Friday, April 21, 2017

A Danish girl who volunteered to fight against Isis terrorists in Syria and Iraq faces prison for violating a travel ban meant to hamstring supporters of Isis terrorists

A Danish woman who volunteered in Syria and Iraq to fight against Isis faces six months in prison for violating a travel ban 
reports the Independent's Lizzie Dearden.
Joanna Palani has been taken into custody while Copenhagen City Court hears her case, which has divided Denmark.

The 23-year-old insists she poses no security risk and had been fighting with Kurdish groups aligned with the US-led coalition, which includes Denmark.

But she has fallen foul of laws allowing the imposition of travel bans and seizing of passports for Danes planning to join foreign conflicts – on whatever side.

Palani’s lawyer, Erbil Kaya, told the Berlingske newspaper his client admitted violating a one-year travel ban imposed by Danish authorities.

 … Palani, whose father and grandfather were Peshmerga fighters, is of Iranian Kurdish ancestry and moved to Copenhagen as a toddler after being born in an UN refugee camp in Ramadi, Iraq, during the Gulf War.

She told Vice she left university in autumn 2014 to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, wanting to defeat Isis, President Bashar al-Assad and “fight for human rights for all people”.

Palani fought for the YPG for six months before moving to Iraq to fight for the Kurdish Peshmerga. Both groups have been supported by the US and allies in the battle against Isis, being given military and air support as the ground arm of the international coalition’s bombing campaign.

As well as fighting on the front line against Isis militants, she claimed to have been part of a battalion that freed women and children held as sex slaves by the so-called Islamic State near its stronghold of Mosul.

Palani was active on social media and news of her role spread in Denmark. When she was given a fortnight off by the Peshmerga to visit her family in 2015, the Danish authorities cracked down.

A police notice warned Palani her passport had was not valid and would be revoked if she left the country, an offence punishable with a jail sentence.

The former student has criticised the Danish authorities for pursuing her under laws targeting Isis militants and other extremists.

Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service (PET) said at least 115 Danes have travelled to fight in Syria and Iraq in the past five years, with most believed to have joined Isis.

“How can I pose a threat to Denmark and other countries by being a soldier in an official army that Denmark trains and supports directly in the fight against the Islamic State?” she wrote on Facebook when she lost her passport, according to a translation by The Local.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Misleading Statistics: Would the EU Really Dominate the Olympics in Medals Won If It Were "United"?

There is a meme online, as there has been four (and more) years before (I first heard it years ago by the presenter of a French TV news program), claiming that — imagine! — if the European Union were truly united, they would dominate the amount of medals won at the Olympic Games.
This is for my US friends who think they are ahead in the 2016 Olympics. Only because Europe has no sense of unity!
It is nonsense, of course, utter nonsense.

It is also evidence of the misleading nature of statistics, not to mention common folks' tendency to trust simple catchphrases.

Sure, if you add up the medals from France, and Germany, and Denmark, and the UK (for how much longer?), you arrive at a greater total number of medals.

But listen: you can't have it both ways; either you compete as one entity or you compete as 28 (soon 27).

If the EU truly had a "sense of unity", you wouldn't have up to 28 different entities (nations) competing in each sports branch at the Olympics, you would only have one. The EU "representative" might turn out to be a Swede in one area (curling?), a Spaniard in another (bull-fighting?), a German or a Pole in a third (sausage-making?). Maybe, in one given year, a plurality, or a majority, of contenders might all come from one single country. (Presumably there would have been an EU competition, a mini-Olympics if you will, beforehand — although it is a safe bet that the pétanque contender would hail from France.)

Otherwise, you have to admit the "solution" isn't a simple as the would-be statisticians would make you believe.

Indeed, why stop there?

If a certain multitude of medals ought to be counted as one, why shouldn't the logical conclusion go in the other direction, and have unitary competitors "divided" into their respective constituencies?

Why shouldn't Canada ought to have one third to half as many candidates (or teams) as the EU for each sports branch, not 1 as now but 9 extra for the Canucks' 10 provinces (Ontario, Québec, British Columbia, etc…)?

Shouldn't the United States, meanwhile, have nearly double (!) the number of candidates (or teams) as the EU, an extra 49 for a total of 50 states, with contenders from Texas, Massachusetts, North Dakota, etc, etc, etc?

Similarly, in the Soviet era, the USSR had one candidate (or one team) per sports branch at the Olympics, not 15 for the number of its constituent (Soviet Socialist) republics.

On the other hand, the USSR itself had representation in the far more important area of the United Nations (as did/as do Canada and the United States — albeit not the EU), but so did Soviet member republics Ukraine and Belorussia — which was nothing but a sham, of course. (Again, Florida, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island had/have, needless to say, no membership at the UN.)

How sure can you be so sure that the EU would dominate the Olympics if its' 28 contenders had to compete against the Canadians' 10 as well as against the Americans' 50?

Related: Tyrannies demand immense efforts of their populations to bring forth trifles, and there can be no trifle more trifling than an Olympic record, or even a victory without a record

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Documentary on the Great Cinematic Epic That Never Came to Be: Jodorowsky's Dune

Being released in France right now is Frank Pavich's celebrated documentary on the filming of Jodorowsky's Dune, the genesis of one of cinema's greatest epics that never was.

The Chilean writer, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing 15 years ago (besides my many interviews with his frequent co-worker Jean Giraud (Moebius)) drips with passion as he talks of all the artists he will bring together to make a film of Frank Herbert's science fiction bestseller.

director Alejandro Jodorowsky … proceeded to approach … Pink Floyd and Magma for some of the music; artists H. R. Giger, Chris Foss, and Jean Giraud for set and character design; Dan O'Bannon for special effects; and Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, David Carradine, Mick Jagger, Amanda Lear, and others for the cast.
Various trailers exist for Jodorowsky's Dune, which did not come to pass, when the producers lost faith in the Paris-based film director, theater director, screenwriter, playwright, actor, author, poet, producer, composer, musician, and, last but not least, comic book writer, not to mention spiritual guru.

(Jodo's attitude probably did little to help, when the man came back with the screenplay for a 14-hour movie and when he was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to make industrial films to earn money, to make a living. I want to make films to lose money, films that oblige me to search employment in other creations.”)

Wikipedia, again:
The film notes that Jodorowsky's script, extensive storyboards, and concept art were sent to all major film studios, and argues that these were inspirational to later film productions, including the Alien, Star Wars, and Terminator series. In particular, the Jodorowsky-assembled team of O'Bannon, Foss, Giger and Giraud went on to collaborate on the 1979 film Alien.
"It was a great undertaking to do the script," Jodowrosky says in the film. Speaking of Herbert's novel, he says: "It's very, it's like Proust, I compare it to great literature."

Monday, February 01, 2016

Scandinavia’s quality of life didn’t SPRING FROM leftist policies; It SURVIVED them

When Bernie Sanders was asked during CNN’s Democratic presidential debate how a self-proclaimed socialist could hope to be elected to the White House, he gave the answer he usually gives
notes Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:
Socialism has been wonderful for the countries of Scandinavia, and America should emulate their example.“We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” Sanders said.

Liberals have had a crush on Scandinavia for decades. “It is a country whose very name has become a synonym for a materialist paradise,” observed Time magazine in a 1976 story on Sweden. “Its citizens enjoy one of the world’s highest living standards. . . . Neither ill health, unemployment nor old age pose the terror of financial hardship. [Sweden’s] cradle-to-grave benefits are unmatched in any other free society outside Scandinavia.” In 2010, a National Public Radio story marveled at the way “Denmark Thrives Despite High Taxes.” The small Nordic nation, said NPR, “seems to violate the laws of the economic universe,” improbably balancing low poverty and unemployment rates with stratospheric taxes that were among the world’s highest.

Such paeans may inspire Clinton’s love and Sanders’ faith in America’s socialist future. As with most urban legends, however, the reality of Scandinavia’s welfare-state utopia doesn’t match the hype.

 … It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s that taxes soared, welfare payments expanded, and entrepreneurship was discouraged.

But what emerged wasn’t heaven on earth.

That 1976 story in Time, for example, went on to report that Sweden found itself struggling with crime, drug addiction, welfare dependency, and a plague of red tape. Successful Swedes — most famously, Ingmar Bergman — were fleeing the country to avoid its killing taxes. “Growing numbers are plagued by a persistent, gnawing question: Is their Utopia going sour?”

Sweden’s world-beating growth rate dried up. In 1975, it had been the fourth-wealthiest nation on earth (as measured by GDP per capita); by 1993, it had dropped to 14th. By then, Swedes had begun to regard their experiment with socialism as, in Sanandaji’s phrase, “a colossal failure.”

Denmark has come to a similar conclusion. Its lavish subsidies are being rolled back amid sharp concerns about welfare abuse and an eroding work ethic. In the last general election, Danes replaced a left-leaning government with one tilted to the right. Loving Denmark doesn’t mean loving big-government welfarism.

The real key to Scandinavia’s unique successes isn’t socialism, it’s culture. Social trust and cohesion, a broad egalitarian ethic, a strong emphasis on work and responsibility, commitment to the rule of law — these are healthy attributes of a Nordic culture that was ingrained over centuries. In the region’s small and homogeneous countries (overwhelmingly white, Protestant, and native-born), those norms took deep root. The good outcomes and high living standards they produced antedated the socialist nostrums of the 1970s. Scandinavia’s quality of life didn’t spring from leftist policies. It survived them.

 … No, Scandinavia doesn’t “violate the laws of the economic universe.” It confirms them. With free markets and healthy values, almost any society will thrive. Socialism only makes things worse.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I 2015 er det svært at finde et mere rendyrket og blodigt eksempel på imperialisme end det, som IS udøver i Irak og Syrien

På de sociale medier er der forbavsende mange vestlige europæere, der synes at tage IS’ forklaring for gode varer
skriver Jacob McHangama i Politiken efter det blodige terrorangreb i Paris,
med opdateringer à la ’det er forfærdeligt, men sådan går det, når man blander sig i konflikter og er en gammel kolonimagt’.

Det er en absurd logik, der tilkender hvide vesterlændinge skylden for stort set alt, hvad der er galt i verden, og frakender mennesker med en anden hudfarve og religion evnen til at tænke og tage et selvstændigt ansvar for deres handlinger.

Lad os lige få fakta på bordet: Langt størstedelen af de franske statsborgere, der kæmper i Syrien, står på Islamisk Stats side. IS’ tropper består desuden af tusinder af statsborgere fra bl.a. Danmark, Belgien og Sverige, som ingen relation har til Syrien, og som har myrdet titusindvis af civile og – mod det syriske folks vilje – udråbt deres egen stat på syrisk territorium.

I 2015 er det svært at finde et mere rendyrket og blodigt eksempel på imperialisme end det, som IS udøver i Irak og Syrien.

De IS-tropper, som franske bombefly har dræbt i Syrien, var involveret i folkemordslignende handlinger og dræbte med pervers glæde uskyldige civile og gjorde kvinder og børn til slaver.

De franskmænd, som IS i fredags myrdede i Paris, var civile, som på tværs af køn, etnicitet og religion nød hinandens selskab og den frihed og tolerance, som aldrig kan skabes af mennesker, der ønsker et samfund baseret på en bog skrevet i det 7. århundrede.

I IS’ pressemeddelelse blev koncerten med Eagles of Death Metal på spillestedet Le Bataclan, som endte i et blodbad, beskrevet som en »skamløst prostitutionsfest«. Valget af Le Bataclan og det 11. arrondissement, der er ungt og trendy med natteliv og fest, viser med al tydelighed, at det netop er vores livsstil og værdier, IS og dets ideologiske fæller vil udrydde. For hvad skulle fulde, glade unge have med Frankrigs udenrigspolitik at gøre?

Hvis man endnu ikke føler sig overbevist, bør man se på, hvad der sker uden for Vesten. Dagen før angrebet mod Paris stod IS bag et større terrorangreb i Beirut, og forskellige jihadistiske grupper har siden 2001 udført brutale og blodige terrorangreb på stort set alle kontinenter fra New York til Nigeria, fra Paris til Mumbai, fra Amman til Bali.

Jihadisternes kamp er altså ikke en kamp imod vestlig undertrykkelse eller ’neoimperialisme’, men derimod for en totalitær ideologi, der har som mål at udrydde alle forhindringer for dets egen globale magtovertagelse.

Det er uforståeligt, at der i vores midte bor mennesker, der er villige til at dræbe og dø for at knuse den livsstil og de værdier, vi tager for givet, og erstatte dem med en religiøs ideologi, der er frihedens diametrale modsætning.

Men det nytter ikke noget at begynde at ryste på hånden. Vi må stå fast på, at vores værdier er alternativerne overlegne. Vi skal ikke gå på kompromis med ytrings- og religionsfrihed, og vi må aldrig indføre kollektivt ansvar for nogle fås ugerninger. De muslimske ofre for IS overstiger langt de vestlige.

Vi skal have modet til klart og utvetydigt at sige, at folk, der ønsker at udskifte frihed og tolerance med bogstavtro religion, ikke er ofre, men fjender, og at de ikke har krav på respekt eller anerkendelse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

De søvndyssende hastighedsgrænser

En forkortet version af nedstående blev trykt i Villabyerne:

    I marts skrev Ekstra Bladet at på fem timer havde en af politiets nye fotovogne tjent mindst to millioner kroner fra bøder på en kort strækning på Køge Bugt Motorvejen.  Lige så vigtigt var det der ikke stod i Jan Søgaards artikel.  Der var ikke tale om en eneste dødstilfælde; ja, der havde ikke engang været et eneste uheld.  Det kan kun betyde en ting:  ikke at danskerne (eller at nogle danskere) er fartsyndere og motorbøller der kører "for stærkt", men at på motorvejen ihvertfald er regeringens fartgrænse (alt) for lav.

    Hvis det ikke er afpresning, hvilken betydning har ordet afpresning så?  Ikke blot kan man tale om bestikkelse, men man kan sige at regeringen går imod dens udpejede rolle (beskyttelsen af befolkningen) og gør vejene farligere for alle.

    På de fleste motorveje over hele Europa samt i Nordamerika — de veje der er de sikreste i hver sit land (ingen fodgængere, ingen trafiklys, osv) — er den første dødsårsag nemlig ikke hastigheden (farten skulle dræbe, ikke sandt?) men dyssighed.  Og hvorfor falder folk i søvn ved rattet hvis det ikke er på grund af en søvndyssende hastighed (eller skulle man sige den "søvndyssende langsomhed")?

    Denne fartgrænse på 110 km i timen, hvornår blev den indført?  Så langt tilbage som… 1970erne.  Skulle bilen ikke have udviklet sig teknologisk i de sidste 40 (!) år?!  (Prøv at sammenligne en telefon fra 1974 — drej den nummerskive! — med din nuværende mobil, for slet ikke at tale om en smartphone…)  Og hvorfor blev disse fartgrænser indført over hele vesten?  For borgernes sikkerhed?  Slet ikke.  Kun af økonomiske grunde (OPECs oliekrise).

    Et ord til dem som altid, mekanisk, forsvarer myndighederne.  Jeg spørger altid disse folk — som jeg kalder Manskabare folkene (man skal bare overholde en ældgammel lov, man skal bare ikke falde i søvn ved rattet, man skal bare aldrig være forsinket, man skal bare betale sine bøder med glæde, osv osv osv) — hvorfor de vil have at Danmark trækker sig ud af EU.  Det vil de slet ikke, svarer de fleste, hvorfor i alverden tror jeg det?!  Jo, fordi over det meste af Europa kører folk "for stærkt" og de fleste europæere må derfor være farlige "motorbøller".  Hvis svaret er at det ikke passer fordi i de fleste lande er fartgrænsen 130 km i timen, hvad betyder "fartbølle" så andet end at blive forhånet af ens medborgere for at overtræde en forældet (og allerede dengang ret tilfældig) administrativ regel uden nogen som helst hensyn til sikkerhed?

    Hvad Manskabare folkene ønsker i realiteten — hvadenten de findes i regeringen eller blandt befolkningen — det er at borgerne er, eller at borgerne skal blive til, robotter:  Man skal bare adlyde og man har bare at tie stille.

    Med airbags, ABS bremser, og andre moderniteter, burde en rimelig begrænsning på motorvejen blive øget op til omkring 150-160 km/t, har man læst i Frankrigs avis Le Monde (stadig 50 km/t i byen, naturligvis, pga fodgængere og cyklister), eller endda være uden restriktioner som hos vores tyske naboer, der ikke har en markant højere mortalitet end i andre EU lande.

    Ansvarsfuld bilkørsel (og dermed sikkerhed) for alle, som bruger
deres hjerne og sund fornuft (og som ikke opfører sig som en robot) er:
1) først og fremmest bruge øjnene på vejen og
2) være opmærksom på bevægelser på den vej
(andre køretøjer, fodgængere, dyr…) — noget
der pejer på mennesker og/eller andre levende væsener…

    Det der kræves af Manskabare folkene er:
1) først og fremmest bruge øjnene inde i køretøjet
(instrumentbrættet og omdrejningstællerne) og
2) være opmærksom på faste genstande (vejskilte og…
fotovogne) — der viser objekter uden sjæl og uden liv…

    Hvilken af ​​de to måder at køre på er den smarteste?
Hvilken af ​​de to bilister er den mest respektfulde over for andre?

Thursday, May 07, 2015

70 Years Ago, the German Army in Denmark Surrendered, and Joyful Danes Filled the Streets of Copenhagen

For the past couple of weeks, Denmark has been celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, as can be seen in a Berlingske Tidende photo display.

A message on a resistance fighter's car seems to say that his group has killed seven snitches.