Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘france’

Kerry gives France “a big hug”; Hillary benefits most

Posted by Richard on January 17, 2015

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to make amends to the French people for the Obama administration’s non-participation in last Sunday’s massive pro-free-speech demonstration. He did so by saying he was there “to share a big hug with Paris” and by bringing James Taylor to sing “You’ve Got a Friend.”

No, really. In case you missed it (most of the MSM ignored this most awkward part of Kerry’s awkward visit), here’s the video of James Taylor singing while Kerry looks like the doofus he is:


[YouTube link]

If you couldn’t bring yourself to watch all 3½ minutes, I completely understand; neither could I.

Newsbusters called it “one of the most embarrassing moments in American diplomatic history” and a “bizarre attempt at international damage control.”

Hillary Clinton’s supporters must be thrilled, or at least relieved. Because, as Man with Axe noted on Twitter, this farce bumps her out of the top spot for a dubious distinction:

hillary-reset-button

 

UPDATE: *snicker*

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Millions rally against terror in Paris; Obama admin skipped it

Posted by Richard on January 11, 2015

Today was an incredible day in Paris:

The French Interior Ministry said the rally for unity against terrorism is the largest demonstration in France’s history.

Calling the rally “unprecedented,” the ministry said the demonstrators are so numerous they spread beyond the official march route, making them impossible to count.

French media estimate up to 3.7 million are taking part, more than the numbers who took to Paris streets when the Allies liberated the city from the Nazis in World War II.

More than 40 world leaders joined French President Francois Hollande in the march, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

So what about President Obama? Meh, too far to travel for something other than a vacation or a round of golf. No Biden either, which is probably just as well; too much risk of embarrassing the US. A prominent member of the cabinet, perhaps? Well, that could easily have happened, but …

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is in Paris this week to attend a meeting on fighting terrorism, but did not participate in the march.

Apparently, the only representative of the United States government was Ambassador to France Jane Hartley. She probably didn’t have far to go; the US embassy is near Place de la Concorde, which I’m guessing was on the march route.

Hartley is the perfect person to represent the Obama administration at such an event. Like most of Obama’s ambassadorial appointments, she has zero foreign policy experience, but was a major “bundler” of campaign contributions in both 2008 and 2012. Besides, having a higher-ranking administration official represent the US might give people the mistaken impression that this administration considers opposition to terrorism important. Or, Allah forbid, that it sees jihad as a threat.

SMDH.

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Eugene Robinson: “one-note simpleton”

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2015

Eugene Robinson, the rabidly anti-gun Washington Post columnist, was on MSNBC today, where he told Andrea Mitchell that it’s a good thing this week’s terrorism and hostage-taking in France didn’t happen in the United States. You see, he opined, in the US “weapons are universally available and so it is actually a very good thing that, that the tensions are not exactly the same because we would expect to have a lot more carnage.”

There’s your typical anti-gunner’s mindset: if people other than the jihadists had guns, they’d just be shooting wildly, leading to who knows how many more deaths (never mind that the additional casualties would likely be the jihadists). Thank goodness France has strict gun control so that the terrorists’ targets were unarmed and helpless, thus keeping the body count down.

Remember that chilling video of the wounded policeman lying on the ground with his hands up when the terrorist shot him in the head? Apparently, like many French cops, he was unarmed. I guess to the Eugene Robinsons of the world, that’s a good thing because if he’d been able to shoot his attacker, that would have just added to the “carnage.” As we say on Twitter, SMDH*.

This Twitchy post has some of the Twitter reaction to Robinson’s remarks, including Ace of Spades’ apt “one-note simpleton” characterization.

* shaking my damn head

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Je suis Charlie

Posted by Richard on January 8, 2015

Yesterday, Jihadists attacked the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Twelve people were slaughtered, including a policeman lying on the ground wounded with his hands up. In the wake of that, I think it’s worth noting that almost a decade has passed since Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper published a dozen pretty tame cartoons of Mohammed, triggering worldwide Muslim outrage that resulted in many deaths. Here are those cartoons.

Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons

It’s worth rereading Bob Bidinotto’s Winter 2005 New Individualist column about those Mohammed cartoons. In particular:

Ironically, the violent and deadly response of radical Muslims worldwide to the appearance of these cartoons only confirms the validity of the newspaper’s point. By their bloody reaction, Islamic fundamentalists reveal that they have taken pages from the playbooks of Nazi and communist thugs, and thus have richly earned their new label: “Islamofascists.” Observe that while they deny everyone else the freedom to express any opinion contrary to Islam, these brutes simultaneously claim for themselves complete freedom of expression with regard to their adversaries—including threatening with death those who disagree. Observe, too, that in many Muslim nations, the media publish and broadcast the most insulting language and demeaning images directed against the symbols, beliefs, and practices of Jews, Christians, and other “infidels.” Could the hypocrisy be more transparent?

Offhand, I can think of no other major religion whose followers habitually try to silence their opponents with censorship, death threats, or death itself. Even among today’s religious, radical Muslims stand virtually alone in their unrepentant advocacy of totalitarianism.

The responses to the Charlie Hebdo attack have ranged from brave to cowardly and vile. The former category includes the reaction of many cartoonists, this Bill Maher rant, and this Andrew McCarthy column. The latter category includes:

A week ago on New Year’s Day,  Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in a profoundly important speech, addressed the imams of the Islamic Research Academy at Cairo’s al-Azhar University. Yes, that’s the leading center of learning for Sunni Islam, which endorsed the Sharia manual quoted at length in the Andrew McCarthy column linked above. Al-Sisi called for a “religious revolution” to turn Islam away from “that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries” and toward a more moderate path. As Jonah Goldberg notes, this is a big deal that’s been virtually ignored by our mainstream media.

Rather than issuing pro-forma declarations of “Islam is the Religion of Peace” and weaselly “we condemn these killings, but…” statements, opinion leaders of the Muslim world would do their faith and the entire world a favor by invoking and endorsing the words of al-Sisi.

UPDATE: This latest Islamofascist assault against cartoonists engendered an online response similar to 2010’s Draw Mohammed Day (a response to threats against South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker), this time mostly on Twitter. This isn’t a drawing, but it’s one of my favorites:

I’m a sucker for puns.

You can find lots more under the hashtags in the tweet above, but be aware that a number of the drawings involve Mohammed as either sodomizer or sodomizee.

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Happy Bastille Day!

Posted by Richard on July 15, 2010

To celebrate Bastille Day, I was going to post the excerpt from Casablanca where the French drown out the German soldiers by singing La Marseillaise.

Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé !

But all the Casablanca clips on YouTube have embedding disabled. 

So here's Bastille Day by Rush. Rock on, Rush!


[YouTube link]

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Who are the attackers?

Posted by Richard on March 7, 2008

Remember the "Five Ws" of journalism — who, what, when, where, why? Apparently, they don't at the Associated Press. Here's an AP story about an anti-Semitic attack in France — see if you think there are a couple of Ws missing:

PARIS —  Six people kidnapped and tortured a Jewish teenager by punching and kicking him and writing "dirty Jew" on his forehead, judicial officials said Wednesday.

The 19-year-old victim met with his six alleged attackers, who ranged in age from 17 to 28, in the Paris suburb of Bagneux to try to settle an argument about a missing cell phone and camcorder, officials from the prosecutor's office in Nanterre said. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

They said the six held the victim for about nine hours, taunted him for being Jewish, and said he was gay. They allegedly forced him to eat cigarette butts and scrawled anti-Semitic and anti-homosexual insults on his forehead.

A gang of youths who use the phrase "dirty Jew" — I wonder who they might be and why they might believe that Jews are by nature dirty. 

The victim, whose identity has not been released, suffered slight injuries.

The alleged attackers have been detained and investigators filed preliminary charges against them. The preliminary charges include committing "acts of torture or barbarism" and "kidnapping by a gang," the judicial officials said.

The Bagneux City Hall said in a statement that officials were "shocked and outraged" by the attack. The suburb was the site of a 2006 attack against another young French Jew, Ilan Halimi, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed by a gang.

So this is a Paris suburb where a gang of youths previously attacked and killed a Jew. Hmm, I wonder if it's one of those suburbs where gangs of otherwise-unidentified youths routinely burn cars and attack police patrols.

The president one of France's leading Jewish organizations, the Representative Council of Jewish Organizations in France, said anti-Semitic attacks in the nation were down 30 percent last year. But Richard Prasquier said the new attack suggests that "anti-Semitic prejudice is still very present."

The head of an organization that tallies anti-Semitic crimes in France, the BNVCA, said many recent victims, including the 19-year-old in last month's attack, were not religious Jews and had little connection with the Jewish community.

"The fact of having a Jewish name was enough for these aggressors to identify him as one, and to harass him," Sammy Ghozlan said.

France has western Europe's largest population of Jews and Muslims. The nation faced a surge in anti-Semitic crime starting in 2000 after tensions between Israelis and Palestinians flared up in the Middle East.

Aha, finally in the tenth paragraph, there's a soupçon of a hint regarding what might be the nature and motive of the gangs of youths who attack Jews in France.

I suspect that they all pray facing the same way.

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Sarkozy: the moral value of America

Posted by Richard on November 8, 2007

French President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed a joint session of Congress yesterday, and he spoke passionately about why he loves America (emphasis added):

The United States and France remain true to the memory of their common history, true to the blood spilled by their children in common battles. But they are not true merely to the memory of what they accomplished together in the past. They remain true, first and foremost, to the same ideal, the same principles, the same values that have always united them.

The deliberations of your Congress are conducted under the double gaze of Washington and Lafayette. Lafayette, whose 250th birthday we are celebrating this year and who was the first foreign dignitary, in 1824, to address a joint session of Congress. What was it that brought these two men-so far apart in age and background-together, if not their faith in common values, the heritage of the Enlightenment, the same love for freedom and justice?

Upon first meeting Washington, Lafayette told him: "I have come here to learn, not to teach." It was this new spirit and youth of the Old World seeking out the wisdom of the New World that opened a new era for all of humanity.

From the very beginning, the American dream meant putting into practice the dreams of the Old World.

From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person.

America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who-with their hands, their intelligence and their heart-built the greatest nation in the world: "Come, and everything will be given to you." She said: "Come, and the only limits to what you'll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent." America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.

Here, both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That's what constitutes the moral value of America. America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught them how to practice it. And she fought for this freedom whenever she felt it to be threatened somewhere in the world. It was by watching America grow that men and women understood that freedom was possible.

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Sarkozy elected

Posted by Richard on May 6, 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy easily won France's presidential election today, despite his Socialist opponent's warning to voters that electing Sarkozy would lead to violence in the streets (which reminded me of the ominous American leftist slogan, "No Justice, No Peace"). Voter turnout was the highest in decades.

The AP reporter has trouble hiding her disappointment that a pro-American, anti-Socialist won, describing Sarkozy as "a charismatic but divisive figure known for uncompromising, even brutal language." I suppose that's a reference to his calling the rioters who burned 10,000 cars in 2005 "scum," when the preferred term was "poor youths lacking jobs and hope."

No news reports ever, ever characterized these "youths" any more precisely than that, so no one knows if they shared anything else in common — say, a religion. Of peace. But curiously, the same youths with their purely economic grievances also vandalized numerous synagogues and Jewish cemetaries, and quite a few Jews were attacked in the streets.

Charles Johnson is conducting a poll at LGF, asking readers to predict how many cars will be torched because of Sarkozy's victory. Due to the time difference, if you wait just a few more hours, you may be able to eliminate one or two of the answers. 

UPDATE: Car torchings, rioting, and general mayhem by "disaffected youths" broke out in Paris, Marseilles, and other French cities, but there aren't a lot of news stories about it. LGF has some news and links, and some burning car pictures. Maybe you should just go to the main page and keep reading. 

In addition to some good news updates, Pajamas Media can lay claim to the best damn headline possible for this event:

C'est le Matin en France

 I laughed out loud and got a tear in my eye simultaneously. It just doesn't get any better. (HT: Instapundit)

UPDATE: They've "updated" the story at Pajamas Media (by ripping out what was there before), and in the process discarded their marvelous headline. I hate it when they do that. Especially moronic in this instance — that was a classic.

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Sarkozy — hope for France?

Posted by Richard on May 2, 2007

(UPDATE, 5/6: He won easily . Vive la France!) 

France's run-off election is Sunday, May 6, and polling data from last weekend showed center-right candidate Nicolas Sarkozy with a 53%-47% lead over Socialist Ségolène Royal. If Sarkozy wins, and if he lives up to his promise and holds true to his own rhetoric, he just may pull France out of its death spiral. I sincerely hope so — I've done my share of good-humored France-bashing, but it saddens me to see what's been happening to that once-great country.

Sarkozy may not be a Thatcher or Reagan, but he's as close as the French have come in quite a long time — a Gallic Thatcher who just may be able to snatch France back from the socialist decay and decline and the social disintegration that have all been accelerating in recent years. He recently pointed the finger of blame for France's woes directly at aging 60s radicals and their intellectual heirs:

A week before the climax of France's presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy, the neo-Gaullist favourite, yesterday delivered a striking show of force as he attacked the leftwing "heirs of May 1968" in the biggest rally of the campaign so far.

Mr Sarkozy blamed the "moral crisis" in France today – including violent crime, rebellious youth, lazy benefit claimants, uncontrolled immigration and corrupt company bosses – on the social revolution sparked by student protests in the French capital almost 40 years ago.

He presented himself as the "candidate of the people" and listed his values as "justice, effort, work, merit and reward".

Mr Sarkozy blamed "May '68" for eroding the moral values of capitalism and said this had contributed to the current controversy over failed company bosses receiving big "golden parachutes". "The heirs of May '68 have undermined the values of citizenship," he said. The biggest cheer came as he quoted Ms Royal's reaction to the riots by hundreds of youths in Paris's Gare du Nord train station last month, which she blamed on "a gulf between the youth and the police".

At times, Sarkozy is downright inspiring and, well, Reaganesque. Take, for example, a speech he made in London earlier this year to French expatriates:

Standing in the heart of the financial district, Sarkozy heaped compliments upon his country's historic enemy. The British capital was, he said, a "town that seems more and more prosperous and dynamic every time I come here." More important, it had become "one of the greatest French cities." He understood, furthermore, that hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen had moved to Britain because "they are risk-takers, and risk is a bad word" in France. With distinctly un-English passion (some things never change), he pleaded with them to come back:

Come home, because together we will make France a great country where everything will be possible, where fathers won't fear for the future of their children, and where everyone will be able to make their plans come true, and be responsible for their own destiny.

Sarkozy sounds like a supply-sider. Here are some snippets from an interview published in the Financial Times, conducted by its sister publication, Les Echos:

Les Echos: Since Ségolène Royal unveiled her ‘Presidential Pact’, do you believe the battle (for the presidency) is becoming a battle between two social projects?

Sarkozy: Yes. We now know where Madame Royal’s project is headed… It’s a return to the era of (former socialist Prime Minister Lionel) Jospin. The values Madame Royal puts to the fore are those of state handouts and mollycoddling, egalitarianism and levelling. She retains the 35 hour week, she doesn’t encourage work, she still doesn’t say if she favours overhauling taxes, but we know she wants to overhaul spending. …

Les Echos: Madame Royal develops the idea of ‘donnant-donnant’ (two-way co-operation). It’s not exactly mollycoddling, is it?

Sarkozy: She may put it thus, but what conclusion does she draw? None. It’s the same for the reform of the state. It’s the same for public debt. She judges the level “unsustainable” but what does she announce? More spending. When I talk about rights and duties, I am precise: no minimum benefits without working in exchange; no papers to stay in France long-term if one can’t write, if one can’t read, if one can’t speak French; no increase in minimum pensions without consolidation of the pension system. …

Les Echos: When it comes to costing your (Presidential) programmes, you both face the same criticism: plenty of spending and little detail on the cost savings!

Sarkozy: I will of course respond to that charge, but there is no point in getting into the detail of the proposals if you don’t understand the logic that binds them. The cornerstone value of my programme is work. The strategy that gives credibility to everything I do is to say to the French people: ‘You are going to earn more because we are going to work more’. And that is how, collectively, we are going to encourage wealth creation. I want to make France the country of innovation and audacity.

Les Echos: In your programme, is it coherent to want simultaneously to reduce national insurance contributions by €68bn over 10 years and reduce the state debt to 60 per cent of gross domestic product by 2012?

Sarkozy: I didn’t pick the €68bn figure by chance. That reduction will allow us, over 10 years, to reduce the pressure of our tax and national insurance charges to the average of the EU15. … Is it compatible with the debt reduction objective? There are the figures, but above all, there is the logic. My strategy is to think we will reduce our deficits and our debt the day we reinstate (the value of) work.

Les Echos: How much does your programme cost, and how would it be paid for?

Sarkozy: My programme will cost €30bn over five years, of which €15bn comes from reductions in taxes and charges. But I want to add two key points that must be understood. First, it is not the same thing to spend to assist, and to spend to invest. €9bn for research and innovation are not the same as €9bn spent to create new rights without matching responsibilities. On the one hand, there is investment, on the other mollycoddling. Then, you have to realise that lightening national insurance charges and taxes on overtime will bring in Value Added Tax receipts. …

Les Echos: What would be the first sign of commitment to debt reduction?

Sarkozy: The implementation of the principle that we would not replace more than half of the civil servants who retire. During the past 20 years, France has created a million public sector jobs. I would make reform of the state a key presidential project.

Not bad. Not bad at all. I can think of an allegedly free-market, limited government political party in the United States that could use some leaders who speak like that. Bonne chance, Monsieur Sarkozy! 

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Reports of my death exaggerated

Posted by Richard on October 14, 2006

Hi, there! Miss me? Sorry about the long absence (I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks). I’ve been working toward a big deadline, and although I wasn’t really working killer hours (I don’t do that anymore — for one thing, my back won’t let me), I consistently found myself too mentally tired — or distracted — or lazy — or something — to sit down and blog. I finished up a couple of days ago, and have pretty much avoided the computer since.

I haven’t even been reading much or keeping up with world events during the last couple of weeks. I’ve been tossing most my newspapers in the recycle bin unread, and I’ve only glanced at a few blogs from time to time. Oh, I caught the news highlights, but I missed a lot of the details and follow-up stories.

For instance, I remember some Democrats suggesting that a gay man shouldn’t be permitted anywhere near a bunch of teenage boys. But somehow I missed the coverage of gay rights demonstrators demanding that those homophobes apologize. And did the Boy Scouts of America ever issue a statement of support for the Democrats’ position?

I heard a brief mention of Sen. Harry Reid’s illegal real estate dealings, but I never did hear details of the investigation that I’m sure was launched by the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). And I missed the stories about legislators calling on Reid to resign.

And then there was that North Korean nuclear test. I heard how Japan immediately imposed a strict trade embargo. Surely, France denounced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s unilateralism and failure to work with the international community, right? And John Kerry must have held a press conference to declare that if he were the Japanese P.M., he’d have deferred to the United Nations.

It’s really a shame that I missed such important stories. Why, by only hearing part of the news like that, I could easily get the impression that fairness, balance, and impartiality are sorely lacking nowadays.
 

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