Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Ghosts of World War II

"The haunting collection of images shows what it would look like if the ghosts of World War II returned to our streets" writes The Daily Mail's Emma Reynolds (merci à Hervé) of some "remarkable pictures [which] overlay modern scenes from France with atmospheric photographs taken in the same place during the war. "Historical expert Jo Teeuwisse, from Amsterdam, began the project after finding 300 old negatives at a flea market in her home city depicting familiar places in a very different context." Check out the other pictures

Friday, October 26, 2012

Obama pursued a 1-dimensional presidency based on the flawed assumption that his personal charisma would be enough to bring about the change he sought

The Washington Times brings it all together:

Barack Obama’s closing argument for his re-election requires a declaration of faith. “I believe in you,” he told a crowd of supporters Wednesday. “I need you to keep believing in me.” Regrettably, four years of failure leave precious little to believe in.

Mr. Obama’s economic record has been about as bad as it could possibly be. In his first budget proposal, he promised the economy would be growing at a brisk 6.3 percent by 2012. Instead, it’s limping along at just over 1 percent. He promised that the federal deficit would be carved down to $581 billion. Instead, it has ballooned beyond $1 trillion. In 2009, he promised that if his budget-busting stimulus plan were passed, unemployment would be around 5.5 percent by now. Instead, the official rate is nearly 8 percent. Poverty has increased; the number of long-term unemployed has increased; there are millions more discouraged workers; food stamp use has surged; gas prices are up and family incomes are down. A second term would be no different.

Mr. Obama has not shown mastery of the high office he has attained. He enjoys its perks — lavishly — but eschews the hard work that goes with the job. He pursued a one-dimensional presidency based on the flawed assumption that his personal charisma would be enough to bring about the change he sought. Charisma is fleeting, but the problems are enduring. Mr. Obama was out of his depth, with nothing to fall back on but blaming others for his failures.

The future would simply be more of the same in a second term. Mr. Obama’s slogan is “Forward,” but he does not know where he is going. There are many options for moving the country ahead, but Mr. Obama knows only one way: an overweening, blind faith in government as the solution to all the nation’s problems. Mr. Obama speaks of “economic patriotism,” but he is talking about neither sound economics nor anything patriotic.

The next four years will require someone skilled in the art of the deal. The incoming Congress will almost certainly be Republican in one or two houses. Under any likely election scenario, the Senate minority is going to be large enough to block all progress in the absence of presidential leadership. Mr. Obama has never been very good at bipartisanship, despite his statements to the contrary. He showed that in 2009 when Republicans attempted to offer input on the near-$1 trillion stimulus plan. Mr. Obama gave them a curt two-word dismissal: “I won.” At a time when a more magnanimous leader would offer a conciliatory gesture, Mr. Obama chose a display of arrogance. Since then, whenever he has been presented with the opportunity to reach out his hand, he has presented a clenched fist. He has offered no compromises, choosing instead to find devious means of circumventing Congress and imposing his will by fiat. America does not need another term of gridlock, but re-electing Mr. Obama will guarantee it.

The American people have no obligation to devote another four years of their lives to a man who has failed them. The country deserves better. By all means, America must move forward, but the country will not get there with Mr. Obama. Believe it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Débat sur l'avenir et sur l'identité même de l'Amérique

L'avenir de l'Amérique, les élections U.S., et l'identité même de la république américaine débattus par un conservateur et une gauchiste

During an intense one-hour debate on the la Locale TV station, with UNESCO's Beseat Kiflé Sélassié moderating, Erik Svane and Ellen Kountz of the Obama à la carte blog discussed everything from the 2012 elections, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama, to Alexis de Tocqueville, federalism/decentralization, and the very identity of America, as well as the country's future…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The EU Stepping In Against Putin’s Russian Bullying Which Flourished Thanks to Lack of Countermeasures From Obama White House?

Hooray for the European Union — in spite of a Nobel Peace Prize awarded largely on the basis of wishful thinking — for taking an important, tough-minded step, avoided by NATO and the United States [i.e., Barack Obama].  
Thus writes John Vinocur, the most conservative commentator working for the New York Times, in the International Herald Tribune.
The bold moment came last month when the European Commission opened an antitrust investigation against Gazprom, the Russian national gas monopoly which furnishes about 25 percent of Europe’s energy imports, for unfair pricing and blocking diversification of supply concerning eight E.U. members from the old Soviet bloc. 

Out of character for an organization once described by Jean-Pierre Jouyet, a former French minister for Europe and France’s former chief financial market supervisor, as dominated by a culture of connivance? I’d like to believe it matters little whether the European Union is being consecrated, even counter-instinctively, as a grand peacemaker, if it is really drawing lines that make clear where its tolerance stops and trouble for transgressors begins

The European pursuit of Gazprom as an energy bully has particular resonance because it comes at a time when Vladimir Putin’s Russia is supplying Syria with arms and support in the U.N. Security Council, renouncing a pact with the United States providing nuclear safeguards, ordering the closure of Unicef’s Russian office, and directing the U.S. Agency for International Development to halt its operations in Russia — all without the United States taking countermeasures

The E.U. investigation K.O.’s the argument that only born-again cold warriors regard Putin’s actions as serious, strategic problems for the West (starting with a significant measure of Russian control over E.U. and European NATO members’ energy supply). 

The investigation contains an additional message: the European Union’s willingness to challenge Putin’s attempt to play off wealthy Western Europe against poorer Eastern members by offering price flexibility to France and Germany while treating a Poland, a Bulgaria, or an Estonia as if they still fell under the Brezhnev Doctrine. That was the Soviet Union’s notion of its immediate neighbors’ limited sovereignty, reiterated by former president Dmitri Medvedev after Russian troops entered Georgia in 2008. 

Now Moscow, a new member of the World Trade Organization, has issued a decree barring “strategic” enterprises like Gazprom from divulging any information to foreign regulators. 

… just weeks after Barack Obama’s inauguration … NATO was never seriously pressed to pick up the ball. Kurt Volker, the U.S. ambassador to NATO at the time, said the initial American warnings about the energy squeeze involved “smart people who were operating on auto-pilot. Then Obama’s reset kicked in.” 

At its extreme, that meant the United States publicly saying it would not pursue linkage in its Russian policy — telling Putin, in effect, he could do as he pleased, with no price to pay. The E.U. Commission, all the same, has signaled that its limits have been overrun. 

Süddeutsche Zeitung, a leading left-of-center voice, called the investigation a brave strike and “the start of a battle against the power of Russia’s raw materials empire.” And the E.U.’s commissioner for energy, Günther Oettinger, a German conservative, has branded those energy reserves “Putin’s new Red Army,” and criticized Angela Merkel’s announced retreat from atomic energy as increasing Europe’s dependency on Gazprom as a supplier.

… As for Barack Obama, he cannot politically manage a shift in tone on Putin’s Russia with only weeks to go in the U.S. presidential campaign. But with Putin acting aggressively and unrelentingly, the president, if re-elected, could well find it necessary to speak out on the significant deterioration of Russia’s sense of responsibility, and stand up with protesting Russians the next time they fill Moscow’s streets.
Related: Moscow's current tone is "reminiscent of Soviet days"; If anyone is stuck in the Cold War mentality, it is the Russians

Os relatos sobre minha morte são muito exagerados

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated
A Brazilian man gave his relatives the shock of their lives when he turned up at his own wake at his mother's home.
The family was gathered around a coffin thought to contain 41-year-old car washer Gilberto Araujo when he appeared, causing some people to faint and others to flee in fear.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MSNBC Explained

In 1960, East German propagandist Albert Norden came as close as one can to describe the motives of the un-free press, whose many noble-sounded stated motives sound an awful lot like the noble-sounded stated motives of the left-leaning press in the United States and western Europe:
Still, that is only a part of the function of journalism in the German Democratic Republic. Its primary mission is to build the enthusiasm of its readers, listeners and viewers for the noble cause of socialism, and to explain to them the laws of historical development in our day. More than that, as the Politbüro of the ZK of the SED said in its decision on press matters of 29 April 1959, the task is “not only to influence and change thoughts, but simultaneously actions in every area of the socialist transformation. . . Each editorial staff should therefore strive to initiate its own actions in the political economic and cultural spheres.”
Or to paraphrase what I heard one AP manager, who looked too young to know better about the lies people tell themselves, say on a cigarette break: “I’m here to make a difference, not just report the news. I want to transform society”.

Moscow's current tone is "reminiscent of Soviet days"; If anyone is stuck in the Cold War mentality, it is the Russians

Within hours of Barack Obama's stating, during the third election debate, that we were no longer living in Cold War times — all the while accusing Mitt Romney of wanting to take us from smart diplomacy back to the 1980s (ah! the Reagan years!) in an era when everything is hunky-dory with the Russians — the New York Times publishes a report from Moscow that states, and indeed does so quite explicitly, that if anyone is living with a Cold War mentality, it is the Russians.

And to ignore "Russia’s progressively colder statements toward the United States", along with the deteriorating state of human rights, is to believe in the left's fairy tales — indeed, the same fairy tales that the left circulated during the Cold War years and which led a Ted Kennedy then to offer the Kremlin help to counter Reagan's policies or a Barack Obama now to promise more flexibility with Putin after winning the election.

Published in the International Herald Tribune under the title Legislators in Russia Conjure Up an Evil U.S., Ellen Barry's article informs us that
During a day of old-school America-bashing in the Russian Parliament on Monday, a series of lawmakers took the podium to catalog rights violations perpetrated by Americans over the years, including waterboarding, Ku Klux Klan lynchings and the abuse of children adopted from Russia.

Monday’s parliamentary hearing, titled “On Problems in the Observation of Human Rights by the United States of America,” was the first of its kind since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and comes as Russia’s leaders employ progressively colder statements toward the United States.

Monday’s hearings were reminiscent of Soviet days, when the Young Communist League organized rallies in support of Angela Davis, the radical activist.

“Since 1987, we really had major movement forward, and these propagandistic cold war stereotypes very quickly collapsed,” said Sergei M. Rogov, director of the Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies. “Now sometimes I have the perception that like Rip van Winkle, I am waking up and it is Reagan and Andropov.”

… Aleksei K. Pushkov, the head of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, said debates about human rights have become “a constant feature” of Russia’s relations with the West since the fall of Communism, and that Russia would no longer listen passively. He said Russia had “spoiled the Americans” by remaining silent on their human rights violations for 20 years. 

“Yeltsin wanted to make Clinton laugh, and he laughed at all of us,” Mr. Pushkov said of the relationship between Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris N. Yeltsin. “We wanted to win their trust and approval, and they became used to this, so today, when we speak of flagrant violations of human rights in the U.S.A., they are experiencing shock — that we dare to do this. But we are one of the leading countries of the world, and we have the right to do this.” 

… As lawmakers filed out of the hearing, some marveled at the shift in the political atmosphere. Vyacheslav N. Tetyotkin, a deputy from the Communist Party, said such a hearing would have been “unthinkable” two years ago, when United Russia, the governing party, sought to prevent legislators from other parties from making statements unfriendly toward the United States.

… A poll released in September by the Levada Center, a Moscow-based polling agency, showed positive feelings toward the United States had fallen from 67 percent a year ago to 46 percent today

"You're just a gullible fool!" Conrad Black Gives Us a Lesson on How a Conservative Should Interact with the MSM

Love him or hate him, Conrad Black gives us — as well as Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman — a lesson on how a conservative, or how any person, really, should interact with members of the mainstream media (quotes appear in order of — shall we say? — potency and not in the order they were delivered).

• Let me tell you something!
• Oh God! I am going to throw up!
• Will you stop this bourgeois priggishness?!
• That is what you are waxing so sanctimonious about!
• You're a fool! You're just a gullible fool! You're a priggish, gullible, British, fool!
• If I were you, I'd be careful of being a gullible rubber stamp to that crooked […] system
• I am proud of […] actually being able to endure a discussion like this without getting up and smashing your face in — which is what most people would do!
Conrad Black, once one of the most powerful men in the media, has been talking to the BBC's Newsnight following his release from a Miami prison in May. Having served just over three years for defrauding investors, he told interviewer Jeremy Paxman he was "proud" of the way he had handled his trial and imprisonment.
Update: Cheers to Instapundit for the link, mate!

By all means (as Jason notes), do not just read the quotes above, but watch — and listen to — the video!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Live-Blogging the Foreign Policy Debate

Conclusion: Mitt got some good stuff in,
but I wish he had done more…

10:33 the torch of freedom, the hope of the Earth

10:30 Mention the microphone episode, Mitt!

10:28 Schieffer seems to have let the debate take off without his interference

"I certainly don't want to go back to the policies of the past four years" !

Romney: "It's someone else's"
= Obama's "someone else built that"
Sorry it was lost under the brouhaha

10:25 Laughing Barry

10:24 Smiling Barry

10:21 Obama is tweaking Romney's nose

10:18 Shieffer tried to mark a point for Obama,
but Romney handled it masterfully 

10:17 Wish Romney's staff had read the Instapundit post
concerning the three points he needed to make…

10:16 Now Obama is marking points, doing the economic stuff…

10:15 Romney has come out with some good zingers,
but still he could do more

10:13 Obama wants "a free market system"?!
How about one for the United States?…

10:09 Did Schieffer just say "Obama Bin Laden"?

10:02 Romney: Bring up the fact
that Obama held a speech the very same day,
before the papers found in Bin Laden's home
could be studied and acted upon

9:59 Romney jumping in,
taking over from MSM member Schieffer;
"I see our influence receding…
in part… in part…"

9:58 Obama is still not looking Romney in the eyes…

9:57 "By the way, you skipped Israel"
"By the way, they noticed you skipped Israel"

9:55 …except you didn't do anything about it…

9:53 "every fact-checker, journalist has said it's not true"
Is that your only reply to apology tour?!

9:52 Finally! Chávez, Kim Jong Il, Castro, Iran, apology tour

9:48 "I will not only stand culturally with Israel, but also militarily"
— made same notice as that in my 9:44 comment

9:47 Romney "When I am President of the United States"!!

9:46 Hope Romney will mention Obama's leaking of secrets

9:44 "America will stand with Israel"
does not — necessarily — mean the U.S. military will intervene

9:43 "horses and bayonets"? lame

9:39 Wish Romney would say, simply:
the military is the department of the federal government,
and a health system — and education — are the department of the individual state

9:38 Now Bob Schieffer is interrupting

9:38 "You got that fact wrong"

9:37 Barack O Interruption; Tch tch…

9:30 Hmm… Both men seem less aggressive than during the second speech

9:28 Good; Romney speech taking in the economy

9:25 I hope Romney compares Obama's Egypt to Carter's Iran

9:16 Whenever Obama talks about "nation-building" at home,
Romney needs to point out that nation-building means government intervention,
and that Americans do not need nation-building, 
they need for government to stop interfering and setting up obstacles
(not foreign policy — I know)

9:15 Good Obama point on Israel (although hardly true)

9:13 not "flexibility" with Russia — "more backbone"
But Romney needs to point out that this was said in secret, 
behind the backs of the American people!!

9:12 "Attacking me is not an agenda" Bingo!

9:10 "all over the map"
Obama is doing pretty good, so far
— let's wait for Romney's rebuttal

9:09 "We don't want another Iraq, We don't want another Afghanistan"
Good quip by Romney

9:08 Obama is starting out pretty well, I hate to say

9:06 "Al Qaeda's core leadership has been decimated" Core?!

9:05 PM "I congratulate the president on killing Osama Bin Laden" Good
+ "We can't kill our way of this mess"

No Pasarán will be blogging the third presidential debate in this space (starting at 3 in the morning Paris time)…

The Loneliness of the Conservative Blogger (An Open Letter to Instapundit)

• Every day, for the past two weeks, Instapundit was mentioned twice on a French TV web channel in an in-depth one-hour debate between a conservative and a liberal blogger re-broadcast daily at 6 pm. (Right before the end, in the conservative's closing remarks, and some 20 minutes prior to that, the French audience was told "If you want to get a non-caricatured view of American conservatives, you should read the Instapundit blog from time to time".) Is this not worth mentioning on said Instapundit blog?

• Last week, a conservative blogger live-blogged the second presidential debate and the week before that, he live-blogged the vice-presidential debate. (Tonight, he expects to be live-blogging the third debate.) At all times, since he lives in Paris, these took place from 3 am to 4:30 in the middle of the night French time. Were those events not worth mentioning? (Related: What Mitt Romney Must Say at the Third Debate.)

• Last summer, a conservative blogger went on television and had an in-depth debate with a member of the mainstream media, giving as good as he could. May I reiterate that — all the while adding an exclamation mark? A conservative blogger — one of a valiant band of brothers united in fighting against the mainstream medias of countries of the world and the leftist élites in power throughout the west — participated in a televised debate on France 24 television (on its English-language channel) against a member of the mainstream media (Newsweek's Paris chief) and did his best to hit back at the MSM arguments — twice as hard, natch! Was that not worth a link? (If I am looking slightly dishevelled, it's because I had to cut short my vacation after being called up by the TV station the same day around noon and catch a high-speed train 800 km to Paris, where my only way of getting to the television studio in time was to speed from the Gare de Lyon train station on a motorcycle taxi…)

Full disclosure: The conservative blogger in all three paragraphs above was — is — myself.
And before I go on, let me make clear that I am not speaking for the whole blog, as not all my co-bloggers agree with this post, one of them saying that Instapundit will never link us again, plus they point out that nobody has a duty whatsoever to link to anybody you don't want — all of which, needless to say, I am in full agreement with.

And my fellow bloggers have talked me out of posting a version of this post in the past, but I have never been as nervous as now, two weeks before the election, what with the Democrats promising they are going to win the election (and knowing what kind of dirty tricks they are up to), and in these nail-biting times, I need to give some air to a number of arguments I have made over the past few years.

And even should Glenn Reynolds refuse to ever link us again (for which I will have to apologize to my co-bloggers), I will continue reading Instapundit avidly every day; continue suggesting to people I overhear dissing Romney or praising Obama to check out a couple of blogs including Instapundit; and continue linking post after post of his in discussion forums around the web (both in English and in French, on the blog of Le Monde's Washington correspondent, for instance). For the fight against liberalism, and for a beacon of liberty, one named America, is more important than any personal issues…

(Note: when mentioning that I quote Instapundit on discussion threads or quote Instapundit on our blog or will do such things as suggest Instapundit as a blog to read, whether in daily life or on TV, I am in no way saying, or suggesting, that Glenn Reynolds owes me anything or that he should even feel grateful. In fact, it is in no way a favor to him, it is a favor to myself, as copying and pasting an Instapundit post makes, if anything, commenting quicker and easier, while at the same time giving me not one outside authority to refer to, but two — Instapundit and the source the professor is quoting… Plus spreading conservative values, having more people (whether in America or abroad) understand them, and believe in them, through reading a blog like Glenn Reynolds', can only up the chances of bringing about the society conservatives like me dream of… Likewise, when I mention Instapundit on television, it's not gratuitous, to flatter him. I wouldn't mention Glenn Reynolds's blog on a show dealing with graphic novels or with the Danish royal family. And if on a political show I say, "If you want to get a non-caricatured view of American conservatives, you should read the Instapundit blog from time to time", it's because I truly mean it…)

Let me add that, believe it or not, I am not particularly interested in pageviews and stats — per se. A high number always rewarding, naturally, but what I am more interested in is fighting the good fight, and being praised by my fellow conservatives (when and if appropriate) and told whether the job I did was good or not and whether I have reason to feel some pride for a given post.

Because it's true, Professeur Reynolds, you have explained why in the past — that you are a limited resource (without interns). What's more, noone can deny that you have indeed linked No Pasarán in the past!!

But on the other hand, from a reader's perspective, it is hard to get away from the idea that Glenn Reynolds is an extraordinarily open and gentle soul, one who goes out of his way to quote readers and read liberally through a post's comments. "A reader writes such-and-such, reader So-and-So writes bla-bla-bla, Update: reader John Doe adds a link to such-and-such a website. Reader points to the article in such-and-such a magazine." Plus all the "From the comments" add-ons and update after update…

The thing is, I am all for quoting readers myself (whether they are known to me or not); they often deliver a deadly zinger that "says it all" (also known as a Heh™) or uncover an aspect of an issue that not many people have picked up upon (one recent example: Obama Comments on Diplomats Reveal a Lot About His Responsibilities, His Oath, and His View of the Presidency).

The other thing is, we at No Pasarán know perfectly well that we are not the Other McCain or Ann Althouse. One digs up unpublished scoops, gets into danger for his life, while the other is a fellow law professor. In fact, I am quite happy to admit that most of what we send you is destined to nothing else as appendages (updates) to existing Instapundit posts and rarely deserve original stand-alone status. Indeed, I would be perfectly happy never to see us quoted, appearing only — once in a while — as a More Here item.

But on the other hand, I do think we have interesting things to add once in a while, and if you will bear with me, I have added just a couple of examples over the years below (you can easily read it faster by focusing solely on the bold text).

Because at times it feels like being in a football team during a the Fall season, where the same players are called up again and again, while you stay mostly sitting on the side, twiddling your thumbs.

Perhaps a better illustration (for someone who has written An Army of Davids) is a war scenario.

I once wrote a post saying that
In the Army of Davids, you are Dwight (David) Eisenhower — the general-in-chief overseeing the fight against those who hate America, liberty, and the rights of the common citizen.
In a Pearl Harbour illustration, it is slightly different, while Honolulu is being machine-gunned — by the mainstream media and the various élites — you are the one firing back, and there are a bunch of us eager to hand the ammunition to you. And we go, excellent, that person next to us just handed him a handful of bullets, keep shootin'. That other guy is handing him some shells — good for him. And you hand him an ammunition magazine, and… most of the time you are ignored. Alright, no problem. Another man's bullets are gratefully accepted. Another man's ammo belt is eagerly taken. Again, you hand up your ammo magazine, and almost every time… nothing happens. When it happens again and again, you start wondering, What the…?! What am I doing here? What's the hell's wrong with my stuff?! Because of course we have no way of knowing what you turn down on a daily basis. (Like I said, it seems like you are open to accepting all sorts of readers and comments etc…)

And the worst thing is scratching one's head and wondering why the heck is the Blogfather turning our posts or our comments down?! Are my emails even reaching the Blogfather?
Or are they going into the professor's spam box?
If not, is he even opening them?
Does he trash them out when he sees who they're from?
Does the Blogfather think that I am sending him too much stuff?
Am I sending him not enough stuff? Would he prefer that I send only one post per email per day?
Would he prefer that I wait until the end of the week to send one email with designated posts (the best of) from that week grouped together? (No no, I do not send all, or even most, No Pasarán posts in; relatively few, I would say.)
Do I write too much in my introduction to the post?
Do I write not enough in my introduction to the post ?
Am I coming across as too formal?
Or am I assuming too much and acting too chummy?
Did someone start a malicious rumor behind my back? (nah, conservatives don't do dat sh•t…)
Is the Blogfather angry that I wrote InstaPundit with a capital P, instead of Instapundit with a lower-case p?
Maybe the Blogfather doesn't want emails at all, and he'll go visit a blog from time to time?!
(Except The Other McCain says he does, if not want, at least accept them…)
Should I have sent a special email to thank him when he does link a post?
Or will that just add to the bucketload, and would he rather I not?
Was I discourteous to one of the Blogfather's friends or fellow bloggers at CPAC once?
Maybe the Blogfather thinks that the No Pasarán blog is trash?
Maybe — oh, Lord! — the No Pasarán blog really is trash?!?!
Are we so bad that we deserve fewer links?
Is No Pasarán past its prime? Has it run its course? Should it shut down, once and for all?
Have I messed up while trying to order books from Amazon through Instapundit?
Did I forget to go through Instapundit the last time I ordered from Amazon (and can the Blogfather even find out about such things)?!

See all that worrying and hand-wringing, Monsieur Reynolds?!
You are turning me… into a liberal!!

The Dea(r)th of Foreign Blogs

In a sense, it is entirely understandable that foreign blogs should have waned in this day and age, given that Dubya and "his" war in Iraq are (was) no longer at the forefront of events and of the headlines — superceded, indeed, by what is easily a far greater danger — America's liberties eroded (deliberately eroded) from within, by "a little intellectual élite" of "do-gooders", elected or otherwise, "in a far-distant capital [who allegedly] can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves." (As Ronald Reagan also said in 1964, paraphrasing the testimony of a political refuge who had escaped from Castro's Cuba, "If we lose freedom here [in the United States], there is no place to escape to [link to photo of mine taken at the last McCain campaign event from 2008, right before election day in Miami, of a Cuban-American poster saying, appropriately enough, almost exactly the same thing as the political refuge quoted by the Gipper in 1964].  This is the last stand on earth." And Reagan added: "This is the issue of this election!")

(No Pasarán's German equivalent, Davids Medienkritik, has seemed to die a slow death, posting only seven posts in the past 12 months, only one single one of which appeared (so far) in all of 2012. No Pasarán tackled France while Davids Medienkritik tackled Germany, and we were both among the three finalists in the Weblog awards (Europe section) — twice — which you also won (deservingly) or were a runner-up to numerous times.)

But still. Us foreign blogs can have some interesting perspectives to share too, whether they come from a foreign, or from an international, perspective, or simply because we are fellow conservative bloggers, no matter what countries we are citizens of and no matter where we may be based, with interesting and sometimes thought-provoking things to say. (And we like getting quoted too…)

Notably, foreign policy.

And social and health services.

No Pasarán has amassed a wealth of links to fact-filled stories that contradict Obama's claims (and the Europeans' own boasts) about Europe's universal health care.

One Infamous Foreign Contributor 
of Obama's Campaign Identified?

Regarding all the newly-discussed rumors of the Obama campaign accepting foreign web donations: A year and a half ago, No Pasarán wrote to you about this, linking an E-Nough post identifying pretty specifically where part of the money seemed to come from. And if E-Nough was correct, it came not from just some anonymous joe. One of the foreign Obama campaign contributors seems to have been none other than Muammar Gaddafi! Remember: in March 2011, you wrote a post announcing that Gaddafi's son had revealed that the colonel had helped fund the campaign not of Obama but of another Western president, France's Nicolas Sarkozy. I emailed you a No Pasarán post linking the E-Nough post quoting a Gaddafi speech, in which the Brotherly Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya does not state outright, but he does hint rather strongly, that he, along with
the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa … may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him [Obama] to win the American presidency.
Granted, wacky Gaddafi is or was hardly an authority on much, but the content of his speech, on the other hand, is hardly surprising.

Speaking of the Gipper, I think the honors to Ronald Reagan in Europe (notably Eastern Europe and mainly statues of the man) deserve to be mentioned — one in Prague, a statue in Budapest, and not one, but two statues, in Poland — with Lech Walesa (did we mention that like Obama he is the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize?) quipping that "Reagan should have a monument in every city"!

Three Stories I Considered "Gold" at the Time (And Still Do)

Before I bring this post to an end, I will recount three stories over the past two years or so with a foreign, or European, perspective where in particular I was thinking "these details are little known and unreported by the MSM, this is gold! this information deserves to get shared!"

• Do you remember the HBO "documentary" done by Nancy Pelosi's daughter in the South? The one from March 2012 which was shown on the Bill Maher show in which the comedian waxes thusly:
When I see the toothless guy, as a liberal, what I say is, "I want to help you get teeth!" Why does that make me an asshole?! (laughter) I don't understand why — "You damn Yankee, tryin' to get me teeth!" (laughter)
Meaning, of course, that clueless Americans should see the light, join the liberal club, and… introduce a system in America of free universal health care like those superb ones that are found in Europe.   A lot of conservative blogs in America hit back. But No Pasarán brought a perspective from Europe:  a couple of weeks prior to Alexandra Pelosi's second appearance on the Maher show, we had blogged about France's newspaper of record, Le Monde, publishing a report saying that dental costs are hardly covered by la Sécurité Sociale at all and, indeed, have never been so expensive. When you wrote about the Alexandra Pelosi/Bill Maher duet, I immediately wrote out a new post quoting Laetitia Clavreul's Le Monde articles; from the Frenchman who opted not to get five (!) teeth replaced and the French maid who had to settle for a botched-up job for her broken front tooth to the 49-year-old woman who no longer has any teeth at all and to the French teacher who would rather have holes in his mouth than wear a (humiliating) set of false teeth. I was going nuts that week. Link the story, Glenn! Link it! This is hitting back twice as hard! This finishes destroying Maher's argument! This is the final nail in his coffin! For the love of Christ, link it! Or so I went…

• Unless I am mistaken, I do not think that any American newspaper or blog has written anything of consequence about what amounts to as a massive transfer of sensitive military technology by a NATO ally to the Kremlin on Obama's watchFrance having decided to sell Russia its ultramodern helicopter transportation ship (to the horror of, among others, Georgia). I sent you story after story about the Mistral — many of them written by the most conservative pundit in the entire New York Times organization (far more so than David Brooks), the International Herald Tribune's Paris-based John Vinocur — and I think one single link would have been more than useful for Americans to understand to what degree the idealistic Obama White House has been deficient (or appeasing) in its relations with the Russian bear. The money quote comes in the French defense minister's excuse:
In Lisbon, I heard Barack Obama tell Dmitry Medvedev: "You're not just a partner but a friend." You can not blame France for delivering boats to a friend.
There you have it: that says all about Obama's idealistic foreign policy in a nutshell, doesn't it?!

When Frances Fox Piven was defended by sociologists and the mainstream media for being a target of the evil Glenn Beck in early 2011 (as someone doing nothing more than "calling for Gandhi-like nonviolent resistance"), you — rightly — hammered home, again and again and again, what those Greek riots that FPG wanted to see emulated in America were actually like:
… tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.
Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.
(Remember: this is even more noteworthy in retrospective, when one realizes that Piven's calls for "protests and riots" occurred before the advent of the Occupy Wall Street moment.) I felt the Wall Street Journal excerpt was outstanding, as well as Glenn's constant repetition of it, and it so happened that one day here while reading a European newspaper, I found material to illustrate the article: two photos of policemen engulfed in flames after being hit by a firebomb. Later, I found the video of one of the policemen, who turned out to be a motorcycle cop skidding down the street at full speed, getting struck by a club-wielding thug as he comes to a stop, before being hit by the molotov cocktail in an eruption of flames — almost as "exciting" as a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster. Keep spreading one of the photos and the video along with every repetition of the Wall Street Journal report, I figured, and Frances Fox Piven is finished.

In-Depth Posts of Dispassionate Analysis

I have already spent too much time on this, as I have not the slightest doubt you will agree, so I will be brief and finish up quickly.

At times, I have wanted to do to try and get to the bottom — to the very bottom — of an issue, just like an Abraham Lincoln or a Harry Jaffa. Using long research coupled with in-depth and dispassionate analysis, we have written a small handful of extra-length posts over the years, from a thorough dissection of the left's chickenhawk charge to the Why We Blog series (the "we" in Why We Blog applying to all conservatives). And one or two of the posts below are some I admit I wouldn't have minded being linked by the intellectual DJ of the blogosphere.

The JournoList Issue No One Is Bringing Up
One is the birther issue. (Out of a total of over 11,000 posts, No Pasarán has only mentioned the birther issue five times, so I feel confident in stating that none of us counts among any crazies.) I spent weeks on end on this post and I feel that, even though it came out before Obama finally released his birth certificate, it still holds up (with the addition of a couple of updates) very well. I don't believe anyone has linked the birther issue as much to the JourOlist scandal as we have, while comparing the Birthers with the Truthers and while taking the pivotal decision of contrasting the 2008 election with the campaigns of 1984 and 1988

To Understand Liberal Issues Like Gay Marriage Correctly, It Is Vital to Get the Basic Premises Right
Another issue is gay marriage. Again, I believe, rightly or wrongly, that we raise points raised nowhere else, notably pointing out exactly what had to happen beforehand for homosexuals to want to get married in the first place. And unless I am mistaken, our post is among the few who have called on a key constitutional scholar and on his books (none of which bother to address the issue of homosexuality outright, to the best of my recollection) to support our theses. (I will add that I believe that Harry Jaffa's A New Birth of Freedom should be required reading for all college students wishing to graduate — Just like W Cleon Skousen's 5000 Year Leap ought to be required reading for high school students to get their degree.)

• Some Thoughts on American Patriotism

Finally, No Pasarán has some "basic" posts where we keep adding (not least thanks to… Instapundit) new links so that the post in question forms one bountiful source of information.

Those "basic-themed' posts include:

The feminist war on men (with the bottom of the post featuring a dozen updates so far) and

What hides behind the adulation of European health care (it's the same post as the above-mentioned Bill Maher post, with new links added periodically at the bottom of the item). These link to thoroughly-written articles and posts laden with facts and figures — penned by Americans as well as by foreigners (French or Eastern European or other) — that pretty much unravel, if not destroy completely, the leftist argument that Europe's social services (and in particular France's) are the nirvana while America's health system has been (until Obama) little but a hellhole filled with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Update: Thanks to…  (dramatic pause) Instapundit (!) for linking this post…

Update 2: Instapundit Learns that Le Pen's Front National Is Actually Left-Wing, Something a French-Based Blog Has Been Reporting on (and Trying to Bring to Their Attention) for at Least 6 Years

IdeOlogy Masquerading as Foreign Policy: What Romney Must Point Out in the Third Debate

I think Romney did as well as could be expected in the second debate — although I keep wanting him to bring up the Russian microphone episode, along with Barack Obama's dissing of Russia and China's foes, Lech Walesa and the Dalai Lama — both of whom happen to be fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipients. (I mentioned all of the above several weeks ago during my televised debate with a member of the mainstream media — Newsweek's Paris Bureau Chief, no less.)

Indeed, what I really want the governor to do is tie the individual in with the general, and that means not only emphasizing the Benghazi debacle for the catastrophe it truly is, but tying an individual event like the Libyan attack in with Obama's foreign policy in general — to show it is not an isolated event but inherent in Obama's world view — as well as tying foreign policy (in general) in with economic policy. In other words, a winning strategy for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would not simply be attacking specifics, but also pointing out the underlying patterns.

From bumps on the road on the issue of economic recovery to bumps in the road in America's Mideast policy through four Americans getting killed being not optimal and blocking out any noise regarding Israel and Iran: All those quotes — especially the first two — ought to be put together in one nation-wide ad. And how about America being able to “absorb” another 9/11-sized attack? (See also Dick Durbin.) That choice of phrases show how unconcerned the Chicago politician really is about anything not linked to himself and to his leftist ideology and, indeed, how cold-hearted, as Ed Driscoll puts it, Barack Hussein Obama turns out to be.

You would not know it if you read the mainstream media, but far from rescuing the United States (or its reputation) from George W Bush's "disastrous" foreign policy and thus being the embodiment of Smart Diplomacy, Barack Obama's antics (or refraining from acting), have managed to snub one ally after another, time and again, from the British to the French, from the Poles to the East Europeans in general, and even from the Scandinavians to America's immediate neighbors, Canada and Mexico.

This goes from the dramatic (Fast and Furious or switching support from Britain on the Falklands issue in favor of Argentina (while erroneously calling the Malvinas the Maldives)) to (what would seem to be) the trivial, such as petty refusals to make any kind of effort to be original (and thus respectful) when dealing with foreign leaders; petty refusals to offer gifts of any consequence to such dignitaries as Britain's prime minister or to the country's Queen; and petty refusals, while on official (!) visits in foreign capitals, to even attend dinners with the countries' respective leaders, such as the President of France and the King of Norway. Needless to say, we all remember that Obama also refrained from meeting with a single world leader — going on The View and on Letterman was more important — during the September United Nations conference.

What all this amounts to is obvious egotism while refusing to take the office of president of the United States seriously (beyond the left's own ideas of how to use it) and refusing to do the very basics (and not even unpleasant basics at that (double-date dinner in Paree with Carla Bruni and her husband?)) of one's duty as leader of the free world.

Of course, this all puts the left's world view on display (something Mitt Romney must pound home during the next debate and over the next couple of weeks): Obama and the left must not submit to reality (yes, America has enemies, yes, diplomacy requires treating foreign dignitaries with basic courtesy, and no, you are deferential to noone — certainly not monarchs and autocrats and foes); reality must submit to Obama's leftist (and self-serving) view.

Because, in addition to all the above snubs (to America's friends), Smart Diplomacy means that Obama has sucked up to Moscow and Beijing, along with régimes like Tehran's and that of Caracas. The Apologizer-in-Chief has been deferential — whether to autocrats like Saudi kings or to America's enemies. Because it turns out that in the leftists' fairy tale world, there are no enemies. At least, not as foreign nations; a criminal band like Al Qaeda, perhaps… But the Soviets, sorry the Russians, are not enemies — never have been, really — nor are the Chinese; after all, all of us on this planet are brothers under the skin. As are Iran's mullahs. And Hugo Chávez. Who can all live together, quite diplomatically — just like we all do among suit-wearing dipomats in the hallowed halls inside the United Nations

With the much-vaunted Reset touted so much, (pacifist) ideology has been triumphant to the detriment of reality, with Obama making showing "space" and "flexibility" for concessions to Putin and Medvedev, showing little interest in the human rights situation in Russia and basically ignoring such things as the Russian spy scandal and the Viktor Bout case as well as a NATO member selling sensitive military technology to the Kremlin — never mind arms sales to China.

We have seen many comparisons to America's 39th president. Indeed, Jimmy Carter similarly ignored the misdeeds of the West's traditional enemies, like the Soviets — who in fact, he (Carter) told us, were not our enemies (and whose misdeeds, if indeed they could so be called, were exaggerated) — in favor of weeding out horrific human rights offenders (real or alleged) among our allies (who in turn were not really our friends). Thirty years later, we — America, the world, and Iran's citizens — are still living with the results — which needless to say includes an Islamic Republic that is hostile to America and the West, a régime that sponsors terrorism while seeking nuclear warheads, and a government in Tehran that is more oppressive towards the Iranian people than the Shah ever was. (Sounds like something Obama may have duplicated in Egypt and perhaps in Libya…)

This is the leftist fairy tale: we are all friends and brothers under the skin, and given that "fact", if we (or if any of us) fail to see this in a fellow nation, the fault must lie not with their leaders but with us — or with those of us who see them as enemies, i.e., with conservatives. (Note: try taking the left's talking points to their logical conclusion…)

Thus, there is no real problem with Russia, China, Iran, or countries such as Venezuela, at least none that cannot be worked out by ever-deeper soul-searching — soul-searching on the American side, needless to say. This has led to what Frank Gaffney called the Obama doctrine:
• Abandoning our allies,
• emboldening our enemies,
• and diminishing our country

The only victories the Apologizer-in-Chief is concerned with is over America conservatives, over American military funds, and over the American Way of Life. In the Obama fairy tale (or, as even John Edwards (!) said in 2007, in his Never-Never Land), allies don't need defending and don't even need to be called allies, as we (and they) don't really have enemies (no one does); therefore enemies aren't really being emboldened (as there are no enemies for the Apologizer-in-Chief — who is therefore, and who as senator was in 2007, more than willing to meet with said (non-)enemies "without preconditions"), just encouraged to see us and everybody else in the avant-garde way that we now see them; and we aren't in need of standing out, before (non-existent) foes and friends, in view of the fact that in Obama's brave new world, "there are no senior or junior partners — we are simply partners."

And so a major French party's anti-Americanism is ignored, by the administration as well as by the mainstream media (!), as is the open letter to the administration of President Barack Obama from Central and Eastern Europe, signed by 22 intellectuals and former leaders from the region, including Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa, who are feeling "they are getting whacked".

The pretense of this fairy tale reality has gone to such lengths as hastily sending Russian spies to Moscow without garnering information about the Kremlin's spy ring beforehand and hastily announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden on the same day he was gunned down, before the documents discovered at his Pakistan home could be studied, and acted upon, by intelligence officers — never mind the Russian mike episode. Apologies have gone out to the Arab world, as we all know, but how many people realize that they even went out, before the Arab Spring, to Libya's Muhammar Gaddafi?

And then we get Benghazi: there are no enemies — unless it is us, ergo the murder of the ambassador must be due to the Mohammed-insulting videotape. Any other interpretation, unless of course it is due to Western hatred of and bigotry towards Muslims, can only amount to shameful politicizing.

To conclude: Mitt Romney must base his arguments on simple descriptions on the underlying premises and patterns of the Barack Obama administration and the leftists who embody them.
A set of policies — foreign, domestic, and economic — based on leftist ideology, in other words, imaginary fairly tales
Imagining that no country, large or small, is in the final analysis a foe, to America or to any of its allies — who aren't really that close friends anyway — and no disaster during the term of a leftists is really that big of a disaster anyway
Anything going wrong in the world must somehow be the fault of America (or the West)
A refusal by Obama to take his office seriously
A lack of concern for anyone who doesn't support, directly or indirectly, his position and his (self-serving) world view or who can't be persuaded to jump on the bandwagon of supporters — for they can of course only be vile bigots and racists and other hatemongers.

Oh. And by the way — go see Dinesh D'Souza's Obama's America 2016.

Update — Also check out: Three crucial points that Mitt Romney must make

Update 2Five Things I Wish Mitt Romney Would Say in the Debate