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29.10.2012. The Norwegian equivalent of BBC, NRK, recently aired a program that has prompted Bruce Bawer to write a critical review:
The partiality of the news media, heaven knows, is an international phenomenon. But there are few places on this fragile blue planet of ours where consumers are forced to shell out so much money to be fed so much outright, shameless, and (not infrequently) downright vile propaganda as is the case in little Norway. At present every Norwegian household that owns a TV must pay an annual “license fee” of $451.00 a year to subsidize NRK, the government-owned TV and radio network. (Next year the fee will climb to $568.57.) You have to pay, even if you never, ever watch NRK, most of whose programming is not unlike a triple dose of Ambien. [...]
But what’s worst about NRK is not the comical dullness of much of its daily menu but, well, two things: first, the day-to-day, knee-jerk, petty mendacities of its news reporting, which is almost invariably tilted against the U.S., Israel, capitalism, and so on; and, second, the larger, grander, more sweeping, and even, at times, utterly breathtaking duplicities of some of the few high-profile prime-time programs that NRK actually produces itself. Case in point: Brennpunkt, or “focal point,” a series that pretends to be devoted to investigative journalism, and that, on the evening of October 23, served up an hour entitled “Intet kommer i en lukket hånd.” It was explained that this title, which literally translates as “Nothing comes in a closed hand,” was a quotation from Indira Gandhi; a quick Google search established that the original quotation was: “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” Whose “clenched fist” was the title referring to?
That became clear quickly enough.
Continue reading in FrontPage Magazine.
The man behind it
15.10.2012. Thorbjørn Jagland is an ambitious man. He’s been in politics all his life, and has never really done anything else. He joined the Workers’ Youth League – the junior division of the Norwegian Labor Party – at the tender age of sixteen, and his star has been on the rise ever since. He is now sixty-one years old, and has occupied pretty much every position of consequence in Norwegian politics – head of his party, president of the Parliament, foreign minister, and prime minister. An impressive résumé. Another man, at this point in life, might decide to shift gears – write his memoirs, start a foundation, sit on a couple of corporate boards, give lectures, teach, ski, golf, build houses with Habitat for Humanity, whatever. Not Jagland. Such a man is hard-wired to keep climbing higher. But where to go next? When you’re a politician in a small country and you’ve already held every high office it has to offer, there’s only one way to continue to rise: look beyond its borders. Thus writes Bruce Bawer in the opening paragraphs of The Man Behind the Nobel Prize, where he analyzes this year's awarding of the Nobel Prize to the EU. He later continues:
So it is that Jagland, in 2009, accepted the position of Secretary-General of the Council of Europe – not to be confused with the European Council. Unlike the European Council, the Council of Europe has no official connection to the EU and, unlike the EU, has no authority to make or enforce laws. It’s not a bad job at all – in fact, it’s a very nice start for an ambitious politician who is starting to spread his wings beyond his homeland. Still, a man of Jagland’s ambitions can’t help being acutely aware that it’s not quite the pinnacle of power, either.
Fortunately Jagland has occupied another office, also since 2009, that could not be more ideally suited to his needs. He’s been the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which hands out the Nobel Peace Prize. The first prize awarded under his tenure, it will be recalled, went to the just-elected U.S. president Barack Obama. The selection of Obama, which was generally understood to have been Jagland’s idea, quickly became a subject of international outrage and derision. Yes, the Peace Prize had gone to some undeserving characters before – brutes like Arafat, apologists for the USSR, you name it. But if Seinfeld was a show about nothing, the award to Obama was an award about nothing. Even Obama was embarrassed: indeed, it may have been the only time in his life when he received something that he actually realized he didn’t deserve. Norwegian pundits, for all their love of the new occupant of the White House, were flummoxed: what had Jagland been thinking?
To some of us, the answer seemed crystal clear: Jagland had been thinking of Jagland. What a wonderful way to curry favor with the most powerful man in the world! What heights might Obama help Jagland to reach? How could he ever, in the future, turn down a phone call from the man who’d given him the Peace Prize? If, during Obama’s tenure, the job of, say, UN Secretary-General should happen to fall vacant, and Jagland needed support in high places – just think of it! The mind reeled.
But some people aren’t laughing. For the EU’s top brass, this award is a shot in the arm, a vote of confidence in tough times – and a reason to be profoundly grateful to Thorbjørn Jagland. Let’s face it: this fellow is crazy like a fox. He knows exactly what he’s doing. The euro may or may not be on its last legs, but the EU itself isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He’s already bought off the President of the United States (for whose re-election, one imagines, he’s fervently praying); now the boys in Brussels are in his debt, too. How interesting it will be to see where Thorbjørn Jagland’s career takes him next! With friends like these, after all, the sky’s the limit.
Read the entire article in FrontPage Magazine.
Labour «used migrants to keep wages low»
13.10.2012. Labour fostered a policy of mass immigration to the UK in a deliberate attempt to keep British wages down, Home Secretary Theresa May said earlier this week, according to The Express:
Tearing Labour’s record to shreds Mrs May vowed to slash net migration from 216,000 to tens of thousands within two years. She told the Tory conference:
“It takes time to establish the social bonds that make a community, and that’s why immigration can never again
be as rapid or on the same scale as we saw under Labour.
“Uncontrolled, mass immigration undermines social cohesion. And in some places, it overburdens our infrastructure and public services.
According to Ed Miliband’s policy chief Jon Cruddas, Labour used migration “to introduce a covert 21st century
incomes policy”, she said.
She added: “That’s right, Labour – the party of the working man and woman – admit that they deliberately used
immigration to keep down British wages.”
Read the entire story in The Express.
Have rarely been so ridiculed and despised
12.10.2012. Faith in the traditional political process has never been lower than it is today. There is a widening chasm between voters and Westminster. The authority of Parliament has substantially declined, while trust in ministers and MPs has evaporated. The political class, as it is now called in derogatory tones, is seen as out-of-touch and self-indulgently obsessed with issues of no real concern to the mainstream public, such as the reform of the House of Lords or European integration. As the Labour Party conference gets under way, David Blunkett (MP, Labour) issues a chilling warning.
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