Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mid-Week Post

Sit back and enjoy a tall cold drink because it's time for the mid-week post.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (identified by Yahoo News as the "premier" of Norway for some reason) has called on Norwegians to "embrace the culture of tolerance" he claimed gunman Anders Behring Breivik was trying to destroy:

Norway will never be the same after last week's bombing and mass shooting but it shouldn't change the way the suspect wants it to, the prime minister said Wednesday. He called on his country to react by more tightly embracing, rather than abandoning, the culture of tolerance that Anders Behring Breivik said he was trying to destroy.

"The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg insisted at a news conference.

Friday's bombing outside Stoltenberg's offices in Oslo and the shooting that followed at a camp organized by the youth wing of his Labor Party killed 76 people and battered the psyche of a nation that prides itself on openness. Breivik confessed but has pleaded not guilty, claiming the attacks were necessary to fight what he called Muslim colonization and multiculturalism.

"I think what we have seen is that there is going to be one Norway before and one Norway after July 22," Stoltenberg said. "But I hope and also believe that the Norway we will see after will be more open, a more tolerant society than what we had before."

Stoltenberg strongly defended the right to speak freely — even if it includes extremist views such as Breivik's.

"We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions — that's completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence," he said in English.

Stoltenberg's promise in the face of twin attacks signalled a contrast to the U.S. response after the 9/11 attacks, when Washington gave more leeway to perform wiretaps and search records.

It reflects the difference between the two countries' approaches to terrorism. The U.S. has been frustrated by what it considers Scandinavia's lack of aggressive investigation and arrests.

Since the attacks, Stoltenberg and members of Norway's royal family have underlined the country's openness by making public appearances with little visible security guarding them.

Quibbles: Breivik was no more trying to destroy anything than ravenous hyenas hug with their fangs. He was a gunman, deluded and vain, who opened fire on defenseless people.

Norway is a constitutional monarchy with universal suffrage, possesses the typical Scandinavian penchant for women in politics, and is already considered "multicultural" (in the political sense) and is fairly reluctant to integrate newcomers. The references Breivik made in his "manifesto" to freedom of speech reflect the "progressive" view that any speech is subject to oversite and should be controlled if deemed "offensive". While Stoltenberg's insistence that Norway is "open" and "tolerant", he neglected to mention the rise of anti-Semitism in Norway and that the youth camp on Utoya was strongly anti-Israel (much to the great detriment of some of the attendants who actually thought that being from "open, tolerant" Norway they could talk a man like Breivik down). So much for that meme.

PM Stoltenberg also conveniently forgot the hour-long wait victims of Breivik's evil had to endure because the police needed to secure permission to arm themselves, the only helicopter could not be flown because all of the pilots were on holiday and, most importantly, letting one's guard down now is just plain dangerous. I bet the Americans don't seem so hasty now.

Norway's "9/11" cliche experience won't vastly change the social or political landscape much simply because the leftist elements within Norway won't let it be a learning experience. No one is attacking democracy, universal suffrage, free expression or diversity, not even Breivik. How gunning down innocent people can be seen as reasonable and productive is beyond me. The only thing he was able to do for himself was to be mentioned in the popular press. This salient point seems to be missing from the left's line of vision.  His brief reign of terror was as futile as their inability to process and learn from it. Would the "openness" of Norway's royal family or political leaders matter if Breivik had succeeded injuring or killing them? Did Norway's "openness" equip the police so well that they were able to act quickly and efficiently? The chance to re-think the entire structure of Norway is now. Their "openness" is nothing more than weakness and naivety, a refusal to question the things that made Norwegians so muddle-headed to begin with. Wouldn't it make sense to add security after a gunman went on a shooting spree? That's not a sharp turn to the political right; that's common sense. Why was a segment of the country's youth encouraged to boycott Israel, anyway? Israel doesn't need boycotting; a slow police force does. How can a country that won't tolerate Israel's right to exist or the Jews within their community continue to be called "tolerant"? Where was the "free expression" when Norwegian papers refused to publish Mohammad cartoons? Islamism has been proven to be a bigger impediment (read: danger) to the West and the cartoons controversy is ample proof of it. Shouldn't Norway's chattering classes have mentioned that in reference to Breivik and his futile yet deadly attempt to make a name for himself? Did I miss those conversations?

Norway's response to one of the worst acts of violence on its soil since the Second World War is...nothing.

Norwegians needn't fear Breivik any longer. He has a good twenty-one years to think about his crimes. Perhaps Norwegians should fear themselves. Their unwillingness to question the schizophrenic attitudes that would let fetid strains of their brand of "progression" survive after an event such as this is enough to worry about.

Because he's Rex Murphy.

Now onto other things....

A riot in China over the death of a disabled fruit vendor:

Angry residents in a southern Chinese city went on the rampage after officials apparently beat to death a disabled fruit vendor, a state media said on Wednesday, in the latest incident of social unrest in the world's second-largest economy.

The China Daily said that thousands of people gathered on the streets of Anshun in Guizhou province on Tuesday afternoon, throwing stones at police and overturning a government vehicle.

The riot was sparked after urban management officers -- a quasi-police force that enforces laws against begging and other petty offences -- were suspected of beating the vendor to death, the newspaper said.

"The unidentified vendor died in front of the gate of a market ... which led to the gathering of the local people," it cited a government statement as saying.

As crass as this may sound, I'm sure the fruit was worth more than this man's life in China. I never said that this wasn't a terrible thing to say but it's not like human life is valued there. My faith in humanity is affirmed only slightly by the fact that people were angered at the death of this poor man.

Related: eight-nine children, some as young as ten days old, are rescued from traffickers.

Wasn't I just saying?

(hat tip)

To be filed under: DO NOT TRADE WITH:

Canada on Wednesday joined an international chorus calling for the release of a frail dissident Vietnamese priest who has been re-arrested after being freed for medical reasons more than a year ago.

The United States and international rights groups have also urged authorities in Hanoi to free Nguyen Van Ly, who is in his 60s and was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2007 for propaganda against the state.

Prosecutors in Vietnam say Ly -- who was taken into custody on Monday -- was a founding member of the banned "Bloc 8406," considered by analysts as the first organized pro-democracy coalition inside the country.

"We are disappointed that Father Nguyen Van Ly has been returned to prison, and we remain very concerned about his health," Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement.

(Sidebar: yes, THAT Baird)

A mudslide in Chuncheon kills thirty-six people:

Walls of mud barrelling down a hill buried 10 college students sleeping in a resort cabin and flash floods submerged the streets and subway stations in Seoul, killing at least 36 people Wednesday in South Korea's heaviest rains this year.

The students were engulfed by a landslide in Chuncheon, about 68 miles (110 kilometres) northeast of Seoul, said fire marshal Byun In-soo. A married couple and a convenience store owner also died.

Witnesses interviewed on television said the landslide sounded like a massive explosion or a freight train. They described people screaming as buildings were carried away by rivers of mud.

About 670 firefighters, soldiers, police and others rushed to rescue those trapped and extract the dead from the mud and wreckage in Chuncheon, where 24 others were injured and several buildings destroyed.

From the comments section for this article:

God has a plan for everyone. (sarcasm)

An open letter to this wag: 

Dear *******,


Signed, the human race

Somewhat related (and from more feeling human beings):

On Wednesday, hundreds of Canadian veterans attended a memorial service at the Korea Veterans Wall of Remembrance in Brampton. The 61-metre curved wall contains the names of the 516 Canadians killed in battle between 1950 and the cessation of fighting on July 27, 1953.

And we shall not forget them.

A less martial and more verbose war:

A recent call by the BBC’s Matthew Engel for examples of infiltrating Americanisms that annoyed inhabitants of the sceptred isle turned up an avalanche of entries.

Trouble is, most of them weren’t American at all. In many cases, objectors betrayed their abysmal ignorance, citing words that predated the founding of the 13 colonies.

In the meantime, Americans have rallied to the cause. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable tempest in a teapot that makes for entertaining reading. It also underlines George Bernard Shaw’s bon mot: Two nations separated by a common language.

Well- the Americans DO veer from the more standard British spelling. It might have to do with that war in 1776.

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