their relationship is far broader and more meaningful.

There’s also the assumption that for the chance to touch Europe’s blessed hem, that the Chinese government would willingly be used as a political tool. Who do they think they are?

In Beijing they could have surely heard the crackle of that crack-pipe in Brussels, and realized full well that the Europeans are a sort of Jonathan Winters in the global barnyard: they’re the comic relief, but have something tragically disturbing about them.
China had no illusions of what Europe meant to it. Europeans were wealthy but weak. They should be wooed for economic reasons, but ignored for strategic ones. Beijing treated the relationship like a game of chess “with 27 opponents crowding the other side of the board and squabbling about which piece to move.”

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

“It’s useless to try to hide the tensions between France and Germany": German-French relations and the EU in general have entered uncharted territory

…the idea of the inevitability and even the quasi-sacred character of the French-German relationship is one of the platitudes that have been shaken with the exposure of some of the European Union’s existential fibs, and the linked fragility of the European Union’s common currency
intones John Vinocur in his International Herald Tribune article about "the magnitude of what has changed in Europe in a few months’ time".
A German official I talked to last week … said German-French relations and the European Union in general have entered “Neuland,” German for uncharted territory. He believes a European decade has been wasted through a lack of frankness and realism.

…markets have become the daily judges of European policy, probity and sovereign debt. That hardly matches up with past French-German prerogatives.

…in what looked like a major, targeted transgression, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde of France has said (twice, for clarity) that Germany’s persistence in holding down wages and failure to stimulate domestic demand created imbalances in Germany’s favor that were impossible for other E.U. members to sustain.

Her statement, issued in a period of crisis with the approval of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, entered a previously taboo area of French-German power relations: it suggested both that Germany was acting selfishly and that France could cast itself inside the European Union as Europe’s champion of solidarity, and outside as Europe’s foremost consensual representative.

Related: The Netherlands
Every Dutch party now holds positions concerning immigrants’ obligations to Dutch society that might've been called fascistic by the left a decade ago

Acid Flashback, Paul Krugman-style

Paul Krugman, 2005:

Americans tend to believe that we do everything better than anyone else. That belief makes it hard for us to learn from others. For example, I've found that many people refuse to believe that Europe has anything to teach us about health care policy. After all, they say, how can Europeans be good at health care when their economies are such failures?

Now, there's no reason a country can't have both an excellent health care system and a troubled economy (or vice versa). But are European economies really doing that badly?

The answer is no.

Paul Krugman, 2010:

Folks, this is getting ugly. And the US needs to be thinking about how to insulate itself from European masochism.
Hat-tip: the Statist

The Surrealism-based Community Slams into the Science of Economics

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.
Among the left’s self-lauditory rubbish about itself is the notion that they know how to conduct an economy well so that it serves the public well. Pshyeah, right. Compared to just about anyone else they register somewhere between a dull thud and a talking toy with a pull-string.
How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics
Further still down the orbit-track circling planet dork, the divergence comes largely from imagining the things that establish the real cost (and thus the real problem) of virtually all goods and services in the real world meat-space occurring outside the left’s ideology.
Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.
Which can be noted in blowing questions as simple as this one:
"Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable." People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.
”Progressives” were 4 times more likely to not understand that restrictions drive up cost as anyone else – even as they march in demand of “affordable housing”, priced based on who you are in the Social Justice™ scale.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Incredible Dullness of Being (Them)

So dull, and so empty, that you’re ready to invite ‘the apocalypse’ and think of everything as a crisis, just to liven things up.

We are living in a time of crisis and potential apocalypse, with the overlapping of the financial crisis, ecological crisis and the crisis of movements of resistance. The apocalyptic imagination feeds on this to produce dreams or nightmares of a world "cleansed" of humanity, from 2012 to the History Channel's Life After People. These fundamentally reactionary fantasies can only imagine redemption of our fallen world on the condition that humanity ceases to exist, or is reduced to the "right" number of the "saved". What concerns me here is thinking more closely the relation between radical and revolutionary thought and an "apocalyptic tone" in our current context. The usual model of such a tone was proposed by Kant, when he argued that it was the result of the illegitimate extension of reason beyond its limits towards a transcendent "exalted vision" (schwärmerische Vision).[3] Failing to recognise the limits of reality the apocalyptic dreamer was a fanatic (Schwärmer) trying to impose an abstract vision on reality.
The resemblance this has to contemporary environmentalism is striking. It also shines a light on the obvious cracks in modern middle-minded thinking: while religion and faith must be appeared to be frowned upon, the vision is one of an unstable religious movement flirting with cult-like extremes, and dangling from anything it can find from feeble movies to disaster-porn on the History Channel.

On the opposite side of the ring is Norman Cohn's 1957 book In Pursuit of the Millennium, which wisely linked similar millenarian sentiments of the middle ages with illiberalism, Communism, totalitarians, and social anarchists. His conclusion is that these messianic movements aren‘t just something that will always be with us, but take donations and run for office. Writing about him, Greil Marcus notes that he identified them as:
a restlessly dynamic and utterly ruthless group which, obsessed by the apocalyptic phantasy and filled with the conviction of its own infallibility, set itself above the rest of humanity and recognized no claims save that of its own supposed mission . . . A boundless, millenial promise made with boundless, prophet-like conviction to a number of rootless and desperate men in the midst of a society where traditional norms and relationships are disintegrating -- here, it would seem, lay the source of that peculiar subterranean fanaticism.
It seems that Cohn is right – they seem to always be with us, and they will try to lead us into the totalitarian cycle that crash-tested civilization over, and over.

Monday, June 07, 2010

So, it seems that hate IS a family value

From the all-knowing, all-caring brigades:
According to sources in security circles, an 80-page pamphlet entitled "Prisma" ("prism") has recently been circulating in the far-left scene. The anonymous publication includes tips for carrying out terrorist attacks and acts of sabotage, and includes instructions for constructing various kinds of bombs with time fuses and special grappling hooks which can be used to stop trains. The book also describes techniques for sawing down power poles and has several chapters devoted to investigative methods used by the police, describing in detail how urban guerrillas can cover their tracks and shake off tails.

Berlin public prosecutors have already launched an investigation into the pamphlet, which is circulating mainly in the far-left scene in Hamburg, Berlin and the state of Lower Saxony. German security agencies are concerned that the manual could further increase the -- already high -- propensity of young radicals to carry out violent attacks. The document encourages extremists to commit crimes "with a hitherto unknown level of meticulousness and professionalism," says Hans-Werner Wargel, head of the Lower Saxony branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence service.
Shock, horror, wash, rinse, repeat

The Life and Times of Dave

Feel free to follow my paesano David on his travels in east and southeast Asia, featuring everything from Yaks to people to sites to pets.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Honor our troops, honor our veterans, a handshake, and a "thank you for serving"

And while we're on the subject of rock legends on this commemorative day, take a look at the Gene Simmons Military Tribute (thanks to Mark)…

…As They Live the Longest Day

The story of D-Day.

Read Ted Nugent's take on D-Day (thanks to Stu, whose "father landed on Omaha Beach, one of the few to make it off the beach physically unscathed (…) only to be horribly wounded in the Battle of the Bulge"):
Omaha Beach was literally red with American blood. But more landing boats full of young men from the Greatest Generation kept coming. And coming. The warriors would not be denied, their spirit unstoppable.

The Greatest Generation secured Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 and from that very beach, covered in the blood of Americans heroes, began the assault that would literally save the world. Roughly one year later, the Nazi war machine would smolder in ruins, defeated by warriors dedicated to good over evil.

You probably won't read or hear much in the papers about the 66th anniversary of D-Day. Those of us who refuse to forget believe this epic day should be a front-page story in all newspapers, Internet news websites, television broadcasts, and certainly detailed in American schools, until the end of time. June 6, 1944 is that important.
See also the Gene Simmons Military Tribute

Making Reporting Bad News About them Unlawful

Brussels sets out plans to regulate credit rating agencies

Okay. Got it. So what exactly does that mean, and why?

Credit rating agencies have attracted strong criticism for failing to identify the risk attached to certain financial products such as mortgage-backed securities in the US at the start of the financial crisis.
More recently they have been blamed for exacerbating market turmoil in the eurozone, with Standard and Poor's downgrading of Greek bonds in April sending the country's borrowing costs skyward, ultimately leading Athens to call for a bail-out.
In other words, take your pick, just don’t say anything that might clarify the real state of affairs to an investor, if it doesn’t benefit us.
"Is it normal to have only three relevant actors on such a sensitive issue where there is a great possibility of conflict of interest?" he said, referring to the US-based Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's agencies. "Is it normal that all of them come from the same country?"
Yes, it IS normal, based solely on the fact that there aren’t that many rating agencies willing to spend the time on it, or European companies willing to be ‘rated’ in the first place.
"It seems to me only reasonable that there should be a contribution from the financial sector for the common good," he [Mr. Barroso] said,
That is, besides employing people who are themselves overtaxed, and efficiently producing goods and services.

Besides, who do they really think will be paying the financial services taxes anyway? Savers and investors can check the line-items at the bottom of your statement if you can’t figure than out.