Saturday, January 28, 2012

An Unreconstructed Kremlin

The mental leap to freedom is hard for those programmed into the ideology of the revolutionary left.
“When I was a teenager growing up in Chicago, I went through the standard teenage rebellion,” Bill Browder told me one afternoon in the Hermitage office in London, during the first of several conversations I had with him in 2011. “But instead of growing my hair long and joining a rock band, coming from my specific family, I decided I was going to become a capitalist. There was nothing that would piss off my family more than that.”
Bill Browder is CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, and...
was the largest capitalist in Eastern Europe for a while, but he’s now known as an international justice crusader. In the past two years, he has singlehandedly waged an intercontinental lobbying campaign to get Western governments to pass a suite of sanctions and travel restrictions on Russian officials involved in the conspiracy to arrest, torture, and murder Browder’s thirty-seven-year-old Moscow-based attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, who had uncovered a $230 million tax fraud pegged to companies that had been expropriated by Russian officials.
If you have not heard or read about Magnitsky’s rectitude, bravery, and suffering, I urge you to right away.

The way to neuter opposition to intrusive government measures is to present them as being “for the children”

Imagine a law in America that could set children against their parents, centralize power away from the states toward the federal government, mandate increases in government spending regardless of taxpayer wishes, bypass the House of Representatives, and abrogate constitutional limitations on government power
wrote Stephen Baskerville in an issue of Touchstone last year (he is the author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family whose latest article is "The Rape of Justice" (PDF), published in the Salisbury Review ).
Such a measure may soon come up for ratification by the US Senate: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Children have become today’s favorite political weapon. From gun restrictions to mandatory seat-belts, the way to neuter opposition to intrusive government measures is to present them as being “for the children.” But the first casualties in the politicization of children are parents and therefore the family. Professionals who advocate for other people’s children inevitably do so at the expense of those whose first responsibility is their own children.

The CRC illustrates how radically human rights law has turned from its fundamental purpose, to be a shield protecting individuals from government intrusion, to being used as a tool of government intrusion.

…Geraldine Van Bueren, a law professor and one of the drafters of the CRC, … bluntly states that “the CRC provides an ideology for state intervention” into social and economic life. It is not a limitation on state power but a rationale for expanding it.

Subverting Sovereignty

… in America a ratified treaty becomes by constitutional stipulation the “supreme law of the land,” equal to the Constitution itself. That means that domestic courts are automatically required to enforce its provisions, without recourse to international tribunals. Treaty-making thus presents a loophole through which various interest groups can effectively legislate American domestic policy while bypassing the people’s elected lawmakers in the House of Representatives and in state legislatures.

… Anyone who doubts this need only glance at the family policy of the European Union. The EU has no legal authority to legislate in areas of family law or policy, which theoretically are left to national governments. Yet in practice, the EU sponsors many activities that undermine parents and traditional families. Driving much of this activity is EU collaboration with the CRC. …

The Dubious “Best Interest” Standard

One seemingly unexceptionable requirement of the CRC is that governments ensure the “best interest of the child.” In fact, however, the “best interest” standard is highly destructive of parental rights, because it allows government officials to decide the “best interest” of other people’s children, usurping that prerogative from parents.

Traditionally, legal authority over children has been recognized as residing with their parents, unless they somehow forfeit it. In Parham v. J. R. (1979), the Supreme Court recognized “that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.” As Justice Potter Stewart observed in that case, “For centuries it has been a canon of the common law that parents speak for their minor children. So deeply imbedded in our traditions is this principle of law that the Constitution itself may compel a State to respect it.”

This principle has been so eroded in American domestic law that it is now the norm to assume precisely the opposite: that “the child’s best interest is perceived as being independent of the parents,” as family law practitioner Robert Williams writes, “and a court review is held to be necessary to protect the child’s interests.” …

More Dubious Provisions

Then there is Article 12, which provides that signatory governments

shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

This provision essentially institutionalizes the right of children to rebel against their parents’ authority and puts the state on the side of the child, with the backing of international law. “The Children’s Convention potentially protects the rights of the child who philosophically disagrees with the parents’ educational goals,” writes Van Bueren.

Any parent can recognize the threat. What makes the disagreement “philosophical”? What is the difference between a child who “philosophically” disagrees with his parents and one who simply doesn’t want to do his homework?

Consider also the provision regarding children’s “privacy.” Article 16 says that “no child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home, or correspondence” and that “the child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” But against whom is the child’s privacy being protected? His parents?

Ironically, authorizing the state to protect a child’s “privacy” justifies massive state intrusion into family privacy. This illustrates how the concept of privacy—while valid (and in my view undervalued by many family advocates today)—is meaningless outside the context of the family.

These types of provisions might be innocuous when used to protect adults against government repression. But when applied to children, they have the effect of abolishing parental and all other authority between children and the state. This starkly illustrates how the family is essential to freedom, and how the state, when it claims to be protecting “freedom” and “privacy” and “rights”—without the mediating authority of the family—is the fox protecting the henhouse.

Out of the Mouths of Lawyers

The CRC’s provisions allow government officials to pose as the mouthpieces and defenders of other people’s children, children they do not know and do not love. The altruism of these officials is assumed without question, while parents are depicted as selfishly promoting their own interests, which are cast as contrary to those of their own children. …”

Payoffs & GONGOs

The CRC also allows UN and government officials to demand that expenditures be made to implement certain of its policies. … Thus, under the guise of “human rights,” the UN is trying to control the spending priorities of sovereign nations.

This paves the way for patronage payoffs to favored clients, in this case groups professionally involved in child welfare. … [For instance] UN officials are attempting to funnel Moldovans’ money to their cronies, who become extensions of the government.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The French Cultural Exception Explained

It’s an exemption from the shackles of reason and truth-telling. It’s purpose is to fit whatever uninformed view of reality that you have – because there is simply no way you can’t be right.

What’s all that about? You ask... An Elle blogger, like a typical higher-being of the continent decided that all African-Americans could and should be defined by the three or four African-Americans that she’s familiar with in passing.
In an blog post titled “Black Fashion Power,” writer Nathalie Dolivo managed to insult American blacks as a whole while offering left-handed compliments to the First Lady Michelle Obama for taking on the Jackie O role in a “jazzy” way.

The writer imagines that the Obamas are the first to bring true style to African-Americans.
See, there you go. She did her national duty by defining nearly 37 million people she has no knowledge of outside of the doctored appearances found in photographs and videos, and there you have it.

And throw in some of that Jazz stuff too while you’re at it, it still being the hip thing with the kids, you see, at least in the minds of those Europeans who we are told simply know everything there is to be known.

I was reminded of this again just a few weeks ago when a Parisian in a bar was inquiring about the south as if the world that they lived in was straight out of ‘Mississippi Burning’. The man’s age, mature nature, and outward air of intelligence almost made me confuse him with someone with a shred of decency and intelligence. While willing to be ignorant of a culture, he was more than willing to have an opinion about who he thought were the good-guys and bad-guys in it.

Typische Deutsche Schlamperei

One in five Germans are unaware of Auschwitz.
The poll comes ahead of the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945, which Germany has marked since 1996 with official memorial ceremonies for Holocaust victims.
In other news of the no-duh!
According to a report by independent experts commissioned by the German parliament and published earlier this week, about one in five Germans is latently anti-Semitic.
And as long as it doesn’t get in the way of making money, Germans are not likely to even care. It makes the received wisdom behind European anti-semitism all that more special, especially since the breadth of German antisemitism only ranks them in the middle of the Euro-liga of irrational hatred.

Will a Remake of 2002 See a Le Pen Become One of the Two Winners in the First Round of France's Presidential Election?

April 22 is the first round of France's 2012 presidential elections, which will thus take place exactly 10 years to the day after the first round of the 2002 presidential elections put a Le Pen in the runoff for the second round, writes Le Monde's ombudsman, Pascal Galinier. And this year people are frightened that the same scenario might occur again…
Pour Pierre Bonn (Toulouse), c'est entendu : "Je pense que malheureusement Marine Le Pen va atteindre le second tour." Ce président d'une association de défense de l'environnement pointe du doigt la montée en puissance d'"une autre catégorie d'électeurs : ceux qui ne sont d'accord ni avec Hollande ni avec Sarkozy. Comme le bulletin blanc n'est pas comptabilisé, leur seul moyen d'expression est de "casser la baraque" en votant FN, même s'ils ne sont pas d'accord avec les idées et le "programme" du FN." Robert Nadot (Arradon, Morbihan) semble être de ceux-là : "Je pense que la majorité des Français feront comme moi : si Sarkozy est au deuxième tour, je voterai pour son adversaire quel qu'il soit, sans états d'âme, les yeux et les narines fermés. A bon entendeur, salut." Dominique

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Destroying America one family at a time

Living a nightmare the last few years dealing with Family Court, Nick Tufaro testifies on
The Destruction of American Society – One Family At A Time

With regard to the best interest of the child(ren), the truth is that no one, besides the family, including the extended family, is expert enough to determine that. Truth be told, there have been significant studies to indicate that in the best interest of the child, it is both parents that need to have equal contact with the children. However, Family Court in the United States, has become so adversarial between the parents that the minor children are destroyed by the events of a hostile divorce. According

The Never-ending Game of Diplomatic Slap and Tickle Continues

EU ministers agree new bail-out fund, criticise Greece

But the tentative agreement to have non-meetings continues:
A deal on the final wording of the fiscal treaty has not been achieved yet. Participation of non-euro leaders in eurozone summits remains an open issue that will have to be agreed by EU leaders when they meet on 30 January, he added.
It does sound better this way, though:

What Is Wrong (or Indeed Atypical) About Wanting Obama to Be a 1-Term President and Desiring His Policies to Fail?

I left this comment on the webpage of a New York Times article but, unless I am mistaken, they seem to have refused it (I just submitted a shorter version of it for a third time)…

"McConnell's prime wish for Obama was that he be a one-term president" complains a Democrat.

Uh, hello?…

Forgive me if I cannot build up the level of sputtering outrage that Jim Steinberg is obviously seeking.

Wasn't the prime wish for many a Democrat in 2004 (as well as in the years leading up to that year) that George W Bush should be a one-term president? Wasn't their prime wish in 1992 that Dubya's father should be a one-term president (one wish that came true), and in 1984 that Reagan should be one? And in 1972… (you get the idea)

Wasn't the democrats' goal to see Bush, and Bush, and Reagan, etc, uh (let me find the word)… fail?

Ever since Rush Limbaugh was assaulted for making his hope-Obama-fail statement in 2009, I have found the outraged over-the-top reaction of the Democrats absurd…

Now, suddenly, when the Republicans react no differently with a Democrat in the White House, the Democrats go berserk.

Note to Democrats: the USA is not a cult of the personality, with the One towering benevolently over the flock of little people, a Dear Leader and protector who is deserving of nothing but respect and gratitude from his always-reverential subjects; it's a republic where the citizen is king and the "leader" his servant. And when we, or a majority of us, do not like the job he's doing, he's out of the White House.

As for "the fact" that wishing that Obama fail "means our nation would fail along with the president", you may not have noticed, but on the watch of the Apologizer-in-Chief (a man who said in 2008 that his goal was to cut the debt in half), the debt has quintupled. Now, you can go on and on with saying that that ain't his fault, but for a number of us — and hey! maybe we are wrong — it's proof positive that the socialist-imbued college professor that he is, who has famously never worked in the private sector, has been nourished with leftist fairy tales and has no idea how to work a real economy…

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Against it Before they Were for it

The EU will this week outline an overhaul of its 17-year- old data-protection policies addressing online advertising and social-networking sites. The bill, which includes stricter sanctions and will equip national data-protection authorities with powers to levy administrative sanctions and fines, will “become a trademark people recognize and trust worldwide,” Reding said at a conference in Munich yesterday.
Anticipating an opportunity to pander, the EU’s trinity (the perpetually promoting rarely elected Commissars Kroes, Malmström and Reding) become the faces of a new privacy rule, despite a uniform continental history of ignoring your privacy. And they also should have made the announcement in Berlin:
Since 2008, the Berlin police has collected data on 4.2 million mobile phone connections, reports German daily Tageszeitung. Most of the data has been collected in order to capture those who have set fire to luxury cars, a phenomenon that has been rampant in the German capital for the last five years. In 410 data requests by the judiciary to mobile phone operators, the police were able to identify the names and home addresses of people located near a burning car. "The only problem is they never identified any suspects," the paper notes.
Elsewhere, they’re promoting their presumed monopoly on human rights as happy hoo-hah in an initiative that duplicates what the CIA managed years ago.

EU Vice President Kroes appoints the discredited Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to run it.
Kroes defends her pick of zu Guttenberg in her blog post, saying that she's looking for "talent, not saints." Fair enough. On the other point, I think that the irony of the battle over access benefits us more than the IP interests, as well, but I certainly understand people who are stunned and spluttering.
”Access” of “Intellectual Property”. In other words, if it’s not bolted down, and it comes from abroad, it’s yours, and it spills an interesting shade of ochre on zu Guttenberg street cred as an academic plagiarist.

French Elections: Neither Nicolas Sarkozy nor François Hollande is talking about the perspective for painful change

What kind of country would France be if it abandoned its 35-hour work week (it actually kills jobs), set up an affirmative action program for its Muslim immigrants (featuring a zero-tolerance framework for their assimilation), and scaled back its ambitions for Europe as a global political force to more attainable goals?
asks John Vinocur flippantly in the International Herald Tribune.
Answer: An imaginary one. There are no signs of it happening.

…100 days before voting in an elimination round April 22, and then in a final ballot on May 6, the French presidential election campaign so far involves back and forth on possible variations in French comfort — tinkering with, adjusting and applying new coats of paint to familiar and nonthreatening aspects of national life.

There’s something surreal here. Neither Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been a brash president for the last five years, or the presumedly bland François Hollande, named Socialist candidate on Oct. 16, is talking about the perspective for painful change.

… For all of France’s accomplishments and uniqueness, a sense of lost identity and decline resonates.

At a moment that seems to command existential choice, the candidates are responding piecemeal and with calculation in a manner the French call “petit bras” — taking hesitant, little strokes where a full swing is needed.

… Their refusal so far to confront sweeping structural change reads as if [Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Hollande] agree with the notion that the French perceive almost any change in the system as a threat because virtually everyone’s self-interest is wired to a state-protected status quo. The biggest issue of avoidance for the election campaign is structural reform of the labor market.

… Mr. Hollande thinks that by avoiding a clear set of campaign commitments, he can circumvent anything specific that might threaten his wide lead over Mr. Sarkozy in current polling. The president concentrates on casting himself to the French not as a dispenser of much-need reform medicine, but as their worldly, combative protector.

That common burst of subterfuge means an election campaign poor in meaningful, coherent ideas. In this country, normally so productive in inventiveness and nerve, there’s nothing new or promising going on as it stutters and drifts toward choosing a president.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Zombies Among Us

A dull, “housekeeping” style article presumably penned by DSK spouse and enabler Anne Sinclair rouses “bravos” from the readership, which plainly shows how empty their heads are.
In any case, our space, one that brings together the team that chose to devote to this project: to create The Huffington Post in France, was welcomed today to bring his modest stone to the plurality of information.

The Huffington Post has, for seven years, to blow on the U.S. press in line with an air of freedom, controversies, "conversations", a word dear to Americans, which means first exchange of ideas, discussions, debates. Arianna Huffington, founder of what became the first news site in the United States brings its expertise, experience, its platform, its technological tools. The other stakeholders, the Le Monde group and New Independent Publishing also give us the chance to have this French adventure.

This is all in French society today, and nourishes the columns of prestigious journals and news sites developing in front of us.

To those who say that sometimes shrinks, we want to answer that, together with our colleagues is also an obsession, we will expand the space, provide places of expression to those who do not have easy access.
We’ll ignore her moronic Kim-Jong-Il-esque claims about Ariana’s technological insight, and not even wonder why banal congratulations of other media babblers would provoke wooden (almost fake sounding) sounding huzzahs being heard from the party membership.

Rather, let’s do the typical French Blab-erati thing and try to infer whatever specious meaning we want - or one that strokes a passive-aggressive ego whose childish missives are read by no-one, and say with complete certainty that she is into pegging DSK.

That’s usually all it takes to get onto a French daytime talk show that has a epilepsy provoking set and a host who thinks they’re a political expert.

All of this comes on the heels of the launch (after the totally ignored prior launch) of a French edition of the Huffington Post, headed by Anne Sinclair. What she has in common with Ariana Huffington is rather Stepford child like. Neither of these two members of the 0.0001% earned their billions, pretend to be for the masses, steal wire pieces, got their momentum from other equally pointless fellow travelers, and bully writers into working for them for free.

A court like no other

Jim's first indication that his life was about to be turned upside down came the night he got home from work and was approached by an off-duty sheriff's deputy
writes Nina Shapiro (thanks to Arf) whose Seattle weekly article helps explain what prompted Stephen Baskerville to write the book Taken Into Custody (The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family). His latest article is "The Rape of Justice", published in the Salisbury Review (PDF).
"Are you Jim?" the deputy asked.

"I am," he replied.

The deputy then informed him that not only was he no longer welcome inside his own house, he wasn't allowed even to collect his things. The officer handed him a suitcase his wife had packed and a $3,000 check—also from his wife, who earned far more than he did.

… Had he been charged with domestic violence in criminal court, where guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt and the standards of due process are high, this might not have happened. But Jim's fate was decided in a very different venue: family court.

It's a court like no other—a hugely busy and rancorous place where the most personal aspects of people's lives are not only on display, but judged and reshaped in proceedings that often last no longer than 20 minutes. Appointed commissioners, rather than elected judges, make many of the most crucial decisions. And the standard of evidence (known as "preponderance of the evidence") is the lowest allowed by law.

For years, dads'-rights groups have claimed that family court overwhelmingly favors women, particularly when it comes to custody. In former times, when dads generally did far less hands-on child-rearing than moms, those claims tended to be viewed as the ranting of bitter misogynists.

… the most damaging allegation—the one that can change everything in an instant—is domestic violence. That's why, Rolfe says, "there are attorneys who will advise a client to accuse the other party of domestic violence in order to gain an advantage."

The accusations may not constitute what the general public thinks of as domestic violence. "Frequently, it's not a big thing that you did, but the woman claims to be afraid," says Rolfe.

Yet commissioners—and what Bianco calls a "little cottage industry" of professionals used by the court to assess and treat domestic violence—tend to give those allegations credibility and see a man's denials as further proof of his guilt—the ultimate catch-22.

… the most precious relationships in people's lives—relationships that impact not only the adults standing before a commissioner but the unseen children used to being around both parents every day—are reconstituted according to whatever spin embittered spouses can put forward in the time it takes to walk around the block.

Related Content

Also check out James Christianson's How I Got Custody (thanks to Arf, again)

Women and Children First!

Serguei on the Costa Concordia:
• Women and children first!
• Aye, aye, skipper!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Less Than 100 Days from France's Presidential Election, Sarkozy Is Tempted by a Speedy Retreat from Afghanistan

There must be no debate on Afghanistan

That is the message to army commanders from l'Élysée during France's presidential election.

The war in Afghanistan is entering France's presidential election, writes Nathalie Guibert in Le Monde, as Nicolas Sarkozy — who is torn between domestic politics and the demands of France's allies, the countries of the coalition, writes Natalie Nougayrède — suspends all military operations and ponders whether to leave the country.

In the wake of a man wearing the uniform of Afghanistan's national army machine gunning two dozen unarmed soldiers on a French base, four of whom have died, the French government, which has been pressuring army commanders to avoid losses for some time, sent the defense minister (Gérard Longuet) and the head of the armed forces (Admiral Edouard Guillaud) to Kabul.

Meanwhile, the socialist candidate, François Hollande, reacted by saying that "we must have the intelligence to recognize that this mission is over."

" Toutes les opérations de formation, d'aide au combat, de l'armée française sont suspendues ", a annoncé le président Nicolas Sarkozy. Si " les conditions de sécurité ne sont pas clairement rétablies, alors se posera la question d'un retour anticipé ", a-t-il ajouté. Le ministre de la défense et le chef d'état-major des armées ont été dépêchés à Kaboul.

… Sur le terrain, les chefs passent le message : il faut " un niveau de pertes compatible " avec l'état de l'opinion. Les soldats comprennent qu'on les prive de la possibilité de " finir le travail " qui a coûté la vie à 82 d'entre eux depuis 2001. Un haut responsable militaire explique au Monde : " Il ne doit pas y avoir de débat sur l'Afghanistan. "

Mormons to Build Temple in Versailles, Protesters Against this Christian-Inspired Religion NOT to Be Labelled Racists

Méconnus en France en dépit de leur prosélytisme aux effets incertains, les mormons sont ces dernières semaines sortis de leur relatif anonymat.
Basically unknown in France until presidential candidate Mitt Romney made their religion prominent, writes Stéphanie Le Bars in Le Monde, the Mormons are to open their first temple in France. However, the purchase of a piece of land next to the (very Catholic) château de Versailles has given rise to a protest movement against the building of a temple there. Needless to say, the protesters will not, in any way, be depicted as racists — as they would were they protesting the building of a Muslim mosque.
Grâce à Mitt Romney, certes, le favori des primaires républicaines pour la présidentielle américaine, qui fut, entre 1966 et 1968, missionnaire à Brest, au Havre et à Bordeaux. Mais aussi parce que l'année 2012 pourrait être en France celle de leur "visibilité". Après treize ans de recherches et de déconvenues, l'Eglise vient d'acquérir un terrain au Chesnay (Yvelines), pour y construire le premier temple mormon du pays, un imposant bâtiment sans fioritures.

… Mais cette implantation sur des terres très catholiques, à deux pas du château de Versailles, a suscité un début de polémique. Une pétition qui aurait recueilli près de 4 000 signatures circule sur Internet pour demander "une consultation publique" sur ce projet, susceptible de "modifier la ville et ses environs", et qui, selon ses détracteurs, "ne correspond pas à un besoin". Contestant le permis de construire accordé par le maire (UMP) et sur fond de bataille politique, un de ses adjoints a même démissionné.

"La plupart des gens sont polis, mais ils n'ont juste pas le temps de parler de Jésus-Christ", reconnaissent les deux garçons, qui font partie des 300 missionnaires présents en France.

Smell You Later

The smart ones are booking ass as quick as they can.
Economic distress is driving tens of thousands of skilled professionals from Europe, and many are being lured to thriving former European colonies in Latin America and Africa, reversing well-worn migration patterns. Asia and Australia, as well as the U.S. and Canada, are absorbing others leaving the troubled euro zone.
In fact monarchs are reduced to begging:
King Juan Carlos highlighted Spain's losses with a poignant remark while handing out scholarships to young Spaniards for postgraduate study abroad.

"I sincerely hope and wish that when your time comes to return home there will be more jobs for you and that you can stay here," he told the 121 assembled winners in March. "We really need you in Spain."
In the meantime the enterprising aren’t fighting their way into EUtopia either.
At the same time, an influx of Third World immigrants whose labor helped fuel Europe's growth over the past decade is subsiding. Hundreds of thousands of them, including some white-collar professionals, have been returning home.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

“U.S. Americans”

The term is as absurd as “États-Unien” (FR: “United-statesian”), and I hear it more and more.
My simple retort to the pinheaded who argue to me that they have the right to define the terms by which we Americans describe ourselves is to enlighten a lower being and ask how many other nations that have the word “America” in their name.

In ignorance, the answer nearly without fail is “all of the nations in the Americas.” I then ask them to name them.

The only nation other than the Unites States of America that has the word America in its’ name isn’t in the Americas: it’s American Samoa.

Remember, because they are inherently higher beings whose egos generally cannot bear even the most discreet bit of correction or presicion, you must insist that they’re right in order to make them go away or give you your measly €0,14 in change at the register.
États-Unien » est parfois préféré à « américain » afin de différencier les États-Unis du Canada et du Mexique.
No it isn’t.