Tuesday, May 15, 2007

J'aime les Americaines, encore.

It appears that President George Bush is the most popular American with the French since Jerry Lewis.
All over the civilized world, voters are turning terrorist-coddling liberals out of office and voting for politicians friendly toward Bush, the world's sworn enemy of Islamic fascism.
Those foreign leaders so admired by Democrats for hating George Bush and loving Saddam Hussein are being replaced by rulers who pledge their friendship to the United States.
Retrospectively, Barak Hussein Obama's answer about our most important ally being "the European Union" may eventually become true, thanks to Bush's ceaseless ally-making.
In Germany, pro-American Angela Merkel crushed the mincing anti-American chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 2005.
Last year, conservatives swept Canada, making Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper the prime minister. I haven't loved Canadians this much since the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard is both the longest-serving Australian prime minister and -- by his own account -- the most conservative. As The New York Times rooted for his defeat in 2004, claiming Australians were furious with him for his support of the Iraq war, he won a historic third term.
Along with Howard, Bush's staunchest ally in the war on terrorism has been Britain's Labor Party leader Tony Blair. He's about to leave office -- only to be replaced by a leader from the even more pro-American Conservative Party. American celebrities who threaten to move out of the country every election rather than live under a conservative leader are running out of countries to move to.

According to Conservative columnist and writer, Ann Coulter, only Spain remains a nation of women. As long as Spain exists, it will not outlive the shame of its gutless capitulation to terrorist bombings in 2004. It is worse than Sweden's neutrality toward Hitler.
But France! Until this week, France seemed a less likely place to find someone who supports America than a meeting of Democrats.

There is an Italian saying, "Tutto mondo e un paese" (Moan and complain against promise of positive action.) Disregarding the literal translation it means that some things are the same the world over.

Nicolas Paul Stephane Sarkozy Nagy-Bocsa is called “Sarko the American” by his critics. His Hungarian father fled communism after World War II to Paris where he met and married a French woman of Jewish-Greek extraction. Sarko went to Catholic schools before attending the prestigious Institute of Political Science and studying to become a lawyer. In 1983 at the age of 28 he became mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France’s richest town per capita. In 1988 he was elected to the National Assembly and became Budget Minister under Prime Minister Edouard Balladur. In 2002 he was appointed Interior Minister and began a crackdown on crime. His popularity soared.

From Le Monde (major French daily): "At the end of the day and without pretending to know what is in their hearts, French voters opted (regarding recent Presidential election there) for energy. The Socialist Candidate for president, Segolene Royal, campaigned as a “feminist”, but the suave Sarko seduced enough of the women of France to secure a 53 percent majority in the presidential election. Sego positioned herself as a “mother” who would be the first female president. The news media swooned, but the electorate did not. The women of France voted for the candidate they thought would be the most competent leader. A woman is a woman and may even be a feminist, but that would not necessarily make her the best president. The French Defense Minister, Michelle Alliot-Marie, said “We don’t want a president who changes her ideas as often as she changes her skirts”.

Against Segolene Royal, Mother Courage seeking to accompany the French in their difficulties, they gave their preference to the man who presented himself as carrying the promise of action against a predictable decline."

With Nicolas Sarkozy's decisive victory as the new president of France, the French have produced their first pro-American ruler since Louis XVI.
"Sarkozy the American," as he is known in France, called Muslim rioters "scum." Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
He explained his position on Muslim immigrants in France, saying: "Nobody has to, I repeat, live in France. But when you live in France, you respect its rules. That is to say that you are not a polygamist. ... One doesn't practice female genital mutilation on one's daughters, one doesn't slit the throat of the sheep, and one respects the republican rules."
Sarko never issued an apology or entered rehab. To the contrary, he said: "I called some individuals that I refuse to call 'youth' by the name they deserve. ... I never felt that by saying 'scum' I was being vulgar, hypocritical or insincere."
Is there a single American politician who would speak so clearly without then apologizing to Howard Dean?

The blunt Sarkozy, 52, is the son of a Hungarian immigrant and the first president of France born after World War II. The generational difference is evident in his head-on approach to tackling the nation's problems.

"I want to express my conviction that in the service of France there are no camps," he said. "To all those who want to serve their country, I say I am ready to work with them and I will not ask them to deny their convictions."
Sarkozy said in his speech that he was elected May 6 with a mandate for change.
"The people conferred a mandate on me. ... I will scrupulously fulfill it," he said.
"Never has opposition to change been so dangerous for France as in this world in complete change, where each is trying to change faster than the others, where delays can be fatal." He promised to restore the values of "work, effort, merit" and to "invent new solutions." On the global front, protecting human rights and fighting global warming will top his agenda.

The Torch has been passed from Chirac to Sarkozy

Tony Blair is my friend.

It looks like the Democrats are going to have to drop their talking point about Bush irritating the rest of the world. Evidently not as much as Muslim terrorists irritate the rest of the world. The politicians who hate Bush keep being dumped by their own voters. At the Democratic presidential debate a few weeks ago, Barak Hussein Obama said that Bush had "alienate(d) the world community" and vowed that he would build "the sort of alliances and trust around the world that has been so lacking over the last six years."
Democrats are terrific at building alliances. Remember how Jimmy Carter won the love of the world by ditching our ally the Shah of Iran, allowing him be replaced by a string of crazy ayatollahs? Since then, we haven't heard a peep from that area of the world.
The smartest woman in the world sniped that she would "create alliances instead of alienation."
Yes, it was spellbinding how her husband charmed North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung and his sociopathic son Kim Jong Il by showering them with visits from Jimmy Carter and gifts from love-machine Madeleine Albright. And that was that: No more trouble from North Korea!
According to Ann Coulter, the center of the supposedly America-hating world is France. But now it turns out even the French don't hate America as much as liberals do. Also,in celebration of France's spectacular return to Western civilization, she is having croissants for breakfast every day this week.

Segolene Royal, the Socialist candidate, is a 53 year old unmarried mother of four children. To her supporters she was charming, beautiful and tres chic. She was a moment of truth for feminity but she was not pro-American enough for the French. She ran as a feminist, but she never answered the question "What do women want?"

The French Socialists look on work as punishment. They have a national law that will not allow anyone to work more than 35 hours per week. One out of every four French citizens is a civil servant who cannot be fired. That is 25 percent of all French citizens. The Socialists want to protect all welfare-state benefits. Miss Segolene Royal promised to create 500,000 more subsidized jobs and raise the minimun wage by 20 percent.

Her partner of 30 years - and father of her children - was the socialist party leader Francois Hollande.
Together they were the power couple of French politics, the equivalent of Bill and Hillary Clinton, ready to spearhead the rejuvenation of the French Left.
Even Jacques Chirac's wife, a political conservative, felt comfortable in talking up Royal as a potential successor to her husband.
But above all, in the context of fractious and enfeebled French socialism, Sego was her own woman, not an elephant, as the grey, male and mostly tired old warhorses of the party are known.

The legacy of 12 years under the Presidency of Jacque Chirac has left France with a sluggish economy, skyrocketing public debt, and chronic unemployment at about 8.8 percent. That is the highest in the European Union (EU) except for Poland, Slovakia, and Romania.

US Representative, Tom Lantos, a Democrat from San Mateo, California said "I am so glad that the era of Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder in Germany is now gone". He said when the United States asked Schroeder to support its decision to go to war in Iraq "he told us where to go."

"I referred to him as a political prostitute, now that he's taking big checks from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. But the sex workers in my district objected, so I will no longer use that phrase," Lantos said.

After leaving office in 2005 Schroeder became chairman of the North Europe Gas Pipeline, which is 51 percent owned by the Russian state natural gas company Gazprom.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, once Schroeder's chief of staff, said Lantos' comments overstepped "the limits of political decency."

He said Lantos' comment "insults not only the former chancellor but also the great majority of German people."

Lantos said Chirac "should go down to the Normandy beaches. He should see those endless rows of white marble crosses and stars of David representing young Americans who gave their lives for the freedom of France."

He said under the successors of Schroeder and Chirac, Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France, relations with the United States "will take a very positive turn"

Lantos was born in Budapest, Hungary, and sent to a Nazi labor camp when he was 16. He is the only survivor of the Holocaust ever to have served in Congress.

One of Sarko’s first priorities is to do away with the 35 hour work week. He admires the American work ethic. “American society”, he said, “understands that work can be liberating. While he is mending fences with the US, he is opposing the entry of Turkey into the EU.
But Turkey badly wants to join the European Union, and, in February 2002, the European Union Parliament voted overwhelmingly that a condition of Turkey's admission to the EU would be an acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. Only time will tell if this condition is met or modified.

In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said "Whatever our disagreements, France and the United States share the same values: freedom of speech, thought and faith; equality between men and women; and love of life.”
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.
Not since Lafayette and Rochambeau helped save Washington’s bacon at Yorktown, have our two countries expressed such authentic affection for one another.
‘Georgie and Sarko, I think this is the beginning of a great friendship’.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

Quote for the day:

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale, and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."
~ President Abraham Lincoln

11:42 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

BRUSSELS, May 6 -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso extended his congratulations to Nicolas Sarkozy on his winning of presidential election in France.
In a congratulating statement, Barroso said he was confident Sarkozy would help find an early solution to the EU's stalled institutional reform.
"I know Nicolas Sarkozy well, and I know his determination to ensure France takes its full place on the European scene," he said.
"I have every confidence that Nicolas Sarkozy, whose convictions I know and whose strong beliefs are known to all, will play a driving role in resolving the institutional question and in consolidating a political Europe," Barroso said.
France is dubbed as one of the "engine" of the European Union (EU), but a French referendum two years ago vetoed the EU Constitution, leaving the EU on the verge of institutional crisis.
The change of French leadership has thus been widely considered as a chance to inject new vigor to resolving the EU's institutional issue.
Earlier on Sunday, Sarkozy declared in his acceptance speech that he is a life-long European. "Tonight France is back in Europe," he said.

10:03 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

PARIS — Nicolas Sarkozy took office Wednesday, 16 May 2007, as the new president of France, waving farewell to the outgoing Jacques Chirac and promising a new era of government that will unite political rivals and give a strong role to women.
Sarkozy said his priorities would include restoring "order and authority" to a nation where riots by largely black and Arab youths erupted in rundown housing projects in 2005, and where tensions and frustration still simmer over discrimination and alienation. He is expected to quickly form a government and has pledged that half the ministers will be women.
Chirac, ending 12 years in power, entrusted the country's nuclear codes to his successor in a private meeting that was a high point of the transition between the two conservatives.
A 21-gun salute from the cannons of the gold-domed Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, heralded the Sarkozy presidency.

10:03 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Jacque Chirac, 74, took his leave quietly. He shook hands with his one-time protege who turned rival at the entrance of the ornate Elysee Palace and walked alone to a waiting car. Sarkozy returned the wave before entering his home for the next five years.
The blunt Sarkozy, 52, is the son of a Hungarian immigrant and the first president of France born after World War II. The generational difference is evident in his head-on approach to tackling the nation's problems.
A divisive figure reviled by many on the left, Sarkozy hopes to announce a new government within days and has met with Socialist Party figures in hopes of including some in his Cabinet. In his first speech as president, he made a frank appeal to rivals to help in his task.
"I want to express my conviction that in the service of France there are no camps," he said. "To all those who want to serve their country, I say I am ready to work with them and I will not ask them to deny their convictions."

10:05 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

France says No amnesty for immigrants.
PARIS-21 May 2007-The Ministry of Immigration and National Identity — newly created by President Nicolas Sarkozy to manage the inflow of immigrants and protect French values and cohesion is headed by Brice Hortefeux. Minister Hortefeau has ruled out the possibility of legalizing undocumented immigrants en masse, saying Monday that government policy would be firm and pragmatic.
"We have to put aside massive legalization. It doesn't work and it penalizes, even immigrants," Hortefeux said. Policy, he added, would be guided by "firmness and humanism" with "lots of pragmatism."
He said he planned to adhere to the policy of deporting illegal immigrants from France. The number of deportees was expected to reach some 25,000 this year, and Hortefeux said he would ensure that figure was reached.
President Sarkozy has said he wants to ensure that those who join families in France can speak French and that relatives can support the newcomers.

6:10 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Former President Jimmy Carter is backing off his remark this weekend that the Bush administration's foreign policy "has been the worst in history," telling TODAY during an exclusive interview Monday that his comment was "careless" and widely misinterpreted.
Carter's criticism of Bush's foreign policy, particularly about the war in Iraq and the failure of the U.S. to push for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, had brought a swift response from the White House over the weekend.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters, "I think it's sad that President Carter's reckless personal criticism is out there. I think it's unfortunate. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments."

8:19 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Former President Carter’s public comments have been stirring controversy for more than three decades.
Many may still recall his most-famous remark, made during a candid interview with Playboy magazine in 1976.
“I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times,” Carter told the men’s magazine. Carter has been married to his wife Rosalynn for more than 60 years.
In 2001, Carter criticized President Clinton's controversial pardon of a major Democratic Party contributor, Marc Rich. Carter called Clinton's action "disgraceful.”
In September, Carter told the BBC he was concerned about the increasing influence of religious factions on U.S. politics.
During a weekend interview with BBC Radio, Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, also assailed outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair as "abominable, loyal, blind and apparently subservient" to Bush when it comes to the war in Iraq

8:20 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton said the former president has a right to speak his mind but stopped short of specifically endorsing Carter’s remark about Bush's administration.
"I've had a lot of criticism of the Bush administration as well, and have used some strong descriptions," Clinton said. "I am going to continue to criticize the President. I think it is the duty of every American to speak out when you feel strongly that your president is heading in the wrong direction. I think we need a debate in this country, and I think that's what is going on ... I welcome everyone for that."

8:22 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Et TU, Sarkozy?
Here is one of those stories that is difficult to convey to people who speak only English. President Sarkozy's government has annoyed the "progressive" sections of the teaching establishment with an order that school pupils must address their teachers with the formal vous rather than the familiar second person singular tu. Teachers are advised to use the respectful vous to Lycée teenagers in their classes.
The orders are part of Sarko's campaign to reimpose respect and civility across French society. Since the 1960s generation threw off formality, some teachers have let pupils tutoie them and most tutoie their younger pupils. Xavier Darcos, the new Education Minister, said on Tuesday: "It is indispensable that children vouvoient their teachers and preferable that teachers do not use 'tu' with lycée pupils, so that everyone is in their right place." Sarkozy has also ordered police to stop insulting youths on the troubled immigrant housing estates by using the over-familiar "tu". Teachers hit back today, accusing Darcos of exaggeration, saying that very few allowed pupils to address them as 'tu' .
The fuss illustrates the confusion over the when to tutoie, with its feeling of instant familiarity, and when to use vous, with its sense of distance and respect. The matter remains a minefield for foreigners and even muddles the French. Asking On se tutoie? (shall we use tu) is often a tricky moment with a new acquaintance.
Sarkozy, who has brought a cool touch to the Elysée Palace, committed a gaffe of his own when he visited the German Chancellor in Berlin on his first day of office last week.
Angela Merkel dropped German formality enough to call him "Lieber (Dear) Nicolas" but stuck to the formal "sie" not the familiar "du". Sarkozy's matey reply jarred on old-fashioned ears. "Chère Angela... J'ai confiance en ." (In older English I trust thee not you). Libération joked that Franco-German harmony was still lacking. "They are going to have to start by agreeing whether they use tu or vous," it said.
Blair and Sarkozy, who consider themselves friends, tutoie one-another. Gordon Brown's lack of French -- and Sarkozy's poor English -- will remove the problem because they will use interpreters when Brown succeeds Blair. President Chirac used vous with Blair in public. Blair, who picked up his French working as a Paris barman in the mid 1970s, tutoied Chirac, who is 20 years his senior. Officials put his over-familiarity down to ignorance.

8:40 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

ET TU is not French, but Latin. The headline is a reference to the words Shakespeare puts in Julius Caesar's mouth as he realises he is being betrayed by his adopted son Brutus:
Et tu, Brute? ("Even you, Brutus?")
Sorry, my "déformation professionnelle" obliged me to set you right.

8:40 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

One fine example of the issue was pointed at the last meeting between Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. It was pointed at the last "Arret sur Image". They both do not speak each other language, but pretend to be "buddies". So, our Sarko, a true "éléphant dans un magasin de porcelaine" said during the press conference "Angela, je TE fais confiance" therefore amphasizing on the informal "tu" he wanted us to believe he was using with her. The repply was a german delight, with Angela Merkel saying "President Sarkozy, SIE haben dass und dass gesagt etc..." using the german formal "Sie" equivalent to "vous".
That means that eventhough both languages have the formal/informal distinction, they might be mistakes. It also show than spin also apply here. Sarko can not say "tu" to Angla because they just do not speak the same language. So, he was, as always, trying to manipulate us.
I wonder how the translators do. When Sarko says "tu" to Angela, and when the translator feels he should not says "tu" himself to the German kanzler, he probably goes with a delightfull :
"Entshuldigen Sie mir bitte, aber während unsere reunion werde ich "du" benutzen, weill der französiche Präsident so macht"
"Would you be so kind to escuse me, but i will have to go with the informal "du" because the french president is doing so".
Translator for head of state must be quite a job! no declaration of war by mistake please!!

8:42 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

God, this is a minefield for the British with our single "you" for singular and plural.
I remember studying at a University in the north of France and using the familiar "Salut" as opposed to "Bonjour" to a rather stuffy old Prof, out of not being used to using the two forms on a daily basis and not through overfamiliarity. The look he gave me ensured I never made that mistake again, and never used "tu" with him for that matter.
Other problems: going for the wrong cheek first when "faisant les bises" and headbutting some poor french lady; shaking hands to many times a day with the same person, to be informed eventually than once a day is enough.
I wonder what a Frenchman/woman must think of the traditional British greeting of a sly wink, nod of the head or other barely discernable gesture.........

8:42 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Isn't it simply good manners or common politeness to address people as they would like to be addressed within reason ? And it's courteous to be invited to be more intimate rather than impose it whether in speech or physical greeting (handshake or kissing).
My experience in France is that a great number of people still teach their children to be polite. For example to say "Bonjour Monsieur" or "Bonjour Madame" instead of just "Bonjour". It is common practice to offer a general greeting on entering a doctor's waiting room, small shop etc for exmaple. I find it quite civilised and uplifting that people are still prepared to make this effort.
In England this common politeness seems to have completely disappeared. If you are polite to others people look at you as if you are from another planet. I do not find it friendly to be addressed by my first name uninvited; I find it impertinent. If it didn't make me sound like Derek from "The Catherine Tate Show" I would be tempted to say "How very dare you !"
And I'm only 40 years old not grumpy 96 year old retired army colonel !!

8:43 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

This question of grammar is all beside the point. The question is one of power. Why do none of you mention Foucault? He has been around for 40 yrs. (now dead) It was he who raised the question of power (the ability to control) interms of knowledge and information. We have to get beyond language structures to to the societal values that regard mutual dignity as normal. (And lets have no more shitole Rocket) As for hypocrisy (going back to an earlier blog)- the problem of hypocrisy is not merely a feature of Anglophone culture but rather to do with the differences between cultures over the degree of compartmentilization of social processes, aspects of identity, etc. There is , arguably, a direct connection brtween Protestant thought and the idea of a totalizing coherence in all aspects of life, but it has its roots in ancient Christianity and Humanism (and Catholicism of course for French readers). Behind it lies the idea of the but then there are clearly problems with such an idea, not least the different roles people play in life ( father journalist son lover etc) but the idea of of greater or lesser degrees of compartmentalization is the point. This is not a left wing point of view. It is an anthropological idea. Tu comprend? These different psychologies (feelings as well as thoughts) are difficult for members of different cultures to inhabit, to live out. Perhaps only peoplewho can attempt such integrations (however mistaken) have the right to live that life, but it does not give them the right to impose that view on others. Wer are not all members of monastic orders (thank God) Hypocrisy, as I understand it, is saying one thing and doing another. I"m pretty sure that in the caseof Hollande Sego Sarko Cecilia ,etc the real situation is known to all the participants. That is why your French bloggers cannot respond as your American bloggers expect them to.

8:43 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Segolene Royal's partner of 30 years - and father of her children - was the socialist party leader Francois Hollande.
Together they were the power couple of French politics, the equivalent of Bill and Hillary Clinton, ready to spearhead the rejuvenation of the French Left.
Even Jacques Chirac's wife, a political conservative, felt comfortable in talking up Royal as a potential successor to her husband.
But above all, in the context of fractious and enfeebled French socialism, Sego was her own woman, not an elephant, as the grey, male and mostly tired old warhorses of the party are known.

1:09 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

PARIS (7/27/07)
French judges placed former prime minister Dominique de Villepin under formal investigation on Friday for his role in an alleged plot to smear Nicolas Sarkozy and damage his chances of winning the presidency.
The so-called "Clearstream affair" dominated politics for much of last year amid suspicions that Villepin had directed French spies to investigate the case with a view to discrediting Sarkozy, a rival for the presidency.
Villepin, a suave former diplomat and close ally of Chirac, has suffered a dramatic fall since Sarkozy's emergence as the leader of France's centre right and his triumph in the presidential election in May.

He enjoyed his greatest global prominence when he delivered France's condemnation of the U.S.-led campaign against Iraq in the United Nations in 2003 but his time as prime minister was marred by street riots and a failed labor market reform.
The scandal emerged in 2004 when anonymous letters were sent to a magistrate alleging Sarkozy and other senior politicians held accounts linked to the sale of frigates to Taiwan in 1991.

The allegations proved to be spurious and the focus of investigations switched to the identity of those behind the denunciation, which was apparently aimed at damaging Sarkozy.

Villepin, who had already been questioned by judges in December, was called back after recent evidence from former intelligence official Philippe Rondot and Jean-Louis Gergorin, a former executive at aerospace group EADS who admitted to being the anonymous informant.

10:31 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

On Thursday, 17 Oct 2007, President Nicholas Sarkozy, the 52-year-old French leader, was reeling from blows on two different domestic fronts: a wave of strikes that swept through France and an official announcement that his 11-year marriage had come to an end.

Shortly after a presidential spokesman, David Martinon, told a hastily called news conference that he had absolutely no comment about his boss’s marriage, the Élysée Palace dropped the bombshell that Mr. Sarkozy and his wife, Cécilia, “announce their separation by mutual consent.” The palace later clarified that the couple “had divorced.”

Other French leaders have led unconventional love lives. One president, Félix Faure, died in the bed of his mistress in 1899; another, François Mitterrand, fathered a daughter with his mistress.

But Mr. Sarkozy, who was previously married and divorced long before he was elected president, is the first to divorce while in office.

Immediately after the news was broadcast on radio and television, striking protesters in the port city of Le Havre shouted: “Cécilia, we are like you! We are fed up with Nicolas!”

5:54 AM  

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