“Youths” honor decedents of “ethnic descent” by continuing to attack French police

I kid you not — the language I put in quotations in this post caption is the precise language the BBC uses to describe those who are engaged in a little bit of urban unrest In France. You know, the kind of innocuous urban rioting that results in more than 80 policeman being injured from beatings and bullets. Here, let me show you:

At least 10 cars have been burned and a fire broke out at a library in Toulouse, southern France, following consecutive nights of rioting in Paris.

There was also more violence in the capital as youths set cars on fire in the suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, the Associated Press news agency reports.

***

Relatives of the two dead teenagers, who were both from ethnic minorities, have insisted that police rammed their motorcycle before leaving them to die. (Emphasis mine.)

And that’s it. That’s all the information the BBC is going to give you about those rioters. But in this internet day and age, “ve haf vays” of finding out more information, even though it’s tough, very tough to do so. The Bloomberg report, for example, coyly hints at the ethnic nature of the “unrest” (Bloomberg’s word, not mine), by stating that “In France, poor neighborhoods and housing projects where many immigrants live tend to be far from city centers.” Hmm. Immigrants from where, I wonder? But we’re putting the pieces together. We’ve now got immigrant communities with people of ethnic descent.

AP, surprisingly is fairly forthright about the nature of the suburbs in which this year’s batch of riots is taking place, although it can’t resist implying that the poor innocents doing the attacking are doing so righteously because of their alienation: “The unrest showed that anger still smolders in France’s poor neighborhoods, where many Arabs, blacks and other minorities live largely isolated from the rest of society.” And again, “Youths, many of them Arab and black children of immigrants, again appeared to be lashing out at police and other targets seen to represent a French establishment they feel has left them behind.”

I’m sorry to say that the British paper The Independent is no help at all. While it boldly calls the youthful attacks on police something akin to “guerrilla warfare,” it places the blame firmly where it belongs: on the police. You see, last year, long after the riots ended, it turned out that the two youths who were electrocuted had been acting innocently when the police chased them into the power substation, knowing it was dangerous. (It does not appear that this was known when the actual riots happened, of course.) In other words, The Independent agrees with AP that the current crop of youths is righteously upset about the two kids killed while on the motor scooters, clearly justifying anarchy.

So, both at home and abroad, the MSM narrative is as follows: Young people are rioting in Paris and, in true “if it bleeds it leads” tradition, the news reports will happily tell you that they’re organized, they’re armed, and they’re incredibly aggressive, so much so that scores of police have been injured, and we’re not even talking property damage. If you insist on knowing more about who these people are, we’ll hint that they’re friends of youths of ethnic descent, and that they live in neighborhoods that have primarily Arab and African immigrants and their children.

If you suspect that part of the problem might be that these Arab and African immigrants are Muslim, please be assured that you are wrong. In the ponderous language of social scientists, the reporters will assure you that the riots/unrest/guerrilla warfare problem is entirely due to (1) the government’s treating these youths badly and (2) the fact that it emerged after last year’s riots that the police might have lied about their run-in with two of these same types of youths.

By the way, I don’t have any doubt but that part of the reason — even a large part of the reason — that these riots happen is because French society, indeed most European society, is set up so that there is no path to integration and assimilation for immigrants. That societal failure to absorb immigrants means that they’re going to be sitting in slums that become powder kegs of anger, unrest and, eventually, violence. Believing that, though, doesn’t mean that I don’t also believe that another, possibly significant, part of the problem is that there is a connection in this day and age between Muslims and violence. And when news reports play so coy, rather than my ending up believing that Islam has nothing to do with the violence, I tend to believe that Islam does have something to do with the violence and that the press is simply avoiding an issue it does not want to address.

And by the way, this kind of media avoidance syndrome — where you have to read through scads of articles to gather the puzzle pieces that shape the whole picture — is not limited to youth violence. Over at Big Lizards, Dafydd has taken the time to investigate the hidden, and very sordid, connection between the Clintons and InfoUSA, with the latter being a database marketer that knowingly sells information about vulnerable populations (the old and the sick) to organizations that run scams on these same people. He’s also taken the time to smell a rat in the article that purports to show a racist/religious-ist Romney refusing to contemplate the possibility of a Muslim holding a high government position in his administration. (Note to MSM types: it’s the carefully placed ellipses that always end up giving you away.)

My bottom line to the media: either report the news or stop pretending that you do.

UPDATE: It’s currently hidden behind the WSJ’s subscription wall, but John Fund has written a great article about Nancy Pelosi’s current effort to make America more like France by working to ensure that the current generation of immigrants remains stuck forever in non-English speaking poverty. Consistent with fair use, I’ll give you just a taste of what Fund has to say, and we’ll hope that the WSJ soon releases the article for general consumption:

Should the Salvation Army be able to require its employees to speak English? You wouldn’t think that’s controversial. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up a $53 billion appropriations bill funding the FBI, NASA and Justice Department solely to block an attached amendment, passed by both the Senate and House, that protects the charity and other employers from federal lawsuits over their English-only policies.

The U.S. used to welcome immigrants while at the same time encouraging assimilation. Since 1906, for example, new citizens have had to show “the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English.” A century later, this preference for assimilation is still overwhelmingly popular. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 87% of voters think it “very important” that people speak English in the U.S., with four out of five Hispanics agreeing. And 77% support the right of employers to have English-only policies, while only 14% are opposed.

But hardball politics practiced by ethnic grievance lobbies is driving assimilation into the dustbin of history. The House Hispanic Caucus withheld its votes from a key bill granting relief on the Alternative Minimum Tax until Ms. Pelosi promised to kill the Salvation Army relief amendment.

UPDATE II: More on liberal efforts to keep minorities ghettoized.

UPDATE III: For a literary touch, I’ll just throw in one more thing. Because I’m feeling lazy, I’ve been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night, one of my favorite novels from England in the mid-1930s. (Even though it’s a mystery, I view it as a novel because, after many readings, there are no mysteries left in that book for me.) The book takes place at Oxford, and has a healthy respect for the old-fashioned idea of academic objectivity. Sayers therefore has one of her characters, during a discussion with someone about a history book, say the following:

“I entirely agree that a historian ought to be precise in detail; but unless you take all the characters and circumstances concerned into account, you are reckoning without the facts. The proportions and relations of things are just as much facts as the things themselves, and if you get those wrong, you falsify the picture really seriously.”

The whole book, incidentally, is a testament to examining facts without allowing private belief systems or loyalties to interfere with ones understanding of those facts.

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A petition to sign regarding freedom of truthful information

As you probably know, both the Second Intifadah and a sudden and dramatic nosedive in Israel’s already low standing around the world got their impetus from a horrific video shown on French TV: the death of 12 year old Palestinian boy as collateral damage in a shoot out between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. Muhammad Al-Durah became an instant martyr. Of course, as you probably also know, it was a fake. It never happened. It was a propaganda coup from beginning to end, all done with the complicity of France2.

Although the video’s fakery has been exposed, France2 holds more footage which, in a just and moral world, should be released, both to clear Israel fully and to hold up for censure all involved in this canard that resulted in so much spilled blood. If you would like to be a part of pressing for the release of all footage, go here and sign the petition.

Sadly, although the petition has been floating around for a few days, and has gotten some exposure at large blogs (Pajamas Media, Augean Stables, Captains Quarters, etc.), it isn’t getting a lot of signatures. I’m sure there are some people who think “Eh, this is old news and it’s French TV, so why does it really matter to me?” It matters because this story is just one in a series of corrupt stories that are being pushed around the world to manipulate public opinion. Perhaps each alone is unremarkable, but taken together, they represent a vast paradigm shift in the way worldwide public opinion is being changed, not based on facts, but based on falsehoods. It should concern all of us when we begin to function, not in a marketplace of ideas, but in a marketplace of Orwellian misinformation.

UPDATE: And if you’re in the mood for signing petitions that make important points, N.Z. Bear, known to all of us for his ecosystem, has put together a petition urging Congress to support General Petraeus and the Surge.

You’re not imagining it if you think many Europeans hate us

And the reason they hate us is because they’re told to do so.  Read this post at David’s Medienkritik and take the few minutes to watch the video, either over at David’s, or here:

Hitchens on Bernard Kouchner

When Christopher Hitchens isn’t debating religion, when he just sounds like a gadfly enfant terrible, he makes tremendous sense.  As is the case with so many Leftists who have embraced the War Against Jihadism, he has a good understanding of totalitarian mind think, and a healthy disdain for those Leftists still foolish enough to believe that capitalism is the ultimate enemy.  His witty and interesting tribute to Bernard Kouchner, France’s new foreign minister, is enjoyable and intelligent reading, right from the opening paragraphs, in which he takes aim at the coalition of the unwilling in the early days of the Iraq War:

During the early debates over the Iraq war, one was constantly being challenged to contrast the “unilateralism” of the Bush administration with the more mature and “European” approach of Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder and Vladimir Putin, the gleesome threesome who (along with the Chinese dictatorship) protected Saddam Hussein at the United Nations. What a difference a couple of years has made. Tony Blair may be stepping down as prime minister of the United Kingdom, but for the first time in a very long time, the heads of state in Paris and Berlin are both “Atlanticist” in their outlook. One might add that Chirac quit the Élysée Palace looking and sounding like a stroke victim who had long ceased to have anything relevant to say and that Schröder disgraced the German Social Democrats by barely waiting to leave office before signing up as a lobbyist for a Russian-based energy cartel. And is it necessary to add that Putin has revived the worst traditions of Great Russian chauvinism, crushing all domestic opposition at home while bullying Ukraine, Georgia, and most recently Estonia, and flaunting his connection to the ultra-reactionary Russian Orthodox Church. What a crew they were and are! The fourth member of the anti-Bush coalition of the willful, the cold-eyed Chinese post-Stalinists, are still engaged in a blood-for-oil scandal whereby Beijing provides the sinews of war to the genocidal regime that cleanses Darfur, while paying to buy most of Sudan’s petroleum.

The single best symbol of the change in France is the appointment of Bernard Kouchner to the post of foreign minister. Had the Socialist Party won the election, it is highly unlikely that such a distinguished socialist would ever have been allowed through the doors of the Quai d’Orsay. (Yes, comrades, history actually is dialectical and paradoxical.) In the present climate of the United States, a man like Kouchner would be regarded as a neoconservative. He was a prominent figure in the leftist rebellion of 1968, before breaking with some of his earlier illusions and opposing the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan—the true and original source of many of our woes in the Islamic world. The group he co-founded—Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières—was a pioneer in the highly necessary proclamation that left politics should always be anti-totalitarian. (His former counterpart, Joschka Fischer of Germany, also took a version of this view before Schröder’s smirking Realpolitik became too much, and too popular in Germany, for him to withstand.)

Read, and enjoy, the rest here.

With news like Kouchner’s appointment, I continue my moratorium on saying anything mean-spirited about the French.  When faced with an internal crisis in the form of one big terrorist attack, the Spanish caved.  When faced with an internal crisis in the form of myriad small acts of terrorism (riots, car burnings, murderous anti-Semitic attacks), the French didn’t.  Kouchner seems to be part of that paradigm.

Stale, flat and unprofitable

I’m feeling uninspired. Usually, my brain is teaming with things that I desperately want to transfer to my blog. Today, though, I can’t seem to get excited about any one thought. Instead, I feel buffeted by disparate pieces of information that I can’t weave together into a coherent whole — or, if I do finally weave some intellectual cloth, I’m saddened by the results.

For example, in quick order this morning I read two articles about political trends in the US.  The first was Michael Barone’s Realignment of America, which sees a demographic power shift away from the Blue State coastal areas and into Red State “flyover” country. As someone who has lived in both Red states and Blue, I see that as a good thing and cause for optimism, both in the near and far future. I also enjoyed the article’s tone, because Barone had some great points to make and used colorful imagery to make them:

This is something few would have predicted 20 years ago. Americans are now moving out of, not into, coastal California and South Florida, and in very large numbers they’re moving out of our largest metro areas. They’re fleeing hip Boston and San Francisco, and after eight decades of moving to Washington they’re moving out. The domestic outflow from these metro areas is 3.9 million people, 650,000 a year. High housing costs, high taxes, a distaste in some cases for the burgeoning immigrant populations–these are driving many Americans elsewhere.

The result is that these Coastal Megalopolises are increasingly a two-tiered society, with large affluent populations happily contemplating (at least until recently) their rapidly rising housing values, and a large, mostly immigrant working class working at low wages and struggling to move up the economic ladder. The economic divide in New York and Los Angeles is starting to look like the economic divide in Mexico City and São Paulo.

Democratic politicians like to decry what they describe as a widening economic gap in the nation. But the part of the nation where it is widening most visibly is their home turf, the place where they win their biggest margins (these metro areas voted 61% for John Kerry) and where, in exquisitely decorated Park Avenue apartments and Beverly Hills mansions with immigrant servants passing the hors d’oeuvres, they raise most of their money.

Immediately after reading Barone’s article, however, I read Bruce Barlett’s pessimistic article virtually promising a Democratic takeover of the White House 2008, which is why he’s putting his money on Hillary, the most conservative of the Democratic candidates:

While conceding the possibility that I am wrong, I think it is foolish to ignore the strong Democratic trend that is indisputable. Republicans should remember that they just barely won the White House in 2000 and 2004 against very poor Democratic candidates and with the party strongly united behind George W. Bush. I just don’t see that happening again next year.

The Republicans are not going to be as united, and it is almost a certainty that the Democrats will run a better campaign in 2008. I think all three of the Democrats within striking distance of the nomination will be better candidates than Al Gore or John Kerry. And because of the close losses in 2000 and 2004, the Democrats will really pull together this time.

Meanwhile, voter fatigue is going to wear heavily on the Republican nominee, who is not likely to have the same unity of party that the Democrat will have. It is obvious that there is no enthusiasm for any of the Republicans, which is why so many in the party are yearning for another candidate, such as former Sen. Fred Thompson, to jump in the race. The Republican nominee will be the last candidate still standing at the end of the day, which is not a prescription for party unity.

Bartlett further supports his thesis by pointing to the fact that major business donors, who formerly supported Republicans, are now backing Democrats, whom they see as the winning horses in the next big race.

Conflicting stories such as these leave me befuddled.  Lacking either a crystal ball or intense political science-type information, I simply can’t optimistically, or pessimistically, place myself behind one or the other argument.  In other words, unusual for me, I have nothing to say.

You’ll also notice that, although I remarked upon Sarkozy’s election, I’ve otherwise been silent.  I think it’s a good thing, showing that the French are figuring out that they’ve created a problem for themselves over the past few decades, but I actually don’t see a Thatcherite revolution in the making.  For one thing, as I noted yesterday, there’s good reason to believe that the French administrative system is so deeply entrenched that nothing will change it.  Every single person holding a government managerial position in France, from the lowest to (excluding Sarkozy) the highest, has been trained in one way of thinking, and that’s the way that’s been in effect since the 1960s.  That alone means that Sarkozy will be, at best, decorative and, at worst, a much touted conservative failure.

I also think people are deluding themselves to believe that Sarkozy can completely stop the current rioting or prevent future eruptions — a hope I heard Michael Medved express on his radio show yesterday.  You all know that I’m not much of a “root cause” person, believing as I do that individuals have more moral complexity and flexibility than the Marxists would have us think.  However, from everything I’ve read or heard, from people on either side of the political divide, the French system is exceptionally hostile to allowing in anyone who doesn’t completely abandon his personal identity in favor of a generic “Frenchness.”  Do the latter, of course, and you’re in like Flynn.  However, if you resist that entre — and who is more resistant currently than Muslim immigrants? — all doors are closed to you.  This means that, no matter how fast Sarkozy arrests the more violent actors, unless he can change in a year or two the entire French economic and social system, the banlieus will continue to be petri dishes for ever more disaffected, violent “youths.”

And don’t even get me started on Israel.  Israel is in seriously bad shape, and it’s not helped by the fact that Olmert, who seems to be inefficient at everything useful, proves to be surprisingly efficient at the one thing that is least beneficial to Israelis — keeping his political balance.  This is a country that is inevitably going to be on the receiving end of a multi-front war, and that has no leadership.  However, it’s worse than that.  Even if Olmert were to resign now, it would still be a dreadful thing.  If I were collective of hostile nations planning to attack Israel, I couldn’t think of a better time to do it than after a government collapse and in the run-up to a new election.  I also found incredibly disturbing (as you know) the fact that Israel was so hampered by media coverage and Islamic propaganda that she found herself incapable of waging a war to win, as opposed to waging a war to stalemate.  The last was an especially stupid thing to do, so it did not change by one iota the venom poured out against her in the media and (of course) in the Arab/Muslim world.  Unless there has been a sea change in the Israeli psyche since last summer, any future war will be a repeat of the last one, only worse.

I could go on and on and on, but I clearly have little to say except to grumble or express bafflement.   That is, the information currently available to me either confuses or depresses me.  Worse, both emotions leave me without that wonderful intellectual frisson I get when I feel as if I’ve seen a unifying idea buried within mountains of disparate information.

Knowing me, I’ll probably be back babbling within a day (or even hours), but right now I do feel disheartened, and it slows my fingers on the keyboard.

Sarkozy won!

I consider this good news:

Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidency by a comfortable margin Sunday and immediately signalled his victory would mean friendly relations with the United States.

His socialist opponent, Segolene Royal, conceded defeat for her hopes of becoming France’s first woman president. With nearly 70 percent of ballots counted, Sarkozy had just over 53 percent of the vote, according to the Interior Ministry.

Washington can “count on our friendship,” Sarkozy told hundreds of cheering supporters, though he added that “friendship means accepting that friends can have different opinions.”

President Bush swiftly phoned the new president-elect to offer congratulations.

“The United States and France are historic allies and partners. President Bush looks forward to working with President-elect Sarkozy as we continue our strong alliance,” said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

Largely untested on the global stage, Sarkozy delved into foreign policy in his first speech as president-elect, urging the United States to take the lead on climate change and saying the issue would be a priority for France.

“The people of France have chosen change,” Sarkozy said, while pledging to be “president of all the French.”

Voter turnout was projected at 85 percent – a level not seen in 40 years – thanks to the dynamism of both candidates and the high stakes for a nation losing global clout to neighbors Britain and German and even developing countries like China and India.

“I gave it all my efforts, and will continue,” Royal told supporters as she conceded defeat. “Something has risen up that will not stop.”

Did you notice Royal’s little threat at the end of the passage I quoted (there’s more, here)? I wouldn’t normally have paid too much attention, if she hadn’t tried to blackmail the French public in the days leading up to the election by threatening violence from her followers.

The big question, of course, will be whether Sarkozy’s election, although it does signal a change in the French mindset, will make any real difference to French governance.  To understand what I mean, read this Commentary Magazine article entitled “Can France be Saved” by Michel Gurfinkiel, in which he discusses France’s deeply entrenched ruling class.

You’ve just got to love the AP

In a lengthy article about increasingly aggressive rioting in the Paris suburbs, the AP manages only reference to “Muslim” and that with an oblique reference to France’s failure to give Muslim’s economic opportunities. The article carefully refrains from identifying by religion the current crop of gun-wielding, bus-burning “youths.”  If you can read code, though, you’ll learn that some participants in a memorial march for the two “youths” whose deaths sparked last years riots read prayers in Arabic (probably not the Lord’s prayer, if you get the AP’s oh-so-subtle drift). The following is just a bit of the “news” report (’cause it’s not really news if you leave out the main point) :

Police deployed 4,000 reinforcements as marauding youths torched at least two public buses Friday, the anniversary of the deaths of two teenagers that ignited weeks of riots in largely immigrant housing projects across France.

After the buses were burned, Paris’ transport authority curtailed bus service in the Seine-Saint-Denis region north of the capital, which is home to thousands of immigrants and their French-born children.

Thierre Ange, a 19-year-old witness, said four men attacked the bus, “made everyone get off, then they hit a woman and dragged out the bus driver by his tie” and torched the bus with a gasoline bomb in a bottle. The blackened carcass of another bus that was burned earlier stood across town in Le Blanc Mesnil.

Flaming cars became a symbol of the rioting last year, which jolted France into recognizing a failure to give equal opportunities to many minorities – especially those of Arab and black African origin – and the country’s 5 million-strong Muslim population.

***

Last year’s outburst of anger at the accidental deaths of the two teens – who were electrocuted in a power substation in Clichy-sous-Bois, northeast of Paris, while hiding from police on Oct. 27, 2005 – grew into a broader challenge of the French state.

Several hundred people marched silently Friday through Clichy-sous-Bois in honor of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore. Benna, 17, was buried in his father’s native Tunisia. Traore, 15, was of Mauritanian descent.Adolescent boys in hooded sweat shirts made up a large part of the mixed-race crowd, their heads bent as prayers were read in Arabic and French.  (Emphasis mine.)

I also like the way the article conveniently ignores the fact that the two boys electrocuted last year were electrocuted, if I remember correctly, as they ran from the police in an attempt to avoid arrest.