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the New Yorker : the battle for France

by oldfrog Mon Apr 16th, 2007 at 03:12:49 PM EST

Round One
The battle for France.
by Jane Kramer
April 23, 2007


Politicians Late one night toward the end of March, after a day spent listening to too many Frenchmen talk politics, I called room service at my Paris hotel, hoping for a sandwich. "We have ham and Emmental, on toast," the waiter on the phone told me. "Good," I said, "and could you grill the sandwich?" "No, Madame. The menu says ham and cheese; if we grill the sandwich, that would be more like a croque-monsieur." "Agreed," I said. "Make it more like a croque-monsieur." "Alas," he said, "that is not possible. A ham-and-cheese sandwich is never grilled, only when the menu says `croque-monsieur,' and it does not say `croque-monsieur.' " It occurred to me then that I was lost in a very French conversation, and never mind that the waiter came from Senegal. He was French now, and our conversation was no different, really, from the ones I'd been having all day with those stock characters from the country's ongoing campaign commedia--the pundits, the philosophes, and the pols.....

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/23/070423fa_fact_kramer?currentPage=1

8 pages of analysis and interviews with Bayrou, Royal, Christine Ockrent and more...

interesting reading, interesting date for the article too...

Comments >> (17 comments)

To Nidra Poller, City Journal

by oldfrog Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 09:15:29 PM EST

Nidra Poller
Whither France?
Reading the tea leaves for the presidential election
30 March 2007

some excerpts :

Any significant measure he (Bayrou) might propose would bear traces of rightness and leftness; any politician who might stand by his side would necessarily come from the right or the left; and the majority that, he promises, will magically materialize to govern with him after the June legislative election would have to come from the right and the left. Precedents for the nonpartisan government that he's marketing include the ungovernable Fourth Republic in postwar France and the fragile coalition headed by Romano Prodi in today's Italy.


It will require extraordinary leadership to transform this society of little princes with their courts and privileges into a modern society of merit and professionalism. Arabs, Muslims, and blacks, whether recent immigrants or fourth-generation French, do suffer from discrimination. But other factors are involved: a significant portion of that population is ill-equipped to study and work in an advanced technological society, and France does suffer from the ills and perils of Eurabia, including a domestic al-Qaeda network.


Bayrou would outsource France's foreign and defense policy to the EU--totally unfeasible, considering the present state of the Union, but nothing can undermine his confidence that European diplomacy can soothe a troubled world with the cure-alls of dialogue and compromise.


And they (the French MSM) didn't even mention the richly informative day-long conference on defense that one of Sarkozy's close advisors, Pierre Lellouche, organized for the UMP. Highly qualified speakers identified the clear and present danger from without and within, the interaction between global jihad and banlieue uprisings, the imminence of an Iranian nuclear threat, the rise of al Qaeda, the painful inadequacies of European defense--subjects that the French media apparently preferred to downplay.

But Iran's abduction of 15 British sailors off the coast of Iraq, and the March 27 riots at the Gare du Nord in Paris, have forced the hidden issues into the center of the presidential debate. We are facing an acid test for French democracy, a case study for Europe in crisis, and a decisive moment for the Atlantic alliance. What kind of an ally will the United States find when it wakes up on May 7?

http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2007-03-30np.html

My response : (plenty of typos in the original)

Interesting article... so to say

It's normal that an American writer would write about the current French election from a "foreign angle". But after making a terribly accurate description of Ségolène Royal, he sadly falls into the typical broad-brushing of the other main candidates and ends up in the classical la-la land of the Bush administration...

That's why I dare contradict him on several points.

The ascension of Bayrou is only partly the result of the shortcomings of Madame Royal. It has more to do with the search for new solutions among big parts of the French voters. It is not true either that he is "hiding his program" (available everywhere) or that he wants back to the old 4th Republic. A more parliamentary system with proportional voting (as he proposes it) is mainstream in today's Europe and has been so for many years. It doesn't mean that those systems are "unstable", not even the Italian one, which has been the most criticized. The two major exceptions to the current mainstream European state systems are France with a presidential system with majority ruling (a system which is the closest to the US one) and the UK having a parliamentary system with majority ruling too, instead of proportionality. Parliamentary proportional systems are the dominating systems in Europe. So accusing Bayrou on that point is sheer demagoguery. Or is Sweden "unstable" ? Besides Bayrou want to increase the President's accountability, not a bad idea these days...

The same applies about the "outsourced French defense". What Bayrou is rooting for is a more efficient and reactive European defense based on the UK/French military axis, since only those two EU countries have a real modern projection capability and high-tech to the US level (except in few areas). Of course the sheer numbers aren't of the US level, but the qualitative potential is there. Round 2014, Europe will have a fleet of 4 major modern carriers (with 3 minors one) several modern helicopter carriers, have already a modernized nuclear submarine fleet (already today France could nuke North Korea without leaving the harbour), cruise-missiles in class with the Tomahawk and soon stealth predator drones... this to take only some examples... What Bayrou wants is to ORGANIZE those ressources through joint ventures and integration to become less US dependent (which the US tax-payers should be glad for even if they only cover  the NATO budget by 25%), but that doesn't mean giving the "button" to Brussels. Of course neocons don't like the idea, but that's normal. If you are a hegemon it's not good news.

But the core of the article is the obsession with "Eurabia". For non-informed American readers the part of European dwellers with "arabic" background is maybe around 6%, most of them secular and in any case far lower than the amount of blacks or latinos in the US. Implying that those guys are a potential threat to the security of Europe (are your Mexicans a threat ?) is complete BS besides the inherent bigotery. But of course it create fears, which fits a certain agenda.

Of course neither France or Europe have abolished the habeas corpus, or routinely abduct the local lebanese cell-phone salesmen, or torture them in Guantanamo or through rendition to some abject dictatorship, to find out that the poor soul had only to say everything that the CIA wanted him to say, including a plot to make Budweiser undrinkable (which wasn't that hard) and to rape Hillary (which would probably be striked out of the protocol because it could make the guy sympathetic in certain conservative eyes).

No, the French (and other European intelligence agencies) that pass on the only really reliable intelligence on Al Quaeda et al to the US through deep police work and infiltration, had found out that there were NO TIES (again!) between the riots and terrorism, that it was only a "Wyatts-type" rioting and nothing else. Which makes the matter nowithstanding serious enough. BTW recent analyses show that in today's US social mobility (the aptitude to move from a very poor level of living to a normal middle-class level or even above) is practically zero. The 60s are over and Reageanomics buried the American Dream for a long time. In Europe it is still not THAT bad (and at least our commie welfare prevent "them" to die for lack of insurance like recently a 14 year old tooth-ache plagued black boy in the richest country in the world), even if a lot of job has still to be done. So please no lessons on that one.

Another reminder is that around 250 potential terrorists have ben arrested in France so far, and about a third of them been convicted though regular trials and are sitting in jail for a while. Of course the French  media don't make a big deal about it (I recommend the reading of the report from the anti-terrorist judge Brughière), but I could imagine what would be the turmoil in the US, if the Bush administration had presented such a (tortureless) record. They had probably won the last mid-term elections. Com'on guys, we can't send you all the time new crackpots in class with Moussaoui so you can "judge" him though some kangaroo court and Ann Coulter then insult the 9/11 widows.

The author goes on with another classical assessment, the one of the "Iranian nuclear threat". Well I can tell him that it is as much worth than Condi's and Powell's "mushroom cloud" or other Nigerian yellowcake fantasies. But how convenient since the "liberation" of Iraq as turned into a complete failure. But I can reassure him, François won't take a trip to Damascus (as much Christian he is) since Nancy does it so much better.... aah those "appeasers"....

Even if the French take the Iranian matter seriously and the Charles De Gaulle carrier is currently in the Gulf region, doing exercises with the USS Stennis and French Rafales and Super Etendards give close air support to NATO forces in Afghanistan, there is a big step between being on your guard and making the current hostage situation in Iran (provoked by the way by the partly botched US abduction of Irani diplomats in Iraqi Kurdistan) one of the major issues of the current French election. Vigilance isn't paranoia.

The funniest part is the one about Lellouche. Lellouche is a neocon who in 2003 whined on national TV with Madelin about the French sadly not understanding "that the US in Iraq would be greeted with flowers" and of course babbled all the Rumsfeld-Cheney mantra as if he was the press secreterary of the WH... Why would anybody take him seriously ? And Sarkozy isn't THAT stupid. That the European defense has flaws... what's new? Bayrou tries at least to propose viable solutions without  touching to the national prerogatives. At least the French don't have to ask the US for permission to launch their nuclear missiles as the Brits have to do, since they overgave the complete chain of command to the Pentagon (with technical impediments too, in case they changed their minds).

That France needs a renewal, everybody agrees about that. But if I was an engaged US citizen living abroad, I'd be far more concerned  with the international mess my country has recently created - in the light of what others can do to bail you out, since you show very little ability of doing that so far. And when writing about France possible contribution to influence the current situation as both a friend and an ally, I'd at least read what some candidates really propose instead of dismissing them through the prisma of my la-la land neocon glasses. So please take them off and we might have a constructive and  objective discussion...

Comments >> (8 comments)

we are the champions...

by oldfrog Tue Mar 27th, 2007 at 05:01:09 AM EST

The Golden Moment

As the EU celebrates its 50th birthday, critics say it has one foot in the grave. But many countries now look there, not to America, as a model.

From the diaries - afew

Read more... (4 comments, 574 words in story)

Petite Anglaise got 'dooced' and sues

by oldfrog Wed Mar 21st, 2007 at 05:31:43 PM EST

source : a Fistul of Euros


Petite Anglaise got 'dooced' and sues
by Guy

Petite Anglaise, fellow blogger and double-whammy style winner of our very own 2006 Satin Pajama Awards in the categories Best Expat Weblog and Best Personal Weblog was fired from her job because of her blogging activities, or 'dooced' in weblog lingo. Her plight is receiving major news coverage, as you will see below the fold.

Catherine Sanderson, as we now know her true name to be, won't be leaving her job without putting up a legal fight first. I'll let the media tell the rest of the story.

From CNN:

Unmarried mother Catherine Sanderson -- "La Petite Anglaise" to 3,000 regular readers of her Internet diary -- is launching legal action in France, claiming unfair dismissal against accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, British media reports say.

From The Telegraph:

But partners at the leading British accountancy firm Dixon Wilson alleged that she made herself and therefore the firm identifiable by including her own photograph on the weblog. They also complained that she used office time to work on it.

Diary here
the story is commented on the French "judicial" blog
Journal d'un avocat AKA Maître Eolas.

 read the comments here

and here

letter of notice

Petite Anglaise blog here

Dixon Wilson has better make up before they completely ruin their image

Comments >> (3 comments)

When does Air Europe start ?

by oldfrog Wed Mar 7th, 2007 at 07:54:18 PM EST

AIR AMERICA 2.0 BEGINS TODAY


Mark Green

  Today my family formally purchased and took over Air America Radio. Why? Because if progressive values were a stock, now is the time to buy.

  This hasn't always been true, as the cycle of politics demonstrates. In recent decades, politics seems to have been governed by physics for every action, there's an opposite and equal reaction. William F. Buckley Jr. started The National Review in the 1950s to rebut what he saw as the dominance of liberalism in the academy and opinion journals like The Nation and The New Republic. From 1970-72, Public Citizen, Common Cause and the NRDC were all created in reaction to Nixon's depredations. Similarly, People For the American Way grew out of the rise of the Religious Right under Reagan in the mid-80s.

  New progressive think tanks over the past 10 years, most recently and prominently the Center for American Progress, were created to counter AEI and Heritage. And of course, the Huffington Post and Air America were born in reaction to the electronic propaganda of Drudge and Limbaugh et. al.

  Air America was a large, smart idea to counter the near-monopoly on talk radio by the far (f)right. But like most start-ups, the business plan collided with reality. Six CEOs over its first three years and various missteps and misspending sent it into Chapter 11.

  It's now ready to go from The Perils of Pauline to The Little Engine that Could. How? First, by focusing on the radio fundamentals of making a strong line-up even stronger; second, by connecting to other major progressive organizations to be mutually fortifying; and third, by being a multi-media content company involving other information platforms mobile, video, broadband, blogs, websites. It's time to think outside the (radio) box.

  The twin goals are to make it profitable and influential. One without the other won't work. If it's not a business, it'll go out of business.

  But it'll be a business with a sharp point of view. The era of on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand liberalism is over -- or as Robert Frost once wrote, "a liberal man is too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel." For all those who worry about messianic misleaders governing on a right wing and a prayer, Air America 2.0 will be an answer. For all those fearful of plutocracy and theocracy, the pro-democracy hosts of AAR's programs are the answer. If the conservative media continue to spout propaganda and call it news, we are the alternative of truth, justice and the Air American way.

  It's no longer enough just to hope that The New York Times will cover a rally or press release. The relatively new combination of The Huffington Post, Alternet, MoveOn, Center for American Progress and Campaign for America's Future, The Nation and The American Prospect, DailyKos and Talking Points Memo and so many labor unions means that Air America will be part of a larger progressive infrastructure heard by a widening audience. For if we can't now grow and prosper as Democrats -- given the 110th Congress, given the unmitigated disaster that's Iraq, given a slew of top-quality presidential aspirants -- when will we?

  So Air America will aggressively cover national politics and policies in ways that will be informative, opinionated and entertaining. All three. We'll be full of news and views. Two views especially. First, America should stop attacking Muslim countries in ways that multiply terrorism. Second, instead of only talking about exporting democracy, Washington should begin practicing it here at home, for example by making sure elections aren't auctions, which means the public funding of public elections.

  Speaking personally, my brother and I are excited by this important challenge and look forward to working with the Air America professionals in front of the mic and behind it who have held this dream together. Steve Green has been a very successful businessman accustomed to making money -- and he doesn't intend for AAR to be an exception. I've been an author, public interest lawyer and the NYC Public Advocate; for me this feels like a continuation of so much I've done for the progressive movement over three decades. Air America is like a public advocate for the country, exposing problems and offering solutions.

So we're both optimists in the spirit of Walt Whitman, who wrote that "America is always becoming." Well, Air America too is always becoming.

  But that requires a conversation called democracy. In the spirit that dialogue beats monologue, I am today contacting the New Hampshire Republican Party and the New York Post editorial page. Since the Democratic Party of Nevada actually invited Fox News to host that state's Democratic debate, I asked if Air America could host the first Republican debate in New Hampshire, assuring them that we too can be fair and balanced.

  And to Bob McManus, editorial page editor of The New York Post, I proposed that he come on Air America to discuss his views and that Air America commentators would in turn once-a-month write an op-ed on his pages, because it's better to exchange ideas than insults. His 720,000 readers should hear from us and our 2 million+ audience should hear from him.

  We have many fresh ideas for programming, for technology, for partnerships with sister organizations. But it's this conversation called democracy that's the cornerstone of Air America 2.0. We intend to listen to our listeners; to increase our listeners ; and hope they will join our journey to a better network, better programming, and a better country. To tell them that it's your America, and your Air America.

Originally Released on The Huffington Post (March 6, 2007)

OK. Next question: when does Air Europe start ? As an internet streaming radio first... Radio is an underestimated media. It has plenty of advantages, can be heard anywhere with very simple devices, is easily interactive. And EuroTrib would be one the perfect blogs for such a radio.

If I win the Euro Loto, I start it tomorrow... Imagine the impact of such and independent media. And of course it hasn't to be formally located in France. Isn't Luxembourg a good place ?

2 languages should be sufficient for a start : English and French, then adding Spanish and German as soon as possible...

any takers ?

Comments >> (15 comments)

Mitt Romney insults France and Europe

by oldfrog Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 07:35:48 PM EST

Mitt is running for President 2008


(notice the boundaries including Belgium and Luxembourg, but excluding Alsace and Lorraine)

The full extract of his campaign material can be read here

notice the "France = Hillary = Jihadists = Bogeymen"...

France is at the top if the list. "Hillary = France," he says, even envisioning "First, not France" bumper stickers.

Europeans want to "drag America down to Europe's standards," says Romney.

source here
here and here

it's not the first time Romney attacks France :

We cannot continue to have an excellence gap with the rest of the world and intend to remain the economic superpower and military superpower of the planet. That's just not going to happen. We're in a position where unless we take action, we'll end up being the France of the 21st century: a lot of talk, but not a lot of strength behind it in terms of economic capability.

After a complaint from the French embassy, Romney's spokeswoman Julie Teer stood by the Governor's comments:

The governor was stating the facts about the American economy vis-a-vis the French. In order for America to remain a tier one economic power, it has to be competitive globally. If not, we risk becoming a tier two economy like France.

thanks to Superfrenchie for the sources
(you might have to subscribe to the Boston Globe to see the sources, it's free)

Comments >> (150 comments)

Sarko won't back up the bushies on Iran

by oldfrog Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:12:32 AM EST

France's Sarkozy Says Wouldn't Back Military Strike On Iran


PARIS (AP)--French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday he wouldn't join up with the U.S. if it decided to carry out military action against Iran.
........
He said he approved U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program "and has seen that they are working."

"The municipal elections were a failure for the Iranian president," Sarkozy told RMC radio. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suffered a setback in December's municipal elections.
.......
"When you see what's happening in Iraq..." he said, trailing off. France was a leading opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Sarkozy said U.S. hints that it hadn't ruled out military action in Iran were "useless posturing."

Story here

well at least he can't be accused of being a poodle... so far

Comments >> (34 comments)

U.S., Britain faulted on child welfare

by oldfrog Wed Feb 14th, 2007 at 06:38:28 PM EST

U.S., Britain faulted on child welfare By DAVID McHUGH, Associated Press Writer

 


BERLIN - The United States and Britain ranked at the bottom of a U.N. survey of child welfare in 21 wealthy countries that assessed everything from infant mortality to whether children ate dinner with their parents or were bullied at school.

The Netherlands, followed by Sweden, Denmark and Finland, finished at the top of the rankings, while the U.S. was 20th and Britain 21st, according to the report released Wednesday by UNICEF in Germany.

One of the study's researchers, Jonathan Bradshaw, said children fared worse in the U.S. and Britain -- despite high overall levels of national wealth -- because of greater economic inequality and poor levels of public support for families.

"What they have in common are very high levels of inequality, very high levels of child poverty, which is also associated with inequality, and in rather different ways poorly developed services to families with children," said Bradshaw, a professor of social policy at the University of York in Britain.

 


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070214/ap_on_re_eu/child_welfare_4

France is nr 16, which is something not to be proud about.

the whole report can be read here :

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/13_02_07_nn_unicef.pdf

what sinks France is not really health or material welfare (even if it could be much better) but educational well-being and subjective well-being. I won't discuss the later, but the educational part is interesting in the light of the current political debate, specially since in the subjective well-being the question "like school a lot" is an important one.

It's clear for me that national education the way it is managed in France today is a failure. This is explosive material and nobody really wants to take a grasp of the holy cow (or "mammoth" as some say here). Thus sacrificing coming generations.

Comments >> (4 comments)

Bayrou's Strasbourg Europe speech

by oldfrog Mon Feb 12th, 2007 at 07:14:12 PM EST


"European President", Bayrou will submit the new European Constitution to the French by referendum

STRASBOURG (AP) - "France needs a European president", hammered Monday in Strasbourg the UDFcandidate François Bayrou, who commited himself, in the event of victory, to submit a new European Constitution to the French by referendum.

"I want to speak about Europe in this election campaign when nobody speaks about it", he explained, paying a vibrating homage to the European project, "the most beautiful thing which was built (.) since humanity is humanity".

The UDF candidate thus wants that France "becomes again the major actor whom it should never have ceased being regarding the evolution of our continent".

Because the European project is in crisis. "In the current shape, the treaty will not be adopted", he estimated regarding the European constitutional treaty rejected by the French on May 29,2005. He appealed for the convocation of a new intergovernmental conference, charged with writing a "text readable by everyone, short, comprehensible and offering the necessary
democratic guarantees".

"This text, I do not want that it will be decided by short-circuiting the French. (...) Elected President of the Republic,  I will subject it to the referendum of the French this new text which will make Europe "a citizen's Europe". I will not decide in their place what they decided first once", he promised. "They voted. They have the right to be informed of the continuation of the events".

"I do not agree when (the UMP candidate) Nicolas Sarkozy says : "we will make  this text adopted by the Parliament without speaking to the French", he added. And "it will be necessary that the President of the Republic engages himself" in the referendum campaign. "He will not be the distant spectator of this story".

Far from a vision of Europe reduced to a free trade area, Francois Bayrou pled for a "union of Europe to change the world" and "to defend our model of society (...) our social values in particular".

In addition he warned "it is not enough to vote for somebody so that everything arranges itself". Regarding diplomacy, the fight against global warming, research, or immigration, "the national decisions will not be enough to regulate the problems".

He thus denounced the "tax competition" between the Member States of the EU and proposed a harmonization of the corporation tax.

In the same way, "none among us has the budgetary and political means to build national defenses. It is necessary that we have a European approach regarding defense". In particular, "it is necessary that we think of the way in which we treat our nuclear
armament within the European framework".

Pleading for a "European energy policy" vis-a-vis Russia which "has a political idea of the supply of gas", he tackled the socialist candidate: "I do not believe a word (...) of the feasibility of the engagement of Ségolène Royal, who claims that we will drop by 80 to 50% the share of the nuclear power in our national energy balance (...) Or then we open coal-poweredplants, i.e. we restart polluting!".

In the same way, "whoever will claim to control immigration within the national framework will not make it": "it is not with charter flights that one will settle the questions of immigration" but with "a policy of development of the African continent".

Credited with 13 to 14% of intentions of vote in the last surveys, Francois Bayrou was optimistic Monday, ensuring that "per hundreds of thousands and million the French are joining us". Pointing out the amazing level of the French debt, he invited his supporters "to ask explanations from Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal, who every evening in their speeches promise tens of billion euros additional expenditure". AP

roughly translated from the French version

Comments >> (20 comments)

American Exceptionalism: Home of Equality or Opportunity?

by oldfrog Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 07:39:34 PM EST

I found the following interesting topic on TPM café :


American Exceptionalism: Home of Equality or Opportunity?

By Jo-Ann Mort

David Brooks has a provocative column in today's New York Times about American exceptionalism. It's an homage to Seymour Martin Lipset, the monumental political sociologist who died on New Year's Eve, and who was the intellectual most responsible for the phrase "American exceptionalism" entering modern political discourse.

Lipset, who died in his eighties,was a democrat and Democrat was born of the era when defense of the social welfare state meant defending a commitment to a social democratic ethos of equality. He spent decades examining why the trade union movement was among the weakest in the industrial world, and why Americans believed in a non-class based system. Brooks posits the notion of equality against opportunity, and challenges the Democratic Party to listen to those centrists who promote "opportunity" against the leftward populists who "advocate an activist state." The question is, however, how can we become a nation of true opportunity without the state making certain interventions. This is not only where the Democrats and Republicans part ways, but where the Democrats and the Democrats part ways.

While the election last November was more about Iraq than anything else, as will be the 2008 presidential election, this underlying debate of how all Americans can enhance their ability to be equal is also a critical debate. That's where a Jim Webb comes in and where the new found populism surging following the congressional election will play out. It's a critical debate to be had in the Democratic Party--it encompasses how we debate issues like trade, health care, job creation, public education, taxation and more. Equality is impossible to achieve flying on a wing and prayer of personal responsibility and opportunity means little to those who have little.

An interesting economic argument is beginning along these lines. Check out the Economic Policy Institute for their introduction of a new economic agenda for the nation, released this week. John Edwards is clearly banking his presidential bid on the American people feeling the populist nod. How the others in the Democratic field promote issues of equality will indeed make a big difference in who takes the lead for the party and the nation.

link

I haven't access to the original article, not being a subscriber to the NYT.

But the issue is surely worth to discuss by Eurotribbers, since it relates to the actual "European exceptionalism" as some want to present it today...

Comments >> (23 comments)

European appeal to insurrection on Huff Post

by oldfrog Wed Jan 10th, 2007 at 02:10:05 AM EST


America,

You are ruled by madmen. Warmongers intent on escalating towards total war, not to mention starting brand new ones, nuclear wars since you have no more boots to put on the ground (you know... Iran).

Americans... Democrats... What are you going to do about it?

Look at all the cabinet / brass changes... These are signs of full speed ahead disaster coming. Just like before the tsunami, the water is receding, and you just stand there in disbelief... soon to be wiped out... Not knowing much what to do.

But deep down, you do know... What are you going to do about it?

The time for sterile blogging, bitching and yakking is over.

Now is the time for ACTION: resistance, for hanging those deserving to be hung, for general strikes, for taking the streets, for armed insurrection, by any and all means.

Do you really believe the israel lobby beholden democrats are gonna stand against any of this?

They won't even utilize their power of the purse, much less impeach.

Do you really believe that the democrats won anything or could it be that those who rig elections need to have the democrats supposedly in charge when the shit hits the fan and bush rides roughshod over them?

When will you awake and contemplate the true nature of the beast you have spawned?

America, your political leadership, as jubilant over nothing as it may be, has, in effect, abandoned you.

The fate of the world is in your hands. You, the lonely individual, or the pack of buddies animated by a true love of the principles enshrined in your US Constitution, or whole neighborhoods, or angry mobs... Do something! ANYTHING ! NOW !
By: europe on January 06, 2007 at 03:14pm
Flag: [abusive]

America,

You are ruled by madmen. Warmongers intent on escalating towards total war, not to mention starting brand new ones, nuclear wars since you have no more boots to put on the ground (you know... Iran).

(CONTINUED)...

Very soon it will be too late and, if you're still alive, you will be asked, why did you sit idle when you knew what was coming? What will you answer? How will you ever be able to look at yourself in the mirror ever again?

Peak oil is a reality. You can't do anything about supply. But you can reduce demand. That means you. To kill you. You kill half of the world and the peak oil deadline is pushed back another 20 years. Do you really put it past these people to kill half of the world without even flinching?

Very soon... an awful event (another false flag black op) will occur, and everything will accelerate totally out of control... Just like a tsunami. By then it will be too late.

For God's sake and in the name of the great men who were who you call your founding fathers, please do something. Do it now!


By: europe on January 06, 2007 at 03:17pm

available in orange here :
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/1/6/183112/1952

can't be more explicit, can't it ?

Comments >> (59 comments)

Fête des Rois - Epiphany

by oldfrog Sat Jan 6th, 2007 at 05:21:40 AM EST

Fête des Rois - La Galette des Rois

Epiphany in France and Galette des Rois

Right now all over France, people are cutting into sweet cakes, gingerly taking bites, and squealing with delight when they find a tiny porcelain figure in amongst the butter, sugar, and frangipane. It's Epiphany season, and in France that is cause for celebration in the form of a very special cake called the Galette des Rois, or Cake of Kings.

Although Epiphany is January sixth, the season begins before Christmas and stretches for a month. Patisserie and boulangerie shelves fill with galettes des rois, which differ according to geography. In the north of France, the galette is a flat, shiny round of puff pastry usually filled with frangipane. In the south of France, it is brioche dough, scented with lemon zest and sometimes orange flower water. In Brittany, galettes resemble shortcake and are fragrant with creamy Breton butter. All galettes contain a fève, or tiny porcelain figurine, and each comes with a gaily colored cardboard "crown," which sits on the head of whoever gets the fève.

Normally, the custom of hiding a bit of fancifully decorated porcelain in a cake could be a health hazard -- or at the very least a dental nightmare -- but nothing of the sort is ever brought up here. Instead, the flow of traffic to bakeries and pastry shops is heavier than usual, as people line up for their galettes. They are really lining up for the fèves, which have become highly collectible. They can range from tiny cobalt blue, gilt-edged tea and coffee sets (each galette contains a piece of the set so one is obliged to buy several in hopes of obtaining the entire set), to sports or cartoon characters, witches, goblins, or saints.

History has it that the cardinals of Besançon, near Dijon, originated the tradition of galette de rois in the 14th century. To choose a chapter head, they held a sort of lottery at Epiphany that consisted of hiding a coin in a loaf of bread. Whoever got the coin was awarded the post. Over the years, the bread evolved into brioche, the coin became a fève (literally a bean), and the custom spread throughout the land.

http://evalu8.org/staticpage?page=review&siteid=1335

Whoever recieves the little favor is then crowned king/queen for the day. Tradition also dictates that the cake be cut into as many slices as there are people present, plus 1 extra. The extra piece is called either, part du Bon Dieu(God's piece), part de la Vierge (the Virgin Mary's piece) or part du pauvre (poor man's piece) and it is given to the first poor person who stops at the home.

Who will become king or queen for the day at your house? Bake a galette and have a little fun with the family. Make a foil crown to place atop the cake before eating it. Here are 3 recipes and a variation!

Galette des Rois: a traditional recipe made with almond paste
Galette des Rois: made with ground almonds
Kings Cake: from New Orleans
Pithiviers is also an almond filled tart, but here is a variation with a hazelnut and chocolate filling for the chocoholics among you.

http://frenchfood.about.com/b/a/054678.htm

How do you celebrate or do you celebrate at all ?

Comments >> (16 comments)

little blonde WMDs

by oldfrog Mon Dec 25th, 2006 at 11:13:43 PM EST

half of the youtube crowd is crying rivers right now. It is interesting to notice that the authors seem to belong to the "Jesuscrowd"...

personally I find it rather disgusting to use a little girl that way. But if this stops the "surge" by turning the Bushbase against him, so maybe it fills a purpose...

lyrics here :

6 year old Heather Martin sings a song that her mother wrote for her Brother Shaun who is serving in Iraq. The song is written from Heather's point of view.

Lyrics

You were almost sixteen when I came into the world.
Mom and Dad had you first then 3 more boys I'm the baby girl.
I sure have a lot to look up to in you, you're really smart and funny with a big heart too.
After one year of college you knew what you had to do.
It's just like you wanting to help with the war.
So you joined the army when I was only 4.
This time of year we talk of big plans but you're over seas in some distant land.
You can't be here for Christmas, I don't understand.
Chorus:
When are you coming home, Shaun?
When are you coming home?!
We lit up the house like we always do but it doesn't seem bright 'cause we can't have you.
In my prayers I ask God to keep you safe.
And I'm trying to be really brave.
Tell me that the fighting's through.
Come home!
I really miss you.

It's hard to enjoy the holidays without you.
But we're so proud of you and all the red white and blue.
Remember that Jesus is your best friend,
And someday our families will be together again.
Wow! You know we'll have a great big party then.

Chorus

I want to show you how tall I've grown and introduce you to my new friends at school.
Maybe we could go and get some ice cream together but I really don't care what we do.

Iraq is FUBAR, blame the Germans and the French

by oldfrog Wed Dec 20th, 2006 at 03:53:27 AM EST

Another of those op-eds in the Washington Post:

'Old Europe' Can Gloat, but Then What?

By Anne Applebaum
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; Page A29

BERLIN -- On the day James Baker's Iraq report was published, I gritted my teeth and waited for the well-earned, long-awaited, Franco-German "Old Europe" gloat to begin. I didn't wait long. "America Faces Up to the Iraq Disaster" read a headline in Der Spiegel. In the patronizing tones of a senior doctor, Le Monde diagnosed the "political feverishness" gripping Washington in Baker's wake. Suddeutsche Zeitung said the report "stripped Bush of his authority," although Le Figaro opined that nothing Baker proposed could improve the "catastrophic state" of Iraq anyway.

Read more... (13 comments, 508 words in story)

France launches 24/7 news channel

by oldfrog Tue Dec 5th, 2006 at 05:34:07 PM EST

France launches 24/7 news channel By JENNY BARCHFIELD, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 41 minutes ago

PARIS - France goes head-to-head with CNN and the BBC from Wednesday with the launch of its state-funded 24/7 news channel, part of        President Jacques Chirac's efforts to make his country's voice heard.

France 24 will broadcast two channels, one in French and the other mostly in English.

....................

It will transmit to Europe, the Middle East and Africa via satellite, initially reaching an estimated 75 million households in more than 90 countries.

.......................

Programming on the French and English channels will be virtually identical, with 10-minute news bulletins every half-hour, and a selection of reports, talk shows and news magazines filling between-bulletin gaps.

more at : http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061205/ap_on_re_eu/france_news_a_la_francaise

Comments >> (8 comments)

Europe must shoulder its share of the Nato burden

by oldfrog Tue Nov 28th, 2006 at 04:49:22 AM EST


Europe must shoulder its share of the Nato burden

For too long we have relied on our US allies. We must strengthen our national contributions, and boost the EU's role

Jacques Chirac
Tuesday November 28, 2006
The Guardian

...The threat of generalised war in Europe has disappeared; Nato has been profoundly adapted and enlarged to include the new democracies. It is building a trusting relationship with Russia, one we must constantly strengthen because preserving peace means first avoiding the creation of new fault lines. In this same spirit, we want a partnership between Nato and Ukraine, and we hope that Nato will welcome candidate states from the western Balkans once they are ready.

Lowering our guard would be to ignore the threats of terrorism, aggressive nationalism and certain states' desires to engage in power politics in violation of their international commitments. Now, as in the past, we need a strong, mutually supportive and adapted alliance.

The first imperative of Nato is the credibility of its military assets.

The Europeans have relied on their American allies for too long. They have to shoulder their share of the burden by making a national defence effort commensurate with their ambitions for Nato and also for the EU. This is a mark of the solidarity which links the two sides of the Atlantic. This is what France, one of the leading contributors to the alliance, is doing through its Military Estimates Act. The aim is to ensure the ongoing modernisation of its strategic force - in compliance with the principle of strict sufficiency - as well as the equipment, rapid-response capability and deployability of French conventional forces...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1958660,00.html

Comments >> (27 comments)

Does the US need a new constitution ?

by oldfrog Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 08:21:57 PM EST


Published on Friday, November 17, 2006 by the Boston Globe  
A Re-Look-See at the Constitution  
by Bill Maher

There's no out-of-the-box thinking in this country. If we were really looking for a new direction, we'd not just change Congress, we'd have another Constitutional Convention, as Jefferson suggested we do. Jefferson said: "Let us provide in our Constitution for its revision. . . every 19 or 20 years. . . so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation." He himself was saying, "I'm a bright guy, but even I can't foresee the iPod." Or the assault rifle.

But that's Jefferson's phrase: periodical repairs. This thing needs periodical repairs, but it hasn't been in the shop for 219 years. Of course it's belching oil. Literally. And that's because one of the glaring flaws a Constitutional Convention might correct is something called corporate personhood, which means somewhere along the way, stupid or corrupted courts gave corporations all the rights of individuals, with none of the liability. If some person defecates on your lawn, we throw him in jail, but if a corporation does it, they get a tax break. Somehow "we the people" got to be defined as Halliburton. This thing needs to go in the shop!

And I know traditionalists are saying, "But Bill, it's a sacred document!" Please, it's full of crap about pirates, for God's sake. And I don't mean the kind that copies Justin Timberlake CDs. I mean peg legs and parrots. "The founders were so brilliant." Yes, they were: the proof being, the government they designed keeps functioning even with cement-head doofuses like you in it.

Listen to Jefferson -- he was saying, "We're smart guys, we're not Nostradamus." We deal with things today no founding father could have imagined -- the Internet, global warming. Toilet paper, instead of bark. If Ben Franklin got beamed in to visit us today, the first thing he'd say is, "For 17 dollars, I get porn on my TV all day? How can the hotel afford that?" And then he'd say, "You're still using the old Constitution that we told you to revise? That's so nuts hemp must still be legal."

 http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1117-32.htm

I find the above thoughts very refreshing. I have read similar thoughts in other places, but they are mostly uncommon. Having been blogging on Democratic Undergound (which I left for their incredibly pro-Israel bias) I have tried to raise the question but have been mostly flamed. Obviously for most progressive Americans, the Constitution is holy ground and the approach... religious. In a certain way it leads to something profoundly undemocratic, kind of a "secular theocracy" where a ultimately a group of 9 high priests decide what is politically correct or not.

The issue is important in France, plenty of forces want a 6th Republic, that is to say a new constitution where more modern democratic rules can be applied. So far only the UDF has been seriously on that way, since Montebourg had to put his plans aside in his backing of Ségolène. Which is intresting is that often the US constitution is taken as an example for a new French one...

Comments >> (28 comments)

Is Ségolène a neocon ?

by oldfrog Sun Nov 5th, 2006 at 08:27:56 AM EST

I found that astonishing comment from Ms Royal. The translation is mine, feel free to correct it.

My headline is provocative but the contents of her declaration could come right away from the WH spin-machine. Replace France by USA at the end of her statement and Europe by "international community" and you have practically a Tony Snow comment :

PARIS (AP) - The situation in Iraq " is not still completely stabilized " but " the country is standing up " in spite of a " form of terrorism ", estimated on Friday Ségolène Royal at the end of meeting with the Iraqi president Jalal Talabani in Paris.PARIS (AP) - La situation en Irak "n'est pas encore totalement stabilisée" mais "le pays est en train de se redresser" malgré une "forme de terrorisme", a estimé vendredi Ségolène Royal au terme d'une rencontre avec le président irakien Jalal Talabani à Paris.

Read more... (11 comments, 753 words in story)

US posted Iraqi documents on making nuclear bomb on Internet:

by oldfrog Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 at 02:39:03 PM EST


WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US government posted on the Internet Iraqi documents that explain how to build a nuclear bomb, the New York Times reported on its website.

The Times said that officials from the        International Atomic Energy Agency had complained to US officials last week about the postings of "roughly a dozen" documents from        Iraq's pre-1991 nuclear research that contained diagrams, equations and other details for making a nuclear bomb.

The Times cited experts who said the documents "constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb."

The US government posted the bomb-related documents on a website set up last March to make available to the public a huge archive of Iraqi government papers, hoping that the public would help sift through the archive for useful information government translators did not have time to search for.

The Times said that earlier in the year UN arms control officials had complained about documents on the website that had information on producing extremely dangerous nerve agents sarin and tabun.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20061103/wl_afp/usiraqnuclearinternet_061103072358

the rethorical question is : is there a limit for the current administration stupidity ?

Comments >> (7 comments)

Will a Democratic House of President really make the difference ?

by oldfrog Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 08:03:19 AM EST

Staying the Course, Win or Lose

By Robert Kagan
Thursday, November 2, 2006; Page A17

BRUSSELS -- Here in Europe, people ask hopefully if a Democratic victory in the congressional elections will finally shift the direction of American foreign policy in a more benign direction. But congressional elections rarely affect the broad direction of American foreign policy. A notable exception was when Congress cut funding for American military operations in support of South Vietnam in 1973. Yet it's unlikely that a Democratic House would cut off funds for the war in Iraq in the next two years.

Indeed, the preferred European scenario -- "Bush hobbled" -- is less likely than the alternative: "Bush unbound." Neither the president nor his vice president is running for office in 2008. That is what usually prevents high-stakes foreign policy moves in the last two years of a president's term. In 1988 Ronald Reagan had negotiated a clever agreement to get the dictator Manuel Noriega peacefully out of Panama, but Vice President George H.W. Bush and his advisers feared the domestic political repercussions of cutting a deal with a drug lord at the height of the "war on drugs," so they nixed the plan. The result was that Bush had to invade Panama the very next year to remove Noriega -- but he did get elected.

This President Bush doesn't have to worry about getting anyone elected in 2008 and appears to be thinking only about his place in history. That can lead him to act in ways that please Europeans -- for instance, the vigorous multilateral diplomacy on Iran and North Korea. But it could also take him in directions they will find worrisome if that diplomacy fails.

link WAPO

I am afraid that Kaplan is right. The whole article is well worth reading. Or will a new Europe (militarily speaking too) play another role in the future ? But the most intresting question is what are the chances of the really progressive opinion in the US (the one that considers the current Democrat leadership as "dinos") to make a difference in the future... ? Must the US go though some kind of collapse to get nearer European values ?

Comments >> (16 comments)
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