zaterdag 31 augustus 2013

Razend naar de afgrond

Geplaatst door Joost Niemoller op 31 augustus, 2013 - 11:30

Nieuw onderzoek: Nederland is bevangen door angst en paniek. Er is een gevoel van controleverlies.

Het bureau Motivaction peilde voor NRC handelsblad naar gevoelens in Nederland.  De woorden die vooral naar boven kwamen waren economie, islam en Europa. Het verbazingwekkende is dat het eerste onderwerp dag in dag uit in de media is, over het tweede alleen nog een discussie in de marge bestaat, terwijl we het in de vorm van de onttakeling van het Midden Oosten dag in dag uit op het netvlies krijgen. En over Europa bestaat hier ook geen nationaal debat.
Wat me ook opviel was dat de gemeten gevoelens in Nederland kennelijk dieper en zwarter zijn dan ooit:
De peiling ging met name over angst en paniek, door de onderzoekers omschreven als ‘controleverlies’ en ‘het gevoel geen uitweg meer te hebben’. Het is voor het eerst dat Motivaction dergelijk controleverlies peilt.
Angst en paniek. Ik zie dat toch wel als de uiterste staat van volksgevoel. Iets wat alleen maar om kan slaan in woede.

Lees meer op: Dagelijkse Standaard

Obama's bread and circuses

Over the past week, President Barack Obama and his senior advisers have told us that the US is poised to go to war against Syria. In the next few days, the US intends to use its air power and guided missiles to attack Syria in response to the regime's use of chemical weapons in the outskirts of Damascus last week.

The questions that ought to have been answered before any statements were made by the likes of Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have barely been raised in the public arena. The most important of those questions are: What US interests are at stake in Syria? How should the US go about advancing them? What does Syria's use of chemical weapons means for the US's position in the region? How would the planned US military action in Syria impact US deterrent strength, national interests and credibility regionally and worldwide? Syria is not an easy case. Thirty months into the war there, it is clear that the good guys, such as they are, are not in a position to win.

Syria is controlled by Iran and its war is being directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and by Hezbollah. And arrayed against them are rebel forces dominated by al-Qaida.
Read more at: Caroline

vrijdag 30 augustus 2013

The Pros and Cons of Attacking Syria

PJ Media's columnists weigh in on intervening in Syria as the Obama administration decides how to respond to the use of chemical weapons. Updated: Michael Ledeen, Victor Davis Hanson and Roger Kimball provide their analyses.


Well today, Thursday, it looks like we’re running away from the very idea of doing anything. Today’s headlines say that the intel is suddenly dubious, that Cameron won’t do anything without the UN — which means he won’t do anything at all — and Hollande is suddenly cautious.

Surprised?  You say it’s inconceivable that Obama would do nothing at all after all the yelling and jumping up and down?

It wouldn’t be the first time. Think back to the Iranian-sponsored plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador to Washington. There was a monster press conference, featuring the FBI director and General Holder himself.  Intel was presented. Violent words were uttered. Anyone who watched it would have had only one question: what terrible vengeance will we wreak upon the Iranians?
And then…nothing. Aside from General Mattis, it’s hard to find an authoritative voice condemning the inaction (and Mattis only said it on the eve of retirement). The story just went away, as pundits assured their readers, viewers, and listeners that the Iranians couldn’t possibly have been so stupid as to have ordered an attack on American soil.

Kinda like the current refrain that Assad couldn’t possibly have been so stupid as to have ordered a chemical attack against his enemies…

Read more at: PJ Media

dinsdag 27 augustus 2013

Quick Note on Syrian WMDs and Iraq

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On the overall Syria situation, I have made clear my strong view that the Obama misadministration is leading us into a disaster--almost regardless of the end result of the intervention, our national interests lose. In addition, we are apparently going to intervene in a half-baked manner that would not have been necessary had we maintained a base in Iraq. That base would have given us an ability to come at the Syrians from two sides. A robust US military presence in Iraq also would have helped curb what is growing Iranian influence in Iraq, and hampered Iran's ability to intervene in Syria and Lebanon. Such, however, is the quality of our "leadership" that we are operating with self-imposed and severe handicaps, at the same time that we adopt grandiloquent objectives.

I notice some renewed speculation about the origin of Syria's stockpile of chemical WMDs. That reminds me of a little event in which I participated. The day, April 9, 2003, the day Saddam's statue was pulled down in Firdos Square in Baghdad. I was sitting in my office at a US Embassy in Asia. As were millions of others people around the world, I watched the destruction of Saddam's monument on TV. My phone rang; my office manager said that the Ambassador wanted me to take a call from Iraq's Embassy. I first thought it a joke, but, no, Iraqi Charge Abbas was indeed calling. I picked up the phone, and, in very good English, he immediately said, "I am calling from the Embassy of Liberated Iraq. I have told your Ambassador, you have done a good thing. You have given us freedom!" I was a bit surprised. This man had a reputation as one of the most loyal Saddamers around; just a few days prior he had been agitating for protests at the US Embassy. I had gone into the host nation Foreign Ministry to lodge my own protest over his activities. He previously had been, apparently, a senior official in the Iraqi Finance Ministry, and was very close to Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. He now wanted to talk, and was willing to come to our Embassy, but I was curious about the Iraqi Embassy and wanted to go there. We agreed to meet there in a couple of days if State approved.

Read more at:   The DiploMad 2.0

zaterdag 24 augustus 2013

In Another Country


How do we make people want to be successful?

I live in a different America now. For the past two years I lived in the inner-city of America’s most dangerous city. I saw the culture of poverty up close and personal. Some insist there is no such thing as a culture of poverty; they would think differently if they spent the last two years in my shoes. But of course they won’t.

The culture of poverty is many things. Actually it is an accumulation of things. Having one of those things doesn’t necessarily mean you are part of that culture. One characteristic of the culture of poverty is the single-parent household. But there are many middle class and even upper class (though fewer) single-parent households that are doing just fine. That is because they have resources unavailable to the poor. Like savings. Lawyers. Reliable transportation.

But if you are a single parent with multiple children by multiple fathers, and a high school dropout, with a record, then chances are you are part of that culture. If you move to a new rental every six months, yanking your kids out of school after school, and if you do drugs in front of your children, and sell your food stamps for cash, then chances are you are part of that culture. If you are 20 years old, living with your grandmother, with no interest in ever getting a job, or getting married, or doing much of anything, chances are you are part of that culture. If you do not have a kitchen table, but you do have a big flat screen TV, and when the social worker comes to visit someone yells, “The social worker is here, go get the light bulb,” then chances are you are part of that culture.

Read more at: The Spectator

donderdag 22 augustus 2013

Obama and an Edouard Daladier Moment

The day after the November 2008 election I had a major Édouard Daladier moment.

On that horrid Wednesday, I sat in my cluttered office at Main State in Washington, DC, in a deep, deep funk. Blinds drawn; lights out; a small TV on the far side of the office ran images of Obama’s victory celebration in Chicago the night before.

Two colleagues, one male and one female, both white, and both career State officers, walked into the office and started bubbling, “Isn’t this great!” Startled out of my near coma, I glumly asked “What’s great?” The woman looked at me as though I were from outer space, “The election! Obama’s victory.” I stammered, “Wha-what’s so great about it? He’s going to be an awful president.”

They looked at each other, and then the male officer said, “When you drove in today, didn’t you see the joy and pride in the black parking attendants in the basement? They have a real spring in their step this morning.” For one of the few times in my career, I was speechless. No withering reply. No cutting remark. No Churchillian riposte. No well-aimed stream of verbal acid shot from between my lips. Known while I was at the UN as the "Master of the Reply," I stared at him, as a fish pulled out of the depths might. Uncomprehending. Mouth moving without a sound. My pea-sized brain had failed me, yet again. I clearly had not understood that the 2008 national elections in the world’s most important country were about the happiness of parking attendants, about ensuring they had a "spring in their step."

These two cheerful condescending colleagues bounced out of my dreary office; I could hear them celebrating with others outside the door. A couple of minutes later, in walked another friend, a Republican political appointee, who shook his head and sorrowfully asked,”What do you think?” I fidgeted with my pen, undid my tie, and said, in my best Liev Schreiber growl, “We just did a Hemingway. Muzzle of a loaded shotgun in the mouth; about to pull the trigger. Or, as Édouard Daladier would have said, 'The fools! Why are they cheering?'”
Read more at: The Diplomad 2.0

dinsdag 20 augustus 2013

'Toons of the Day: Impudently Dictatorial At Home; Impotently Clueless Abroad

More cartoons at: Predictable History, Unpredictable Past

Consensus in Egypt

By  Mark Steyn

Further to Andy’s and David’s observations on Egypt this weekend, I would add only that everywhere except Washington people are thinking strategically: General Sisi has made a calculation that he has a small window of opportunity to inflict damage on the Muslim Brotherhood that will set them back decades and that it is in Egypt’s vital interest to do so. Grasping that, the Brothers are pushing back hard.

For the same reason, the Gulf monarchies, having weathered the immediate storms of the Arab spring and understanding the longer-term threat the Brotherhood represents, have supplanted Washington as Cairo’s principal paymasters: The $1.5 billion subvention to Egypt was always a drop in the great sucking maw of the US Treasury; compared to what the Saudis and the Emirs are ponying up, it’s looking less and less consequential from the Nile end, too.

Read more at: The Corner

donderdag 15 augustus 2013

Media, waarom horen we hier niets over?

Aanhangers van de Moslim Broederschap reageren hun woede af op de weerloze christenen in Egypte. En de media maar jammeren over al het geweld en al die zielige dode (Moslim Broederschap-aanhangende) Egyptenaren. Walgelijk!

Tallying the destruction

Please note that this situation is fluid and changing.

  1. Father Maximus Church
  1. St George Church | Burned 
  1. Good Shepherds Monastery |  Nuns attacked
  2. Angel Michael Church | Surrounded
  3. St George Coptic Orthodox Church 
  4. Al-Eslah Church| Burned 
  5. Adventist Church | Pastor and his wife kidnapped 
  6. St Therese Church 
  7. Apostles Church | Burning 
  8. Holy Revival Church | Burning 
Beni Suef
  1. The Nuns School 
  2. St George Church | al-Wasta
  1. St Fatima Basilica | Heliopolis | Attempted Attack
Fayoum (Five churches)
  1. St Mary Church | El Nazlah 
  2. St Damiana Church | Robbed and burned
  3. Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) Church
  4. Evangelical Church | al-Zorby Village | Looting and destruction
  5. Church of Joseph | Burned 
  6. Franciscan School | Burned 
  1. Diocese of St Paul | Burned 
  1. Father Antonios
  2. Atfeeh Bishopric
  1. Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram | Delga, Deir Mawas 
  2. St Mina Church | Abu Hilal Kebly, Beni Hilal 
  3. Baptist Church | Beni Mazar 
  4. Deir Mawas Bishopric
  5. Delga Church | Attacked 
  6. The Jesuit Fathers Church | Abu Hilal district
  7. St Mark Church | Abu Hilal district
  8. St Joseph Nunnery 
  9. Amir Tadros Church 
  10. Evangelical Church 
  11. Anba Moussa al-Aswad Church
  12. Apostles Church 
  1. St Mary’s Church | Attempted Burning
  1. St George Church 
  2. St Damiana | Attacked and burned 
  3. Virgin Mary | Attacked and burned 
  4. St Mark Church & Community Center
  5. Anba Abram Church | Destroyed and burned 
  1. St Saviours Anglican Church 
  2. Franciscan Church and School | Street 23 | Burned 
  3. Holy Shepherd Monastery and Hospital 
  4. Good Shepherd Church (molotov cocktail thrown)- Relationship with Holy Shepherd Monastery unknown.
  5. Greek Orthodox Church 
Christian Institutions
  • House of Father Angelos (Pastor of Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram) | Delga, Minya | Burned 
  • Properties and Markets of Copts | al-Gomhorreya Street, Assiut
  • Seventeen Coptic homes | Delga, Minya | Burned
  • YMCA | Minya| Burned 
  • Coptic Homes | Qulta Street, Assiut | Attacked
  • Offices of the Evangelical Foundation & Oum al-Nour | Minya
  • Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels | Karnak and Cleopatra Streets, Luxor | Attacked and Looted
  • Dahabeya Nile Boat | Minya| Church-owned 
  • Bible Society bookshop | Cairo | Burned 
  • Bible Society | Fayoum 
  • Bible Society | al-Gomohoreya Street, Assiut 

Uit: Coptic World

Besteed maar liever eens aandacht aan de échte slachtoffers, mensen die niet bezig waren Egypte te talibaniseren!

Update: Reports from Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood's Fresh Assault on Coptic Christians

Entrepreneurs Turn Oligarchs

by Joel Kotkin 08/12/2013

For a generation, most Americans, whatever their politics, have largely admired Silicon Valley as an exemplar of enlightened free-market capitalism. Yet, increasingly, the one-time folk heroes are beginning to appear more like a digital version of President George W. Bush's “axis of evil.” In terms of threats to freedom and privacy, we now may have more to fear from techies in Palo Alto than the infinitely less-competent retro-Reds in North Korea.

Once, we saw the potential unsurpassed human liberation available through information technology. However, Silicon Valley, as shown in the NSA scandal, increasingly has become intimately tied to the surveillance state. Technology has enabled powerful firms – including Verizon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google – to channel everyone's email and cellphone calls to the national security apparatus.

Read more at: newgeography