Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cela, Vous Ne Pouvez Pas Dire.

French parliamentarians need to get a fucking grip and stop proposing bans on ideas that they find ugly. Agreed: burkas are contemptible. Armenian Genocide denialism? Also contemptible. But a fine for demonstrating one's own historical ignorance? Ridiculous.
Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images

By banning unsavory expression and speech, the French habitually put themselves in the terrible company of the censorious rightward thugs they fail to oppose. It's short-cut cowardice. From The Guardian:
Turkey has threatened to denounce France's colonial past at international meetings in retaliation for French plans to prosecute people who deny that the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was genocide. 
Turkey rejects the term genocide to describe the killings of Armenians more than 90 years ago. Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed and experts say it was the first genocide of the 20th century. 
France considers the killings a genocide. The lower house of the French parliament is to debate a proposal that would punish anyone denying that the slaughter was genocide with one year in prison and a €45,000 (£37,700) fine.
Why do Erdogan's work for him?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I'm Running for President, and I'll Do Whatever You Say.

Friedman on the prostrations of an American party unconditionally beholden to a government of seven million:
I have a simple motto when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I love both Israelis and Palestinians, but God save me from some of their American friends — those who want to love them to death, literally.
That thought came to mind last week when Newt Gingrich took the Republican competition to grovel for Jewish votes — by outloving Israel — to a new low by suggesting that the Palestinians are an “invented” people and not a real nation entitled to a state.
This was supposed to show that Newt loves Israel more than Mitt Romney, who only told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because “I don’t seek to take actions independent of what our allies think is best, and if Israel’s leaders thought that a move of that nature would be helpful to their efforts, then that’s something I’ll be inclined to do. ... I don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process. Instead, we should stand by our ally.”
That’s right. America’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy’s running for president?
As for Newt, well, let’s see: If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean — as far as Newt is concerned — that Israel’s choices are: 1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; 2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or 3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a binational state. And this is called being “pro-Israel”?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Stars in Your Teeth

Up Against a Wall

Jan-Paul Pelissier / ASSOCIATED PRESS
from the Washington Post:
The veto by British Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative euro-skeptic who cherishes the pound and looks askance at heavy-handed European regulations in British affairs, underscored his nation’s long unease with relinquishing national powers to the E.U. and left London isolated in a region now moving toward deeper integration without it. His move left Britain’s Guardian newspaper asking, “Will it be Splendid Isolation, or Miserable?”
At the same time, Cameron made life harder for a region desperately trying to unite behind a plan to quell a debt crisis that is threatening the global economy. Without Britain on board, the 26 other E.U. nations now face potentially complicated legal obstacles to meet one of the prime objectives of a new treaty: Giving fresh powers to E.U. institutions to slap automatic penalties on governments that recklessly spend and borrow.
Merkozy may be ticked-off, but I didn't really see a path for Cameron to have done anything but veto a proposal that relinquishes sovereignty to Brussels (read: Berlin) against the will of the majority of his citizens, in order to save a currency in which the U.K doesn't participate. Questions concerning sovereignty and greater integration are typically ones that should be decided democratically, no?

How to tell just how little at ease Merkel is feeling right now? Well, I haven't seen her do this in a while: