Monday, December 3, 2018

Yellow Jacket Swarm

Wearing Safety-Yellow,

I have been less visible, myself in recent days, due to a swarm of life events, including buying a house 124 miles away, silent-retreating, working on the house and garden, the passing of Jenny's mom, Jovita, and Jenny being executor of the will, about which, the heirs do not exactly agree...

John Ward is a Limey living in France, with friends in high and low and obscure places, who happens to be an articulate and insightful man-on-the-street for this round of French unrest, which seems very much like the spirit of 1967 come alive again. Here is "The Slog":
For those of you unaware of the Gilets Jaunes, they are a group representing the French haulage business, lorry drivers fearful for their jobs, and a whole phalanx of other citizens who, for one reason or another, have caught on to the fact that President Emannuel Macron is a fraud, and more Antichrist than Centrist. The price of auto fuels in France rose 14% last year, and is set to rise 18% this year. For this reason alone, je suis un gilet jaune.
But there’s more to it than that.
Quite rapidly, they have become the national face of  resistance to the growing power of the Alt State here. The banks having ensured that their man Macron got elected, it didn’t take long for the privatisations to start, and Macron to fall into line with EU migrancy “policy” – an acceptance of extra-EU immigration causing havoc across the continent. There are now some 30,000 illegal refugees occupying temporary camps in Paris’s St Denis alone, while the latest entry point – eastern and southern Spain – has seen a 40% rise in burglary and knife crime in Andalucia.
But Macronisation has ploughed ahead, with next year seeing the start of State powers to remove bank account deposits electronically “in order to improve the Trésor Public’s cash flow”. And while Macron has abolished the Taxe D’Habitation, this was done to increase the control of Paris over local policies. The Mairie’s additional local tax on land (the foncière) has, in just three years on my property, gone from €418 to €1468. The sum disappeared from my bank account without warning two weeks ago….since when I have received a bill through the post asking for it again...
Here in France, a survey by the polling agency Elabe found that almost three-quarters of French voters approved of the protests, and that more than half of those who voted for Mr Macron support them. The scales, it seems, are falling from the eyes. And for the unelected everywhere, the signs are disturbing: the Gilet movement has spread to Italy and – would you believe? – Belgium.​..
The fact is, taxes keep having to rise – and access to citizen monies made easier – because the global recovery is a myth. High stock prices owe far more to QE than underlying economic health….and to complete the use of élite brass neck, the money invested in QE with taxpayers’ money is treated as economic growth by the central bank statisticians. Is that a lulu or is that a lulu?

Brigitte Bardot supports the Yellow Vests, and posts a picture of herself wearing one, Thanks Tom.
“I am very patriotic. I was raised by a father and a grandfather who fought for France and instilled in me a love of my homeland. I am not proud of what France is today… I’m not a ‘facho’ [fascist], any more than Marine Le Pen is.”
Image result for Brigitte Bardot, yellow vest

While the so-called “yellow vests movement” has drawn a few hundred thousand people to sometimes violent protests and road blockades against high taxes on diesel, leading to two deaths and more than 500 people injured, French President Macron is travelling Europe, pontificating about things like an EU army. The protests bear a resemblance to Brexit: ordinary people have had enough, even if it isn't always clear of what and even if they have been voting for the parties responsible for high taxation. However, to dismiss their anger and to double down on policies to tax diesel, as Macron seems to do, may be very risky...
The French socialist party has accused Macron’s government of trying to link this grassroots movement to the far right Marine Le Pen “to better disqualify it”. But according to sociologist Vincent Tiberj, the yellow vests movement derives largely from the lower-middle classes, who earn enough to pay taxes but not enough to live comfortably. A lot of the protesters come from “La France profonde”: small towns and rural areas that have often gone through dire economic times, far away from the world of Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker.
Macron himself has reacted by saying his government intended to “tax fossil fuels more” as a way to “support the poor”. Unfortunately for him, it seems the poor are not so keen on the method. A poll reveals that 82 per cent of French think the government should simply scrap the increase in fuel taxes foreseen for January. Macron’s popularity meanwhile continues to tank, from a 29 per cent satisfaction rate in October to 25 per cent just one month later. One in three French do not have an alternative to driving to work and cars are essential not only for economic but also for social reasons, preventing social isolation of the more vulnerable. For many people, this is not something to mess around with.

Global finance is even taking notice!
Forget Brexit and Italian populists for a second. It’s worth paying attention to what’s going on in France.
For more than two weeks, the country has been disrupted by an unusual protest: the so-called “Gilets Jaunes” or “Yellow Vests.” France is used to labor unrest and chaos affecting transport of course, with strikes something of a national pastime.
But this time it’s different.
Some 100,000 people blocking toll roads, petrol stations and crossroads is creating major disruption to transport and retail. It’s also proving to be extremely tricky to defuse, as there’s no single protest leader to negotiate with...
The protests started on Nov. 10 with thousands of demonstrators demanding lower gasoline prices and taxes. Demonstrators marched on Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Elysees two weeks later, triggering social unrest. Surprisingly, the protest is benefiting from a significant backing, with 84 percent of the French public calling it “justified,” according to Odoxa-Dentsu poll for Le Figaro.
Further rioting over the weekend shows the movement is spinning out of control.
If this movement snowballs like we’ve seen in Italy with the Five Star Movement, Macron will have his hands full handling a crisis at home and have less time for the matters of the euro zone. After Greece, Brexit and Italy, this is another front that Europe didn’t need.

Theresa May is caught in a big lie, after the Brexit analysis reports she used, and lied about, got leaked. (Clowns on the field running out the clock...)
The Government is already on the rack over its refusal to publish the legal advice provided on the Brexit deal by Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, despite a parliamentary motion ordering it to be done. But ministers now face further questions as it emerges that a confidential analysis of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons’ own expert legal team comes to the same conclusion as President Trump – that Theresa May’s Brexit deal would prevent the UK from entering trade deals with countries such as the US.  

Wigs sends this Left-Analysis of the case against (cheap-labor-without-rights) "Open Borders".
If open borders is “a Koch brothers proposal,” then what would an authentic Left position on immigration look like? In this case, instead of channeling Milton Friedman, the Left should take its bearings from its own long traditions. Progressives should focus on addressing the systemic exploitation at the root of mass migration rather than retreating to a shallow moralism that legitimates these exploitative forces. This does not mean that leftists should ignore injustices against immigrants. They should vigorously defend migrants against inhumane treatment. At the same time, any sincere Left must take a hard line against the corporate, financial, and other actors who create the desperate circumstances underlying mass migration (which, in turn, produces the populist reaction against it). Only a strong national Left in the small and developing nations—actingin concert with a Left committed to ending financialization and global labor exploitation in the larger economies—could have any hope of addressing these problems.
To begin with, the Left must stop citing the latest Cato Institute propaganda in order to ignore the effects of immigration on domestic labor, especially the working poor who are likely to suffer disproportionately from expanding the labor pool. Immigration policies should be designed to ensure that the bargaining power of workers is not significantly imperiled. This is especially true in times of wage stagnation, weak unions, and massive inequality.
With respect to illegal immigration, the Left should support efforts to make E-Verify mandatory and push for stiff penalties on employers who fail to comply. Employers, not immigrants, should be the primary focus of enforcement efforts. These employers take advantage of immigrants who lack ordinary legal protections in order to perpetuate a race to the bottom in wages while also evading payroll taxes and the provision of other benefits. Such incentives must be eliminated if any workers are to be treated fairly...
Reducing the tensions of mass migration thus requires improving the prospects of the world’s poor. Mass migration itself will not accomplish this: it creates a race to the bottom for workers in wealthy countries and a brain drain in poor ones. The only real solution is to correct the imbalances in the global economy, and radically restructure a system of globalization that was designed to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. This involves, to start with, structural changes to trade policies that prevent necessary, state-led development in emerging economies. Anti-labor trade deals like nafta must also be opposed. It is equally necessary to take on a financial system that funnels capital away from the developing world and into inequality-heightening asset bubbles in rich countries. Finally, although the reckless foreign policies of the George W. Bush administration have been discredited, the temptation to engage in military crusades seems to live on. This should be opposed. U.S.-led foreign invasions have killed millions in the Middle East, created millions of refugees and migrants, and devastated fundamental infrastructure.
Marx’s argument that the English working class should see Irish nationhood as a potential compliment to their struggle, rather than as a threat to their identity, should resonate today, as we witness the rise of various identity movements around the world. The comforting delusion that immigrants come here because they love America is incredibly naïve—as naïve as suggesting that the nineteenth-century Irish immigrants Marx described loved England. Most migrants emigrate out of economic necessity, and the vast majority would prefer to have better opportunities at home, among their own family and friends. But such opportunities are impossible within the current shape of globalization.

One month to the day after President Kennedy’s assassination, the Washington Post published an article by former president Harry Truman...
Truman found, to his dismay, that the CIA had ranged far afield.
"​For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.​"​
The article appeared in the Washington Post’s morning edition, but not the evening edition.​..
The timing and tone of the letter may have been hints that Truman thought the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. If he did, he also realized an ex-president couldn’t state his suspicions without troublesome consequences.
Even the man who signed the CIA into law had to stay in the shadows, the CIA’s preferred operating venue. The CIA had become the exact opposite of what Truman envisioned and what its enabling legislation specified. Within a few years after its inauguration in 1947, it was neck-deep in global cloak and dagger and pushing agenda-driven, slanted information and outright disinformation not just within the government, but through the media to the American people.

A bit of good news: George H.W. Bush is dead, finally. At least he’ll do no more harm. But the harm he did do was enough.
Like the Nazis his father did good business with, Bush wanted a New World Order – and spoke of it lovingly and often. And now it’s upon us, in no small measure because of his machinations and those of his frog-torturing, mass-murdering, war criminal son – who was elevated to the position from which he was able to commit mass murder solely on the juice provided by his connected father.
The entire Bush family is a crime syndicate that puts the Corleones to shame (with George W. Bush playing the role of Fredo).
Bush Sr. – who wasn’t in Dallas on November 22, 1963 and not a CIA officer at the time – was later proved to be both of those things. His leprous fingerprints are all over the termination of the last American president who wasn’t a wholly owned subsidiary of the military industrial complex.

​Honoring the Dead​


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