Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Miss me yet???

Just after one year of “Hope and Change” it looks like people are wising up that they got sold the same bill of loser collectivist goods of the Carter years, and pining for those bad days they told us we had when republicans were in charge. As reality clashes with fantasy and things like this, this, this, this, this, this, and this keep happening, the democrats continue to pretend that what people want is bigger government, a complete takeover of healthcare - 1/5th of the economy - by that big government, and a massive migration from jobs in the private sector to a fraction of the number of jobs lost there in the public sector. And that doesn’t tackle the complete collapse of the AGW scam which wanted to expand the government take over globally and other such stupid ideas. At least Clinton was smart enough to be saved by a republican takeover of congress in 2004. I doubt Obama, a true believer, will be able to make the same connections. After all, he was told he was the messiah and could walk on water.

As I said before, a few years of the democrats in power would be enough to make many see the light. I just didn’t think it could take but one year for that to happen. I could not believe that the democrats were really this inept and stupid, but they are hard at work proving me both right and wrong. Democrats are good at manipulating the news, with help of the complicit MSM, to attack their opponents when they are in power. Unfortunately now that they are in power, even with massive help covering up for them by the MSM, they can’t hide how inept they are. Reality has a way of destroying most collectivist fantasies, and what is happening isn’t anything new. The fun thing is that I get to bring out my latest find, a poster on some highway in the Mid West that tells the story better than anything else:

image

Give it time. The numbers are getting bigger and bigger, and all but the most hard core leftists are agreeing that for all his faults, and he had them believe me, Bush was heads and shoulders a better president than the current community organizer in chief….

Posted by AlexinCT on 02/10/10 at 07:10 AM in Elections   Europe and the UK   Fun and Humor   Health Care   Left Wing Idiocy   Politics   Law, & Economics   Polls and Surveys   Science and Technology   The Press Machine   The Religion of Peace™   War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dowsing for Treason

About time too:

The director of a company which sold a bomb-detecting device to 20 countries, including Iraq, has been arrested.

ATSC’s Jim McCormick, 53, was detained on Friday on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation, Avon and Somerset police said. He has since been bailed.

It comes after a BBC investigation alleged the ADE-651 did not work.

Earlier, the British government announced a ban on the export of the device to Iraq and Afghanistan, where British forces are serving.

...

Mr McCormick has said the device, sold from offices in Sparkford, Somerset, used special electronic cards slotted into it to detect explosives.

But a BBC Newsnight investigation reported that a computer laboratory said the card it examined contained only a tag used by shops to prevent theft.

There are concerns the detectors have failed to stop bomb attacks which have killed hundreds of people.

This device is essentially a dowsing rod and is a complete sham.  But because it’s cheap and well-marketed, Iraqi police stocked up on them.  But this particular brand of bullshit was killing people.  It’s estimated that over a hundred people were dying every month because of this piece of claptrap.

Fraud and misrepresentation seem a bit weak for this.  I would suggest treason.  Stick his head on a pike in front of Buckingham as a warning to other pseudoscience frauds.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 01/23/10 at 07:51 AM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Outlawing Argument

No matter how bad things get in this country, we can comfort ourselves with the words everyone has used since the Battle of Alesia: at least we’re not France:

If you insult your wife or husband repeatedly, you could soon find yourself in court if you live in France.

The charge? Psychological violence.

That’s what the new offence will be called if a bill backed by the government is passed by parliament.

Once considered a purely private domain, rows between married or cohabiting couples could now prompt intervention from the state.

The French government wants to take the controversial step of introducing a new law banning “psychological violence” between married couples or partners living together.

I’m not going to defend people who are verbally abusive toward anyone.  I’ve know women (and men) in abusive relationships and have little but contempt for the perpetrators.  They illustrate it with a story of a man who was vile to his wife.  I knew a similar case where a man’s constant harassing of his girlfriend on the subject of her weight made her anorexic.

But I am going to go out on a limb and ask government how it judges these things, how it proves them and how it justifies fining or jailing or someone because of it.  This seems to be a law against being mean.  With my aforementioned friend, I don’t think the cops would have helped.  What ultimately prevailed was her friends getting her to dump the motherfucker.

There’s also the problem that abuse is in the eye of the abusee.  I know people who go to pieces over the slightly bit of criticism.  And I know people who can weather the most vile slanders without a problem.  These sort of laws wind up going into problematic gray areas that criminal law should avoid.  One of the reasons we can outlaw physical abuse is because we can define it for every case.  Verbal abuse ... not so much.

Lawyer Laurent Hincker, a fervent supporter of the bill, said it would not be the only crime on the books that is difficult to prove.

“There are other crimes which are also hard to prove, such as bullying or harassment in the workplace,” he said.

“For a long time people said you can’t have a law against bullying because it’s too difficult to prove, but now there is a law and people get convicted.”

Bullying shouldn’t be against the law either, but that’s a subject for another post.  Notice, however, the eternal creep of the Nanny State.  And remember that there are many people in this country who wants laws against bullying.

I also like the “we know when we see it” evidentiary standard given by the psychiatric profession for how this sort of violence can be proven in court.  In short, the French want to put shrinks in charge of the justice system.

Yeah, that’s going to work out just great.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 01/07/10 at 02:07 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blood For Oil

Good grief:

The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.

The dirty little secret of Europen’s policy on the Middle East is that oil concerns tend to dwarf everything.  The imperative is to not piss OPEC off and risk recreating the embargo of the 70’s.  But this is a step beyond even that.

If the accusations are borne out—and the paper of the people who actually do run the country makes a good case—I have to think this is the final nail in Labour’s coffin.  Te decision to release Megrahi was unpopular at best.  But releasing a mass murderer for oil?  Only evil Bushes are supposed to do that.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/30/09 at 09:31 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I’ll Slice You

What?:

Jenny Palmer, 28, was asked for her ID at the checkout after she went to the retailer’s Derby store to buy the £1.50 item.
“I’m only two years off my 30th birthday and hardly look like I’m going to go out and physically harm someone,” she said.

“I told the checkout woman I was buying it because I was moving into a new house, but she said her screen was telling her to ask for ID. I think she could have used some common sense. I can’t believe I had to go through all of that just to buy a pizza-cutter, of all things.”

M&S insisted its employee was right to demand proof of age from Ms Palmer under the ‘Challenge 25’ policy.

Staff are required to ask for identification from any customer who tries to buy alcohol or a bladed item and appears younger than 25.

Thanks God for M&S pushing the UK crusade against knives to such an absurd extreme.  My new job will require periodic trips to the UK and I’m in terror of being set upon by vicious gangs of British thugs wielding pizza cutters.  If they knew what they were doing, they could turn the cutters to one side and beat me with them.

(H/T: Popehat and Overlawyered.)

Posted by Hal_10000 on 07/29/09 at 08:38 AM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kein Gewehr Zuruckgelassen

Germany’s reaction to the recent school shooting—tougher gun laws—didn’t surprise me.  But this story makes me think they’re trying to win some kind of gold medal in European Wussiness.

Like gamers around the world, Germans love their shoot-’em-ups. Sure, video gaming isn’t quite the industry in Germany that it is in the U.S. (or some other parts of Europe), but it’s still an enormous market for the industry.

Those days are quite likely to come to a screeching halt in a matter of weeks, as Germany is well on its way to banning all “violent video games,” defined (via translation) as games “where the main part is to realistically play the killing of people or other cruel or inhuman acts of violence against humans or manlike characters.”

...

The move isn’t just one politician banging a shoe on the podium in outrage. All 16 German states have already agreed on the move and are set on implementing it—and soon. The only real hurdle remaining is pushing the law through German parliament, and that could happen before the end of the summer.

Pure panic.  How much evidence is there that violent games cause violence?  Not much, actually.  The Germans would probably achieve an equivalent reduction in their (already low) level of violence by banning lederhosen.  Fat drunken men in leather shorts certainly brings out my violent side.

I could rehash my argument on the violent entertainment question.  But instead, I’ll just take the lazy writer’s out and quote myself.

I believe that human beings are a violent species. We have to be. We are carnivores who have come to dominate the planet. The quest of civilization is not to end those violent urges, but to channel them into less destructive paths. Hence, the pretend violence of movies or video games, I believe, is a good thing. It satisfies our violent urge without doing any real harm.

People who think that violent entertainment is new need to get some historical perspective (in fact, everyone needs to get some historical perspective about just about everything — but that’s another post).

Two thousand years ago, entertainment consisted of tossing Christians to lions. Real people, real lions, real screams, real blood, real suffering. And the Romans considered it good for children to watch — it built character.

Five hundred years ago, the Spanish were torturing heretics as entertainment. Real people, real hot irons, real screams, real blood, real suffering. And they considered it good for children to watch and see the fruits of blasphemy. Around that time, cat-burning was popular in France. This consisted of lowering a bound cat over flames and laughing and feasting as it screamed. The medieval world and parts of the modern world are replete with similar examples.

A hundred years ago in this country, we performed executions in public. It was considered good entertainment if the noose failed to snap their neck and the condemned kicked and struggled while slowly choking over hours or days. It was considered good for children to go and see the fruits of criminality.

In light of this bloody history, I just can’t get worked up over two guys firing blanks at each other on TV or some kid blowing away pixels on a video screen.

I would add that many parts of the world—Sudan, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan—somehow find ways to wreck unspeakable violence in real life without any prompting from Doom.  I would make that point, but it would be too pedantic even for me.

The game-grabbers are certainly aware of all this—at least on some level.  The problem is that the push to restrict violent video games and movies had nothing to do with real violence—which is currently very low in Western countries.  It’s about control.  It’s about keeping track of what we say, do, watch or enjoy and making sure it conforms to their warped view of what human beings should be like.  They can not possibly accept that we are what we are—a flawed and troublesome product of evolution that is trying its best to muddle through the universe.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 06/17/09 at 03:41 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Speaker Has No Clothes

It sounds like the members of Parliament are shocked that there was gambling going on in their establishment:

Battered and in grave political peril after a series of humiliating disclosures about the liberties they take with their expense accounts, members of Parliament vented their frustration on their own presiding officer on Monday, saying he had lost moral authority and should resign immediately.

In an extraordinary scene in the usually smooth-running House of Commons, Michael Martin, the speaker, attempted to maintain order even as legislators from all the main parties, their voices vibrating with indignation, demanded that he go.

He kept his composure, but power and authority all but drained out of him as the session went on. He was heckled whenever he spoke, so that he would repeat “Order! Order!” in the middle of his own remarks.

“The reputation and standing of this house, in the views of those that send us here, is at the lowest point I can ever remember,” Richard Shepherd, a Conservative member of Parliament, declared, addressing his remarks to Mr. Martin, sitting in the speaker’s chair overhead.

Not being that familiar with British parliamentary procedure, I’d be curious to see how far they are able to take this. Would this be the equivalent of Republicans calling for Nancy Pelosi to resign?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/18/09 at 04:00 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Savage Ban

What the?

White supremacists, Islamic clerics, a controversial Kansas pastor and a U.S. talk show host are on a list of 22 people banned from Britain for “stirring up hatred,” the British government said Tuesday.

Britain’s Home Office said it decided to exclude the 22 in the last several months. That decision follows measures introduced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last year against people “who have engaged in spreading hate,” the Home Office said.

The Home Office named only 16 of those on the list; it said it was not in the public interest to disclose the names of the other six. A spokeswoman declined to elaborate on why the Home Office would not publicly identify six of the 22.

One of the most recognized names on the list may be U.S. radio talk show host Michael Savage, who is listed under his real name, Michael Alan Wiener. The conservative’s daily show can be heard nationwide in the United States.

This list included Fred Phelps, Stormfront’s Don Black and several violent Islamic leaders and ... Mike Savage?  Mike Savage?  I’ve only listened to his show once and thought he was stupid as all fuck, but putting him in the same category as Fred Phelps, neo-nazis and Islamic murderers?  Really?

Honestly, this looks like a list compiled from a few hours of google.  Smith clearly picked out a Right Wing talk show host to throw into the mix to give a frown of disapproval.  Whatever.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/05/09 at 07:08 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Population Mini-Bomb

Is a new baby boom in the making?

Defying predictions of demographic decline, northern Europeans have started having more babies. Britain and France are now projecting steady population growth through the middle of the century. In North America, the trends are similar. In 2050, according to United Nations projections, it is possible that nearly as many babies will be born in the United States as in China. Indeed, the population of the world’s current demographic colossus will be shrinking. And China is but one particularly sharp example of a widespread fall in birthrates that is occurring across most of the developing world, including much of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The one glaring exception to this trend is sub-Saharan Africa, which by the end of this century may be home to one- third of the human race.

So, it would appear that all the concern about the “Death of Western Civilization” by declining birthrates may be overrated. And it would mean that Europe and America may still wind up with at least another generation of workers-or, as is probably more likely, welfare state dependents. Either way, the reports of demographic death appear to have been exaggerated.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/03/09 at 05:22 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, April 27, 2009

Der Capital

The Germans, in bucking the trend of their neighbors, seem to be rediscovering the benefits of a free market economy:

Around the world, the economic crisis is raising concerns about unfettered markets and leading to more government intervention in the economy. But in Germany--a country long skeptical of freewheeling capitalism--a political party that believes in freer markets and smaller government is benefiting from the crisis.

The Free Democratic Party, whose credo is getting the state off the back of the individual, is riding high in opinion polls.
....

The FDP is benefiting from the fact that Germany’s two large ruling parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union and its partner, the Social Democrats, have backed away from business-friendly policies and shifted to the left.

“In this context many citizens find it refreshing that the FDP has remained in the center,” says the party’s leader, Guido Westerwelle, in an interview. His party currently enjoys the support of 14% to 16% of voters, according to recent opinion polls. This is up from the FDP’s 9.8% support in Germany’s last election in 2005.

What Mr. Westerwelle calls his party’s “center” stance has long appeared to many Germans as a right-leaning economic policy of tax cuts and deregulation that would mainly benefit high earners. The FDP’s image as a rich people’s lobby helped keep the party’s share of the vote low in the 1990s.

Today, however, many middle-class voters are concerned about the government’s expanding role in the economy in response to the crisis, on top of longstanding grievances over Germany’s high and complicated taxes and its jungle of bureaucratic red tape.

The FDP as Germany’s version of the Republican Party? Could our own Republicans learn something from this? Stranger things have happened.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 04/27/09 at 08:16 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, April 24, 2009

You know who else was a member of a Nazi group?

Capping off WVR’s happy story, I give you this comforting statistic.

Roughly one in twenty 15-year-old German males is a member of a neo-Nazi group, a higher proportion than are involved in mainstream politics…

The study, conducted in 2007 and 2008, also revealed that neo Nazi-symbols—in either rock music, stickers or special clothing—were used by one in 10 of the youths surveyed. The swastika and other Nazi symbols are banned in Germany.

The highest proportion of neo-Nazis was in former communist eastern Germany, where almost one in eight youths were in such groups. More than 14 percent of those questioned were described as racist, and anti-Semitism was rife.

More than 14 percent of those asked were inclined to brush off the Holocaust as “not awful” while a similar number tended to believe that Jews, through their behaviour, were not entirely blameless for their persecution.

Just in time for a recession!

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/24/09 at 02:10 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Der Master Revolutionaries

Along with France, Germany’s leaders are being put on notice that they might be next:

A clutch of political and labour leaders in Germany have raised the spectre of civil unrest after the country’s leading institutes forecast a 6pc contraction of gross domestic product this year, a slump reminiscent of 1931 and bad enough to drive unemployment to 4.7m by 2010.

Michael Sommer, leader of the DGB trade union federation, called the latest wave of sackings a “declaration of war” against Germany’s workers. “Social unrest can no longer be ruled out,” he said.

Gesine Swann, presidential candidate for the Social Democrats, said “the mood could turn explosive” over the next three months unless the government takes drastic action.

While authorities have belatedly agreed to create a “bad bank” to absorb toxic loans and stabilise the credit system, further financial troubles are almost certainly in the pipeline.

Swiss risk advisers Independent Credit View said a “second wave” of debt stress is likely to hit the UK and Europe this year as the turmoil moves from mortgage securities to old-fashioned bank loans. A detailed “stress test” of 17 lenders worldwide found that European banks have much lower reserve cushions than US banks, leaving them acutely vulnerable to the coming phase of rising defaults. “The biggest risk is in Europe,” said Peter Jeggli, Credit View’s founder.

This is what happens when you have a generation used to the idea that the welfare state will always be there for them. As European governments are forced to face the prospect of (gasp!) embracing liberal markets, the unions are now screaming bloody murder and calling for blood in the streets.

This is the difference between Europe and the United States. For all our problems, it looks as if we will eventually weather the recession regardless of what Obama might want to do. Far from being a “Counterweight,” Europe has turned into a top-heavy bureaucracy that is now suffocating under its own weight.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 04/24/09 at 12:56 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Terrorist Frogs
by HARLEY

One of the thing we kept hearing out of Europe, during the bush years , was that Europe was more sophisticated and refined than America was. Many times we were regaled with how the social system in Europe was much better than the chaotic mess we have here in the states.  It was to the point of being arrogant, and they may have a point.
however, after reading this story of near anarchy in Paris. i have to wonder, just what the fuck is going on?

At an electricity substation on a bleak industrial estate north of Paris a masked union militant is preparing to deprive a neighborhood of power.

His colleague is outside, dragging nervously on a roll-up cigarette while keeping a lookout for police or security guards. “Get a move on,” he says. “And then let’s get out of here.”

A switch is pulled down, the door of the sabotaged transformer is locked and the two activists — employees of EdF, the French state electricity supplier — drive off.

In their wake hundreds of houses and a handful of businesses in Montigny-lès-Cormeilles are left without electricity for much of the morning.

It was the second time in a week that blackouts had hit the Paris region as striking gas and electricity workers adopted radical tactics to support their call for a 10 per cent pay rise and an end to outsourcing of jobs.

WOW just WOW.
Imagine if union workers at GM or a major electrical company had pulled such a trick here in the USA.

Posted by HARLEY on 04/23/09 at 07:29 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Motherless Russia

Russia’s population is in freefall:

Since 1992, Russia’s human numbers have been progressively dwindling. This slow motion process now taking place in the country carries with it grim and potentially disastrous implications that threaten to recast the contours of life and society in Russia, to diminish the prospects for Russian economic development, and to affect Russia’s potential influence on the world stage in the years ahead.
....

Between 1976 and 1991, the last sixteen years of Soviet power, the country recorded 36 million births. In the sixteen post-Communist years of 1992–2007, there were just 22.3 million, a drop in childbearing of nearly 40 percent from one era to the next. On the other side of the life cycle, a total of 24.6 million deaths were recorded between 1976 and 1991, while in the first sixteen years of the post-Communist period the Russian Federation tallied 34.7 million deaths, a rise of just over 40 percent. The symmetry is striking: in the last sixteen years of the Communist era, births exceeded deaths in Russia by 11.4 million; in the first sixteen years of the post-Soviet era, deaths exceeded births by 12.4 million.

This doesn’t bode well for Russia’s economic or political future, as Russia’s government continues its aggressive and authoritarian trends. And the culprit?

...mind-numbing, stupefying binge drinking of hard spirits is an accepted norm in Russia and greatly increases the danger of fatal injury through falls, traffic accidents, violent confrontations, homicide, suicide, and so on. Further, extreme binge drinking (especially of hard spirits) is associated with stress on the cardiovascular system and heightened risk of CVD mortality.

How many Russians are actually drinkers, and how heavily do they actually drink? Officially, Russia classifies some 7 million out of roughly 120 million persons over 15 years of age, or roughly 6 percent of its adult population, as heavy drinkers. But the numbers are surely higher than this. According to data compiled by the World Health Organization, as of 2003 Russia was Europe’s heaviest per capita spirits consumer; its reported hard liquor consumption was over four times as high as Portugal’s, three times that of Germany or Spain, and over two and a half times higher than that of France.

Yet even these numbers may substantially understate hard spirit use in Russia, since the WHO figures follow only the retail sale of hard liquor. But samogon—home-brew, or “moonshine”—is, according to some Russian researchers, a huge component of the country’s overall intake. Professor Alexander Nemstov, perhaps Russia’s leading specialist in this area, argues that Russia’s adult population—women as well as men—puts down the equivalent of a bottle of vodka per week.

To be honest, if I had to live in Putin’s Russia, I’d probably drink, too, but this seems to be going beyond even Russia’s historically legendary standards. A nation of dwindling numbers of depressed drunks with nuclear weapons...this is not a good scenario.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 04/09/09 at 02:43 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

British Conservatism Is Teh Gay

Once again, the Tories are ahead of their Republican counterparts in the U.S.:

The Tory party has overtaken Labour as the gay and lesbian party of choice, according to a new survey.

The data, released by the Outright consortium and conducted by Gaydar, the gay communicates most famous dating service, gives the Conservatives a commanding 12 per cent lead.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are neck and neck on 18 per cent.

But 30 per cent of the 1,800 gays and lesbians surveyed said they would vote Tory at the next general election.

To read a comment piece on the result click here.

The results will come as a slap in the face for Labour, which has maintained what is arguably the most pro-gay political agenda in British political history.

There was some explanation for the results in respondents’ answers to questions on other subjects.

Asked who was responsible for the recession – the subject on which most respondents thought the next general election would be decided – 71 per cent said it was the fault of the banks. But 52 per cent said it was the fault of the UK government – a cornerstone of the Conservatives approach to the crisis.

Gordon Brown does not appear to be any more popular among gays and lesbians than he is with the general population.

Fifty-nine per cent said he did not make a good prime minister, while only 23 per cent thought he did.

Part of the reason the Tories have made a comeback in Britain is because they have been focusing on the kind of meat-and-potatoes conservatism that our supposedly conervative politicians seem to have forgotten. Of course, the UK doesn’t have the fundamentalist influence on its politics that we do. As a result, they haven’t been wasting their time alienating people who would otherwise support them. There’s a moral in that, somewhere.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 04/09/09 at 02:21 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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