“As Holidays Approach, French Find New Ban on Religious Symbols Cuts Both Ways,” William J. Kole, Associated Press, http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGB720IZO2E.html, 13 December 2004.
France continues her anti-Catholic, anti-Islam, anti-God bigotry.
PARIS (AP) – They arrived as they do every December: gaily wrapped gifts destined for children at a kindergarten in rural northern France.
But this year, teachers unwrapped a few, took a look and sent all 1,300 packages back to City Hall. The presents were innocent, but strictly speaking, illegal: seasonal chocolates shaped like Christian crosses and St. Nicholas.
As Christmas approaches, France is awakening to the realization that a new law banning conspicuous religious symbols at schools – a measure used mainly to keep Muslim girls from wearing traditional Islamic head scarves to class – can cut both ways.
“It’s an unhealthy political affair. Absolutely regrettable,” said Andre Delattre, mayor of the northern town of Coudekerque-Branche, which has shipped the traditional chocolates to local schools for 11 years.
“What’s the point? It’s the children who are being penalized for this difference of opinion,” he said. “They’ve been deprived of a festive moment.”
The law, which took effect in September, bans overt symbols such as Islamic head scarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses at public schools.
In the United States, religious expression is encouraged. The U.S. Justice Department recently intervened to protect a Muslim schoolgirl’s right to wear the head scarf. In France, they would make her a criminal.
No wonder our ancestors fled that continent of death and decline.
Hat tip Democratic Underground.
Marines clear out Fallujah
The Washington Times
FALLUJAH, Iraq â€” Marines yesterday cleared bodies from buildings at the scene of their biggest battle since the fall of Baghdad, securing this former insurgent stronghold for the return of thousands of civilians and upcoming elections.
But six weeks before the historic vote, a U.S. official said, fewer than 1 percent of eligible Iraqis have responded to a voter-registration drive, forcing authorities to look for other ways to build up voter lists.
A city of geniuses. First, support an insurgency against the world’s only superpower and 80% of your fellow countrymen. Then, kill American civilians. Then, fight an idiotic battle which ends, predictably, with thousands and thousands of casualties. After all, guerilla wars are meant for holding ground. Then, bitterly refuse the send delegates to represent you.
Great job, guys. Fallujah: City of Geniuses.
Hat tip Drudge Report.
“China Detains 3 Who Criticized Government,” by Joseoph Kahn, New York Times, 14 December 2004, Online at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/14/international/asia/14china.html. (Linked to on the Drudge Report)
China is modernizing country. It has gone a long way since Mao. Its economy is very free and the people are connecting themselves to the Internet. Recently, China launched very high powered cell phone transmissions into North Korea, allowing dissidents to make cheap and hard-to-trace phone calls to the outside world and one another. And then you hear about something like this:
BEIJING, Dec. 13 – The Chinese police on Monday afternoon detained three leading intellectuals who have been critical of the government, apparently stepping up a campaign to silence public dissent.
Yu Jie and Liu Xiaobo, literary figures, and Zhang Zuhua, a political theorist, were detained in raids at their homes, relatives and friends said. Mr. Yu’s relatives were handed a warrant that said he was suspected of “participating in activities harmful to the state,” said his wife, Liu Min.
The detentions were the latest in a string of arrests and official harassment of journalists, writers and scholars who have spoken out against government policies or written articles or essays that officials have deemed damaging.
Since President Hu Jintao replaced Jiang Zemin as China’s military chief in September, leaving Mr. Hu in full command of China’s government, ruling party and army, analysts say the political environment has become more repressive. The scope for discussing sensitive topics in the state-run media has decreased, they said, while the authorities appear intent on punishing people who violate unwritten rules about the limits on free speech.
China is still a one-party dictatorship. China bans independent churches of all types. China has onerous censorship laws.
The Middle Kingdom has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. The only long term solution is to keep increasing the Chinese people’s economic liberty and connectedness, and wait out the old regime.
An interesting editorial over at My Side of the Story
The whole thing is worth a read, but one paragraph stands out
Republicans, because of the lions without any courage Democrats, have been able to walk through the Heartland of America and convince people that if they want to succeed they have to sell themselves to business. Now, this is not intended to be a Marxist docrtine, but its the truth. Where were the Democrats? Why weren’t we out there telling people that the purpose of business is to provide for them, not vice versa. Business should work for us. That was the point of Unions; to get business to work for us. The more money each and every person, not just the wealthy have, the more they can buy. The more people buy, the more businesses can hire and the more products they can make.
This is why Bill Clinton was a great President, and how the current Democratic Party is letting him down.
Bill Clinton’s greatest achievement was cementing pro-business pro-growth policies as American policies, and breaking open doors for globalization. Under Clinton we achieved the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, all with low spending and balanced budgets. Mistakes were made, some of them quite severe, but it is hard to quibble with President Clinton’s handling of the economy.
Thank God in the 1990s we had WJC instead of FDR as President. Roosevelt was a terrible president. Inaugerated before Hitler took power, he fiddled while fascism rose in Europe and Asia. Responsible for the Great Depression (it ended in 1932, until his increasingly insane policies restarted it worse than ever), it only ended when we enslaved (drafted) and/or killed-off our excess labor pool in World War II.
Besides (like the Republicans) mostly ignoring al-Qaeda, Clinton’s other legacy is the rise of morality in politics. After Clinton we have two modern and responsible political parties that agree on most economic matters. This leaves only the War and social issues as fields where the electorate can hope to influence party. The electorate is hateful of terrorists, suspicious of gays, and disgusted by late term abortions. Guess which party this helps?
“After NAFTA Comes CAFTA: Labor may object to the Central American Free Trade Agreement — but not nearly as much as do the sugar and rice industries,” by Robert B. Reich, American Prospect, 8 December 2004, http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=8918.
Following up both on the “Clinton was a great President” and Chinese textile themes, WJC’s former Labor Secretary comes out in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
In fact, the real issue surrounding CAFTA isn’t about manufacturing jobs at all. It’s about agriculture commodities like sugar and rice. U.S. sugar producers don’t want CAFTA. They want to keep their generous government subsidies and tariffs that result in sugar prices here being three times what they are on the world market. CAFTA would open the door just a crack to much cheaper sugar imports from Latin America, and America’s sugar barons won’t hear of it.
As to American rice growers — yes, there are American rice growers — they get more than a billion dollars a year in subsidies from Uncle Sam. A billion dollars is more than Nicaragua’s entire national budget. It’s even more than the total market value of all the rice that’s produced in the United States. Unless those subsidies are ended, CAFTA will flood Latin America with U.S. rice so richly subsidized by U.S. taxpayers that Latin America’s own rice-growing farmers will be forced out of business.
So you see, the issue behind CAFTA is really the same one that derailed the Doha round of global trade talks a while back: How to wean big agribusinesses off tariffs and subsidies so poorer nations can sell their food to the rich. To the extent CAFTA is a step in the right direction, it’s a good idea.
George H. W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush. Three great Presidents, one great trade policy.