Category Archives: France

Tiny Steps To War

A hundred years ago in June, 1914, a man shot and killed the son of the Emperor of a nation called Austria-Hungary. The story was reported on page 12 of The New York Times, and in Europe there were some sad comments, but the son was not particularly liked by the Austrian nobility so his death was not greatly mourned. Days went by with some notes of protest sent by the Emperor to the kingdom of Serbia from whence the shooter came. Most Europeans went about their daily business without any concern regarding the shooting. Serbia was a tiny country and Austria-Hungary was a large empire so it was clear that Serbia needed friends. To make a long story short, nations in Europe took up sides with their allies and without anyone realizing by August, World War I had begun. This war changed the lives of all on this planet and led to World War II.

Vladimir Putin has initiated a process of attempting to proof that he is one tough dude. Ukranians really do not have an army, but they are organizing some volunteers as the Russian army gathers on its borders. An accidental shot, a plane shot down, who knows, just the wrong tiny step and we could have a shooting war. Putin is the bully who runs Russia and he can readily believe the entire world is afraid of him. All it takes is one man firing at the wrong time at the wrong person.

From 1914 To 2014

We are gradually working our way to the anniversary of the beginning of World War I back in 1914. The actual conflict began when the son of the Emperor of Austria Hungary was murdered by a young man named, Princip who believed the Slavic people were being persecuted and had to stand up for their rights. The actual scenario resulting in war took about eight weeks to unfold as nations warned one another about getting their armies ready for war. No one actually believed the road being taken was the road to war since diplomats were talking with one another and the thought that the end result would be war appeared too crazy to even consider. British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned the Russian government it had to end the attempt to make the Crimea part of Russia. Even as he spoke, thousands of Russians were cheering in the streets about the need to aid their Slavic brothers in the Crimea against oppression by Western Fascists. Most probably the Russian people support actions by their president.

Putin feels powerful sending troops into the Crimea knowing he has control over atomic weapons of destruction and he just wants to dare the West to oppose him. He also has control over oil and gas supplies that are needed by Western European nations. In the summer of 1914, the Russian government did not believe Germany would actually go to war over someone getting shot. The road to war just seemed to get shorter and shorter as nations threatened the use of force. William Hague warned of “the real danger of a shooting conflict.”

Is this a repeat scenario??

Secret Thoughts Of Comrade Sarkozy

Once upon a time, a long,long time ago before iPads and cell phones, a president like John F. Kennedy hired historians to help keep track of what happened. Of course, the assumption was the historian would double check before taking notes in order to ensure the president chose his words with care and consideration. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France hired former historian Patrick ?Buisson to be the official note taker. Little did he realize the historian wanted a verbal record of all that transpired during his residency with the president. HUndreds of hours of tape are now available in which Sarkozy discusses the world as well as lets the world know what he thought of this or that member of his Cabinet.

Buisson has shown parts of these tapes to the magazine, Le Carnard Enchaine and this journal of satire has shared with the world thoughts and observations from the head of state. He apparently did not think too much about some key advisors and makes rather nasty comments regarding their abilities. As one noted today, “It’s a betrayal. For us the experience is akin to rape.” Unfortunately, for the Sarkozy family, there are tapes in which ministers wonder what the hell is Carla Bruni, the First Lady, doing at their meetings.

Nothing much surprising about these tapes.

Liberation Not Liberated

Ah, how I remember my student days in Paris back in the fifties when one could approach a newsstand and select from among over a dozen newspapers representing every political viewpoint under the sun. Unlike the world of the Internet, these papers were staffed by people who had studied and actually read books and magazines prior to writing about the issues of the day. Liberation was founded by the great French writer, Jean Paul Sartre asa left wing voice in France. Today, like most newspapers, it struggles for its existence with “ONLY” 100,000 readers. Just think, each day a few hundred thousand read articles from those with leftist perspectives. But, owners of the newspaper announced a plan that would cease publication of Liberation and utilize its facilities for other purposes. It would become a “social network” area in which there would be a restaurant, a TV studio, and facilities to encourage start up ventures. I assume reporters would become waiters wandering around talking left wing ideas with patrons.

Eduoard de Rothschild, from a family with a few bucks and part owner of Liberation made clear to the staff if they refuse the new idea, “what’s at stake is its death.” The staff responded with a statement: “we are a newspaper, not a restaurant, not a social network, not a cultural space, not a TV studio, not a bar, and not a start up incubator.”

Death of another newspaper.

France Seeks Glory

There are some wars raging through European societies led by men and women who believe their civilization is under attack by an invasion of people from the Middle East and Africa. They regard the war now upon decent European Christians is equivalent to wars that date back hundreds of years when Muslim armies threatened the existence of Christian civilizations. Nowhere is this feeling stronger than in France where the Front National led by Marine Le Pen(who followed dad into power) rants and raves against “those people.” Years ago when dad, Jean Le Pen warned about “those people”he meant the Jews of France. Of course, Jean insisted there had never been a Holocaust and such talk was simply a way that Jews earned “sympathy” so they could continue their quest for power in France.

Marine Le Pen is a modern woman who realizes it was time to end the “Jew talk” and switch to “Muslim talk.” One of her disciples is Floran Phillippot who comes across as a nice decent man who simply wants to protect the people of France against those Muslims and blacks who live in slums and get welfare money. A woman told a French reporter, “this is the first time I’m going to vote extreme right.” According to Floran, “it’s not extreme right. Let’s just say it is a coherent choice.”

Most probably these people of hate will win about 20% of the vote for the European parliament.

I wonder if Ted Cruz knows about these people.

Banality Of Evil

A half century ago the state of Israel placed Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi who helped organize and carry out the Holocaust on trial for genocide. At that time Hannah Arendt, a famous historian, wrote a book in which she argued that Eichmann was a bureaucrat who carried out orders because they were orders and it was his task as a bureaucrat to carry out orders given by superiors. Arendt was harshly criticized because she employed words such as “banality of evil” as to transform the Holocaust into a process carried out by bureaucrats rather than a systematic murder of millions. Alas, we continue to live in a world in which whoever is in charge employs the bureaucracy that exists to enforce laws because it is the duty of bureaucrats to enforce laws. Barack Obama twice ran for the presidency arguing that he would end the disabuse of rights by the Bush administration and restore basic Constitutional laws that guarantee the rights of individual American citizens. Instead, Obama has become the defender to spying and surveillance because since he is the president then he must do what presidents do-catch the spy and enforce whatever technology has been used in the past to catch the spy.

If tomorrow, someone else became president- Chris Christie or Ted Cruz or even Rand Paul, we could expect that president would continue a campaign of surveillance and disregard of human rights. The power of bureaucracy is even more powerful than the power of common sense and respect for the Constitution. Military leaders, bureaucrats, technicians always argue that in the name of “our national security” certain actions must occur. Edward Snowden, in one sense, was the anti-bureaucrat because he chose to pose questions concerning which comes first, Constitutional rights or “national security.” In so doing, Snowden made clear the choice was NEVER between “national security” and the Constitution.

The evidence is overwhelming. For over a decade we have allowed bureaucrats in the armed forces or the NSA or the CIA to decide what constitutes “national security” and in so doing, have allowed nameless bureaucrats who simply are “doing their job” to continue doing a job that has failed for over a decade to protect “national security.” What is unusual about Edward Snowden is that a nameless bureaucrat who was just doing his job, began to question the nature of his job, and set in motion the concept that those who run the machine of death can always stop and question why this program of death?

Elusive Elysee

These are not the best of days for President Obama who never appears to escape some form of confusion whether it be the functioning of web sites on the Internet or the love life of people who are going to meet with him. If there is a scandal happening some place on this planet, one can be certain its presence will soon appear at the White House. President Francois Hollande, who is headed for some chats with President Obama is currently in the middle of a scandal that is rocking France–FirstLadyGate! Francois Hollande has four children by a woman he never married, and currently heads France and lives in the Elysee with his official partner, Valerie Trierweiler. Actually, to be accurate the First Lady or the First Official Partner, is not exactly at the Elysee these days. She is in a hospital suffering from emotional fatigue after learning that her consort is having an affair with movie actress Julie Gayet. Actually, to be accurate she is no longer in the hospital but has headed for the Netherlands to recover among the tulips.

President Hollande attempted to clear up the situation regarding First Ladies. “I don’t want anymore first ladies in the future of the Elysee.” Now, the real question is: is there a prospect that the Elysee at some future moment in time will have an official First Man? I’m just asking!

First Girl Friend Upset In France?

Ah, l’amour, if nothing else in the world is OK, we always have the presence of love in our lives. OK, so you lack food, but if you possess, l’amour, then life is still worth living. The French people may be criticized for many things, but their attitude toward, l’amour is always sensible and worthy of emulation by the people of America. French President Francois Hollande is not married, but he does have a female to host his social activities. Her name is Valerie Trievweilei and she is the “First Girl Friend”of the land. She hosts social functions and lives in the Elysee palace where she has her own rooms. It is unclear if the president and she have separate bedrooms. However, she is now in a state of shock over learning that her boyfriend has a new First Girlfriend who is actress Julie Gayet. Oh, Ms. Gayet does not reside in the Elysee palace but has her own apartment which is visited by the president when he is not in the Elysee palace.

I am somewhat confused as to whether being a “First Girlfriend” is an official job requiring confirmation by the legislature or is the power to bestow that title residing in the hands of the president. In any case, Hollande offers a good example to Barack Obama. In this time of stress and turmoil with the US Congress, how about a nice, juicy love affair which will distract attention and shift it to daily discussions on Fox News about who Obama is screwing when he is not screwing the American people?

America needs a Screwgate since the Bridgegate simply does not have the power to engage the entire country. How about learning from France?

L’Amour, Toujours, L’Amour

It is so pleasant reading stories from France. Here in America we must discuss Tea Party idiots who believe dinosaurs roamed the land a few thousand years ago or the humble apology of Chris Christie and his merry band of people who enjoy being pranksters rather than government officials. Thank God for France, where people seek to deal with real issues of State. Is President Francois Hollande currently involved in a love affair with an actress named, Julie Gayet. Neither one is married, neither one has children, legal or unofficial, and neither one has any need to lie about their relationship, but it is still rocking the French press. Of course, former President Mitterand had a child with his lover, former President Sarkozy divorced his wife who had a lover and then remarried a woman he had divorced. Now, these are real issues of State that concern the entire nation.

So, let me get things straight. President Hollande is a single man, and single people can date. His girl friend is single and single woman can date. So why is President Hollande angry at the “invasion of his privacy to which each citizen has a right?” My friend, if you desire to become a president and get furnished a rent free home and police escorts and free meals, you are NOT an ordinary citizen!

Ladies Of The Night Need Protection

I recall as a twenty one year old soldier on his first night in Paris back in the days when prostitutes legally walked the streets of the gay old town without fear of being arrested. Prostitution was a legal occupation, many women from small towns in France went to Paris, worked the streets for several years, saved money and returned home to purchase a small business. In those days, prostitutes had to undergo medical inspection to prevent diseases. Today, prostitutes are forced to work for mafia style organizations and are brutalized as long as they can function with their bodies selling sex. Beverley Mclachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, issued a ruling that made prostitution in Canada a legal occupation. All nine judges on the court agreed with her decision.

She put it clear to all that for many women they have no meaningful choice “other than the risky economic activity of prostitution.” It is a job. Our society does not term it to be “prostitution” when members of Congress sell their vote, not their bodies, to corporations in exchange for money. That is simply getting a buck for a vote. I suspect those votes damage our society more than any sex act between a woman and a man.