SCRATCH A NATIONALIST…:

January 15, 2007

EU’s surprise far-right coalition (Alix Kroeger, 1/15/07, BBC News)

The first full session of the European Parliament this year gets under way on 15 January, with the inclusion of a new far-right group. […]

They say they are in favour of the “recognition of national interests”, a “commitment to Christian values… and the traditions of European civilisation”, and the traditional family. They oppose a “unitary, bureaucratic European super state”.

They call themselves Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty – or ITS, for short.

Most of the parties in ITS are vehemently anti-immigration, but they reject the “far-right” label. They say they are near the centre of the political spectrum.

“We got 25% of the vote at the last European election,” points out MEP Philip Claeys of Belgium’s separatist Flemish Interest party.

“We can hardly be described as extremists.”

The leader of ITS, Frenchman Bruno Gollnisch, is awaiting the verdict of his trial on charges of Holocaust denial.

…find a racist.


YOU CAN SERVE THE INSTITUTION'S BUREAUCRACY OR ITS PRINCIPLES–HO CHOSE BADLY:

December 17, 2006

Kofi’s stain: UN chief wronged U.S., coddled dictators and ignored corruption (NILE GARDINER, 12/17/06, NY Daiuly News)

[A]nnan has been no friend of the American people, or of the Iraqi people. At every opportunity, he has undermined U.S. global leadership, most recently making a habit of deriding America’s decision to remove Saddam from power as “illegal.” People of good will can debate whether that decision was right or wrong – but it was Saddam, not Bush, who thumbed his nose at a dozen UN resolutions and systematically oppressed the Iraqi people.

Annan has a long track record of cozying up to dictators. He has consistently failed to condemn African tyrants such as Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe or Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan. And aside from a few perfunctory criticisms, he has been noticeably quiet about the threats against Israel posed by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Annan gave only a low-key response to Iran’s state-sponsored Holocaust denial conference, which sparked international outrage this week. To his credit, incoming Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has already strongly denounced it.

As a result of this and more, the UN’s standing as a moral authority on the world stage – not exactly stellar at the start of Annan’s tenure – has plummeted during his 10-year reign. He was forced to disband the UN Commission on Human Rights after Western complaints over human-rights abusers (Cuba, Libya, et al.) running the show. Yet his “reform” solution, the much-vaunted Human Rights Council, is just as bad. It has been unwilling even to condemn the regime in Khartoum over the crisis in Darfur.

Even worse, amid a culture of weak and permissive leadership, UN peacekeepers entrusted with protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable people have raped and abused hundreds of refugees in the Congo, Sierra Leone, Haiti and other war zones. Before he became secretary general, Annan was in charge of UN peacekeeping operations during the Rwanda slaughter and the mass killing at Srebrenica, in Bosnia. Suffice to say, in that capacity, he did not earn the top job.

The free world should not shed a tear at Annan’s departure. Rather, let New York bid good riddance to the most weak-kneed secretary general in the history of the United Nations, a shameless appeaser of despotism and tyranny. He may well be remembered as the Neville Chamberlain of our time.


BUT WE'RE EXCEPTIONAL EVEN WITHIN THE ANGLOSPHERE:

November 27, 2006

The Exceptionally Entrepreneurial Society (Arnold Kling, 27 Nov 2006, Tech Central Station)

Edmund Phelps is the 2006 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics. Shortly after his award was announced, Phelps published an essay on how capitalism in the United States differs from the system in Continental Europe. Phelps wrote,

There are two economic systems in the West. Several nations — including the U.S., Canada and the U.K. — have a private-ownership system marked by great openness to the implementation of new commercial ideas coming from entrepreneurs, and by a pluralism of views among the financiers who select the ideas to nurture by providing the capital and incentives necessary for their development. Although much innovation comes from established companies, as in pharmaceuticals, much comes from start-ups, particularly the most novel innovations…

The other system — in Western Continental Europe — though also based on private ownership, has been modified by the introduction of institutions aimed at protecting the interests of “stakeholders” and “social partners.” The system’s institutions include big employer confederations, big unions and monopolistic banks.

In Continental Europe, large banks control the bulk of investment. The United States has a more vibrant stock market, many more banks, venture capital firms, and other financial channels.

In Continental Europe, large established firms have access to funds from the large banks, but newer enterprises have a much more difficult time raising money. In the United States, the more competitive financial system gives more opportunity for entrepreneurs to raise start-up capital. […]

If the United States is exceptional because of our entrepreneurial culture, then our natural allies may not be in Continental Europe, in spite of its democratic governments and high levels of economic development. China seems more dynamic than Europe, but I would argue that China’s government-controlled financial system ultimately is not compatible with American-style entrepreneurship. Instead, we may have more in common with other nations of the Anglosphere, as well as such entrepreneurial outposts as India, Israel, and Singapore.

For the half century following World War II, the United States focused on democracy as the cornerstone of foreign policy. Democratic nations were our allies, and promoting democracy abroad was a top priority. However, it may be that American exceptionalism mostly reflects entrepreneurship. In that case, we have less in common with European social democracy than we thought previously. And, if our goal is to have more countries that look like America, then having them adopt a democratic political system may not be necessary and will certainly not be sufficient.

One wouldn’t expect a libertarian to grasp the fact, bit neither democracy nor capitalism are sufficient. They’re means, not ends.


WHY IS DEMOCRAT PROTECTIONISM EMBARRASSING TO THE GOP?:

November 14, 2006

A Setback for Vietnam Trade Bill (STEVEN R. WEISMAN, 11/14/06, NY Times)

In an embarrassing legislative setback for the administration, the House of Representatives defeated a measure late Monday that the president had sought to normalize trade relations with Vietnam, four days before President Bush was scheduled to leave for his first visit to that country. […]

The legislation received a majority vote but fell short of the two-thirds needed for passage under special rules that speeded its consideration in the House. The vote came on the first day of the lame-duck session in which the outgoing House, still controlled by a Republican majority, met to pass crucial bills by the end of this year.

The legislation received 228 votes in favor and 161 against, but it needed 32 more votes to pass on Monday. House Republican leaders said they would bring the legislation back in the next couple of days under normal procedures, which require only a majority, or 218 votes, for passage.

Though perhaps symbolic, the defeat in the House was an embarrassment not only for Mr. Bush but also for the departing Republican leaders, who had earlier in the day expressed confidence that they had the two-thirds needed for the bill to pass in the House.


THE JOKE WAS RUNNER-UP LAST ELECTION:

November 12, 2006

No longer a joke – France is having to take Le Pen’s threat seriously (Henry Samuel, 13/11/2006, Daily Telegraph)

An IFOP poll in this weekend’s Le Monde showed that 18 per cent of the French say they will “definitely” vote for the National Front chief.

That is nine points more than at the same period before the 2002 election, in which he horrified Europe by coming second to Jacques Chirac.

Mr Le Pen is convinced that his fifth presidential campaign since 1974 – and probably his last – will end in the ultimate electoral earthquake in April’s elections: “My goal is not the second round, it’s the third: the presidency,” he said as he prepared the formal launch of his presidential campaign in Le Bourget, on the outskirts of Paris, yesterday. […]

The former paratrooper’s cause has been helped by a mood of introspective nationalism sweeping France, rocked by last year’s suburban riots, a surprise No vote in a referendum on the European constitution and profound disillusionment in its politicians.

His virulent anti-immigration stance, promise of “national preference” but also defence of French sovereignty by, for example, bringing back the Franc, have struck a chord.


THE EVIL WITHIN:

November 8, 2006

Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber (Daily Telegraph, 09/11/2006)

Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, who died on Tuesday aged 82, co-founded the French magazine L’Express and wrote Le Défi Américain (1967, “The American Challenge”), in which he brilliantly anticipated Europe’s economic and cultural decline in the face of the overwhelming penetration of American goods, services and ideas.

Servan-Schreiber saw the American challenge as a “confrontation of civilisations… in the battlefield of technology, science and management”. But unlike some of his compatriots who pressed the case for Gaullist protectionism, he believed passionately in free trade and open markets, and argued that the nations of Europe needed to learn from the American experience and unite to meet the challenge of American technological innovation. “The evil is not the capacity of the Americans, but rather the incapacity of the Europeans,” he wrote.

He had been a fervent admirer of the American Way ever since he had trained with the US Air Force during the Second World War.


THERE IS NO BRITAIN:

October 24, 2006

Will the Union see its 300th birthday? (Alan Cochrane, 25/10/2006, Daily Telegraph)

Is the United Kingdom heading for fragmentation with the secession of Scotland from the Union, even as it prepares to celebrate its 300th anniversary next year? And if it is, should those who make up the vast bulk of its population – the English – give a damn?

The questions arise following a series of astonishing events, beginning 10 days ago when nearly 1,200 delegates packed the new Concert Hall in Perth – the biggest gathering at a political conference that Scotland has seen in recent memory – to hear Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party, deliver his keynote address to his annual conference. His strident call for the break-up of the United Kingdom was cheered to the echo by his adoring audience.

Nothing new there, but what was surprising was what happened next. Two days later, Sir Tom Farmer, the founder of the Kwik Fit chain of exhaust and tyre depots, told the world that Scottish independence was “inevitable”.

His words followed hard on the heels of the announcement by this self-same self-made man that he was donating £100,000 to the SNP’s coffers to help it fight next year’s elections to the Edinburgh parliament. He is not alone. Thanks to big donations from emigré Scots, the most famous of all being Sir Sean Connery, the nationalists reckon that they will have at least as much to spend next May as Labour.

On the same day as Sir Tom’s prediction came another extraordinary intervention, not from a captain of industry, but a prince of the church – Cardinal Keith O’Brien, spiritual leader of Scotland’s 800,000 Roman Catholics. The Ulster-born cardinal said that he would have no problem with an independent Scotland, if that was the will of its people and, significantly at least in the eyes of this observer, he pointed out that other small nations – such as Ireland – had done exceptionally well since gaining their independence.

Although they insist that it is not entering the political arena, the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Scotland enjoys a decidedly rocky relationship with Scottish Labour, lambasting the devolved administration for what it sees as the Scottish Executive’s “anti-family” policies, such as those on same-sex “marriages”, gay adoption and contraceptive advice to under-age schoolgirls. Neither Sir Tom nor Cardinal O’Brien has endorsed the SNP, but their espousal of independence has confirmed the growing trend towards separatism.

The interesting thing is not the truism that separation is inevitable, but that this is the exact opposite of the sort of European Union that intellectual elites thought was inevitable.


BEING PC MEANS NEVER HAVING TO FACE A RECKONING:

September 25, 2006

Day of reckoning for DDT foes? (Steven Milloy, September 25, 2006, Washington Times)

Overlooked in all the hoopla over the announcement is the terrible toll in human lives (tens of millions dead, mostly pregnant women and children under age 5), illness (billions sickened) and poverty (more than $1 trillion in lost GDP in sub-Saharan Africa alone) caused by the tragic, decades-long ban. […]

Rachel Carson kicked off DDT hysteria with her pseudoscientific 1962 book, “Silent Spring.” Miss Carson materially misrepresented DDT science in order to advance her anti-pesticide agenda. Today she is hailed as having launched the global environmental movement. A Pennsylvania state office building, Maryland elementary school, Pittsburgh bridge and a Maryland state park are named for her. The Smithsonian Institution commemorates her work against DDT. She was even honored with a 1981 U.S. postage stamp. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of her birth. Many celebrations are planned.

It’s quite a tribute for someone who was so dead wrong. At the very least, her name should be removed from public property and there should be no government-sponsored honors of Miss Carson.

The Audubon Society was a leader in the attack on DDT, including falsely accusing DDT defenders (who won a libel suit) of lying. Not wanting to jeopardize its nonprofit tax status, the Audubon Society formed the Environmental Defense Fund (now simply known as Environmental Defense) in 1967 to spearhead its anti-DDT efforts. Today the National Audubon Society takes in more than $100 million yearly and has assets worth more than $200 million. Environmental Defense takes in more than $65 million yearly with a net worth exceeding $73 million.

In a February 25, 1971, media release, the president of the Sierra Club said his organization wanted “a ban, not just a curb” on DDT, “even in the tropical countries where DDT has kept malaria under control. Today the Sierra Club rakes in more than $90 million per year and has more than $50 million in assets.

Business are often held liable and forced to pay monetary damages for defective products and false statements. Why shouldn’t the National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club and other anti-DDT activist groups be held liable for the harm caused by their recklessly defective activism?

MORE:
WHO calls for more DDT use vs. malaria (LAURAN NEERGAARD, 9/15/06, AP)

A small number of malaria-plagued countries already use DDT, backed by a 2001 United Nations treaty that set out strict rules to prevent environmental contamination. But the influential WHO’s long-awaited announcement makes clear that it will push indoor spraying with a number of insecticides — and that DDT will be a top choice because when used properly it’s safe, effective and cheap.

“We must take a position based on the science and the data,” said Dr. Arata Kochi, the WHO’s malaria chief. “One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual house spraying. Of the dozen insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT.”

“It’s a big change,” said biologist Amir Attaran of Canada’s University of Ottawa, who has long pushed for the guidelines and described a recent draft. “There has been a lot of resistance to using insecticides to control malaria, and one insecticide especially. … That will have to be re-evaluated by a lot of people.”

The U.S. government already has decided to pay for DDT and other indoor insecticide use as part of
President Bush’s $1.2 billion, five-year initiative to control malaria in Africa.

Finally: Good News for Malaria Victims (Paul Driessen, September 17, 2006, Chron Watch)

In Kenya alone, 34,000 young children a year perish from malaria, says Health Minister Charity Ngilu. Uganda suffers 100,000 deaths annually, notes Minister of Health Dr. Stephen Malinga – the equivalent of a jetliner with 275 people slamming into its Rwenzori Mountains every day.

Africa has 400 million cases of acute malaria per year; up to 2 million die. Countless millions are too sick to work or go to school, countless millions more must stay home to care for them, and meager family savings are exhausted on anti-malaria drugs.

The disease costs Kenya 170 million working days and billions of dollars annually. It is a major reason that few tourists and investors go to Africa, and that the sub-Sahara region remains one of the poorest on Earth.

Instead of improving, in recent decades the disease rates have worsened. A principal reason, as epidemiologist Robert Desowitz observed, has been insecticide-resistant mosquitoes lethally combined with insecticide-resistant health authorities, who insisted on politically correct policies, instead of proven, practical solutions.

Indeed, since the US banned DDT in 1972, despite an independent commission finding that it was safe for people and most wildlife, malaria has killed an estimated 50 million people. Opponents have focused relentlessly on the alleged risks of using DDT–while ignoring the undeniable tragedies the chemical could prevent.

DDT is no “silver bullet,” nor is it appropriate in all places or cases. However, it is a critical element of many successful malaria control programs. Sprayed just twice a year on the inside walls of homes, it keeps 90% of mosquitoes from even entering, irritates those that do come in so they don’t bite, and kills any that land. No other chemical, at any price, does that.

Look Who’s Ignoring Science Now (Sebastian Mallaby, October 10, 2005, Washington Post)

DDT, to give that chemical its more familiar name, works miracles against diseases that are spread by insects. During the Second World War, vast quantities of the stuff were dusted over troops and concentration-camp survivors to kill the body lice that spread typhus. Later, DDT was used widely in Latin America to beat back dengue and yellow fever. But the chemical’s noblest calling is to combat malarial mosquitoes. In the early 20th century, Dunklin County, Missouri, had a higher rate of malarial mortality than Freetown, Sierra Leone. Between 1947 and 1949, DDT was sprayed on the internal walls of nearly 5 million American houses, and at the end of that process malaria had ceased to pose a significant threat in the United States.

DDT also helped to eliminate malaria in Europe and parts of Asia, and in 1970 the National Academy of Sciences estimated that the chemical had prevented 500 million deaths. And yet, despite that astounding number, DDT has all but disappeared from the malaria arsenal. Some 500 million people still get the disease annually, and at least 1 million die, but the World Health Organization refuses to recommend DDT spraying. The U.S. government’s development programs don’t purchase any of the chemical. In June President Bush made a great show of announcing a new five-year push against malaria; DDT appears to play no part in his plans.

But the worst culprit is the European Union. It not only refuses to fund DDT spraying: In the case of at least one country, it has also threatened to punish DDT use with import restrictions.

That country is Uganda, which suffered a crippling 12 million cases of malaria in a population of 27 million in 2003. The Ugandans know perfectly well that DDT can help them: As Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute recently testified to Congress, DDT spraying in one part of the country in 1959 and 1960 reduced the prevalence of malaria from 22 percent to less than 1 percent. Ugandans also know the record in South Africa, where the cessation of DDT spraying in 1996 allowed the number of malaria cases to multiply tenfold and where the resumption of spraying in 2000 helped to bring the caseload down by almost 80 percent.

So the Ugandans, not unreasonably, would like to use DDT. But in February the European Union waved an anti-scientific flag at them. The Europeans said Uganda might need to institute a new food monitoring program to assuage the health concerns of their consumers, even though hundreds of millions have been exposed to DDT without generating any solid evidence that the chemical harms people. The E.U. proposal might constitute an impossible administrative burden on a poor country. Anti-malaria campaigners say that other African governments are wary of even considering DDT, having seen what Uganda has gone through.

Why does Europe impede Uganda’s fight against malaria? The standard answer starts with “Silent Spring,” the book that helped launch the environmental movement in the 1960s and that painted a scary picture of DDT’s potential impact on the food chain. But this is only half right. The book’s overblown claims led to the banning of DDT in the United States in 1972 and its disappearance from aid-funded programs thereafter. But “Silent Spring” was really about the dangers of large-scale agricultural use of DDT, not the limited spraying of houses. Today mainstream environmental groups concede that in the context of malarial countries, the certain health benefits of anti-malarial spraying may outweigh the speculative environmental risks.


MORALITY VS. TOLERANCE:

September 5, 2006

In Europe, a search for what defines the EU’s moral identity: Newer EU members struggle to promote a more traditional morality. (Christa Case and Michael J. Jordan, 9/06/06, CS Monitor)

Europe, it seems, is having a bit of an identity crisis. As leaders from Budapest to Barcelona vie to guide the continent’s forward course, the needle on Europe’s moral compass is bouncing frenetically between two increasingly polarized camps. […]

On one side are countries like the Netherlands, which has mandated that “Christ” be spelled with a lowercase “c,” and Spain, where birth certificates now provide for same-sex parents to be referred to as “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B.”

Recognizing that the choice is between morality or amorality is an important first step, but there’s little reason to believe Europe will choose the hard road of the former.


WHERE ENGLAND BELONGS:

August 29, 2006

Brussels is using terrorism to further its federal ambitions (Daniel Hannan, 29/08/2006, Daily Telegraph)

Oh, come off it, Hannan, I hear you say. Even you Euro-phobes must accept that there are some things that we ought to do together. I mean, if the terrorists are operating at an international level, don’t we need to take them on at an international level?

Yes, indeed – and we have been doing so for decades without any help from Brussels. Sovereign states have evolved highly developed mechanisms for police and judicial co-operation: the Hague Convention, extradition treaties, intelligence sharing, Interpol, mutual recognition of court orders, acknowledgement of sentences spent in each other’s prisons.

What is being proposed now, in effect, is that such collaboration should principally be administered by the EU. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t make me feel any safer. It is these same Euro-apparatchiks, after all, who have brought us the Common Agricultural Policy, the destruction of North Sea fish stocks, and accounts that have not been approved in 12 consecutive years. Why should they be any better at thwarting bombers than they are at, say, thwarting fraudsters within their own bureaucracy? […]

Five years on, it is hard to identify a single anti-terrorist success that can be attributed to Brussels. On the other hand, we have just won a mighty victory through old-fashioned police co-operation between three countries which, although on different continents, are united by language, history and law. Why should such joint operations be improved by bringing Britain’s procedures into line with Europe, rather than the Anglosphere?