Archive for EU
Why do adults refuse to grow up?
Over the past few weeks, there has been growing optimism in western capitals that Iran might be forced into a compromise over its nuclear programme and avoid a war with Israel and the US.
However, after two days of anguished talks this week between Iran and world powers in Baghdad, such hopes were doused in a very cold dose of reality.
As Israel and the US make contingency plans for a possible strike, the six powers – the US, EU, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – put a proposal to Iran that would have seen Tehran freeze its production of more highly enriched uranium in return for a package of inducements from the US and EU, such as providing parts for Iranian civil aircraft.
But after often fraught bargaining in Baghdad, diplomats left declaring they had made no progress at all. “It’s been a difficult few days,” said a European diplomat in Baghdad. “After our first meeting in Istanbul with Iran a few weeks ago, we were euphoric. Now we’re a lot more realistic about just how difficult this negotiation is.”
What is the matter with us?
Statement by the Spokesperson of High Representative Catherine Ashton on the case of Bassem Tamimi
The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:
“The High Representative is very concerned by the conviction of Bassem Tamimi in an Israeli military court on 20 May 2012 on charges of taking part in illegal demonstrations and of soliciting protesters to throw stones.
The EU considers Bassem Tamimi to be a ‘human rights defender’ committed to non-violent protest against the expansion of an Israeli settlement on lands belonging to his West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. The EU attended all court hearings in his case and is concerned at the use of evidence based on the testimony of a minor who was interrogated in violation of his rights.
The EU believes that everyone should be able to exercise their legitimate right to protest in a non-violent manner.”
Note rear-facing car seat.
Alas, the late Asher and Yonatan Palmer could not be reached for comment:
But they look like reasonable people. I’m sure they would understand the High Representative (what she was high on has yet to be revealed):
PS: Let me leave you with a smile!
Didn’t you love those pictures of President Obama in shirtsleeves, leading discussions among the movers and shakers of the developed world, making the world safe for socialism?
So that’s a BLT on wheat toast and an Orangina, is that right Angela?
It reminds me of all those summits the First Doofus held in his early years in office, complete with break-out groups, nap time, and juice (prune) and crackers (cracked wheat, low sodium).
Germany has again stated its opposition to so-called eurobonds as the new French finance minister prepares to meet his German counterpart for the first time.
“We have always said that as a first step we need solidity in European finances, and that is the fiscal compact,” said Steffen Kampeter, a deputy finance minister, referring to the budget pact that 25 out of 27 European Union countries agreed to abide.
But that has been put in doubt by the election of French Socialist Francois Hollande, who wants to introduce eurobonds and amend the pact, and stands opposed to the austerity policies pushed by Germany.
And in elections earlier this month, the majority of Greeks voted against those parties backing the drastic austerity measures that had been agreed with the EU.
France’s new Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault [aka The Penis], told the newspaper Liberation that politicians should consider all measures, including borrowing from the European Central Bank.
This came as an ECB policymaker said that Plan A – in fact, the the only scenario – is for Greece to remain in the single currency.
“As soon as you start talking about Plan B or Plan C then Plan A is automatically thrown out of the window,” Joerg Asmussen said.
Say what you will about Putin (for example that he’s a fascist), he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He took one look at the circle-jerk that was the G-8 summit and said what a waste of time. Why bother seeing Obama in shirtsleeves when you look so hot shirtless?
If he sucked in that gut any more, he’d rupture his spleen!
Anyway, the media may still swoon at the thought of Obama directing the global economy like Cecil B. DeMille on a film set, but the reality is he’s more like John Waters. Instead of Divine eating dog excrement in Pink Flamingos, we’ll be reduced to that, saying “You know, once a week, with a little tabasco, it’s not that bad.”
Europe, Europe, Europe… maybe you need another continental conflict to settle your differences:
Leftist leader Alexis Tsipras gave up his attempt to form a new government on Wednesday, pushing Greece closer to its second election in a few weeks, after voter rejection of an EU/IMF bailout plunged the country into crisis.
Last Sunday’s election, in which voters vented rage against mainstream parties over debt cutting measures imposed in exchange for the bailout, has caused deep political deadlock and brought European threats to eject Greece from the euro.
Radical Left Coalition leader Tsipras, given the second mandate to try to form a government since the election, gave up after both mainstream parties, conservative New Democracy and Socialist PASOK, refused to join an anti-bailout coalition.
The biggest party, New Democracy, had already failed to form a workable coalition and the baton will now pass to PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.
The neo-Nazis are open to courting last I heard. Why won’t anyone talk to them?
Just weeks ago, the idea that Greece would leave the euro zone was almost unthinkable. Now, with Greece’s newly empowered political parties refusing to abide by the terms of the country’s international loan agreement and Europe’s leaders talking tough, that outcome is looking increasingly likely.
Germany’s devotion to the euro and the European Union runs extremely deep and cuts across the political spectrum. But the frustration with Greece here is undeniable. There is a growing conviction that it is up to Greece to follow through on its commitments, that Europe is done negotiating.
“Germans are now predominantly of the opinion that they would be better off if Greece left the euro zone,” said Carsten Hefeker, a professor of economics and an expert on the euro at the University of Siegen. “If the country really is continuing on the path they are taking now, it would be hard to justify keeping them in. How do you deal with a country that says we don’t want to keep any of the commitments we have made?”
No question why this man is gloating:
I can’t get this scene out of my mind. A friend had just returned from Spain, raving about how they are so superior to the US. They have all sorts of new buildings, a new transportation system, they work fewer hours… That was then.
Spain’s sickly economy faces a “crisis of huge proportions”, a minister said on Friday, as unemployment hit its highest level in almost two decades and Standard and Poor’s downgraded the government’s debt by two notches.
Unemployment shot up to 24 percent in the first quarter, one of the worst jobless figures in the developed world. Retail sales slumped for the twenty-first consecutive month as a recession cuts into consumer spending.
“The figures are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government … Spain is in a crisis of huge proportions,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said in a radio interview.
Standard and Poor’s cited risks of an increase in bad loans at Spanish banks and called on Europe to take action to encourage growth.
Huh. That’s probably why I haven’t heard much about Spain lately. However, someone else I know told me that you can buy a beach front, 3 bedroom house, new construction, for something like $30,000. Could that be true? Maybe we need a second office, BTL?
Our coveted Ya Think?™ Award may be out of the reach of many, but almost anyone can be a PUTZ (the relevant section starts at 2:26 and runs for about 3 mins)
BTW, if you have some spare change, you can send it to Latma, who does this sort of thing brilliantly. Caroline Glick explains:
This week’s episode of the Tribal Update, the news satire show produced weekly by Latma, the Hebrew language media satire website I run we bring you Count Von Snobbenberg presenting the EU PUTZ award to Catherine Ashton for her extraordinary statement comparing the massacre of Jewish children in Toulouse to the imaginary plight of Gazan children.
Latma is funded through contributions to the Center for Security Policy in Washington. If you are in the United States and would like to support our efforts, you can contribute by clicking here. It takes you to the online contribution page for the Center for Security Policy through Network for Good. To earmark your donation to Latma, please write “Latma” in the box marked “designation.”
If you live outside the US, we formed a non-profit organization in Israel to accept donations from outside the US called the Zionist Incubator.
Here is the information you need to make wire contributions to the Zionist Incubator for Latma.
First of all, here is the link to Latma’s page for donating by credit card through PayPal.
Second, here is the information you need to wire contributions to the Zionist Incubator for Latma:
Bank Name: Israel Discount Bank Ltd.
Branch Number: 510
Branch Name: Mevasseret Zion
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Account Number (IBAN 23 digits): IL94-0115-1000-0010-4351-154
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Beneficiary’s address: POB 841 Mevasseret Zion, Israel 90805
Nearly a quarter of French citizens still show anti-Semitic attitudes, the Anti-Defamation League revealed in a new poll published on Tuesday.
The findings were released a day after the brutal murder of three children and a rabbi in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.
According to the poll, “the overall level of anti-Semitism increased to 24 percent of the population, an increase from 20% in a previous ADL poll conducted in 2009.”
In addition, 45% of respondents said violence against European Jews was based on “anti-Jewish feelings,” rather than anti-Israeli sentiment, an increase from 39% in 2009.
ADL executive director Abraham H. Foxman commented on the findings, saying that “Those increases are all the more disturbing in light of the shooting attack at the Jewish school in Toulouse.”
The results were part of a larger study on anti-Semitism in Europe, which included nine other countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Spain Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Respondents in those ten countries where asked to identify whether or not they subscribed to certain statements labeled by ADL as “classical” anti-Semitism. Those questions included whether respondents felt Jews were more loyal to Israel than the European country, whether Jews have too much power in the business world or international markets and whether Jews discuss the Holocaust too often.
Nine out of ten countries showed increases in anti-Semitic attitudes, according to the poll.
The most anti-Semitic country was Hungary, the ADl found, with 63% of the population expressing anti-Semitic sentiments as compared with 47% in 2009.
Spain also showed high marks, with over half the population (53%) showing “deep-seated anti-Semitic attitudes.” Poland hovered at 48%, the same as in 2009.
The UK and Germany showed the lowest levels of anti-Semitism, at 17% and 21%, respectively.
The question that resonated the most in all countries was whether European Jews were more loyal to their European state or Israel. In none of the 10 countries did less than 45% of respondents believe Jews were more loyal to their European country, with as many as 72% in Spain and 61% in Poland and Italy questioning Jewish allegiance.
Guess what those numbers make Jewish people feel in terms of allegiance. Who would you trust to protect you – Israel or the descendents of the people who facilitated the Holocaust? That’s a no-brainer.
Iran may develop inter-continental missiles that can reach the east coast of the United States in two to three years, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a CNBC interview Wednesday.
Iran is investing billions of dollars, Steinitz said, to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles. “We estimate that in 2-3 years they will have the first inter-continental ballistic missiles that can reach the east coast of America.”
“Their aim is clearly not only to be able to threaten Israel and the Middle East,” he continued, “but to put a direct nuclear ballistic threat to Europe and to the United States of America.”
Earlier Wednesday, Russia warned Israel not to attack Iran over its nuclear program, saying on Wednesday that military action would have catastrophic consequences.
“Of course any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.
“Therefore I hope Israel understands all these consequences … and they should also consider the consequences of such action for themselves,” Gatilov said at a news conference.
Gatilov’s comments came as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that Tehran’s nuclear course would not change regardless of international sanctions, assassinations or other pressures.
So, gentle readers… will the US and Europe go appeasement on us? Will Israel be fed to the lions? Definitely.
Something about the current state of Europe sounds vaguely familiar
For all of my adult life, support for the European Union has been seen as the mark of a civilised, reasonable and above all compassionate politician. It has guaranteed him or her access to leader columns, TV studios, lavish expense accounts and overseas trips.
The reason for this special treatment is that the British establishment has tended to view the EU as perhaps a little incompetent and corrupt, but certainly benign and generally a force for good in a troubled world. This attitude is becoming harder and harder to sustain, as this partnership of nations is suddenly starting to look very nasty indeed: a brutal oppressor that is scornful of democracy, national identity and the livelihoods of ordinary people.
The turning point may have come this week with the latest intervention by Brussels: bureaucrats are threatening to bankrupt an entire country unless opposition parties promise to support the EU-backed austerity plan.
Let’s put the Greek problem in its proper perspective. Britain’s Great Depression in the Thirties has become part of our national myth. It was the era of soup kitchens, mass unemployment and the Jarrow March, immortalised in George Orwell’s wonderful novels and still remembered in Labour Party rhetoric.
Yet the fall in national output during the Depression – from peak to trough – was never more than 10 per cent. In Greece, gross domestic product is already down about 13 per cent since 2008, and according to experts is likely to fall a further 7 per cent by the end of this year. In other words, by this Christmas, Greece’s depression will have been twice as deep as the infamous economic catastrophe that struck Britain 80 years ago.
The reality is that Margaret Thatcher was an infinitely more compassionate and pragmatic figure than Amadeu Altafaj-Tardio’s boss Olli Rehn and his appalling associates. She would never have destroyed an entire nation on the back of an economic dogma.
One of the basic truths of politics is that the Left is far more oblivious to human suffering than the Right. The Left always speaks the language of compassion, but rarely means it. It favours ends over means. The crushing of Greece, and the bankruptcy of her citizens, is of little consequence if it serves the greater good of monetary union.
A little help? Can anyone remember a time (or more) when Europe has subjected people to misery on behalf of a dogma? No? I guess it’s just me…
PS: I don’t even blame Germany (this time). Germany runs her economy as fits her: responsibly and efficiently. But that, sadly, does not fit the Greeks.
Thus far only one British political leader, Ukip’s Nigel Farrage, has had the clarity of purpose to state the obvious – that Greece must be allowed to default and devalue. Leaving all other considerations to one side, humanity alone should press David Cameron into splitting with Brussels and belatedly coming to the rescue of Greece.