Saturday, September 24, 2011

Droit au Logement 101

Added to a pile of things to ignore, get wrong, and undermine the meaning of, housing has been made a “human right” in France and the notion is gathering legal steam in the EU as well, especially when it comes to highly stationary crop-wrecking and park-trashing squatters euphemistically called “travellers”. Of course the idea of having to limit some people’s rights over their own property and earnings to dispense that “right” selectively doesn’t appear on their monomaniacal radar.

So if that’s the case, what can one make of this ? :

Italian parents bring in lawyers to evict 41-year-old stay at home son

An exasperated Italian couple has resorted to legal help to kick their 41-year-old son out of the house, in the latest case to highlight the phenomenon of Italy's stay-at-home "bamboccioni" or mummy's boys.
Aren’t his “rights” being violated?
"He has a good job but he continues to live at home and wants his clothes washed and ironed and his meals cooked for him. He never wants to leave." The couple took their case to the association after reading that it had experience in dealing with dozens of similar cases.
Which I suppose also makes these “adults” an abused “class”.
After the report was released, a cabinet minister came up with a drastic solution to the problem, proposing legislation which would make it compulsory for teenagers to leave home once they reached adulthood.
Oddly enough, since it all about how you raise them, these parents only have themselves to blame.
Renato Brunetta, the minister in charge of streamlining the country's bureaucracy, admitted that in his youth he too was a "bamboccioni", which translates as "big baby", and that his mother made his bed for him until he was 30.
I guess this is what you devolve into when ‘the personal becomes the political’. So how’s that working for ya?

Blog Repair

As you can see, we're trying (hard) to get the blog back to normal.
We're still having problems with the comments
but apart from that, we seem to have made some progress…

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Joy of Prose

Andrew Ferguson is an evil genius.

On Tom Friedman:

As a writer, Mr. Friedman is best known for his galloping assaults on Strunk and White's Rule No. 9: "Do Not Affect a Breezy Manner." "The World Is Flat" & Co. were cyclones of breeziness, mixing metaphors by the dozens and whipping up slang and clichés and jokey catchphrases of the author's own invention. (The flattened world was just the beginning.) The breeziness would accelerate into great gusts of rhetoric about "an America we could be . . . an America we once were . . . an America we can be again," as though the author were poking fun at a slightly drunk Ted Sorensen.
May his volcanic island secretly pen many submarines.
The slovenliness of our language, George Orwell wrote, makes it easier to have foolish thoughts, and while Mr. Friedman's language has been tidied up a bit, the thinking remains what it has always been.

A class of bureaucrats and crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society

If we succumb to this view that our problems are bigger than we are — if we surrender more control over our economy to the governing class — then life in America will become defined by a new kind of class warfare: A class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society at the expense of working Americans, entrepreneurs, and the small businesswoman who has the gall to take on the corporate chieftain.
Paul Ryan made a brilliant speech commemorating the Constitution on September 17 (Constitution Day), tying its principles to our current troubles, and giving "a few examples of how the rule of law in this country has been degraded over the past few years, and replaced by the rule of man" (monetary policy, energy, financial services, labor, health care, etc). Read the whole thing, as they say.
Freedom is lost by degrees, and the deepest erosions usually take place during times of economic hardship, when those who favor expanding the sphere of government abuse a crisis to persuade free citizens that they should trade in a little of their liberty for empty promises of greater economic security.

… I am not trying to question the intentions of those who have decided to make Medicare spending less accountable to the democratic process. I think they truly believe that it is better to let government-appointed experts make these kinds of decisions, free from the checks and balances that define our messy democratic process.

But in weakening the rule of law in the United States, their intentions are totally irrelevant. The damage they have done is real. And the relevant question we have to ask ourselves is whether, as Reagan put it, “we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

House Republicans have proposed a policy agenda to do just that: reclaiming America’s exceptional promise, charting a path not only to fiscal sustainability, but also to renewed prosperity.

Restoring the rule of law — reducing the influence of bureaucrats in the lives of Americans and empowering them to take more control over their own lives — is central to the budget we passed earlier this year. In fact, such reforms go hand in hand with our efforts to lift the crushing burden of debt, secure our social safety net, and spur job creation and sustained economic growth for all Americans.

“There are no more locomotives” in Europe, not in Germany, “Not anywhere”

A counterinstinctive nugget: The rich countries’ own agency for economic and social forecasting and analysis, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, now projects that the German economy will fall sharply in the last quarter of the year, performing at bottom level among industrialized countries during the period.
Thus starts John Vinocur's article in the International Herald Tribune.
Germany’s research institutes don’t challenge the calculation. The Kiel Institute for World Economy even unveiled the “r” word last week, writing, “In no sense is it excluded that the economy falls into recession” — which would be two successive quarters without growth.

Coming at a point when Europe creaks like a foundering ship in a heaving sea of sovereign debt, and the world fights doubts about the European Union’s cohesiveness and stability, this is one ugly notion.

It challenges the assumption that a seemingly recovered German economy is the hard central core and example for the world economy that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has cracked it up to be. Combined with the effects of the sovereign debt crisis, it refocuses questions by German experts about the solidity of German banks.

Above all, inside Germany, it creates a reflexive populist scenario that would place the responsibility for a steep German downturn on spendthrift, layabout neighbors — reinforcing the Europe-isn’t-our-problem sentiment shown in a poll over the weekend that said 66 percent of Germans are opposed to further help not only for Greece, but to any other state with debt problems.

… After the O.E.C.D. report, Mrs. Merkel attempted to shore up that credibility by citing growth figures from earlier in the year and saying, “We’re the locomotive again” — one presumably chugging ahead, although imports are down, with everyone’s boxcar in tow.

I asked Wolfgang Franz about this. He is chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, a counterpart of the White House council of economic advisers — the panel is officially independent of the chancellor though it meets regularly with her.

“There are no more locomotives,” Mr. Franz said, startling me with his directness. “Not anywhere.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Major Le Monde Article Suggests that Tea Partiers and Members of Hate Groups Are of the Same Irrational Stock

Corine Lesnes has a full two-page spread in Le Monde on the hunters of hate, as she admiringly calls the leftists in charge of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Needless to say, the Le Monde articles are all about the valiant efforts of the generous and avant-garde militants of the SPLC against the hate groups and, more generally, the racist and/or the clueless neanderthals of middle America, as she compares today's climate to that in place when a federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed, managing in the process to send a barb against Thomas Jefferson as well (by quoting a phrase of his out of context) and thus against the very founding of the nation (a nation of barbarians).
Lors de son arrestation, Timothy McVeigh portait un tee-shirt marqué d'une phrase de Thomas Jefferson qui figure sur la page Facebook de tous les extrémistes d'aujourd'hui : "L'arbre de la liberté doit être arrosé de temps à autre du sang des patriotes et des tyrans"...

Joseph Roy est le responsable des investigations au Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), une fondation qui traque depuis 1971 tout ce que l'Amérique compte comme extrémistes de droite, "suprémacistes" blancs, skinheads, milices et restes du Ku Klux Klan. Les enquêteurs du SPLC surveillent plusieurs dizaines de milliers de militants d'extrême droite. …

Dans la catégorie "hate groups", le SPLC range le Ku Klux Klan (221 groupes), les néonazis (170 groupes), les nationalistes blancs, les skinheads racistes, les séparatistes blacks, les néoconfédérés, et une nébuleuse de groupes antigays, anti-immigrants, antimusulmans, négationnistes, l'Eglise baptiste de Westboro, qui manifeste lors des funérailles des soldats tués au combat pour dénoncer l'homosexualité, ou les antiavortement qui traquent les médecins, tel Justin Carl Moose, 26 ans, qui s'est décrit comme "l'homologue chrétien d'Oussama Ben Laden". Tous sont obsédés par une cause unique. "C'est une culture, dit Joseph Roy. Ils ne veulent pas vivre avec nous."
What follows in Le Monde is one horror story after another concerning the United Klans of America, the Christian Knights of the KKK, the Aryan Nations, the Imperial Klans of America, etc, etc, etc, as well as other groups that — as we all are aware of — are incessant and ubiquitous in America's daily news cycle and that — as we all cower in our homes — cast a web of fear over America's heartland.

You see where we're getting at, dont'cha? Corine Lesnes is going to cast a wider net, don't you know it…

She goes on to include in the category of "obsessed" people, the anti-immigration "nativists" and the anti-government "patriots" who "like to put on uniforms and play with their guns in the woods". Well, right: basically, it's just about everyone in the United States, not withstanding a few leftists in government and academe whom, if only we would realize our luck, we would all be so grateful for. Just to make sure, Corine Lesnes does not mention that the Tea Party is part of the hate group — although that is clearly where we're headed — and, indeed, her wording of the "denial" is done in a very oblique manner: "The Tea Party is not on the SPLC's listings."

In one sentence alone — out of two full pages — does Corine Lesnes allow for a slight amount of the criticism that conservatives have bestowed on leftist organizations like the SPLC. Which… she immediately proceeds to dismiss with a single sweep.
Les adversaires du Centre lui reprochent de monter la menace en épingle, notamment dans leurs appels à contributions financières. Mais le SPLC est inquiet du climat actuel.

The Wages of Cultural Hostility Toward Americans

Europe, they're just not that into you.

What does all of this mean? Although Barack Obama rehabilitated the image of the United States in Europe, Europe has so far failed to reinvigorate its image in the United States, particularly among younger Americans who do not necessarily have strong links to European ancestry or positive memories of Cold War-era alliances. For transatlantic relations to thrive in the future, Europe needs to do a lot more to capture the imagination of a new generation of Americans.
I suppose what they mean by "Transatlantic Relations" is suckering and mooching off of the US, but we get the idea. We expect the sale reps to not sneer, but that's about it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Paris vs NYC

Paris Vs. NYC (merci à Duncan)

The Greeks Know a Sucker When They See One

Greece Purposefully Inflated Its Deficit Numbers To Get EU/IMF Assistance

Per professor Zoe Georgantas "The deficit was artificially inflated in 2009 to show that the country had the largest deficit across Europe, including that of Ireland was 14% in order to justify all these severe measures against the country. And we presented in the Eurostat 15,4%." While there appears to be a substantial political back story here, and we would be careful at taking these claims at face value, the last thing Europe needs is for its people to realize that they have been duped
The old fashioned way to live the good life off of the work of others, is to earn the pity of those who don't.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

German Humor

If you can call it that,

includes getting „big laughs” with blackface. And palms. Clueless.

God-Fearing Americans and Al Qaeda Terrorists? "They Can All Go to the Devil"

Just like American TV's Jon Stewart, French TV parodies are supposed to be fair and neutral, distributing their satire equally on all, but it turns out that they just happen to have a leftist bent, which is also the case of Canal +'s Groland, supposed to be the TV news of the imaginary great duchy of Groland (to witness the show's popularity, the country's alleged car code identity (aka Distinguishing Signs of Vehicles in International Traffic) can be seen on decals (GRO) stuck on cars all over France).

The crew is definitely talented — especially the final sketch in this Groland show of the retiree taking his breakfast to his balcony — but one sketch after another are based on the roots of class warfare, with the poor being exploited by the rich.

The Groland show comes from the same TV channel as the Guignols muppet show, whose only puppet representing an entire people is an inhuman Stallone as the average American and whose first show after the 911 commemoration showed French visitors and French reporters saddened at the Manhattan commemorations because they showed up in New York and — bummer — there were… no new attacks to celebrate the tenth anniversary. (For something in better taste, see the Guignols' Planet of the Apes parody with Barack Obama in a Chinese factory at 02:37.)

As for the most recent Groland show (prior to segueing into the obligatory anti-rich sketches), it begins (at 01:15) by noting the references to God in Barack Obama's speech before condemning religion in general (they're leftists, remember?) while making moral equivalence between Christians and Islamists. The president of Groland, therefore, also makes a speech on September 11 commemorating the attacks — of Al Qaeda on a country whose motto is "In God We Trust" — in which he decides that from now on, any and all religious people (des "culs-bénis") will be turned away from the grand duchy's borders. To which the TV announcer adds,
They can all go to the devil — who is someone who [contrary to God] really exists.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

America’s failure to live up to French expectations is a much-cherished French tradition, nearly as old as the United States itself

In an equally leftist screed rebuttal to Dominique Moïsi, Ted Widmer gets it right once in a time:
It has become rather easy to criticize President George W. Bush for the mistakes he made, especially in Paris, where America’s failure to live up to French expectations is a much-cherished local tradition, nearly as old as the United States itself. But to fall into undisciplined thinking about the past risks perpetuating the same mistakes.