“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Jig is Up. Get Back to Work!

From the BBC.
French trains 'hit by sabotage'

France's high-speed TGV rail network has been damaged by a "concerted campaign of sabotage", the SNCF state-owned rail operator has said.

It said acts of sabotage overnight, including fires, caused huge delays to TGV services already hit by a long transport union strike over reforms.

The SNCF blamed militants for the attacks, saying they wanted to harm negotiations to end the strike.

The talks between rail unions and the government opened on Wednesday.
Oh my God, they've offended the militants! The Beeb also reported:
On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of civil servants joined striking transport and energy workers over what they say is an erosion in their earnings and proposals to slim France's large public sector.
We are witnessing the end of the Golden Era for Socialism in Europe. What a rude awakening these poor Frenchmen are in for. With their 35 hour workweeks, five weeks of annual vacation and retirement at age 50 (at least for the transport workers) they have been living in a socialist dreamworld. It has become demographically untenable there as it will soon be in Canada. And lest we engage in too much schadenfreude, we're in the same boat. Most of us bought into the various scares regarding the overcrowding of PlanetEarth. Based on the advice of our generation's chicken little scaremongers, we quit breeding enough offspring to support us in our golden years. It's a sad commentary on our intelligentsia (and the system that educated them) that even now, many of them haven't figured out that the jig is up.


  1. How come native French saboteurs are called militants, but immigrant car-B-que-ers are called rambunctious youths?

  2. Seems to me that the strike is spreading, the transport workers not about to "pack it in".

    Hundreds of thousands of other civil workers joining the walkout, not pressuring the workers back to their jobs.

    The French "Socialist Dreamland", suffering sabatoge over raising the retirement age from 50, to the countrywide standard of 52.

    Ministers have said they will not yield on the core of the reform which is to increase contribution periods for 500,000 beneficiaries of 'special' pensions systems so that they are in line with the rest of the population. Currently they retire two and a half years earlier.

    But the government has suggested salary rises and top-up pension schemes could sweeten the pill, and SNCF management said a 90 mln eur a year financial package is available if the strikers return to work.

    On Tuesday Sarkozy vowed to stand by his economic reforms and urged strikers to return to work.

    'One must know how to end a strike once the time for discussion has come. Everyone must ask whether it is right to continue a strike which has already cost users -- and strikers -- so dear,' he said.

    'I think of those millions of French people who after a day of work have no bus, metro or train to take them home and who are tired of being used as hostages.'

    Paris commuters continued to groan under the pressure of the stoppage, which for many has meant journeys of two or three hours to and from work. On Wednesday once again only one in four metro trains on average was operating.

    The proportion of strikers has been in steady decline since the start of the industrial action, and on Wednesday stood at 23 percent at SNCF and just 16 percent at RATP.

    'In the last few days the strike has fundamentally changed in nature. It is no longer the rank-and-file refusing to work, but the hardliners who from the start have refused to countenance negotiation,' said the pro-government daily Le Figaro.

    According to a poll in the same newspaper, Sarkozy is winning the battle of public opinion, with 68 percent believing the strike is 'not justified' and 69 percent hoping that the government 'does not give way to the unions' claims'.

    The head of the employers' federation MEDEF, Laurence Parisot, described the strike as a 'disaster'.

    'I compare it to an earthquake. The economic cost is incalculable and likely to be gigantic,' she said.

    'So many customer meetings have been missed; so many business opportunities have been lost; who knows the number of foreign investors who have given up some venture or another here?

    'The present conflict is a result of the weakness of trade unionism in our country. The narrower the unions' base, the more they are drawn to extremist positions.'

    from Forbes

  3. Interesting that the NYTimes sees the "right to bare arms" so much differently than the "right to abortion".

    The right to arms at least mentioned in the Constitution, the right to kill fetuses, not even worthy of mention, pro or con, as an individual's "right".

    The NYTimes supports those unwritten "rights" while arguing the written rights. plain to see, to be out of step with the living Constitution.

  4. From 6May07 NYTimes

    ... There used to be an almost complete scholarly and judicial consensus that the Second Amendment protects only a collective right of the states to maintain militias. That consensus no longer exists — thanks largely to the work over the last 20 years of several leading liberal law professors, who have come to embrace the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns.

    In those two decades, breakneck speed by the standards of constitutional law, they have helped to reshape the debate over gun rights in the United States. Their work culminated in the March decision, Parker v. District of Columbia, and it will doubtless play a major role should the case reach the United States Supreme Court.

    Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, said he had come to believe that the Second Amendment protected an individual right.

    “My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Professor Tribe said. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”

    The first two editions of Professor Tribe’s influential treatise on constitutional law, in 1978 and 1988, endorsed the collective rights view. The latest, published in 2000, sets out his current interpretation.

  5. Penumbras are Powerful Things.

  6. Just fire the transportation workers, ala Reagan.

  7. Damn, it takes some of these law professors a lot of head scratching to figure simple things out properly.

  8. How come saboteurs aren't called terrorists?

  9. Saudi Arabia defended on Tuesday a court's decision to sentence a woman who was gang-raped to 200 lashes of the whip, after the United States described the verdict as "astonishing". . . . .

    Putting aside one's reactions to this weird penalty, there is the question what impact it has on the total number of rapes. It is not clear. There are two effects. Surely, punishing women will make them even more willing to avoid situations that could result in rape. But it also makes it less likely that women will report rapes when they occur. It is not clear what the net effect is. It would be an interesting empirical study to see if Islamic law increased rape rates. The big problem with testing this is that if rapes stop being reported at the same time that the rules change, one would have to come with something imaginative to figure out how to measure the change in the number of rapes. Surveys would probably also be problematic

    from John Lott's Website, always the professor

  10. Well worth the read, seems we're promoting Rovian/DeLay politics of razor thin majority rule, in Lebanon.

    A powder keg in Lebanon

    Deadlock over a new leader could set off a civil war and fuel Mideast volatility.

    By Milton Viorst
    November 21, 2007
    BEIRUT --

  11. But the author does not offer another, course specific option, either.

    Seems like the crisis in the Levant will continue...

    ahh... but for the Ottoman's poor choices, then defeat and collapse of Empire.
    We'd not be tasked with our own poor choices from a litney of even worse options.

    Annapolious, a weigh station on the way to Armageddon?

  12. I-70 and the Penna Tnpk beckons. Our last Thanksgiving at home for awhile.

    Time to put down the Mark Steyn, whit.

    I recommend Also Because by now each of us could write every single article at ourselves. In our sleep. And where's the fun and interest in that?

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving all. (Even you, chihuahua.)

  13. 'Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has accepted an invitation to participate in the last scheduled — and in some ways most important — Republican debate before the Jan. 3 first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus.'

    The republican debates, instead of weeding out candidates, have candidates sprouting like weeds.
    You too Trish, have a great Thanksgiving. Doug posted a liability protection form above, in case you missed it, and have litigious relatives.

  14. Darn it Trish, I just finished No True Glory and started America Alone. Should I save it for later and go on to Lone Survivor or Surrender is Not An Option?

  15. Who says youth of the 'western world' can't compete? Text Message Record Set

    Beat that, if you can.

  16. 160 characters in 45 seconds. That's 3.55 characters a second, folks.

  17. I heard on the radio that the University of Florida Gators will wear green uniforms for tomorrow's game against their in-state rivals, the Florida State Seminoles, . The uniforms will highlight the news that the University has purchased a tract of land and planted pine trees to offset the carbon used by game day activities.


  18. I have begun to rethink my position on climate change.

    There's money to be made off these fools.

  19. Thanks, bob. (Litigious we are not, unless it involves perhaps wrong-doing at a game of cards, about which we are dead-serious and a tad ill-mannered.)

    Well, whit, I recommend Eating Soup With A Fork and its soon-to-be sequel, Bailing With a Sieve.

    Alternatively, you could just watch whatever's on Turner Classic Movies. The world is a finer place in black and white. Especially when Myrna Loy's around.

  20. It'll make all those folks in the Motorhomes at the tailgate parties before the game feel good about themselves, Whit.

    6 miles per gallon.

  21. Soup With A Knife, that is.

    We should be so lucky to be eating soup with a fork.

  22. Guy just called in to a radio show I'm listenig to and asks, "Why can't we make progress on the fence, when this country built the transcontinental railway in about three years, with shovels?"

    Hosts answer, "no real will to do it. Not much will to do anything in this country anymore."

  23. he,he,chuckle,chuckle--I thought Whit might like this---

    Millions Not Suffering From AIDS To Die From Sea Rise according to the UN :)

  24. the world will fix it's self just like water seeks to be level...

    france is imploding from decades of welfare babies..

    all of europe have embraced the fake national goals of the egyptian created "palestine" issue...

    now their countries are over run with jihadist nitwits seeking to create chaos everywhere..

    in the end France will have bloody days ahead, as too russia, germany & yes china...

    the 3rd world held hostage to fuel prices will rebel...

    masses of 3rd world peoples will start to point fingers at opec for all their issues..

    all in all quite a NICE thanksgiving!!!!!

  25. OPEC?
    What would change the trend lines?

    They own the spin machine, the blame, as always goes to Israel and US.

    As with Global Warming, it's US, not China and India that needs to change its' ways.

    For each point of global GDP, a society needs a point of the global oil supply.

    The US functions on that basis, but as it's share of Global GDP shrinks, its' oil demands increase in real terms.

    Global oil stocks are not growing at 5%, like the Global Economy.

    yep, all in all a fabuous Thanksgiveing at my house.

  26. CNN) -- A gas pipeline fire in eastern Saudi Arabia killed 40 workers, 34 of them foreign, and injured nine others, the state oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco said Tuesday.

    The dead included five Saudi employees and one contractor, and 34 contractors from outside Saudi Arabia.

    The list of foreign nationals included 18 Pakistanis, seven Bangladeshis, seven Indians, one South African and one Nepali, the company said.

    The pipeline is about 18 miles (30 km) from the Hawiyah Gas Plant.

    The fire broke out "where maintenance work for new tie-ins was being conducted" by a contractor for the company on the Haradh-Uthmaniyah gas pipeline, Saudi Aramco said.

  27. During Monday's proceedings, judges warned lawyers they faced contempt charges and cancellation of their licences if they persisted in challenging the legality of Musharraf's new bench.

    On Sunday, Musharraf said he was asking the Election Commission to call a a parliamentary election on January 8.

    But he gave no date for lifting the emergency, despite hearing from US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte on Saturday that the election's credibility would suffer unless the emergency imposed on November 3 was rolled back.

    Rulings for Musharraf

  28. Knesset members today slammed Olmert's decision to allow the armored vehicles.

    Benjamin Netanyahu, chairman of the opposition Likud party called on parties in Olmert's coalition government to "leave this reckless and failed government."

    How I became Boba I don't know, but my wife moved the computor into my room to get me out of her way. It's just as well.

  29. The picture of someone other than yourself choosing to stick you off in a corner by yourself w/your computer is so Pathetic that it makes me want to change my computing habits.

  30. I would like to respond to Mr.Rohsner's letter “Propaganda” He stated that when he was a soldier in North Africa he “was always greeted with friendship” and then asked “What Happened?”

    What happened is radical Islam which does want to destroy this country and anyone else who will not accept their radical form of Islam. They do not care if you are Republican or Democrat or Conservative or Liberal.

    For example, Hamas (which does already have cells in this country) even attacks such benign organizations like the Rotary Club and Lions Club. In their charter which was published in August 1988 (and this is public information), Article 22 states: “Our enemies...created secret organizations that spread around the world in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests.

    United we Stand

  31. Boba: Knesset members today slammed Olmert's decision to allow the armored vehicles.

    Next year Olmert will be slammed by Knesset members for building a runway for Fatah's 12 new MIG-21 fighters.

  32. It is an insult to equip the Pilots of Allah with outdated aircraft!
    Nothing less than the Su 33 will do!

  33. Glenn Reynolds on the Second Amendment and the options the Supreme Court Faces
    It can find that the Second Amendment doesn't grant individual rights, but only protects the right of states to arm their militias (or "state armies," as some gun-control advocates put it). This would make the DC case go away, but at some cost: If states have a constitutional right, as against the federal government, to arm their militias as they see fit, then states that don't like federal gun-control laws could just enroll every law-abiding citizen in the state militia and authorize those citizens to possess machine guns, tanks and other military gear.

    This is the first time that I have seen this point. Putting the merits of this approach aside (even DC doesn't appear to really have its heart in this approach), I really wonder if gun control advocates know what they might be getting into if they get their wish regarding the DC gun ban
    from John Lott's Website

    This is what I have thought. Except no state's going to authorize military gear. I've been in our militia here all my life, and didn't know it. We'd extend enrollment in the militia to the girls, make it until death, and continue pheasant hunting and protecting our homes as we have. I have a feeling the S.C. is going to muck this up.

  34. The Supreme Court will look at a ruling from a federal appeals court this past spring that says a person's right under the second amendment to bear arms was not compatible with DC's law.

    The Supreme Court will hear the case around the first of the year.

    The nation's capital has a 31-year-old ban on handguns.

    Gun Ban

  35. DC is a Federal City, ruled directly by Federal Authority.

    The Supremes find that the "Right" was granted to States, but that DC as a Federal City was in the wrong.

    The Status Que remains. The "right" is to the State to regulate weaponry for it's self-defined militia. So New York can have differing rules regulating the "Right" than New Jersey.

    The Supremes decide it is an individual "Right", and equality of regulation vis a vie the 14th Amendment applies. Then the States "can make no law" either.

    Kinda like licenses to drive.

  36. Now I wish I hadn't cancelled my membership in the NRA. But they never did send me the Shooters Bible like they promised for my donation.Idhao has never passed any legislation about guns that goes against anything Federal. When they toyed around about triggers and such we followed right along. But I don't know whether we thought we had to, or just did. I admit to being a little confused about some aspects of this subject. Though the 2nd Amendment seems clear as a bell to me. A well regulated militia being just an introductory phrase...the right of the people, etc. To me the way to change it is a constitutional amendment. But, dang, I'm not on the S.C.