Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Sharia Law Creeping Across Britain

Posted by Mike on September 15, 2008

Over the past year, many sharia court decisions in the UK have been backed by the force of law. The legal justification is an Act of Parliament which permits courts to enforce arbitration decisions. On the surface, this justification is nothing extraordinary. Many legal systems, including our own, look favorably upon and even encourage alternative dispute resolution. What’s happening in the UK however is not your typical arbitration system.

The types of cases approved by British courts have included not only your run of the mill contract case, but also divorce, inheritance, and even domestic violence cases. Many Brits were outraged earlier this year when the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that the imposition of Sharia Law was inevitable. I suspect that those who have noticed and bemoaned Britain’s lax attitude toward Islamic extremism in their midst will have a similar reaction to this latest revelation.

I’d like to think Gordon Brown would have something to say about the unprecedented parallel legal system that emerged on his watch. Then again, that might be expecting too much from a Labour Prime Minister who refuses to identify his nation’s enemy and can’t even hold Glasgow East.

Posted in Culture, Europe, Judicial Watch, Religion, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dominoes Are So Last Century

Posted by Mike on August 14, 2008

There were discussions.  There were negotiations.  They lasted years.  For some reason, today is the day Donald Tusk agreed to allow American-made missile interceptors on Polish soil.  In exchange, the United States will provide assistance to Poland so that they can strengthen their military. The timing of today’s agreement is obviously anything but a coincidence.

Having a long history with Russia that includes partition and Communist occupation, few nations have more knowledge of Russia’s national pastime than Poland.  Having experienced firsthand brutal occupation by both Germany and the Soviet Union during the 20th Century and now having witnessed Russia’s forceful return into the “near abroad” within the last week, Poland has decided that teaming up with the United States to strengthen its own forces and to help protect freedom-loving nations around them is in everyone’s best interest.

Free Poland is a country that suffered for too long to turn its back on liberty now.  Today’s agreement is another example of the resolute pride that has sustained Poland throughout its all too interesting history. Kocham Polske!

Posted in Europe, International Relations, Politics, Russia, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

He Can See Clearly Now: Bush Takes A Second Look at Putin

Posted by Mike on August 13, 2008

Most criticism of George W. Bush is off base and will look downright silly in a few years; however, one criticism of Bush is completely warranted. When Bush looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw a man he could trust, he should have done a double take. Today was the double take.

When the Soviet Union Russia invaded Georgia a couple of days ago, President Bush was a little slow in reassuring our ally that the US would stand by its side. At the very moment our ally was invaded by its former slave master, the U.S’s reaction should have been repeated statements of support coupled with actions that would make Russia take notice. Thankfully, John McCain is on record stating that Russia should be kicked out of the G8 and that the U.S. should build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Since it is now clear that Iran is not the only threat in the region, that would be fine with me. So would fast tracking Georgia, Ukraine and other willing members of Russia’ near abroad into NATO.

A healthy friendship with Russia is in the United States’ best interest. The thing is, a healthy friendship with the United States is also in Russia’s best interest. The world has basically ignored Russia while it whittled away at its civil liberties, armed American enemies in the Middle East, and poisoned people on foreign soil. The world’s reaction to this crisis has been reassuring. It seems that partying like its 1968 was a step too far.

Reuters photo

Posted in Election 2008, Europe, International Relations, Politics, Russia, tyranny, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

UN Takes on Russian Invasion

Posted by Ryan on August 11, 2008

…And I’m sure Putin is reeeally shuddering!  Of course, it’s only a matter for the UN because Georgia’s Black Sea oil supply-line and port is being targeted, otherwise they’d wait for a few more Russian-on-Georgian calamities, like a decade of famine or ethnic cleansing policies, to take place. Either way, Russia’s Security Council veto will be exercised until Russia’s goals are obtained.  Gotta love the UN!

After an attack coinciding with the Olympic Games, Russia decided not to stop with simply coming to the aid of ethnic Russians in the separatist South Ossetia region (North Ossetia is actually in Russia).  They’ve made airstrikes and incursions into central Georgia Proper — way beyond the mere defense of Russians in South Ossetia.   Possibly one to two thousand people have already died; add all civilians and soldiers and that number should rise once the dust settles.  Plus, the EU tried an unsuccessful ceasefire agreement, 170 American nationals have been taken out of Georgia, and now the majestic UN is involved.

We can learn a few things about this whole incident:  it’s obvious that Putin still controls Russia, the UN cares more about oil pipelines than people, and the old Cold War fear of Russian expansionism is not fully over.

EPA service photo.

Posted in Europe, International Relations, Politics, Russia | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

“He Ventured Forth…”

Posted by Ryan on July 25, 2008

The latest piece from Times Online editor, American Gerard Baker, first came to my attention about an hour ago and it’s a doozy! 

His latest op-ed is absolutely awesome.  Baker takes the media’s open desire to make Barack Obama the Savior/Messiah and completely pokes fun at those who have this view (he also calls Gordon Brown, Gordon the Leper!) through colorful and biblical-style language.  I don’t think the New Yorker crowd will misunderstand this satire, but one never knows.  Here’s a sample from the beginning:

“And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.”

I wish Obama would have “ventured forth” to the wounded troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, but that would have seemed “too political.”  The Pentagon simply told him not to bring his media and campaign troglodytes, but he could go as an elected official, rather than a candidate.  He chose not to go.  However, he made it to the gym though.

AP photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Election 2008, Europe, International Relations, Media Bias, Politics, Religion, The Iraq Front, UK Politics, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Heil Obama!

Posted by Ryan on July 24, 2008

As we know, Our Savior Barack Obama will be giving a much anticipated campaign speech today at 7pm local time in Berlin, Germany.  Not only will the locals be flipping a $786,000 tab for the non-President’s visit (how nice of him to let the Germans pay for his campaign bills), Hot Air picked up that the campaign’s chosen site has a bit of a Nazi past

This, the same day that he visited the Wailing Wall!  The nerve of this guy never ceases to amaze me. 

The “Victory Column” (Siegessäule) was initially built to commemorate Prussia’s waylaying of Denmark, Austria and France back in the Otto Von Bismarck days whose expansionism united modern Germany and formed the Second Reich.  Where the Nazi Third Reich fits in is the fact that Hitler moved the “Victory Column” to its current location, built a taller column, and celebrated German expansionist polices eventually led directly to World War II. 

Obama’s not a Nazi (he’s much closer to a communist anyway), but a little sensitivity would be appreciated!

Nonetheless, let me get this straight:  Obama went to the Wailing Wall on the same day he’s speaking to Germans at a site chosen by Hitler to represent the power of the Third Reich, while having the locals pay for his campaign speech which is designed not for them, but for an American audience: now that’s audacity!!!

Hat tip: Malkin.

UPDATE:  Obama’s given the speech and it was pretty obnoxious: he pretended not be a candidate, but a “citizen of the world” (laugh — is that his version of an “international test”?); teaching the Germans his view of history without any real context; knocking America on race and torture (obligatory for Libs, of course); he all but admitted that he was the Chosen One to get the world together save us from misery; etc.

Posted in Blogroll, Culture, Election 2008, Europe, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Obama’s Media Darlings to Follow Him on Trip

Posted by Ryan on July 18, 2008

As if there was any doubt about the MSM’s Big Three network’s bias towards Barack Obama, this removes all suggestion to the contrary.  Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, and Katie Couric are all going along on the trip!  John McCain’s been to Iraq three times since campaigning began last year (that sound you hear is crickets), and eight times total since the war began.  The MSM isn’t even trying to hide the bias anymore!

Yet, Obama hasn’t been to Iraq since January 2006 and has never visited the “real war” in Afghanistan, so all Big Three anchors will follow their clinically narcissistic and vain Good Shepherd around Europe and the Mideast, drooling, fawning, basking.  I guess that it should be big news that Obama was guilted and cornered into taking this trip… by John McCain of all people!  No mention of that in front of the Savior.  In fact, some in the MSM are blaming the McCain camp for making this a bigger story than it otherwise would have been!  So, McCain controls the media now?  Hmm.

This trip will strain one’s objective credulity worse than Greta Van Susteran’s hanging out in Aruba for months looking for Natalee Holloway — what a hard assignment that must have been: very few breaks in the story but lots and lots of sunshine!  It’ll be like watching the Big Three have spontaneous orgasms every night on TV, as they swoon over their chosen savior.  Get your V-Chips ready!  Good thing I don’t watch those networks.  I honestly don’t know anyone under 50 who does watch them more than once a week.  I’ll hear what’s going on when Brit Hume lets me know. 

What makes this whole affair worse is that Obama’s trip to Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan will probably be paid for by the taxpayers since the trip is being billed as a “fact-finding mission.”  Belonging to a Union I know what it feels like to have your money going to a campaign of someone you do not like and would never vote for.  I hope people take notice of this:  that, in the words of Rush fill-in Jed Babbin, the MSM has become a very large and very powerful “527” in Obama’s favor.

Posted in Blogroll, Election 2008, Europe, International Relations, Media Bias, Politics, Religion, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

InBev to Buy Anheuser-Busch

Posted by Ryan on July 14, 2008

The Belgian brewing company InBev is going to buy Anheuser-Busch for $52 million.  While many details are still being negotiated, the deal will probably become reality.  If that is the case then, in my opinion there are two different ways of looking at this:

1.  This is a dark day for America.  As the Belgians buy-out the largest beer producer in America, America is a weaker, sadder place… we can’t even brew and market our own storied/historic beer without help from those pesky Europeans!  Selling our souls for $52 billion?  Anheuser-Busch is a company which even survived Prohibition the honest way!  I guess there is a price one could set for selling out to the Man — a Belgian man in this case. 

2.  Woo hoo!  To this beer snob, Bud sucks (always has) and Belgian beers are world-renowned for their flavor and potency.  So, even though under the new management Bud will still suck, in the eyes of the world we’ll get a little more international “street cred” when soliciting our crappy beer to others.  InBev brews Stella Artois and Becks (meh) and Anheuser-Busch owns 50% of Corona.  Ultimately, this could signal a marked improvement to the average beer Joe Sixpack consumes.  Though this in no way will affect my own drinking habits, I believe this “sell-out” is an upgrade!

Reuters photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, economy, Europe, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Terror in Turkey Kills Six

Posted by Ryan on July 9, 2008

The US Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked today by four men in what the American and Turkish authorities are calling an act of terrorism.  Three of the attackers were killed, but not before taking out three policemen, one point blank to the head.  The fourth attacker unfortunately got away in a speeding car, as Turkish authorities are frantically looking for him and are currently reviewing video tape to help. 

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but this has put everyone in Turkey on high alert, especially Americans in Turkey.  Aside from incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan, one hasn’t heard much from the War on Terror in Turkey — it’s been pretty quiet so to speak.  The attack was small, probably cellular.  That could mean the beginning of a new series of attacks, or that this attack was the best they could pull off.  I hope it’s the latter.

The US Consulate was refitted after al Qaeda’s 2003 bombing of the British Consulate, bank and two synagogues.  Yet, our rules of engagement forbid Americans to fire back at anyone outside the compound, hence, they ducked for cover rather than take out the assailants early.  I think those rules needs to be renegotiated.

AP photo.

Posted in Blogroll, Europe, International Relations, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nadal Defeats Federer: A Wimbledon Classic

Posted by Ryan on July 7, 2008

Roger Federer is the best male tennis player in the world in my opinion.  Watching him play is like watching an artist paint a great work.  He has recently won five consecutive Wimbledon Championships before being defeated in a dramatic fashion by the young clay wizard, Rafael Nadal yesterday [6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7]. 

Some believe the match was the best they’ve seen in a generation, or ever!  The defending champ was down 2-0 (one set from a sweep) and tied it 2-2 before finally losing to Nadal (in tennis’ version of overtime) 9-7 in the fifth and final set.  Purely great, exciting tennis.  Here are some clips:

Some think that Federer is past his prime since he’s been losing more matches than usual lately.  He has been so dominant lately on every surface except clay, that it would be difficult for him to maintain this level of excellence!  I still think he’s the best out there, but Nadal has been his nemesis lately, and finally beat him at Wimbledon.  Good for Nadal, great for the game of tennis!

Posted in Culture, Europe, Sports | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Wasting Money Telling People About Cleaning up After the Wasted

Posted by Mike on July 1, 2008

One thing that bothers me even more than wasteful government programs is the way government often wastes money advertising wasteful government programs. Actually, what really bothers me is being caught off guard by a photo of an oversized vomiting sea cow. Thankfully this masterpiece advertising the fact that government will clean up your puddle of yack was funded by our British friends’ hard earned tax funds and not ours. Small comfort to those of us who, um, enjoyed that photo for free.

On a lighter note, if there is any truth to what was implied by today’s rumor, then this hag would be one heck of a step up for Alex Rodriguez.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Europe, Politics, Pop Culture, Sports, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

A Gay Wedding Between Two Priests

Posted by Ryan on June 16, 2008

The Anglican Church is in crisis.  Britons are moving away from it in droves, many of whom are dropping religion altogether or becoming Roman Catholics, like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (I bet he has private health insurance too!).

The recent dilemma wreaking havoc over the Anglican Church is what to do about homosexuals.  Many traditionalists and conservatives are angry by the Church’s lurch to the Left in recent years.  Ordaining female priests and having openly gay ministers were vexing enough for the old school crowd, but last month two gay priests married each other in a “blessing ceremony” that went beyond anything sanctioned by the Church before and is also in open defiance of Anglican guidelines. 

Some conservative clergy are even threatening a worldwide split over this issue.  I believe it is an important issue.  Religion is not supposed to reflect the hip new headlines and trends, it’s supposed to be a spiritual road map to help us better understand the depth of our soul.  If your beliefs don’t mesh with a particular religion, join a new one, or try going Unitarian or Taoist.  But witnessing one’s own religion change its core beliefs on an issue based on the social whims of the last three decades, which seek to change the face of a church approaching its 500th birthday should be vexing. 

Go to the polls and change government policy, but leave religion out of this kind of secular social engineering.  Or, from another angle, keep it up, Anglicans, and you’ll doubtlessly add more to the ranks of my Catholic faith!

Posted in Culture, Europe, Pop Culture, Religion, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

EU Constitution Rejected Yet Again

Posted by Mike on June 15, 2008

Kudos to Ireland for rejecting the EU Constitution in Thursday’s referendum.  Although the rejected document was actually titled the “Lisbon Treaty,” voters realized that it was nothing more than the previously-rejected Constitution under a different name.  How do we know this?  Angela Merkel admitted it last year.

The main question on everyone’s mind at this point is whether EU proponents will find a way to implement their treaty over the objections of their citizens.  I’m more interested in Gordon Brown’s position.  During the last General Election, the Labour Party promised voters that the UK would not implement the EU Constitution without first obtaining the people’s approval in a referendum.  Sensing his country’s opposition to the treaty, Brown ignored his party’s promise and rammed the Lisbon Treaty (EU Constitution) through Parliament without holding a referendum.  Thankfully and ironically, the Irish saved  British sovereignty for the time being.

Brown has already paid an enormous political price for his arrogance on this issue (and many others).  Despite this, he is now desperately searching for some other way of forcing this Constitution upon his unwilling country. Let’s just hope the Cameron’s Conservatives can win the next General Election occurs before this abomination is implemented

Posted in Europe, Politics, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ireland Says No to Latest EU Treaty

Posted by Ryan on June 15, 2008

In a stunning defeat for proponents of the latest take on a future European Union Treaty, Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum Thursday, which has sent shockwaves throughout the continent and may derail this latest effort at union. While other nations have ratified this treaty, Ireland was the only country thus far that has actually let the people vote, rather than legislators or executives.

The Lisbon Treaty is highly complex, bureaucratic, cold, and top-heavy with confusing voter rules and qualifications.  Simply, it’s typically European at a cool 271 pages!  Those in Ireland who voted against the Treaty said it was too complex and too alienating.  And they’re right.  It’s huge, cumbersome, and easily has the capacity to squash local rights once approved by all and implemented.  The Irish people were simply voting in their self-interest.

Any American can pick up the American Constitution and, though the language has oldened, can make pretty good sense of it:  three co-equal branches with enumerated powers, rules about statehood and state interaction, an amendment process with 27 Amendments tacked onto the end.  True, it’s purposely vague and broad in many spots, but the Founders left it to elected and appointed officials to figure out the details later through a republican/democratic process.  With small, still readable writing one can fit the entire document and its Amendments on one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper (front and back, of course). 

Oh, and it’s lasted nearly 221 years, surviving a Civil War and the international upheavals of the mid-20th Century.  Maybe Europe can learn something from America on the issue of individual rights and responsive government.  Maybe then the people will rally around it, rather than bureaucrats who seemingly just want a new way to guarantee they keep their jobs at the end of the process.

Posted in Europe, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dmitry Medvedev Replaces Putin, At Least Technically

Posted by Mike on May 6, 2008

Russia inaugurates its new President, Dmitry Medvedev tomorrow, and no one is really sure whether Russia will turn toward democracy as they did under Yeltsin. Many argue that despite Medvedev’s constitutional role, the real power will continue to rest with the puppet-master Vladimir Putin, the soon to be Prime Minister. If this is turns out to be the case, Russian democracy will continue to whither.

New York’s best newspaper printed an interesting overview by the Washington Compost’s Anne Applebaum on this very question. Applebaum overstates (slightly, and I place heavy emphasis on that word) the current state of Russian democracy.

Although Russia sometimes looks like a democracy, it is not a democracy. Elections aren’t merely rigged, they are carefully programmed in advance. Voters aren’t just coerced, they are never given any real choice at all.

I disagree with the use of the term “rigged.” Russia’s political system is corrupt and undemocratic. The media is state-controlled. Opposition assembly is technically allowed, but with severe restrictions. Political opponents seem to literally be dropping –  likeflies. Some will argue that this constitutes rigging and I think that position is reasonable, but we should be careful here because words mean things. It’s undemocratic, dangerous, and sick, just not rigging. People are still technically free to vote as they please. Nevertheless, Applebaum’s point is well taken. Russia has turned away from democracy under Putin and will continue to do so if he turns out to be the one pulling the strings after tomorrow.

No one can be certain about what happens next. Many predict a puppet situation, but I predict a power struggle. Putin currently has standing and political capital. Medvedev will have institutional power. Neither man will want to be the other’s puppet. Struggle is inevitable. That’s just my hunch and could be total crap. In any event, Russia is about to get interesting.

Posted in Europe, Politics, Russia | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Red Ken Livingstone and Labour Take A Beating as Boris Johnson Paints London Blue

Posted by Mike on May 3, 2008

Our British friends went to the polls in a series of local elections in England and Wales on Friday and the results were an unmitigated disaster for Gordon Brown’s Labour Party. In fact, it was the Conservatives’ best election result in years. The icing on the cake however, was that Boris Johnson defeated Red Ken Livingstone to become Mayor of London.

Although he was recently placed under the Imperius Curse, I’ve always been a Boris Johnson fan. He’s right of center, intelligent, amusing, and will not suffer from the same kind of anti-all-that-is-right-with-the- world diarrhea of the mouth that plagued Mr. Livingstone.

As expected, Conservative Home has great coverage of the elections.

AP photo

Posted in Europe, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Conspiracy Theory Put To Bed, Maybe

Posted by Mike on April 30, 2008

The first conspiracy theory I heard regarding the last Russian tsar’s family was that Princess Anastasia escaped execution by the Bolsheviks and was living somewhere in Europe. Leonard Nimoy (or whatever that dude who played Spock is called, help me out Ryan) even hosted spooky shows about it. That is, until 1991 when the Princesses remains were recovered along with most of the other Romanovs who were murdered by the Communists.

Today, DNA tests have confirmed that Russian Orthodox Saints Czarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria, the last of the Romanovs did not survive. Conspiracy theory over. Actually, I can’t back that up. You never know with those kind of people.

Posted in Europe, Politics, Pop Culture, Religion, Russia | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Papa Bene!

Posted by Ryan on April 15, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States began today at Andrew’s Air Force Base in Maryland.  He met President Bush, Laura and Jenna along with a throng of cheering crowds and fanfare.  He also clearly denounced the pedophilia scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church over the last decade or so. 

Great start to his visit to America by setting the tone and addressing issues that many American Catholics and non-Catholics have.  There’s more to come, I’m sure!  I like this Pope– among many other positive things, he’s not asking Catholics to call God “Allah“, nor is he asking any government to adopt sharia law.  Nice!

AP photo.

Posted in Culture, Europe, Religion | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Berlusconi’s Back!

Posted by Ryan on April 14, 2008

Take that Lefties!  Former Italian Prime Minister and supporter of winning the War on Terror, Silvio Berlusconi saw his “People of Liberty Party” recently win both houses of Italy’s Parliament, making the former Prime Minister the new incoming Prime Minister

France, Germany and now Italy all have center-right governments… maybe we’ll get one later this year too!

AP photo.

Posted in Election 2008, Europe, Politics, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Harman vs. Hague: Pre-Thatcher Talking Point Thirty Years Too Late

Posted by Mike on April 13, 2008

One classic line of attack from the liberal playbook is the false charge that conservatives are threatened by powerful women. You’d think conservative admiration for powerful women such as Margaret Thatcher, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and Condoleezza Rice would have dispelled this notion, but facts never got in the way of a good liberal talking point before so why start now?

This two-week old clip from Prime Minister’s Questions is worth watching for two reasons. First, it shows that left-wing leaders (in this case, Harriet Harman) never hesitate to parrot the false and outdated idea that conservatives oppose powerful women, even here when the lefty was reminded just seconds before that her pioneering moment was about thirty years too late. Second, Hague was just funny.

Posted in Europe, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Carla Sarkozy — International Babe

Posted by Ryan on March 28, 2008

We all love Nicholas Sarkozy for single-handedly making it OK to like the French again, and giving the Republicans here in America a model to win in November.  But, we didn’t know much about his wife Carla until her recent trip to the UK this week.

Carla Sarkozy, formerly Carla Bruni (supermodel, poet, musician, actress, trysty lover of Mick Jagger et al), is taking the upper crust Euro political scene by storm.  She’s glitzy, beautiful, chic, with a French accent the British media is just lapping up, making her an absolute craze across the pond! 

Of course, she’s not the typical model for a major country’s First Lady, hence the paparazzi-like obsession of the media.  Plus, the coupling of she and Sarko might seem a bit awkward to some: he the articulate go-getter, she the fashionista/ditz.  Yet, the “New Diana” or the New “John and Jackie”?  I don’t know about that, but aesthetically, as First Ladies go, she reminds us of slightly aged eye-candy you still don’t need wine to appreciate. 

AFP photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Europe, Media Bias, Pop Culture, UK Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Easter Vigil 2008

Posted by Ryan on March 22, 2008

The coolest and longest mass of the Catholic year officially begins the Easter celebration! 

So, what’s news about Easter Vigil Mass? 

Roman Catholics will tell you that there are Baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmations performed at this mass, along with fires, candles in the dark, Gregorian Chant-style readings and lots of Latin.  It’s also 2-3 hours depending on the amount of sacraments being performed.  Unlike the regular American Catholic Mass, it’s super-Medieval, which makes it the coolest mass of the year! 

However, some Vigil ceremonies are more unusual than others:  here’s a good start if you know what I’m getting at. 

To Magdi Allam: welcome to the faith!

Catholic Communications Office picture.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Europe, Religion, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Posted by Ryan on March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Today everyone in America becomes honorarily Irish (hiccup!) to share in the spirit and culture of the American Irish.  So, get together with some good friends, have some corn beef and cabbage, be careful not to fill up on soda bread and scones, and be sure to wash it all down with a nice Guinness or two.  Ah… heaven! (Can you tell I’m half Irish?)

If anyone has any neat St. Patty’s plans, please share them!  This unofficial holiday is as fun and spirited as any major holiday — certainly more exciting than President’s Day. 

Ta suil agam go bhfuil tu i mbarr na slainte

(That’s Gaelic/Irish for “I hope you are in the best of health”)!

Pic from St. Patrick’s Holiday.com.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Europe, Pop Culture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Know When To Fold ‘Em. If Not, Sue

Posted by Mike on March 12, 2008

I stumbled across this article about Graham Calvert, a compulsive gambler from the UK who took his bookie to court, blaming him for the two million pounds he lost, declining health, and damaged marriage. What struck me was that the article did not even suggest that the gambler himself might actually be responsible for the choices he made.

When debating liberals about issues of personal responsibility, I often hear that they do in fact support personal responsibility before they go off on why a certain person should not be held personally responsible. My liberal friends are at least aware of the concept of personal responsibility. It’s a little frightening that the concept didn’t even cross this AP reporter’s mind.

Posted in Culture, Europe, Judicial Watch, Media Bias | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Sarko The American Also Supports Israel

Posted by Mike on March 11, 2008

When Jimmy Carter and other like-minded liberals fantasized about closer relations between America and France, I don’t think they were talking about the two countries seeing eye-to-eye on Israel and the Iranian threat. Fortunately for the civilized world, Nicolas Sarkozy is not your typical French President or incompetent American one.

During Shimon Peres’ recent visit to Paris, Sarkozy reiterated his affection for Israel and commitment to their security, especially as far as Iran is concerned.

“Not from time to time, Mr. President — always,” said Sarkozy. “And those who call in a scandalous, scandalous way for the destruction of Israel will always find France in front of them to block their route.”

I have been impressed with Sarkozy ever since I first learned that he was a candidate for the French Presidency, but his treatment of Shimon Peres is especially commendable. France is infamous for its embarrassingly large anti-Semitic minority, a minority that which can be quite disruptive when angered. Lining the Champs-Elysees with Israeli and French flags despite this sad fact took guts. Maybe Old Europe can become new again.

Posted in Europe, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Zapatero Re-Elected

Posted by Mike on March 9, 2008

Spanish voters re-elected Jose Luis Zapatero’s Socialist government today by a narrow margin over the Party Popular. U.S. media is calling it an affirmation of the government’s gay marriage and divorce policies.

Normally I take U.S. media declarations regarding political mandates with a thousand grains of salt, but maybe they’re right this time. The Spanish economy is faltering and this year’s pre-election terrorist attack occurred on Zapatero’s watch. Perhaps the Spanish are still grateful for Zapatero’s retreat in the War on Terror’s Iraq front.

Posted in Europe, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Obama Would Win Europe

Posted by Ryan on March 8, 2008

…And that’s one reason why I hope he’ll lose in America!

I was thumbing through my usual cites for something to post this morning when this piece posted on RCP emerged and struck a very dissonant chord with me. Guy Sorman’s “Europe Loves Obama” piece was hard to read since I wasn’t too sure if he was being tongue-in-cheek or not.  He’s definitely a Leftist Europhile and had a few outrageous things to say as to why Europe loves Obama:

  • Obama is a “good American” like Michael Moore, Robert Redford, Noam Chomsky, and Mia Farrow, not a “bad American” like Billy Graham, Dubya and Cheney.
  • Europe loves minorities while America oppresses our minorities, going as far as to say “whites started the war in Iraq.”
  • Europe infers that Obama is pro-Palestinian by the company he keeps and thereby might stick it to the Jews.
  • Obama’s a death-penalty abolitionist, he’s protectionist, and “reserved about his faith:” all things European elites love.
  • And finally Sorman states of European sentiment:  “The good American is expected neither to trade nor to fight terrorism. If more Americans were good, in fact, there would be no terrorists, as the Left in both Europe and the U.S. often contends.”

Huh?

Having re-read the article several times, I’m still not sure if Sorman was trying to make a point about European elitist absurdity or laying out these points as pluses for Obama!

Nonetheless, I’m surprised that an article like this is appearing so early in the campaign cycle.  Usually we get these kinds of stories closer to the general or even in the Fall as a last ditch effort for Europe to meddle in our affairs.  Remember the Daily Mirror‘s “How could 59 million people be so dumb?” post-2004 Election issue (strangely, after it was all said and done, John Kerry actually ended up with around 59 million votes to Bush’s 62 million)?  If Europe was so awesome and advice-worthy, why aren’t we talking about who the American people would like to be the next leader of the EU?  Exactly.  I have tended to vote against whoever European elites want running America, and apparently will proudly continue to do so in 2008 as well.

Posted in Anything Else, Blogroll, Election 2008, Europe, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Russia’s New President

Posted by Ryan on March 2, 2008

While the voting is not finished over in Russia it’s safe to say that Putin’s hand-picked successor, who’s practically running unopposed by any serious candidate, Dmitry Medvedev will become Russia’s third president.  Somehow I can’t see this guy turning into a Thomas Jefferson-type 3rd President, even though on the surface he seems marginally different than his sponsor.  It is well known that he’s a Putin sycophant who’ll act like a marionette doll more often than not.  I suppose he and Putin will have an obligatory staged public moment of disagreement, but I’m starting to think that the Russian people would see right through the ploy.

Russia’s slide into a one-party democracy is nearly complete, as Putin solidified this concept during his second term.  Yes, I suppose Russia can vote for the other guy, but I have a feeling that fear, lack of competition, poor organization, cynicism, and those pesky poisonings will put votes solidly behind Putin Medvedev.

UPDATE: Medvedev officially wins.

AP photo.

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Two Different Takes on Belgrade Violence

Posted by Ryan on February 23, 2008

By now, most have heard about the sectarian violence which ensued after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.  Some of that violence, pictured above, was directed at the United States embassy in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.  America was of course outraged at the lack of security around our embassy and has protested through appropriate diplomatic channels.  Serb response: we’ll get on that, but by the way it’s American’s fault!

But, coverage of this story differed slightly from news organization to news organization.  The initial link is from FoxNews and was sourced from the Associated Press.  This link is from CNN’s own reporters.  The CNN story has a similar focus about Serbian responsibility and American discontent, yet it also has this curious excerpt which the AP’s version does not have:

“The wisdom of recognizing Kosovo independence has been questioned by many observers, who say the United States won’t recognize other unilateral declarations of independence.  Some opponents of Kosovo’s independence say recognition is a bad precedent if it’s unilateral and not done in a bilateral, diplomatic setting. They say it will give others the incentive to stage their own breakaway nations.”

I have a problem with CNN’s inference that the US acted rashly in recognizing Kosovo’s independence.  Turkey, Croatia, the EU, especially Germany, and Belgium, have recognized Kosovo and have also been victims of violence — we’re not the sole party bearing responsibility for Kosovo’s recognition (even Afghanistan has recognized Kosovo!) and Kosovo has a unique recent history of ethnic cleansing and discrimination by Serbs.  So, by CNN’s logic are we to wait for Serbia’s OK before recognizing Kosovo’s independence?  Is that the standard to which CNN is referring?  If so, I’m sure the world would still be waiting for Britain’s OK to let go of their pesky American colonies.

AP photo.

Posted in Europe, Media Bias, Russia | Leave a Comment »

Sarko The Cowboy

Posted by Mike on February 18, 2008

When Nicholas Sarkozy ran for the French Presidency, his socialist opponents tried to brand him as “Sarko the American.”  Unfortunately for the socialists, this political argument was about as about as effective as their economic policies and the U.S. now has a friend living at Elysee Palace.  That doesn’t make him American though.

Neither does the fact that Nicholas Sarkozy is arresting the thugs who rioted in Paris last November rather than appeasing them like Jacques Chirac would have done, but you’ve got to admit that it’s probably one of the most un-French things ever done by a French President.  Even more impressive is the reaction Sarko caused in socialist circles by his commitment to law enforcement.

Tres bien Sarko!

Posted in Culture, Europe, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »