Je ne suis pas sûr qu'Obama va avoir la même souplesse que Bill Clinton a eu en 1994Lucie Nuttin welcomes Republicans Abroad's Thomas McGrath to LCP Info's studio to discuss America's mid-term elections (en français) during the first 7 and a half minutes of the Assemblée Nationale's news hour…
Saturday, November 06, 2010
US mid-terms: America decides
It’s finally time for America to decide. Millions of people are voting in today's mid-term elections, the results of which will determine the political landscape for years to come. President Barack Obama's Democratic Party is braced for its worst results in a generation. So is this a referendum on the president? Or on the economy? Or both?
• Judith BINGHAM
• Zachary MILLER
Vice-Chair, Democrats Abroad
Satellite from Washington DC
• David MERCER
President, Mercer & Associates, Inc
Democratic Campaign Advisor
Democratic Strategist for the French American Foundation
Presented by Laura BAINES
Prepared by Perrine DESPLATS and Bilal TARABEY
Having long run out of fresh hateful tirades about the United States, one crank in Sweden (who wonders why Americans stop being so eternally inferior and take their instructions), has resorted to channeling the dead.
That imaginary contrivance being insufficient, he quotes a Swedish musician who used ancient, stale, contrived imagery that most Europeans have continued to gasbag on about for half a century:
I have seen your cowboys and heard your gunshots, fatal leadThe fatal dead couldn’t even include Stalin’s, Mao’s or Uncle Ho’s. That would require a moral foundation of some sort.
I have read your books and drunk your Coke,
More to the point when it comes to assigning roles to fill in the blanks of your fantasies, Olaf Palme was murdered in 1986. He is unable to comment on the use of his name when it comes to feeding someone’s pedantic fixation with the United States, and a mid-term election that had nothing to do with what he wishes it does to suit his recreational hatred.
He was a good man, I suppose, but he was otherwise a typical stooge when it comes to mass murdering leftists..
In 1972, Prime Minister Olof Palme compared the Hanoi bombings to the Holocaust, having marched side by side with North Vietnam’s ambassador to Moscow through the streets of Stockholm a few years back. Diplomatically as well as socially, the bilateral relations were at their worst ever.”Bilateral” meaning what? While US-Sweden matters to Sweden, the US can’t waste it’s energy worrying about them if they’re founded on people merely parroting political opinions. Nations like the US are, and have always been more preoccupied with policy positions and real events in meatspace.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Change, Mutual Respect, and Russian-EU Relations: When the Obama administration stamps its foot, no one any longer snaps to attention
…“the Russians now have far more leverage in the U.S. relationship [with Europe] than they should”John Vinocur quotes a former senior State Department official with responsibility for Russia (David J. Kramer) as saying in the conclusion of his International Herald Tribune article.
The United States used to call wayward members of NATO back to the reservation with a whistle or a shout. It decided what was deviation from doctrine, and that decision was pretty much law.Prior to John Vinocur's article appeared an IHT editorial page column in which Roger Cohen appraised us that
When the Obama administration stamped its foot this time, no one snapped to attention.
Rather, Germany and France, meeting with Russia in Deauville, northern France, last week, signaled that they planned to make such three-cornered get-togethers on international foreign policy and security matters routine, and even extend them to inviting other “partners” — pointing, according to diplomats from two countries, to Turkey becoming a future participant.
That can look like an effort to deal with European security concerns in a manner that keeps NATO, at least in part, at a distance. And it could seem a formula making it easier for Russia to play off — absolutely no novelty here — the European allies against the United States, or NATO and the European Union, against one another.
… As for the Obama administration stamping its foot, what it came down to was a senior U.S. official saying: “Since when, I wonder, is European security no longer an issue of American concern, but something for Europe and Russia to resolve? After being at the center of European security for 70 years, it’s strange to hear that it’s no longer a matter of U.S. concern.”
So, a follow-on burst of European contrition? I asked a German official about it. He spoke of German and French loyalty to NATO. And he said, “I understand there are American suspicions.”
“But,” he added, “the United States must accept that the times are changing. There are examples of it having done this. Why wouldn’t it accept our view in this respect?”
The official did not list them, but there are obvious factors explaining the French and German initiatives.
A major one is President Barack Obama’s perceived lack of interest and engagement in Europe. His failure to attend a Berlin ceremony commemorating the end of the Cold War and his cancellation of a meeting involving the E.U.’s new president has had symbolic weight.
… Consider this irony: the more Russia makes entry into the E.U.’s decision-making processes on security issues a seeming condition for deals the French and/or Germans want (think, for example, of France’s proposed sale to Moscow of Mistral attack vessels), the more the impression takes hold that the administration’s focus for complaint about the situation has been off-loaded onto the Europeans.
… When Mr. Medvedev bestowed Russia’s highest honors at a Kremlin ceremony on a group of sleeper spies who were expelled from the United States last July, a State Department spokesman turned away a reporter’s question with a “no comment.” Washington chooses not to say anything either about Mr. Medvedev’s support, repeated in Deauville, for Mr. Sarkozy’s plan, as next year’s president of the G-20 consultative grouping, to focus its attention on limiting the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency.
Somewhat related is Virginie Malingre's interview in Le Monde with Alastair Cameron, who "est chargé des questions européennes au Royal United Services Institute, un think tank londonien spécialisé dans les questions de défense et de sécurité. Ce Franco-Britannique a fait ses études à Londres et à Paris, où il a travaillé quelque temps pour le ministère de la défense."
France is in a quiet sulk. Nicolas Sarkozy is the most pro-American president of the Fifth Republic. He brought France back into NATO’s military command, rejected the de rigueur cynicism of French political discourse on the United States, and reached out to Obama. For all of which he got nothing. He must hear de Gaulle’s ghost at night whispering, “I told you so.”In London, the British are shaking their heads. … “Beside the E.U., is there another bunch of countries anywhere willing to work as closely and permanently with the U.S. on almost all issues of global and regional concern?” asked Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador in Washington. “I wish Obama would say just that.”
…on peut penser que la guerre en Irak a mis en évidence le déséquilibre de la relation. On a parlé de la Grande-Bretagne comme du "caniche de Washington"...
William Hague, le ministre des affaires étrangères britannique, et David Cameron, le premier ministre, ont tous deux dit qu'ils étaient les alliés des Etats-Unis mais qu'ils ne seraient pas "son esclave ". C'est une manière d'admettre que les Britanniques, ces dix dernières années, ont eu le sentiment qu'ils étaient trop souvent à la botte de Washington. De ce point de vue-là, la coopération avec la France sera la bienvenue. Mais, sur le fond, rien n'a changé.
Don’t be mislead by the American mainstream media, or anything else you may have seen or heard.Observing Hermann points out that that Germany’s “authoritative” Focus newsmag was quick to declare the mid-term election “undecided”. I guess their hoping for some Washington-state democrat-style ballot box stuffing and “found” votes. All in the spirit of fairness, legality, and social legitimacy, of course.
keep their dignity intact.
First Nanny came for my neighbor's saccharine, and I did nothing.
Then Nanny came for his cigarettes, and I turned away.
Next Nanny took my trans-fat, and I moved out of state.
Now Nanny is closing in on V de HI's Happy Meal.
Are we men (please make gender substitution of your choice) or are we DEMOCRATS?!
(If Eric Holder is reading this, it's just an expression. A trope. All in good fun.)
Thursday, November 04, 2010
The Obama administration's policies and projects bear a strong resemblance to those that led Europe — especially France — to founder on the brink of total self-destruction. Redistribute the wealth? It has already been tried and failed in Europe, and particularly in France. Establish a socialized healthcare system? This was also done in many European countries, including France. Multiply the number of people living on welfare, maintain high long-term unemployment, inject resentment into the business sector, and replace knowledge by propaganda? This was also done across European countries, including France. The results are obvious.During France's 2005 riots, Guy Millière wrote that France was
no longer a "western country" and that rule of law had nearly ceased to exist. Since then, the situation has worsened. Approximately 700 "no-go zones" pepper France: enclaves ruled by gangs, drug traffickers and imams. Firefighters and doctors venture into these places rarely and only with extreme caution, when they have no other choice. Graffiti on the walls read: "French out!" or "Jihad."
Subjects like the Holocaust are no longer taught in many classrooms, and the word "Jew" has become an insult in many playgrounds. The burqa ban was passed, but will probably never be enforced. In a growing number of communities, young women without the Islamic veil risk assault or rape if they walk unaccompanied in the street.France is a country in disintegration. … A small minority of the population still lives comfortably in the more affluent neighborhoods, striving to maintain the property they purchased or inherited, while at the other end of the social spectrum, the ranks of those living in dire poverty are swelling fast. 15% of the population subsists exclusively on government welfare benefits. …
The French middle classes are disappearing and observe with anxiety the irrepressible growth of an underclass of immigrants increasingly marginalized and marinating in degrading frustration that's highly conducive to all sorts of radicalization.
… French education is in the hands of communists, socialists and greens, who disseminate anti-capitalist doctrines and distorted views of history. The media echo these inept and fraudulent ideas, never offering a means to actually understand how the world works and the basic rules of economics. This encourages dangerously stupid and divisive slogans such as "The solution exists. The rich must pay," to achieve wide support. More than twenty years ago, French jurisprudence was usurped by radical groups proclaiming that a criminal is primarily a victim of society, and that the duty of those who have more is to share with those who have less. Today, many French judges make rulings on ideological grounds, with little regard for the law. Major reform, or even a return to sanity, appear unthinkable in these conditions.
… A xenophobic extreme-right stirs the anger of some; a nihilistic extreme-left excites the hatred of others.
The left has failed to come up with anything resembling a novel strategy to turn the economic switch back to full speed
Spain’s Ministry of Equality is gone now, its rainbows packed away into the gray corridors of more earthbound politics. Mark that as a blow to utopians, but even more as a defeat for European social democracy.
In eliminating the ministry, and tucking its crusade for equal rights for women and gays into a subsidiary role in another department two weeks ago, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero — the Spanish prime minister who’s easily the most recognizable figure among a handful of socialists still running countries in the European Union — was conceding a point and not contesting another:
The concession was that his old social democratic notions of what sounded progressive and forceful were basically not the stuff on voters’ minds during these days of profound economic insecurity.
And in juggling his cabinet and choosing hard, stability-oriented measures to keep Spain’s finances afloat, Mr. Zapatero (after regular socialism-solves-everything sound bites over six years in power) hardly seemed to challenge the idea that the European left has failed to come up with anything resembling a novel strategy to turn the economic switch back to full speed.How do you confront low growth and, according to E.U. figures last week, a new increase in Europe-wide joblessness? Europe clearly does not say the middle-ground left has the answer.
… Policy Network, a center-left research organization that tracks the fortunes of European social democratic parties on a comparative basis, has found nothing to be encouraged about in its latest reading. Noting national election defeats this year in Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden, it wrote:
“There’s little sign that the center-left is regaining the confidence of the electorate, let alone presenting itself as a competent contender for power. If social democrats step back from their own national focus and look at the bigger picture, they will realize just how vulnerable and ideologically staid European social democracy as a political movement currently is.”
… Beyond acknowledging the reality of its decline, Europe’s left has dilemmas that it finds harder to discuss. … the middle-ground left to some voters has looked blindly irresponsible or traitorous to its welfare state ideology … Social democracy has also been particularly quiet about a re-nationalization of policy among some of its national parties and, with it, a corresponding loss of legitimacy for the idea that the left is the dominant source of solidarity among Europeans.“Solidarity, the left’s ultimate rallying cry,” wrote Olaf Cramme, director of Policy Network, “is not in good shape at all.
…Perhaps hardest of all to acknowledge is that the social democrats have not come up with a confident response to growing resentment in Europe about its problems in integrating Muslim immigrants.
About 100 protesting airport workers played music, chanted slogans and blocked cars from accessing one of the terminals at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday.Moronic, Selfish French union crybabies continue to protest against the solvency of their own retirement system.
France's unions are angry about the government's plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. They have waged massive strikes this month that disrupted travel and caused gasoline shortages.Because it’s important to kill off what’s left of the productivity private part of the economy that subsidizes the leisure class exporopriation-style taxation and artificially high prices.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
And judging by the turnout, they’ll have to keep waiting, because our mildly deranged friends of the left just won’t get out of bed unless there are free donuts involved, and someone around to drive them to the polling station.
If normally being that easily bought off doesn't speak to their committment and sincerity, I don't know what does.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Wednesday at 11:30 am (French time), I will be debating the results in French (only) on their Opinions show. But an English debate will commence at 11 am. At 12:30, I will be on LCI…
Ce soir, sur France 24, à partir de 4h du matin, je vais suivre et commenter les mid-term elections aux États-Unis, suivi d'un débat sur Opinions à 11h30…
(The video of the mid-terms debate I joined in a week ago — en français — can be seen here…)
Europeans speculating on Tuesday’s vote in the US fall into the old trope: either way they will pity themselves, either way Americans are wrong, either way they lose, either way they are disappointed that the US election is not all about them.
EU Observer features an item that they had hastily re-written to remove any reference to the fact that relations US-European have gotten worse because of Obama:
EU onlooker wary of introspective US voteAnd why is this important to Americans voting on their own representation in Washington?
EU relations and foreign affairs in general are playing hardly any role in the US midterm elections on Tuesday (2 November), the European Parliament's top man in Washington has said. But any deficit in EU-US relations will have an associated "cost," he warned.This in spite of the fact that the expected outcome will blunt the power of the left, a party that supported a president who snubbed European government heads and sent a bust of Churchill, the symbol of the strong bonds built between the US and the UK, BACK.
The EU has for a long time fretted about whether or not it has its due weight on Capitol Hill.Join the club. Americans are asking themselves that very question right now as well.
The climate change talks in Copenhagen last year, when the US left the EU out of the final deal-making, and President Obama's abrupt cancellation of a summit in Madrid earlier this year, deepened anxieties. An EU-US will now take place in Lisbon on 20 November, on the margins of a bigger Nato event which President Obama was to attend anyway.Then again this will go into my bulging “whose country is this anyway?” file:
"There is a disappointment in Europe that on on many issues he didn't make a u-turn on policies from the Bush era, as the EU would have liked," Ms Guerot added.What does it all boil down to? Self-serving narcissism. The “onlooker” seems disappointed that the EU’s interests don’t dominate the US’ internal affairs.
(Thanks to Valerie)
Monday, November 01, 2010
A man who immigrated to the US in 1924 made a gift to his town of origin in Sweden. While Americans would see this type of posthumous generosity as relatively common in America, they would perceive the late doner to be an American, a one time immigrant like many others who have added to America’s rich tapestry.
Because he did something nice for them, the European view would be to call this man a Swede. Had he behaved like a lout all of his life, he would have been called an American. You guessed it: Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!Me!
It turned out that John P. Johnson was actually born Per-Olof Johnson in Gothenburg in 1909, but emigrated to the United States in 1924.That’s because America is such a rotten, inequitable, place where no-one can figure out anything without the government creating all your opportunities for you.
“His parents were divorced and he had a rough childhood, from what we understand. He supposedly emigrated to the US to live with his father, but they never found each other,” Johansson explained.
“He ended up living with an aunt. He really had nothing.”
Over time, according to Johansson, John P. Johnson had also managed to transform himself from a penniless immigrant teenager to a successful economist.
Elsewhere: Swedes snip out a Moyle with a twitch.
In how many other countries would a powerful populist movement demand less of government, rather than endlessly and expensively more?
Now Lexington — although he cannot prevent himself from ending on a sour note (and with a sour paragraph, "reflexively", "This means having something serious to say", etc) and he still states that "what strikes him [Lexington] as especially unfortunate for him [Obama] was the timing of events" — has no choice but to admit that
IT IS not hard, if you really try, to find good things to say about America’s tea-partiers. They are not French, for a start. France’s new revolutionaries, those who have been raising Cain over Nicolas Sarkozy’s modest proposal to raise the age of retirement by two years, appear to believe that public money is printed in heaven and will rain down for ever like manna to pay for pensions, welfare, medical care and impenetrable avant-garde movies. America’s tea-partiers are the opposite: they exhale fiscal probity through every pore. In their waking hours, and in bed at night, they are wracked by anxiety. How is a profligate America to cut borrowing, balance the budget and ensure that its billowing deficit will not place an unbearable burden on future generations?Lexington goes on to say that
The tea-partiers do not just have less selfish motives than the pampered French. They also have better manners. Let the French block roads and set things on fire: among tea-partiers it is a point of pride that their large but orderly rallies leave barely a crumpled candy wrapper behind them. Though some wear tricorn hats, and the movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party, tea-partiers are peaceful folk.
…Corporate money has indeed found its way into tea-party coffers, but if you attend a tea-party event you will generally find that it is indeed a self-organised gathering of citizens dismayed by what they see as the irresponsible behaviour of an out-of-control government. … Here and there—in Florida and Alaska, for example—tea-party pressure has split the conservative vote, but in the grand scheme that is a small price for Republicans to pay for the revivifying energy the movement has imparted to a party that looked dead in the water two years ago.
Not French, not fabricated and not as flaky as their detractors aver: these are the positives. Another one: in how many other countries would a powerful populist movement demand less of government, rather than endlessly and expensively more? Much of what is exceptional about America is its ideology of small government, free enterprise and self reliance. If that is what the tea-party movement is for, more power to its elbow.
His critics say he should have spent this period concentrating on jobs. But many of those critics are the same people who will tell you that it is not in the gift of governments to create jobs.Some liberals don't seem to be able to get it through their thick skulls that for the government to create jobs, in a conservatives' mind, means getting rid of laws, rules, regulations, along with bureaucrats, that stand in the way of private entrepreneurship creating jobs… The difference is busybodies' active intervention versus keeping out of the way (and ensuring the rest of the government does likewise)…
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Opposition to Barack Obama does not arise from fear, from anger, from hatred, or from racism; Opposition to Barack Obama arises from love
When the (American and/or foreign) liberals' burst of laughter dies off, and while they are wiping away their tears, I add: not from love of Barack Obama, of course (not that we fear or hate that man either, per se, or the color of his skin, for that matter), but from love of our family members, our homes, our neighbors (whatever their race), our communities (the black members as well as the white members), and, indeed, the entire country and, further afield, the planet, as well as our children and our (and their) descendants. (Don't even let me get into the way we feel about our pocketbooks, not to mention our freedoms, our liberty, and our constitutional rights…)
Chesterton may have been writing about the military, but with America the land of the citizen soldier, take a moment to think about the implications of the following quote and about what, in a republic or a democracy, the soldier has in common with the citizen:
The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.And so it is that it is from love (love of country, love of countrymen, love of our offspring — as opposed to demonization of the average Tea Partier, scorn for the American heartland, and, last but not least, love for the Dear Leader) that we have started to gather in the streets and that we are willing to fight (without weapons) for our homes and for our principles.
It is from love that we are getting ready, on November 2, to turn to representatives who will not, unfailingly and ceaselessly, disparage their own country abroad and who, on the contrary, will vote to shrink deficits, who will block tax hikes, and who will roll back Obamacare, along with, more generally, putting an end to relentless growth in government and to irresponsible and inane fiscal policies.
European Reactions to the Presence of America's Tea Parties: Depicted as Fiendish and/or Clueless Foes of the Brave and Valiant Barack Obama
As America prepares for the 2010 mid-term elections a couple of days after Halloween, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung publishes a cartoon by Horsch in which America's valiant, but lonely, leader (brave, brave Sir Barack), aka none other than the president of the United States, alias the most powerful man on the planet (!), is depicted as a David taking on a Goliath (?!?!), while his opposition, aka the tea partiers along with the rest of the people of the United States exercising their constitutional rights (the Goliath in question), is depicted as a fiendishly-grinning demonic pumpkin head with the sulfur of hell oozing from his mouth, i.e., a monstrosity beyond all known proportions…
But as I always tell whoever is willing to listen (be they American or foreign), opposition to Barack Obama does not arise from fear, or from anger, or from hatred, or from racism. Opposition to Barack Obama arises from love.
In any case: No wonder that John Rosenthal says that
KIBBE (Lebanese tartar)
2 lbs. lean lamb or twice-ground beefKibbeh is virtually the national dish of Lebanon. It’s traditional preparation is dramatic. It requires a stone mortar and heavy pestle called the jorn and modaqqa. The meat is pounded with rhythmic repetition until it is smooth and paste-like. Everyone in the neighborhood knows when kibbeh is in the making.
1 cup burghul (crushed bulgur wheat, crushed medium to fine)
½ medium size onion
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
½ tsp. pepper
Select lamb from loin of the animal. Pound the cubed meat with a teaspoon of salt in a stone mortar with a wooden mallet or pestle. Remove meat from mortar when it becomes pasty. Now pound the onion with a teaspoon of salt and pepper until it is reduced to a pulp. Combine meat and onion and pound together until very smooth. Press to remove water. Knead burghul and meat with the hands. Pound together in mortar. Add salt to taste.
Dip mallet in ice water to keep meat moist and smooth. Properly prepared kibbeh must be pounded at least an hour. Then it is ready to be eaten as it is, or cooked in a variety of ways,
PREPARATION TIME MAY BE SHORTENED CONSIDERABLY by grinding the meat through the fine blade of a meat grinder. Grind onion twice. Grind onions with meat once. Combine the washed burghul with the meat-onion mixture. Knead well, seasoning with salt and papper. Grind this mixture three times, adding a tablespoon of ice water to keep it smooth.
To give it some more zing, one may add to the onion when grinding twice:
2 tablespoons of fresh sweet green pepperMethod:
A dash of allspice
A dash of powdered cumin
A ¼ of a leaf of fresh basil which has been pounded with a mortar
Garlic to taste
Grease a shallow 12 by 18 inch baking pan. Pat a layer of basic kibbeh smoothly and firmly over the bottom of the pan to a depth of one inch. Cover this evenly with a layer of stuffing*. Top with a second layer of kibbeh which is slightly thicker than the first. Score diamond shapes into the surface with a sharp knife. Pour one cup of melted butter over all. Bake in a moderate heat oven for 20 minutes, or until browned. Serve hot or cold.
1 cup ground meatHeat butter. Fry chopped onions in it until soft. Add meat and fry until lightly browned. Add pine nuts and continue frying until they are slightly browned and the meat has lost its’ pink color entirely. Season with salt, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon. Pour off excess fat.
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup butter
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
There are various sorts of kibbeh, and here is another popular favorite:
Prepare a recipe of basic kibbeh and one of the stuffing. Form kibbeh into balls the size of a walnut. Smooth meat ball with finger dipped in cold water. With the thumb, form a well in the meatball. Fill it with half a teaspoon of meat stuffing, push meat into place, closing the opening, and patting the meat ball into an egg-like shape. Deep fry or bake in a moderate oven.