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inter lineas

Vom Westen nichts neues ...?

Zin en onzin, gebundeld

Western Self-Righteousness

Current EventsPosted by grim(m)burger Tue, December 17, 2013 12:34:55

We have been sure, in the West, that our view on the world, our systems of government, our philosophy about humanity are, by far, superior over any attempts by other peoples to figure out what is good, better or best for the world, or even for their part of the world.

It is natural that the free press is free to say what they want, even though outright fabrication of news that damages people or countries should, in my opinion, still be subject to some laws. What we observe in our daily lives is that, with the continued loss of world dominance and historic leadership by "The West", the indigenous media become more and more biased, and perhaps intentionally misleading when reporting world events.

Lately Ukraine has proved to be a case in point. For anyone reading or listening to western media outlets, be they official (state sponsored) or private, it seems as if a large democratic (of course!) majority in Ukraine wants to seek association with Europe, and not with the (by their own definition) undemocratic Russia. The reality of course is different because independent observers and eastern Ukrainians do not believe that an association with Europe, at this time, is in Ukraine’s interest.

It is awkward then to see John McCain promote the “Anschluss” with Europe, as if the hundred thousand campers in Kiev, some reportedly paid ten Euros per day to stay put, represent the majority of the Ukrainian people. On the same day, the BBC showed for the very first time reactions of easterners about the events in the capital. Is McCain aware of their diverging demands (and thus disingenuous) or is he ignorant (and thus out of place)? We should not blame him in particular because there is a whole chorus of politicians and journalists that sing the same song every day.

Innocent and far away though it was, the Chilean election gave them another opportunity to wave the flag of true democracy. In fact, on the night before the vote, the Belgian state tv wanted to report that they were in favour of a Bachelet victory (presumably without having much knowledge of the issues and programs in the campaigns). As expected, Bachelet won and the news of her overwhelming majority soon reverberated through the ether! Apart from “El País”, I found no mention at all in the press of the abstention rate in the elections. It stood at 59% . The newsrooms in the West elected to disregard this number, presumably because it is an unwanted indication about how Chileans regard “their democratic process”. If the same abstention would be produced at the next vote on a new Constitution in Egypt, the same media will climb in high trees to vociferously denounce the validity of such a vote.

And so it goes: our western “system” that was born, in pain and joy, somewhere at the end of the 18th century, has by now been deformed, corrupted and massacred by the powers of yesteryear and today, so that it serves them, and their friends and supporters, to stay on top and dictate, not withstanding a semblance of plebiscites, how the world needs to turn so that they, their parties, their businesses and their friends can benefit the most. And, let us not forget to thank them for (their) free press!

Grimburger, December 17th 2013

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Rise & Slide

Current EventsPosted by grim(m)burger Thu, April 25, 2013 14:06:18

The WSJ asks: “How long can bonds from Europe's worst-off countries rally while their economies slide?”

Surely, this must be a rhetorical question!?

The answer is simple indeed: as long as the political class in Europe continues to re-assure and comfort investors by stating that any and all inherently speculative losses will be covered at the expense of the hordes of taxpayers at their disposal (including via seizing, impounding or confiscating any or all of their lifetime savings), this "gravity-defying" phenomenon will continue.

For them - our self-proclaimed democratic rulers - it is the sole way to be friends with all those financiers and sponsors that are essential for them to hang on to continuing political power and, of course, to cozy up with these brethren, enjoying life in the privileged caste.

No higher math is needed.

Grimbergen, 24 April 2013

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Justice & Democracy in Early 21st Century

Current EventsPosted by grim(m)burger Fri, April 15, 2011 09:41:21

It was painful, very painful to watch President Obama struggle during seemingly endless minutes, at a White House photo-op, to find the right words that, simultaneously, supported the need to bomb a dictator in Libya while the Emir of Qatar, sitting next ti him, had to be bestowed with democratic accolades. I have rarely witnessed such a duplicitous performance by any US President – and then to think that many thought that he would restore credibility to the office!?

It seems meanwhile that, once modern-day leaders have engaged in wars of choice under the flag of installing democracy and saving human lives, the very roots of our western society are being trampled, as necessary, be that in praising a very useful Arab autocrat as a friend of democracy, or in conveniently shoving aside widely held beliefs about Moussa Koussa, Khadafy’s former right hand.

It was a surprise, perhaps only for the public at large, that Koussa could fly to Qatar to inform the Contact Group (apparently nobody trusted the UK Minister to produce an informative summary of the long-running debriefings). Not often do prosecutors allow suspects (who, moreover, might want to try and escape) to fly around the world – not even in private jets. And when autocrats belatedly discover unintended lapses in certain processes, they usually correct things retro-actively such that a case can be made that logic had indeed been respected.

Obviously, Koussa’s travels have been retro-actively approved by the proper authorities. Today the BBC reports as follows on its website:

Alex Salmond [premier of Scotland] said if there had been evidence he was a suspect he would have been arrested by the authorities. It comes after the Treasury announced Mr. Koussa had been removed from the EU sanctions list in a notice on Thursday. It said Mr. Koussa was deleted from the list of people and companies who have their assets frozen by the EU. The former head of Libyan intelligence fled Libya and Col Muammar Gaddafi on 30 March for the UK. He has been accused of involvement in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing during his time with Libya's intelligence service.

From a long-standing belief that Koussa was instrumentally involved with the Lockerbie bombing, the sponge was wiped over all suspicions and accusations in a couple of days! The “Group of Three” is apparently so desperate to prove themselves “right” that they are prepared to throw all the core values of the Western Civilization out of the window to justify their grand ambitions. It is no secret that Sarkozy has never been able to escape his Louis XIV ambitions, but Obama and Cameron?

If anything, the Libya wars may very well be viewed by history as the beginning of the end of the Enlightenment Empire, coming in the wake of the Fall of Capitalism, propagated by the politico-financial bulwarks of the late 20th century. Perhaps the people in the Old Countries need to start working on a Restoration?

Grimburger, 15th of April 2011

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Babylonian "rebel" confusion

Current EventsPosted by grim(m)burger Sat, April 02, 2011 10:59:02

It is not surprising that our leaders are getting confused if even the NYT/IHT cannot discern friend from foe. The perils of postmodern democracy are unpredictable indeed. The use of the word “rebels” by the NYT in various articles is indicative.

To be sure, the Libyan opposition has invariably been referred to as “rebels”. That appears to be correct, for it now becomes clear that they are rag-tag organized like rebels, fight rather undisciplined like rebels and, apart from a few faces, have leaders and commanders that are largely unknown (explaining, it is rumoured, why the CIA and MI6 are “on the ground”). Moreover they represent an armed opposition to an elected (albeit tyrannical) government: regular rebels, no doubt, irrespective of their good (who knows?) intentions.

With the killings in Ivory Coast all of a sudden (?) challenging the numbers of the predicted onslaught in Libya, the NYT/IHT now consistently describes the forces of the President-Elect Ouattara as “rebels”. However, they are the forces supporting the democratically elected president, recognized by most as legitimate. Moreover, they are not protected by a no-fly zone, nor has President Sarkozy stated that the local French garrison will assist them to remove Gbagbo, the usurper (presumably commanding “the army”), from power. Being legitimate and unsupported by the Western Triumvirate, they do not fit the Libyan definition of “rebel”. Why then does the NYT/IHT semantically pretend, or insist, that they do?

Simplistic language suffocates advanced civilisation.

Grimburger, 2nd of April 2011

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Moussa Koussa

Current EventsPosted by grim(m)burger Thu, March 31, 2011 16:25:54

Moussa Koussa: it sounds like a tastily-hot Maghreb dish. Hot it might prove to be, Maghreb it is, but a dish? That is somewhat farfetched. Actually, even though couscous sounds somewhat alike, Moussa Koussa is the (just now) ex-foreign minister of Libya. He is, let us mention it just in passing, also the ex-longtime-confident of Khadafy, the ex-chief of the intelligence services and, it is rumored, that he may have had some links with the Lockerbie bombing.

This morning the gray eminence came looking for food in London, and all “coalition members” (in reality only France, England and the USA) jumped with joy: the castle around Khadafy was now visibly crumbling, they claimed. Perhaps it was, but I was wondering what hand this man had in killings during the past decades , and in Khadafy’s stated aims to get rid of the (so-called) vermin in Benghazi, just one month ago. Why did he not, for instance, resign and flee together with other early defectors at the outbreak of the revolt?

Hague and Clinton, in particular, must be very desperate for good news if they embrace the flight of a brother-in-arms of the “Ole Colonel” with such enthusiasm. True to form for contemporary politicians – who unscrupulously explain any event as a proof of their self-proclaimed righteousness and their spirited insightfulness - they did not waste time wondering about Moussa’s past. They probably figured that they could not know about it until their own intelligence agents had fully debriefed the fugitive. Of course, someone at of the Foreign Office was also quick to declare that Moussa had not been offered asylum or shelter of any kind in Britain, keeping all options open to backtrack (and save political lives in England) if events warrant it.

And events may warrant it, for indeed the BBC reported a couple of hours into this twisty saga, that Moussa actually had had a fall-out with one of Khadafy’s sons not so long ago. All politicians know, especially those that are operating in less democratic settings (such as in dictatorships and within most political parties) that serious disagreements with the top-brass almost invariably end in the proverbial dungeons. In the case of Libya this may be literally true, if one is lucky enough to escape decapitation!

So then, why exactly did Moussa flee? Because he disagreed with Khadafy on how to maintain the sovereignty of their country? Because he was afraid that one or more tentacles of the regime would neck him anyway? Or, because of all of the above, augmented by the fact that he wanted to come clean in a democratic setting about the policies and actions that he has supported and undertaken over the last forty years?

If Moussa is your average politician (and, by the way, the variance around the mean in this profession is extremely small – therefore most of them are very average in this day and age), he has calculated that his best and perhaps only chance of personal survival was to flee, to escape in fact. The average politicians that awaited him on the other side, calculated that in their cards he fitted best as a prize ace of a crumbling regime. And, as the media in general seem to support this war, the actors were allowed to stage their show as they saw fit, without too much question or interference: the script is written as we speak and the choirs are singing in synchrony.

The marketing of the shady sides of this ill-prepared intervention is unsettling. Unfortunately though, President Obama is still on a different sheet, a couple of lengths ahead of the already misguided pack. For starters, he has said repeatedly that he (supported by his hotheaded French counterpart) is seriously considering arming the rebels. But there is worse, as last night there surfaced credible reports that Obama had already signed a “finding”.

A finding is Washington Newspeak, or code language, for allowing CIA to support to the rebels, including providing them with arms. Echoes of Nicaragua in the eighties and imperialist visions? Obama also seems to believe that the UN resolution 1973 allows the delivery of weapons to the rebel forces. Oddly enough, everyone – that is politicians and commentators - keeps talking about the Libyan opposition as rebels or rebel forces. Even though that may be semantically defensible, marketing wise it does not sound “very right”. Language has many faces.

It is no secret that all international organizations together spent billions a year translating thousands of texts, be they laws, resolutions, reports and the like. As a matter of fact, batteries of interpreters make sure that even the spoken word is translated on the spot, to avoid lapses of early, initial misunderstanding, no doubt. With these latest declarations of the US Commander-in-Chief we are left to wonder whether the UN resolutions ought to be translated into American such that President Obama (and his advisors) would also unequivocally understand at least the exact meaning of what has been agreed.

Surely, if Obama does not understand the word “embargo” he would do well not to stand for re-election because chances are that, unbeknownst to the voters, there are most certainly many other common words that he does not understand, or that he unintentionally misinterprets. And that is bad news for the country, and for the world. On the other hand, if Obama does understand the meaning of “arms embargo”, and yet maintains that has been empowered to arm the Libyan rebels, then he ought to be removed from office, on the devil. Indeed, if even the President of the United States, acts, knowingly, willingly and defiantly, against the resolutions of the UN, the world and the USA are entitled to another head of state in Washington.

Grimburger, 31st of March 2011

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Self-Indulgent & Failing Leaders

Current EventsPosted by grim(m)burger Sun, March 20, 2011 11:01:55

The dead civilians in Yemen have been buried in silence it seems; in Syria the police tear gassed the mourners for the dead of Friday's clashes and Bahrain has disappeared from the news since the Saudis have started helping the King, also a generous host to the US 5th Fleet. The biggest news of the day was that Hamas has sent over fifty rockets into Israel: more destrcutive force than at any other moment in the last two years.

And meanwhile the killing and raping continues in Eastern Congo, while Mr. Gangbo has not let up in his war with the legitimately and democratically elected president of Ivory Coast. Undoubtedly the secret intelligence agencies of the "Golden Self-Indulgent Western Democracies" know of many more atrocities...

And yet, France, the UK and the USA have pushed to punish Libya, or better, to punish Kaddafi and liberate Libya. While I usually try not to second guess the motives of united world leaders when they attack (alone, or under cover of an "alliance") tyrants, it is difficult to escape that kind of thinking this time around.

Why Kaddafi? What makes saving Libyans nobler than saving Yemenis or Ivoirians? What exactly makes Kaddafi worse than other tyrants? Did he not raise the standard of living for most citizens over the years? Who are the "Representatives of the Libyan People" that will take over once Kaddafi's regime has been eliminated (whatever that may mean in terms of numbers or time frame)? Is the oil under the ground the real reason? Or is the reconstruction which will (as it did in Iraq) be a prerogative of companies linked to the victorious forces?

Given that our noblest of leaders would, obviously, never prefer to save the life of a Libyan over the life of another African, it is nigh impossible to overlook the last two reasons: oil and business. And accessibility of course (after all, Libya belongs to the area of the "Mare Nostrum", as the Mediterranean has been known to former world powers), and can easily be pummeled from international waters. Let us not forget neither that the West is still in the throngs of an economic crisis, and war has often proved an effective weapon to combat problems at home, economically as well as mediatically.

Beyond these obvious questions, I need to strain myself to try and imagine other plausible, albeit speculative explanations for this rush into another war. I then arrive at thoughts that elucidate the utterly failing leadership in the "Golden Self-Indulgent Western Democracies". For indeed, other kinds of motives ought to be related to "deep ego" or to "the dream of state building".

The early twenty-first century saw examples of the latter: Iraq and Afghanistan shine brightly as absolute failures in their class. Imposing democracy has not worked (notwithstanding elections and parliaments), because it plainly obstructs the sitting powers and because the people are not ready for it and do not believe that it is the best form of government. (Given the way it now works in the West, where money or established power structures determine the landscape, it is not in the best interest of the western people neither!)

All in all, we should not dismiss the "ego" factor out of hand though. Who cannot remember the gallant reception that Mr. Sarkozy offered to Kaddafi when he visited the Elysée Palace a while ago? All smiles and handshakes. Neither of these leaders, as is the case with most of leader types, are lacking in excessive hubris and power-drenched self-indulgency. Perhaps their emotion has outrun their reason? Perhaps they wanted to teach "the one that laughed at them in their face" a lesson? Perhaps they expected that he would "behave" after having had the honour of shaking hands with them? Who knows, but I believe that revenge for "perceived personal offenses" may play a role in all this haste.

Fifty years ago it would have sounded far-fetched to think of three leaders simultaneously succumbing to emo-egotizing or ego-emoting. In the early 21st century that should not surprise anyone any longer: facebook and twitter are the biotope wherein western politicians, their advisors and their spin-doctors sharpen their decision making skills and are the pool wherein they test their policies, encouraged in the endeavour by their news-making media friends.

The attack on Libya, undoubtedly a country that deserves to be liberated from a cold-calculating tyrant, shows once more that Western Democracy does no longer produce leaders that are fit for reasoned and balanced polity on the world stage, and worthy of the people that they are supposed to lead.

Grimburger, 20th March 2011

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Elton John a Happy Daddy

World eventsPosted by grim(m)burger Wed, December 29, 2010 11:03:32

December 28th. Today we commemorate the Massacre of the Innocent Children. It reminds us of the immanent innocence of children, and of our inalienable duty to surround them with love, to protect them and to guide them as they grow up.

A news item this morning on BBC TV made it clear that some were already commemorating. The message reads as follows:

Sir Elton John and his partner have become parents to a son born to a surrogate mother in California.Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born on Christmas Day…. "Zachary is healthy and doing really well, and we are very proud and happy parents," said the couple. "We are overwhelmed with happiness and joy at this very special moment," the couple told the website in a statement.

Last year, the couple, who were married in 2005 after 12 years together, tried to adopt an orphan in Ukraine. However, Ukrainian officials said Sir Elton, 62, was too old and his civil partnership with Mr. Furnish, 48, would not be recognised as a marriage by Kiev.

Obviously nobility bestowed by a temporal royal, lots of money and media-enhanced fame, open many doors. Elton John has been declared too old to become a father by means of adoption. Who says? He decides that he not only wants to become a Daddy, he also wants a Christmas Child. Visions of Holy Joseph and Immaculate Conception?! What EJ wants, he gets, period. And the child you ask? Well, may we assume that the little laddie has meanwhile been flown out of California on a private jet to their happy parents’ place, wherever that is for the time being, such that they can hold them close to their cheAst, tenderly bottle-feed them while softly humming a candle-in-the-wind lullaby?

This news makes me reflect on the persecution of the Catholic Church by the media in the past year. I remember the sixties well: the church was powerful and its priests were touted to be great with children. Almost everybody then knew that “great with kids” often derailed into abusive activity that was, indeed, not so great for the children’s' wellbeing. Yet there was no outcry, no protest: the reverend pastor was quasi-untouchable (as was the mayor, doctor and police chief). Only recently was the abuse recognized as criminal and was society ready to prosecute the guilty, rightly so.

In 2010 the media has an iron grip on information selection and opinion making, while their ethical values, generally speaking, have little in common with the so-called “mainstream”. I believe that the insemination (presumably artificial) of a surrogate mother in California, from a man that already had been declared unfit for “papaship”, does not rhyme with Christian Moral Teachings. It is part of a life style and practice that has been adopted, even promoted, by the "world mediagenic community" where libertarian hedonism and egoistic behavior are the rule, irrespective of broader society morals, and irrespective of rights of “innocent children”.

As was the case with abuse in different times, the crusade against modern forms of infant abuse will not start tomorrow. The power of the perpetrators simply prevents it. King Herod has had many followers. History will repeat itself. Unfortunately that doesn’t help today’s little victims.

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