France’s Yellow Vests: It’s just 1 protest…which has lasted 8 years

December 07, 2018

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker BlogFrance’s Yellow Vests: It’s just 1 protest…which has lasted 8 years

The most important thing to understand about France’s Yellow Vest movement is that the Mainstream Media wants you to view it as an isolated incident which exists in a vacuum, when we are much better served to look at in a continuum.

When the Yellow Vests started I was not foolish to say: “So what?”

After all, the Yellow Vest movement is dwarfed by France’s first major anti-austerity protests in the fall of 2010. When Nicolas Sarkozy backtracked on a promise to raise the retirement age France saw 7 marches in 8 weeks with (conservatively) 1.5 million marchers each time. Over just one week there were three different marches with perhaps 3 million people! The three Yellow Vest marches – and all are on Saturdays, to make it easier for people to attend – only reached 300,000 demonstrators one time. So we’re talking 10 times smaller than in 2010 per protest, and something like 30 times smaller if we compare the two movements overall.

Unsurprisingly, I have yet to read of this “ancient history” in any of the Anglophone Mainstream Media coverage of the Yellow Vests. It’s “vacuum versus continuum” in terms of journalistic approach.

I summarise the “continuum” approach in an original saying about journalism (at least I think it’s original): “A journalist without experience is just somebody with a notepad and a pen.”

Some Mainstream journalist who doesn’t know about 2010 – do they really grasp what the Yellow Vests are about? Because the Yellow Vests were definitely there back in 2010…but they remained in the car (Reflective yellow vests in your car are required by French law: in case you get a flat tire or something, you have the vest to put on for safety from oncoming traffic.).

So, if we believe the living-in-a-vacuum Mainstream Media then the Yellow Vest protests are finished: President Emmanuel Macron just canceled the diesel tax hikes. The protests are no longer necessary, right?

Wrong.

There is no reason why AFP, AP, Reuters and everybody else spent all that time saying “diesel tax, diesel tax, diesel tax” other than: they are either purposely misleading people by viewing the diesel tax in total isolation from previous policies, or they are a bunch of inexperienced newbies, or they just want to be proven right for repeatedly making this absurd diesel tax claim. My point: it’s all bad journalism.

Second-most important thing to realize about austerity: it has accumulated

I hear and read stories about the French in 2018 similar to what I used to read about Greece in 2012 – because austerity is cumulative.

It is not just one tax / measure / policy / reform: it is all of them combined. And we are talking about 8 years’ worth.

“Ramin, you are usually awfully long-winded. Do you get paid by the word? Even in your funny columns, you could use an editor. Just explain what you mean about this in real-world terms!”

Fine – hear ya go:

French inflation, according to my calculations, has increased by 14% since 2008: therefore, people have effectively taken a 14% wage cut in 10 years. This helps explain why “decreased purchasing power” has been the number one concern of the French year after year after year.

Salaries in France are already low to start with:1,700 euros is the median net salary, which is far lower than Anglo-US-Germanic countries.

Ok, so you have a lousy salary to start with, which has lost 14% of its value in the last decade. But inflation is not caused by the policy of neoliberal / trickle-down / austerity economics, of course.

But France does have austerity, so 14% is not the only reduction: we must account for the impact on salaries of 8 years of cuts to social services, because a key plank of austerity is reducing the size of the government. This means YOU foot the bill for many services the government used to totally provide or subsidise.

So let’s say, conservatively, because it really depends on the size of your family and what their needs are, that this has effectively lowered your yearly salary 5% overall during the Age of Austerity. Your salary is now actually worth about 20% less than in 2008.

Now let’s add in the new taxes imposed by austerity, because austerity means that the French state taxes workers and not capital, and more than ever. Did you expect that high finance would pay for their failed bets? Ha ha, you are funny – you probably say things like “France is socialist”, too. For example: two years ago they increased my council tax (the annual tax I pay for renting an apartment, so that I avoid things like getting rained on and assault-while-sleeping) by 60%. I don’t know how that’s legal or morally defensible, and I was enraged, but how could I stop them? It went from to €1,285 in 2016 to €2,134 in 2017.

So let’s say, conservatively, that the increased taxes imposed by austerity have taken just 5% of your salary over the last 10 years: your salary is now down 25% from 2008.

Of course, losing 25% of your wages in 10 years is no problem IF your wages have increased 25%.

In 2008 the government claimed the median salary was €1,580 per month for a full-time worker. In 2015, which is this year’s data from the government (why are they so behind schedule, probably because austerity means firing/not replacing government workers), the median salary was €1,692. This means that the median salary has only increased 7%.

So we can conservatively estimate that the median citizen has lost 18% of their salary in real terms since 2008, all thanks to following austerity economics.

For people making €1,700 per month in 2018…losing €306 per month is a huge, huge problem. For childless, former Rothschild bankers who married elderly chocolate heiresses/statutory rapists…€306 only means skimping on the wine tonight.

But wait, it’s worse!

Not only has austerity taken this huge cut out of your already-meagre salary, they have made it significantly more likely that you will lose your poorly-paying job due to long-standing, near-record unemployment levels in France.

This pressure exists because another plank of austerity is the reduction of and/or the refusal to spend government money on job-creating infrastructure PLUS the insistence on giving tax breaks to corporations and businessmen WITH zero strings attached (such as the promise of jobs).

And, the coup de grace, austerity means reduced safety conditions, making firing easier and loosening oversight rules – as a way to encourage hiring – so your poor-paying job is even more disagreeable.

And who has arrived on the scene immune to these pressures, and thus just oozing life, but “old Mackie” Emmanuel Macron. Well, when the shark bites with his teeth, babe, and the scarlet billows start to spread – Mackie’s got them fancy gloves, so there’s never a trace of red. Never a trace of policy-sweat, either: he controls his brand-new political party, which has an absolute majority in Parliament. France is Macron’s little austerity laboratory, and he doesn’t care about public opinion and nor does he have to.

So the “real-world terms” in France are: major cuts in take home pay, combined with job insecurity, combined with a mad neoliberal scientist who doesn’t believe he was elected to reflect the popular will but to rule as he technocratically thinks best.

Can you hear the Mainstream Media shouting to drown me out: “The problem is just the diesel tax, just the diesel tax I tell ya!

Let’s be real journalists and do the math, and give the context, and recount the history

Want me to quickly debunk Macron’s rationale for the diesel tax, which is dutifully placed at the top of every Mainstream Media report?

France’s auto industry made a failed bet on diesel in the 1980s. Result: a whopping 80% of French passenger cars now run on diesel. Pretty clear why the diesel tax is so widely unpopular, no?

Diesel is dirtier than regular gas, but has always been cheaper – until old Mackie came along. But Macron’s “this tax is needed to pay for a necessary ecological transition” is pure bull: Instead of taxing stockholders, corporations and car dealership owners for this failed bet (i.e., the ones who profited) Macron is capitalistically taxing labor (workers, households). There are myriad other ways to make the necessary auto-ecological transition than taxing the average person…but not in capitalism.

People think France is “socialist” because they have a great social safety net, but it remains a capitalist country because they tax labor and not the 1% / management to pay for this safety net. That is the reason the median salary is so low compared with other Western nations. The diesel tax is not the only example of this – ALL French taxes are: It’s so bad that in 2018 all the wages of the average French worker from January 1 until July 27 went to the taxman, to give some real-world context. (In Iran, being so heavily socialist-inspired, 50% of the population pays zero taxes, including every farmer – the money comes from oil revenue (socialistically state-owned) and businesses.)

That’s some context for the latest austerity measure – the diesel tax -which is no different from a banker bailout because Macron wanted to capitalistically make the average person pay for the failures of high finance / alleged technocrats / the rich bosses once again.

But what about the many austerity measures which preceded this one? That laundry list is long and stinking, but I’ll make it brief because I think it matters:

The first austerity cuts were rushed through in 2011, with 2012 serving as France’s first official austerity budget. The reason: the confidence fairy” and France’s AAA bond rating. Did the People want them? Sarkozy became the first French president not to be re-elected in 30 years.

I remember when Francois “The Ultimate Patsy” Hollande came along in 2012. He was a formerly-fat, witty, jovial, (alleged) Everyman from rural France. Surely HE would understand the popular will and do what he promised: break with the Austerity Party line enforced by Brussels, as his campaign was built around a promise to renegotiate the Orwellian-named EU Stability and Growth Pact. I really can’t express how high optimism was in May 2012 – evil Sarkozyites were traitors, and France was truly going to lead a Latin Bloc La Résistance against the arrogant Germans, Dutch and usurious Northern bankers.

Instead, Hollande broke the Socialist Party.

He backtracked on ending austerity on November 6, 2012, by announcing another round of it, and which contained basically all the neoliberal, economically-regressive measures proposed by Sarkozy during the presidential campaign. It was Obama turning into Dubya Bush à la française. The very next day Hollande announced the approval of a draft law to legalise gay marriage and adoption. Funny how I never read about this connection in the Mainstream Media, ever, even though it was a simply atrocious act of societal and political manipulation of the media agenda. That alone was enough to turn many French off of politics for years.

Yellow Vests were thus diverted to enormous anti-gay rights marches, instead of being at anti-austerity marches, but the vests still remained in the car.

How much time do you have to discuss incredibly repressive anti-government protests during the Hollande era? How about after the State of Emergency was imposed? How about the “France has free speech except for pro-Palestinians, whose marches we ban”? What about the 2014 months of protests, led by the rail workers – I dutifully filled up my car with gas (it’s such a fancy car that I was able to buy it entirely with €1 and €2 coins, LOL) in order to help provoke fuel shortages, which have only just barely begun in the current, far-weaker iteration of fuel depot blockades. What about the 2016 Labor Code reforms, when it was all-out war on Hollande?

I never did discover a Western presidential incumbent who was so unpopular that he couldn’t even run for re-election. Feel free to finally provide me with an answer to that trivia question, because for now Hollande is that punchline to that joke.

But Hollande sure did punch – protesters, that is. I don’t know what NGOs are doing but it’s not compiling this data, so off the top of my head – and after asking other journalists – I would estimate that at least 15-20,000 citizens were arrested at anti-government protests during the Hollande era, with 20-30,000 hurt (and truly countless tear-gassed and harassed by cops). Hey, you had 4,000 protesters taken to court by the government during the 2016 protests alone – how many got arrested but were not given court cases? And how many more would have been arrested had not over 600 demonstrations been banned by “liberté-loving” France during the 2-year State of Emergency, with countless others strangled in the cradle? The anal rape of a young Black man by cops with their truncheon in 2017 isn’t necessarily economic austerity-related, but it is evidence of emboldened state repression: my headline sums up the Hollande era when it comes to “Frnce’s love for freedom of assembly”: Cop violence at Paris demo against cop violence.

And how much time do you have to discuss incredibly repressive anti-government protests during 18 months of Macron? The labor code part 2 reform, the rail reform, the education reform, hospital reform, normalization of the state of emergency reform – all have been met with majority-opposition from the People and the same state violence.

So when 400 people got arrested and over 130 anti-government protesters were hurt at the Arc de Triomphe protests last week – this is not seriously different from many other violent protests over the past 8 years!

I admit, I have never seen the Arc de Triomphe tagged with graffiti, but that’s the only real novelty – the violence is totally de rigeur in French political life and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

Or they are hypocrites, because violence against anti-government protesters is apparently ok…in Western countries. Since 2011 I have been saying on PressTV: “If this was Iran, Cuba, China or Venezuela the West would be calling for a humanitarian intervention to save the people from such anti-democratic aggression.”

I eventually stopped saying it – I just got tired of it, ya know? Rather, the West’s hypocrisy just got acceptable. Terrible journalism on my part.

I guess I also stopped being upset over people getting hurt at demonstrations for the same reason – it became mundane, normal. More bad journalism – and bad humanity, and bad citizenship – on my part.

However, I didn’t do what the Anglophone media simply loves to do: I never blamed French protesters for the violence. My God, the Anglophones and their “Keep calm and carry on” worship of law and order at all they costs…what a bunch of sheep, eh? They wouldn’t revolt under any circumstances, I’d say.

Of course, unlike those idiot commentators I have been at innumerable violent protests and choked down litres of tear gas. Fact one: if the cops fail to stop violence it is the fault of the cops, as that is their primary job. Fact two: if the government provokes violent protests, it is the fault of the government, as it is their job to promote policies which do not inspire citizen rebellion. Fact three: France’s armed-to-the-teeth riot police are inherently provoking to the increasingly-poor and increasingly-repressed Frenchmen who come to protest the government and not to get intimidated by it, so their whole plan is designed to fail…and purposely – we talk about the violence and not the reasons nor the past. More “politics in a vacuum and not a continuum”.

Future of Yellow Vests – going on vacation, I’m betting

Of course the Yellow Vesters are going on vacation shortly – it’s December 6. The past 10 years of French history ALWAYS shows that the protesters – no matter how hot, blue and righteous – prefer taking a vacation to sustaining their political momentum. Nothing must stand in the way of several weeks off in December-January and August!

This is, of course, is why they keep losing.

So here’s a real easy test for you to see if the Yellow Vests are different: If the French are seriously protesting on the couple days on either side of Christmas or New Year’s Eve – that would be a revolution in political norms.

But I’ve seen it year after year, so I predict the protests will stop after December 16, and then re-start in January but necessarily weakened. The French sure do make it easy for the politicians they truly despise.

But maybe not so weakened upon restarting….

Beyond the Arc de Triomphe graffiti, I am seeing things I’ve never seen before – like a motorcyclist in rush hour wearing a Yellow Vest with “General Strike – Let’s Stop It All”. Anybody who knows anything knows that a general strike – the only demonstration which actually hurts the pockets of the 1% – is the only way to get any true political change anywhere in the world and at any time (barring outright revolution and rebellion).

Maybe this is the year Santa Claus is not the priority?

People outside of France ask me: will there be a revolution? Here is my stock answer:

No: a huge percentage of French are just as insanely committed and prideful about their outdated, 19th-century based system as the Americans. This is the true legacy of imperialism – unmerited arrogance about your system. Iranians use “arrogance” and “imperialism” interchangeably for very logical and obvious reasons.

But, once again, maybe not so arrogant after 8 years of austerity….

The far-left (true left) and far-right are making unprecedented calls for new elections, for referendums, for things which are rather radical. Let’s not forget that in the 2017 presidential first round vote 19.5% of the electorate voted for Jean-Luc Melenchon (just 2 points less than Marine Le Pen), whose platform included abolishing the 5th Republic. So in France you have an inordinate amount of arrogant jingoists whose parents grew up in French Algeria, but there definitely is a sizeable part of the population which knows things are fundamentally wrong about France’s Liberal-and-not-Socialist Democracy-influenced structure.

And the problem is definitely structural – it is not just the price of diesel.

Any true “Yellow Vest Revolution” would have to include a drastic rewriting of the rules of the European Union and especially the Eurozone, or else a Frexit. Both of those institutions were constructed in the heyday of the fall of the USSR , and thus at a time where socialism was at its absolute nadir. Their birth chart is significant because the two are designed with 1%-safety hatches to escape anything close to true popular democracy. The structure of these two institutions are truly the triumph of “Americanism”, and their neoliberal, self-cannibalizing socio-political thought. Indeed, the US runs on a system inspired by the English, French and Europe, but Continental Europe runs on a system inspired by the US…ironic. And unfortunate.

If the Yellow Vest movement proves to be different it will be largely because of this: they have, and they allow, no leaders or spokespeople. The Prime Minister admitted that he cannot meet with any Yellow Vests, because the ones he arranges to meet with keep getting death threats from fellow Yellow Vesters.

The reason this is so important is: the government cannot co-opt or buy off the movement.

Take French unions for example – there are nine big ones. There was a span lasting from 2010 to 2018 when they didn’t march together once, even though their members all hate austerity. Obviously, they are not united at all. What I have seen year after year in France is: there are anti-austerity strikes and hopes are high…but then the government buys off one or two of the unions with targeted concessions. Those unions say, “We’ve satisfied our members, as is our duty,” and they pull out. Thus, the strikes are now less impactful on the pockets of the 1%, and they are emboldened. Those still striking feel betrayed and see the lack of solidarity, and the strike soon collapses because too many people went back to work. It’s all as easy as pie for the ruling technocrats and 1%, whereas all an increasingly-poor average worker can say each year is: “This time it will be different.” It likely won’t be – French unions have signed off on every major austerity measure, after all.

All of that should go a long way in explaining why socialist countries like Iran, Cuba and China ban independent trade unions – for them the state IS the union.

You can be sure the Yellow Vests are certainly aware of the failure of the philosophy underpinning Western unionism, and thus they are trying to prevent being similarly co-opted or sold out. The death threats and opposition to any leadership are now given context: radicalization and the demand for new methods has accumulated, due to the accumulation of austerity; it is not merely the presence of (politically over-idealistic and step-skipping) French anarchism.

The Yellow Vest Movement also doesn’t even have a program or a list of clear demands which could be satisfied…and I say “right on”.

Their list of demands should be SO long and SO varied that it would take months just to compile it…because their demands are the combined demands of 8 years of anti-austerity protests.

Who are the Yellow Vests, after all? They are all those workers, students, pensioners, teachers, hospital staff, etc. who have been protesting and gotten only tear gas and failure for their efforts. They all have ignored demands which must be addressed, no?

So they don’t need a short & clear program which creates a quite fix because France’s problem is – just like the EU and the Eurozone – structural, cultural and endemic.

Is this a Yellow Vest Cultural Revolution, or just another failed anti-austerity protest?

People will mock me, but something like a Chinese or Iranian Cultural Revolution is clearly needed: several years of shutting down institutions and having major public political discussions in order to have both a huge rethink on societal structures and to get “Rebel Red Guards/Yellow Vests” into local positions of power.

Disagree? Ok, then answer this: How long can this go on?

I don’t mean the Yellow Vest protests – I mean citizen acceptance of anti-democratic austerity. Anything is possible, after all – give me a real figure, please: The Eurozone has had a Lost Decade (which the Mainstream Media never openly admits): will Eurozone citizens tolerate a Lost Score, like the Japanese did?

I say no: Japan is an island, ethnically and culturally homogenous, and they own their debt and cannot be foreclosed on. The Eurozone has none of these advantages.

Here’s another issue I’d like an actual answer on: How long can France have a president and a government which believes public opinion only matters once every five years? One more presidential election? Maybe you believe three more? I admit, anything is possible.

Again, I say no. The Socialist Party is smashed, the mainstream conservative party was routed almost as badly, and Macron’s party – at this rate – will be just a blip in France’s political history books, because they are even less popular than Hollande was at the same point in his term. So who is the party which will be running in 2027? We have no idea in France, much less in 2022.

So when I say that new people in local positions in power are not just needed, that is an understatement: they appear absolutely inevitable.

Another question requiring an actual answer: Where is the political party or grassroots movement which can tangibly implement the Yellow Vests’ will, once that will is known? I am not being obtuse – what is the political pathway for them?

The only alternatives which are not smashed (or soon to be discredited) and still within the realm of possibility are Le Pen and the far-left (real left).

But I don’t think such a Red-Brown alliance can happen in France, however: hatred for the National Front cannot be overestimated, and Le Pen permanently lost many by clowning against Macron in their 2017 debate instead of realising she had a chance to win. Uber-intense anti-Le Pen / Rassemblement National sentiment is the only explanation that France chose a 40-year old Rothschild banker 6 years into austerity. And we can’t overestimate the anti-leftist feeling in France: France neo-imperialist, France capitalist, France Islamophobic, etc. Melenchon came so very close in 2017, but he has the entire media landscape against him, and for many his past as a Socialist Party member until as late as 2008.

Therefore, a real political option – but only by default – is that the Yellow Vests turn into Italy’s Five-Star movement, because they lack any other route to translating their political will, when declared (or if declared, given French anarchism).

But Five-Star took 8 years to coalesce and win power – the Yellow Vests are still in month #1.

However, as my headline notes, this has essentially been the same protest for 8 years, going on 9, so maybe France as a whole is “there”? Maybe the timeline is speeded up in the digital age, too? That’s a significant psychological consideration, but Italy does not give us much hope for 4G political speed in France.

Given the 90,000 cops to be deployed on December 8, it appears that the Yellow Vests are still in “smash” mode, as they should be. Austerity has accumulated after the Great Recession, so there is much to demolish: namely, received wisdoms such as France is democratic, functioning well, rather-socialist, sovereign, etc; there’s also the pan-European ideas (beloved by the French elite) that these new institutions have been beneficial, successful, are the only thing preventing European War III, etc. Lotta nonsense to bring down to earth.

They say we can never predict a revolution, but we do know what precedes successful revolutions: years (if not decades) of nationwide, constant, family-splitting political discussion and involvement combined with drastic measures of self-sacrifice. That was the case in Russia in 1917 and in Iran in 1979 – thus their Revolutions were more aptly-termed bloodless “Celebrations”.

France is a long way from celebrating anything but Christmas, but I can report that all anybody is talking about is the Gilet Jaunes. However, we are truly only on the 6th day of this nationwide ferment, though, so…some perspective.

But, as far as my 2 centimes, I predict they will take Christmas and New Year’s off. And when they come back the same problems will be there. This is a very cynical and depressing point of view – maybe after 10 years here I have become French? – but those are the facts and the historical pattern.

What is also a fact is that the Yellow Vests may or may not change things, but that things in France and the Eurozone simply must change. And they will – someday. See, I’m not that French – I’m optimistic!

And for damn sure I am a Yellow Vest. So is everyone else I’ve talked to, and that means something big…at least for now.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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BRILLIANT 53RD BIRTHDAY WISHES TO SYRIAN PRESIDENT DR. BASHAR AL-ASSAD, LION OF DAMASCUS AND STEADFAST PATRON OF MOUQAWAMAH

by Jonathan Azaziah

When the American regime demanded regional subservience after launching the illegal invasion of Iraq, he said we’ll keep our independence… Thanks but no thanks… And blasted the “WMD” lies too.

When the secular nationalists thought they could exploit his political inexperience and told him to clamp down on religion across the state, he went the alternative route as he saw true faith as an ideological bulwark against Western-Zionist cultural imperialism. He worked with the Patriarchs to protect Christianity and also cooperated closely with Sheikh Muhammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti (R.A.) to spread true and pure Islam among the youth whilst rebuking Wahhabi-Takfiri thought. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of Islamic-Christian unity.

When the ‘Israelis’ rampaged through the ’48 Lands, the West Bank, Al-Quds and Gaza during the Second Intifada, he called on all Arabs to scream out for Palestine and doubled down on his military support for the Palestinian Resistance.

When Lebanon came under attack by the Zionist entity in the summer of 2006, he spared no expense in providing the Lebanese Islamic Resistance of Hizbullah with anything and everything it needed to withstand and ultimately defeat the aggressors.

Then, disgusted with the response from Saudi Arabia and its GCC partners to what had befallen the Lebanese people at the hands of the Zio-Tumor, he labeled them “half-men”.

When the French colonialist ZOG led by the Zionist Jew Sarkozy came to him with an offer of full Western-NATO support pending his government drop support for Iran, Hizbullah and the Palestinian caused, he declined and tossed the frog out of his country.

When the illegitimate “Tel Aviv” regime approached him through back channels to sell his nation down the tubes and “negotiate” over the occupied Golan Heights, he upheld 10,000 years of civilization in Bilad al-Sham and delivered a message of rejection.

When the Zio-Imperialists came for Venezuela, he was at the side of El Comandante Hugo Chavez. When the Zio-Imperialists came for Libya, he didn’t let Muammar Qadhafi face the assault alone.

And when the International Jewish Imperium, with the full force of ‘Israel’, NATO and the GCC backing up the plan, brought hundreds of thousands of terrorists from all over the world to his country, giving them hundreds of billions of dollars in heavy arms and cash, training them, guiding them, providing them medical treatment and laying out their directives of regime change, destabilization and mass murder, he didn’t bow. He stood tall. Mobilized his citizenry and his armed forces. Called in his allies from Lebanon, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation. Mounted a counter-offensive. Resisted. Now he stands on the verge of total victory over the most vicious compilation of mercenaries in the history of 4th/5th Generation Warfare.

He could’ve lived a quiet life as an ophthalmologist at the Western Eye Hospital in London, where he was trained in the field. Instead he returned to his homeland to lead and be whatever his family and his people needed him to be so he could move the nation into the future.

That–ALL of that–is why we support Syrian President Dr. Bashar al-Assad; why we love and respect him; why we respect and salute him; and why we wish him the happiest of happy birthdays on his 53rd year on this planet. Not just a President but a leader  and a man of the people in every sense. Not just a revolutionary but a Mouqawamist with a damn high station. Not just a legend to be appreciated, cherished and safeguarded by Syrians but all Arabs, all Muslims, all Christians and all free-thinking people no matter where they come from. The most brilliant born-day wishes to you on the anniversary of your birth o’ Lion of Dimashq! O’ Patron of Mouqawamah! O’ Syrian hero! May you have 53 more and may they all be as victorious as this one!

The Syrian curse اللعنة السورية

The Syrian curse

يونيو 9, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It seems that the Gulf crisis which has the title of punishing Qatar towards overthrowing its Prince or subduing him an outcome of the visit of the US President Donald Trump to the region, but surely it is not an outcome of the campaign of fighting the terrorism and stopping its funding, in which Qatar along with its Gulf partners led by Saudi Arabia are equal according to the Congress’s reports about the sources of terrorism and the speech of the Vice President John Biden in front Harvard University, so it can be said that the losses of the war on Syria are distributed by the strongest in the war alliance on the weaker and the weakest.

It is impossible to read Trump’s visit and what happened in isolation from Trump’s words about considering the punishment of Qatar an outcome of the visit on one hand, and what he got of Saudi money on the other hand. Washington behold Saudi Arabia the losses of the Gulf through Trump’s contracts and commitments. Saudi Arabia was authorized to distribute the losses among the Gulf countries in money, influence, and politics. But at the same time Trump’s visit cannot be read out the context of the arrival of Donald to the presidency, relying on a speech based on the failure in the war on Syria, even it can be said that Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton strongly by the defeat of her party in the war on Syria and his claiming that he has the ability to get his country out of this war and to reduce the losses not to win in it.

Trump is as the new French President Emanuel Macron who belongs to the same camp from which his former President François Hollande came politically, but he became a president to prevent the arrival of competitors who were planning to take France out the European Union to a civil confrontation due to the impact and the repercussions of the war on Syria, So Macron was the anticipated president to reduce the losses not to win profits, knowing that the permanent issue is the war on Syria which the administration of Hollande and the administration of Nicolas Sarkozy were active partners in it.

It is not hidden to say that the curse of Syria follows everyone who was involved in the war on it, what has happened with the former Prince of Qatar and his Prime Minister was not far from the outcome of this curse, as well as what has happened with Bander Bin Sultan and what affects the Turkish President Recep Erdogan whether regarding his aggravated relation with Washington or his fear from the birth of Kurdish entity on the borders of his country which only Syria and the Syrians can stop it. It is enough to have a quick look at the names which were insolent against Syria, its President, and its army while they were foreshadowing the immanent fall of Damascus and talking about the matter of few days, to notice that the scene included UN envoys, presidents, Foreign Ministers, heads of governments, kings, princes, and sheikhs. Today we wonder about their fate after they went out from the general scene humiliated not only from the war.

It is a real curse that chases all those who were involved in the war on Syria. In the concept of the history-industry and its laws these are the consequences of the defeat in a war which its launchers have made their involvement in it in fate and presence in a way that leads to repercussions that are difficult to overcome. It is clear that none of those involved will be safe whatever they give offerings  to avoid the destiny, as the Saudi are making today with the Qataris. It is clear as well that those who are threatened of fall by the force of the Syrians’ blood and their sufferings which chase everyone involved will not find a lifeline but to apologize from Syria, to atone for what they did, and to pay the bills which can satisfy Syria if there is still an opportunity to appease it.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

اللعنة السورية

يونيو 7, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– تبدو الأزمة الخليجية التي تتخذ عنوان معاقبة قطر وصولاً لإسقاط أميرها أو تطويعه، نتاجاً من نتاجات زيارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب للمنطقة، ولكنها ليست بالتأكيد ثمار حملة لمكافحة الإرهاب ووقف تمويله، الذي تتساوى فيه قطر مع شركائها في الخليج، وتتصدره السعودية، وفقاً لتقارير الكونغرس حول مصادر الإرهاب ولخطاب نائب الرئيس السابق جو بايدن أمام جامعة هارفرد، بحيث يمكن القول إن ترصيد خسائر الحرب على سورية يتم توزيعها من الأقوياء في حلف الحرب على الأضعف فالأضعف.

– تستحيل قراءة زيارة ترامب وما جرى فيها بمعزل عن كلام ترامب نفسه حول اعتبار معاقبة قطر من ثمار الزيارة من جهة، وما حصده من مال سعودي من جهة ثانية، فواشنطن حمّلت السعودية رصيد الخليج من الخسائر بمال حمله ترامب عقوداً والتزامات، وفوّضت السعودية بتوزيع نصاب الخسائر بين دول الخليج مالاً ونفوذاً وسياسة، لكن لا يمكن أيضاً قراءة زيارة ترامب خارج سياق وصول ترامب نفسه للرئاسة مستقوياً بخطاب مؤسس على الفشل في حرب سورية، حتى يمكن القول إن ترامب هزم هيلاري كلينتون بقوة هزيمة حزبها في الحرب على سورية، وإدعائه القدرة على إخراج بلاده من هذه الحرب وتخفيف الخسائر وليس الفوز بها.

– مثل ترامب حال الرئيس الفرنسي الجديد إيمانويل ماكرون الذي ينتمي للمعسكر ذاته الذي جاء منه سياسياً الرئيس الأسبق فرانسوا هولاند، لكنه وصل إلى الرئاسة منعاً لوصول منافسين كانوا يزمعون أخذ فرنسا خارج الاتحاد الأوروبي وإلى مواجهة أهلية، بتأثير وتداعيات الحرب على سورية، فكان ماكرون رئيس الوعد بتخفيف الخسائر وليس تحقيق الأرباح، والحاضر الدائم هي الحرب على سورية، التي كانت إدارة هولاند وقبله إدارة نيكولاي ساركوزي شريكاً نشطاً فيها.

– ليس من الغيبيات القول بلعنة سورية تلاحق كل الذين تورطوا في الحرب عليها، فما جرى مع أمير قطر السابق ورئيس وزرائه ليس بعيداً عن نتاج هذه اللعنة، ولا ما أصاب بندر بن سلطان، ولا ما يصيب الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان، سواء بتأزم علاقته بواشنطن أو بذعره من ولادة كيان كردي على حدوده لن يحول دونه إلا سورية والسوريون، وتكفي نظرة سريعة على الأسماء التي تتالت وتنافست على التطاول على سورية ورئيسها وجيشها وهي تبشّر بقرب سقوط دمشق، وتتحدث عن ايام معدودة، ليضم المشهد مبعوثين أمميين وقادة دول ووزراء خارجية ورؤساء حكومات وملوكاً وأمراء وشيوخاً، ونتساءل عن مصيرهم اليوم لنشهد خروجهم بصورة مهينة من المشهد العام، وليس من الحرب فقط.

– هي لعنة حقيقية تلاحق كل الذين تورطوا في الحرب على سورية، وبمفهوم صناعة التاريخ وقوانينه هي تداعيات الهزيمة في حرب جعل أصحابها تورّطهم فيها مصيرياً ووجودياً، بصورة ترتب على الفشل تداعيات يصعب احتواؤها، ومن الواضح أن أحداً من المتورّطين لن ينجو منها مهما افتعل القرابين لتفادي بئس المصير، كما يفعل السعوديون بالقطريين اليوم، بل الواضح أن المهدّدين بالسقوط بقوة دماء السوريين وعذاباتهم التي تلاحق كل متورط، لن يجدوا حبل نجاة إلا الاعتذار من سورية والتكفير عما ارتكبت أيديهم، وتسديد الفواتير التي ترضي سورية إن كان لا يزال لاسترضائها فرصة.

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Why Does Trump Still Refuse to Expose Obama?

Why Does Trump Still Refuse to Expose Obama?

ERIC ZUESSE | 05.06.2017 | WORLD

Why Does Trump Still Refuse to Expose Obama?

Trump lied to say that Obama had a fake birth certificate, but Trump never attacked Obama for what were Obama’s real crimes. America’s press let him get away with it (of course, they pointed out Trump’s lie, but they protected Obama, just as Trump did, against exposure on that President’s real crimes); so, here are some of the facts that the U.S. press (and Trump) still hide about Obama (because hiding them is essential to the U.S. aristocracy’s agenda — shared by both its Republicans and its Democrats):

On March 23rd, Gallup headlined «South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine Lead World in Suffering», and the Ukrainian part of that can unquestionably be laid at the feet of Obama, who in February 2014 imposed upon Ukraine a very bloody coup (see it here), which he and his press misrepresented (and still misrepresent) as being (and still represent as having been) a ‘democratic revolution’, but was nothing of the sort, and actually was instead the start of the Ukrainian dictatorship and the hell that has since destroyed that country, and brought the people there into such misery, it’s now by far the worst in Europe, and nearly tied with the worst in the entire world.

America’s criminal ‘news’ media never even reported the coup, nor that in 2011 the Obama regime began planning for a coup in Ukraine, and that by 1 March 2013 they started organizing it inside the U.S. Embassy there, and that they hired members of Ukraine’s two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties, Right Sector and Svoboda (which latter had been called the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine until the CIA advised them to change it to Freedom Party, or «Svoboda» instead), and that in February 2014 they did it (and here’s the 4 February 2014 phone call instructing the U.S. Ambassador whom to place in charge of the new regime when the coup will be completed), under the cover of authentic anti-corruption demonstrations that the Embassy organized on the Maidan Square in Kiev, demonstrations that the criminal U.S. ‘news’ media misrepresented as ‘democracy demonstrations,’ though Ukraine already had democracy (but still lots of corruption, even more than today’s U.S. does, and the pontificating Obama said he was trying to end Ukraine’s corruption — which instead actually soared after his coup there). The head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor said it was «the most blatant coup in history» but he couldn’t say that to Americans, because he knows that our press is just a mouthpiece for the regime (just like it was during the lead-up to George W. Bush’s equally unprovoked invasion of Iraq — for which America’s ‘news’ media suffered likewise no penalties). When subsequently accused by neocons for his having said this, his response was «I told the business journal Kommersant that if the US were behind a coup in Kiev, it would have been the most blatant coup in history,» but he was lying to say this, because, as I pointed out when writing about that rejoinder of his, he had, in fact, made quite clear in his Kommersant interview, that it was, in his view «the most blatant coup in history,» no conditionals on that.

Everybody knows what Obama, and Clinton, and Sarkozy, did to Libya — in their zeal to eliminate yet another nation’s leader who was friendly toward Russia (Muammar Gaddafi), they turned one of the highest-living-standard nations in Africa into a failed state and huge source of refugees (as well as of weapons that the Clinton State Department transferred to the jihadists in Syria to bring down Bashar al-Assad, another ally of Russia) — but the ‘news’ media have continued to hide what Obama (assisted by America’s European allies, especially Poland and Netherlands, and also by America’s apartheid Middle Eastern ally, Israel) did to Ukraine.

And now read this. Here we have the journal The National Interest, which was founded by Irving Kristol, the founder of neoconservatism and therefore the intellectual source for Victoria Nuland and the others whom Obama appointed to run the coup in Ukraine, and even that journal now is publishing the fact that the result of that coup is bad. But, of course, no one, including that publication, is damning, nor even blaming, Obama for destroying Ukraine — which he did.

And then, too, Obama pressed for and (with his colleagues in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and UAE) achieved the destruction of Syria. Clearly, he did more harm than perhaps any President in U.S. history (though each of the two Bushes is a competitor with him for that title).

Why are these things kept secret — even by Trump, who pretends to be Obama’s opposite? The answer is tragically obvious.

Bernard Levy gets pie in face in Belgrade

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French intellectual Levy gets pie in the face in SerbiaOn Wednesday, Algerian-born Bernard-Henri Levi, 68, the self-appointed French philosopher, was hit with a pie while promoting his propaganda documentary Peshmerga which is about the Kurds fighting the US-Israel created ISIS.

A Serb protester chanting Murderer, leave Belgrade hurled a pie at his face when he was presenting the film. Another protester climbed the stage with a banner bearing Jewish-communist hammer and sickle that read, Bernard Levy advocates imperialist murderers.

As a typical humiliated Zionist whore, Levy equated Serbia with Syria – he shouted Long Live Democracy in French. It’s is the same idiot who never get tired calling Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East – a very disputed statement even by Jew scholars (here, here).

Serbian nationalists see Levy as one of the main advocates of NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 over Belgrade’s crackdown on Kosovan separatists.

MP Vojislav Seselj said in parliament: “Levy deserved much worse than a cake in face.”

Serbian largest newspaper Kurir even claimed that Bernard Levy faked the incident to make Serbia look bad.

An identical incident occurred 23 years ago in Cannes, leaving doubt that Levy stages attacks just to make Serbs look bad,” the paper claimed. Being an Israeli agent in France, Levy must have learned such trick from Mossad.

Levy is a close friend of former French presidents, Jacques Chirac, Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. In November 2011, speaking at the first national Jewish convention in Paris, organized by the French Israel Lobby, the Council of Jewish Organization of France, Levy boasted that he lead the anti-Qaddafi campaign because it was a Jewish thing to do.

What I have done all these months, I did as a Jew. And like all the Jews of the world, I was worried. Despite legitimate anxiety is an uprising to be welcomed with favor, we were dealing with one of the worst enemy of Israel,” said Levy.

In February 2017, Levi stated that if French communist party presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon wins, he would leave France. Jean-Luc Melenchon is considered pro-Palestinian by the country’s organized Jewry.

Bernard-Henry Levy, appeared on world-stage during his campaign for the release of Jewish film director Roman Polanski, who was arrested in Switzerland on September 26, 2009, for having unlawful sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

On July 4, 2011, Bernard Levy sponsored first Israeli conference on Syria in Paris. The conference was attended by Bernard Kouchner, former French Jew foreign minister and founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Frederik Ansel, a member of Israel’s ruling Likud Party, Alex Goldfarb, former Knesset member and adviser to Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak and Andre Glucksmann, an Islamophobe French writer (here).

Bernard Levy had spewed his anti-Muslim propaganda from Bosnia to Bangladesh. In 2002, French president Chirac sent Levy to Afghanistan on an official mission to find out what Afghans expect from Paris to defeat Taliban. During his visit, Levy set-up Radio Free Kabul. Levi is author of several books including Qui a tue Daniel Pearl, in which he whines about Mossad spy Daniel Pearl who was killed in 2002 while snooping around as WSJ journalist in Karachi.

In 1971, Bernard Levy pleaded with French president Georges Pompidou to help Indian invasion of East Pakistan in order to establish a separate homeland for Bengali people.

 

France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; The Deep State Rises to the Surface

Elections présidentielles 2017 France-1

As if the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign hadn’t been horrendous enough, here comes another one: in France. 

The system in France is very different, with multiple candidates in two rounds, most of them highly articulate, who often even discuss real issues. Free television time reduces the influence of big money. The first round on April 23 will select the two finalists for the May 7 runoff, allowing for much greater choice than in the United States.

But monkey see, monkey do, and the mainstream political class wants to mimic the ways of the Empire, even echoing the theme that dominated the 2016 show across the Atlantic: the evil Russians are messing with our wonderful democracy.

The aping of the U.S. system began with “primaries” held by the two main governing parties which obviously aspire to establish themselves as the equivalent of American Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system.  The right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has already renamed itself Les Républicains and the so-called Socialist Party leaders are just waiting for the proper occasion to call themselves Les Démocrates. But as things are going, neither one of them may come out ahead this time.

Given the nearly universal disaffection with the outgoing Socialist Party government of President François Hollande, the Republicans were long seen as the natural favorites to defeat Marine LePen, who is shown by all polls to top the first round. With such promising prospects, the Republican primary brought out more than twice as many volunteer voters (they must pay a small sum and claim allegiance to the party’s “values” in order to vote) as the Socialists.  Sarkozy was eliminated, but more surprising, so was the favorite, the reliable establishment team player, Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who had been leading in the polls and in media editorials.

Fillon’s Family Values

In a surprise show of widespread public disenchantment with the political scene, Republican voters gave landside victory to former prime minister François Fillon, a practicing Catholic with an ultra-neoliberal domestic policy: lower taxes for corporations, drastic cuts in social welfare, even health health insurance benefits – accelerating what previous governments have been doing but more openly. Less conventionally, Fillon strongly condemns the current anti Russian policy.  Fillon also deviates from the Socialist government’s single-minded commitment to overthrowing Assad by showing sympathy for embattled Christians in Syria and their protector, which happens to be the Assad government.

Fillon has the respectable look, as the French say, of a person who could take communion without first going to confession.  As a campaign theme he credibly stressed his virtuous capacity to oppose corruption.

Oops!  On January 25, the semi-satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé fired the opening shots of an ongoing media campaign designed to undo the image of Mister Clean, revealing that his British wife, Penelope, had been paid a generous salary for working as his assistant. As Penelope was known for staying home and raising their children in the countryside, the existence of that work is in serious doubt.  Fillon also paid his son a lawyer’s fee for unspecified tasks and his daughter for supposedly assisting him write a book.  In a sense, these allegations prove the strength of the conservative candidate’s family values.  But his ratings have fallen and he faces possible criminal charges for fraud.

The scandal is real, but the timing is suspect.  The facts are many years old, and the moment of their revelation is well calculated to ensure his defeat.  Moreover, the very day after the Canard’s revelations, prosecutors hastily opened an inquiry.  In comparison with all the undisclosed dirty work and unsolved blood crimes committed by those in control of the French State over the years, especially during its foreign wars, enriching one’s own family may seem relatively minor.  But that is not the way the public sees it.

Cui bono

It is widely assumed that despite National Front candidate Marine LePen’s constant lead in the polls, whoever comes in second will win the runoff because the established political class and the media will rally around the cry to “save the Republic!”  Fear of the National Front as “a threat to the Republic” has become a sort of protection racket for the established parties, since it stigmatizes as unacceptable a large swath of opposition to themselves.  In the past, both main parties have sneakily connived to strengthen the National Front in order to take votes away from their adversary.

Thus, bringing down Fillon increases the chances that the candidate of the now thoroughly discredited Socialist Party may find himself in the magic second position after all, as the knight to slay the LePen dragon.  But who exactly is the Socialist candidate? That is not so clear.  There is the official Socialist Party candidate, Benoît Hamon. But the independent spin-off from the Hollande administration, Emmanuel Macron, “neither right nor left”, is gathering support from the right of the Socialist Party as well as from most of the neo-liberal globalist elite.

Macron is scheduled to be the winner. But first, a glance at his opposition on the left.  With his ratings in the single digits, François Hollande very reluctantly gave into entreaties from his colleagues to avoid the humiliation of running for a second term and losing badly.  The badly attended Socialist Party primary was expected to select the fiercely pro-Israel prime minister Manuel Valls.  Or if not, on his left, Arnaud Montebourg, a sort of Warren Beatty of French politics, famous for his romantic liaisons and his advocacy of re-industrialization of France.

Again, surprise.  The winner was a colorless, little-known party hack named Benoît Hamon, who rode the wave of popular discontent to appear as a leftist critic and alternative to a Socialist government which sold out all Holland’s promises to combat “finance” and assaulted the rights of the working class instead.  Hamon spiced up his claim to be “on the left” by coming up with a gimmick that is fashionable elsewhere in Europe but a novelty in French political discourse: the “universal basic income”.  The idea of giving every citizen an equal handout can sound appealing to young people having trouble finding a job. But this idea, which originated with Milton Friedman and other apostles of unleashed financial capitalism, is actually a trap.  The project assumes that unemployment is permanent, in contrast to projects to create jobs or share work.  It would be financed by replacing a whole range of existing social allocations, in the name of “getting rid of bureaucracy” and “freedom of consumption”. The project would complete the disempowerment of the working class as a political force, destroying the shared social capital represented by public services, and splitting the dependent classes between paid workers and idle consumers.

There is scant chance that the universal income is about to become a serious item on the French political agenda.  For the moment, Hamon’s claim to radicality serves to lure voters away from the independent left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Both are vying for support from greens and militants of the French Communist Party, which has lost all capacity to define its own positions.

The Divided Left

An impressive orator, Mélenchon gained prominence in 2005 as a leading opponent of the proposed European Constitution, which was decisively rejected by the French in a referendum, but was nevertheless adopted under a new name by the French national assembly.  Like so many leftists in France, Mélenchon has a Trotskyist background (the Posadists, more attuned to Third World revolutions than their rivals) before joining the Socialist Party, which he left in 2008 to found the Parti de Gauche.  He has sporadically wooed the rudderless Communist Party to join him as the Front de Gauche (the Left Front) and has declared himself its candidate for President on a new independent ticket called La France insoumise – roughly translated as “Insubordinate France”. Mélenchon is combative with France’s docile media, as he defends such unorthodox positions as praise of Chavez and rejection of France’s current Russophobic foreign policy.  Unlike the conventional Hamon, who follows the Socialist party line, Mélenchon wants France to leave both the euro and NATO.

There are only two really strong personalities in this lineup: Mélenchon on the left and his adversary of choice, Marine LePen, on the right.  In the past, their rivalry in local elections has kept both from winning even though she came out ahead.  Their positions on foreign policy are hard to distinguish from each other: criticism of the European Union, desire to leave NATO, good relations with Russia.

Since both deviate from the establishment line, both are denounced as “populists” – a term that is coming to mean anyone who pays more attention to what ordinary people want that to what the Establishment dictates.

On domestic social policy, on preservation of social services and workers’ rights, Marine is well to the left of Fillon.  But the stigma attached to the National Front as the “far right” remains, even though, with her close advisor Florian Philippot, she has ditched her father, Jean-Marie, and adjusted the party line to appeal to working class voters.  The main relic of the old National Front is her hostility to immigration, which now centers on fear of Islamic terrorists. The terrorist killings in Paris and Nice have made these positions more popular than they used to be. In her effort to overcome her father’s reputation as anti-Semitic, Marine LePen has done her best to woo the Jewish community, helped by her rejection of “ostentatious” Islam, going so far as to call for a ban on wearing an ordinary Muslim headscarf in public.

A runoff between Mélenchon and LePen would be an encounter between a revived left and a revived right, a real change from the political orthodoxy that has alienated much of the electorate. That could make politics exciting again.  At a time when popular discontent with “the system” is rising, it has been suggested (by Elizabeth Lévy’s maverick monthly Le Causeur) that the anti-system Mélenchon might actually have the best chance of winning working class votes away from the anti-system LePen.

Manufacturing Consent

But the pro-European Union, pro-NATO, neoliberal Establishment is at work to keep that from happening.  On every possible magazine cover or talk show, the media have shown their allegiance to a “New! Improved!” middle of the road candidate who is being sold to the public like a consumer product.   At his rallies, carefully coached young volunteers situated in view of the cameras greet his every vague generalization with wild cheers, waving flags, and chanting “Macron President!!!” before going off to the discotèque party offered as their reward. Macron is the closest thing to a robot ever presented as a serious candidate for President.  That is, he is an artificial creation designed by experts for a particular task.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, was a successful investment banker who earned millions working for the Rothschild bank.   Ten years ago, in 2007, age 29, the clever young economist was invited into the big time by Jacques Attali, an immensely influential guru, whose advice since the 1980s has been central in wedding the Socialist Party to pro-capitalist, neoliberal globalism.  Attali incorporated him into his private think tank, the Commission for Stimulating Economic Growth, which helped draft the  “300 Proposals to Change France” presented to President Sarkozy a year later as a blueprint for government.  Sarkozy failed to enact them all, for fear of labor revolts, but the supposedly “left” Socialists are able to get away with more drastic anti-labor measures, thanks to their softer discourse.

The soft discourse was illustrated by presidential candidate François Hollande in 2012 when he aroused enthusiasm by declaring to a rally: “My real enemy is the world of finance!”.  The left cheered and voted for him.  Meanwhile, as a precaution, Hollande secretly dispatched Macron to London to reassure the City’s financial elite that it was all just electoral talk.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/emmanuel-macron-france-president After his election, Hollande brought Macron onto his staff. From there he was given a newly created super-modern sounding government post as minister of Economy, Industry and Digital affairs in 2014.  With all the bland charm of a department store mannequin, Macron upstaged his irascible colleague, prime minister Manuel Valls, in the silent rivalry to succeed their boss, President Hollande.  Macron won the affection of big business by making his anti-labor reforms look young and clean and “progressive”. In fact, he pretty much followed the Attali agenda.

The theme is “competitiveness”.  In a globalized world, a country must attract investment capital in order to compete, and for that it is necessary to lower labor costs.  A classic way to do that is to encourage immigration.  With the rise of identity politics, the left is better than the right in justifying massive immigration on moral grounds, as a humanitarian measure.  That is one reason that the Democratic Party in the United States and the Socialist Party in France have become the political partners of neoliberal globalism.  Together, they have changed the outlook of the official left from structural measures promoting economic equality to moral measures promoting equality of minorities with the majority.

Just last year, Macron founded (or had founded for him) his political movement entitled “En marche!” (Let’s go!) characterized by meetings with young groupies wearing Macron t-shirts.  In three months he felt the call to lead the nation and announced his candidacy for President.

Many personalities are jumping the marooned Socialist ship and going over to Macron, whose strong political resemblance to Hillary Clinton suggests that his is the way to create a French Democratic Party on the U.S. model.  Hillary may have lost but she remains the NATOland favorite. And indeed, U.S. media coverage confirms this notion.  A glance at the ecstatic puff piece by Robert Zaretsky in Foreign Policymagazine hailing “the English-speaking, German-loving, French politician Europe has been waiting for” leaves no doubt that Macron is the darling of the trans-Atlantic globalizing elite.

At this moment, Macron is second only to Marine LePen in the polls, which also show him defeating her by a landslide in the final round.  However, his carefully manufactured appeal is vulnerable to greater public information about his close ties to the economic elite.

Blame the Russians

For that eventuality, there is a preventive strike, imported directly from the United States.  It’s the fault of the Russians!

What have the Russians done that is so terrible?  Mainly, they have made it clear that they have a preference for friends rather than enemies as heads of foreign governments.  Nothing so extraordinary about that. Russian news media criticize, or interview people who criticize, candidates hostile to Moscow.  Nothing extraordinary about that either.

As an example of this shocking interference, which allegedly threatens to undermine the French Republic and Western values, the Russian news agency Sputnik interviewed a Republican member of the French parliament, Nicolas Dhuicq, who dared say that Macron might be “an agent of the American financial system”.   That is pretty obvious.  But the resulting outcry skipped over that detail to accuse Russian state media of “starting to circulate rumors that Macron had a gay extramarital affair” (The EU Observer, February 13, 2017).  In fact this alleged “sexual slur” had been circulating primarily in gay circles in Paris, for whom the scandal, if any, is not Macron’s alleged sexual orientation but the fact that he denies it.  The former mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was openly gay, Marine Le Pen’s second in command Florian Philippot is gay, in France being gay is no big deal.

Macron is supported by a “very wealthy gay lobby”, Dhuicq is quoted as saying.  Everyone knows who that is: Pierre Bergé, the rich and influential business manager of Yves Saint Laurent, personification of radical chic, who strongly supports surrogate gestation, which is indeed a controversial issue in France, the real controversy underlying the failed opposition to gay marriage.

The Deep State rises to the surface

The amazing adoption in France of the American anti-Russian campaign is indicative of a titanic struggle for control of the narrative – the version of international reality consumed by the masses of people who have no means to undertake their own investigations. Control of the narrative is the critical core of what Washington describes as its “soft power”.  The hard power can wage wars and overthrow governments.  The soft power explains to bystanders why that was the right thing to do.  The United States can get away with literally everything so long as it can tell the story to its own advantage, without the risk of being credibly contradicted.  Concerning sensitive points in the world, whether Iraq, or Libya, or Ukraine, control of the narrative is basically exercised by the partnership between intelligence agencies and the media.  Intelligence services write the story, and the mass corporate media tell it.

Together, the anonymous sources of the “deep state” and the mass corporate media have become accustomed to controlling the narrative told to the public.  They don’t want to give that power up.  And they certainly don’t want to see it challenged by outsiders – notably by Russian media that tell a different story.

That is one reason for the extraordinary campaign going on to denounce Russian and other alternative media as sources of “false news”, in order to discredit rival sources.  The very existence of the Russian international television news channel RT aroused immediate hostility: how dare the Russians intrude on our version of reality!  How dare they have their own point of view! Hillary Clinton warned against RT when she was Secretary of State and her successor John Kerry denounced it as a “propaganda bullhorn”.  What we say is truth, what they say can only be propaganda.

The denunciation of Russian media and alleged Russian “interference in our elections” is a major invention of the Clinton campaign, which has gone on to infect public discourse in Western Europe.  This accusation is a very obvious example of double standards, or projection, since U.S. spying on everybody, including it allies, and interference in foreign elections are notorious.

The campaign denouncing “fake news” originating in Moscow is in full swing in both France and Germany as elections approach.  It is this accusation that is the functional interference in the campaign, not Russian media.  The accusation that Marine Le Pen is “the candidate of Moscow” is not only meant to work against her, but is also preparation for the efforts to instigate some variety of “color revolution” should she happen to win the May 7 election. CIA interference in foreign elections is far from limited to contentious news reports.

In the absence of any genuine Russian threat to Europe, claims that Russian media are “interfering in our democracy” serve to brand Russia as an aggressive enemy and thereby justify the huge NATO military buildup in Northeastern Europe, which is reviving German militarism and directing national wealth into the arms industry.

In some ways, the French election is an extension of the American one, where the deep state lost its preferred candidate, but not its power.  The same forces are at work here, backing Macron as the French Hillary, but ready to stigmatize any opponent as a tool of Moscow.

What has been happening over the past months has confirmed the existence of a Deep State that is not only national but trans-Atlantic, aspiring to be global. The anti-Russian campaign is a revelation.  It reveals to many people that there really is a Deep State, a trans-Atlantic orchestra that plays the same tune without any visible conductor. The term “Deep State” is suddenly popping up even in mainstream discourse, as a reality than cannot be denied, even if it is hard to define precisely.

Instead of the Military Industrial Complex, we should perhaps call it the Military Industrial Media Intelligence Complex, or MIMIC.  Its power is enormous, but acknowledging that it exists is the first step toward working to free ourselves from its grip.

 

As if the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign hadn’t been horrendous enough, here comes another one: in France. 

The system in France is very different, with multiple candidates in two rounds, most of them highly articulate, who often even discuss real issues. Free television time reduces the influence of big money. The first round on April 23 will select the two finalists for the May 7 runoff, allowing for much greater choice than in the United States.

But monkey see, monkey do, and the mainstream political class wants to mimic the ways of the Empire, even echoing the theme that dominated the 2016 show across the Atlantic: the evil Russians are messing with our wonderful democracy.

The aping of the U.S. system began with “primaries” held by the two main governing parties which obviously aspire to establish themselves as the equivalent of American Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system.  The right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has already renamed itself Les Républicains and the so-called Socialist Party leaders are just waiting for the proper occasion to call themselves Les Démocrates. But as things are going, neither one of them may come out ahead this time.

Given the nearly universal disaffection with the outgoing Socialist Party government of President François Hollande, the Republicans were long seen as the natural favorites to defeat Marine LePen, who is shown by all polls to top the first round. With such promising prospects, the Republican primary brought out more than twice as many volunteer voters (they must pay a small sum and claim allegiance to the party’s “values” in order to vote) as the Socialists.  Sarkozy was eliminated, but more surprising, so was the favorite, the reliable establishment team player, Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who had been leading in the polls and in media editorials.

Fillon’s Family Values

In a surprise show of widespread public disenchantment with the political scene, Republican voters gave landside victory to former prime minister François Fillon, a practicing Catholic with an ultra-neoliberal domestic policy: lower taxes for corporations, drastic cuts in social welfare, even health health insurance benefits – accelerating what previous governments have been doing but more openly. Less conventionally, Fillon strongly condemns the current anti Russian policy.  Fillon also deviates from the Socialist government’s single-minded commitment to overthrowing Assad by showing sympathy for embattled Christians in Syria and their protector, which happens to be the Assad government.

Fillon has the respectable look, as the French say, of a person who could take communion without first going to confession.  As a campaign theme he credibly stressed his virtuous capacity to oppose corruption.

Oops!  On January 25, the semi-satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé fired the opening shots of an ongoing media campaign designed to undo the image of Mister Clean, revealing that his British wife, Penelope, had been paid a generous salary for working as his assistant. As Penelope was known for staying home and raising their children in the countryside, the existence of that work is in serious doubt.  Fillon also paid his son a lawyer’s fee for unspecified tasks and his daughter for supposedly assisting him write a book.  In a sense, these allegations prove the strength of the conservative candidate’s family values.  But his ratings have fallen and he faces possible criminal charges for fraud.

The scandal is real, but the timing is suspect.  The facts are many years old, and the moment of their revelation is well calculated to ensure his defeat.  Moreover, the very day after the Canard’s revelations, prosecutors hastily opened an inquiry.  In comparison with all the undisclosed dirty work and unsolved blood crimes committed by those in control of the French State over the years, especially during its foreign wars, enriching one’s own family may seem relatively minor.  But that is not the way the public sees it.

Cui bono

It is widely assumed that despite National Front candidate Marine LePen’s constant lead in the polls, whoever comes in second will win the runoff because the established political class and the media will rally around the cry to “save the Republic!”  Fear of the National Front as “a threat to the Republic” has become a sort of protection racket for the established parties, since it stigmatizes as unacceptable a large swath of opposition to themselves.  In the past, both main parties have sneakily connived to strengthen the National Front in order to take votes away from their adversary.

Thus, bringing down Fillon increases the chances that the candidate of the now thoroughly discredited Socialist Party may find himself in the magic second position after all, as the knight to slay the LePen dragon.  But who exactly is the Socialist candidate? That is not so clear.  There is the official Socialist Party candidate, Benoît Hamon. But the independent spin-off from the Hollande administration, Emmanuel Macron, “neither right nor left”, is gathering support from the right of the Socialist Party as well as from most of the neo-liberal globalist elite.

Macron is scheduled to be the winner. But first, a glance at his opposition on the left.  With his ratings in the single digits, François Hollande very reluctantly gave into entreaties from his colleagues to avoid the humiliation of running for a second term and losing badly.  The badly attended Socialist Party primary was expected to select the fiercely pro-Israel prime minister Manuel Valls.  Or if not, on his left, Arnaud Montebourg, a sort of Warren Beatty of French politics, famous for his romantic liaisons and his advocacy of re-industrialization of France.

Again, surprise.  The winner was a colorless, little-known party hack named Benoît Hamon, who rode the wave of popular discontent to appear as a leftist critic and alternative to a Socialist government which sold out all Holland’s promises to combat “finance” and assaulted the rights of the working class instead.  Hamon spiced up his claim to be “on the left” by coming up with a gimmick that is fashionable elsewhere in Europe but a novelty in French political discourse: the “universal basic income”.  The idea of giving every citizen an equal handout can sound appealing to young people having trouble finding a job. But this idea, which originated with Milton Friedman and other apostles of unleashed financial capitalism, is actually a trap.  The project assumes that unemployment is permanent, in contrast to projects to create jobs or share work.  It would be financed by replacing a whole range of existing social allocations, in the name of “getting rid of bureaucracy” and “freedom of consumption”. The project would complete the disempowerment of the working class as a political force, destroying the shared social capital represented by public services, and splitting the dependent classes between paid workers and idle consumers.

There is scant chance that the universal income is about to become a serious item on the French political agenda.  For the moment, Hamon’s claim to radicality serves to lure voters away from the independent left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Both are vying for support from greens and militants of the French Communist Party, which has lost all capacity to define its own positions.

The Divided Left

An impressive orator, Mélenchon gained prominence in 2005 as a leading opponent of the proposed European Constitution, which was decisively rejected by the French in a referendum, but was nevertheless adopted under a new name by the French national assembly.  Like so many leftists in France, Mélenchon has a Trotskyist background (the Posadists, more attuned to Third World revolutions than their rivals) before joining the Socialist Party, which he left in 2008 to found the Parti de Gauche.  He has sporadically wooed the rudderless Communist Party to join him as the Front de Gauche (the Left Front) and has declared himself its candidate for President on a new independent ticket called La France insoumise – roughly translated as “Insubordinate France”. Mélenchon is combative with France’s docile media, as he defends such unorthodox positions as praise of Chavez and rejection of France’s current Russophobic foreign policy.  Unlike the conventional Hamon, who follows the Socialist party line, Mélenchon wants France to leave both the euro and NATO.

There are only two really strong personalities in this lineup: Mélenchon on the left and his adversary of choice, Marine LePen, on the right.  In the past, their rivalry in local elections has kept both from winning even though she came out ahead.  Their positions on foreign policy are hard to distinguish from each other: criticism of the European Union, desire to leave NATO, good relations with Russia.

Since both deviate from the establishment line, both are denounced as “populists” – a term that is coming to mean anyone who pays more attention to what ordinary people want that to what the Establishment dictates.

On domestic social policy, on preservation of social services and workers’ rights, Marine is well to the left of Fillon.  But the stigma attached to the National Front as the “far right” remains, even though, with her close advisor Florian Philippot, she has ditched her father, Jean-Marie, and adjusted the party line to appeal to working class voters.  The main relic of the old National Front is her hostility to immigration, which now centers on fear of Islamic terrorists. The terrorist killings in Paris and Nice have made these positions more popular than they used to be. In her effort to overcome her father’s reputation as anti-Semitic, Marine LePen has done her best to woo the Jewish community, helped by her rejection of “ostentatious” Islam, going so far as to call for a ban on wearing an ordinary Muslim headscarf in public.

A runoff between Mélenchon and LePen would be an encounter between a revived left and a revived right, a real change from the political orthodoxy that has alienated much of the electorate. That could make politics exciting again.  At a time when popular discontent with “the system” is rising, it has been suggested (by Elizabeth Lévy’s maverick monthly Le Causeur) that the anti-system Mélenchon might actually have the best chance of winning working class votes away from the anti-system LePen.

Manufacturing Consent

But the pro-European Union, pro-NATO, neoliberal Establishment is at work to keep that from happening.  On every possible magazine cover or talk show, the media have shown their allegiance to a “New! Improved!” middle of the road candidate who is being sold to the public like a consumer product.   At his rallies, carefully coached young volunteers situated in view of the cameras greet his every vague generalization with wild cheers, waving flags, and chanting “Macron President!!!” before going off to the discotèque party offered as their reward. Macron is the closest thing to a robot ever presented as a serious candidate for President.  That is, he is an artificial creation designed by experts for a particular task.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, was a successful investment banker who earned millions working for the Rothschild bank.   Ten years ago, in 2007, age 29, the clever young economist was invited into the big time by Jacques Attali, an immensely influential guru, whose advice since the 1980s has been central in wedding the Socialist Party to pro-capitalist, neoliberal globalism.  Attali incorporated him into his private think tank, the Commission for Stimulating Economic Growth, which helped draft the  “300 Proposals to Change France” presented to President Sarkozy a year later as a blueprint for government.  Sarkozy failed to enact them all, for fear of labor revolts, but the supposedly “left” Socialists are able to get away with more drastic anti-labor measures, thanks to their softer discourse.

The soft discourse was illustrated by presidential candidate François Hollande in 2012 when he aroused enthusiasm by declaring to a rally: “My real enemy is the world of finance!”.  The left cheered and voted for him.  Meanwhile, as a precaution, Hollande secretly dispatched Macron to London to reassure the City’s financial elite that it was all just electoral talk.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/emmanuel-macron-france-president After his election, Hollande brought Macron onto his staff. From there he was given a newly created super-modern sounding government post as minister of Economy, Industry and Digital affairs in 2014.  With all the bland charm of a department store mannequin, Macron upstaged his irascible colleague, prime minister Manuel Valls, in the silent rivalry to succeed their boss, President Hollande.  Macron won the affection of big business by making his anti-labor reforms look young and clean and “progressive”. In fact, he pretty much followed the Attali agenda.

The theme is “competitiveness”.  In a globalized world, a country must attract investment capital in order to compete, and for that it is necessary to lower labor costs.  A classic way to do that is to encourage immigration.  With the rise of identity politics, the left is better than the right in justifying massive immigration on moral grounds, as a humanitarian measure.  That is one reason that the Democratic Party in the United States and the Socialist Party in France have become the political partners of neoliberal globalism.  Together, they have changed the outlook of the official left from structural measures promoting economic equality to moral measures promoting equality of minorities with the majority.

Just last year, Macron founded (or had founded for him) his political movement entitled “En marche!” (Let’s go!) characterized by meetings with young groupies wearing Macron t-shirts.  In three months he felt the call to lead the nation and announced his candidacy for President.

Many personalities are jumping the marooned Socialist ship and going over to Macron, whose strong political resemblance to Hillary Clinton suggests that his is the way to create a French Democratic Party on the U.S. model.  Hillary may have lost but she remains the NATOland favorite. And indeed, U.S. media coverage confirms this notion.  A glance at the ecstatic puff piece by Robert Zaretsky in Foreign Policymagazine hailing “the English-speaking, German-loving, French politician Europe has been waiting for” leaves no doubt that Macron is the darling of the trans-Atlantic globalizing elite.

At this moment, Macron is second only to Marine LePen in the polls, which also show him defeating her by a landslide in the final round.  However, his carefully manufactured appeal is vulnerable to greater public information about his close ties to the economic elite.

Blame the Russians

For that eventuality, there is a preventive strike, imported directly from the United States.  It’s the fault of the Russians!

What have the Russians done that is so terrible?  Mainly, they have made it clear that they have a preference for friends rather than enemies as heads of foreign governments.  Nothing so extraordinary about that. Russian news media criticize, or interview people who criticize, candidates hostile to Moscow.  Nothing extraordinary about that either.

As an example of this shocking interference, which allegedly threatens to undermine the French Republic and Western values, the Russian news agency Sputnik interviewed a Republican member of the French parliament, Nicolas Dhuicq, who dared say that Macron might be “an agent of the American financial system”.   That is pretty obvious.  But the resulting outcry skipped over that detail to accuse Russian state media of “starting to circulate rumors that Macron had a gay extramarital affair” (The EU Observer, February 13, 2017).  In fact this alleged “sexual slur” had been circulating primarily in gay circles in Paris, for whom the scandal, if any, is not Macron’s alleged sexual orientation but the fact that he denies it.  The former mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was openly gay, Marine Le Pen’s second in command Florian Philippot is gay, in France being gay is no big deal.

Macron is supported by a “very wealthy gay lobby”, Dhuicq is quoted as saying.  Everyone knows who that is: Pierre Bergé, the rich and influential business manager of Yves Saint Laurent, personification of radical chic, who strongly supports surrogate gestation, which is indeed a controversial issue in France, the real controversy underlying the failed opposition to gay marriage.

The Deep State rises to the surface

The amazing adoption in France of the American anti-Russian campaign is indicative of a titanic struggle for control of the narrative – the version of international reality consumed by the masses of people who have no means to undertake their own investigations. Control of the narrative is the critical core of what Washington describes as its “soft power”.  The hard power can wage wars and overthrow governments.  The soft power explains to bystanders why that was the right thing to do.  The United States can get away with literally everything so long as it can tell the story to its own advantage, without the risk of being credibly contradicted.  Concerning sensitive points in the world, whether Iraq, or Libya, or Ukraine, control of the narrative is basically exercised by the partnership between intelligence agencies and the media.  Intelligence services write the story, and the mass corporate media tell it.

Together, the anonymous sources of the “deep state” and the mass corporate media have become accustomed to controlling the narrative told to the public.  They don’t want to give that power up.  And they certainly don’t want to see it challenged by outsiders – notably by Russian media that tell a different story.

That is one reason for the extraordinary campaign going on to denounce Russian and other alternative media as sources of “false news”, in order to discredit rival sources.  The very existence of the Russian international television news channel RT aroused immediate hostility: how dare the Russians intrude on our version of reality!  How dare they have their own point of view! Hillary Clinton warned against RT when she was Secretary of State and her successor John Kerry denounced it as a “propaganda bullhorn”.  What we say is truth, what they say can only be propaganda.

The denunciation of Russian media and alleged Russian “interference in our elections” is a major invention of the Clinton campaign, which has gone on to infect public discourse in Western Europe.  This accusation is a very obvious example of double standards, or projection, since U.S. spying on everybody, including it allies, and interference in foreign elections are notorious.

The campaign denouncing “fake news” originating in Moscow is in full swing in both France and Germany as elections approach.  It is this accusation that is the functional interference in the campaign, not Russian media.  The accusation that Marine Le Pen is “the candidate of Moscow” is not only meant to work against her, but is also preparation for the efforts to instigate some variety of “color revolution” should she happen to win the May 7 election. CIA interference in foreign elections is far from limited to contentious news reports.

In the absence of any genuine Russian threat to Europe, claims that Russian media are “interfering in our democracy” serve to brand Russia as an aggressive enemy and thereby justify the huge NATO military buildup in Northeastern Europe, which is reviving German militarism and directing national wealth into the arms industry.

In some ways, the French election is an extension of the American one, where the deep state lost its preferred candidate, but not its power.  The same forces are at work here, backing Macron as the French Hillary, but ready to stigmatize any opponent as a tool of Moscow.

What has been happening over the past months has confirmed the existence of a Deep State that is not only national but trans-Atlantic, aspiring to be global. The anti-Russian campaign is a revelation.  It reveals to many people that there really is a Deep State, a trans-Atlantic orchestra that plays the same tune without any visible conductor. The term “Deep State” is suddenly popping up even in mainstream discourse, as a reality than cannot be denied, even if it is hard to define precisely.

Instead of the Military Industrial Complex, we should perhaps call it the Military Industrial Media Intelligence Complex, or MIMIC.  Its power is enormous, but acknowledging that it exists is the first step toward working to free ourselves from its grip.

 

PRESIDENT ASSAD BIDS A FOND FAREWELL TO WAR CRIMINAL OBAMA

Ziad Fadel

Image result for bashar al assad

With a big heave-ho and a blowing of a big Bronx cheer, Dr. Bashar Al-Assad, gave the boot to the noisome and leprotic former president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama.

He was the U.S. leader who always confidently stated that “Assad has no place in Syria’s future”.  Well, nimrod, where is your future?  Other than scamming institutions for speeches filled with empty platitudes, where is your place in Chicago’s sewers?  Obama has just joined the list of war criminals, imbeciles, genocidal freaks of nature – and with his entourage of inept spokesmen, “advisors”, secretaries and sycophants – in the twilight world of the accursed naysaying nihilists who populate that dimension of perjury somewhere in a sphincter that opens only for them.

Au revoir Sarkozy.  Arrivederci, Berlusconi.  Ta-ta, Cameron and Blair.  Auf Wiedersehen, Westervelle. Ma’ Al-Salaama ‘Abdullah, Hamad and Madame Banana.

And a good, rousing Bye to Rasmussen, George Sabra, Ghassan Hitto, Burhan Ghalyoon, Khaled Khoja, the ‘Alloosh Brothers, Zahraan and Muhammad, Ban Ki-Myun.  Hasta la vista, Zapatero.

And let’s not forget Mark Toner, Kirby, John Kerry and that nincompoop par excellence, Josh Earnest.

Fare thee well, Morsi, enjoy oblivion in an Egyptian prison.  Sayonara, Davutoghlu.  And, not to forget, Khalomoot Paaz, Simon Perske (Peres).

Image result for flipping the bird

And now, A BIG MIDDLE FINGER UP FOR THAT PSYCHOPATH WHO INFESTED THE WHITE HOUSE FOR 8 YEARS: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA.  Good riddance to bad rubbish, we always say.  Burn in Hell!  Grrrrrrrrr. You swine.

___________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Curious article by MIri Wood from Waf Halabi describing the odd coverage of Trump’s presidency in the Zionist Apartheid State and an historical list of Zionist misdeeds for those of you who are archivists:

http://www.syrianews.cc/israel-media-hype-trump-dangerous

Long, but excellent analysis of the brain-freeze in the MSM, the opponents of Syria and the established imperialist network.  Sent by Alexander Ajay, it Is a compelling and articulate analysis by Louis Allday:

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2016/allday131216.html
Read more

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