29 June 2009

So Ordered

While people are getting cranked about the goings on in Honduras, they managed to consistently overlooked that it isn’t a military putsch. The Honduran military was acting on the direction of the highest court of Honduras.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, the great respecter of sovereignty is in full ”don’t look now, but I’m acting like a leftist” mode by trying to override Honduran self-determination in a useless bid to be liked by Hugo Chavez. In a fit of extra-legalism and reactionary false-consciousness, similar methods are being proffered by abusive dictatorial regimes.

Not to be outdone, Sarkozy is demanding an equally overbearing act of telling the Israeli Prime Minister to remove his Foreign Minister from office.

And to think that these people are trying to make humanistic argument for the removal of the Taliban.

So Slow on the Uptake, that they only just Noticed

Taking a break from lionizing themselves for either thinking they have a serious position in the world, to lionizing themselves for never taking a position on anything of mortal importance. We find a kind of lost capability to even just do anything at all.

If another crisis hits eastern Europe in the summer, the US is likely to respond faster than the European Union.
What we’re talking about here, is that central governments will be too understaffed to even do the ‘feigned shock’ routine that European now think of a having international policy positions.
When the people who run the western world go on holiday, bad things happen in eastern Europe. Last August Russia invaded Georgia. Over Christmas its gas spat with Ukraine left millions of European consumers shivering (at least from nerves, if not real cold). Easter (on the western Christian calendar) brought protests against ballot-rigging in Moldova.
What the coming summer may bring as new upsets can only be guessed at. Another war in Georgia is always possible. Crimea remains a flammable mixture of incompatible military and ethnic interests. The Kremlin's relations with the once-docile regime in Minsk are uncommonly icy. Your columnist will be keeping his BlackBerry fully charged and close by the poolside.
Somebody please tell this idiot that the EU-3 do not ‘run the western world’. If they can’t even support a problem within the EU that happens to their east, where do they get the idea that they do anything substantive in the interest of ‘the western world’ when they can barely manage the ugly business of securing their own interests?
An insightful new paper by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a think-tank, shows how the EU is complacently frittering away its advantages and losing out to Russia in the countries of the new Eastern Partnership – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. On paper, the EU's position should be invincible. For five of these countries (Belarus is the exception), it is a bigger trading partner than Russia is. That is a big shift from the days when the Kremlin dominated the ex-Soviet economic space. The EU's freedom and prosperity gives it a lot of soft power too: even a distant prospect of membership counts for a lot more than the tangled embrace of Kremlin-run projects such as the still embryonic Eurasian Economic Community or the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Belarus has flounced away from an important CSTO summit meeting amid a bitter row about new Russian barriers to its food exports.

Yet the Eastern Partnership is faring poorly. Launched by the crippled Czech presidency at the Prague summit, the new programme is struggling to make an impact. From the big EU countries, only German Chancellor Angela Merkel bothered to show up at its birth. And Germany was among the countries that insisted that the most vital ingredient in the package – liberalisation of visas – was diluted almost to the point of meaninglessness.
In case you were not about to ask, the ‘eastern partnership’ is basically an internal matter of the EU which seems to be fizzling under natural apathy, while the Russians doing one of those make-believe organization things that ends up with an acronym, a large staff of unproductive people with PhDs, and a large building – that thing that Europeans are so good at, seem to be able to manage it fairly well. They might even be able to pretend that it’s a UN agency for the management of something internal.

Either way, what we’re looking at is an inability to even demonstrate an awareness of where there are borders between dimwitted prestige projects and operating a government, about meets-and-greets and diplomacy, or much of anything else. They’ve been feeding themselves a diet of so much speciousness, conferences with names of cities that result in implausible declarations named after cities, and press-releases as a salve to the problem of no-one being in to pick up the damn phone.

Besides that, what is it exactly that they’ve been calling “taking action” lately anyway? Floating a canned press release containing the phrase “deeply concerned”? A trained chimpanzee could manage that routine.

Look if “another crisis hits eastern Europe,” the EU, which is to say Western Europe would let Eastern Europe hang, and they know it. It isn’t a sense of obligation that will change that, it will be a sense of individual humiliation or Russian threats of sphere-expansion that might get the EU’s “boldest and brightest” to so much as cut their vacation short.

23 June 2009

The Narcissism of Minor Critics: Why Americans and Europeans are not that Alike

European obsessions with the US aren't just mixed up, but feed an unhelthy resentment of the rest of humanity. Peter Baldwin writing in Prospect magazine sums up some of the lunacy of the endless list of rotating European complaints about the USA, Americans, and anything that remotely reminds them of the United States, that fills in the gaps in so many empty heads.

It is universally observed that America is an economically more unequal society than Europe, with greater stratification between rich and poor. Much of this is true. Income is more disproportionately distributed in the US than in western Europe. In 1998, for example, the richest 1 per cent of Americans took home 14 per cent of total income, while in Sweden the figure was only about 6 per cent. Wealth concentration is another matter, however. The richest 1 per cent of Americans owned about 21 per cent of all wealth in 2000. Some European nations have higher concentrations than that. In Sweden—despite that nation’s egalitarian reputation—the figure is 21 per cent, exactly the same as for the Americans.
Which means that at some point, that tired old saw will be abandoned. Either way, it’s just a mathematical parlor trick of comparing the assets of the rich to the mean and arbitrarily constructing a political class called poverty, where the fate of the worst off in society is actually ignored. The most amusing part of this is that if the top 1% of the population’s wealth rose appreciably, and the other 98% of the population had their wealth reduced to the bottom 1%, poverty would be technically eliminated. Purpose of this mathematical construct? To construct specious arguments, just like the trite complaint above that has America as the evil antithesis of Scandinavia’s saintly and solidaristic uniformity of wealth and social sameness. The only relief it provides is to the challenged egos of emotional adolescents looking for something outside of fortress Europe to hate.
True, public social spending in America—that is, monies channelled through the state—is low compared to many European countries. But other avenues of redistribution are equally important: voluntary efforts, private but statutorily encouraged benefits (like employee health insurance) and taxes. Given all of these, the American welfare state is more extensive than is often realised: the total social policy effort made in the US falls precisely at the centre of the European scale.
In other words, we have solved the problem that Europeans fight over with one another, but that’s not to be ever understood in that way, because in general, the point of most European criticism of America is not to shed light on what they can do better in the society where they live and vote, but evading any need to self evaluate based on who they can hate more than their own political systems or other European societies.
Moreover, Europe’s various cultures are ones still steeped in the lore of national stereotypes and quite happy to wring whatever elixir can be had from them. Who can forget Edith Cresson, Mitterrand’s prime minister, convinced that no Frenchman was gay, while the English were all limp-wristed poofs? Or consider the extent to which no Europeans, however otherwise politically correct, can be shaken in their conviction that the Roma really are shifty and thieving. Having a transatlantic whipping boy is convenient and serves politically useful purposes, especially if there is little else that you can agree on. The purveyors of anti-Americanism in Europe appear to have rediscovered the truism that nothing unites like a common enemy.
This is basically how it’s worked, both in present dynamic of the EU evolving into some kind of nation-state and historically. The concencus view is that Americans are detestable, everything that reminds them of us is detestable, and yet as things change in Europe for the better, it’s almost always a case of mimicking the American social or economic model that provides that betterment. So the same bunch of psychiatrically unsound critics gather up another set of issues to beat on for another decade.
Simone de Beauvoir was convinced that Americans do not need to read because they do not think. Thinking is hard to quantify; reading less so. And Americans, it turns out, do read. The percentage of illiterate Americans is average by European standards. There are more newspapers per head in the US than anywhere in Europe outside Scandinavia, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The long tradition of well-funded public libraries in the US means that the average American reader is better supplied with library books than his peers in Germany, Britain, France, Holland, Austria and all the Mediterranean nations. They also make better use of these public library books than most Europeans. The average American borrowed more library books in 2001 than their peers in Germany, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Luxembourg, France and throughout the Mediterranean. Not content with borrowing, Americans also buy more books per head than any Europeans for whom we have numbers. And they write more books per capita than most Europeans too.
You’ll recall that 20 years ago we were Nazis and idiots for being health nuts and obsessed with exercise. Once that or any other cultural phenomenon gets adopted, anything else to complain about will do, even if it the inverse of what was apparently yesterday’s of next week’s stunningly huge sin that will sink civilization.
But what about other aspects of the social environment? In ecological terms, America is thought to be a wastrel. Big cars, big houses, long commutes, cold winters, hot summers, profligate habits: such perceptions of the country have combined with the Bush administration’s cosy relationship with the oil industry and its refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol to paint the nation as an environmental black hole. Once again, the numbers tell a somewhat different story.

Although oil use per capita is high in America, measured as a function of economic production (in other words, putting the input in relation to the output) it remains within European norms, and indeed lower than in Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Iceland. Between 1990 and 2002, America’s carbon dioxide output rose, but per unit of GDP it fell by 17 per cent—a greater reduction than in nine western European countries. In its output of renewable energy, the US is middle of the spectrum on all counts, whether biogas, solid biomass energy, geothermal or wind. Only Austria, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands have higher levels of spending (public and private) on pollution abatement and control as a percentage of GDP than America. Despite the myths of a hyper-motorised nation, Americans own fewer passenger cars per head than the French, Austrians, Swiss, Germans, Luxembourgers and Italians. Per capita, Americans rely on their cars more than Europeans. But adjusting for the size of the country, automobile usage is lower only in Finland, Sweden and Greece. Similarly, Americans produce a lot of waste per head, though the Norwegians are worse, and the Irish and Danes are close competitors. But they recycle as well as the Finns and the French, and better than the British, Greeks and the Portuguese. Since 1990, Americans’ production of waste has scarcely gone up per capita, while in all European nations for which figures are available, there have been big increases—70 per cent in Spain, almost 60 per cent in Italy and over 30 per cent in Sweden.
But never mind that, so long as there’s a ‘them’ out there to resent they will, which in spite of that century long pattern, the retort to the occasional American who notices this obsession remain that it has ‘nothing to do with envy’, despite all evidence to the contrary.

But then again, there is always something else – some other ‘pull the ring and hear the doll talk’ argument that you hear right after it’s printed on an A4 homemade posterette taped to a lamppost.
And if we shift our focus to education, the contrasts across the Atlantic are, if anything, reversed. A higher percentage of Americans have graduated from university and from secondary school than in any European nation. America’s adults are, in this sense, better educated than Europe’s. And the US lavishes more money per child at all levels of education than any western European nation. Europeans often believe that good US schools are private and serve only an elite. Yet American education is, if anything, less privatised than most European systems.
And in spite of that, the American can expect to take flack from university students with no meaningful life experiences of their own, an absolute certainty in Marxism, and a bloodlust to smash anything conventional in their already theoretically superior social order. Yes, the trope even pervades the interpersonal level. Either that, or the whole mess grew out of the dyspeptic grumbling on the “European street”. For example, “The Americas” are a pair of continents, and among the million and one trained-in delusional arguments one gets verbally assaulted with by strangers is the “arrogance” of calling ourselves America. Name the countries on this bright blue ball of ours that have “America” in their name? The person setting the gotcha-trap for you will likely be silent or tell you “all of them”, in abject and smugly confident ignorance.

Then one should ask in reply why they call the EU ‘Europe’ all the time, even making ‘Europe’ the shorthand reference to that cartel in Brussels, when all of the European continent is NOT in the EU. At best you’ll get a dumb stare of a newly found crumb of awareness that civilization does not order itself around their fetishistic little arguments. But the mere fact that someone wants you to address their problem that they is pointless. It’s more or less like teaching a 6 year old a knock-knock joke, and having them repeat it until they fall asleep, the next 10 minutes offer the next request to have you duel with the next unfounded, ill-informed, and ignorant assumption where one little fact they like becomes the center of the next ‘theory’ about a population of 300 million people.

And on and on it goes without end. We will hear this kind of thing forever so long as people seek their own dignity in the cretinizing of others who seem successful. But remember, the criticism of the US are never about envy. Those lessons are simply being dispensed for our benefit based on the notion that a superior society (not simply one respecting different public choices) has an obligation to give.

22 June 2009

As Much of a Religious Charlatan as Ali Khamenei

Fearless leader is invoking scripture to rationalize taxation. George W. Bush, on the other hand would have been mercilessly pilloried for months for the mere use of the words “God” and “bible”.

Dj’ever Wonder?....

Ever wonder just why it is that the names of many of these pan-European-Parliament-funkadelic political parties sound so much like third world terrorist “liberation” organizations.

A Federation of Euro-harmony filled by ultra-nationalist xenophobes is almost too droll a jest. My favourite of these new national parties is Ataka, which is a Bulgarian word meaning—oh, go on, take a wild guess. That’s right: “Attack.” What a splendidly butch name. The Attack party was formed from last year’s merger of the Bulgarian National Patriotic Party, the Union of Patriotic Forces and the National Movement for the Salvation of the Fatherland, and in nothing flat managed to get 13 per cent of the vote.

Like Attack, many of these lively additions to the political scene favour party emblems that slyly evoke swastikas while bending the prongs in different directions just enough to maintain deniability. Other than that, they don’t have a lot in common with their colleagues in the no-bloc bloc. I don’t just mean in the sense that the leader of the Slovak National Party said a couple of years back, “Let’s all get in tanks and go and flatten Budapest,” which presumably is not a policy position the Hungarian nationalists in Jobbik would endorse. But there are broader differences, too. The SNP is antipathetic to homosexuals, whereas Krisztina Morvai, the attractive blonde Jobbik member just elected to the Euro-parliament, is a former winner of the Freddie Mercury Prize for raising AIDS awareness. I can’t be the only political analyst who wishes that, instead of a victory speech last Sunday, Doktor Morvai had stood on the table in black tights and bellowed out, “We Are The Champions.”

Like our chums at Canada’s “human rights” commissions, Doktor Morvai is a “human rights” activist—and, indeed, a former delegate to the UN Women’s Rights Committee. One thing a woman has a right to is an uncircumcised penis. In the course of her successful election campaign, the good doctor told Hungarian Jews to “go back to playing with their tiny little circumcised tails.” I don’t know what Krisztina has against circumcised penises, but it’s probably not her pelvis.
Obviously cultural sensitivity is their strong suit, and given that you don’t have to come from the often ethically nebulous former east to tout your ideas as “human rights”, we’re sure to see a pan-European culture emerge from this, their common “humanity”, which has always and still is, little more than something that someone finally found a big and serious-sounding word for: ethnic cleansing.

Either way, the names of these freaky love-collectives reminds me of the array of set-ups that would claim responsibility if a bomb went off in west Beirut in 1977. What they have in common is that they’re made up on the fly, and are only there to conceal identities, and seek public attention.

You’ve come a long way, baby!

Either way, the results are in, and the cultural sophisticates of the political class have made their mark: you can choose things that either sound like badly armed revolutionary movements trapped in a jungle somewhere, or socialist “ugly, toothless, inebriated mob” exploitation outfits from a century ago.

21 June 2009

Lost Without their Insoluble Nihilism

Members of the ‘sad but real’ German-cliché community should be passively resigned. Herrmann is thus observed:

Actress Tilda Swinton will be biking along the same ex-Berlin Wall route she and filmmaker Cynthia Beatt took ten years ago when they filmed the wall that wasn’t there then, either. This Gesamtkunstwerk (total art form) will then be put together in a piece to be called “Cycling the Invisible Frame.”

Whatever. But if I were her I would take it easier on myself and travel along what used to be the Berlin Wall on what used to be a bike – and take a car instead.
Got that? They’re so set in their ways and ideas that they’re reenacting an old schtick. Why is that?
“The title refers to the fact that most of the wall has been torn down, though many Germans still speak of an invisible wall in the minds dividing east and west Germany.“
Blah, blah, blah. Another complaint about the intangible for the sake of art. Unanswerable questions, demand that you prove a negative. Whatever. You’re, like, so deep, that you can’t seem to walk off of the plantation yourself.

In other words, hanging onto an old world view, and an old agony as if you’re ability to wallow in self-loathing depended on it.

Go ahead, connect the dots. After all, it’s not like they can! They MISS it. It gave them the ulcer that made their lives dramatic, let them think that that alone imbued some meaning in it, and gave them a pass on dealing with themselves.

What’s sad about the stunt, is that it mocks the people I knew who preferred their mental health to this high-school-angst and actually DID tear down that Berlin Wall in their heads, and it didn’t require attention-seeking behavior or revival shows of something they did 10 years ago.

20 June 2009

They were only ‘Not Following Orders’ Because there Weren’t any to Follow

The NuUrope mantra is: “of those little is expected, little will be returned.”

General Wolfgang Schneiderhahn, the general inspector of the Bundeswehr, told the German parliament that depite their positive contribution in Afghanistan, complaints from troops about their conditions were an "embarrassment".
Although it become rather easier to call it that if you redefine what people mean by a positive contribution.
...in Afghanistan they are not allowed at the "sharp end" of fighting with the Taliban and Berlin is under constant pressure from America and Nato to send more manpower
Or at least be permitted by Berlin to do something about this ‘please align yourself with the weak horse’ argument that the Bundeswehr is forced to demonstrate.
In a typical example of the local Taliban's response to this pressure, groups of fighters drive through the area on motorcycles, wielding bazookas. The Bundeswehr responds by taking up pursuit. At some point, the Taliban fighters jump from the motorcycles and open fire on the Germans, who hold them at bay until Afghan security forces are able to arrive and defeat the Taliban fighters.

Can this be an argument to call for the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr?
Under the theory that their carrot has no stick and they are purposely made ineffectual by the hectoring lefty shills in the Green Party, yes. You would think that you might actually be able to find at least a tangential environmental argument where there was a carrot and stick involved to enliven the empty intellectual lives of a party founded entirely on things like recycling, instituting a newly appreciated poverty, and Atomkraft, Nein Danke! but I don’t.

It’s awfully hard to expect much from a force so thoroughly detested by its’ own population on fluffy and thoughtless grounds, and it’s even harder to expect them to not demand comforts knowing that they’re only use is to be a historically detached population’s political pincushion. If you want to get men killed in action, the mushy mass of the left and the puritanical Greens are going about it the right way: they are debasing the morale of their enemy, which in this case is their own military and any cartoon image that they think it represents, is associated with, or permits them to pitch a fit over.

19 June 2009

Hey! Remember, It’s Wrong to Judge!

Have you ever wondered what those peasants with warm-hearted looks in National Georgraphic photo layouts were really doing?

Friday Ha-Has

Enjoy, frail humanoids.

18 June 2009

How European Leaders Use their Influence and Spend their Political Capital

It’s an Algorithm not an Al Gore Rhythm

Where climate chagelists get the idea that they can control planetary temperatures though their spittle-laden verbal outrage and ignorance of scales, the natural science, and the very concept of what an order of magnitude looks like is simply beyond me. Maybe I just don’t the part where social justice is used to take the place of the science, but one thing I do know is what they haven’t yet found: there ain’t no fine-tuning knob on the sun.

08 June 2009

Tinker Taylor Soldier Activist

They were the very essence of the what the Peace Camp thought of themselves, a pragmatic bunch, a caring bunch, a better educated bunch, each of those things and it’s opposite. With a little help from the press, we were to be convinced of their dialectic infallibility, experience, and patriotism. Among those who were supposed to be the wise old (and unelected) owls of the State Department, with their “been there, done that” disdain for elected officials of a non-leftist persuasion, we were to believe that they had the country first, and then humanity’s best interest at heart. They were “sacrificing their futures” for the defense of the nation’s laws, her decency, and so forth. This is the kind of thing that would put a retired analyst instantly onto the national spotlight in those heady days of their proletarian struggle:

A senior American official has spoken of "the myth of the special relationship" between the United States and Britain, arguing that Tony Blair got "nothing, no payback" for supporting President George W Bush in Iraq.

Kendall Myers, a leading State Department adviser, suggested that Mr Blair should have been ditched by Labour but the party had lacked the "courage or audacity" to remove him.
The press was tangentially lauding people like this, and giving them more of a vehicle to propagate, because they were saying openly what the people of the press couldn’t do openly without being rather obvious in their act. Dissent is patriotic, as we all know. One must say this in a measured, thoughtful way when saying this, as though one DIDN’T read if off of a bumper sticker on a Suburu that’s burning oil, or a dealer services Volvo SUV.
Mr Blair, he said, was more articulate than Mr Bush, but the Prime Minister's ignorance of the British experience in Mesopotamia had led him to make a catastrophic error in backing the Iraq invasion. "Unfortunately, Tony Blair's background was as an actor and not an historian. If only he'd read a book on the 1920s he might have hesitated."
So they thought of themselves as the freaking Ewoks, or something – fighting the great tide of reality. Whatever. That’s an awful lot of sneering condescention for a supporter of populism, especially if he spent the previous breath telling us how Blair was duped by the genius-idiot.

But is turns out that doublethink has something of a heritage. You don’t come to believe that it’s critical to the good of man by yourself.

So in the spirit of “speaking up even if your voice shakes” the intrepid souls of the left demonstrate that treason must also be patriotic too, especially when you’re quietly taking a dictator’s blood money. Power to the people, and all that...
WASHINGTON - A married couple in their 70s was accused Friday of spying for Fidel Castro's Cuba for 30 years while the husband was a top intelligence analyst at the State Department.

Walter Kendall Myers, known as "Agent 202" to the Cubans, and his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers, "Agent 123" and "E-634," were nabbed at a Washington hotel following an undercover FBI sting.

They allegedly admitted their treachery spanned decades, U.S. officials said.
What shoufl surpise no-one is that the only political donation the hyphenating cadre comrade and Red Lily made in 30 years was to Barack Obama for $250, a mere pittance, but then again, maybe the New Party were mere pretenders to what they really hoped could be forced on the American population where they can then be told to call it by acclimation.
Gwen Myers, now 71, would sometimes pass secrets to Cuban agents - one code-named "GOD" - by exchanging shopping carts in a grocery, court papers alleged.

"They weren't doing it for money - they were true believers with an affinity for Castro," the U.S. official said.
Amusingly, their Cuban handlers used spycraft techniques dating to the 1930s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a sentimentally ancient “number station” running for them. The Cuban “press” play the guilt angle, suggesting that since America was being defeated by Cuba, that the US Government was taking it out on poor widdle old people.

05 June 2009

But then their own Idolatry Failed Them

On the eve of his whirlwind trip to the Middle East and Europe, President Barack Obama gave exclusive interviews to two European television broadcasters: Britain’s BBC and France’s iTELE.

The choice of the BBC is self-explanatory. But iTELE? Why not France Télévisions, the publicly funded French equivalent of the BBC? Or the privately owned TF1, France’s longtime market leader in prime-time news broadcasting?
Elsewhere, John Rosenthal turns his eye to the shallow stupidity of the French press, and a near-failure digital-only startup called i>tété (a digital-terrestrial news outfit whose website tends to crash rather too often,) and the fact that they managed to land an interview with the US president. How do you swing that when you only have a 0,8% share of a small and isolated media market? Play to the king’s whores. The obvious reason I>tété landed the interview was due to the sobbing Bush hater who conducted it.
Perhaps it has something to do with the interviewer, iTELE’s White House correspondent Laurence Haïm (that’s Laurence Haïm, not Laura Haïm, as Jeff Zeleny of the ever linguistically challenged New York Times calls her). For if French journalists in general have abandoned any pretense to objectivity while reporting on American politics in recent years — as has been extensively documented on blogs like No Pasarán or my Transatlantic Intelligencer — Laurence Haïm’s preferences are even more transparent than most.

[ ... ]

“You can, I think, see the fanaticism of these people here,” Haïm says, referring to the merrily celebrating Bush supporters behind her. “You see the screen, you see the Fox News channel, you see the American flag, you see these people. George W. Bush is going, then, to become president again for four years.” And then, after remarking on her mounting emotions, she repeats the phrase punctuated by convulsive sobs.
Also worth noting in the “land of great global wisdom” where Haïm hails from, that in trying to “cheekily” use English in her blog’s subtitle, that she unselfconsciously mimics the complete incongruity of a Engrish. Nonsensically subtitled “The Blog Made in Obama,” she no doubt thinks herself brilliant and wired in to the world, when in reality the preoccupation of nearly the whole of the news media subculture is with the the Arab world, the US, but primarily the attitude of the domestic commentary about their own relationship with US and Arab cultures. It is a far more isolate global outlook than you find in the American and British press, but one dare not mention it for fear of besmirching the public’s dignity.

As for the president himself, he seems to find anything polite he can to play along with Haïm’s vapidity.

“What do you love about France, if I may ask?”
“Well, let’s see … we’ve got the food, we’ve got Paris, we’ve got the south of France, Provence, the wine.”
Elsewhere, on the topic of relations with the “Muslim world,” Ms. Haïm reminds the president that during the electoral campaign he had told her that he wanted to convene a “Muslim summit.” The idea will undoubtedly be of interest to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, whose 57 member states already convene every three years in an “Islamic summit.”
Ms. Haïm does, however, manage to ask at least one seemingly tough question.
“Do you speak French?”
“My French is terrible.”
So instead of asking him any real questions, Haïm is just doing the French thing and looking for ways in which anyone significant, and the rest of the world, can somehow honor them merely for being who they are – scrath the surface and there it is, the ultimate form of identity politics: a delusional nationalism offered at the expense of asking any sort of real questions in the kind of interview that could make or break a talking-head’s career.

04 June 2009

No doubt they will be Unquestionably Called “Fine Words”

Obama’s speech in Cairo will be declared an uncritical success. The only way that the press would find the awkward message a failure is by merely reporting it without much commentary. That’s just the way they are with the left. BBC filleted if for the tips that they prefer, and to be sure Al-Jazeera will do the same, but one thing they will never ever say is the obvious: it will be a flop with the potential audiences that matter.

To begin with, it will appeal greatly to the same passive mass in the Arab and Muslim world that tacitly oppose Jihad, but don’t say so. There is no evidence to suggest that they will treat this clumsy sort of “community outreach” the same way.

In spite of the fact that the Iranian leadership released a vengeful statement to undercut any potential rise in America’s popularity in Iran, they do that with a lot of things. To the BBC though, a press release like that is news that fits the bill and the editorial line – the construction of Obama as the brave and serious statesman that he really isn’t. To be sure, he isn’t a bad manager, but the passion held for him is growing to be limited the strange lionizing images in caps and t-shirts being sold by street vendors.

Now that their favorite American is actually presenting himself to the larger world, there might be shreds here and there of content to satisfy the hype created by the world press, and they have no choice but to run with it, else they prove their biased reporting biased. This maljournalisme, they must do to sustain their credibility with an audience whom they promised so much.

Otherwise there are still fragments of a vulgar narrative to be found in his speech, fragments of the scattered previous “international statements” which did more to confirm though apology the years of specious over-the-top howlings that the United States, which is not a religion, was somehow waging war with a religion, even though those targeting American civilians at every opportunity were fighting a religious war with the rest of humanity.

The tone of the reconciliatory message Barack Obama is trying to transmit to the proponent will look like little more than pandering, because unlike the message George Bush repeated as a proponent of human rights (one which the press in their own “humanism” tried to undercut at the expense of humanity,) it’s hard to tell if Obama, trapped in a complex of his own electors, would do anything for human rights beyond symbolism, maintaining appearances, and writing the occasional check. Obama’s entire administration is taking forever to form itself seriously and one wonders if it capable of strategic thinking at all.

Oddly enough, it doesn’t take long to find that the talking heads and the press worldwide find that their egos and ids simply love an incapacitated and ineffectual White House that can do little more than purvey an image that pleases them. The very reason it didn’t take long for them to go from passive-aggressive but vivid irrational haters of America to be in near permanent thrall of Obama is that it was a very short intellectual leap. They finally got the globally incapable (read: stupid, naïve, with a narrow political view) president they accuse us of having so long as it’s not a leftist, and they need to promote him as fast as they can dance to try and keep him there.

So a forgettable and awkward speech full of pandering to a imagined frame of culture has to be raised in profile, just as his roundabout apologies confirm to an mendacious accusatory terror-supporting subculture their world view. To our own rather silent tacitly terror-supporting subculture in the cultural elite and the press, this must be to confirm their delusions about America, and try to fix for them a place of influence in the world. The best that we can hope for is that those collaborationists to the lefty elite in our own society are undermined by hearing what they want to, permitting the White House in future to at least do something effectual.

03 June 2009

A Malicious Foe Confronts an Ignorant Victim

Employing “tolerance” as a subtext on an authority structure and population not intimately familiar with what the bounds of rights really are in a tolerant society, we find a great many sad struggles, a tugging and pulling among individuals in the face of an intellectual environment not equipped or sophisticated enough to manage it. From the Netherlands as an example we find an elbowing out of a population by visitors who appear to come from another century using the tools of a modern society that intends to structure legal fairness as a hammer, and a majority giving up on its’ tenets to buy a little peace:

Chris Ripke is a well-known artist in the city. His studio is near a mosque in Insuindestraat. Shocked in 2004 by the murder of director Theo Van Gogh by an Dutch Islamist, Chris decided to paint an angel on wall of his studio and the biblical commandment "Gij zult niet doden," thou shalt not kill. His neighbors at the mosque found the words "offensive," and called the mayor of Rotterdam at the time, the liberal Ivo Opstelten. The mayor ordered the police to erase the painting, because it was "racist." Wim Nottroth, a television journalist, camped out on the spot in protest.
Though the title would seem overreaching in an article entitled “Eurabia Has A Capital: Rotterdam”, there are among the portraits being painted in it some telling signs that the native western Europeans are being put upon directly, and in a way that skirts the limits of what they will permit without signaling to themselves a need to act.
The fact that Eurabia has arrived in Rotterdam has been demonstrated by an episode in April at the Zuidplein Theatre, one of the most prestigious in the city, a modernist theater proud of "representing the cultural diversity of Rotterdam." It is located in the southern part of the city, and receives funding from the municipality, headed by a Muslim, the son of the imam Ahmed Aboutaleb. Three weeks ago, the Zuidplein Theatre allowed an entire balcony to be reserved for women only, in the name of sharia. This is not happening in Pakistan or in Saudi Arabia, but in the city from which the Founding Fathers set out for the United States. It was from here that the Puritans disembarked in the Speedwell, which they later exchanged for the Mayflower. This is where the American adventure began. Today, it has legalized sharia.

For a performance by the Muslim Salaheddine Benchikhi, the Zuidplein Theatre agreed to his request to have the first five rows set aside for women only. Salaheddine, an editorialist for the website Morokko.nl, is known for his opposition to the integration of Muslims. The city council has approved this: "According to our Western values, the freedom to live one's own life by virtue of one's convictions is a precious possession." A spokesman for the theater has also defended the director: "It is hard to get Muslims to come to the theater, so we are willing to adapt."
Never mind that this isn’t diversity, it’s a minority monoculture trying to subsume it’s accommodating neighbors for the purpose a the very least of the pride of imagined conquest, and at the sharp end, a real conquest.

Lost on the writer even, is the same of the chap interviewed, and the inherent aggression embedded in it. The editor of Morokko.nl is name is Salaheddine, which is not a conventional given name of any sort, and not likely his real name at all. In proper Arabic it’s pronounced Solh-ed-deine or Duke Solh (with a hard H). In it’s anglicized form, it’s Saladin, the Muslim general who drove the Crusade era Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the Frankish knights in particular. Moroccan or not, the naming of oneself after an 11th century muslim general displays its’ own lack of depth on another level: Saladin was a Kurd who “united” a large part of what is what is now the Arab by subsuming it in war, himself a cultural outsider. I’m sure to those who would recall him today, that it’s only results that matter – well, SOME selectively drawn results that matter.

In short, it’s a nom de guerre that even the article’s author shows overlooked, but doesn’t miss this point: what we are looking at is the uninspired sectarian warfare of the malicious and ignorant, something common to the developing world, the 3rd world, and those suspended in the lawlessness of war-zones. The broadly and deeply developed level of European social science is absent, having struck the immutability of a culture that while a lot less comfortable and welcoming, is readily accessible to the simplest minds and to the emotionally bereft.

And as is quite common in the case of France par example, the most politically involved don’t call themselves French, and discuss “muslim rule” in the millennium-old sense of a culture defeating and annexing another. Here they are thinking in terms of the ‘takeover’ of open society, not serious involvement IN it or with it. One can only imagine what they will want to do with the French of Vietnamese and Chinese origin who are themselves rather aware as a group of what oppression smells like.

02 June 2009

Caring and Cuddly and all that

Government: not “clever enough” to run your own life
A mother is taking her fight to the European Court of Human Rights after she was forbidden from seeing her three-year-old daughter because she is not “clever enough” to look after her.

The woman, who for legal reasons can be identified only by her first name, Rachel, has been told by a family court that her daughter will be placed with adoptive parents within the next three months, and she will then be barred from further contact.

The adoption is going ahead despite the declaration by a psychiatrist that Rachel, 24, has no learning difficulties and “good literacy and numeracy and [that] her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range”.

Her daughter, K, was born prematurely and officials felt Rachel lacked the intelligence to cope with her complex medical needs Baby K was released from hospital into care and is currently with a foster family. Her health has now improved to the point where she needs little or no day-to-day medical care.

They (Heart) Death the Way You (Heart) Life

Youssouf Fofana, tries to bluster though his case, or attending to his “pride”, even though the case is not public. His gang burned alive, tortured, maimed, and left a man for dead for their entertainment because he’s a Jew.

“Élan” about being proud of what he did will not get him off a murder charge, but it’s a process of striving to a heroic image, of personal mythmaking, of somehow making himself into a sort of martyr, as it has now been revised to mean. Basically, he isn’t saying what influential people in the rest of the culture are saying: “may a thousand Fofanas bloom.” Fussing as it normally does, the rest of the culture is happy to either analyze ad nauseum, or dream up new sectarian crimes to legitimize.

"Chateaubriand or nothing" said Hugo. Obviously the Current Powers Chose Nothing.

In a desperate and futile bid to be relevant, we find the likes of Dominique de Villepin saying on one hand that “Europe is the future of the world” (for no clear reason,) but that it is inadequate as a system. Nonetheless he says the only trying one is permitted to say these ddays, that the only solution to that problem is “more Europe,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.

It’s an injunction I’ve always found rather amusing, since there is a general refusal to broach the subject of WHAT that Europe, which more of is the only answer given to a statement of rumination over what governance should look like, what an individuals’ right are.

About all of which, Jean-Gilles Malliarakis writes:

Until then everything is fine. It would have liked it to stop there. For the rest of the text [de Villepin’s article] falls into storms and delirium.
Going on point attention to a huge ‘Eurocracy’ and the opacity not only of the institutional workings but the “don’t worry, be happy” notion that the constitution will just work itself out without much public scrutiny. One wonders what “more of that” is meant to solve, or whether it CAN solve anything.
"A good constitution is the work of time." Against those who scoff at the opacity, impotence, or the servility of the parliament in Strasbourg emphasize that during the last legislative term 2004-2009, it has endorsed 71% of draft guidelines of the Committee Brussels accepted by the Council of Heads of State and Government. He is currently the only obstacle to extending the dull Barroso. Of course, it could do better, but others are far worse.

The outlook for the article signed by M. de Villepin to be grandiose. Believing that the world of tomorrow will be crushed by what he calls the "dream, a duopoly Sino-American economic where the workshop of the world super-investor would agree with the hyper-consumer debt across the Atlantic." Because, "he says, the" silence of the [Europe] also encourages the logic blocks, as with Russia to restore its former sphere of influence. " Etc. etc..

In this way, as a good fan of the conquered Leipzig and Waterloo, he sees a dream Europe, completely expanded, including Russia, Turkey, of course, and even North Africa. Note that, of course, the former French North Africa seems to form a cohesive whole, from Tunis to Casablanca "as we said back in 1957. That is how he describes it: "Without prejudging the outcome of negotiations for accession, Turkey would have to join, as well as Russia and countries of the Maghreb, this pan-European alliance enlarged profits policies could be shared without leading to political integration, reserved for hard core that would remain the Union. "
Sounding like little more than treating these participant states as colonial investment outposts, one wonders what makes a man megalomaniacal enough to believe that this kind of cartel arrangement is to evolve into some kind of great light of the future to inspire the world – while all the same being to shy to indicate that it has any beliefs in anything to promote.
We are thus in the presence of a Franco-centric feature: Mr. de Villepin think Russia or North Africa from Paris, without taking into account the views of interested parties. Without doubt the son of a diplomat, "he says love alone. In 1943, Mussolini was planning to expand in Europe to Egypt. Decently, Villepin could not do less. Noblesse oblige, as they say in Galouzeau
He goes on to observe a number of things that the argument of the Social Model is often employed when there is a pregnant pause, and an elite politician having long since thought he or she has already purchased the public’s trust, and can’t seem to find anything else to say. So true. The lack of relevance seems to disturb dear Ovid, in that the European elections are amounting to a platform for people to shout-out about their special interests, as we’ve seen with our soup chicken from Sweden trying her hand at transnational politics, who is standing astride the world shouting “you got peanut butter in my chocolate!”, and otherwise elevating “the grand project” to a level of pointlessness, but one which represents the limits of seriousness that the population can tolerate: Nut additives are one thing, but genuine constitutional rights (not just a list of financial entitlements) are another, too painful a thing to discuss for fear of disagreement.

Which misses the point precisely: representative government’s purpose is to resolve differences amicably, to suppress or avoid the appearance of disagreement over difficult matters. “More Europe” is beginning to look in effect like a call for more Vicodin.

Paging Captain Headwound

Rhetoric met reality, and the rhetoric that so many people claim as their political raison d’etre lost.

Germany in particular reckons that all additional environmental legislation should be put on ice until economic conditions return to normal, according to one senior diplomatic source.

The REACH regulation on chemicals and the extension of carbon dioxide emission limits to light duty vehicles in the automotive sector were both cited as areas where industry will be offered special treatment.

The aim is to soften the impact of Europe's strict environmental rules as industries fight their way through the economic recession.
Which is amusing given that greenies, pretending to be experts and experienced in any field of endeavor for which they present an opinion, try to convince one that ‘greening up’ will not just come at little or no additional cost, but somehow be more productive that the ‘old, lazy, dirty’ ways of doing and producing things. M’kay. Whatever you say there, Sparky. It sort of reminds me of the recent ‘initiatives’ to insulate ‘in the name of Climate Change’, even if the drive to insulate buildings now puts them 30+ years behind the United States.
The international dimension

Building efficiency has also been the topic of high-level discussions in international fora, particularly in connection with climate change. The 4th Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of 4 May states that "Energy efficiency options for new and existing buildings could considerably reduce CO2 emissions with net economic benefit."
Losers. Virtually every word uttered out of the mouths of the politically involved is a saled job and an evasion, even over “international conferences” whose only conclusions are things that were done out of simple common sense decades ago. They are at the point where they need a Global Warning angle just to get out of bed in the morning, let alone insulate a house.

01 June 2009

Stick a fork in them. They’re done.

The great well of Euro-culture always seems pre-occupied with kicking weak sectors of culture in the teeth if it fits their own individual adolescent obsessions about control and wresting control in their imaginary bugbears in society.

Lars von Trier's film was declared "the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world" by an Ecumenical Jury which every year hands out a prize to a Cannes film that celebrates spiritual values.
With a message of tolerance and free speech, they accuse anyone airing a non-mainstream opinion of censorship, somehow.

Nonetheless, among these “cultural betters” at Cannes:
Critics gasped, jeered and hooted -- and at least four people fainted -- during a preview of the movie, one of 20 films competing for the Palme d'Or top award to be handed out
Apparently to the emptiest minds, this in itself makes it artful and worthy of consideration on that basis alone – that it would somehow offend their long-dead parents or make their kindergarten teacher squirm. It’s a sad display of their lack of depth, and their strange notion that anyone presenting an opinion that they dislike actually “censoring them.”

What is it that they’re rewarding? Thoughtlessness and a LACK of conscious intent of the part of “zee arteest.”
"Maybe von Trier doesn't either: in the press notes, he basically says as much, confessing scenes "were added for no reason. Images were composed free of logic or dramatic thinking," (though he does add "I am very happy about this film and the images in it. They come out of an inspiration that's real to me"
I no longer wonder what it is about “things added for no reason” cause him to thing something seems real to a subculture that can’t dislocate a message from willfully not knowing what one is saying. This by itself instantly makes someone forfeit any right they have to expect anyone else’s attention, especially those who think themselves aesthetes in the film sub-culture.