I was talking to a friend from London this morning. He had a lot to say about what life in the big city’s like right now.
Pres. Obama arrived with an entrouage of 500 yesterday. Upon arriving in England, Obama took a helicopter and flew to London where he’s staying at the American ambassador’s residence in Regent’s park.
My friend lives in Regent’s Park.
The city has been under huge preparations for the G20 for the best part of a week, but yesterday the barricades started going up in an ever-increasing number in the Regent’s Park area. Since there’s a large mosque, my friend thought the barricades had to do with something going on at the mosque, but it was due to the Presidential visit. The zone was cordoned off, more barricades were put up, and “the area was literally filled with police.”
And then Obama arrived in his helicopter. My friend said, “It was a sight to behold. There was an air corridor: A group of helicopters flew in place while the presidential helicopter came through and landed.” Mercifully, most of the 500 people in the entrouage took other means of transportation.
My friend continued, “now we have security like the end of the world was near: helicopters, police cars, riot police, and everything else you can think of.
“As you go further away from the Ambassador’s house, then you have the demonstrators. Between the police and the demonstrators, it’s like living in a stage of siege.”
The Times on Line has a video in this report, Brown and Obama deny G20 splits as protesters scuffle with police. You can see the protestors vandalizing the Royal Bank of Scotland windows in full sight of the reporters who are eagerly recording the crime.
The photo points to a double fail: Gordon Brown’s for tucking his trousers into his socks (inexplicably, since he didn’t ride his bike to the White House), and the US State Department’s Chief of Protocol’s, who apparently was too polite to point out to Gordon about his fashion statement.
At least he managed to untuck by the time the press conference started:
The trip, which was intended to boost Gordon Brown’s domestic and international standing by urging Anglo-American leadership to right the global economy (admittedly a very costly proposition) was a flop. Aside from showing up with a 7-volume bio of Churchill to gift Obama – who had just sent Churchill packing last month – and knighting Ted Kennedy,
- Brown didn’t get the commitment he sought from the Obama administration,
- the British media correctly assessed the White House’s treatment of Brown as rude,
- the White House turned down requests for the flags and lectern treatment that was standard for visits by the British Prime Minister, a highly symbolic affront,
- Mrs. Obama snubbed Mrs. Brown, who had personally chosen thoughtful gifts for the Obama daughters.
Yes, the plan Brown read out to Congress would not be in America’s best interest. Yes, Brown made a mistake in thiking that he could get a boost by coming to the US. Brown was clueless from the get-go. He made the kind of errors that make anyone look like a dufus. This series of mistakes might end up giving his chances at home a final fatal blow, no matter how much money he prints at home.
However, the horrible treatment at the hands of the White House signals a turnaround in the US’s alliance with England.
This is a colossal error by the Obama administration:
When His Lordship [Lord Monckton] finished analyzing the Obama-Brown summit, I asked him just what the meeting and the maintenance of the “special relationship” would cost. If people in the U.S. aren’t careful, he replied without hesitation, “it will cost America its leadership of the free world.”
If Obama thinks he can count on the support of the French and the Germans, he’s in for a rude surprise.
Second round: the April’s G20 meeting in London.
Moe Lane looks at “special relationship” (old formulation) and “special partnership” (new formulation), and people who are unfortunately aware of their intelligence.
Larwyn’s on top of the story and sent these links,
Beware Obama’s Bearing Gifts (Part 2)
Obama the Cheapskate: 25 DVDs for Gordon Brown? A particularly crass gift, considering that Gordon Brown doesn’t have much time to watch movies and can’t play American DVDs on British players. There are signs at Heathrow telling you that – but then, Obama doesn’t fly commercial, doesn’t he?
Movies in the box-set produced for the White House by the American Film Institute:
1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather
4. Raging Bull
5. Singing In The Rain
6. Gone With The Wind
7. Lawrence Of Arabia
8. Schindler’s List
10. The Wizard Of Oz
11. City Lights
12. The Searchers
13. Star Wars: Episode IV
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey
16. Sunset Boulevard
17. The Graduate
18. The General
19. On The waterfront
20. It’s A Wonderful Life
21. China Town
22. Some Like It Hot
23. The Grapes Of Wrath
24. ET: The Extra Terrestrial
25. To Kill A Mocking Bird.
Orville Reddenbacker would have done better.
Via commenter Kelsy,
UPDATE, Friday 6 February
Here’s some advice for the Browns: Next time swing by Walgreens on the way into town.
Pick up a can of assorted nuts, some Cheez Whiz and a lava lamp.
Pres. Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown finally held their meeting and press conference, which had been canceled due to snow. Curiously, the event had originally been scheduled for the rose garden… in March?
The Brits were underwhelmed by the pretext:
By 8pm, the press conference – if there’d ever been one planned – was officially off. The White House press schedule stated: “There will be a pool spray of the meeting.” In layman’s language, that means a small collection of reporters and perhaps two or three quick questions. That means something very short and ample opportunity to dodge anything difficult.
As Ben Brogan of the Mail puts it, this is “not the standing podium-to-podium with the Messiah image that Mr Brown imagined”. Trying to spin as best they can, the British Embassy is describing it as a “press availability” while Downing Street officials are apparently saying that “we are still negotiating”.
Ken Shepherd points out that this was embarrassing for Brown, as Obama managed to hold a full press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a six-hour visit. Of course, one also remembers that bust of Churchill that Obama unceremoniously sent packing (more on that in a moment).
The press conference finally took place, but few reporters were allowed,
Obama talked about being unconcerned about stocks
What I’m looking at is not the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing. And, you know, the stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. You know, it bobs up and down day to day. And if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you’re probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong.
But Brown is here to push his agenda. The London Times:
In Washington this week, and at the G20 summit in London next month, Mr Brown will press his case for reform of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Financial Stability Forum. He will also call for a “low-carbon recovery” that spreads wealth more fairly around the world by honouring the millennium development goals.
Prior to his trip, Brown’s article, The special relationship is going global, spelled out some of what he has in mind: “a global new deal” that would provide “security to the hard-working families in every country” through a “programme of internationally coordinated actions”
First, universal action to prevent the crisis spreading, to stimulate the global economy and to help reduce the severity and length of the global recession. Second, action to kick-start lending so that families and businesses can borrow again. Third, all countries renouncing protectionism, with a transparent mechanism to monitor commitments. Fourth, reform of international regulation to close regulatory gaps so shadow banking systems have nowhere to hide. Fifth, reform of our international financial institutions and the creation of an international early warning system. And last, coordinated international action to build tomorrow today – putting the world economy on an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable path towards future growth and recovery.
It didn’t take long for a response, such as this article by Toby Harnden, Gordon Brown’s desperation for “special relationship” with Obama is embarrassing, which among other things pointed out,
“And there is no international partnership in recent history that has served the world better than the special relationship between Britain and the United States.” (Gordon Brown article)
This before meeting a president who built his campaign on having opposed the Iraq war and has written that the US “can no longer afford to go to the UN prepared for war, armed only with the signatures of Britain and Togo”. Maybe it was still on the laptop from Tony Blair remarks alongside President George W. Bush.
Brown wants Obama to double the IMF funding, among other things, and will address Congress. Mrs Brown will be meeting Mrs Obama, too.
Brown’s pushing all this now in preparation for April’s G20 meeting in London.
Still, the feeling remains that Gordon Brown fiddles abroad while Britain burns
Instead of managing the fine detail of domestic recovery, the Prime Minister is caught up in the global ‘vision thing’, that the Brown visit is a make-or-break moment, and that Brown’s blueprint, which I mentioned earlier,
reform of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Financial Stability Forum. He will also call for a “low-carbon recovery” that spreads wealth more fairly around the world by honouring the millennium development goals
are ideas that will not work on the UK’s own financial crisis. The worst thing a politician can have is to be regarded as “utopian”, an out-of-touch idealist by the folks at home.
Showing up at the White House with a full set of all seven volumes of Sir Martin Gilbert’s Churchill biography to gift the guy who sent that bust of Churchill packing doesn’t help, either.
The question remains, does Obama’s own agenda have enough points in common with Brown’s globalized own?
Regarding President Uribe, Pres. Bush said,
National leaders sometimes take office without fully knowing all the tests that await them. But when Alvaro Uribe became the President of Colombia, the challenges were in full view. He knew exactly what he was getting into.
For more than a generation, good and decent people across that country had lived at the mercy of brutal drug cartels and illegal armed groups. A contagion of terrorist violence and killings and kidnappings had shaken the political system and caused many Colombians to despair for their nation’s future. Early in this decade, the Republic of Colombia was near the point of being, at best, a failed state — or, at worst, a narco-state. In those conditions, it took more than ambition and ideals to run for political office — it required immense personal courage and strength of character.
As a presidential candidate in 2002, Alvaro Uribe pledged to his people greater security, a healthier democracy, and a better chance for prosperous lives. He was elected on a theme that expressed perfectly what the Colombian people desired in a president: “Strong hand, and big heart.”
President Uribe’s leadership has been resolute and uncompromising. Today in Colombia, homicides are down 40 percent, kidnappings are down more than 80 percent, terror attacks are down by more than 75 percent. The forces of violence are on the defensive, and the people are reclaiming their country.
President Uribe’s fellow citizens know him as someone who speaks forthrightly and follows through on his commitments. With his lifelong interest in public policy, he has a phenomenal grasp of the details of governing. At the same time, he has formed a powerful bond with his people. They met their President in town halls across the country. They’ve seen him deliver results. They like him and they trust him — and they have made him the first Colombian leader in the modern era to win reelection.
Lately I’ve been asked to reflect on the most memorable events of my presidency. Among those is a phone call I received several months ago from President Uribe. He called to say that a group of hostages — including three Americans that had been held in captivity for five years — had been rescued, and were alive and safe and sound. It was a joyful moment, Mr. President. And it was a credit to your leadership.
For President Uribe, the great demands of office continue. Today the United States honors all Colombians by honoring the man they have chosen to lead them. By refusing to allow the land he loves to be destroyed by an enemy within, by proving that terror can be opposed and defeated, President Uribe has reawakened the hopes of his countrymen and shown a model of leadership to a watching world. Colombia remains a nation with challenges. But the future will always be bright in a country that produces such men as President Alvaro Uribe.
Congratulations, mi amigo. (Applause.)
Allahpundit said that Uribe was out of place in the trio. Allahpundit is wrong. Alvaro Uribe has done more against terrorism in our hemisphere than any other head of state: the drug trade, criminality and terrorism are all threads in one fabric in our hemisphere.
More photos at Noticias24.
Also blogging: Gateway Pundit
UPDATE, Wednesday 14 January
Bush Awards Freedom Medals to Three U.S. Allies in Terror War
Bush credited Uribe with taking a country rife with drug cartels, killings and kidnappings, to one where terror attacks are down more than 75 percent. “The forces of violence are on the defensive and the people are reclaiming their country,” Bush said.
Elected in 2002, Uribe has strengthened democracy and the rule of law and brought to the country what voters most wanted in a president: “a strong hand and a big heart,” Bush said.
Related: Uribe’s Voice: Transcript of a Call
Temperatures plunged so low today that the sea actually began to freeze as Arctic conditions continued to grip the UK.
In the exclusive enclave of Sandbanks in Poole, Dorset the surf had frozen solid as the waves lapping the shore began to frost over.
A half-mile stretch along the shoreline reaching about 20 yards out to sea is covered in ice on the expensive peninsula.
In southern England, normally immune to the worst of the cold weather in winter, temperatures fell as low as -12C – and the chill will go on for several days according to forecasters.
Benson in Oxfordshire and Chesham in Bucks were both close to -12C and the UK’s coldest areas, with other large parts of the south also recording -9C and -10C.
My iPod newsfeed from Le Monde has a slide show of “Europe under the snow”, saying “the heart of Europe is under a cold wave, from Berlin to Belgrade”, “Switzerland announced record lows of – 26c”, and northern Italy is under a blanket of snow.
Here’s a guy cross-country skiing at the port of Marseille:
Just in time, Putin steps in and halts natural gas to Europe: Exports of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine appear to have completely stopped amid a dispute over gas supplies between the two countries.
Heating systems shut down in some parts of central Europe, as outdoor temperatures plunged to -10C or lower.
The EU depends on Russia for about a quarter of its total gas supplies, some 80% of which is pumped through Ukraine.
The list of countries that have reported a total halt of Russian supplies via Ukraine includes Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, and Austria.
The Financial Times writes about the battle of oligarchs while Europe freezes.
Russia today shut off all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine, leaving 12 countries without fuel in freezing winter conditions.
As millions of people struggled to cope in sub-zero temperatures, the European Union said the continent had effectively been ‘taken hostage’ by a trade dispute.
The Commission subsequently issued an ultimatum giving Russia and Ukraine a 24-hour deadline to resolve the situation or face an intervention.
What are they going to do? Invade? Send a strongly-worded letter?
Moscow pulled the plug on three major pipelines after a pricing dispute with Ukraine.
Supplies have dwindled throughout this week and today Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic confirmed their pipelines were empty.
Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey are already out of gas.
Italy suffered a 90 per cent plunge, France was down 70 per cent and Germany was affected for the first time.
Britain, however, is unlikely to run out of gas as only two per cent of supplies come from Russia which can be replaced from other sources if necessary.
Britain only has capacity to store enough gas for 16 days, France has enough for 88 days and Germany 77.
Europe receives about 20 per cent of its gas from Russia, via the Ukraine pipelines.
Maybe, maybe it’s time we start thinking here in the USA what we need to do to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. We have plenty of natural gas, shale, and coal, while we’re the only country in the world that prevents itself from exploring and exploiting our own energy sources.
Fausta is an ancient Latin name. Imagine my surprise, then when I read this headliine:
Via the Baron, Councils ban ‘elitist’ and ‘discriminatory’ Latin phrases
They are phrases that are repeated ad nauseam and are taken as bona fide English, but councils have now overturned the status quo by banning staff from using Latin terms, which they claim are elitist and discriminatory.
Local authorities have ordered employees to stop using the words and phrases on documents and when communicating with members of the public and to rely on wordier alternatives instead.
The ban has infuriated classical scholars who say it is diluting the world’s richest language and is the “linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing”.
Bournemouth Council, which has the Latin motto Pulchritudo et Salubritas, meaning beauty and health, has listed 19 terms it no longer considers acceptable for use.
This includes bona fide, eg (exempli gratia), prima facie, ad lib or ad libitum, etc or et cetera, ie or id est, inter alia, NB or nota bene, per, per se, pro rata, quid pro quo, vis-a-vis, vice versa and even via.
Yup. Better change my name if I drop by Bournemouth.
Amid disturbing revelations that the verdicts of Islamic Sharia courts are now legally binding in civil cases in the United Kingdom, U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton) moved quickly today to introduce legislation designed to protect the United States from a similar fate.
According to recent news reports, a new network of Sharia courts in a half-dozen major cities in the U.K. have been empowered under British law to adjudicate a wide variety of legal cases ranging from divorces and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.
“This is a case where truth is truly stranger than fiction,” said Tancredo. “Today the British people are learning a hard lesson about the consequences of massive, unrestricted immigration.”
Sharia law, favored by Muslim extremists around the world, often calls for brutal punishment – such as the stoning of women who are accused of adultery or have children out of wedlock, cutting off the hands of petty thieves and lashings for the casual consumption of alcohol. Under Sharia law, a woman is often required to provide numerous witnesses to prove rape allegations against an assailant – a near impossible task.
The proposed bill would make the advocacy of Sharia a deportable offense:
Tancredo’s bill, dubbed the “Jihad Prevention Act,” would bar the entry of foreign nationals who advocate Sharia law. In addition, the legislation would make the advocacy of Sharia law by radical Muslims already in the United States a deportable offense.
According to The Telegraph, Five Sharia courts have been operating in Britain for more than a year:
Five sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The government has quietly sanctioned that their rulings are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court. Previously, the rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.
under the 1996 Arbitration Act the court’s decisions can then be enforced by the county courts or the High Court.
It’ll be interesting to see who votes how in Congress to Tancredo’s bill.
Islamofauxia (pronounced like islamophobia with no “B”) – The lies, staged video, PhotoShopped pictures, calumnies, rage triggers, exaggerations and assorted frauds that Islamists concoct and the eager propagation of same by the Mainstream Media.
(h/t GoV, Yaacov)