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Us And Them

by john_evans Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:14:52 AM EST

Daniel Schneidermann this morning (by e-mail). This is my translation, the original French follows.

Us. Our street cafés. Our laughter. Our unarmed hands in the streets of thirst. And then our flowers. Our candles. Our glistening eyes. Our proud statues. Our little hands making hearts in front of the candles and the statues, like yesterday with the pencils. Our solidarity retweets. Our little Joann Sfar cartoons. Our little crowd-replicas of the 11 January. Our little bravados. Our little braveries. We're not going to stop living. Right away this evening we're going back to the street cafés. And our little panics. Our nerves that give way when we hear firecrackers, since we keep on hearing that they thought it was firecrackers, at first. Our irresolute fears.

Our politicians. Our Sarkozies. Our Vallses. Our Cazeneuves. Their jaws set. Their bursts of figures. Their thousands of soldiers, of police officers, of border controls, of expulsions, their deprivations of nationality, their hundreds of police busts all through the night. Their inventories, their balance sheets, their imperturbable catalogues of measures to be taken, of suggestions. Their blocked software. Their incapacity to admit that it all hasn't worked.

Our newspapers. Our leader writers. Their war headlines. Their memorial special numbers. Their journalist-witnesses who live in the stricken areas, are regulars of the martyred bars. The fine words they find, here or here. Their Pantheons raised out of the sand, when suddenly it's the hipsters who have fallen. The tender hipsters. Our hipsters. Our children. Our brothers. Us. This innocent between-us of grief, that invites, as with the 11 January, tomorrow's eye-openers and disillusions.

Marking out this us is marking out a them. It is to draw, between the two, a radical, uncrossable line. It is to accept that this line exists. To discover it bounding their enclosure, unless it is ours. So, them. Who are not us, and never will be. Who we are bombing over there, don't let us forget. And who here hold the automatics. Who kill tranquilly. Who give orders. Who receive them. Who do their job. Who must have a good laugh, when they see us, with our candles and all the paraphernalia.

This unbroken line, let's dare call it by its name. Marc Trévidic [investigating magistrate in terrorist cases] is on TF1. One of the only voices that sounds right in the tumult. Who talks technique. Who talks business. Who talks shop. Hands in the motor. Who has nothing to sell, nothing to defend, neither political mandate, nor subsidised research institute. TF1 gave him three minutes, two or three times less than to Sarkozy [in the same newscast]. Three minutes to translate "state of emergency", this term that has been going the rounds since the day before, half-threat half-shield, first of all twelve days, then three months, without anyone wishing to state exactly what it means. State of emergency, Mister Judge, what does it mean? "More or less, we do Guantanamo. Perhaps the French will be in favour, perhaps the politicians will be in favour. But either we remain within a judicial system, where you need evidence to arrest and imprison someone, or we take leave of it. I'm a judge, I'm very attached to... I would have wanted us to go on being efficient while holding on to our principles. If we can't do so any longer, we'll take leave of it, and we'll do Guantanamo, that we criticised the Americans for." That's exactly what it's about. Do Guantanamo, or reopen Cayenne, it doesn't matter what we call it. We're almost there. What am I saying, we're right there. In another world, already, where no one can find the emergency exit.

Nous. Nos terrasses. Nos rires. Nos mains sans armes dans les rues de la soif. Et puis nos fleurs. Nos bougies. Nos yeux humides. Nos fières statues. Nos petites mains en coeur devant les bougies et les statues, comme hier nos petits crayons. Nos retweets solidaires. Nos petits dessins Joann Sfar. Nos petites foules-répliques du 11 Janvier. Nos petites bravades. Nos petites bravoures. On ne va pas s'arrêter de vivre. Dès ce soir on y retourne, en terrasse. Et nos petites paniques. Nos nerfs qui lâchent quand on entend des pétards, puisqu'on n'arrête pas d'entendre qu'ils avaient pris ça pour des pétards, au début. Nos peurs d'artichaut.

Nos politiques. Nos Sarkozy. Nos Valls. Nos Cazeneuve. Leurs mâchoires serrées. Leurs rafales de chiffres. Leurs milliers de militaires, de policiers, de contrôles aux frontières, d'expulsions, de déchéances de nationalité, leurs centaines de perquisitions toute la nuit. Leurs inventaires, leurs bilans, leurs catalogues imperturbables de mesures, de suggestions. Leurs logiciels bloqués. Leur incapacité à reconnaître que ça n'a pas marché.

Nos journaux. Nos éditorialistes. Leurs manchettes de guerre. Leurs numéros spéciaux mémorial. Leurs journalistes-témoins qui habitent les quartiers, fréquentent les bars martyrs. Les jolis mots qu'ils trouvent, ici (1) ou ici (2). Leurs Panthéons surgis des sables (3), quand soudain ce sont les hipsters qui tombent. Les tendres hipsters. Nos hipsters. Nos enfants. Nos frères. Nous. Cet innocent entre-soi du chagrin, qui appelle, comme au 11 janvier, les dessillements, les déchantements (4) de demain.

Tracer ce nous, c'est tracer un eux. C'est tracer, entre les deux, une ligne radicale, infranchissable. C'est prendre acte que cette ligne existe. La découvrir qui borne leur enclos, à moins que ce soit le nôtre. Eux, donc. Qui ne sont pas nous, et ne le seront jamais. Que nous bombardons là-bas, ne l'oublions pas. Et qui tiennent ici les armes automatiques. Qui tuent tranquillement. Qui donnent les consignes. Qui les reçoivent. Qui font le job. Qui doivent bien rire, quand ils nous voient, avec nos bougies, et toute la panoplie.

Cette ligne continue, oser l'appeler par son nom. Marc Trévidic est sur TF1. Une des seules voix qui sonne juste dans le tumulte. Qui parle technique. Qui parle métier. Qui parle boutique. Mains dans le cambouis. Qui n'a rien à vendre, rien à défendre, ni mandat politique, ni institut de recherche subventionné. TF1 lui a donné trois minutes, deux ou trois fois moins qu'à Sarkozy. Trois minutes pour traduire "état d'urgence", ce mot qui court depuis la veille, mi-menaçant mi-protecteur, d'abord douze jours, puis trois mois, sans que personne ne veuille nommer exactement ce qu'il signifie. Etat d'urgence, Monsieur le juge, ça veut dire quoi ? "Grosso modo, on fait Guantanamo. Peut-être que les Français seront pour, et que les politiques seront pour. Mais soit on reste dans un système judiciaire, où il faut des preuves pour arrêter quelqu'un et l'incarcérer, soit on en sort. Moi je suis juge, je suis très attaché à... j'aurais voulu qu'on continue à être efficaces en gardant nos principes. Si on ne peut plus, on va sortir de là, et on fera Guantanamo, ce qu'on a critiqué chez les Américains". C'est exactement de cela qu'il s'agit. Faire Guantanamo, ou rouvrir Cayenne, qu'importe comme on l'appellera. On y est presque. Que dis-je, on y est en plein. Dans un autre monde, déjà, dont personne ne connait la sortie de secours.

This piece sums so much up while giving a good impression of how things feel in France that I wanted to put it up as a diary.

The reference to panic is last night in the Marais and Place de la République, when (apparently) a bang from a light bulb blowing set off a panic and had people running all over the place.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:20:36 AM EST
Yes, indeed this is precipice over which France is seemingly looking.

The very same one over which Bush and Cheney pushed the US in 2001 and from which it has still not entirely extricated itself. The Judge is wise to be worried, the atavistic urge of conservatives towards reprisal and authoritarianism is is attractive as it is self-defeating

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 03:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Hollande seems to think he must compete with those 'conservatives'.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Joann Sfar cartoon.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:26:30 AM EST
Norway's Breivik massacre taught me you can't conquer hate with hate | Bjørn Ihler | Comment is free | The Guardian

We don't know everything yet. We know Paris experienced its worst night since the second world war. We know Islamic State claimed responsibility. As a survivor of the Anders Breivik massacre in Norway, I stand with the survivors of the attacks, their families, the families grieving lost loved ones, the people of Paris, the people of France, and all those who wish to live in peace.

Tough times lie ahead. World leaders, French citizens and people all over the world are of course condemning the Paris attack. So am I, but it doesn't help anyone to dehumanise the perpetrators, calling this the act of the devil and so on. In dealing with violent extremism it is important to recognise that we all dehumanise one another. Our ability to stop violent extremism is dependent on our ability to see one another as human. Let us retain that ability in the face of terror, and we may be on the right path.

Nitpick: in all likelihood, Paris experienced its worst night only since 17 October 1961.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 06:34:06 AM EST
1961 was also the last time a state of emergency was declared throughout the entire French territory.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 07:07:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice catches John and DoDo. and merci for pointing out the 1961 police massacre, about which i knew nothing.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 08:14:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had thought about it but, for some reason, I had in mind that the bulk of the massacres were carried out on the Neuilly bridge (technically, outside of Paris). The wiki article reminds that major massacres happened all over town, including "in the courtyard of the police headquarters", right in the heart of Paris, near Notre-Dame; bodies were thrown in the Seine from the Saint Michel bridge. It is estimated that over 200 people died.
by Bernard on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 04:45:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly, Hillel Cohen's recent book on the 1929 massacres in Palestine, starts the story with another largely forgotten French massacre of thousands of Muslims, the 1799 Jaffa massacre.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 04:52:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I first read of it on ET, possibly in this afew comment; but also see this post on more recent developments.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would that the stain of Vichy had remained like a plaque hung around the necks of French conservative politicians. It never ceases to amaze me how willing the average citizen is to forgive the repeated fascistic manifestations of wealthy conservatives and their minions, here and abroad. In the US there remain the descendents of Nazi sympathizers and enablers, including the Rockefellers, Henry Ford, Pierre DuPont, Firestone, Prescott Bush and others who saw that Hitler got vital war technologies before Pearl Harbor. This was quickly forgiven and forgotten in the USA after WW II and it was on the the Red Menace and Joseph McCarthy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:28:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 09:19:47 AM EST
Why am I thinking this is a measured and appropriate response?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 10:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 10:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as it's a large measure :-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 07:04:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Streets of Paris are as Familiar to me as the Streets of Beirut · Global Voices

I come from a privileged Francophone community in Lebanon. This has meant that I have always seen France as my second home. The streets of Paris are as familiar to me as the streets of Beirut. I was just in Paris a few days ago.

These have been two horrible nights of violence. The first took the lives of over 40 in Beirut; the second took the lives of over 120 people and counting in Paris.

It also seems clear to me that to the world, my people's deaths in Beirut do not matter as much as my other people's deaths in Paris.

We do not get a "safe" button on Facebook. We do not get late night statements from the most powerful men and women alive and millions of online users.

We do not change policies which will affect the lives of countless innocent refugees.

This could not be clearer.

I say this with no resentment whatsoever, just sadness.

It is a hard thing to realize that for all that was said, for all the progressive rhetoric we have managed to create as a seemingly united human voice, most of us members of this curious species are still excluded from the dominant concerns of the "world".

And I know that by "world", I am myself excluding most of the world. Because that's how power structures work.

I do not matter.

My "body" does not matter to the "world".

If I die, it will not make a difference.

Again, I say this with no resentment.

That statement is merely a fact. It is a political fact, true, but a fact nonetheless.

Maybe I should have some resentment in me, but I am too tired. It is a heavy thing to realize.

I know that I am fortunate enough that when I do die, I will be remembered by friends and loved ones. Maybe my blog and an online presence might even gather some thoughts by people around the world. That is the beauty of the internet. And even that is out of reach to too many.

Never so clearly as now have I understood what Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about when he spoke of the Black Body in America. I think there is a story to be told of the Arab Body as well. The Native American Body. The Indigenous Body. The Latin American Body. The Indian Body. The Kurdish Body. The Pakistani Body. The Chinese Body. And so many other bodies.

The Human Body is not one. It sure feels that it should be by now. Maybe that in itself is an illusion. But maybe it is an illusion worth preserving because without even that vague aspiration towards oneness on the part of some part of the body, I am not sure what sort of world we would be living in now.

Some bodies are global, but most bodies remain local, regional, "ethnic".

My thoughts are with all the victims of today's and yesterday's horrific attacks, and my thoughts are with all those who will suffer serious discrimination as a result of the actions of a few mass murderers and the general failure of humanity's imagination to see itself as a unified entity.

My only hope is that we can be strong enough to generate the opposite response to what these criminals intended. I want to be optimistic enough to say that we are getting there, wherever "there" might be.

We need to talk about these things. We need to talk about Race. We just have to.

by Katrin on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 01:00:51 PM EST
Nice post/link, Katrin.

As the Lakota say: Mitakuye Oyasin; All My Relations

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 03:04:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
typically whiny arabian self-pity. It is never their fault and always but always the fault of some foreign devils. We need to have a conservation, indeed.
by IM on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 09:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This comment inadvertently illustrates Ayoub's point quite nicely.
by Katrin on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 02:31:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hadn't realized that one of the French team starters, Lass Diarra, lost his cousin in the attacks. And striker Antoine Griezmann worried about his sister who attended the Bataclan concert. That's striking very close to home for usually aloof footballers.

That the French team spent hours staying with the German team after they decided to remain at the Stadium takes on added significance.

Even more significant is that Daesh claimed a former footballer at Arsenal (Diarra) had joined. It was found that the photo was not him, but he had already been besmirchedl.

Trivia, I know. But i was surprised to learn that just now.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 04:51:44 PM EST
Interviewed by Paris-Match last September, Trévidic declared: "The darkest days are ahead of us"
"Jours les plus sombres devant nous" (Trévidic, septembre 2015) - Arrêt sur images  "Darkest days ahead of us" (Trévidic, September 2015) - Arrêt sur images ?
"La France est la cible principale d'une armée de terroristes aux moyens illimités, estimait Marc Trévidic en septembre dernier. Ensuite, il est clair que nous sommes particulièrement vulnérables du fait de notre position géographique, de la facilité d'entrer sur notre territoire pour tous les djihadistes d'origine européenne, ­Français ou non, et du fait de la volonté clairement et sans cesse exprimée par les hommes de l'EI de nous frapper. Et puis, il faut le dire : devant l'ampleur de la menace et la diversité des formes qu'elle peut prendre, notre dispositif de lutte antiterroriste est devenu perméable, faillible, et n'a plus l'efficacité qu'il avait auparavant. Enfin, j'ai acquis la conviction que les hommes de Daech [acronyme de l'Etat islamique] ont l'ambition et les moyens de nous atteindre beaucoup plus durement en organisant des actions d'ampleur, incomparables à celles menées jusqu'ici. Je le dis en tant que technicien : les jours les plus sombres sont devant nous. La vraie guerre que l'EI entend porter sur notre sol n'a pas encore commencé".  "France is the main target of an army of terrorists with unlimited means, estimated Marc Trévidic last September. Then it is clear that we are particularly Vulnerable due our geographic position, the ease of entry on our territory for all jihadists of European origin, French or not, and because of the will, clearly and continually expressed by the men of IS to hit us. And it must be said: given the magnitude of the threat and the diverse forms it may take, our counter-terrorism apparatus has become permeable, fallible, and no longer has the efficiency it had before. Finally, I have become convinced that the men Daesh [acronym of the Islamic state] have the ambition and the means to reach us much more harshly, organizing actions of greater magnitude, incomparable to those carried out thus far. I say this as a technician : the darkest days are ahead of us. The real war that IS intends to carry out on our soil has not started yet ".

h/t Arrêt sur Images

by Bernard on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:03:02 PM EST
Former French anti-terrorist judge Marc Trevidic about ISIS. Note that he says that an arrested jihadist told him in August they planned to attack a rock concert.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 06:02:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was held hostage by Isis. They fear our unity more than our airstrikes | Nicolas Hénin | Comment is free | The Guardian

It struck me forcefully how technologically connected they are; they follow the news obsessively, but everything they see goes through their own filter. They are totally indoctrinated, clinging to all manner of conspiracy theories, never acknowledging the contradictions.

Everything convinces them that they are on the right path and, specifically, that there is a kind of apocalyptic process under way that will lead to a confrontation between an army of Muslims from all over the world and others, the crusaders, the Romans. They see everything as moving us down that road. Consequently, everything is a blessing from Allah.

With their news and social media interest, they will be noting everything that follows their murderous assault on Paris, and my guess is that right now the chant among them will be "We are winning". They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media.

Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence. The pictures from Germany of people welcoming migrants will have been particularly troubling to them. Cohesion, tolerance - it is not what they want to see.

Why France? For many reasons perhaps, but I think they identified my country as a weak link in Europe - as a place where divisions could be sown easily. That's why, when I am asked how we should respond, I say that we must act responsibly.

And yet more bombs will be our response. I am no apologist for Isis. How could I be? But everything I know tells me this is a mistake.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 02:15:38 AM EST
Apocalyptic process = population reset?
by das monde on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 08:04:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
6 keys to understanding ISIS's barbaric brand of nihilism
4. Top prophecy: they're in the battle for end times. In America, some evangelical Christians are among Israel's biggest defenders because they believe it will hasten the end times foretold in the biblical Book of Revelation. ISIS believes in an Islamic version of a similar end-times prophecy, of which it is a central actor. This is key to understanding what the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut are in part about, which according to Wood is baiting Islam's enemies to fight them where the end-times battle has been foretold.

[...] only that form of government was legitimate -- both requiring people be stoned to death for adultery and providing free healthcare, for example. That purity accounts for ISIS' appeal to foreigners, Wood said, who feel they are not only living marginalized and mundane lives in the West, but want to take part in the epic battle for the end times.

Bin Laden didn't talk about the apocalypse. But ISIS' leaders believe that confrontation is coming and they see signs of it everywhere, Wood said. ISIS propaganda is filled with the belief "that the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam's final showdown with an anti-Messiah [taken to be a mix of Iranian and U.S.-led forces] will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest." ISIS believes the final battle will occur in Dabiq.

by das monde on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 05:37:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that we shouldn't buy into their apocalyptic worldview - they are a death-cult in charge of a state. That doesn't mean that pacifism is the correct response. Some kinds of madness only stop when stopped with force, and this certainly a instance of it -

They will continue to be what they are, and doing what they are doing until stopped. Ignoring them means they'll plan another provocation and another, and there is no plausible way to defend against strikes at arbitrary targets.
It just means that we should plan their downfall so as to maximize the loss of prestige to their ideology and minimize the collateral damage so they don't gain two recruits per casualty.
If we could arrange for them to be kicked out of Syria by a feminist militia of Syrian women, that would be optimal, but in general, they don't get stronger when defeated on the battlefield, as amply demonstrated by the kurds.

by Thomas on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 08:52:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who is the protagonist of this story? I certainly can appreciate good theorycrafting about how to beat Deash but looking at the characters and organisations we have at our disposal I can't even imagine a positive outcome. Note that the people running Europe have caused a needless depression and brought the whole project close to collapse. Often against the strong opposition of the local population. Now imagine the same callousness, short-sightedness, self interest and political cowardice brought to bear on a population that does not matter in terms of votes and that maybe rates a short mention at the margins of the morning paper for massacres an order of magnitude bigger than what happened in Paris.
by generic on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 09:38:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And indeed: Do Not Ask Western Leadership to Fix Anything (Ian Welsh, 2015 November 16)
Let me blunt. Anyone who wants our leadership to "fix" terrorism has either not been paying attention, is a fool, or is a tool who knows they'll make it worse but expects to personally benefit in some way.


If you want to fix any problem in the West, or have the West be helpful for fixing any global problem, you need to fix the Western leadership class. That means fixing Western media, education, corporations, etc, etc. The list is long, because they have deliberately broken virtually everything to turn it into an opportunity for a very few people to become richer.


In the meantime, don't ask your leadership to "fix" anything. That's not what they are there for. Whenever they want to do anything, your default position should be to oppose it-unless you are 100 percent certain it's in your interest and have done the hard, cold research and thinking to support that conclusion. Sure, sometimes you'll be wrong, but most of the time you'll be right, because they are not in power to make your lives better, but to enrich a small class of people and impoverish the majority.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 09:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
" Whenever they want to do anything, your default position should be to oppose it-"

Now that is downright silly.

by IM on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 10:14:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a default? With this lot? Not that silly, as a default open to reassessment on the off chance they've got something right - like Merkel on refugees.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 10:17:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See, you must already start with the exceptions.

No, this sort of brainlessness just leads to Putin worship and other idiocies. Because then you will quickly support anybody who is in some conflict with the "west".

by IM on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 11:18:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're assuming that Putin isn't on the list of people to oppose by default.

The point about choosing defaults is to make it easier to list the exceptions.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 11:20:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I prefer thinking without defaults.
by IM on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 11:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody thinks without prejudice. All you're doing here is admitting that you prefer to fail to recognize your prejudices and work consciously to alter them to less harmful or more beneficial ones.

In other words, to let other people choose your prejudices for you.

I don't understand why you think the people you're outsourcing your prejudices to have your best interest in mind.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 12:08:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O shut it. Of course nobody is thinking without prejudices. But that doesn't means one should add additional conscious prejudices. Such self-made rules should be helpful not inhibiting.

The rest are the usual baseless insinuations. I don't let others do my thinking for me. Especially not Ian Welsh.

by IM on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 12:25:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not even a prejudice. Given their track record there is just no reason to give our leaders the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure what you're even arguing here.
by generic on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 12:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Reversed stupidity is not intelligence" . You can't use the fact that a certain person or person is highly likely to be wrong to deduce what the correct thing to do is, all you can constructively do is ignore their input entirely.
And in the case of politicians, get some better ones.
by Thomas on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 02:14:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not entirely true. If you know what someone's interests are, and you know that they have better access to information than you (or better time and resources to analyze it), then you can legitimately draw inferences about the world from the side they come down on.

In a world where you had infinite time and wetware cycles, sure, you could build your own model of the world. In the world the rest of us live in, assuming that any liberal, conservative, or third-way politician is guilty until proven innocent has an excellent predictive power per wetware cycle. So for all the background noise that you don't have the time, information, energy, or intelligence to model ab initio, it's an okay heuristic.

For the things you actually care about, sure, you need an effective model. But for most things, you need an efficient one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 12:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" I'm not sure what you're even arguing here."

That knee jerk contrarianism is not thinking.

by IM on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 10:51:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be true if it were the end, rather than the beginning of the thought process.

The point really is just that the EPP-ALDE-PES are usually guilty, so guilty until proven innocent is a better heuristic than innocent until proven guilty. You should only spend your brainpower investigating the exception, not merely confirm the rule.

In this, private citizens' evaluations of politicians are different from a court's evaluation of claims. Primarily because private citizens don't get paid to spend half their waking hours sussing out the truth value of politicians' claims.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 12:38:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is easy for Putin to appear sane on ISIS.
by das monde on Thu Nov 19th, 2015 at 01:50:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a similar default system. For anything, especially for elections, I go against anything the Repubs want and I think hard about anything the Dems want, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders being given a long leash. The system is broken, it won't fix itself. Interesting times to be getting old. Wouldn't want to be young, thinking I have to hang around this place for decades.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 06:02:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In theory you'd require a two pronged attack: military/police action to degrade their capabilities down to as close to nothing as possible and massive civil action to deal both with the problems in the middle east and at home that are acting to recruit for them. No point crushing one death cult to create another.

What we'll actually do is half-ass the military action to avoid putting troops - and votes - at risk and do less than fuck-all about the civil action. In fact, we'll further oppress and marginalise the groups in our societies they draw their recruits from, making it easier for them.

I had a Twitter argument with a British journalist the other day who thinks that the IRA were beaten by military action rather than by civil action - paying off their base until they longer felt real grievances and were too comfortable to support violence. If that's how clueless the establishment are generally then we are screwed.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 10:10:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cancelled less than hour and a half before first kick. Bomb threat taken seriously, on what real grounds we have no idea. Enough for the authorities to cancel.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 02:34:23 PM EST
I'm listening to the livestream of the interior minister's presser. It was a decision of the federal minister De Maiziere, not of Niedersachsen. De Maiziere rambled a long time, although he had nothing to say beyond telling us that such a decision is difficult. No information about the reasons, the nature of the danger, because that would endanger his source.

I wonder if he will get away with that.  

by Katrin on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 03:35:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, there was no ambulance full of explosives?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 04:48:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, just the empty bloviating of the Interior minister, the same "man" who last week said that asylum granted people fleeing the war zones should not automatically be allowed to have their families come.

Without even checking with Metrkel first, who "silenced" him, but then tacitly sort of agreed, as is her way. I'm even more disgusted by German politics now, though the cancellation is but a minor distraction.

It is very important not to interrupt German arms sales, though the SPD's Gabriel excuse of a man has paid lip service to the idea.

Hey, Peace Out, CH, relax.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 05:25:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, the ambulance full of explosives of twitter fame. It apparently was first mentioned by "Kreiszeitung.de" (not exactly an important media outlet, to put it politely), and then the rest of the press behaved as so often: they all hastened to repeat this unconfirmed news as quickly as they could.

There is little that we know for sure:

  1. there were no explosives found. Confirmed.
  2. no arrests were made. Confirmed.

Die Misere in his presser last night refused even to answer if there was still an ongoing danger. In stead of an answer to the many questions he said "part of the answer would only unsettle the population". And then he said he wanted an "advance of trust" from us, that same population, that can't be trusted to process information. I almost exploded with fury. My twitter timeline exploded too, and was quite funny. The hashtag #DoItLikeDeMaiziere is still trending. There are many question whose answer would only unsettle.

by Katrin on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 05:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 06:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are reporting that someone left a "dummy bomb" in a rucksack on an IC train, who supposedly didn't respond to a woman telling him he'd left his backpack as he left the train.

As a member of the unsure class, i'm not sure how to process that info, assuming it's info.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 11:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's info, but today it has become suspiciously quiet about the dummy bomb. The backpack, in other versions a parcel, made a sniffer dog bark. It was then x-rayed, which showed that it contained cables and "electronic parts". Then it was exploded. I don't know if enough of it is left to show if it really held a dummy bomb, but our media don't seem to ask questions about that. Well, why should they, if they wouldn't get answers anyway. The trouble is, it was only found long after the football match was cancelled. Today the police in Hannover emphasised that the info leading to that decision was specific about the football match (and that match only, not any match). Odd, isn't it? First the warning about the football match, then the parcel or backpack, and both in Hannover. I mean, er, Hannover. Also known as the capital of boredom, but suddenly the venue of two, apparently unconnected, bomb threats.
by Katrin on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 11:47:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the part which got me was the witness, and her story of letting the man know he "forgot" his backpack, but he left anyway.

How convenient.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 07:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The owner of the parcel (yes, now it is a parcel) has been found , because he asked DB about his lost property. An engineer who had tried to catch a connecting train and forgot the parcel containing completely harmless stuff. The witness reminding him of the parcel is no longer mentioned in the article.

In the meantime the police didn't stop searching the bombs and the terrorists of the football stadion bomb threat. They had no success, though. Please do not draw any conclusions.

by Katrin on Fri Nov 20th, 2015 at 05:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Danke sehr Katrin. I almost drew a conclusion, which would have endangered my citizenship. I redoubled my efforts to remain a blank, quite successfully. Without your reminder I might have brought the authorities down on me.

I saw a colleague a few hours ago draw a conclusion, but I didn't report him. I told him not to contact me again. I hope we weren't observed.

As a precaution, in case we were observed, I had my assault rifles melted down into plowshares.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Nov 20th, 2015 at 11:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good. And don't forget to give Mr Die Misere his extraportion of an advance of trust without expecting any putatively unsettling answers from him.
by Katrin on Fri Nov 20th, 2015 at 01:17:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
have been for France. I am feeling nostalgic for the Chirac-Villepin period.

Sarkozy is an evil man. Hollande is  an evil robot. Marine La Pen has more humanity than either one of them; not to say she's not dangerous.

Alain Juppe is the only hope to bring some humanity to our politics; my fingers are crossed that he wins next year Les Republican primary.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Tue Nov 17th, 2015 at 07:01:16 PM EST
Told you so, about six month ago. Then again, isn't that a tradition on ET?
by Bernard on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 02:58:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we should start predicting good things?
by generic on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 03:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, please.
by Katrin on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 03:24:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Every time we do that we end up being wrong...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 12:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Predicting good things six months from now? This is called a Friedman, I believe.
by Bernard on Sat Nov 21st, 2015 at 04:17:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember, in 2007, when Jerome was celebrating the departure of Chirac, I commented that we may all live to regret his leaving.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 09:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i remember that, too.

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 09:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Daily Beast is developing an interview series with a member of the so-called Islamic State's security services:

Confessions of an ISIS Spy

How ISIS Picks Its Suicide Bombers

Inside ISIS's Torture Brigades

by das monde on Wed Nov 18th, 2015 at 06:18:04 AM EST

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