• http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/opinion/sunday/cohen-jews-in-a-whisper.html?_r=2

    Roger Cohen :

    "Jewish identity is an intricate subject and quest. In America, because I’ve criticized Israel and particularly its self-defeating expansion of settlements in the West Bank, I was, to self-styled “real Jews,” not Jewish enough, or even — join the club — a self-hating Jew. In Britain I find myself exasperated by the muted, muffled way of being a Jew. Get some pride, an inner voice says, speak up!

    But it’s complicated. Britain, with its almost 300,000 Jews and more than two million Muslims, is caught in wider currents — of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and political Islam. Traditionally, England’s genteel anti-Semitism has been more of the British establishment than the British working class, whereas anti-Muslim sentiment has been more working-class than establishment.

    Now a ferocious anti-Zionism of the left — the kind that has called for academic boycotts of Israel — has joined the mix, as has some Muslim anti-Semitism. Meanwhile Islamophobia has been fanned by the rightist fabrication of the “Eurabia” specter — the fantasy of a Muslim takeover that sent Anders Breivik on his Norwegian killing spree and feeds far-right European and American bigotry.

    Where then should a Jew in Britain who wants to speak up stand? Not with the Knesset members who have met in Israel with European rightists like Filip Dewinter of Belgium in the grotesque belief that they are Israel’s allies because they hate Muslims. Not with the likes of the Jewish writer Melanie Phillips, whose book “Londonistan” is a reference for the Islamophobes. Nor with those who, ignoring sinister historical echoes, propose ostracizing Israeli academics and embrace an anti-Zionism that flirts with anti-Semitism.

    Perhaps a good starting point is a parallel pointed out to me by Maleiha Malik, a professor of law at King’s College London. A century ago, during the Sidney Street siege of 1911, it was the Jews of London’s East End who, cast as Bolsheviks, were said to be “alien extremists.” Winston Churchill, no less, argued in 1920 that Jews were part of a “worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development.”

    “The lesson is clear: Jews, with their history, cannot become the systematic oppressors of another people. They must be vociferous in their insistence that continued colonization of Palestinians in the West Bank will increase Israel’s isolation and ultimately its vulnerability.

    That — not fanning Islamophobia — is the task before diaspora Jews.”


  • “Although the riots in the UK were triggered by the suspicious shooting of Mark Duggan, everyone agrees that they express a deeper unease – but of what kind? As with the car burnings in the Paris banlieues in 2005, the UK rioters had no message to deliver. (There is a clear contrast with the massive student demonstrations in November 2010, which also turned to violence. The students were making clear that they rejected the proposed reforms to higher education.) This is why it is difficult to conceive of the UK rioters in Marxist terms, as an instance of the emergence of the revolutionary subject; they fit much better the Hegelian notion of the ‘rabble’, those outside organised social space, who can express their discontent only through ‘irrational’ outbursts of destructive violence – what Hegel called ‘abstract negativity’.”
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/2011/08/19/slavoj-zizek/shoplifters-of-the-world-unite

    • Shoplifters of the World Unite - Slavoj Žižek on the meaning of the #riots

      If the commonplace that we live in a post-ideological era is true in any sense, it can be seen in this recent outburst of violence. This was zero-degree protest, a violent action demanding nothing. In their desperate attempt to find meaning in the riots, the sociologists and editorial-writers obfuscated the enigma the riots presented.

      #philosophie_politique #kind_of


  • http://www.dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=535

    "As [Thomas] Paine recognized, the character of that punishment would affect the relative importance accorded to the protection and the limitation of human freedom in society. Paine thus opposed capital punishment and contended that the ‘avidity to punish’ with harshness ‘is always dangerous to liberty.’

    When the desire for vengeance is given free rein in the name of liberty, it ‘either tortures [the] feelings or hardens the hearts’ of the populace, and “leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws” in such a way that liberty itself is threatened. If punishment is given priority over shared freedoms, there is a danger that government may encroach arbitrarily on individual liberty in a manner that potentially affects all. ‘He that would make his own liberty secure,’ Paine continued, ‘must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.’ For Paine, even the most heinous crimes must be punished with justice and moderation, and with more regard for liberty than revenge.”


  • http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2b9dab2e-c817-11e0-9501-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1VMc1dJuc
    August 17, 2011 8:22 pm
    *The great failure of globalisation

    By Jeffrey Sachs

    A failure of economic strategy and leadership lies behind the near simultaneous collapse of market confidence in the eurozone and US economies. No need to blame the rating agencies: governments in Europe and America have been unable to cope with the realities of global capital markets and competition from Asia – and deserve the lion’s share of the blame.

    I’ve watched dozens of financial crises up close, and know that success means showing the public a way out that is bold, technically sound and built on social values. Transatlantic leadership is falling short on all counts. Neither the US nor Europe has even properly diagnosed the core problem, namely that both regions are being whipsawed by globalisation.

    Jobs for low-skilled workers in manufacturing, and new investments in large swaths of industry, have been lost to international competition. Employment in the US and Europe during the 2000s was held up only by housing construction stoked by low interest rates and reckless deregulation – until the construction bubble collapsed. The path to recovery now lies not in a new housing bubble, but in upgraded skills, increased exports and public investments in infrastructure and low-carbon energy. Instead, the US and Europe have veered between dead-end, consumption-oriented stimulus packages and austerity without a vision for investment.

    Macroeconomic policy has not only failed to create jobs, but also to respond to basic social values too. Let me be clear: good social policy does not mean running big deficits. Public debts are already too large in both Europe and the US. But it does mean a completely different balance between cuts to social services and tax increases on the rich.

    The simple fact is that globalisation has not only hit the unskilled hard but has also proved a bonanza for the global super-rich. They have been able to invest in new and highly profitable projects in emerging economies. Meanwhile, as Warren Buffett argued this week, they have been able to convince their home governments to cut tax rates on profits and high incomes in the name of global tax competition. Tax havens have proliferated even as the politicians have occasionally railed against them. In the end the poor are doubly hit, first by global market forces, then by the ability of the rich to park money at low taxes in hideaways around the world.

    An improved fiscal policy in the transatlantic economies would therefore be based on three realities. First, it would expand investments in human and infrastructure capital. Second, it would cut wasteful spending, for instance in misguided military engagements in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Third, it would balance budgets in the medium term, in no small part through tax increases on high personal incomes and international corporate profits that are shielded by loopholes and overseas tax havens.
    Infrastructure investment also need not increase deficits if any new projects pay their own way. Even if they require upfront borrowing, projects will not add to net financial liabilities if they are repaid through future revenues. Currently, budget accounting in the US and Europe generally fails to distinguish between these self-financing capital projects – such as bridges, which earn revenue through future tolls – and those financed by general revenues.

    Export-led growth is the other under-explored channel of recovery. Part of this must be earned through better skills and technologies – another reason not to cut education. But another part can be earned through better financial policies. China, realising this, has sold Africa many billions of dollars per year of infrastructure export projects, financed by long-term Chinese loans. Yet the US and Europe have virtually ceded that market to China by the lack of financing to African and other fast-growing economies.

    The last missing piece for any recovery, however, is clarity of purpose from the political class. In Europe, a coherent response led by the European Union has been sidelined to policymaking by national governments – the pact between France and Germany being only the latest example. For months, Europe’s fate has been decided by German state elections and small Finnish parties. The European Central Bank has been so divided that it too has neglected core functions of stabilising panicked markets. There is no way the euro can survive if European-wide institutions continue to be so weak, slow and divided.

    The US has similarly devolved into a mélange of sector, class, and regional interests. President Barack Obama is the incredibly shrinking leader, waiting to see whether Congressional power barons will call. More generally, the US cannot prosper while its politicians go hat in hand to the vested interests that finance their nonstop campaigning.

    The recent swoon in financial markets and the stalled recovery in the US and Europe reflect these fundamental shortcomings. There is no growth strategy, only the hope that scared and debt-burdened consumers will return to buying houses they don’t need and can’t afford. Sadly, these global economic currents will continue to claim jobs and drain capital until there is a revival of bold, concerted leadership. In the meantime, the markets will gyrate in pangs of uncertainty.

    The writer is director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University


  • “Liberalism emerged as a revolutionary ideology reflecting the ambitions of the rising bourgeoisie in relation to the abolition of feudal privilege. Liberalism won its decisive political victories in the revolutions in England, the US and France in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its rise was concurrent with the rise of capitalism. With the consolidation of capitalism, the tenor of liberalism shifted from emancipatory optimism to a more conservative stance, suspicious of grand projects of social change.”

    “Nevertheless, because liberalism proclaimed radically universalist principles – most notably, liberty and equality for all – the doctrine provided ideological resources that could be taken up by hitherto oppressed groups. Those excluded from the early realm of liberal equality and freedom – slaves, women and working-class men – drew on the universalism of liberal principles in order to demand inclusion. So the historical development of liberalism was shaped not only by the interests of the wealthy but also by the struggles of the marginalised.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/15/liberalism-political-economic-different-ideologies


  • 13 août 2011
    International Herald Tribune
    Robert Zaretsky HOUSTON, TEXAS is a professor of history at the University of Houston, Honors College, and the author of ‘‘Albert Camus: Elements of a Life.’’

    *For Camus, a last brush with the absurd

    "A nonsensical theory about the existentialist author’s fatal car crash says much about his times, and ours.

    How absurd. What better response to the news that, a half century after the death of Albert Camus, an Italian scholar claims that the car accident that took his life was not an accident at all, but instead the work of the K.G.B.? According to the account, a well-known Czech poet confided to his diary that he had learned that Camus, a consistent and courageous critic of Communism, died after Soviet spies punctured a tire of the car he was traveling in, which then swerved off the road and wrapped itself around a plane tree.

    It may be surprising that no such rumors existed at the time. In the bleak atmosphere of the Cold War, the incredible seemed all too credible. The Soviet Union had recently tested its first atomic bomb. The French Communist Party, loyal to Moscow, was the dominant opposition in France. Few doubted it when the philosopher Roger Garaudy predicted, ‘‘Without any doubt, the 20th century will go down in history as the century of the victory of Communism.’’

    Conspiracy theories abounded in this hothouse atmosphere. Communists accused the government of allowing the Coca-Cola Company to buy the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in order to transform it into a billboard.

    The government arrested a Communist leader, Jacques Duclos, whose car contained two pigeons — carriers, the police claimed, for flying messages to Moscow. That Duclos, whose stomach remained French even while his heart had gone over to Moscow, meant those pigeons to go no further than his dinner table was, of course, overlooked in the passions of the moment.

    It would have been perfectly normal, in that context, for a rumor of Soviet malfeasance to flare once news of Camus’s death flashed across France. Instead, most people latched on to a different contemporary obsession à la française: fast cars and spectacular accidents.

    From the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, a deep preoccupation with cars throbbed through French popular culture. When novelists, musicians and film directors were not busy using the car and road as metonyms or signifiers, they were instead busy dying, or being maimed, in real cars on real roads. The ‘‘French James Dean,’’ the novelist Roger Nimier, predicted he would die on a highway and fulfilled this forecast in a spectacular accident in 1962; Françoise Sagan, author of ‘‘Bonjour Tristesse,’’ nearly said au revoir la vie after she demolished her Aston Martin in 1957; the adventurer André Malraux’s two sons died in a car accident in 1961. Even Roland Barthes, who rhapsodized over the cathedral-like nature of the Citroen DS, was eventually taken down in 1980 Paris by a laundry van run amok.

    By the early 1960s, France’s yearly toll of traffic fatalities dwarfed those of comparable countries.

    It was in the midst of this piston-driven devastation that the sporty Facel Vega, driven by Camus’s close friend Michel Gallimard, veered off the road. Who needed Moscow to explain the event? An engine with too much horsepower on a road designed not for cars, but horses, sufficed.

    ‘‘There is grim philosophical irony in the fact that Albert Camus should have died in a senseless automobile accident,’’ an article in The New York Times following his death began, ‘‘victim of a chance mishap.’’ But to those Camus left behind, death by car was not exactly senseless. While his contemporaries were turning to religion or ideologies to escape the absurd, they were also turning to, well, cars. Going fast — going too fast — in slim cars with seductive names like Citroën’s ‘‘The Goddess’’ seemed to offer a ticket to eternity, and to many onlookers, a high-speed death seemed a sensible, almost poetic, end for the era’s brightest stars.

    In its allusion to the absurd nature of Camus’s death, The Times got it only half right. A death, Camus noted, is not absurd or meaningless because it results from chance or a mishap, but instead because we refuse to accept the very possibility of senselessness. We insist upon meaning, even when we invent or impose it. It is our confrontation with the universe, not something inherent to the universe itself, that leads to absurdity. ‘‘The absurd,’’ he insisted, ‘‘depends as much on man as on the world.’’ It occurs when one combines the world’s silence with our need for understanding.

    And it can occur at any moment, even or perhaps especially in cars. ‘‘At any street corner,’’ Camus warned, ‘‘the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.’’ When a friend warned him about driving on highways, he replied, ‘‘Don’t worry, I hate speed and don’t like automobiles.’’ Owner of a rarely used Citroën, his attitude to speed matched his attitude to religious or ideological faith: They were false methods of relieving ourselves of the weight of our lives. Life, he believed, precisely because it is absurd, is our most precious and weighty possession.

    When the police reached the wrecked Facel Vega, they found Camus’s briefcase flung several yards from his body. Inside was the unfinished manuscript for his autobiographical novel, ‘‘The First Man.’’ In its pages we discover neither faith nor Facel Vegas. ‘‘Life,’’ he wrote, ‘‘so vivid and mysterious, was enough to occupy his entire being.’’

    As we near the centenary of Camus’s birth, we should listen to him and ignore the cloak and dagger theory now spackling the Web. Life, thank the silent heavens, holds mystery enough.

    ROBERT ZARETSKY


  • « Il y a dans tout homme, à toute heure, deux postulations simultanées, l’une vers Dieu, l’autre vers Satan. L’invocation à Dieu, ou spiritualité, est un désir de monter en grade ; celle de Satan, ou animalité, est une joie de descendre. », Charles Baudelaire dans « Mon cœur mis à nu ».


  • « On ne bâtit pas une société, un ordre, sur un mensonge. Le fondement confessionnel du Pouvoir pouvait avoir sa justification il y a 50 ans, dans un Liban attaché à ses valeurs religieuses ; il avait sa vérité et sa dignité ; mais où la dégradation commence, où tout devient subitement faux, c’est quand on prétend prolonger un confessionnalisme sans foi. Si le Dieu des Libanais n’est pas formellement mort, il est de plus en plus absent de nos comportements et de nos démarches. » L’âme n’y est plus. « Et ce qui subsiste du confessionnalisme, ce sont les passions primaires, c’est la peur et la haine - et c’est l’exploitation éhontée qu’en font les meneurs de jeu dans l’un et l’autre camp. C’est cela. D’abord, qu’ils récusent ; et l’avilissement de l’autorité qui en découle, la corruption généralisée d’une administration, et la débâcle d’une classe dirigeante qui a définitivement perdu le sens du respect. - Pour bâtir, disent-ils, il faut d’abord dynamiter cela.

    [Georges Naccache, L’Orient, 26 avril 1969] »


  • “Tatars fought in Polish armies in the defining battles of the age, for example helping to defeat the crusading Teutonic Knights at Grünwald in 1410. They came to form an elite part of the officer class. Muslims were thus among the Polish horsemen who drove the Ottomans from the gates of Vienna.

    The Muslim influence upon the rescuers of Christendom went far deeper than this. The very tactics of the Polish cavalry, regarded at the time as the best in Europe, were developed in contact with, and indeed copied from, the Tatars. Polish nobles bore curved swords.”

    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/aug/10/anders-breiviks-historical-delusions



  • 10 août 2011
    International Herald Tribune
    * David Clay Large BOZEMAN, MONTANA is a professor of history at Montana State University, and the author of ‘‘Nazi Games’’ and the forthcoming ‘‘Munich 1972.’’
    The games the Nazis played

    “‘Hitler’s Olympics’ disprove the notion that the Games have a salutary effect on repressive regimes.

    Few Olympics are as famous as the 1936 Berlin Games, whose 75th anniversary falls this month. The publicity that accompanied the competition, held under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler, supposedly tamed the Nazi regime, if only temporarily — a story that has since justified awarding the Games to places like Soviet Moscow, Beijing and Sochi, Russia, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.”

    “But much of that story is myth. Indeed, the Olympics gave the Nazis a lesson in how to hide their vicious racism and anti-Semitism, and should offer today’s International Olympic Committee a cautionary tale when considering the location of future events.

    When the committee awarded the Olympics to Berlin in 1931, Hitler was not yet in power. But by 1936 there was little question that anti-Semitism and racism lay at the heart of the Nazi ideology: the so-called Nuremberg Laws, which codified policies to isolate Jews and other minorities from German life, had been approved the year before.

    The committee soon came under pressure from Jewish and leftist groups, which threatened to boycott the Games if they remained in Germany. The committee held firm, but promised that the Games would ‘‘open up’’ the Third Reich, that international attention would force it to tone down its repressive measures.

    While it’s clear that the Games failed to ‘‘open up’’ the Third Reich, it remains widely believed that, to placate visitors, Hitler’s government cut back its persecution of Jews during the summer — in other words, that the Games achieved some of what the committee promised.

    But the truth is more nuanced. Although the regime did discourage open anti-Semitism, this directive pertained only to Berlin. Outside the capital, the Nuremberg Laws remained in full effect.”

    “The Games were even counterproductive in this respect: not only did such cosmetic steps assuage criticism of the Nazis, but they taught the regime how easy it was to mislead the global public.

    Perhaps the most famous myth involves Jesse Owens, the black American track-and-field athlete. In popular mythology, the impressive performances of America’s blacks, especially Owens, so infuriated Hitler that he refused to shake Owens’s hand after his victory in the 100-meter dash.

    It’s a good story, and one widely disseminated at the time to show that the Olympic spirit had triumphed over Nazi racism. The problem is, it never happened. Before Owens even stepped onto the track, the Olympic committee president, Henri de Baillet-Latour, had told Hitler to stop congratulating victors in the stadium, something he had been doing repeatedly, unless he congratulated every winner. Fearing that Owens might be one of those winners, and determined never to press the flesh with a black man, Hitler stopped inviting athletes to his box for a public handshake.

    But Owens didn’t mind — he claimed that Hitler, whom he called ‘‘a man of dignity,’’ treated him to a friendly wave. In fact, Owens said it was not Hitler but President Franklin D. Roosevelt who had snubbed him by neglecting to send him a congratulatory telegram.

    Of more lasting importance than the Owens fable is the contention, still widely propagated today, that the African-American victories in 1936 forced people everywhere to rethink their assumptions about black inferiority in high-level track-and-field athletics. Supposedly even German commentators conceded the superiority of America’s ‘‘ black auxiliaries’’ on the athletic field.

    In reality, the publicity surrounding black athletes’ success simply taught the Nazis how to refine existing stereotypes. Instead of arguing that those athletes were physically inferior, they disparaged them as freaks who, because of their ‘‘jungle inheritance,’’ were able to jump high and run fast.

    But it was not just the Nazis who held such views. Many American commentators put forth similar explanations. While certain ‘‘inherited physical advantages’’ might make blacks good sprinters and jumpers, the thinking went, they could never compete successfully with whites in disciplines requiring strategy, teamwork or stamina. Thus, the experts assured America, blacks could never play quarterback, or excel in sports like long-distance running or basketball.

    The truth behind the 1936 Games casts a harsh light on the notion that the Olympics can have a salutary effect on repressive regimes. Indeed, there is little evidence so far that the 2008 Beijing Olympics did anything but show the Chinese government how to maintain its clamp on freedom while supposedly opening its doors to the world.

    This is not to say that the Games should be held only in politically ‘‘clean’’ countries. But instead of blindly celebrating the alleged openness of repressive regimes that host the event, the international community should use it as an opportunity to hold them to the values that the Olympics claim to represent.”

    DAVID CLAY LARG


  • “A few years ago, the German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger wrote a fascinating essay about the “radical loser.” Radical losers are mostly young men who are so enraged by their own lack of social, economic, and sexual self-esteem and the indifference of the world around them, that they long for a suicidal act of mass destruction.

    Anything can trigger such an act: rejection by a girl, being fired from a job, failing an examination. And sometimes the killers reach for ideological justifications: building pure Islam, struggling for communism or fascism, or saving the West. The particular ideals might be unimportant – simply those that happen to be available, owing to fashion or other historical circumstances. Once a radical loser is in the mood to kill, any reason will do.”

    "Perhaps. But does this mean that there is no link at all between the stated views of radical clerics or politicians and the acts committed in the name of those opinions? For all the finger pointing at Wilders, just because Breivik professed to admire him, the acts of a deranged killer, others caution, should not be used to discredit what he stands for. After all, there is nothing irrational, or murderous, about claiming that multiculturalism is a flawed ideal, or that Islam conflicts with modern Western European views of gender equality or gay rights, or that mass immigration will cause serious social conflicts.

    These claims began to be made by respectable conservatives, and even some social democrats, in the 1990s. They reacted against a rather smug liberal establishment that tended to dismiss all critical thought about immigration or non-Western faiths and traditions as racism and bigotry.

    But, while there was nothing intrinsically wrong with discussing the social consequences of large-scale immigration from Muslim countries, some populists in Holland, Denmark, France, Germany, Belgium, the U.K., and other countries, went much further. Wilders, in particular, likes to speak in apocalyptic terms of “the lights going out over Europe,” and “the sheer survival of the West.” And the problem is not just a particular strain of violent revolutionary Islam, but Islam itself: “If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national socialism – a totalitarian ideology.”

    “This is the language of existential war, the most dangerous kind. Indeed, the terminology of World War II is being deliberately revived. Those who oppose radical hostility to all forms of Islam are “appeasers” of, or “collaborators” with, “Islamofascism.””

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Commentary/2011/Aug-10/Too-thin-a-line-separates-Breivik-from-intolerant-populists.ashx#ixzz1
    (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)


  • http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/aug/09/new-european-far-right

    "As Thomas Hegghammer, the Norwegian expert on Islamism, has argued, Breivik is in some respects an occidental mirror of Osama bin Laden—a dangerous monster, perhaps, but not necessarily an irrational one. Breivik’s manifesto, Hegghammer explains, departs from established categories of right-wing extremism such as ultra-nationalism, white supremacism, or Christian fundamentalism, to reveal “a new doctrine of civilizational war that represents the closest thing yet to a Christian version of al-Qaeda.” The concept of “civilizational conflict ” or “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West, first articulated by Bernard Lewis, is shared by many on the right and some in Europe’s liberal mainstream.

    “Both Breivik and the leaders of al-Qaeda see themselves as engaged in a conflict that extends back to the Crusades, with both of them
    using references to medieval chivalry. Both have resorted to catastrophic violence on behalf of transnational entities: the Ummah or “community” of all Muslims in the case of al-Qaeda, and “Europe” in the case of Breivik. Both frame their struggle as wars of survival, with the emphasis placed on defending a religiously-based culture rather than a distinctive nationality or ethnicity. Both hate their respective governments for “collaborating” with the outside enemy. Both use the language of martyrdom. Where Islamists refer to suicide bombings as “martyrdom operations” Breivik refers to an individual “martyr cell” in anticipation of his attack on defenseless youngsters. Both, as Hegghammer notes, lament the erosion of patriarchy and the emancipation of women.”

    “Just as al-Qaeda represents an extreme, activist variant of political views held by a much wider constituency of Muslim radicals, most of whom would never consider crossing the boundary between thinking and action, so Breivik (judging from his manifesto) holds a broad range of positions common to what might be called the “counter-jihadist” or “paranoid right.” This is represented—among others—by Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and Pamela Geller in the US, the controversial Dutch legislator Geert Wilders, and Bat Ye’or and Melanie Phillips in Britain. All these writers—most of whom have denounced the Utoya massacre in the most unequivocal terms—subscribe to variants of the thesis that Europe is sleepwalking into cultural disaster or (in the case of Phillips) enabling Islamist terrorists to gain a foothold.”

    “Critics of the counter-jihadists in blogs and published articles have not been slow to point out the affinities between their utterances and the “classical” anti-Semitism of 1930s Europe. Jonathan Haari, writing in the Independent, names Bat Ye’or (the pseudonym of Giselle Littman, an Egyptian-born Jewish writer) as one of the “intellectuals on the British right who are propagating a theory about Muslims that comes close to being a 21st-century ‘Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.’” Bat Ye’or’s best known work, Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis, which Breivik cites extensively, castigates a supine European Union for allying itself with Arab states at the expense of Israel and the Atlantic alliance, creating a situation whereby Christians and Jews will be reduced to the status of dhimmis (the protected but subordinate minority communities of classical Islam). They will be second class citizens forced to ‘walk in the gutter.” In a letter of protest to the publishers of the Hebrew translation of Eurabia, Adam Keller, the Israeli peace activist compared it ) to Edouard Drument’s La France Juive (1886), the anti-Semitic tract that provided the ideological underpinnings for the deportation of France’s Jews under the Vichy government half a century later.”


  • "Around this time, Bachmann became interested in the writings of David A. Noebel, the founder and director of Summit Ministries, an educational organization founded to reverse the harmful effects of what it calls “our current post-Christian culture.” He was a longtime John Birch Society member, whose pamphlets include “The Homosexual Revolution: End Time Abomination,” and “Communism, Hypnotism, and the Beatles,” in which Noebel argued that the band was being used by Communists to infiltrate the minds of young Americans. Bachmann once gave a speech touting her relationship with Noebel’s organization. “I went on to serve on the board of directors with Summit Ministries,” she said, adding that Summit’s message is “wonderful and worthwhile.” She has also recommended to supporters Noebel’s “Understanding the Times,” a book that is popular in the Christian homeschooling movement. In it, he explains that the “Secular Humanist worldview” is one of America’s greatest threats. Bachmann’s analysis of education law similarly veered off into conspiratorial warnings. “Government now will be controlling people,” she said during one lecture on education, at a church in Minnesota. “

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/15/110815fa_fact_lizza#ixzz1UUBBO6Jz


  • ’The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.’ - H.L.Mencken.


  • http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/opinion/29Habermas.html?pagewanted=all

    “The real cause for concern is that, as the Sarrazin and Wulff incidents show, cool-headed politicians are discovering that they can divert the social anxieties of their voters into ethnic aggression against still weaker social groups.”

    “To be sure, the bad habit of stirring up political prejudices is a phenomenon reaching far beyond Germany. In Germany, at least, our government doesn’t, as in the Netherlands, have to rely on the support of a right-wing populist like Geert Wilders. Unlike Switzerland, we don’t have a ban on building minarets. And the comparative European survey data on hostility toward immigrants do not show extreme numbers for Germany.

    But social and political developments in Germany, given its ghastly history, do not necessarily have the same significance as in other countries.”

    “’To the present day, the idea of the leitkultur depends on the misconception that the liberal state should demand more of its immigrants than learning the language of the country and accepting the principles of the Constitution. We had, and apparently still have, to overcome the view that immigrants are supposed to assimilate the “values” of the majority culture and to adopt its “customs.”
    That we are experiencing a relapse into this ethnic understanding of our liberal constitution is bad enough. It doesn’t make things any better that today leitkultur is defined not by “German culture” but by religion. With an arrogant appropriation of Judaism — and an incredible disregard for the fate the Jews suffered in Germany — the apologists of the leitkultur now appeal to the “Judeo-Christian tradition,” which distinguishes “us” from the foreigners. “


  • “Serious conservatives should examine the defense budget, which contains tons of evidence of the liberalism run amok that they usually decry. All the talk of waste, fraud and abuse in government is vastly exaggerated; there simply isn’t enough money in discretionary spending. Most of the federal government’s spending involves transfer payments and tax expenditures, which are – whatever their merits – highly efficient at funneling money to their beneficiaries.

    The exception is defense, a cradle-to-grave system of housing, subsidies, cost-plus procurement, early retirement and lifetime pension and health care guarantees. There is so much overlap among the military services, so much duplication and so much waste that no one bothers to defend it anymore. Today, the U.S. defense establishment is the world’s largest socialist economy .”

    Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2011/Aug-08/The-US-benefits-from-major-defense-spending-cuts.ashx#ixzz1UP4eROWi
    (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)


  • “First, some history. The Pentagon’s budget has risen for 13 years, which is unprecedented. Between 2001 and 2009, overall spending on defense rose from $412 billion to $699 billion, a 70 percent increase, which is larger than during any comparable period since the Korean War. Including the supplementary spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States spent $250 billion more than average U.S. defense expenditures during the Cold War – a time when the Soviet, Chinese and Eastern European militaries were arrayed against the United States and its allies.

    Over the past decade, when the U.S. had no serious national adversaries, the country’s defense spending has gone from about a third of total worldwide defense spending to nearly 50 percent. In other words, America spends almost as much on defense as the planet’s remaining countries put together.”

    Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2011/Aug-08/The-US-benefits-from-major-defense-spending-cuts.ashx#ixzz1UP30DANX
    (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)


  • http://leplus.nouvelobs.com/contribution/179835;pour-en-finir-avec-le-national-racisme-de-l-extreme-droite.

    « Parmi l’offre des excitations comblant le manque à vivre, celle de l’extrême droite peut paraître alléchante : le national-racisme. Frissons garantis. Il suffit d’avoir le bon prénom et la bonne couleur de peau pour prendre part à ce sport d’équipe addictif, entre le défoulement adolescent et la chasse aux faibles, avec pour seuls adversaires ceux qui les protègent (les “bien-pensants”), et pour seule règle du jeu la jouissance de haïr en commun. »

    "Pour comprendre le national-racisme, il faut retenir certaines leçons de Wilhelm Reich sur ce qu’il appelle la “peste émotionnelle”. Elle se propage chez des individus “désespérément frustré[s]”, “qui n’[ont] jamais songé à [leur] responsabilité sociale” et qui succombent “à l’érotisme tapageur du fascisme” : “Le pestiféré , écrit le philosophe, s’insurge contre le genre de vie des autres, même s’ils ne gênent en rien ses propres habitudes car il considère leur existence comme une provocation”. Et les fascistes ne jouissent qu’en s’identifiant à l’autorité, “les yeux constamment tournés vers le haut”.
    (...)
    La pépinière nationale-raciste délivre une drogue dure. Elle réduit le monde à des dimensions plus faciles à gérer ; elle réduit la pensée à du “Nous contre Eux” binaire. En France, la droite sarkozyste s’est grossièrement abîmée dans ce trafic


  • War Room
    Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011 21:01 ET
    The true cost of George W. Bush’s magical thinking
    By Gene Lyons

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/08/03/gene_lyons_bush&source=newsletter

    The true cost of George W. Bush’s magical thinking

    “The mystery has always been why any Democrat would have wanted to follow the catastrophic presidency of George W. Bush. To understand why, it’s necessary to revisit ancient history, specifically 2001. Given today’s TV- and Internet-shortened time horizon, that’s almost like invoking the Napoleonic Wars, but bear with me.

    Thanks partly to his skill at ‘triangulation’ — seeking middle ground between left and right — President Clinton left a legacy of prosperity and balanced budgets. Republicans impeached him anyway.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. Clinton’s spectacular folly gave GOP hard-liners the excuse they’d spent his entire presidency looking for. That’s not the point. To the Limbaugh-led, Confederate-accented Republican right, all Democrats are illegitimate. President Barack Obama often acts as if he doesn’t understand that.

    Anyway, let’s stick to what’s relevant today: taxes, spending and the U.S. economy. According to Congressional Budget Office projections, had the nation maintained the fiscal course the Clinton administration laid out, the national debt everybody rants about would have been retired by 2009.

    See, that’s the real cost of George W. Bush’s magical thinking. By any rational accounting, Bush and the GOP Congress that gave him everything he wanted from 2001 to 2007 should be held responsible for the entire $10.6 trillion national debt — along with the $1.3 trillion yearly deficit they handed to Obama, as well as the Wall Street crisis and bank bailouts.

    It’s that simple: With no Bush income tax cuts, no unfunded Medicare drug benefit, and no off-budget Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the U.S. balance sheet would have been in fine shape for his successor. Then government investment needed to rescue the economy from the doldrums wouldn’t have seemed so alarming.”


    (...)

    ‘Not for nothing did Obama invoke President Dwight Eisenhower the other day. He’s basically governed as a moderate Republican all along — definitely not the kind of change his starry-eyed followers once believed in, but probably the best they can hope for come 2012.’

    * Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Gene Lyons is a National Magazine Award winner and co-author of ‘The Hunting of the President’ (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). You can e-mail Lyons at eugenelyons2@yahoo.com. More: Gene Lyons


  • http://www.fastcompany.com/1771520/survey-7-of-arab-bloggers-have-been-arrested

    “Seven percent of Middle Eastern bloggers were arrested and detained in the past year—and nearly 30% were personally threatened, according to a new Harvard University survey of 98 bloggers throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

    The survey, which was released this week, was conducted by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society in collaboration with world news aggregator Global Voices Online (GVO).”

    “Seven percent of respondents claimed to have been arrested or detained in the past year, while 30% were personally threatened and 18% had their website or personal accounts either hacked or attacked. These bloggers mainly used Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail for their own online activities. According to the survey, many were also not up to date on personal security online—in their words, “only a small number reported that they understand or implement best practices related to online security.” Only a small number (9% and 8% respectively) of respondents chose their email or social networking services primarily based on the provider’s refusal to share information with their country’s government.”


  • When elephants fight, it is only the grass that suffers
    Safa A. Hussein

    http://www.bitterlemons-international.org/previous.php?opt=1&id=132#540

    “Saudi Arabia with its narrow sectarian and political structure cannot cope with a Shiite-led government in Iraq, and has thus practically resigned from the competition. The Saudis may be the strongest ally of the US, but other Arab allies have also avoided actively engaging Iraq for similar reasons. Iran and Turkey, on the other hand, have actively engaged, filling the gaps that the US cannot—and its allies are not willing—to fill.

    The Saudis still do not have an embassy in Baghdad, while since the fall of Saddam the Iranian and Turkish ambassadors have been very active in reaching out to Iraqi political and social figures and facilitating mutual visits for politicians, businessmen, and common people. It takes one month (and probably a bribe) for an Iraqi to get a visa to Syria or Jordan, while he can get his visa to Iran in a couple of days, and to Turkey in 15 minutes at Istanbul airport. Turkish trade with Iraq is approaching ten billion dollars, while Iranian trade is growing to five billion dollars, thereby exceeding by far the amount of Iraqi trade with all Arab states.”


  • “Bruce #Bartlet of The Fiscal Times sees #Obama as a #moderate #conservative
    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/07/22/Barack-Obama-The-Democrats-Richard-Nixon.aspx#page1

    Democrat Franklin D. #Roosevelt was a transformative president, partly because of his policies but mainly because he presided over the two most disruptive events of the 20th century: the Great Depression and World War II.

    By the time Dwight #Eisenhower took office, people craved stability and he was determined to give it to them. This angered his fellow #Republicans, who wanted nothing more than to repeal Roosevelt’s New Deal, root and branch. And with control of both the House and Senate in 1953 and 1954, he could have undone a lot of it if he wanted to.

    But Eisenhower not only refused to repeal the New Deal, he wouldn’t even let Republicans in Congress cut taxes even though the high World War II and Korean War rates were in effect. He thought a balanced budget should take priority. Eisenhower also helped to destroy right wing hero Joe McCarthy and worked closely with liberals on civil rights.

    Eisenhower’s effective liberalism was deeply frustrating to conservatives. Robert Welch of the John Birch Society even accused him of being a communist. But after Republicans lost control of Congress in 1954, he was the only game in town for them.”