Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Abusive Use of the Word "Resistance" Regarding 1940s France

Many interesting letters from Le Monde readers regarding the daily's 70 Years Ago series, Recalling the Summer of 1940.

The testifying readers, many if not all of whom lived through the German invasion, include former aspirant Jacques Gauchet and his war stories; Monique Arveiler from Metz on the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine to the Third Reich; Guy Georges, who tries to explain the teachers' union's pacifism; Lucette Asso (née Mège), who was "lost" (for almost three months) at 9 with her 13-year-old brother during the evacuation of Paris's children; Henry Guillot, on the élitism, alleged or real, of France's first resistants; Michèle Bézille on history lessons under the occupation; Paul Vannier on Flying Fortresses; Patrick de Fréminet on la zone libre; Thérèse Wang, whose father attempted to escort Britain's French- based war bullion from la Banque de France through the countryside and out of the country; and Alphonse Drouan, whose parents lived a poignant love story during the years of occupation.

But the most interesting letter is probably that of Normandy's Jacques Gindrey, who protests the abusive usage of the word "Resistance" (with a capital R) to denote all sorts of activities that didn't really call for a massive amount of courage by, say, picking up a rifle and putting one's life at risk:

" Résistance "

Résistance, avec un grand " r ", on en trouve partout, bien plus qu'en 1940-1944 ! Résistance d'un instituteur contre de nouvelles modalités d'enseignement, Résistance contre les atteintes aux droits des Roms, Résistance contre l'EPR... Nous ne sommes certainement pas plus de 20 000 survivants à avoir résisté effectivement, fusil en main (ou l'équivalent : renseignement, etc.) avant septembre 1944, et encore moins avant le débarquement du 6 juin 1944. Alors, ne mettez plus de grand " r " à votre opposition à ceci ou à cela, gardez-nous notre Résistance, et n'utilisez ce grand mot que, si par malheur, surgissait le devoir de Résister " pour de vrai " !

Jacques Gindrey Vire (Calvados)

The Humorless Continent

Comedy in a foreign language is a tricky business. Take this Italian joke. "Perche' gli inglesi portano i gemelli?" it begins. Even if you know that this translates as, "Why do the English wear shirt cuffs?" you still might not understand the punchline: "Perche' hanno paura che i francesi gli entrino nella Manica!" This means: "For fear that the French enter the Channel!"
I’m here all week! Try the veal.

Western European stand-up comics are getting by in these “uncertain times” by dredging up what amounts to a culturally inept Señor Wences routine that was long deemed insultingly unfunny in parts of the world where tastes are better developed a longh time ago:
Others were inspired to take up standup only after coming to the UK. The Italian comic Giacinto Palmieri has never actually performed in Italian. "My niche is that not only can I show British culture in an unfamiliar way, but I can do the same with the language. I can show how absurd English idioms sound to the Italian ear." These include "Bob's your uncle", which apparently derives from the nepotistic practices of 1880s PM Robert Cecil. Palmieri proposes an Italian alternative: "Silvio fucked your daughter." He also reveals that the Italian version of "Have your cake and eat it" is: "Have your wife drunk and the bottle still full."
Quelle freakin’ arteest. Call an ambulance! I think somebody busted a gut! Whoo-doggie! A trained chimpanzee could give them a run for their money.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Middle East Peace Accords Explained in a Nutshell

According to Le Monde's Plantu, any lack of progress in the Middle East peace accords is not only all Israel's fault, but is invariably due to the lack of seriousness and to the lack of a sense of responsibility on the part of Benjamin Netanyahu…

His Prescience is Inspired

“You got the Belgians running Europe?”
I’m sure a thousand ugly verbal tirades will bloom, but the questions don’t revolve around the rubbish ideas those will entail, but:
1) how very right the man was, and
2) how unremarkable the EU and the self-important Europeans think they are, to the extent that the President of the United States would even need to know by name the flunkies involved in it are.
...before shaking his head, “now aghast at our stupidity”, Mr Blair writes.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Legal System Run Amok

The Violence Against Women Act includes a definition of domestic violence that is so wide you could drive a Mack truck through it.
Carey Roberts tells the story (via Instapundit) about
a criminal justice system that has all but abandoned due process in a frenzied attempt to curb domestic violence. … Favored with $1 billion in federal largess each year, our nation’s domestic violence industry has created an alternate-reality legal system that would confound even the likes of Alice [in Wonderland].

Our Looking Glass criminal justice system features judges who have been educated to always “err on the side of caution”; victim advocates who coach putative victims how to embellish their claims; and free legal help to accusers (but not defendants).

…Earlier this year, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, a Washington, D.C.-based victim advocacy organization, released a report titled “How Domestic Violence Laws Curtail our Fundamental Freedoms.” The report concludes that each year, over two million Americans have their fundamental civil liberties overruled by the Violence Against Women Act.

Consider the constitutional guarantees of due process, probable cause for arrest, right to a fair trial, and equal treatment under the law — all are cast aside by get-tough-on-crime domestic violence laws.

It seems like it's never too late to remind people of the name (and of the book) of Stephen Baskerville


AKA buffoonery:

Shortening working time by 1% reduces the environmental impact by 0.8%, according to research carried out by Jörgen Larsson at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

"This indicates that reduced work time would limit energy use," he said.
So a decaying level of output yields progressively less greenie messianic style salvation the deeper into the back-breaking middle ages that you delve. This is uncritically accepted as a public good, on precisely that basis, despite the fact that the greater your “décroissance” or “dismantling” of civilization, the less the environmental benefit.

Moreover, encouraging poverty has been redefined as something like a virtue:
Larsson argued that shorter working time helps to combat climate change in two ways. It reduces the energy use of individuals while changing their consumption patterns by limiting their income.
Knock yourself out, Spanky – but the hilarious experiments in societal crash-testing don’t stop there:
Shorter hours are also seen as key to getting to grips with rocketing unemployment figures triggered by the economic crisis. In the US, 11 million new jobs will have to be created to return to pre-crash levels, Schor pointed out, adding that the euro zone has not escaped the crisis either.

She argued that the standard approach of creating jobs by increasing GDP growth rate is not working and no stimulus is forthcoming amid political austerity measures. Moreover, the required increase in energy use would not be acceptable due to the ensuing greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

"We need to reduce the rate of GDP growth or we won't be able to reach climate targets," she said. "The other way to think about it is that we're pulling some of this demand out of the system."
Eveidently the critic isn’t very familiar with the fact that poorer societies are FAR more polluted, FAR unhealthier, and have demonstrated environmental improvements through... wait for it... development and GDP growth. What these twits DO measure isn’t environmentally meaningful at all as a metric: CO2.
Growing vegetables, generating renewable energy or manufacturing goods in small laboratories are just a few examples of how people and communities can provide for themselves or spark the emergence of a new green business sector, the researcher argued.
Which is the coded way of saying that she’d prefer to see a retrograde, agricultural society that takes centuries to find minor medical advancements and dooms all of the “little people” to endless backbreaking work.

Have you ever wondered why it is that the only kind of energy these clowns are willing to use liberally is other peoples’ physical effort? The very purpose of development is to IMPROVE human life by reducing dangerous labor and lengthening lives. What these idiots seek OBJECTIVELY is to reverse that through coercion, and later on by force of legal compulsion.
This would be justifiable as people would not be getting lower incomes - instead simply receiving some or all of their productivity gains in free time instead of higher salaries, Schor explained. "People are far less attached emotionally to income they haven't yet gotten than to income they have," she added.
Actually, they get very attached to things taken away from them by compulsion, by the force of a government authority, or by the brutal laws of regimes pretending to be a nanny state “caring for you” by making your personal decision for you.

What they are doing it trying to make “the new man” who need not be made to act by use of force because they have been well programmed to be pliant and servile under the direction of social engineers. It’s the failed and destructive philosophical model of early 20th Europe on parade again, and it’s going after a public that they deem so worthless, that they can’t be let to think for themselves. Here’s one that clearly doesn’t, and he’s all green, and all lefty. It's the surprisingly "normal" garden-variety nature of the demands of a man who took hostages at the Discovery Channel building in teh Washington, DC suburb of Silver Spring, MD:
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs' places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.

3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization and concentrate the message in finding SOLUTIONS to solving global military mechanized conflict. Again, solutions solutions instead of just repeating the same old wars with newer weapons. Also, keep out the fraudulent peace movements. They are liars and fakes and had no real intention of ending the wars. ALL OF THEM ARE FAKE! On one hand, they claim they want the wars to end, on the other, they are demanding the human population increase. World War II had 2 Billion humans and after that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!
Got that? More of that great math, “décroisance” and state coerced eugenics in there too, just like the unnamed “Economic researcher” cited in the Euraktiv item.
9. Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world economy. Find solutions for their disasterous Ponzi-Casino economy before they take the world to another nuclear war.

10. Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on TLC. Stop Future Weapons shows or replace the dialogue condemning the people behind these developments so that the shows become exposes rather than advertisements of Arms sales and development!

11. You're also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing. All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more war
Same damned thing.

No one is asking you to spend all of your time with your birth certificate plastered on your forehead

I can't spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead
complains Barack Obama, taking a potshot at the so-called "birthers"

But no one is asking you to do so, Mr. Obama! Not a single person is asking you to do so! (Although we have noticed your use of straw men and of caricaturing American citizens' concerns, real or otherwise, in a grotesque manner…)

The only thing we want is for you to release the original birth certificate, precisely to get this problem, real or imagined, over with; precisely to get this problem, artificial or otherwise, behind us.

Whether we support you… whether we oppose you… whether we think this is the most serious issue facing us today… whether we think (as I do) that this is a distraction that is not worth the (nation's) energy… whether we are the crème of the intellectual élite… whether we are paranoid nutcases of the American heartland… release the (original) birth certificate once and for all, and get rid of the problem, once and for all.

Put the problem behind you.
Put the problem behind us.
Put the problem behind all of us.

(Click on the link to read an in-depth analysis of the entire problem…)

You think, you say, that the birthers will simply continue their "crazy" requests?

No, they won't. Maybe some will. But get the original birth certificate out, and 90% of the "members" will drop away from the "movement". (Come to think of it… Maybe that's what you, or what your advisors, do not want to happen…)

PS: Of course, a number of the people dropping out of the "birther" movement — as well as people outside the movement, such as myself, i.e., typical run-of-the-mill American citizens — may (rightfully, in my opinion) feel some degree of resentment that you played around with the issue for so long, rather than getting the problem behind you/behind us from the very outset…


THIS photo collection and this book’s website may be the best collection summarizing a sense of a style and time that I’ve seen so far. Discount the weather, the ubiquitous Berlin graffiti, and the effects of time on these buildings, and the futurist’s-"optimism" inherent in the outlook from which they were built seem to radiate off of the precast concrete and Portland cement plaster that most of them are garbed in.

Despite that, as much of this work is found today, one gets the sense that you find yourself in a modern form of a bleak, abandoned ancient ruin: the dry husk of the near distant ago, and on the set, perhaps of A Clockwork Orange.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Thanks to Obama, in Le Monde's Eyes, America Has Turned the Page on Bush's "Disastrous Experience"

The main headline of Le Monde's front page declares that, in Iraq, Barack Obama Turns the Page of a Disastrous Experience, even allowing for a full page in the print edition (not counting a large advertisement) to analyze his speech.

According to a Le Monde editorial, "the American operation leaves Iraq in a poor state." Of course, it rid the country of "one of the region's [not one the world's?] most bloodthirsty dictators", but — here comes the but — the operation also ripped it totally apart. Le Monde also claims that it generated a local Al Qaida, "just as bloodthirsty" ("just as" bloodthirsty?!) as Saddam Hussein was. Calling Bush's operation a "mission terribly failed" (as opposed to "mission accomplished"), it puts the entire fault of what it claims is a "historical fiasco" on W's shoulders.

We have to turn to Instapundit for more reasonable commentary on the Apologizer-in-Chief's speech…

Of course, now that a Democrat is president and now that American troops are leaving, Plantu is no longer picturing them in his cartoons as inhuman, sadistic killing machines, but as likable John Does…

The Logic of our Betters

Normally in Europe, it’s a simple function of being cast a rotten exploiter, locust, or thief when an economy does well. That is, when those doing well part of Euroland, and aren't part of some specially designated symbolic victim group.

USA: the Risk (to them.)
Is America ruining our recovery

On the other hand though, if they do well, it’s a sign of their inherent superiority. If it goes south, that’s America’s fault.

If you don’t understand this, it’s because you’re paying attention, and don't respect the validity of their blinding arrogance.

From Somewhere in the Leftist Mind

Universal solidarity is demanded for no actual reason. The proletariat must march in unison for no plausible cause.

We are now, however, all expected to boink alike.

After the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989, salacious minds wondered how many, how quickly, how often, and just how Easterners would fall into bed with Westerners.

Ingrid Sharp, a senior lecturer in German at the University of Leeds, pored through newspapers and academic papers in search of something related to the answer. She published her findings in a 2004 issue of the Journal of the History of Sexuality.

Sharp focused on a single question: "What happened to GDR [German Democratic Republic] sexuality when it was confronted with the sexual mores of West Germany?" "The answer," she writes, "appears to have been an explosion of discourse surrounding sex."
As if they have any great legacy to write about to begin with.

So it really isn’t about intimacy, the mating rituals of those natives, or even mere rutting. It’s about an academic being surprised by the absence of a body of scholarly obsession with people having sex, and a strange expectation for every academic on earth, even in the Marxist-Leninist DDR, to pedantically pursue the same stale heap of subjects.
The report ends with a deflating comment from journalist Regine Sylvester, who tried to sum up both her own experience and that of the entire nation. The supposed "sex boom" that happened right after unification, Sylvester opined, "did not turn the Federal Republic into a noisily copulating society, nor did the official taboos turn the old GDR into an ascetic one."
Which sort of wraps up the value of the 19,347th pointless dissertation on that which is merely natural, and none of the neighbors’ (let alone some PhD doofus’) business.

- Link shamelessly ripped off from Observing Hermann

Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good

For The Common Good, featuring the actor's Lt. Dan Band (thanks to Mark), may be Gary Sinise's best movie role yet…

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

World War II Pilot, 87, Tracked Down to Join in the Yearly Commemoration for His Buddy and for 23 French Resistants Killed by the Germans

After two years of research, writes Thomas Wieder in Le Monde, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force living between Florida and Southern France (Colonel Donald M. Bohler) finds the buddy (Lieutenant Roy D. Simmons, then 21, now 87) of a World War II pilot (Lieutenant Richard Hoy, then 23) who was shot down by the Germans over France's Larzac plateau.
Le colonel Bohler se donne alors une mission : retrouver la famille de Hoy, afin de l'associer aux commémorations qui ont lieu chaque année à La Pezade. Sans succès. Mais tout n'est pas perdu. Car au gré de ses recherches dans les archives militaires américaines, il découvre l'existence d'un second pilote et l'identifie. On aura reconnu ici l'homme qui, ce soir de 2009, décrocha son téléphone pour replonger Roy D. Simmons dans des souvenirs enfouis depuis plus de six décennies.

Europa 1920, Europa 2010

Still Chasing the same straw men - that is, anything that reminds them of figures of authority as they think they understood them to be: military figures, business, and faith. A whole century of evidence, and they’re repeating the same infantile rants: make me free, feed me too, but give us authoritarian order, so long as it’s the type that suits my views.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ghosts of France

Two hundred years after Napoleon sold his once vast colony in America to Jefferson, the descendants speak a language (and serve food) unknown in Paris.
Condé Nast Traveler's G.Y. Dryansky (merci à Valérie) listens to history talking in the Louisiana bayou…
James Hebert, an insurance executive and president of the Houma-Terrebonne Parish Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, sang folk songs that went way back in time. Some of the [members of the busload of French tourists] began to sing along limply to the guitar music, but I blushed to see so many of them cover their mouths in laughter.


In an interview with EurActiv, Georgieva lamented that - unlike the US - the EU's humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of the recent floods in Pakistan have barely been visible in TV and press coverage of the disaster.

- Kristalina Georgieva,
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid

Chapeau to the Open Europe blog.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Statue We Rarely Hear About

According to an email regarding this Bare Naked Islam photo (shookhran to mark),
This statue currently stands outside the Iraqi palace, now home to the 4th Infantry division. It will eventually be shipped home and put in the memorial museum in Fort Hood , Texas

The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad. Kalat was so grateful for the Americans liberation of his country; he melted 3 of the heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue as a memorial to the American soldiers and their fallen warriors

Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months. To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.

Do you know why we don’t hear about this in the news? Because it is heart warming and praise worthy.
Snopes points out that the sculptor was paid, while adding that "the Kalat story and photo ran in" the Dallas Morning News of "27 March 2004 and was afterwards picked up and reprinted by newspapers all over the U.S." We can only wonder where in the newspaper(s) the photos ran (page 24 of section C, 5th column, towards the bottom?)…

A Law for Every Occasion

In a society that seems to have more rules than any other, with new rules every day, with more peevish and impossible to enforce rules at that, does anyone in the do-gooding community really think anybody actually follows these rules, let alone themselves?

Good news for jobseekers who like to brag about their drinking exploits on Facebook: A new law in Germany will stop bosses from checking out potential hires on social networking sites. They will, however, still be allowed to google applicants.
Well, now that’s a relief. If I see an interviewee walking down the street, will I also be required to avert my gaze as well?