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07 May 2017

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Marko

"I will only say that if it were to come out that Trump had seduced a 15 year old girl when he was 39 he would be gone."

Probably so,but the relevant question is what the response would be if it were to come out that Trump had seduced a 39 year old woman when he was 15.

My guess : " That's m'boy ! "

Stephanie

One feels for Malcolm Turnbull, humoring the lunatic.

The turnout was low by French standards. Low turnout was supposed to help Le Pen, but it didn't. Macron outperformed the polls by a significant margin. Whatever Le Pen is saying, I'm sure she expected and hoped for more.

YT

https://off-guardian.org/2016/08/13/debt-and-austerity-greece-continues-to-be-sucked-dry/

https://off-guardian.org/2016/06/27/life-in-a-modern-day-debt-colony-the-truth-about-greece/

'Nuff said.

F5F5F5

Imagine if one of Obama's younger advisors, John X Doe, were suddenly propelled as a main presidential candidate, with the same inner circle and sponsors as Obama, and put at the head of a new Republican Social Democrat Party, made up of very high-profile GOP and Dem defectors, and a slew of second-tier old-timers.

Then the DNC and RNC put out their weakest possible candidates, one of whom gets indicted for corruption two months ahead to the election, and the other is considered inept and abhorrent by most people. John X Doe wins. Dem and GOP crumble.

This is a fairly unlikely scenario in the US, but that's pretty much what's happening in France.

Poul

The high number of abstentions and blank ballots do reflect that there was no left wing candidate. The choice was center-right or far-right.

If anything this election should force the French left to reinvent themselves if they want to have a role in the future.

As for the National Assembly it looks likely to be a round of "cohabitation" for President Macron. I doubt Le Pen would have been better off.

aleksandar

Kao_hsien_chih
Macron is not "coming in out of nowhere", he has been selected by our Deep state.Four years after graduating from ENA (national school of administration ) he joined Rothschild Bank. It's just unusal.Then after negociating one big deal (Nestle) he was promote to managing partner ! Do you knoww how long it take normally to become managing partner in such kind of bank ? 10 year minimum.
And then he become Deputy Secretary of the French Presidency as soon as Hollande was elected !
He owes a lot.
I am surprised about the Trump "syndrom",maybe it was common abroad, but I have seen from nothing to little here in ours Main Stream Merdias.

Tom

I think you know absolutely nothing about the Bundeswehr. It isn´t fit for anything. No leadership, no equipment, no spirit. Compared to the Bundeswehr the French Army is the Wehrmacht of 1939. There are a few special forces units (a few hundred at most) that you could actually use in a war. The rest just forget it. They´d be overtasked putting down a riot.

Wunduk

Macron seems to be a major upgrade after Hollande and Sarkozy. Stable on the home front unlike Hollande. Not aiming to cash in from Ghaddhafi or shady business deals like Sarkozy. Very articulate, and has a programme to change the French labor and social security system. As this involves diminishing privileges, it clearly is not a popular proposal. I would have thought his margin to be slimmer.

He also had the guts to attack the French party system with a completely new outfit, refusing to cannibalise existing parties or make deals the caciques du coin. I'd say this makes him stronger in character than previous Presidents who all had to compromise their way up the party ladders.

Macron's performance at the TV duell was outclassing LePen's by far. This might have contributed to a lot of potential LePen supporters not voting for her. She came across as boorish and uninspired, and had no answer to the first big question on reforming the labor market except to cricise Macron over not implementing them when he was in Hollande's cabinet. After "Un président ne devrait pas dire ça..." (Davet & Lhomme 2016) everyone knows they clashed and the "traitor" Macron was sent into the wilderness.

One problem: Macron will be tempted try to solve a lot of issues through the EU, so he can bypass the national parliament where En Marche is unlikely to get a majority that will allow for his reforms in the upcoming elections in June. This in turn can fuel an anti-EU movement. French challenges need to be addressed in the national institutions.

Lee A. Arnold

The French also have better food.

English outsider


Bill Herschel - I accept that the private lives of politicians are sometimes relevant when considering their policies but is that the case with the new French President? I'm unable to see a connection between Macron's private life and what is happening to France.


Colonel, may I go off topic and enquire of your committee why Tulsi Gabbard is supporting H.R. 1644?

JJackson

Jack is this not just a reflection of the fact that the French electorate, like the UK & US's, are not overly enamored by the choices they are being offered by their national political parties. When is the last time any of us voted for someone who we believed in rather than lesser of two evils?

LeaNder

It's interesting how you misuse the most recent scandal in the German military to your own 'straight heart's delight', J.

Fact is, that the French officer in charge of the French-German unit, founded in 1989 by the way, recommended the guy should be fired three years ago. An interesting little detail among other matters.

You do not have troubles with a German officer posing as a non-existent Syrian refugee at the same time? However he accomplished it. What was his intention to lead a faked double life? Was his intention to leave his fingerprints on a crime scene?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-German_Brigade

confusedponderer

Jack,
"Frexit will be good for France just as Brexit will be for Britain"

Well, it seems BREXIT isn't all that good for Britain. In light of that I wonder how 'Frexit' can or would be good for France.

"Britain benefits enormously from its participation in the 28-member economic and political union, and the consequences of withdrawal could be catastrophic for the British economy — particularly for London’s role as an international financial center.
...
A recent study by the International Monetary Fund warned that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU could shrink the British economy by 5% by the year 2019. Nor would withdrawal affect only affluent Britons, as some Leave proponents have suggested. Researchers at the London School of Economics estimated that middle-class families in the UK would face the loss of at least 4% of their income if the UK left the EU and had to trade under the rules of the World Trade Organization.

Brexit also would complicate the UK’s economic relationship with the United States. U.S. companies would think twice about investing in the UK if it no longer enjoyed the trading advantages of being part of the EU. On a visit to the UK earlier this year, President Obama warned that if Britain were to leave the union, it would find itself at the “back of the queue” in trade negotiations with the United States.
...
Brexit would also make it harder for millions of Britons to travel freely and work on the Continent. Although supporters of withdrawal complain about an influx of workers from other European countries, the traffic is not only in one direction.

Finally, Brexit would increase political tensions within the UK. It was only two years ago that nearly 45% of voters in Scotland expressed a preference for seceding from the UK. Political leaders in Scotland, where support for the EU is strong, have warned that a withdrawal of the UK from the EU might increase the pressure for another independence referendum. In Northern Ireland, Brexit could undermine the Protestant-Catholic peace process by depriving Catholics in the North of a political connection they now enjoy with their co-religionists in the Irish Republic, an EU member that is not part of the UK. Cameron also has warned that a victory for the Leave campaign would lead to the return of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
...
Given these negative consequences, why is there so much support for Brexit? Some of the opposition is rooted in an island nation’s suspicion of the Continent that has been part of British political life for centuries and which helps to explain why, even as as a member of the EU, the UK has maintained its own currency rather than adopt the euro. A variation of that concern is the (highly exaggerated) fear that “Eurocrats” in Brussels, in their zeal to form an ever-closer union, are usurping decisions that properly belong to the British Parliament. That attitude is especially prevalent in Cameron’s Conservative Party, and some members of the prime minister’s government have broken openly with him to support Brexit. "

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-brexit-vote-20160622-snap-story.html

Point I make: Since Brexit has its number of points where it hurts alredy and/or will hurt Britain sooner rather than later, I wonder why and how 'Frexit' would be much different, or any better.

Another brilliant politico with an 'lets exit Euro' ideas is the dutch genius Wilders, who wants 'NLexit' (Wilders calls it "Nexit" to prevent the "Islamization" of the Netherlands), clearly every bit a bright idea just as Brexit.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/dutch-populist-geert-wilders-wants-to-leave-the-eu-a-1100931.html

confusedponderer

eakens,
I responed with my view to 'Brexit', 'Frexit' and ... 'NLxit' in my reponse to Jack above. IMO all these policies are IMO silly and self destructive.

Laguerre

"Aren't you the fellow who told me a year or so ago that the SAA had ceased to exist?"

No.

jld

Shameless idiotic propaganda!
Macron is an "empty suit on steroids" with only technical skills, all words, no substance, he has been known to contradict himself within the same speech and many noticed that you couldn't "resume" his ideas because there were none, though this did not detract from his appeal, "the medium is the message".
As for his clash with Hollande, news for you: Hollande à propos de Macron : «Je serai toujours à côté de lui».
He is THE "synthetic candidate" of Hollande and the French subsidiary of The Borg!

LeaNder

with a somewhat "conventional" base of support that has been more or less the same

I agree with others challenging you, for me it starts here. Hardly the 'somewhat conventional' basis, it feels. Consider both France and the larger global scene, events happening during the last centuries. Anyway, no harm meant, but it sounds a bit like a perspective from some type of ivory tower.

More randomly. For whatever reason, En March reminds me of a publication by a rather old French writer, whose name I forget. But for me he seemed to come pretty much out of nowhere too. His publication in the aftermath of 9/11 anyway, was widely circulated in activist circles over here too. It was a rather slim volume, thus I would have a hard time finding it, now that it mentally surfaces.

Maybe I am wrong to not simply accept the general position that it simply mirrors Macron's initials. But can't help it pops up on my mind.

But yes, 9/11 or more it's political and military aftermath led a lot of people to ask questions about the state of our own democracies. This interest had to surface, considering the West went out to model the world according to its then dominating designs. And don't forget it happened after the 1990's. I have no idea about France at that point in time, but Germany found itself in the position as the "sick man of Europe" at the turn of the century.

raven

Please

The Beaver

@ Fred
How firm will those voters be in the next election? How many seats in the legislature will her party have and how important will that be given the structure of the French government?

Those are key questions whose answers we will find out on June 18th.
With no real political base , will Macron be able to get enough candidates to join his "En Marche" party and have a majority at the Assemblé Nationale? or are we going to have yet another cohabitation like the Mitterand-Chirac era?

Currently FN has only 2 MPs and the French people will vote for candidates who will have power and influence to make things happen in their riding and thus I don't see many wins for FN.
Also with the new law that went into effect wrt the cumuls, some FN members would rather stay at the regional levels down to the Mairie level, of even a small hamlet, where they can have more power than in Paris.

BTW: I stopped watching MorningJoe this morning, when the talking heads were spewing silly opinions and comments. The best one was from BBC Katy Kay who resides in DC but said something to the effect " French have long lunches and most of HER FRIENDS retire at 55!)

Yep, long lunches - may be in some small villages in the country but not where productivity = profits and revenues and hence the reason for on-site cafeterias or fast-food/ sandwicheries.
I wonder if a US-based BBC news reader has friends in France who started working at the age of 17/18 or are cheminots to be able to retire at age 55, according to French labour law.

I doubt her NAP Girlfriends/beau-quartier acquaintances do even have to work :( but , hey when you have an audience, why not !

Jack

A lot of arm waving and conjecture. When has the IMF ever been correct in any of their macro-economic forecasts? They can't even get next quarters GDP growth right! The actual data shows that the UK runs an annual trade deficit with the EU of around 24 billion pounds. Brexit will be worse for the EU if they choose to not trade with Britain. And if you think the EU can squeeze Britain during Brexit negotiations you'll be wrong. May is going to win a thumping majority in Parliament and can tell Juncker and Merkel to stuff it where the sun don't shine.

The fact however is that being in the EU and using the EUR has already proven to be a disaster for Southern Europe.

charly

Voting is in the US much more difficult than in France and your vote doesn't count if you life in for example California or Texas so you can't really compare those numbers.

confusedponderer

YT,
'Nuff said'

Ah yes. And your point is?

What does Greece and their debt and lack of a rule of law problem have to do with Brexit, Frexit, France, Macron, Le Pen and the like? Anything?

Greece in terms of corruption and lack of money is playing in an entirely different magnitude than France or the UK.

The economic problems of Greece have a lot to do with greek bad habits (fraud, corruption, tax evasion, welfare cheats etc. pp.) that at some point had to be paid for.

Alas - they can't be paid for. Today the debt is so large that payment is beyond Greece.

To get the idea:

"In the latest scandal to hit crisis-weary Greeks, the local government suspects that at least 600 people on the picturesque Ionian island managed to have themselves falsely registered as being blind, entitling them to generous monthly checks from the authorities in Athens.

That represents 2 percent of the island’s population of 35,000 – nearly 10 times the average rate of blindness in the rest of Europe, according to the World Health Organization. In reality there is nothing wrong with their sight at all. "Blind" taxi drivers cheerfully ferry tourists around the holiday destination, recreational hunters with purported sight problems regularly take to the hills in pursuit of wild birds and rabbits, and "visually impaired" shopkeepers, taverna owners, and farmers with vineyards and olive groves go about their daily business."

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/0430/Greek-island-of-the-blind-More-like-island-of-welfare-cheats

"Decades of fraud have swindled Greeks out of billions
...
Their banks are on lockdown, their supermarket shelves are ransacked and pensioners are sobbing in the street.

But as Greeks go to the polls Sunday — to choose between more belt-tightening or a freefall out of the euro zone — they may only have their cheating selves to blame.

Decades of widespread tax and pension fraud have swindled the country out of tens of billions of dollars a year, a new book claims.

And those frauds have been as brazen and bizarre as they’ve been rampant, according to the book, “The Full Catastrophe: Travels Among the New Greek Ruins,” by James Angelos.

Take the beautiful Greek island of Zakynthos, where almost 2 percent of the population was registered as blind and thus entitled to $400-a-month disability pensions and other charity perks.

That’s a blindness rate some nine times higher than elsewhere in Europe.

Trouble is, the island’s supposedly vision-impaired residents included a taxi driver and a man whom one official described to Angelos as “a bird hunter.”
...
Among the 680 residents registered as blind in 2011, some 500 weren’t blind at all."

A blind was “a bird hunter.”? How do you hunt birds as a blind man? How does he see the birds? With nothing? You find them by smell? Or with telekinesis? Or does he use his eyes? But, when his eyes work enough for that, then he can hardly be blind ...

http://nypost.com/2015/07/05/decades-of-fraud-have-swindled-greeks-out-of-billions/

"Tax evasion has been described by Greek politicians as "a national sport"—with up to €30 billion per year going uncollected.
...
In Greek, fakelaki means "little envelope" but is also used in Greek popular culture as a jargon term referring to the bribery of public servants and private companies by Greek citizens in order to "expedite" service.[24] According to this practice, sums of money are stuffed in the files and passed across the desk to secure appointments, documents approval and permits.[25] The term was mainly associated with the corruption amongst the doctors of the National Healthcare Service (ESY)."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_evasion_and_corruption_in_Greece

"Greece: It’s the corruption, stupid!
Beneath the desperate debt crisis headlines, Jeff Randall finds a country mired in fraud and fiddling – and discovers its authorities are powerless to stop the rot.
...
The state’s accumulated borrowings are equal to about 160 per cent of national output. Greece cannot afford to service the interest, much less repay the capital. The country is, in effect, insolvent. Without the largesse of outsiders – many billions in bail-outs from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union – it would already have collapsed into bankruptcy
.

In a last-ditch effort to stave off such an outcome, the Greek government is trying something new – well, new for Greece. It’s treating tax collection as a process that requires more rigour than passing round a church plate. There is much to shoot for: about €30 billion (£26.2 billion), or 12 per cent of GDP, are lost to tax cheats every year.
...
When I mention that we in Britain have similar issues with dissolute politicians – MPs who fiddle expenses – Greeks, rich and poor, laugh in my face. To them, a few thousand pounds here and there for duck houses and dodgy mortgages are barely worth an inquiry. The problem in Greece is of a completely different magnitude."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/greece/8714615/Greece-Its-the-corruption-stupid.html

In light of that, even if the Greeks went out of Euro, do a 'Grexit', the corruption and dysfunction would remain a problem.

So they'd get the drachma back - what would happen to the debt? Would it disappear? Would folks suddenly start to pay taxes, stop playing disablement (like blindness) to get more pensions, stop bribing with fakelaki etc. pp.?

Hardly. Greek's poverty problem has little to do with Euro, but with brazen crime.

It's just that by now the bill is in Euro, no longer in drachma. Greece is as a result one of Europe's problem, but Greeces problems are not caused by the EU.

If you pay non-blind folks blind pensions without having doctors checking the folks, then you're, well, pissing away your money. That money is gone. If you don't earn enough in taxes, you can take a credit, and have debt. Greece did that, and they're broke now.

Greece did go like that long time, well before the Euro came to them. The Euro being sent away won't change the greek culture and habits.

kao_hsien_chih

Macron came out of "nowhere" in the sense that he is, at least, formally, not part of the traditional political establishment in France. Indeed, he ran explicitly on the basis of repudiating them--thus the nature of his campaign. In this sense, he came out of "nowhere" much the way Churchill, DeGaulle, Goldwater, or Reagan did: they were all established names in politics, but they all took power on the promise, honestly or falsely, depending on one's perspective, of distancing themselves from the status quo.

Where Macron is different from most others who came before him is that those to whom he offered to "rescue" are unusual: the internationalist elite. DeGaulle came out of "nowhere" (even if he has been a universally known name for decades) offering to rescue the besieged France from the internationals, to exaggerate somewhat. Macron is coming out of "nowhere" (even if he has been a part of the government for years) to rescue the besieged internationals from the French. Much the way DeGaulle, at the beginning of the 5th Republic, was expected to do away with the institutional vestiges of the 4th, in delivering on his (alleged) promise (which, I suppose, he did not really pull off), it strikes me that there are expectations that Macron will behave quite differently from the traditional French political establishment to secure the internationals' interests.

Not exactly a "revolution" or a "continuation." Perhaps a "reacionary coup" of sorts, means to keep up the status quo in policy terms by means that are unconventional. Macron is a part of the old order as much as Metternich was part of the 18th century, I suspect. They may look like ducks, but they are not even birds, and they come with a poison stinger in their hind legs. (I am echoing Tocqueville's observation: that, even if the post-Restoration Bourbons espoused policy like that of their 18th century predecessors, they employed the means of the Revolutionaries. Thus the bizarro connotation: Macron is a continuation of the "old" internationalist elite who is expected to employ Trumpian means.) There is something to Aleksandar's observation below, although I don't know I want to go so far as to subscribe to a conspiratorial story to account for his rise.

Margaret Steinfels

Jack: "The euro and the EU regime has been a disaster for Southern Europe including France."

For France? Let's have a compare and contrast of France's own work rules, corporate policies, and currency regulation before and after joining the EU. The youth unemployment problem is, in part, the result of France's own work regulations, hiring, firing, etc. It was always a top down economy. Is the EU really all that different?

Glad Le Pen lost... sounds like Vichy2. Vichy1, let's remember, kowtowed to Germany in every respect.

hemeantwell

I'm hoping that some Le Pen voters will resign themselves to never succeeding in a presidential contest and swing to the left. We likely won't see shifts in the upcoming parliamentary election, however.

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