Category Archives: France

Keep Bugs To Self

It was just a few short years ago that millions of Americans decided to trust their future and human rights to a former professor of  constitutional law. We hoped his respect for the rights of our allies in Europe would renew alliances and move the world toward a more international stance that ensured human rights. Alas, that was then and now is now. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are furious regarding the massive American spying assault upon our allies and friends. As Chancellor Merkel informed the US government: “we are no longer in the Cold War. If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable.”

President Francois Hollande made clear “we cannot accept such behavior between partners and allies.” Unfortunately for President Obama, neither Merkel nor Hollande is a 29 year old hacker. They will not fly around the world to escape  American authorities. Apparently, President Obama can not distinguish friends from “terrorists.” He has reached the point at which any and all people are potential terrorists who must be halted. As one European  diplomat noted; “The Americans  justify everything with  combatting terrorism.”

Beat Up The Lefties!

We are remembering the D-Day invasion which took place on June 6, 1944 but unfortunately what happened on that day increasingly is forgotten. In case those who dislike “radicals” and seek a return to the good old days when Nazism was around and people lacked things such as Social Security or unemployment benefits, it really was not the good old days. A group of boys were walking through the streets of Paris when thy encountered Neo-Nazi youth who did not like their Paris contaminated with people who believe in social justice for all humans. A fight broke out and at one point several thugs  beat up a single boy.

The end result is that one boy is now brain dead. Just another day in gay Paris, just another day strolling through its beautiful streets, just another day in a modern society which is based on democracy. Unfortuantely, on this day we remember those who fought for democracy, a bit of democracy died in Paris.

NO To Toujours L’Amour!

Every so often something  happens in the world that causes me to step back and wonder how it is  possible that certain attitudes are present among humans. I was raised that Paris was the center of liberal ideas concerning human love. As a young man, I dreamed of walking along the Seine holding hands with someone with whom I shared love. I assumed that when it came to love,  Paris was the place to go. Alas, I was mistaken. The French Parliament made gay and lesbian love legal and gave such couples the right to marry. Naturally, I thought this would be welcomed by all loving French people. In March, over 300,000 anti gay folk  marched  in Paris against such an idea.  This weekend at least 150,000 marched against love in Paris, the center of love.

Ironically, down in Cannes judges awarded the Palm d’or to “Blue Is The
Warmest Color: The Life of Adele.” The film is about lesbian love. I guess “toujours l’amour has moved south.

Forgotten European Youth

Among the tragedies of Europe’s dance with austerity has been a dramatic rise in unemployment throughout the region. An estimated 50% of young Spaniards lack jobs and similar figures are evident in Greece or Italy or even Sweden. Hundreds of Swedish young boys and girls went on a rampage through the streets of Stockholm showing their anger at being ignored and having their lives put on hold. They set fire to over 300 cars, burned down a restaurant and threw stones through store windows. There are even reports of a police station being burned to the ground. The initial outbreak most probably arose from police killing a 69 year -old man who was wielding a machete. Young people felt the police over-reacted.

It is time for Europe to abandon the austerity tactic and go back to some old fashioned John Keynes stimulus to the economy. Sweden might borrow the Depression CCC which placed one million young Americans to work on infrastructure tasks. FDR even pushed through bills that paid artists to paint or musicians to play music of people to put on plays. Provide meaningful work and riots will cease and desist.

Future For Youth?

Four years ago in most European nations young people were hopeful that with further education there would be ample opportunities to secure a good job.Today, the unemployment rate in Spain or Greece is over 50% for young people with scant prospect of changes during the coming decade of their life. Stylia Kampani, now works as an unpaid intern for an important Athens newspaper. What happens after the end of her internship is unknown. “None of my friends believes that we have a futureor will live a normal life. That wasn’t quite the case four years ago.” She is now part of a lost generation which is doomed to low wages, uncertan job security and loss of control over individual lives. European nations have not learned the lesson of America’s Depression when the federal government created jobs for youth like the CCC. It funded the theater, opera, symphony orchestras and provided many job opportunities in society.

Germany recruits some  skilled workers from Greece or Spain. In the UK anger is directed at immigrants because the government has done nothing to offer youth a chance for the future. Oh, it has tripled the cost of college. Youth needs to go beyond protest and organize political parties which pledge to create jobs, and, in so doing create hope. If governments refuse to act to create jobs, the end result will be emergence of neo-fascist political parties based on hate an violence.

French Actor Gone Nutty

Gerard Depardieu  used to be a famous French actor noted for roles in which he played a man seeking human justice. Alas, the years passed and his weight increased and increased until he had become a hulking angry man unable to attack the attention of directors since there are few roles for a  leading man who is rather heavy. Mr. Depardieu was  not getting good roles, he was not making good money and he was becoming angry at paying taxes on the money he did possess. Gerard examined Europe and decided to head for Russia which offered low taxes. President Vladimir Putin learned about the cruelty being imposed on this man of the screen and offered Gerard Russian citizenship.

Gerard was at a dinner  with Putin and made clear that he adored living in a land in which the rich did  not pay high taxes. He told the audience,  ”For  me, he(Putin) is like (former French president Mitterand) or Pope John Paul IIs. The Russian  nation needs a person just  like this with a Russian temper. Putin is just trying to return bit  of dignity  to the people.”

Gerard, this man is responsible for the death  of democracy in  Russia. Dozens  of men and women have been murdered because they opposed Pope Putin. Isn’t it time Gerard lost a few hundred pounds from his body and along the way a few pounds from his brain??

Good Old Iron Age Days

We modern day humans so enjoy boasting of our military prowess which we associate with being up to date in human progress. A new graveyard has been found in France which contains the bodies and ornaments of Celtic warriors who once inhabited the nation now known as France. Along with warrior graves are those of women wearing ornaments and jewellery including necklaces that speak of their high status in society. These people were buried between 325 to 260 B.C.

Ah, in the  good old barbarian days they did not have death camps or use crematoriums to murder the innocent. They just whacked their enemies, chopped off a few heads and had a pleasant mela. Ah, the good old days of warfare.

Rabbi In Trouble

I was raised in a poor Jewish community in the Bronx, New York City and we attended a shul. No, we did not have fancy words for the place in which we prayed, just a simple shul which usually looked sort of bare and common. We did have a  rabbi and he had a beard and he did not have much money. We gave him whatever could be spared from the small income that was available to those who did have a job. In France, the Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, confessed to having fudged his academic career in the process of becoming an important person in the Jewish community. These days it is not kosher unless a Rabbi has some sort of formal college education.

I have no idea as to whether Rabbi Bernheim is a caring,  loving and learned man, but as to the need to go to college in order to be a wise Jewish man, it really is not necessary. Frankly, it is as likely that a person with college education is wise as it is unliikely.  If you are truly a wise man, just be who you are and forget about the college degree.

Jihad Is Just My Name

A three year old boy appeared one day at his nursery school wearing a tee shirt that said: “I am a bomb: Jihad, born on September 11.” People in the small French village were horrified at this open display at violence to their fair community. I gather they checked his diaper in case it contained a bomb. The mother was charged in court with glorifying the Islamic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Mom argued that her son was born on September 1 and that she was merely signifying the fact that Jihad was a common name in the Arab world. Her brother gave her son the tee shirt.

A court discharged this silly attempt to convict someone of naming their son, Jihad and making a reference to the attack on the World Trade Center. Certainly, there are more important issues dealing with crime than what a three year old wears on his tee shirt.

Of course, in the name of security, make certain the child’s diaper is checked each day for a bomb.

No Gay Time In Gay Paree

I was raised in an era in which going to France was an opportunity to explore sexual  delights that were not openly displayed in America. Ah, to walk the streets of Paris, chat openly with prostitutes and see men seeking men and women seeking women, this was not a common scene in my native Bronx. Yesterday on the social media photos were displayed of the face of Wilfred de Bruijn in order to describe how vicious homophobes in France beat up gay men. He had a fractured head and bruises over his face and body. This scene occurred as the French Parliament was discussing passing a law that would allow gays and  lesbians to marry.

Along with the photos, one can hear voices saying, “Hey, look they are gays.” And then came the attack. Many gay organizations are now organizing anti-homophobic rallies. Look, this is Paree, this is the land of  love and joy. How about you French homophobes acting like real Frenchmen? Toujour, l’amour, and that means male or female with the same of opposite sex. This is what France represents-to those of us  from the  Bronx!