Saturday, January 12, 2013

Russia has always needed its Depardieus, just as much as they needed Russia

RETURNING home from a visit to Russia in 1774, the philosophe Denis Diderot wrote that in France, he could not “help but think that I’ve the soul of a slave in a country where men are called free,” whereas in Russia he “had the soul of a free man in a country where men are called slaves.”
Thus writes Robert Zaretsky.
Has Gérard Depardieu had similar thoughts of late? 

On Sunday, President Vladimir V. Putin welcomed the French actor to Russia with a newly issued Russian passport. Mr. Depardieu, outraged by the French Socialist government’s proposed 75 percent wealth tax, had walked out on his country. A fan of Russia’s low taxes, he also praised its “great democracy”: “I love your country, Russia — its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence.” Mr. Putin’s increasing authoritarianism went unmentioned. 

In the centuries since French celebrities began washing up on its shores, Russia has used them to affirm itself as a center of European culture, as well as to poke its finger in the eye of Western nations. Russia has always needed its Depardieus, just as much as they needed Russia. 

Diderot’s reasons for visiting were not terribly different from Mr. Depardieu’s. Catherine the Great had repeatedly expressed her desire to meet the celebrated philosophe. In an age of enlightened despotism, when kings made a show of seeking the guidance of philosophers on how best to rule, such an invitation was hard to ignore. This was certainly the case for Diderot, editor of the Encyclopédie, whose entry on government affirmed that the laws of nature and reason must guide rulers in bettering the lot of the people, for whom the greatest good is liberty. …

The more pressing motivation, however, was financial:
Diderot was broke.

… La mission civilisatrice — France’s civilizing mission — was nevertheless started in Russia, and furthered by a wave of French celebrity émigrés fleeing the very event for which thinkers like Diderot were held responsible: the revolution. Few countries seemed safer for French aristocrats than reactionary Russia.

… A new generation of French intellectuals and artists arrived after 1917, the revolution that grew out of 1789. The Surrealist Louis Aragon, who toured Russia in the 1930s, was just one who was dazzled by what he wanted to see. He praised the science of the re-education of man unfolding in Stalin’s gulag, while in his notorious poem “Red Front” he urged, in Lenin’s name, the massacre of France’s bourgeois political leaders. 

Set alongside these remarks, Mr. Depardieu’s sallies on Russian democracy are mostly silly. But they also have a history. From enlightened despotism through absolute autocracy to Soviet communism, Russia has been a screen against which France has projected its ideological or merely idiosyncratic dreams. That these dreams have proved nightmares for those who really lived them is, of course, beside the point for Russia’s leaders.
 And — beside the point for the Frenchmen escaping to, and lauding, Russia…

Related: Check out the meaning of the last name Depardieu
and why it is particularly appropriate for the movie star

And, while we are on the subject:
Plantu, bringing in the parallel issues of gay marriage advocates versus traditional marriage supporters (currently heating up in France) as well as of Gégé's court case for driving intoxicated on a motorcycle:

After the school war, the fiscal war
• Nounours with his new Russian passport:
Long live Orthodox marriage…

Friday, January 11, 2013

Obama Is a Progressive Terminator and the U.S. Constitution is Sarah Connor

Via Instapundit, an inspiring piece from Kurt Schlichter:

It’s Not “Game Over”— It’s Time for the GOP to Counterattack

The current state of the GOP brings to mind the surviving Marines in Aliens, with no shortage of demoralized hacks lamenting their inability to resist by channeling Private Hudson: “Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events but we just got our a**** kicked, pal!”

So what? So we took a hit on the Fiscal Cliff. Stand up, brush off and get back into the fight. This is no time for self-pity, no time for weakness. Every combat leader knows that when you take a hit, you regroup, reorganize, and prepare to counterattack. The defense is but a temporary, transitory period that serves just one single purpose – to prepare your forces to resume the offensive.

We don’t need wimpy handwringers trying to excuse Republican fecklessness by repeating stupid clichés like “Elections have consequences.” Maybe I missed something, but everyone in this new Congress won the last election – and the House kept its majority. If President 50.6% has a mandate, so does every single GOP member. And that mandate wasn’t to tuck-up into the fetal position and sob.

Here’s another consequence that the election had – now that the tax cuts have expired, Obama can’t do anything unless we say “Yes.” From here on in, if he wins it’s because we let him win. So don’t.
This guy has a glass jaw. He had tax increases by default on everyone, yet he had to walk away with a $450,000 ceiling instead of the $250,000 definition of “millionaire” he’d been selling to the low-information types who make up his base. Oh, and this week these same slack-jaws opened up their pay envelopes and found out that The One failed to get the payroll tax cut extended. Moreover, the AMT is fixed and the estate tax is improved somewhat. The GOP may have lost, but contrary to the cheerleading by the government-controlled mainstream media, so did progressive President Pyrrhus. 

Obama has the initiative today, but hand this guy a couple defeats and he’ll go right back to ground hoping 2014 will bring him a liberal majority again.

The GOP needs to clearly understand its objective, because right now they are acting as if this is politics as usual, just with a particularly liberal president. Wrong. Obama is a dedicated progressive ideologue who wants to permanently change this country for the worse and he intends to clear his path to doing so by ruthlessly destroying all opposition. That means you, GOPers.

He isn’t playing a game; he’s fighting a war, and it better dawn on the GOP that Obama doesn’t want to just shift the needle a bit. He wants us defeated, disarmed and docile so he can turn us into the progressive, extra-Constitutional Utopia his faculty-lounge buddies have been fantasizing about for the last century. 

Obama and his minions are serious about defeating us, so we need to be serious about defeating them. Let’s banish cheesy talk about “Working together for the good of the country.” The only thing that is good for this country right now is defeating Obama’s leftist agenda, fully, completely and in detail. You can’t work with him, you can’t compromise with him, you can’t convince him. He’s a progressive Terminator and the Constitution is Sarah Connor. 

You have to beat him, and that means counterattacking to seize the initiative by getting on the scoreboard with some wins and restoring our team’s morale.

Obama’s getting cocky – this guy always believes his own hype and his prissy press cheerleaders aren’t doing him any favors telling him he’s mastered the opposition. Unless we let him, he’s mastered nothing. In his overconfidence he’s over-extending himself, and that means opportunities.

It looks like he’s going to nominate Chuck Hagel for SecDef. Even Chuck Schumer is having trouble swallowing that. Republicans, time to get out the long knives and get to work – and make sure you let the world know that besides Hagel’s terrible policies you’re doing it on behalf of the Jews and gays he detests. Filibuster him if you need to – if Harry Reid wants to eliminate the filibuster he can do it on behalf of an anti-Semitic homophobe who thinks we’re too mean to Hamas.

Obama loses even if he “wins,” squandering capital and forcing his Democrat pals into terrible votes they’ll be hearing about at re-election time. And GOP senators, we don’t need to hear about deference toward one of your own. Hagel sold out the GOP when he supported Obama. Nor do we need to hear any sanctimonious crap about deference to the president in nominations – if you still think this is business as usual, you’re either a fool or in a coma.

Obama is now talking about taxing the successful even more by eliminating deductions. Hand him another big goose egg. He got his tax increases – you need to be out of the revenue increase business. How about the House pass a payroll tax cut, paid for by slashing corporate welfare to Obama’s Hollywood buddies and his green energy scam cronies?

Spending cuts? Obama doesn’t get a say. Sequestration is going to happen unless the GOP agrees to change it. That’s a $1.2 trillion cut. Let it happen, and let Secretary Hagel deal with the defense cuts. Obama loses again unless you save him.

And guns – talk about a golden opportunity to defeat Obama while also helping set the stage for a Democrat wipe-out in 2014! Obama and his progressive pals are giddy with the idea that Newtown will let them jam through a whole slew of Second Amendment-trashing measures before everyone starts thinking again. If Obama’s actually foolish enough to proceed – and I am not sure he is – he’s setting himself up for a huge loss.

GOP, remember Napoleon’s admonition to never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Let Obama try and force the red state Democrat senators to come out against guns. Let the Democrats tear themselves up while we watch and gobble popcorn.

Heck, we should egg them on – like by trying to force a Senate vote on, say, a provision which reaffirms the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for the protection of their families and communities and directs that all federal law shall be interpreted toward preserving and protecting that right. Let’s see how all those Democrats paying lip service to the Second Amendment feel about voting on that.

And if some bill finally limps out of the Senate, hopefully without a single GOP vote, Speaker Boehner should mimic Harry Reid’s fiscal cliff antics and just let it die. No debate. No discussion. No vote. Obama’s dream of disarming his opponents, paid for with the careers of several sitting Democrat senators, will die in the hopper.

It will be a thing of beauty.

Remember, this is an existential crisis for our country. Now is not the time to “govern;” it’s the time to defeat Obama and his radical left-wing agenda. No, you can’t say that out loud – simpering wimps will shudder and fret. Just do it, even as you talk about working together and compromising and hugging and all that goo-goo baloney.

Republican, quit shouting, “Game over, man! Game over!” Counterattack, seize the initiative, and start winning again. Play for keeps. Stop channeling Hudson and start channeling Ripley. It’s time to figuratively nuke the site from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.

Not hatin', just sayin'......

Someone finally has done all the math on the recent sale of Al Gore's Current TV to the Arabic language channel Al-Jazeera for $500 million. Jobs were lost, buzz created, employees angered, but the former vice president had little to say about it. He did walk away with a reported $100 million — a tidy sum for a man who had less that $2 million in assets when he ran for president more than a dozen years ago, says Forbes magazine.

"Taking into account taxes to be paid on the deal, possible earlier debt and the fact that Gore's representatives declined to comment, Forbes conservatively estimates the former vice president's net worth to be at least $300 million, making him wealthier than unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney," says Ryan Mac, a Forbes analyst.

"Last May, Forbes estimated Romney's net worth to be around $230 million," he adds.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Americans Shouldn't Fret Over the American Flag Being Stomped On in a South Carolina High School, Tut-Tuts Critic

Parent Michael Copeland recounted that his daughter told him Chapin High English teacher Scott Compton took down the flag from their classroom and asked his students if it meant anything beyond being a piece of cloth. He then reportedly threw it to the ground and stomped on it, saying, according to Copeland's daughter, that "it's just a piece of cloth that doesn't mean anything."

Among the reactions to the MSN story of a South Carolina high school teacher being placed on administrative leave for stomping on an American flag, there was the following, from a person named krrisis:
Funny to see all these Americans being shocked.
Yes — Americans should just close their mouths and let their élites (politicians, "intellectuals", teachers, etc etc) do their thinking for them… Just like in Europe…
If this were to happen to any flag in Europe, it wouldn't even make the news.
Exactly — (insofar as the previous statement is indeed the truth) that's because the people who are in European news rooms are the same leftists who are in European class rooms… I believe Americans know something about that — ever heard of the mainstream media? (But even in spite of the MSM's best efforts, this type of stories manage to make it through in the land of freedom…)
Hope one day the US will wake up and understand that patriotism and nationalism can be a very dangerous thing.
Yes — if only British and American nationalists had kept their mouths shut in the 1940s, there were have been many fewer deaths on the battlefield in Nazi-dominated Europe. (Of course, there would have been many more in the concentration camps…) As Ronald Reagan said, there is an easy way to have peace — and that is to give in; to surrender…
And mr/mrs honey nut: no, the American flag is not a symbol for freedom to people worldwide, on the contrary.
Yes, that is certainly what foreign élites (politicians, "intellectuals", UN civil servants, teachers (!), etc) say. But if Old Glory is such a symbol of oppression, how come so many (ordinary) people are seen walking around in the street, in public, wearing it on their T-shirts?
Please wake up, and discover there is a world outside of the US (surprise, it's quite big).
How about telling Europeans, and Arabs, and Africans, and Asians:
"Please wake up, and discover there is a world outside of the élite-dominated societies throughout the world (unfortunately, it's quite small)"?

2002 Was Once Considered Funniest Onion Year On Record, Man In 2013 Remembers Wistfully

This particular "area man" recalls when the Onion was a must read in terms of satire and humour. Quite libertine in their former outlook, the publication skewered and hoisted all comers, regardless of ideology or fetishistic cause. Alas, those were the days. From an American perspective, the Onion today is rapidly paralleling previous demises of television shows such as M*A*S*H (pre Alan Alda takeover = funny; post = not so funny) or the Daily Show (Craig Kilborn = funny; Jon Stewart = dreadful). The demise is quite evidently driven, "stop taking on all sides and become part and parcel of a single echo chambre", in other other words, become agenda-driven hacks.

To wit, today's offering on show:

NEW WASHINGTON—Marveling at how dire things seemed in the relatively stable days of 12 years ago, Alan Gibson, 41, a local man of the year 2024, wistfully recounted on Wednesday the then-record temperatures recorded in the United States in 2012. "To think that we were concerned about a 55.3-degree average is almost comical, but then, I guess at that point we must have still had some kind of perceivable ozone layer," Gibson said fondly while reapplying the full-body coat of UV-resistant resin he and his fellow citizens of the 43 contiguous United States wear at all times. "Today, you wouldn't think twice about a 96-degree day in the middle of February, but a mere decade ago you would look up at the skies waiting for snow. Christ, those were the days, man." Gibson then recounted at length to reporters the story of how he and his family narrowly escaped the Eastern Seaboard during the abrupt and tragic events of March 2019.

It reminds me of Bart Simpson trying to re-capture his 15 minutes of "I didn't do it!" fame with his follow-up catchphrase "Woozle Wuzzle", just doesn't have the same comedic heft. As it is understood, humour must have several elements, key among them an element of the truth. Too little truth and the joke is so subtle as to pass unrecognised, too much truth and the joke is a ham-handed pie in the face. As such, the Onion today neglects the truth entirely with its eco-scare ha ha. After all, where were the pointed satirical barbs from the Onion related to the annual State of the Climate reports which previously showed:

2011 - 23rd warmest year on US record
2010 - 23rd warmest year on US record
2009 - 40th warmest year on US record
2008 - 39th warmest year on US record
2007 - 10th warmest year on US record
2006 - 2nd  warmest year on US record
2005 - 13th warmest year on US record
2004 - 24th warmest year on US record
2003 - 20th warmest year on US record
2002 - 14th warmest year on US record
2001 - 6th   warmest year on US record
2000 - 13th warmest year on US record

"Come on, this is the Onion. They are just having a bit of fun....." you might say. I suppose so, but at the end of the day all I can think is, "woozle wuzzle".

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Arab Spring: A Look Back

The Tunisian Revolution

• Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

• Freedom!

• Thank you

Where ARE they Now, Really?

David Bowie has released a song, breaking a 10 year absence. It is a reflection on his time in the past in West-Berlin. It will draw mockery, but David Bowie asks good questions, and stakes his hopes on the person, their soul, and their love. He seems to be thinking about the Germany of today, not the Vergangenheit that he has been living in for many years, trying to provoke some reflection.

There Was This Movie About an Ultra-Safe Society Where Only the Police and Military Had Guns

E-Nough's Damien has a post with "three concise counter-arguments" to gun control advocates.

In addition, check out the following No Pasarán posts:

What Is to Blame for the Connecticut Shooting? Does the Blame Lie with the Right to Bear Arms Or Can It Be Found Elsewhere?

• In the rest of the world, 75% of humans live their lives being ransacked by mafias, cops, and the military

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A Soldier's Sketchbook From World War I

The Daily Telegraph reproduces a dozen sketches from the First World War sketchbook of a British soldier.
Henry Buckle was a whitesmith from Tewkesbury who volunteered for active service in September 1914. During his time in France and Belgium with the 5th Gloucesters, he created over 60 paintings which show daily life in the trenches.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Pride in Your Region, Pride in Your Euro Coin

The French post office tries to sell pride, pride in one's Euro (?!) through sex:

Fier de votre région,
fier de votre euro.

A young foxy woman whose eyes can't be seen seems to be wearing absolutely nothing, nothing that is except a tattoo on her shoulder, one of… a Euro from a particular region of France. The tattoo changes depending on what region of France the ad is being shown in.

Proud of Your Region,
Proud of Your Euro