Tag: France

France Under Siege

Reports this morning are that the two Charlie Hebdo terrorists are holding a hostage. Another man is supposed to be holding hostages in a kosher deli, demanding their release. As I type these words, there are shots being fired in the first hostage situation. As I noted two days ago, I didn’t expect the French to fuck around. It looks like they aren’t.

Vive la France.

Update: Preliminary reports are that the Hebdo killers are dead.

Update: Right now, we’re hearing that three of the gunmen are dead and one female accomplice is at large. I’m not sure about the hostages.

Attack in Paris

Three gunmen have shot up the offices of a satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, killing 12. As of this writing, they are on the loose and their motive is unknown, but video apparently shows them shouting “God is Great!” and “We have avenged the Prophet!”. Hebdo was known for publishing cartoons of Mohammed. France is regarding this as an act of terrorism, which it almost certainly is.

2000px-Civil_and_Naval_Ensign_of_France.svg

I’ll post updates as events warrant. One thing I will note: I do not expect the French to fuck around. Despite their reputation, they take terrorism seriously.

Update: I won’t link, but there is video of these animals executing a wounded police officer at point blank range. Just awful.

The French Back Down

When new French Socialist President Francois Holland raised marginal tax rates on the rich to 75%, the response was utterly predictable. Rich people decided to abandon France including national icon Gerard Depardieu (you can read Depardieu’s wonderful letter here).

Well, the French may have gotten the message:

France’s constitutional council has struck down a top income tax rate of 75% introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Raising taxes for those earning more than 1m euros (£817,400) has been a flagship policy for Mr Hollande.

The policy angered France’s business community and prompted some wealthy citizens to say they would emigrate.

Mr Hollande’s government said it would rework the tax, due to take effect in 2013, to meet the council’s complaints.

Welcome to the 21st century, comrades. Capital and wealth is mobile, infamy is instant and social rebellions can take place in days. I’m sure Hollande really thought he was going to get this done without any problems. And twenty years ago, he might have. But not today. Today, he had to back down almost immediately.

In fairness, the council is harping on what they see as a legal flaw, not the outright stupidity of it. But it just shows you what a poorly thought-out money grab this was. And, as time goes on, I’m sure more flaws will be found so that the French government can back away from this dreadful policy.

Down Goes Europe

Gulp:

The euro zone debt crisis dragged the bloc into its second recession since 2009 in the third quarter despite modest growth in Germany and France, data showed on Thursday.

The French and German economies both managed 0.2 percent growth in the July-to-September period but their resilience could not save the 17-nation bloc from contraction as the likes of The Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Austria shrank.

Economic output in the euro zone fell 0.1 percent in the quarter, following a 0.2 percent drop in the second quarter.

Those two quarters of contraction put the euro zone’s 9.4 trillion euro ($12 trillion) economy back into recession, although Italy and Spain have been contracting for a year already and Greece is suffering an outright depression.

This has an effect on our export of course. And given this week’s surge in jobless claims and the looming fiscal cliff, we could be looking at real trouble ahead.

The usual suspects are blaming “austerity” but that ignores the critical point: Europe is not the United States. We have a little leeway in how much money we can borrow (although that leeway is running out). Europe does not. Whether it’s good for the economy or bad, budget balancing is something they have no choice about.

That having been said, I’m curious about what the future brings. Economist are projecting a further contraction in Q4 followed by a stagnant 2013. But this will test their theories. If the Europeans can get their finances under control, this could work like the Reagan recession did — an awful hangover from years of bad fiscal policy followed by an expansion. The crisis Reagan faced was different: it was monetary, rather than fiscal. But they share an underlying truth: swallowing a bitter pill for future solvency.

(Of course, all bets are off if the Germans and French get tired of being dragged into the mire by the PIIGS.)

Protests and marches are going on around the Continent but I’m not sure what they expect. There’s no magic money tree the EU can shake to make this “austerity” unnecessary. The Euros are running out of Euros. Protesting and marching in the streets is not going to change that reality.

The Homework Inequality

No matter how bad things get in this country, we’ll always have Paris … to make us fell not so dumb.

How do you think this would go over in the United States? French President François Hollande has said he will end homework as part of a series of reforms to overhaul the country’s education system.

Hmm. Interesting. There’s been some pushback in our education system against homework. A lot of educators think it’s just busy work and should be scaled back, especially for younger children. So perhaps …. oh:

He doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get help from their parents at home while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t. It’s an issue that goes well beyond France, and has been part of the reason that some Americans oppose homework too.

You know, there’s a reason millions of parents are involved in their kids lives: it’s because they want them to have an advantage in life. That’s the whole point of involved parenting. Otherwise, we’d just dump them at the local gulag and forget about it. I use that word precisely — the Soviet Union infamously forced children into full-time daycare at ages of 2-3 months. This was partially for indoctrination and partially so no kid would have an advantage over any other (except the children of the Elite, of course. I’m betting that his kids got plenty of homework and plenty of help with it.

Oh, nooo!

It looks like the humanitarian “Kintetic Action” in Libya has not solved the problem. Instead of Gaddafi doing the inhumane stuff, the people that replaced him are doing more of the same!

Libya’s regular army and array of militias have been torturing loyalists of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, several of whom have been killed in custody, human rights groups charged on Thursday.

Amnesty International said that despite promises, Libya’s new rulers have made “no progress to stop the use of torture”, as Doctors Without Borders suspended its work in the third-largest city Misrata over similar claims.

Their accusations come after a top UN official raised concerns that militias composed of former rebels who helped topple Kadhafi were posing an increasing security risk as they repeatedly clashed with each other.

Shocking! SHOCKING!

Well, no. The lie was that this military campaign we can’t even call a war, because otherwise hypocritical liberals end up with egg on their face, was for humanitarian reasons. The fact is that we finally got us one of those evil “War for oil” wars that the left so claimed to hate and accused the last president of being about. Their accusations where damned lies about that war, BTW. In this case this definitely was a war for oil. Only the oil was for the French, the assholes that through their actions to protect Saddam and their lucrative oil contracts in Iraq, all but guaranteed Saddam would defy the UN and that there would have to be a shoot out.

Now that the guy that promised to end all these wars used our military to kill Gaddafi and made sure he couldn’t sell Libyan oil to China instead, securing the oil for France, there is no more concern for the human equation anymore. But, don’t let the facts get in the way of either the collectivist scumbag narrative or the fact that liberals hate wars and oil only when they don’t control it and get to make money from it.