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.

    https://deutsch.rt.com/international/80450-nur-frage-zeit-russland-steckt/

12 comments:

  1. Gallier the Elder and/or Gallier2:

    If either of you are around- what do you think about the article linked that opens the post? I stumbled across it today.
    Thought it pretty good- Interesting to read the protests had occurred for 6 weeks already and not 4 as I had thought.

    Thanks again to you both for all the information provided. I didn't use it all for the 4 part series cause it seems there is enough here already-

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    1. I had mentioned in one of the comments that the protests started to be visible on facebook beginning of november, which makes it closer to the 6 weeks than the 4 weeks. The campaign which called for putting yellow vests under the windshield, from which the movement started were even older. I checked my time line on facebook and the first thing I shared about the Gilets Jaunes was on november 23rd but that's because I hadn't seen the importance of the movement before that. I had interpreted it as a thing limited to grumbling about diesel taxation and speed limit controls as there are all the time. It's a pity that it is very difficult to find ones comment history on facebook as then I would be able to find when I commented beginning of november about the yellow vest under the windshield, which I found quite naïve at that time.

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    2. The article seems ok so far. It describes quite accurately from a neutral perspective.

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  2. Hi all,

    so the distraction is in. Islamic shooting in Strasbourg. It is obvious to anyone with more than a brain cell that it's completely fabricated.
    Here a video about that
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0NJLy2zKh8
    It's in French but scrolling through it even without understanding what the guy says, will show the media manipulation that it is. The symbolic showing on all the news networks shown (CNEWS and BFM TV) of the "Strasbourg capitale de Noël" (Strasburg Christmas capital) so that we don't forget that it was an attack on our civilization. The positioning of the prime minister, the interior minister and the Jupiter in crisis situation (better than Hollywood). The fact that they all along barely manage to not gigle smugly during these news casts.

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    1. To be clear. The incident is fabricated, the 2 deaths are real though.

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    2. As of now, all yellow vest sympathetic voices I have heard are all blaming the gouvernment for the shooting. Doesn't mean much because of the limited view I have on events, but it is telling that beside mainstream media, nobody buys in in the genuity of the event. It is much too convenient a timing to be genuine. This said, this is still dangerously close to shut down the yellow vest movement, because it puts again a narrative the mainstream can follow and shut out YV from the limelight. As I had said, there never was so much truth coming out of the idiot box than in the last 2 weeks (illegal debt, euro shackle, EU diktats, zionist control, etc.)

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    3. and the PTB started to panik at the realization of how political aware even the "plebs" are. That's why you had the usual suspects of zionist power (BHL, Attali, El Kabbash, Aziza, Minc etc.) tweeting and eing interviewed around the clock.

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  3. I love machine translation: the people have the faxes thick hilarious. It means "the people are fed up with that nonsense".

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  4. Part I
    Yes, Penny the "Yellow Vests" are different from these new parties in EU countries like the German "AFD" (="Alternative for Germany"). These new parties are nationalistic-"identity"- right-wingers and - even more disgusting: They are Liberals/Neoliberals! If they came to power they would pair up with the superrich oligarchs as fast as you can count to three (also Hitler did. The part "-socialism" in the party's name "National socialism" was only meant to deceive the poor workers).

    The problem nowadays is that no one looks for a solution - an alternative to those Liberal/Neoliberal predators. Also in this German video, You, Penny, shows, the speaker only comes up with the idea that France should reinstall the "property tax".
    But with higher "property tax" or with (what you often hear) higher "inheritance tax" or with tracking more fiercely "tax evaders" you would change a thing. This additional state income would only be peanuts.

    Also if you could scratch these enormous expenditures for "Defence" from one day to another, nothing would really change.

    What we need is a fundamental change of out system of "State Economy"!.
    And forget about "the left": When I found a stand of "DIE LINKE" ("THE LEFT" - originating from the ruling Communist Party of former communist East Germany) before my discounter a few years ago, I asked the two young men on their preferred form of the state economy. I asked if they wanted to introduce the "communist planned economy" again. No, no, they wouldn't want to do that. Then I asked: "What kind of state economy then"? Thereupon they only hummed and hawed. Then I asked very friendly (and also hypocritical), if they didn't, may be, want a "capitalism with a rubber johnny". Hereupon one of them said firm and loud "Yes!" (the other guy started to giggle embarrassed). THAT was a Liberal/Neoliberal ("capitalist")! The liberals/capitalists and the socialists/communists resemble each other like a hair the other. The former first expropriate the state Treasury (owned by us people) and then the private fortune and the latter make it reversed only in the order. The former call their rulers "upper ten thousand" and the latter call them "nomenclatura", etc.

    The solution is something which always worked fine: MERCANTILISM. With "Mercantilism" I mean the Prussian Mercantilism - not the French (working for the King). the English and the Netherlands's (working for the "merchants").
    This modern Mercantilism brought up West-Germany and Japan after the war. It made that Sweden in the 1970s (Olof Palme) had the highest per-capita-income of all European states. An, yes. in the 18Th hundred it made Prussia - formally the poorest and most back warded country of all states that made later the "German States"

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  5. Part II
    Mercantilism means three things:
    1) High taxation of all companies (producing or delivering service). Yes, this is directly contrary to Trumps "tax relief" for corporations (same in Germany, France, GB since a lot of years). This leads to nowhere. The promised more employment never happened every time they installed "tax relief" for corporations!
    And, yes, the prices of products (let's say for a man's shirt) will even double for a certain time. But if this more money of the state's exchequer is poured out to the citizens, there would be more customers that are able to buy products/services.

    2) A high custom duty to imports.
    Like Your watch, Penny, is totally sealed (may be even to water - so You could shower with Your watch on) a national market, or transnational market like the old "EEC - "European Economic Community", which later changed into this disgusting "EU" - is an inside "machine"! Yes, a globalised, let's say, car-tire company could produce cheaper tires for the whole world than a single producer in every country. But that's not the point. A national producer makes workstations a lot.

    3) State Firms:
    When in poor Germany after the lost war, in the 1920s, the private power corporations delivered too expensive power to the people, the government of the federal state of Hamburg founded a state owned power corporation: "Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke AG". After that the state of Hamburg didn't profit not only by it's exchequer, but also the citizens (and industry) had suddenly much cheaper energy.
    But about 20 years ago the government of Hamburg sold its "Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke AG" to the Swedish corporation "Vattenfall". That's how it goes!

    In times of Kaiser William II. (a stupid asshole!) the exchequer of the "Reich" had an enormous income be "state firms". They were also by technology top (only Communists and Liberals can't work with state firms!)! Also in Germany after WWII the state firm "Volkswagen" was enormously profitable for the national exchequer (and producing working places). Remember: the Volkswagen "Beetle" and even more the "Transporter" became the Hippy's favourite (and also sold tremendously well in Asia and Latin America). Also Renault, then owned by the state of France, conquered even the car producing Germany with their products (namely their "R4"). But both companies have been "privatised" some decades ago. Since then privatised "Volkswagen" and privatised "Renault" fall far behind Japanese, Koreans, Chinese producers!

    4) Scientific, technical and economical progress belongs to 90% to us people. If Einstein had lived in the stone age he couldn't' even have written down his ideas. Even more he even wouldn't haven been able come up with his "Relativity Theory". This because Einstein's thoughts and every "invention" nowadays is rooted to the progress of our cavitations. Thus 90 % of "inventions" or scientific progress in out societies belongs to us - the people.
    Why not tax Microsoft with a new program or Apple with a new App with 99% of Tax? They are using letters! And letters are an inheritance of our(!) civilisation. The Phoenicians systematically invented letters, when they thought that little pictures (what Egyptian and Chinese writing was) were not functional enough. So the Phoenicians developed "letters" for vocals and consonants. The clever old Greeks stole this idea immediately. The also clever old Romans stole this idea then from the Greeks. Our "Arabic numbers" were stolen from the Arabs, who stole it from the Indians. This is OUR PROPERTY - not that of some corporations!

    Allow me, Penny, to add to Your excellent article these links:
    To Macron: http://www.voltairenet.org/article204303.html
    To the topic of economy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXF7xJP6hW8

    J

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    1. Hi J:
      I saw the voltaire article the other day, but, thanks for leaving the link
      and will look at the youtube

      wondered where you'd gone off to?

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  6. "wondered where you'd gone off to?"

    Sorry, Penny, but for days I am running around in town trying to buy a "yellow vest". But it's easier to find a Prussian spiked helmet here in Vienna than a "yellow vest".
    Why don't "C&A" or "H&M" or all the other shops include these French "yellow vests" into their sales program?
    It also would be a good Christmas present to give!

    J

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