Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Pt.4: Gilet Jaunes/Yellow Vests: Jupiter Buys Time As the EU Watches

The last installment, for now.

The EU Watches
EU economics affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday said Brussels will keep close watch over France's new spending plans, a day after President Emmanuel Macron unveiled new measures to quell violent protests.

"The European Commission will closely monitor the impact of the announcements made by President Macron on the French deficit and any financing arrangements," Moscovici told AFP.

From Sans Culottes to Gilets Jaunes: Macron’s Marie Antoinette Moment

Translated from a French article 

Keep in mind Macron is just another banker and basically a technocrat.

Sign of the Times?
"He and his ministers failed to read what France’s citizens “know quite well.” From the outset, a clear majority of the French supported the Yellow Vests. In Revolution, the plainly titled book he published during his 2016 campaign, Macron announced a set of radical reforms that would pull the country out of the stagnation from which it has suffered for the last thirty-five years. Yet Macron’s actions upon moving into the Élysée Palace have shown his government to be nothing more than a continuation, by more brutal means, of the politics of deregulation and austerity that his predecessors had championed. As it grew clearer that the Macron presidency would not break with the past, the people who found their daily lives worsening, who could no longer count on climbing a social ladder to greater prosperity, and who saw no glimmer of hope for themselves or their children, were primed for a movement of opposition. The fuel tax was the final straw that led them to declare “no more.”

Macron seems to be reaping what he has sown. He coasted to electoral victory thanks to the breakdown of the institutions that had mediated the people’s relationship with government. The first collapse had been that of the traditional political parties of left and right; after thirty-five years of nearly continuous economic crisis, they still hadn’t found a long-lasting solution. The crisis had been most evident in the unemployment rate, which had held steady between 8 percent and 11 percent for three decades, while income inequality had only worsened"
-Was thinking yesterday about the fact that France has a large unemployed segment which can work against the Macron Government.
As the head of the government, Macron said he favored “consultation,” but he refused any negotiation—most notably with the unions, which themselves had been severely weakened. His proposals had been take-it-or-leave-it—and he seemed to weather every storm more or less unscathed. The result, though, has been that when people realized that his “revolution” merely accelerated financial capitalism’s reign—more insecurity, less collective solidarity, each man for himself—the revolt, similarly, sidestepped all intermediary bodies. Political parties have played almost no role in the Yellow Vests’ marches; the movement’s members, in fact, have resisted attempts at political co-option.
The demographics of the Yellow Vests are broad. The movement is rooted mainly in small provincial towns and is chiefly composed of the lower middle class. Shop owners and craftsmen are heavily represented, but there are also laborers and their children. Notably, women make a far higher proportion of the protesters than usual—and they often seem to be the most driven ones. And it is little surprise that retirees have come out in high numbers, because they have the time to do so and because Macron has been especially hard on them.
The article speaks of recent migrants being under represented..
Since no one is forcing anyone to protest isn’t that their choice? 

Of course it is!
Perhaps they don’t feel as attached to France as those  born‘ of the soil’?
Perhaps they are receiving generous stipends and don’t feel wronged by France's elite rulership?

And as the article suggests.. "This could change if the protests continue"
“at least for the present moment given that the movement may well expand and encompass other social groups”

I’m tired of the identity politics card being played. It’s clear the French have suffered pick pocket economics for too long now and they are fed up. I've previously reported  that Macron really didn’t win much support in the last election

Macron Triumphs? Record Votes for Nobody.
“Had Macron simply taken some time to think once he was settled into the presidency, he would have recalled that he only received 24 percent of the vote in the first round of the May 2017 presidential election; taking abstentions into account, that was only 18 percent of the electorate.”
 In other words, Macron should have realized that he was, in fact, elected with a weak mandate. But in his clashes over loosening labor-market regulations, with rail workers over their benefits, and with the public over other burning social issues such as deteriorating work conditions in public hospitals or diminishing purchasing power, Macron has opted for inflexibility: he says over and over that he is listening to the other side while showing that there is nothing to negotiate—what he decrees will go through no matter what.
Jupiter, rule by decree...
And so he comes across as arrogant, as a man unconcerned about, perhaps even contemptuous of, the little people. When a trade unionist told Macron that he couldn’t afford nice suits like the president, Macron retorted that all the man had to do was work harder; to a young job-seeker, he shot back, “I can find you a job just by crossing the street,” as if France didn’t have 2.5 million unemployed citizens and as if those people were simply lazy. It is no accident, Noiriel noted, that “the working classes were practically nonexistent” in Macron’s book.
Macron tells unemployed man. “It’s your fault you are poor” His privilege guarantee's him a job. It's not a privilege shared by the masses. What an arrogant bastard!
Preferring executive orders to laws, “consultations” to debates, and his hand-picked inner circle to France’s elected officials, Macron is proving to be a president who has scant regard for democratic norms. In July, Le Monde broke the news that a man named Alexandre Benalla, a “security adviser” at the Élysée, had been filmed among police officers attacking civilians during the May 1 demonstrations in Paris. By statute, Benalla should not have been there; it quickly became clear, however, that Benalla held a high-ranking position within the Élysée Palace’s staff, virtually outside the official hierarchy, and that he was very close to Macron, who tried repeatedly to shield Benalla as further details came to light.

Mars and Jupiter...
“At the same time”—a favorite phrase of Macron’s—what’s happening in France is inevitably linked to a growing phenomenon across Europe: the rise of movements that discount both institutions—the European Union as much as national governments—and the social and economic policies that have been in force for the last few decades. This phenomenon is already visible in Germany and Austria, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, Italy and the United Kingdom, and is intertwined with the advent of political parties in the former Eastern Bloc that are championing authoritarian democracies. But there is a fundamental difference between the Yellow Vests and these European populist parties: the near-total lack of identitarian or xenophobic slogans in the new French movement. There are no placards calling for a “France for Frenchmen,” no cries against an “Islamic invasion” at their protests.
I noticed that. The protest were clearly economically motivated. A message from an over exploited populace to an aloof and uncaring government.
At this point, the concessions Macron’s government has granted to placate the Yellow Vests’ demands—a six-month moratorium on fuel-tax hikes, followed by its outright cancellation—seem too little, too late.

Finally, after almost six weeks of silence since the emergence of the Yellow Vests, Macron addressed the nation on Monday night. Describing a “state of economic and social emergency,” he announced various measures to remedy the situation, including a €100 per month increase of the monthly minimum wage (amounting to about €0.60 per hour, less than a dollar) and the cancellation of the tax increase for retirees who get less than €2,000 per month.

Six weeks? I was aware of 4 weeks, but, not this 6 weeks mentioned.
Saw an article today stating the last two weeks were the most violent- Two things come to mind regarding that report:
One the frustration levels of the people had to have increased
Two: It’s most probable the state had placed provocateurs into the protestors

This left most of the Yellow Vests who were questioned on French TV dissatisfied. Some allowed that the president had made an “opening,” but the vast majority rejected the speech as “disappointing.” As one protester told France 2, “No fiscal shock”—meaning that he saw no immediate progress toward tax justice, and no movement on ending the retirement pensions freeze, let alone their revaluation. “You have to stop believing that we do not understand anything,” said another Yellow Vest. Finally, a third argued, “If President Macron is confident in his proposals, he should submit them to a referendum. We’ll see the result.”

As the evening wore on, the idea of a referendum on Macron’s measures swelled, as if the word had gone out: direct democracy, that is all we will accept. The likelihood that the president in this situation will accept such a plebiscite is infinitesimally small. But with this new demand, the Yellow Vests have ratcheted up the pressure on Macron.
A referendum on Macron's measures might be okay- If the votes weren't manipulated by the vote counters

Finally. One last piece sent to me from Gallier the Elder. He thought this a piece worth sharing. I agree.
The following text is a comment by Rainer Rupp (he is a former Spy for GDR and the Warsaw-Treaty-Countries [Nicname Topas] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainer_Rupp.

Link: https://kenfm.de/tagesdosis-7-12-2018-vive-la-revolution/

That's the way Rainer Rupp sees the movement of yellow vests, and the pssible impacts in the European Union.

Translation by https://www.deepl.com/de/translator
Vive la Révolution

A comment by Rainer Rupp.

The uprising of the "Yellow West" in France seems to put a stop to the state-imposed socialism for the rich (privatized profits, socialized losses). Suddenly nothing works anymore. Prices plummet on the Paris stock exchange and the government no longer knows what to do. The self-proclaimed, autocratic elites, who already felt omnipotent in their infinite arrogance, have suddenly learned to tremble in the face of the concentrated, indomitable power of the growing demonstrations and blockades of hundreds of thousands of people.

And President Macron, who was acclaimed above all by the German media for his neo-liberal creed as a great bearer of hope alongside Merkel as the saviour of the EU, has - out of fear or incompetence - gone to diving station, from which he can only emerge again as a sad figure.

July 14, 1789 is deeply engraved in the collective memory of the French. It is the day of the first successful democratic revolution, which is still celebrated by the people every year. They celebrate an event in which their ancestors have literally shortened the heads of the self-proclaimed and autocratically ruling elites of the time. Even today, the French have "ras le bol", "painted their nose full" again, in Paris, in the other cities and in the countryside.

But also in almost all other countries of the European Union, from Greece to Italy, Spain and Portugal, from Great Britain to Germany, the people have the faxes thick. Yes, it also applies to Germany, where, according to Chancellor Merkel, one can "live well and gladly", including the Hartz IV victims, including the over two million officially poor children in our rich country.

But there is an essential difference between the other EU countries and France: the French know and show how it is done, with initial successes. The Macron government has already rowed back. After an initial imperial act of not giving in to the pressure of the mob on the streets, last weekend came the situation in which the Wall Street Journal, the official journal of international high finance, speculated that one hundred and twenty thousand Yellow Vests wanted to storm the Bastille of Revolutionary History and that Macron would be the first president in half a century to have "fired at his own people with live ammunition". That's not what happened last Monday (yet?). To ease the situation, the government in Paris has instead postponed its plans to raise taxes, which would have primarily hit the small people again.

These tax increase plans for fuel, electricity and gas have shown the French once again how the ruling elites, headed by wasteful pomp-loving President Macron, float in the spheres above the common people. The majority of the French are already making ends meet less and less by the end of the month because of rising consumer prices and falling wages. This is a direct consequence of Macron's "labour market reforms", which apply the anti-social Agenda 2010 methods of German Chancellor Schröder. In this already tense social situation, the Macron government went ahead and announced an increase in energy prices. As if to mockery, this measure was draped as an additional cupping of the French as France's contribution to global climate protection. That was the last straw, and the Yellow West took to the streets in masses.

After all, in France the sparrows are whistling off the rooftops that the government's budget is considerably exceeding the deficit limit prescribed by the EU, which would undermine Macron's aspired nimbus of the European pioneer. Since Macron does not want to cut back on his military dreams of great power at the head of the EU and wants to continue bombing and waging war in Syria and in various African states, a cut in French arms expenditure is out of the question; on the contrary, it is rising. Since a higher taxation of his own class, the "elitist leaders" and other parasites was also out of the question for Macron, the additional taxation of the lower classes remained as a way out in order to make the budget deficit EU-compliant.

So it is not surprising that a new debate on wealth tax has been sparked in the meantime. This was largely abolished with the budget law for 2018. Only real estate ownership still has to be taxed, but capital ownership is largely exempt from taxes. This regulation had also earned Macron the reputation of being a "president of the rich". Now speculation has begun as to whether the abolition of the wealth tax should not be reversed. This can be interpreted as the first sign that under the pressure of the street the rigid, neo-liberal fronts are beginning to dissolve. So we can do it!

Meanwhile, the protest continued to spread in France.
Next week, according to the farmers' union FNSEA, farmers also want to demonstrate. Meanwhile, the wave of protests has also reached the French grammar schools and student body, which are defending themselves against the Macron "reforms" in the education sector. Early this week in Paris, ambulance drivers joined the protests and demonstrated against the Macron "reform" to finance ambulance transportation. All of them have now understood what neo-liberal reforms mean. A 14-year-old German girl brought the matter to my point as early as 2000 when I asked her what she meant by the term "reforms". "If you take something away from you" was the right answer.

In France, the yellow vests are in the process of disenchantment with the supposed "value system" of the West. The ghost is out of the bottle and threatens to jump over to other countries, especially when the Yellow Vests can show successes by the Macron regime breaking down on important issues. What happens in Paris is a message to all Western countries. The burdens on the working and middle classes have obviously become unbearable. Events in France show that Western elites have reached the limits of their political capacity to demand even greater sacrifices from their peoples. This can have earth-shattering consequences and turn the great power dreams of the EU elites into a shambles.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Fuel Poverty: It's Not Just France's Problem As Excess Winter Deaths Rise

For readers in the UK. And we Canadians should not be smug or complacent.
Soon we'll find ourselves in the shoes of the French and British.

Fuel Poverty- It’s a HUGE problem- Excess Winter Deaths Continue to Rise...

In a world that is warming? How is this possible? It’s possible because AGW as sold is the “BIG LIE’ and a massively impoverished population in a colder climate is freezing to death!
And Britain isn’t even as cold as most, but not all of Canada. Though this winter is looking to be  another very cold one. It’s certainly already started off that way!
I’ve had this article bookmarked for a bit. It seems to fit right into the situation in France.
Discussed is the huge increase in winter deaths in the UK. The spin is that it’s due to the ineffective flu vaccine and the elderly being ‘unable to know when they are cold’

I’ve tackled the ineffective flu vaccine countless times. Promoted as a panacea. Failing constantly. However the very idea that the elderly don’t know when they are cold and are allowing themselves to freeze to death is  both absurd and insulting.
The real problem is people cannot afford, in a cold climate, to keep themselves warm. Because they are so deeply impoverished. Pick pocket economics has left them lacking.

I’m ignoring the spin, nonsense and garbage to cut to the chase

Winter is coming
The number of excess winter deaths each year continues to rise, according to official figures
It is unsurprising that, even on an international scale, more people die in winter than in summer. (this inconvenient fact has been previously discussed here) After all, the winter season is known to bring heightened risks of injury, illness and depression. It seems however that the UK is particularly susceptible to the dangerous impacts that the winter can have on our health. Earlier this year, it was revealed the UK has the sixth worst long-term rate of excess winter mortality out of 30 countries in Europe according to climate change think tank E3G and fuel poverty charity National Energy Action.
Caroline Abrahams the charity director of  Age UK, said: “Last winter there were nearly 46,000 excess winter deaths amongst people aged 65 and over – a shocking 92 per cent of all excess deaths – equating to 379 older people a day. These distressing figures are now the highest we’ve seen in over 40 years"
“A toxic cocktail of poor housing, high energy prices and ill health can make winter a dangerous time for many older people, and tragically it is the oldest old and those who are the most vulnerable who particularly suffer the consequences.
These people can deal with their ill health much more effectively if they aren't freezing!
“We know such high levels of excess winter deaths are not inevitable. As a country we are not doing enough to ensure our older population stays warm and well throughout the harsh winter months.”
What harsh winter months? Winter’s just a thing of the past....
A fiction. You only believe in winter being cold  if you are a ‘climate denier’..

Had enough of that absurd meme yet?  I sure have!

It is important to remember however, that it is not only the elderly who are vulnerable to excess winter mortality. This time last year, the story of Elaine Morrall, the 38-year-old mum from Cheshire who died “wrapped in a coat and scarf” in her freezing home, made national news. Unable to pay the bills after her benefits were stopped, Elaine only ever turned the heating on when her children came home from school. Fuel poverty (being unable to afford to keep your home adequately heated), is not mentioned as a cause of EWDs in the report by the ONS, but research by E3G has found that on average 9,700 excess winter mortality deaths are caused by a cold home.
As well as being the co-author of this research, Peter Smith also works for National Energy Action (NEA), a charity working to end fuel poverty. Commenting on the findings, he said: “As the UK experiences one of the harshest winters for several years, it is important to remember that this causes needless hardship, places health at risk and leads to premature death. Beyond the terrible scale of cold-related winter deaths, people experiencing fuel poverty can also struggle with poor mental health, and this can sadly lead to total social isolation and even suicide. This preventable tragedy must end. The government must support the strong case for the re-introduction of adequate public capital investment — a necessity if we are to make the UK’s homes warmer and safe for human habitation.”
The problem of fuel poverty in the UK is only becoming worse as fuel prices rise year on year. People across the country are continuing to suffer simply because they cannot afford to keep their homes warm. The rise in EWD figures is therefore no surprise to Smith and the NEA.
“These figures remind us all just how unacceptable it is that in a modern country like Britain even during milder weather the cold still kills. It should also be noted that for every EWD there are between six and eight unplanned hospital visits and many people not hospitalised will also be using other depressing and dangerous ways to fend off the effects of living in a cold home.

“We all know that people regularly cut back on their energy use and rely on food banks to get by during winter. But in a modern country like Britain people are even barbecuing in sinks, going to bed early to keep warm and permanently using candles for lighting. Frontline workers have also told us they regularly see dangerous appliances being used, ventilation blocked off and people spending days in A&E and libraries just to keep warm.”
Vulnerable groups are being driven to drastic measures to simply survive the winter. Clearly, there needs to be better provision for those who struggle economically, physically and mentally during the colder months. After all, excess winter deaths are just that — excesses. They are largely preventable, but in order to put a stop to the ever-increasing number of EWDs, the government needs to take greater steps towards protecting the most susceptible members of society during wintertime.
One positive step that could be taken towards ending fuel poverty would be to stop selling the AGW agenda. Period. No carbon taxes. Period. Stop funding 'studies' that are done to produce the desired agenda promoting outcome. This big lie is costing more in dollars and lives simply to enrich a specific class of people. Including 'big oil'

Pt.3: Gilet Jaunes/Yellow Vests: Erasing the Middle Class from Existence

To get up to speed it's recommended you read Pt's 1 and 2:

I'm going to open here with a comment from Gallier the Elder...
I'm not as fluent in english as my little brother Gallier2 but I will try, and I hope it will be understandable.

To understand what is happening in France, we must take into account the influence that neoliberal policy (a policy advocated by the European Commission which, in fact, legislates without popular support) has developed in the Member States of the European Union and the impoverishment of the masses which is exploding in some countries of this "Union". It should not be forgotten that in 2005 the French had refused in a referendum (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_French_European_Constitution_referendum) the draft constitution of the European Union. But President Sarkozy signed the Lisbon Treaty at the end of 2007 (which fully incorporates what was in the draft European Constitution and which the French people had refused. see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Lisbon). The average Frenchman is patient, perhaps even indolent, but you should avoid pushing him to the limit and looking down on him. This is what the last three presidents of the "Republic" have done. The people are on the street, and it is not by bludgeoning them that they will be sent home.

Gallier the Elder
The European Commission is unelected and unaccountable. This is well known. I'm not sure if there is even one reader here that is unaware of this fact? At least I can't imagine it?

But let's talk for a moment about 'liberal' or liberalism:

Yes, we are digressing, but it's necessary.

Eytmoligically speaking that is:
at it's essence liberal means 'free man'
Taking that  a step further a free man is NOT a slave.
As demonstrated by this  14th century definition mid-14c., "generous," also "nobly born, noble, free;"
Purely in reference to political opinion, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy," it dates from c. 1801, from French libéral.
 The concept of liberal and liberalism is so complex and open to interpretation that we could spend a life time debating it. But, what is clear from the word itself is it means freeman or NOT a slave.

The idea of "liberalism" or "liberalisation" of the global economy is a freeing of the economy. It is unrestrained plunder. In all it's bloodlust and murderous glory. Liberalism has 'freed' the global market from the restraints of the masses. But has it freed the masses. Has a 'liberal' global economy made us freemen/women or has it in fact further served to enslave us? 

 Neo liberalism or liberalization is presented as progressive and reformative. In both the political and economic sphere.  BUT, has it really been progressive and reformative in a way the masses might associate the idea of being liberal? Which is NOT enslaved. Which is to be a free person.

 Obviously it has not or we would not be having this discussion. And these protests would not be going on.
Yes, but how does the Orwellian dictionary define "liberal"
Not too long ago I said to my husband that the only thing those who identify as political liberals have anymore is identity politics, political correctness and AGW.  This is the essence of Trudeau's 'liberal' government. And the those that identify as political conservatives, at this time, provide a limited hangout sort of challenge to the present day Liberal policies.  Which will switch should the political leadership change Example? Doug Ford's recent made in Ontario "climate change" program.  Still promoting the AGW/anti carbon/anti life agenda. Still propping up business at the expense of everyone else.

It appears to me, from all I've read, that the "leadership" in France, same as here in Canada, are using taxes and increased energy costs to intentionally impoverish and disappear the middle class
And have been in an ongoing, for decades now, process.  That fact is so apparent here in Canada, in my opinion, that only those that are willfully blind cannot see the reality.

I'm listening to the Crosstalk link that wallflower left- I'm going to embed that at the bottom of the post. It is reported electricity rates have increased 500 percent.
This is exactly the case here in Ontario, Canada.
Soon we will have our "carbon tax" which will increase the cost of everything, in order to control life itself ,aka carbon. Need to get to work? Pay more!
Got to warm your home in our ever colder winters? Pay more!

Macron was chosen to, or should I say "cast" in his role to push forward a harsh neo liberal agenda. He was chosen by the elites. Yes!
Ah, Bromance

We have our equivalent here in Trudeau. He is the Mary Poppins of neo liberalism. He's giving us the spoon full of sugar so we swallow the bitter medi-SIN of the elites.
This is not a coincidence.
Trudeau was cast as Mr Kumbaya. When he is actually and truly terrible for this nation as a whole.
This is why it's so easy to empathize with the French people.

Here's an earlier post regarding France French Thought Police and the Creeping Dictatorship of Virtue This may as well be a posting about Canada!

Gallier2: Are you speaking for Penny now? Everybody knew what Macron was when he ran for King.
Not everyone knew, surely some hoped, but many did not vote for him. In fact one could say he won based on the fact that, like here in Canada, there was simply no one to vote for.
"But Macron's mandate may not be as overwhelming as it seems. A record number of French voters were so dismayed by their options that they either skipped the election or cast their ballots for no one at all. 
 The so-called "ballot blanc," or white ballot, has a long history as a protest vote in France, going all the way back to the French Revolution. This time around, nearly 9% of voters cast blank or spoiled ballots -- the highest ever since the Fifth Republic was founded in 1958"
This is a sentiment understood well by yours truly. 9 percent ballot blanc! We have an equivalent type of balloting here in Ontario. I've employed it the past two elections. Because I won't for evil or the lesser of it. Period.

An interesting article sent to me by Gallier the Elder:

 Yellow vests and impoverishment

When will the government understand that the movement of the yellow
vests represents an insurrection, not against the taxation of fuel, but
against the rise of poverty,
which primarily affects what is called
"peripheral France" ?

The French, who live in small towns (less than 40,000 inhabitants) or in
the villages which form the extreme periphery of the big cities,
constitute the bulk of the activists of this movement. There are
employees, professionals and small entrepreneurs. There are also a lot
of women, they are very present on the road blocks.
Faced with this
reality, the government would have wanted to stage a "conflict" between
consumption and ecological emergency. Anyway, he played us the big scene
of "the end of the world" while the yellow vests talk about the end of
the month. This discourse has ended up discrediting it, especially since it is
clear to everyone that the policy of this same government has nothing to
do with ecological concerns.
The movement of the yellow vests is about
purchasing power. This explains its huge popularity, as between 75% and
84% of French people support it.

Income trends 

Purchasing power, then. Let us look at what INSEE says, a source which
everyone will agree with if it is not perfect (no statistical system is)
at least largely reliable. A recent report (1) states that" the poverty
of the economically active (excluding the self-employed) has increased
by one-third,
partly as a result of rising unemployment ". Of course,
the mass unemployment we are experiencing, which is very likely
underestimated in the statistics disseminated by the government, is a major cause of poverty. The result of the observations made in this document is damning : "the most striking development of the last twenty years is the development of poverty among single-parent families, whose
members live below the poverty line in almost one-third of cases. The differences between socio-professional groups have persisted, even though the situation of farmers, the most affected by poverty, has improved and that of artisans, traders and entrepreneurs, has deteriorated ". What is described here is the impoverishment of these families, driven out of the city centres by rising rents and property speculation, forced to move to rural areas, areas that are very often
abandoned by the public services, which are forced to make trips of 40 km to 60 km to go to work, even to have access to these public services. This impoverishment, as has been said, affects first and foremost single-parent families, whose number is increasing sharply, but also
young couples.

On the other hand, the wealthiest households have seen their situation
improve steadily, and households that can be considered "ultra-rich"
have seen their incomes and assets literally explode. One indicator of
this situation is the discordant evolution of the average and median
living standards. While the average standard of living (calculated as
total income divided by the population) has increased since the 2008
crisis, the median standard of living (calculated as income divided by
the population in two equal parts) has stagnated since 2008. This is
evidence of a major distortion in the structure of income.

The evolution of heritage
To this should be added the growing inequality of household wealth. INSEE calculates the monetary assets, which thus ranges from the sums deposited in the current account of households in banks, to dwellings, to professional assets, not to financial assets. While this wealth, at constant prices, has risen sharply, from 1995 to 2015 on average it has
fallen for the 20% of the poorest households
. This situation of impoverishment of the poorest households is combined with the deterioration of public services and social transfers (of which the various pension reforms are an example). Indeed, public services, such as pensions, represent a form of the collective heritage of the French. We all benefit. Whenever public services are reduced, this represents a net loss in wealth, a loss that the less wealthy, because they are the largest users of this "collective heritage" of the Nation, feel the most. 

This impoverishment, whether in income or wealth, of the most vulnerable Frenchmen forms the substrate for the movement of yellow vests. Other factors are added, such as the rise in consumption constraints, which is still "pre-committed" (which leaves less and less money to the poorest households) (2), and the deterioration of the pension system, whether through the non-indexation of amounts to inflation or in the questioning of reversionary pensions, a particularly unfair measure given that, on average, women receive a lower pension than men. We are in a situation where the poorest households are no longer able to cope with health expenditure or food expenditure (3)All this makes it possible to understand why trigger of immense social anger, but also why the government would go back on this tax that it would not calm this same anger.

The retraction of the fuel tax was, to my understanding, for 6 months only?
But correct me if I am in error, please.

 The demands made, here or there, by the yellow vests are in reality of a
social nature: increase of the SMIC to 1300 euros, minimum old age to
1200 euros. These demands are perfectly legitimate. But they cannot be
accepted by the government for one simple reason: France is put in
competition with other countries with a currency that it no longer
. A similar situation existed in the 1960s. When May 1968 came,
the government gave in massively to the SMIC. Then, to restore the
competitiveness of the French economy, it devalued the Franc. Today,
because of the Euro system, we can no longer do it. That is why, in
reality, the movement of the yellow vests, even if its participants do
not have a clear conscience, is an anti-Euro movement.

Jacques Sapir

 Notebook (1) Julian Blasco, Marie-Cécile Cazenave-Lacrouts, Julie Labarthe
(edits.), The Income and the Estates of Households, INSEE, Paris, 2018.

(2) DREES, " Expenses pre-engaged: what weight in the household budget ?
", N°25, March, 2018. See also Isanto A. and Rémila N., 2016, " The
spending constraints of the beneficiaries of social minima ", Folder of
the DREES, n°11

(3) Accardo J., Kranklader E. and Square D., 2013, " consumer behaviour
— For some low-income households, to cover food costs becomes more
difficult ", Insee Première n°1458, July.

Clearly there is an anti Euro sentiment- I'd seen that for myself in some reports- A "Frexit" was the label employed.

Finally wallflower, thank you, left the link to an excellent Crosstalk:

Also here is some confirmation of Gallier explainations:
Too be continued..............

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Pt.2: Gilet Jaunes/Yellow Vests Are Visible to Jupiter

Continuing on with the Yellow Vests protests. Do read the first part- All this information needs to be taken in together for the simple reason it provides better understanding that way.

Pt. 1: Gilet Jaunes/Yellow Vests Vs the Yellow "Leaders" of France

Whaat? Jupiter? Why, Jupiter? Jupiter, indeed!  Macron is known alternatively, perhaps with derision, as Jupiter. For background go back to coverage of the Benalla affair- (there are additional references to Macron as Jupiter that can be found elsewhere) And Jupiter can see the Yellow Vests. They are very high visibility. Like stars in the night sky.....

Mars and Jupiter
 Mars & Jupiter Fall To Earth- Macron & the Benalla Affair
He saw the presidency as occupying a “Jupiterian” role above the partisan squabbling that had bedevilled France for so long
Gallier2 sent along the link to this article in French  he included his own footnotes for context

This article from Boulevard Voltaire (not to be confused with Voltaire Net from Thierry Messan in Syria) show how Laurent Nuñes, deputy interior minister has set up the looting at the arc de Triomphe and how he was shut by the Gilets Jaunes.

Here the yandex translation post-edited by me (I added some footnotes to give some context)

1 December 2018, 12: 14 pm: BFM cameras are placed in front of the flame of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. Around the bow, vandals wearing yellow vests attacked small groups of CRS and tagged the monument. Laurent Nuñez, our Deputy Minister of the interior, is on the BFM(1) studio. Snap ! Close - up of the flame and appearance of a minister's insert. A suspicious mind might have thought that everything was in place for him to comment live on the desecration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
We'll get to BFM in short order.. First I'll include some additional information, sent to me, regarding Nunez (mentioned in the linked article) Let's call it the inside track, okay?
"Oh, I forgot to mention that Nuñes while being only deputy minister is the real power at the interior ministry. He is the former director of the DCRI (inside spooks). Castaner, the official Interior minister is only a meat puppet. He's so stupid and limited that his nickname is Rantanplan (the stupid dog in the Lucky Luke cartoons). He is completely controlled because of his history of poker gambling and strange whereabouts with the Marseille mob. So, Nuñes is more important than his media exposition would suggest."
Back to the linked article as translated and footnooted
And here, patatras: the predictable scenario, not to say the expected scenario, is disturbed by a battalion of authentic yellow vests who kneel before the tomb and sing "La Marseillaise". In the studio, the minister remains silent. He seems taken by surprise. Then Laurent Nuñez, revived by the journalist on duty, starts to recite elements of language that fall completely flat in this new context : "Uh, yes... you see that they sing "La Marseillaise", but you see that's not what we see on the ground. "Translate what you see with your own eyes is less reliable than what the government and media tell you"
But the most striking thing is yet to come ; still under the blow of this impromptu "Marseillaise", the secretary of State subconsciously spits out the piece : twice, he repeats " the image that I want to retain, the image that I want to retain [you will have correctly translated the image that we want to give of this movement], these are people who are extremely violent, who have come to break and who are attacking the forces of law and order(2) ". This was in total contradiction to what was on the screen at the time, but it corresponds exactly to the images that the media served to the French throughout the rest of the day. A suspicious mind would say that Laurent Nuñez simply was in cahoots, which he admitted almost live, with the media and the police power to light, in Paris and if possible in the provinces, the fuses to ignite the powder keg.
Clearly whatever was planned or hoped for by the interior minister did not come to fruition and he was left with egg on his face- Trying to spin the scene. Don't believe what you see. Believe what I tell you to see.
Conspiracy, you say ? Well, it seems to me that we have the choice, in this case, between being conspirationists or being idiots, since our Deputy Minister of the interior also explained to us that there were 4,000 CRS and gendarmes deployed in Paris for 5,000 demonstrators, and 60,000 police deployed in the provinces for 70,000 demonstrators. If, under these conditions, the forces were overwhelmed, there are only three possible explanations : either those who direct our forces of order are null and void, or political power has crudely lied about numbers, or this power has deliberately organized chaos.
But why would our leaders have exploited the extreme left militias and the robbers ? A first explanation is necessary : it was obviously a question of separating the yellow vests by heart (3) from the yellow vests in the field (4) by discrediting the movement. Unfortunately, it's déjà vu all over again (5), seen dozens of times in the last 30 years. It has almost become the 1-01 of the management of social movements. Another explanation is possible, but it is also more worrisome. On Sunday morning, the police Alliance union called for the establishment of a state of emergency, to which Minister Castaner replied that the hypothesis was not taboo.
Nor was it necessary to ignite social networks, where many commentators fear that this dangerous climate could be used as a pretext for Emmanuel Macron to severely repress peaceful demonstrators or even to activate article 16 of the Constitution in order to temporarily arrogate to himself full powers. Come on, Come on ... let's not fall into conspirationism 
1) BFM TV is the private news channel owned by the Israeli Drahi. It is the worst propaganda outlet and it's so bad that its "journalist" get kicked out by the yellow vests wherever they appear.
2) The expression "forces of law and order" in english sounds strange, it's the direct translation of "forces de l'ordre" which is the usual name for the police, be they riot police or not.
3) He means people who do not wear the yellow vest but are sympathetic to the movement, like me and millions of others.
4) He means those that are really out in the streets.
5) Couldn't resist to add this Yogi Berra bon mot.

As for the yellow vest movement itself, it's still going on everywhere with not to much media coverage. There were 10 or 20 yellow west all the day at the entrance of the big commercial zone here in Thionville and people driving by (they didn't block the traffic) were honking in support. I was with son to the Renault garage because he will make an intership for the school there and in 15 minutes I was there I spoke with 4 person who were all very positive about the yellow vests. It is a deep, deep ground swell movement, much more profound than anything that I have seen yet.
While the media's attention is on the "hot spots", big city locales, where sadly it's easier to use provocateurs it's clear from the personal account told by Gallier2 that widely dispersed protestors are out speaking to the public. Everyday.  

Gallier 2 has also provided these additional links:

[1]: https://www.contrepoints.org/2018/02/21/310174-impots-taxes-augmentent-2018

Funny article shared by Eva Bartlett

Videos of agents provocateurs




Too be continued....................

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Pt. 1: Gilet Jaunes/Yellow Vests Vs the Yellow "Leaders" of France

This is one subject that I've regrettably been remiss about addressing. Fortunately with the help from two long term friends of the blog, Gallier the Elder and Gallier 2, I'm finally able to have a better understanding of the situation and write about it  Gallier 1 and 2, two brothers, hailing from the vicinity in which the protests are taking place, graciously assisted with information that gives context and perspective from the people on the ground in France. It's local and personal to them.
And gives us all a better understanding of the protests. As they continue.

 Before we get to the information let me say to my two friends. Merci. Merci beaucoup.  

It appears to me that the French government is attempting to undermine and delegitimize the very real, appreciable, grievances of the masses. By employing the usual provocateurs from the 'left and right. For weeks the protests were very peaceful and large. It seemed last week end that changed. It appears that change continues. My fear is the government will come down hard and become still more oppressive. Macron has, by all appearances, used his 'second in command' to deal with the protests. Including promising a six month moratorium on some of the taxes...

 Yellow, symbolically speaking

Yellow is the perfect colour for this protests; On one hand yellow suggests  happiness and optimism; it is the color of sun shining, bright light and creativity..

The Yellow Vests representing the positive attributes- sunshine, comradery, optimism and creativity..

In it’s negative connotation yellow represents the cowardly and deceptive.

Example: Macron is yellow. Or has a yellow streak. The negative aspect of the colour.

The protests can easily be interpreted as a message to the governing classes in all of Europe..

Why a yellow vest?
" They take their name from the yellow vests that drivers in France are required to keep in their cars, to be worn in the case of a breakdown. (They can be seen in the dark that way)"

 Ironic that a piece of clothing made mandatory by the government has appeared enmasse to symbolize resistance to government/elite pillaging.

  From my own reading, including the information sent to me, this has all the appearances of a broad and popular protest. By that I mean it crosses the entire population save for the wealthy. 
Gallier 2 provided a link to this video. It's embedded below. It's 23 minutes in length. 
Why watch it?
Because it gives us all a good idea of the cross section of people out protesting. 
The younger crowd alongside the middle aged crowd. The rural. The city dweller.
The vast majority of the population is represented. Except for the wealthy, as mentioned.

See for yourself below:


Gallier2 had this to say:
"This one is in french only, sorry for that, but it has the advantage of being filmed inside the protests in Paris from last Saturday.(December 01/18) Even if you don't understand the questions and answers and other intervention, you can feel how unrelenting, desperate and ready people are"
Take the time to watch.
You can witness the state abuse against the people. Water cannons. Tear gas. I see some of the protestors throwing the tear gas grenades back at law enfarcement. You do understand the desperation of the people.

I tell ya, after all the years of covering Syria... the international hypocrisy is on full display. 
The international community doesn't condemn Macron for his blatant abuse of the people.
But regularly condemns Assad as he fights an international conspiracy to destroy Syria, that was falsely presented as a popular uprising from the beginning thru to this day. It was NOT a popular uprising. It began in Daraa: conveniently located/sharing a border with Israel and Jordan.
 Meanwhile, in France, Macron wields a violent and oppressive battle against his own people. Including gassing them. Shooting them. Etc,

Gallier2 provides context:
"As for the gilets jaunes, where to start?
It is imho indeed more than just about carbon tax. That tax was just the drop of water that broke the camels back (don't laugh that's the translation that google gave, see attached screen shot). France is one of the heaviest taxed countries in the world and adding insult to injury, this gouvernment increased a lot of taxes see [1] with a list for the 2018 tax hikes:
- Hausse de 1,7 point de la CSG (one of the most unjust taxs, it's a "solidarity" tax paid by everyone and is extremely felt by retired and jobless people)
I'm wondering if this tax is some sort of a flat tax- Paid by all, across the board.
- Hausse du taux de la taxe sur les métaux précieux de 10 % à 11 % (precious metal tax, not a big problem)
- Hausse des droits sur le tabac (tobacco tax, touches mostly lower classes)
- Hausse du tarif de la taxe sur les véhicules les plus polluants (tax on cars, touches lower classes the most even if it is dependend on the size of the car)
- Hausse de la taxe carbone (the carbon tax)
- Revalorisation des bases forfaitaires utilisées pour le calcul de la taxe d’aménagement rebaptisée taxe « abri de jardin » (that one is ridiculous, they now tax garden sheds)
Taxing garden sheds? Is this to deter the home gardener?
This are only the official taxes, what also happened is that they reduced the speed limit on main roads from 90km/h to 80km/h which automatically leads to an increase in incomes from fines, a tax by any other name (I've heard this morning that in the last three weeks, 4000 radar stations have been put out, i.e. more than 20% of the whole units and I can believe those numbers as there were many, many shares of pictures of occulted radar stations).
Contrary to the media perception, the movement is quite atypical in that it didn't involve the usual protesters at the beginning. The Unions, the Government and all the usual shit stirrers (antifa, black block, students, ethnic looters, etc.) were not at the start of the thing. It was ordinary working class moms & paps , retired people, lower wage people, farmers and small business people of the provinces.

The thing with France, that most foreigners do not grasp, is the huge divide there is between the Paris (and 2 or 3 other big cities) and the rest of the country. The part about the riots in Paris on saturdays are only the visible manifestation of the that "enough is enough" sentiment. In the "province" (i.e. not Paris), the protests go on every day and that now for nearly 3 weeks.
It is in general relatively peaceful and only blocking of roads and things like that happe, but the more it goes, the more violent it will get. People are now fed up, the politics do not grasp what's going on, the mainstream media is completely discredited. 
As for the violences in Paris, they are of course in the focus of the international media but it is obvious that they are instigated by the police forces. They charge violently with illegal ordinance, they infiltrated several agents provocateurs (see links and attached files) and also the usual riotters like black blocks who always manage magically to come through the police barrages without problems"
Image of protestor shot with a rubber bullet?

Here- That's gotta hurt!

But it's worse still. Possible sniper activity?
Videos of a protester that was shot by a sniper. Complete silence about that incident from the 24th november. If you watch carefuly you can see a tracer bullet that whizzes by when he falls on his knees, which means they shot him with a semi-auto gun.
There are a number of videos at the link below- Yes, I watched them. Hubby and I both did.
More then one  of the videos at the link. More then one time. It sure looks to me as if that protestor was shot. You can see the tracer bullet. Go through the videos, please.


The rest of us need to understand that the french people are legitimately angered and that we should be supporting them in their cause. Perhaps we can purchase yellow vests and display them or wear them? What a terrific message that would be, globally. What do you all think?

To be continued....

Part 2 and 3 are now available:

Pt.2: Gilet Jaunes/Yellow Vests Are Visible to Jupiter

Pt.3: Gilet Jaunes/Yellow Vests: Erasing the Middle Class from Existence


Fuel Poverty: It's Not Just France's Problem As Excess Winter Deaths Rise

Friday, December 7, 2018

US State Department Official Accuses: Russia & Syria of A False Flag in Aleppo

Readers here were made aware in the post from: Tuesday, December 4, 2018- Indicator 6: "Syria’s Assad Has Gassed His Own People, Again" Bloomberg that the US was going to make this accusation.

"A newly declassified U.S. assessment of the incident, scheduled to be released today, will say a so-called chlorine attack on Nov. 24 was essentially a false-flag operation."
It didn't appear the report was released on Tuesday.. Or no media outlets paid much attention to it? I'd seen only two or three reports on Tuesday.

Interestingly, On the very day, it had also been suggested here, that the US was going to get up to no good they make their accusation of 'false flag' official.

 And there are more then a few reports making the rounds. I've counted 11 reports and the State Department is the 12th find it linked and posted below:

The Russian and Assad Regime's False Allegations on Chemical Weapons Use in Aleppo

 Press Statement

Robert Palladino
Deputy Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 7, 2018

On November 24, 2018, the Assad regime and Russia falsely accused the opposition and extremist groups of conducting a chlorine attack in northwestern Aleppo. The United States strongly refutes this narrative and has credible information that pro-regime forces likely used teargas against civilians in Aleppo on November 24. The United States has information indicating Russian and Syrian personnel were involved in the teargas incident, and believes that both countries are using it as an opportunity to undermine confidence in the ceasefire in Idlib.
The United States is deeply concerned that pro-regime officials have maintained control of the attack site in its immediate aftermath, allowing them to potentially fabricate samples and contaminate the site before a proper investigation of it by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We caution Russia and the regime against tampering with the suspected attack site and urge them to secure the safety of impartial, independent inspectors so that those responsible can be held accountable.
 Will the 5 eyes media be spinning on this all week end?
Related posts below:


US Want Sochi/Astana Talks Ended: Russian Campaign Against US Plan to Divide Syria

"US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey has called on Russia to exert efforts to convene the Syrian constitutional committee on December 14, proposing to end the Sochi/Astana peace talks if the committee is not put together.
During a press conference Monday at the State Department, Jeffrey noted that Washington is looking forward to UN envoy Staffan de Mistura’s report to the Security Council on December 14, describing it as "the key point where we see whether we are going to have the political process moving forward under the UN.”
🔴 The Special Representative warned that if Damascus is not pressured, the new UN Envoy, Geir Pedersen, and the international community will face a serious issue"
Mentioned the idea that the 'international community' would have to respond in the post: 
  5 Indicators the US Will Escalate Soon in Syria. And Beyond.
 Telling us that the USrael led coalition is still looking to regime change Damascus ie: hold accountable. Fully.
Back to opening link
“We were hoping...that the Russians, the Iranians, and the Turks would be able to finalize the third list of members to this constitutional committee, and that was a primary goal of the Astana meeting last Thursday.”
Syrian chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, and other delegates take part in Syria peace talks in Astana on December 22, 2017

"The Representative went on to say that after the meeting, they issued a statement that examined the Idlib de-escalation area, and stressed the importance of a lasting ceasefire while underlying the necessity to continue the effective fight against terrorism.

However, “they did not take any significant action on the constitutional committee,” but, they stated once again that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict.

All they did was reaffirm their determination to set up joint efforts to launch the constitutional committee in Geneva, Jeffrey told the press.
He indicated that the officials did not determine a time frame for the committee but rather said it will be set up “the soonest possible time.”
Asked whether there is a possible breakthrough in the political process, Jeffrey noted that the situation had been in a stalemate since Astana/Sochi talks began in December of 2017.
What we’ve seen in the last few months is a ministerial at the small-group level at the UN putting pressure on the UN and on the Astana group to come forth. Then we saw the Istanbul summit where, for the first time, Russia said that they would try to get this thing done by the end of the year,” however, up till now they say there is no deadline point.
He hoped there is a possibility that they will move by December 14th with de Mistura."
The US wants this done under Mistura's tenure in short order. And if this does not occur?
"The agreement on forming the Syrian constitutional committee, which is supposed to include representatives from the Syrian government, the opposition and civil society, was reached at the Sochi talks in January 2018."
The US came out hard with the ridicule of the Astana/Sochi talks this time 'round. The 5 eyes media has mostly ignored them all along. Same for 5 eyes alt. 

Russian Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov (Asharq Al-Awsat)
"Moscow has widened its accusations against Washington in what appeared to be an organized military and diplomatic campaign aimed at countering US moves in the East Euphrates region.

It also tried to convince other countries to support its positions during an event organized by Russia’s Ministry of Defense, which included a review on the developments in Syria and was attended by foreign military attachés and representatives of diplomatic missions.

This came one day after the comments made by Kremlin, in which it condemned plans to establish alternative entities in northern Syria.

Russia’s ministries of defense and foreign affairs joined the campaign by presenting what Moscow described as "facts that reflect the reality of what is happening on Syrian soil," according to Chief of General Staff General of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.
Meanwhile, Russian’s foreign ministry described the US moves in Syria as “suspicious activities.”
Moscow ignored for the second day in a row US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey’s statements on the move to end the Astana and Sochi’s paths if the efforts to form a constitutional committee failed before mid-December.
He said Washington might use some of the weapons it tried in Iraq, in reference to the possibility of imposing no-fly zones in the north."
 As reported in this post: Senior "Syrian" Kurdish official calls on US to implement no-fly zone to protect Kurds from Turkey
This request for the US to implement a 'no fly' zone coincidentally/conveniently works hand in hand with the US setting up outposts all along the border with Turkey..
Back to 2nd linked article:
"There was no immediate Russian comment on the US hints, but analysts said increasing Russian accusations were aimed at countering the possibility of Washington resorting to the Security Council and denying Washington international support for its moves.

“The situation is being strained on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, where the United States, relying on the Syrian Kurds, is trying to create an independent quasi-State entity,” Gerasimov noted.

“They are forming a government of the so-called Democratic Federation of the Nothern Syria”
“The Americans, supporting the Kurdish separatist sentiments with armaments supplies, allow them to oppress the Arab tribes,” he added.
He again accused Washington of turning a blind eye on the activities of the terrorists in its areas of influence, aiming at using them to achieve its political objectives.

🔴 “Today, the ISIS militants are present in territories east of the Euphrates, controlled by the USA. The rest of radical armed formations led by the Jabhat al-Nusra are concentrated in the Idlib de-escalation zone and al-Tanf area, controlled by the US-led international coalition,” Gerasimov explained. "