Saturday, August 24, 2013

Searching for Perfection 75 Years Ago: "Wonder Boy" has a diet which excludes meat, fish, or eggs, but includes the skin of an orange

…bright and intelligent, with clear skin and eyes.
In its 75 Years Ago section, the International Herald Tribune reprints excerpts from an article showing that the leftists' search for perfection was alive and well (yummm…) right before World War II.
1938 ‘Perfect Boy’ on Special Diet

 LONDON — The “British Medical Journal” today [Aug. 19, 1938] reports the case of a “perfect boy,” who is being reared in the seclusion of a woodland home on a special diet which excludes meat, fish, eggs or white bread. His only vice is over-indulgence at occasional tea parties. Details of the wonder boy’s life are supplied by the psychologist, Sir Leonard Hill. He records that the boy is the son of people of culture who are strict vegetarians. His home is in a wood, isolated from other houses and two miles from any shop. 

The boy’s typical diet follows: — For breakfast, after walking five miles to church and back, he has one fairly thick slice of pineapple weighing about six ounces. For luncheon, he eats baked spinach and onion pie with a thin crust made of wholemeal flour, plus cheese and milk. For dinner, two apples, one orange, two small tomatoes, one small portion of ice cream, in all about twelve ounces, including the skin of the orange. On this diet, at the age of nine, the boy weighs fifty-nine pounds and is four feet four inches tall, bright and intelligent, with clear skin and eyes.

Friday, August 23, 2013

There is nothing to suggest that George Zimmerman is racist; besides, he registered as a Democrat in 2002 and has black relatives and friends

Readers of the Economist push back against the "newspaper's" leftist leanings and narrative:
A controversial case

SIR – The most important circumstance of Trayvon Martin’s death was buried in your article assessing the reaction to the verdict in his shooting: he assaulted George Zimmerman (“Trayvon’s legacy”, July 20th). This is not merely what Mr Zimmerman “maintained” as you eventually and sceptically admitted, but is a consistent account that was verified in part by eyewitnesses, confirmed by the available forensic evidence and believed by both the investigating police and the jury.
Instead, you poured oil on the fire by saying Mr Zimmerman “stalked” Mr Martin. Rather, Mr Zimmerman followed Mr Martin, which he had every right to do.
Roger Chapman Burk, Alexandria, Virginia  

SIR – Legal experts had been predicting a not-guilty verdict in the Zimmerman case for months; it is hard to see how the jury could have concluded otherwise given that the evidence points to him acting in self defence. There is also nothing to suggest that he is racist. He registered as a Democrat in Florida in 2002 and has black relatives and friends, according to his family. Mr Zimmerman was certainly overzealous in trailing Mr Martin, but would he have also tracked a white kid who was a stranger in his burglary-plagued neighbourhood? Perhaps.
It is unfortunate to see the race card being played in this tragic case. Mr Martin’s death was defined as “racial” from the outset, even when facts emerged that suggested a more complicated story.
Richard Robinson, Chicago

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

France's president assigns homework assignment for the members of his cabinet

Yes, because if history is any guide, that is usually how Socialism turns out in the long term, right? 
asks Hot Air's Erika Johnson with a touch of sarcasm (merci à Valerie, while in France, Janina commented that "Many here have thought about a joke, unfortunately with Flanby everything is possible to satisfy his ridiculous optimism while the Titanic is sinking.").
Via the Telegraph:
French president François Hollande has asked his cabinet to describe France in the year 2025, sparking claims that some are living in “Cloud Cuckoo Land”. …
Ministers were given a month to complete their “summer homework” on their “vision” for France in 12 years with answers due to be handed in on Monday. …
In documents leaked by Le Point magazine, Pierre Moscovici, finance minister, warned that the exercise could be “risky” if allowed to turn into “public policy fiction”.
But he went on to predict “full employment” by the year 2025, describing it as a “realistic aim” for a country in which the jobless rate is currently approaching the 11 per cent mark.
Typically bombastic is Arnaud Montebourg, the industrial recovery minister and self-styled champion of “Le Made in France”. He sees his country as a world leader in a wealth of industrial sectors from nanotechnology to rail.
Oh, boy. The French government is wiping their brows over a better-than-”expected” emergence from their latest stretch of economic recession, but Hollande has been struggling beneath plunging approval ratings after hardly even a year in office; he’s been making some pretty far-fetched displays of France’s economic outlook, and I have the gravest doubts that this was really an exercise in defining his ministers’ goals and ambitions for their departments as it was some kind of ill-conceived PR stunt designed to help assuage the country’s deep-seated pessimism with fantasies about their policies’ prospects.
I’m with these guys:
The forecasts received a mixed press, with Le Figaro scoffing at the “idyllic vision” of some, l’Express calling them “self-congratulatory” and France TV headlining its article: “Ministers in Cloud Cuckoo Land.” Right-wing senator Roger Karoutchi, meanwhile, suggested the tone was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

Death of Jacques Vergès, lawyer who defended war criminals, terrorists, dictators

Jacques Vergès died on Thursday in Paris 
 reports the New York Times's Robert McFadden of
the French lawyer who embraced anticolonial causes and the role of devil’s advocate on a world stage to defend war criminals, terrorists, dictators and other notorious villains of the 20th century …

 … He died in the Parisian house where the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire once lived, the publisher said in a statement.

 … Is a killer a terrorist or a patriot? Can laws be used to judge good and evil? For more than 50 years Mr. Vergès (pronounced vehr-JEZ) raised such questions in defense of clients who claimed to be acting for political causes, although they were charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, bombings, hijackings and the murder of innocents. 

They included the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie; the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, a k a Carlos the Jackal; and Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge head of state, Khieu Samphan. Mr. Vergès also sought to defend the former presidents Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who was executed for crimes against humanity, and Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, who represented himself in a war-crimes trial but died before a verdict. 

Like many of his clients, Mr. Vergès, the son of a Vietnamese woman and a French diplomat, was an enigma. Assassins targeted him. There were hints of ties to secret services, to terrorists he defended and to Mao Zedong, Che Guevara and other revolutionaries. He was a confidant of Pol Pot, the tyrant blamed for the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians. He married a terrorist he saved from the guillotine, but left her and his two children and disappeared for eight years. 

“He’s a slippery man,” the director Barbet Schroeder, who made “Terror’s Advocate,” a 2007 documentary on Mr. Vergès and terrorism as a political weapon, told The New York Times in 2007. “You can never touch him. He loves the mystery. The reason is that there are certain things he cannot talk about. He would be in deep trouble if the truth came out.” 

 … “I practice the ‘defense de la rupture,’ ” Mr. Vergès told The New York Times during his work on the Barbie case [his defense of Klaus Barbie, the wartime Gestapo leader known as “the Butcher of Lyon” for his role in the torture, execution and deportation to death camps of thousands of French citizens], referring to a tactic of confronting the judicial system rather than working within it. “My law is to be against all laws. My morality is to be against all morality.”

 … After the war, he studied law at the University of Paris, joined the Communist Party and, in 1949, became a leader of an anticolonial student movement. His student friends included Khieu Samphan and Saloth Sar, the future Pol Pot. In the early 1950s, Mr. Vergès led a Communist youth organization in Prague.

 … In 1970, Mr. Vergès disappeared. His whereabouts remained a mystery, although he was rumored to be in Cambodia with Pol Pot and in the Middle East with Palestinian groups. He reappeared in Paris in 1978 and resumed his law practice.

His ties to Carlos the Jackal were murky, but probably dated to 1982, when he defended Magdalena Kopp, the terrorist’s girlfriend and accomplice (and later his wife), who was caught with explosives in Paris. Wanted for many terrorist acts in the name of Palestinian liberation in the 1970s and ’80s, Carlos, who was born in Venezuela, was captured by French agents in Sudan in 1994 and flown to Paris. 

 … After Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003, Mr. Vergès, who had been hired to defend other ousted Iraqi leaders, offered to represent him, but the Hussein family chose another lawyer. Mr. Hussein was executed in 2006. Mr. Vergès also offered to defend Mr. Milosevic, but Mr. Milosevic chose to represent himself in a trial that began in The Hague in 2002. He died in 2006 before the case could be concluded. 

In 2008, as Khieu Samphan made his first appearance before Cambodia’s genocide tribunal, Mr. Vergès, representing his old friend, created a tumultuous scene and stormed out after erupting at a panel of judges because documents for the pretrial hearing had not been translated into French.
He argued that his client had held no real power as Cambodians had died of starvation, disease, forced labor and massacres during the brutal Khmer Rouge drive to create a classless society. He insisted that the power — and responsibility for the Cambodian tragedy — had belonged to Pol Pot, who died in 1998.
Jacques Vergès … est mort jeudi 15 août, à l'âge de 88 ans
écrit Franck Johannès et cela, "Avec un certain panache",
dans la chambre même où Voltaire a poussé son dernier soupir, le 30 mai 1778, comme l'a découvert L'Express. 
Avocat brillant, redouté et parfois haï, Me Vergès s'était construit avec un rare plaisir une statue toute de cynisme et de provocation, et feignait d'aimer qu'on ne l'aime pas. Il a confié un jour, entre deux bouffées de cigare, "j'ai le culte de moi-même", et, agitateur de génie, il avait réussi à brouiller à plaisir sa propre biographie.


 … Le jeune homme parcourt l'Europe en guerre, l'Algérie, le Maroc et finalement l'Allemagne occupée, et il garde de ces années de guerre "un souvenir merveilleux". Il adhère au Parti communiste français en 1945 et devient, pendant cinq ans, selon sa propre formule, "un petit agitateur anticolonialiste au Quartier latin". A la tête de l'association des étudiants réunionnais, il se lie avec Mohamed Masmoudi, futur ministre de Bourguiba, ou Pol Pot, futur bourreau du peuple cambodgien.

Le parti prend sa formation en main, et, de 1951 à 1954, il devient membre du comité exécutif, puis secrétaire de l'Union internationale communiste des étudiants. Il vit à Prague, voyage beaucoup, côtoie Erich Honecker, qui sera chef de l'Etat est-allemand, ou Alexandre Chelepine, devenu patron du KGB. Mais Vergès ne souhaite pas s'imposer dans le parti en France, et à 29 ans, démissionne, retourne à La Réunion et s'inscrit au barreau.


 … Le FLN l'envoie au Maroc, où il devient conseiller du ministre chargé des affaires africaines, et quand l'Algérie accède à l'indépendance, le voilà converti à l'islam et citoyen d'honneur de la jeune République. Mais Jacques Vergès s'éloigne de Moscou et se rapproche de Pékin, il quitte Alger, est reçu par Mao, on le croise un temps à Beyrouth aux côtés de l'Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP). Et il disparaît.

Pendant huit ans. Le Monde du 26 mai 1970 publie un petit entrefilet, "Me Vergès, dont la famille était sans nouvelles depuis le 17 mars, a fait savoir à son éditeur, M. Jérôme Lindon, qu'il était en bonne santé à l'étranger". Jacques Vergès a entretenu sa légende, laissé dire ou fait courir les bruits les plus divers – la thèse la plus communément retenue serait qu'il était au Cambodge avec son ancien copain Pol Pot.

Un jour, Vergès réapparaît. Egal à lui-même, avec ses lunettes rondes, son sourire ironique et son petit costume. Lorsqu'on l'interroge, il répond, "Je suis passé de l'autre côté du miroir. C'est ma part d'ombre". Et d'ajouter : "Je suis revenu aguerri – notez le terme, il est juste – et optimiste".


Avocat, Vergès défend Bruno Bréguet et Magdalena Kopp, les compagnons de Carlos, convaincus d'avoir transporté des explosifs. Il défend le terroriste vénézuélien lui-même ; la Stasi, la police secrète d'Allemagne de l'Est, assurait qu'il l'avait approché dès 1982. Carlos a même dit au juge d'instruction qu'il avait choisi Vergès parce qu'il était "plus dangereux" que lui. L'avocat avait apprécié. "C'est un homme extrêmement courtois. Je pense que c'est un hommage : le combat des idées est un combat aussi dangereux que celui des bombes."

Me Vergès défend aussi Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, condamné à la perpétuité et toujours en prison ; antisioniste passionné, il navigue toujours sur la crête de l'antisémitisme. Il finit en 1987 par défendre Klaus Barbie, l'un des chefs de la Gestapo de Lyon de 1942 à 1944 – c'est pour l'ancien résistant l'occasion d'obtenir une tribune "pour dénoncer le colonialisme". La nouvelle ne décourage pas ses proches. Jean Genet lui écrit : "J'apprends que vous défendez Barbie. Plus que jamais, vous êtes mon ami."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What Would Fellow Law-Suspender Abe Lincoln Say of Obama's Actions?

What Would Lincoln Say? 
 asks Nicholas Quinn Rozenkranz in the Wall Street Journal regarding Barack Obama's decision to suspend the law.

Scholars have debated whether Lincoln exceeded his power by suspending the writ and whether Congress's retroactive ratification cured any constitutional infirmity. Whatever one's answer, this is a case of a president—himself a constitutional lawyer—trying, under impossible circumstances, to be as faithful to the Constitution as possible.

Contrast all of this with President Obama's announcement that he is unilaterally suspending part of the Affordable Care Act. Like Lincoln, Mr. Obama is a constitutional lawyer. And like Lincoln's action, Mr. Obama's was a unilateral executive suspension of the law. But in every other way, the president's behavior could not have been more different from Lincoln's.
Check out the four ways in which Honest Abe's actions differ from Barack Obama — oh, and by the way, if you have the time, check out No Pasarán's previous posts about the 16th president, including the excerpts of the graphic novel biography that I am doing of him in partnership with Dan Greenberg.

Oh, and then, there's this:
As for Republican congressmen who had the temerity to question his authority, Mr. Obama said only: "I'm not concerned about their opinions—very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers." 
What does it matter whether congressmen (Republican or Democrat) are lawyers, constitutional or otherwise? Just like, what does it matter that the (vast) majority of the American people (all 300 million of 'em) are not lawyers (and thank God for that)? You, the occupier of the Oval Office, are not the leader of the people, you are their servant. You still have to follow the law, and you still need to explain your actions 1) to Congress and 2) to the people (however much or however little any of their members may be versed in constitutional law).
"I'm not concerned about their opinions—very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers."
Which brings us back to the quote: did you recognize that mind trick?
It's the liberals' old one-twofer:
1) "Yes, I'm tolerant, and understanding, and (totally) open to debate."
2) "Oh, but I cannot discuss this with you, because you, my opponent, are not an expert/not as intelligent as I am/reactionary/ridiculous/hateful/racist/hypocritical/full of tedious arguments/spouting Republican talking points/etc etc etc…"