Saturday, March 31, 2007

Monica Goodling and 149 Others

There are 150 Graduates of Pat Robertsons Regent University now filling positions in the Bush Administration. Monica Gooding, a previously unknown figure in the Justice Department, is one of them.
Goodling became a key figure in the Attorney Gate Scandal now unfolding, when emails revealed the role she played in the firing of 7 US Attorneys. She has been told to testify under oath before Congress and has pled the Fifth Amendment because she may be afraid to testify before the White House has decided what its story is.
Monica earned her law degree from Robertsons Regent University, where her Boss, Gonzalezs' predecessor, John Ashcroft is currently cooling his heels as the schools "Distinguished Professor of Law and Government". The Universitys aim is to create a Christian revolution by producing Christian Leaders who will make a difference. By purging politically disloyal prosecutors, Monica Goodling has done her part to pursue Robertson Revolutionary goal.
The Bush Administration has looked to the University as a reliable pool of well-groomed Republican ideologues eager to wage culture war from the inside. Kay Cole James, the former dean of the Regents School of Government became Bush's principle advisor from 2001 until 2005 in matters of adminsitration of the Federal Civil Service. She cut back the role of the powerful union during her tenure. Now she is a fequent guest on James Dobsons radio show.
Another prominent Administration figure is Jim David, who is now the dean of Regents School of Government. He was in the Justice Department as deputy director of the Faith Based and Community Initiative.
After Hurricane Katrina, David wrote in one of his columns on Regents website, "We do not grieve, however, for the flooded and destroyed sex clubs that filled men with lust and degraded women," David wrote. "We do not miss the casinos that preyed upon individuals whose lack of self-control deprived families of needed food and shelter. We do not lament the destruction of voodoo stores prevalent in New Orleans before the flood."
Goodling learned her lessons well at Regents and learned to become a cog in the Administrations political machine. She consulted with Republican activists in 2006 to plot the firing of New Mexicos' David Inglisias. Now she is under intense scrutiny and is invoking a man made law, the Fifth Amendment to prevent her from breaking a comandment, Thou shalt not Lie!
Incidentally, the Faith Based Initiative program started by Robertson to supposedly do the governments work in charity operations has been accused of wasting and shortchanging the people it is supposed to be helping. It has taken over 14 million dollars of grants from the Administration in the last 6 years and very little of that has gone to the programs that were supposed to filling the place of government "welfare".
Robertson can hire private jets to ferry supreme court justices down for speaking engagements for his university!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Outside of the Green Zone....

Now even the hard core believers are beginning to doubt!
Exactly what neighborhood of OZ was John McCain talking about?
He has proved that the current crop of talked about candidates for the GOP Presidential nomination are totally delusional!
"There are neighborhoods in Bagdhad safe enough to take a walk in"
ranks right up there with the mere conceit of Guliani even thinking that he could be an
acceptable candidate for the Republicans.
Tell me more about how much you support Alberto Gonzalez!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Poulet Saute aux Champignons

I was reminded today by a friend that it has been a while since I published any recipes. I have a great recipe for a raspberry tiramisu that my wife invented and doesn't seem to want to stay around long enough to be photographed! I still have plenty of raspberries in the freezer from last summer and the plants are beginning to wake up and are covered with new leaves. I spent a few days turning over the ground which I had been spreading with fireplace ashes all winter. Then I put down fertilizer.......
So, I will publish the Tiramisu recipe soon, but today here is a really simple standard that I cook all the time. Poulet Saute is a basic technique that has many variations, some can be rather complex with sauces finished with small explosions of cognac......
This is not so hazardous.
You need a cut up chicken, you could use packaged parts, obviously the better quality chicken, the better the dish! So plan for enough for your guests.
You also need a lot of nice white mushrooms, champignons de paris. You could use cepes, I have used scotch bonnets or if they are iin season, rose de pres...a wild mushroom a little stronger tasting than the Champignon de Paris...That is your common cultivated white mushroom in America.
Clean and slice the mushrooms.
Then in a nice pot with a lid that you could put in the oven, saute the chicken pieces in a little oil or if you have it, duck or goose fat until they are golden.
Cover the pot and put it into a 375 oven for at least 20 minutes.
When the chicken is done, take it out of the oven, put the pot on the stove. Take out the chicken and keep it warm.
Remove excess fat, but you need some for the next step. Put the mushrooms in the pot, and saute them and sprinkle a soupspoon or so of flour over them. Cook the mushrooms and flour together for 5 minutes...then, pour in a glass of dry white wine. In France, there is a product called Fond de veau, which makes a thick rich veal stock and I add a cup of that, but if you don't have it, a little chicken stock made with a boullion cube and the secret, just a dab of tomato paste will give a richer flavor.
Make sure you get all the chicken flavor off the bottom of the pan and let it cook together for a few minutes until you have a nice sauce with the mushrooms.
Put the chicken back in the pot, cover it with the sauce and mushrooms and let it meld together for a few minutes covered. Oh, yes, the only seasoning you need is salt and pepper. This is incredibly simple but a real favorite.
Serve this with mashed potatoes and youu will wish you made more sauce!
Bon apetit!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sarko Bio, part 1

I am going to attempt to profile Nikolas Sarkozy, though I don't think I can do it all in one post. The video illustration for this piece was published in the political journal, Marianne, because it has been jammed by Sarkozi supporters and found by them to be too dangerous for public consumption. It's a pretty snappy little number that insults Sarkozy in a very accurate way. It's just the truth.
My first Sarkozi anecdote concerns his appearance on France Europe Express last week.
There were a number of candidates invited for the broadcast and all arrived early, except for Sarko, who arrived late with an entourage of body guards and his professional make up staff. When the make up artists finished working their magic on him, he walked into the room where the other candidates were sitting and talking before the show. They had all gathered their chairs themselves and no one got up for Nikolas. He stood glaring for a few minutes, then erupted into a black rage, screaming that he would not be treated like this, where was his chair? Diid they expect him to find it himself? Screaming at the staff that when he was president, there would be big changes at France 3! One of his entourage got him a chair and the speaker of the show remarked that it was just a typical Nikolas Diva fit.
For a man whose maternal grandfather had to go into hiding to escape deportation by the Germans during World War 2, he shows a remakable lack of compassion for those in the same situation now. His mothers father was a Sephardic Jew who converted to Catholicism before the war. That of course was not good enough for the Vichy French Occupation Authorities who were having people with Jewish backgrounds deported. He hid in the Correze for 4 years until the war was over. Today, in his campaign, he talks of starting a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity, which would perform pretty much the same function. Today all over France there are good honest people who are putting themselves on the line by helping immigrant families stay together and avoid deportation. It is a resistance movement.


Not only do we have a clip of Funkadelic from 1969, but this duet from a zone beyond all known layers of the psychostratapheric atnosphere!
The one, the only James Brown singing, A Mans World with Luciano Pavoratti.
Can this be real? Can this actually work? Does Pavoratti have a good foot?

Funkadelic 1969

So, I started to think about Funkadelic. I wanted to find a clip of One Nation, but the only clip on You Tube is non embedable, but here is some old Funkadelic from 1969. I saw them at this period sharing a bill with the Stooges in Detroit! Actually I saw them quite a few times duuring that period! We will not harm you!
The real time warp thing is that I saw the reunited Stooges all over French TV last week and was amazed not only that the Ashton Brothers were still alive, but they sounded great...okay, Scott looks like he's been drinking a case of beer in front of the television for the last 30 years...but Iggy...crikey!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Pinnochio Syndrome

Hmmmm....time to be listenin to your old Funkadelic....
Sir Nose de Void of Funk!
It's the Pinnochio Syndrome and it be spreadin!
One Nation under a groove getting down just for the funk of it!
One Nation , we're on the move!
Nothing can stop us now1


As long as I am writing about French Election News tonight, here is a little French Rock from a great band, Telephone. This is from 1979, the same time I was playing in a French/American Rock Band, Belle Starr. These guys were great! Jean Louis Aubert the singer, is still making great music as well as the guitarist, Louis Bertignac.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Your French Election Update!

The campaign has officially begun. The list of over 40 candidates has been pared down to 12. These are the 12 who were able to obtain the 500 signatures from mayors to sponsor their candidacy. The list is: Segolene Royal of the Socialists, Francois Bayrou of the UDF, Nicolas Sarkozy of the UMP, Jose Bove, the independant anti mondialist and Confederation Paysanne founder, Phillipe de Villiers of the MPF, Dominique Voynet of the Ecologist Party, Marie-George Buffet of the French Communist Party, Arlette Laguiller of LO, the Communist Workers Party, Olivier Besancenot of the League Communist Revolutionary (LCR), Gerard Schivardi of the Workers Party, Frederic Nihous of the Chasse, Peche, Nature, Tradition Party and Jean-Marie LePen of the Front National.
I read an essay today in the New York Times by a writer who wittily as an expert on Frenchg culture, tries to make some sense from a very stereotypical ly American viewpoint of the election. The writer is too trapped by his own wit to even begin to understand what is going on. He wrote about the unexpected rise of Francois Bayrou as the Third Man...a theme that has been trotted out for a few weeks now. His explanation is that Bayrou represents an uncomplicated safe choice for a France fed up with rude waiters...I'm not kidding, read the article, and implies that Bayrous' boring Catholicism and vapid manner some how counteract the drama of Sarkozy's bizarre marriage and Segolenes eternal Mona Lisa serenity which he reads some kind of sexual implication into. I have news for him, Bayrou is over! He peaked last week as is the tradition and his utter vapidity and empty pendantic posturing is boring everyone, including his most loyal followers. He was inching up in the polls, but now the steady slumpage has started. His whole campaign was his tractor collection. There was a stink about him throwing a fit last week because the bathroom at France 3 was occupied before he went on the air and some one joked to him, " Hey, you're from the Bearn. Go out in back of a tree!"
The real trouble here is the extreme right. It's the unspoken reality of rural and southern France. Racism and hate. The fear of the Arabs and Africans...No one knows what real gains the Front National has made in the last few years. No one actually admits to it in polls, but in the voting booths, the ugly truth comes out. Sarkozi is trying real hard to compete and take votes from them. Last week he shocked most of the nation by coming out in a speech for the formation of a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity. The Left and Center were horrified and statements were made that it was an echo of Vichy France. It was denounced immediately, except for the Front National and the MPF who said it didn't go far enough. Sarkozi, though, is in the position to put words into action and his last days as Minister of the Interior are filled with daily outrages of children being taken from schools by police because of improper papers and held for deportation. There was an incident in a school today in the 16th Arrondisement of Paris that resulted in the Principle of the school being arrested resisting the police as they took young children out of the school. This is pure political theater made for the extreme right. Incidents like this took place in Orleans and a few other French cities.
Segolene was the victim of an American Swiftboat style attack. A finance minister of the Socialist Party left in a rage after a fight with her partner, Francois Hollande, the Head of the Party. Segolene made a remark off the cuff, "Who ever heard of Eric Besson?" when asked if it would affect her campaign. With that, Besson, quit the Party and made a few television appearances announcing his departure. He was the mayor of a village and an ex executive with Vivendi. In his televised interviews, he said his fight was with Hollande and he held no grudge against Segolene, yet a week later, a booklet was published and he had publicity appearances lined up. The booklet was a supposed inside smear of the Socialist Party and a real backstab at Segolene. In it he made the statement "I wouldn't trust my children with Madame Royal!"
In reviews and discussion of the book, so far it looks like it backfired. The real problem with Segolenes campaign is not her. When she appears, she is amazing. A resourceful debater and off the cuff speaker who can rally crowds like Joan of Arc. As some of her worst critics have said, the harder she fights, the more lovely she becomes.
The problem is the ingrained machismo of French Society, that explains the rise of Bayrou. He seemed like a safe choice to counter Sarkozy. The amazing thing is todays polls. Inspite of all the money and negative campaigning of the UMP, Segolene Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy are exactly neck and neck with Bayrou lagging 4 points behind.
I believe in Segolene and I think there is something yet to come forward. I think there are reserves in her that are yet untapped and as the debates start in earnest, you will see her rise and Sarkozy flail.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dick of Dubai

Today in a surprise move that has a lot of lawmakers shaking their heads, the Vice President, Dick Cheney announced that he was moving the Vice Presidents office to Dubai. The new Vice Presidential Office is located in the luxurious new Halliburton Mosque and Office Tower Hotel Complex. The move is unprecedented and when questioned about the legality of setting up an executive government office
in a foreign country, Mr. Cheney told our reporter to "Shove it".
During rather hasty move, it was reported that a few computers and other archived record storage devices and filing cabinets were lost at sea in a rather vague
accident. The only comment about the accident from the Vice President was a
surly ,"Accident? You wanna see an accident?...asshole!"

Hmmm....Carol Lam the Californian Prosecutor who was purged after she successfully prosecuted Duke Cunningham reprtedly was going after Cheney next. It seems that he might have bribed Cunningham and there was a check involved that happened to be the exact amount of Cunninghams new yacht, The Dukester.
That and reports that the misinformation campaign and suppression of research concerning Global Warming was coming directly from the Vice Presidents super secret Energy Task Force might be making things a little hot in Washington
despite the rather unglobal warming type weather, for the Vice President.
Oh yeah, they weren't able to purge Patrick Fitzgerald!
Maybe this Dubai move isn't such a far fetched fantasy.

Recette pour Popcorn!

It's official, Jose Bove got his 500 mayoral signatures, so now he is one of the official 12 candidates for the first tour of the Presidential Election! Let's celebrate by watching this video from the Groland show where he gives his recipe for popcorn... destroy a field of trans genetic corn.........
Seriously, this is why he may be campaigning from prison! He was convicted of malicious destruction of a field of Monsanto brand genetically altered corn and sewntenced to 3 months in prison.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

White House of Dark Shadows III

The Legions of the Unpurged Federal Prosecutors are unleashed upon an unwary populace.
Controlled by the darkness within, they do the bidding of their unholy masters.
They walk among us!

After the release of communications and files by the Justice Department last night (the midnight dump)
it becomes apparent that the real problem is not that some Federal Prosecutors were purged. That is a can of worms that will lead to many different scandals.
The real problem is the Prosecutors who were kept! They are the ones who are pursuing cases at the bidding of the White House for purely political motives.
We learn today that Fitzgerald was high on the hit list, but his high profile saved him!
Carol Lam, who led the investigation into the Hookergate CIA Scandal which took out Duke Cunningham and Foggo Bottoms was a victim of the purge and from the emails obtained, was purged to stop a new corruption investigation. This was discussed by quite a few members of the administration. She was referred to as a "real problem" and targeted. What is the definition of a conspiracy to obstruct justice? Isn't that a felony?

for more information on the Patrick Fitzgerald aspect of this, I'd like to refer you to
Politics in Mudville and a nice piece LD wrote about this today!

Monday, March 19, 2007

historymike: On Patience, Hard Days Ahead, and the Imperial Presidency

historymike: On Patience, Hard Days Ahead, and the Imperial Presidency

This is the first time I tried this, I just read this post by History Mike and and the piece of legislation he refers to iin the post is a must read!
Great Post, Mike!

Day Job

A very frustrating day, I hate Mondays. It's a long standing tradition but
now I get up extra extra early to go to Rouffignac for my language class. This has gone on for 3 years now and you would hardly notice to listen to my French.
It's actually much better but I have a Dutch accent now because all the other members of my class are Dutch, except one other English speaking woman but she is Japanese. Perhaps you are wondering why I don't just let my French speaking wife teach me? For the same reason that I would never consider trying to teach her how to drive... think about it.
So by the time I get home, it's around 1 pm and I usually just do chores around the house. Today is one of the last days of winter and we have had a week of exceptionally
warm temperatures and perfectly clear skies until yesterday. Then it began to rain last night and the temperature started to fall. Today, it is downright cold with intermittant rain and hail and periods of intense SNOW!
Needless to say any outdoor activity is not fun. Last week I started a job which should last for a few more weeks. I have been learning how to restore stone walls for tthe last 5 or 6 years and have done some pretty big jobs, but this year I am going to do a few houses. The house in the picture above is the one I njust started to work on.
The main part of the house is the oldest, probably dating to 1780 or before. The stone is a very soft degraded red sandstone which most of the houses around here are built of. That's a very interesting thing when you are traveling in France. The stone and the architectural details of the buildings change as you drive from area to area. To the west of us, the stone is hard light grey limestone and the tops of the windows usually have very detailed carved lintels. The tiles are all red clay. Here the tiles traditionally are black slate. This house lost the slate tiles years ago and now they are old red clay.
If you drive to the East, you start to see very carefully squared stones white limes stone and more interestingly, brick sized pieces of black slate with white chalk and sand mortar.
This old house is by a small stream and was a mill for a long time. The construction is not so detailed. Recycled big corner stones for the squared corners and smaller fill. The fill is typically 2 stone walls, an inside and outside, filled with smaller stones and clay. Originally, the only mortar was red clay between the bricks. Over the years, the various owners filled the gaps with chalk and sand and horribly, hard grey cement and concrete that is much harder than the stone and very ugly.
So my job here is to remove all the mortar from the joints, take off the cement from the rock surfaces., clean them as much as possible and replace rocks that are damaged. Then I fill the joints with mortar which we are mixing to complement the stones. We find right ratio of chalk, white cement and dark red ochre river sand tto make a mix that is not too shocking. Lots of experiments going on the side of the barn.
So this picture was taken 2 days into the job, the only tools used are a masons hammer and a few different sized chisels. I will post when I get to the totally clean, resttored stone work stage and then the final remortared finished look.
Maybe tomorrow the sun will return...........

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bienvenue a Groland

Our President extends his heartfelt best wishes!
Allez! Devienez Grolandais!

Ingrid Betancourt

On February 23, 2002, a candidate for the presidency of Columbia, Ingrid Betancourt, was kidnapped by FARC Guerillas while on a mission to talk with the leaders and negotiate.
Ingrid is a passionate peoples advocate. She founded the Green Oxygen Party. She was born in Bogota and her mother was a former Miss Columbia who went in to politics representing the poor districts of Bogata. Her Father was a Minister in the Government and later a diplomat and posted in Paris where Ingrid was educated. She went to the prestigious Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, commonly know as Science Po, where most of the leading French politicians graduuate from. She married a French diplomat and was stationed in New Zealand and had 2 children, Melanie and Lorenzo. She returned to Columbia in 1989 determined to enter politics after the murder of the anti corruption and drug fighting politician, Luis Carlos Galan during the presidential race. In 1998, after divorcing her French husband and marrying a Columbian, she was elected to the Senate. Her anti corruption efforts attracted death threats and she sent her children out of the country to live with their French father. She wrote a book about her poliitical struggles and her fight against the corrupt political system called "Rage in the Heart". It was banned in Columbia, but published in France because it named names! It was published in the USA in 2002 under the title "Until Death Do We Part".
In the 2002 Columbian Presidential Race, she declared herself a candidate against Alvaro Uribe Velez. She wanted to go to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone, that had been experimentally set up after negotiations with FARC, the paramilitary revolutionary communist organization that has been at war with the Columbian government since 1965. FARC effectively controls an area the size of Switzerland and has a force of almost 18,000. They have waged a war of terror using kidnappings as a potent tool for negotiiating power. They have kidnapped many Columbian government officials and business leaders and many poor citizens. The goverment grew frustrated after FARC hijacked a commercial jet in 2002 and took a senator hostage. President Pastrana announced thatt the truce was ended and the government forces would attempt to take back the DMZ.
Ingrid announced her intention of going into the DMZ for direct negotiations with FARC and was denied assistance by Pastrana, because that would look like he was supporting her as a presidential candidate. She drove in with her vice presidential candidate and a small entourage of media. The last contact was at a checkpoint and later, the rest of the entourage returned with out Ingrid and reported her capture at gunpoint by FARC Guerillas. The capture was recorded on film by the camera man in another jeep who was allowed to leave with the rest.
After her kidnapping, her husband continued campaining for hewr in the election, but she did not win. That was 5 years ago. Since then, she has been allowed to make a few videos showing that she is still alive and in relative health. The FARC maintains that they will only negotiate for prisoner exchanges and the Columbian Government has since taken a hard line of no negotiations. Her value as a hosttage has risen with the involvement of the French government and the attempts of the now Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin. He is claimed to have been at one time involved with Ingrid and when he was Foriegn Minister, he tried to personally intervene and a series of mis steps occurred which seemed to harden the position of FARC. Ingrids daughter, Melanie has waged a constant struggle in the media to keep the awareness of her mothers plight in the spotlight. The current French Foreign Minister, Phillippe Doust-Blazy has been engaged in cautious attempts at negotiation. In August, a spokesperson for FARC said in Switzerland, that Ingrid is healthy and doing as best as she can to cope with the situation.

What is FARC?
Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Columbia-Ejercito del Pueblo
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia-Peoples Army.
Organized in 1965 as the military wing of the Columbian Communist Party, they existed as a purely political guerrilla movement but in the 1980's they became involved in the Cocaine Trade and were officially split from the Communists. They are the worlds oldest longest lived gueriilla movement, controlling an area of Columbia roughly the size of Switzerland. They are effectively another country with it's own elected officials running a part of Columbia out side the control of the Bogata Government. They are funded by the cocaine trade and by the corporations who pay them protection to do business inside the FARC controlled areas of Columbia. This last week, we saw a major America Corporation, Chiquita Brands charged with aiding FARC and funding them through protection payoffs. It seems that Chiquita, controlled by a major investor of the Republican Party was paying off FARC and the Right Wing ParaMilitary AUC, a group that has been
charged with the worst civilian massacres in Columbia in its war with FARC. Chiquita is playing a dangerous, cynical game which only encourages both sides to destroy each other except that the AUC massacres entire villages in its attempts to destroy FARCS power. Chiquita on the other hand has been playing a willing partner in FARCS Cocaine funded operations. Chiquita banana shipments have been called a majopr conduit for the smuggling of cocaine into Europe and America. The priveleged status of corporate classified imports in privatized port facilities and the expedited handling of them has aided them in this venture.
Chiquita has a history of using the internal politics of the countries in Latin America brutally for its advantage. They were able to have the Honduran Army massacre peasants and destroy villages to acquire land for their plantations in
Honduras in 1996. Chiquita gets tax breaks from the USA to do their business. The Right Wing American Approved Columbian Government supports Chiquita. These are your tax dollars at work helping a major American Corporation make money off of the drug trade and financing a guerilla war that is decimating the Columbian rural population and finally, why America has not lifted a finger or shown the least amount of sympathy to the plight of Ingrid Betancourt!
Post script: The CEO of Chiquita who is the big Republican donor is Billionair Financer Carl Lidner. He and his family have donated heavily to the Republiicans and George Bush. On crooksandliars this evening, there is a post which questions the donations made by the Lidners and seems to point to a pattern of evasion of Federal Election Contribution laws. They seems to have been making donations using a variation of the name Lidner, Linder in fact, to get around the limits. Let's see where this leads!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Internet Voyage to Toledo, Ohio

I love local history and trivia. "Local" is where ever I happen to be and what ever I find interesting. I lived in Toledo, Ohio for quite a while in the late 60's through the 70's and because of the time of my life there, a part of me still identifies myself as a Toledoan. This is the best site I have ever seen for trivia, history and artifacts dealing with that very special part of Northwest, Ohio.
Just A Comment. It's now in the side bar for you navigational ease. Let Jeffrey Smith show you a past that you never knew you had such nostalgia for!
While you are at it, visit Politics in Mudville for real time passionate political and philosophical articles by LD, a man who never disappoints or bores you! I think he has one of the best one man blog operations I have ever seen! Not high tech, no whistles or buzzers, just an intellectual and political smorgasbord!
HistoryMike for articles on history and views of his life and observations.
Toledo Lefty for the views of a young woman who presents her views of life and politics.
When you want to know what's really happening in the real Toledo, well, there's always Toledo Tales to put your mind back where it belongs?
Not, Toledo, but a very interesting writers blog, Trouble Every Day. Original, surreal and very da da...Jimbo (sloop john b) is a great discovery.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Allez Sego!

The next President of France dancing with Jamel Debouze to a live performance of Diam's monster hit La Boullette! You have to love her.

French Election Update

Up and down, Bayrou suddenly surges for no apparent reason other than he says nothing of actual substance. He seems safe to many, a sure choice to stop Sarkozi and LePen, but Segolene Royal fights on, surging ahead, now virtually neck and neck again with Sarkozi and Bayrou has lost a few points.
Le Pen, as we all knew he would, got his signatures. He plays the same role in every election, the martyr, a victim of prejudice, the common French man trampled by the intellectuals...His influence has banalized racist hatred. Sarkozi is wooing his sizable block by trying to lure them with his talk of creating a new Ministry of Immigration and French Identity. To the far right, it doesn't go far enough. To the rest of France, he has appalled them with the vision of a new fascist ministry to deport first and ask question later. In an even more disturbing vein, the political journal, Marianne, reported that 1,200,000 French will be voting with new machines which have not been talked about at all in the news. The voting process is controlled by the Minstry of the Interior. Mr. Sarkozi is the Minister of the Interior and the scope of his abuse of power in this election is just beginning to come to light. When the inevitable protests about the machines began, The Ministry was quick to point out that they were supplied by the same company that had been supplying the voting boxes for years, so "they must be trustworthy"...uh, huh....This is an issue that has just appeared and the furor is just beginning.
The death of Lucie Aubrac today brought the images of French Resistance in WW2 back to the minds of the public. Lucie was 94 and a national hero. She and her Jewish husband were historical scholars and professors when the Germans invaded. They both fought and organized the resistance in the area around Lyon. When Raymond was captured by the Germans, she bravely walked into Klaus Barbies office and took the neccessary papers to effect his release. After the war, she fought for womens rights and the rights of minorities. For the next week, she will be eulogized and remebered for who she was and what she stood for. Another unplanned bump in the smooth machine of Sarkozi which has developed some real problems lately!
As I type, Segolene is on TV again live doing a two and a half hour question program and acing it. I predict that tomorrow she will gain a few points in the polls and pull ahead of Sarko as we head into the real beginning and last leg of the campaign. The first round is now 38 days away!

Marie George Buffet

Another French Presidential Candidate from the Left. Madame Buffet was born May 7, 1949 iin Sceaux, Haute de Seine. She is the head of the French Communist Party, joining in 1969. She served as Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports from 1997 until 2002
when she succeeded Robert Hue as head of the party after his failed run for the presidency. She is currently a deputy in the National Assembly, representing Seine-St-Denis.
She is a passionate speaker and idealist for the party and led the opposition to the European Union Constitution referendum. She tried to unite the small parties of the left last year so they could come together and represent one presidential candidate, but it was unsuccessful, so this election there are 3 separate branches of the Communiist Party, each with their own candidate.
She is a tireless worker for labor unions, affordable housing for all, energy initiatives,
and putting an end to privatization. She has become an organizing force with tthe Communist parties in the other countries that are members of the European Union.
Of course, she doesn't have a chance of winning, but as a candidate under the equal media time rules of the French Elections, her message and ideas will be heard by the majority of the voters and influence the positions of the other candidates!

my better judgement?

when has that stopped me?
I am adding a new link in the side bar, a blog which I keep compulsively stumbling back to when I need to reconnect my outer idiot to my inner one.
Behold, ToledoTales, in all of it's glory!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

la mome

La Mome, The Kid.....That was the original nickname of Edith Piaf.
The film is released in America under the name La Vie En Rose, the name of the most recognizable Piaf song. This is a two hour plus biography of a life that packed so much into its short 45 year span that the two hours still leave you feeling that you have missed a lot of the details. Everyone knows Piaf, a few notes of her voice and she is one of the most recognizable singers of the 20th century. She attained some stardom in America and recorded some of her greatest songs in English and spent a lot of time in America. But the things that made her one of the greaterst French artists of the 20th century are the things that kept her from attaining that stardom in America.
Her essential tragedy, the rough edges, the emotion and heartbreak in her voice, she wasn't a happy easy going artist in any sense.
This movie, starring Marie Cotillard as Piaf tells the story in tragic flashbacks. A prematurely ancient Piaf in her last days is transported in time through her entire life.
What a life! Born near the end of World War 1, she is raised by her alcoholic street singing mother on the streets of Belleville, one of the poorest parts of Paris. Her father comes back to their shack and finds the baby Edith sick and neglected. He has no money and takes the baby to Brittany where his mother is a Madame of the local whore house. Edith has a relatively happy few years raised by the loving prostitutes.
When he can afford to take her, her father comes back and removes her from the brothel and she travels with him. He is a contortionist in a tawdry circus and also performs on the streets. Edith, discovers that she loves to sing and the father and daughter live on the money they make on the streets.
Years later as a young lady, she is a street singer in Montmartre, living a wild life. One day she goes down to a rich section of Paris and sings on the streets and a club owner is intrigued. The legend begins. Her authenticity and emotion and her image make her an instant sensation. The mafia kills her manager, played by Depardieu.
Soon though, she is making records and her appearances are making legend.
All through this is the emotional misfit, the insecure little hoodlum never quite fitting comfortably into the massive success. She drinks too much, she has affairs, the one big love of her life to a French championship boxer ends tragically when he dies in plane crash. She becomes addicted to morphine. Through it all, she becomes transcendent when she is on stage.
The actress, Marie Clotillard truly becomes Piaf. The singing is totally convincing.
Recordings of Piaf are cleaned up and Marie acts them with total fidelity beyond "lipsynching". Her first triumphant concert is enacted without any singing in fact!
Piaf is on stage, in hear music...but not the music of the song...she opens her mouth and silence! You watch her sing and change as she sings and the audience...but it is all done silently and works all the more effectively as a device.
This is not a greatest hits movie. This is a great emotional Piaf Biography and hopefully if it has worked its magic, you will want to run out and listen to this music with new ears and appreciate an icon. Some one that poured so much emotuion into her art and life that she was literally consumed by it!!
A Three Kleenex Rating!

Too many damn dots!

Uh, let's see here. The Attorney General has denied that the firing of a number of Federal Prosecutors was politically motivated under oath, before Congress. That was back at the beginning of this controversy, before it was high enough on the horizon to be reported in mainstream media. Then it was revealed that a Senator and a Congressman both tried to pressure a New Mexico Prosecutor to hurry up a case so it could be used in the 2006 elections. Everyone denied this and then it became known as fact. Now other allegations by fired prosecutors are coming forth daily. The chain is going past the Attorney Generals Office direct to Karl Rove and the President. Carl was the conduit for complaints about prosecutors that weren't playing ball for the administration. It was revealed today that one of the cases affected by the firings was the Abramoff scandal. Early on in the birth of the scandal prosecution, in 2002, Prosecutor, Frederick A. Black was demoted when he began to poke his nose into the
Abramoffs' dealing in Guam which triggered the entire peeling of the rotten onion.
Now, conservative apologists are using the excuse that Clinton fired prosecutors too.
This is patently a false analogy and a potentially embarrasing one as well. The only reason to use it is that it will be repeated by people who don't know the reality. It is normal for a president to replace prosecutors when he enters office. Clinton did it when he was first elected and Bush did it when he was elected in 2000. It is totally irregular to dismiss prosecutors in the midst of investigations that might damage members of the presidents party or for not pursuing embarrassing investigations of ones opponent swiftly enough for political fodder. Nixon tried to do just that with Watergate, in a sense, this is Deja vue all over again.
The real tip off that something is really spinning out of control is when the Republicans start using the "Clinton did it, so it must be alright" defense.......
Now that's scary!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

what is wrong with this picture?

George in Guatamala, and yes, I should have known better, but I couldn't help myself!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Who is Francois Bayrou?

The alleged "third man" in the French Presidential Race. Today he is even in the polls with Segolene Royal, both at 24%. He has a very strong chance of taking votes from the Left and if the race was between him and Sarkozi in the second round, would prbably win as being the better of two bad choices.
I'm very willing to say that his rise is due more to Frances misogynistic views on having a woman President than to his own abilities, but then again he has manuvered himself into this position against strong winds!
He was born in 1951 in the Bearn Region of Southwest France, near Lourdes. He has told people that he had a vision of the holy virgin when he was 12 , who told him that one day he would be President of France. He is from a very hardworking farming family and took over the family farm at 20 when his father was killed in a farming accident. At the same time, he was a Latin teacher. As a young man, he overcame a debilitating stutter by reciting poettry in front of a mirror. This story is uused to described his will power and self discipline.
He still makes much of his country farming origins and still lives in the village of Borderes, where he was born. Now he raises horses.
He entered politics in 1979 under the wing of Valery Giscard D'Estaing, whose UDF Party was a coalition of Pro-European and Christian groups and offered a centrist right alternative to the Gaullism of Jacques Chirac. He has served as member of the national assembly since 1986 and Education Minister between 1993 and 1997 in governments that were formed under Chiracs RPR Party. In 1998, he became the UDF party president and ran for president of France in 2002, garnering 6.8% of the vote.
In 2002, a majority of UDF deputies defected and joined Chiracs newly formed UDF Party, now headed by Sarkozi. Bayrou refused to give up his independance and held on to his party and 30 Deputies.
He is outwardly a mild soft spoken man who speaks in platitudes. That seems to be much of his appeal, he appears uncomplicated and simple. Inwardly, he is a determined fighter who has struggled to attain the position he has and keep it.
In this campaign, he has criticized the Socialists for "out of date" policies and Sarkozi of being too far right. He has tried to woo the Left by claiming that he would appoint a Socialist as Prime Minister, but the candidates he has mentioned have all strongly denied that they would be interested and are demanding that he lay his cards on the table as far as his leftist tendencies go. He also states that he would be like Italys' Prodi, forming a coalittion of Right and Left. He has gotten a lot of attention and probably a few polling points in his claims that the media too early turned this election into a two party campaign and he was excluded.
He is a father of six and a practising Catholic. He has also written a very good biography of Henry IV, the king of France after the Wars of Religion who came from the Bearn and was probably the most competent king France ever had.
As I said above, his current jump in the polls represent to me, Frances hemming and hawing about electing a woman. He certainly has gotten very far with out a major policy statement, just speeches about uniting left and right and reaching out to the Islamic community.
I would be very surprised, given the volatile nature of this campaign, that this surge in his popularity is sustained. Sarkozi has more to fear from him than Segolene does. I think that if it played out to Bayrou against Segolene in the second round, she would win. If it was Bayrou/Sarkozi....I think Bayrou would squeak in!
My analysis of his personality was formed from a news cast I saw one day about 2 weeks ago. He was on a train being interviewed and there was an American woman reporter who started to ask questions in bad French. He stopped her and answered in English that she could interview him in English. So she did and it was immediately obvious that he couldn't speak English. He belives he can do something and is always astonished when he can't.
LePen is lurking in thte shadows at 17% and still hasn't gotten his 500 mayoral signatures to be an official candidate.

And while they are at it.....

Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites - which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles - would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

While they are at it, could they say a few prayers for us too?


Here is some more Grolandais humor. The solution to outsourcing for the pizza industry.
If you speak French, well, it might help, but it's pretty self explanatory.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

White House of Dark Shadows II

The President stared blankly at nothing in mid air. Reduced to a state somewhere between life and death, he heard the shuffling of the mindless zombies in the hallway, moving stacks of papers, some falling to the ground and being trampled by the
undead staff who were mumbling incoherently. The demonic vice president had been banished to his lair. His appearances in public had become confused, his image before the camera blurred and out of focus. His dark aura was leaking after the capture and defanging of his pet, the evil imp Libbey. The dismissed prosecutors were beginning to turn on the Attorney General and his pentangular amulet of power was beginning to crack.
The Presidents undead zombie wife Laura was beginning to smell a bit in public and there was nothing that seemed to disguise the scent of rot. She stared fixedly into cameras, unblinking and mindlessly repeated the mantra "Things are getting better, why do they only report the bad things that happen in Iraq? Things are getting better........Things are....gettting....better....."
There was only one thing left to do and the undead zombie president reached for the special lever installed inside his desk. It was time to....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jean-Marie Le Pen

The dark side of the French psyche. How can a man who wants to pardon the
Nazi Collaborators of WW2, denies the Holocaust and tells the French that things
were'nt so bad under the Germans think he can be president?
He was born in La Trinite-sur-Mer in 1928, the son of a fisherman who was killed
when his boat was blown up by a mine. He was raised by the state and studied law.
He joined a political association, Association corporative des etudiantes en droit, a society of right wing law students and became its president. The main occupation of the association was to engage in street brawls against the "Cocos" (communists).
He was excluded from the organization in 1951 for assaulting an abbot while drunk.
After graduating, he joined the Foreign Legion and went to Indochina where he arrived just as the war ended. Then he went to Suez and arrived after tthe cease fire.
He was then sent to Algeria as an intelligence officer. He was accused of torture and tried to sue, but he lost case as Le Monde was able to produce victims, witnesses and the actual knife he used as evidence during the trial.
He then returned to Paris and studied law. He was married in 1960 and had three daughters. The youngest, Marine, is the public face of the Front National today.
The two other daughters are estranged from him. His marriage broke up rather messily in 1986 and his wife posed nude in Playboy after the divorce to ridicule him.
In 1977, a very wealthy alcoholic royalist scion of the Lambert cement companty died and left Jean-Marie approximately 5 million Euros as well as his castle in Saint Cloud which was once owned by Madame Pompadour. The exact nature of what compelled Lambert to make this donation will never be known. In the early 1980's, his security was assured by the KO International Company, a subsudy of VHP Security Firm and a known front for the SAC, (Civic Action Service) the Gaullist organization in charge of shady actions, which employed many figures from organized crime and the far right movements.
When he was 28 years old, he began his political life with a project to help the victims of the disastrous flood in the Netherlands in 1953. He became popular enough to become the youngest member of the National Assembly as a member of the UDCA.
He was involved in the campaigns of right wing figures through the 50's, engaging in bully tactics of intimidation and attacks. In 1958, he was beaten in a street battle and claimed that he lost his left eye in the beating. One of his victimization lies, he was injured in his right eye and lost the left a few years later to an infection.
In 1965, he was involved in another far right presidential campaign and part of the platform was the rehabilitation of WW2 Collaborationists, because as they put it, "It was too easy for DeGaulle to stay in London and direct the resistance when the collaborationists were in France dealing with the Nazis"
He lost his seat in the assembly because of his far right views and positions in 1961.
He started a music publishing company, SERP which published Trade Union, Front National and Nazi music. The firm was condemned in 1968 for "apology of war crime and complicity" for its diffusion of Third Reich songs.
In 1972, he founded the Front National with an assortment of Vichy nostalgists, Catholic Fundamentalists and neo nazi pagans. He presented himself for president in 1974 for the first time. His flat in Paris was dynamited. He was in his castle at the time.
He never got his 500 signatures in 1981 to run against Mitterand. Since then, he has run in every election and has managed to take advantage of the economy and established a power base in the Provence. He ran and won election to the European Parliament and was stripped of his seat when he physically assaulted a female delegate in 2003. During this period, he has been prosecuted and fined on three separate occasions for making statements that denied the existance of the Holocaust. Last year he shocked France by saying that life under the Germans wasn't that bad.
In the 2002 election he shocked the world by defeating Lionel Jospin in the first round of the election and there was a runoff against Chirac. The refrain was "vote for the crook, not the fascist!"
So after 6 years, he's running again. back in the 80's he was so reviled that he could not travel with out needing police protection. He seems to have been rehabilitated simply by the process of the banalization of celebrity. People vote for him as a protest, out of ignorance and fear. He plays on the fears of the rural and poor urban French and their fear of a country that has a huge Arab population. He persecutes homosexuals and has called for the creation of camps for AIDS victims. He makes promises of self reliance with out ever spelling out programs. He is able to make himself ever the victim. Even now, he does not yet have his 500 mayoral signatures to run and he blames every one for the problem. He was caught bribing a mayor last week. The problem is, Sarkozi thinks he needs him to win. LePen is the wild card as far as numbers go. Will his candidacy hurt Sarkozy or Segolene? It depends on which projections you listen to. Sarkozys' camp seems to think that they need him to diffuse Bayrou, so yesterday, Sarkozi made his mild mannered luguubrious statement that he would help LePen get his signatures for the sake of Frances' healthy democracy.
What utter hypocrisy!
I want to credit, the great cartoonist for the Guardian-Observer, Steve Bell for the cartoon illustration.


Why am I thinking about Sun Ra lately? I listened to his piece Friendly Galaxies from a live album from the early 70's and it still is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. Here is a short clip from his unreleased 1974 movie, Space Is The Place, called "Calling Planet Earth". I got to see him play a number of times. I saw him play with the MC5 in Detroit in the late 60's...the influence on the MC5 was great, they recorded and performed a number of Ra pieces translated from the Arkestra big band to Big Electric Rock Monster Music! One of the best Ra performances I saw was a 6 hour marathon New Years Eve Show in a small club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about the time they were making Space Is The Place and they performed the music. Sun Ra played an hour of free form mini moog noise...a trip to heaven and to hell and then the band did a set of straight Fletcher Henderson big band charts that Sun Ra had transcribed. His first big gig was playing and transcribing for Fletcher Henderson. Sun Ra has been dead since 1993, but his music still lives beyond the future....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

White House of Dark Shadows

Sometimes I want to write on a subject and befor I start typing, everything I thought I knew about it is old news. Quite a few times I've wanted to say something about the firing of Federal Prosecutors by the Justice Department. The entire thing smelled rotten from the first word of it last month. Then there was the avoidance and arrogance defense by the Attorney General, when they become arrogant, you know something really wrong! Now it seems the White House has changed it's line twice in the last 24 hours. Congress is holding hearings and subpoenas are being issued to the fired prosecutors. Hours ago, the Director of the Executive Office for US Attorneys, Mike Battle, resigned. He was the Justice department official who personally informed the prosecutors that they were being let go. Many of the prosecuutors were let go in the midst of investigations and cases. The White Houses line that they were not efficiently pursuing the Presidents agenda is looking pretty murky in view of the fact that some were pursuing cases of corruption. Republican Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico is being investigated over claims that he contacted now fired Prosecutor, David Iglesias of Alburqueque before the November elctions to spur him into prosecuting a case he was investigating concerning a Democrat. Iglesias wouldn't cooperate and now he is fired. Domenici first claimed that he had never had contact with Iglesias and denied everything in spite of the fact that Iglesias told the story of the attempt to pressure him. Now tht the case is getting serious and is documented, Domenici is starting to crack.
This is another major scandal that will lead to the Attorney General, who should be impeached on a number of grounds. How many times has he lied blatantly to Congress in the last few months any way? It won't stop there. it will lead ultimately to George Bush and his immature junior fascist style of governing.
The biggest fear I have is that all of these scandals breaking around George are going to force him to create the crisis that will shut out all the noise...he will attack Iran just to create more chaos. One thing he knows how to do is to exploit chaos and fear to consolidate his hold on power.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Les Oeufs Windows

Here's another piece from Groland, the fake news, the fake country, the fake hair.
Notice Mr. Moustic's new look, like Sarkozi, he has changed!
This should work well with out knowing French if you have issues with Microsoft!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Olivier Besancenot

Olivier Besancenot, 32 years old and spokesman of the LCR (Ligue Communiste Revolutionnair). He was born April 18, 1975 in Levallois-Perret, a suburb of Paris.
His father was a teacher and scholar of psychology.
He studied history at the University of Paris X in Nanterre and since 1997 has been a Postal Worker in the Paris region. He is one of three spokespersons for the LCR which is a the French part of the international Trotskyite group, United Secretariat of the Fourth International. He defines himself as a revolutionary and an "altermondialiste" and cites Rosa Luxembourg and Che Guevara more often than Trotsky.
Hiis involvement in Left wing politics began at the age of 14 when he joined the Revolutionary Communist Youth in 1988. When he was studying history, he formed a trade union at the Shopi Supermarket chain where he worked. In 1991, he joined the LCR and since 1997, a member of the Sud-PTT Trade Union. In 1999 and 2000 he took a break from his postal job to work as a parliamentary aide to Alan Krivine in the European Parliament. In 2000 and 2001 he participated in the World Social Forum in Porto Allegro.
He first gained national attention when he ran for president in 2002. At 28, he was the youngest man ever to run for the office. He ran on an openly socialist revolutionary platform and was able to earn 1.3 million votes, almost 5 % of the total vote! Among the youth, under 25 he had almost 14% which beat both Jospin and LePen.
Since the beginning of his campaign he has used the slogan, "Nos vies valent plus que leurs profits!" (Our lives are worth more than their profits!) and has campaigned for a further redistribution of wealth, an increase in the minimum wage, prohibition of layoffs from profitable companies and a taxation of the profits from capitalist speculation.
He has written 2 books, both best sellers, Tous est a nous, in 2002
and Revolution(100 mots pour changer le monde)
He is an energetic campaigner, a brilliant debater with facts to back up his arguments at the tips of his fingers. He has been deadly when paired with far right representatives in discussions on Television, devastating them with his command of facts and statistics. He has another weapon, a truly friendly charm. He recently polled as one of the best liked public figures in France. He certainly has the talent and ability to explain revolutionary Trotskyite doctrine in way that would sound reasonable to your mother. I personally like Olivier a lot as a candidate. I think he is another voice who injects needed emphasis on workers issues and makes the other candidates focus on these concerns. I think he will do better than 2002. There is the possibility that he could draw voters away from the Socialists. He has stated a number of times recently that he is more tthan pleasantly surprised by the positions Segolene Royal has taken lately. On the other hand, I don't picture him living in Elysee Palace if he were president, I think he would stiil want to be delivering the mail....


This is a sketch from one of my favorite televisions shows. I now have an official Grolandais Passeporte. Yes, I know there is unreasonable, senseless violence and cursing, sorry, okay?

Phillipe de Villiers

I've covered some of the lesser known candidates of the left for the French Presidential Race, now let's look at a candidate from the right, extreme right....
Phillipe de Villiers or his full name, Phillipe Le Jolis de Villiers de Saintignon.
He was born March 25, 1949 in Boulogne to a family raised to the nobility in 1565. He is a member of the European Parliament and is a staunch traditionalist conservative Catholic who firmly opposes the European Union and is fiercely anti immigration.
In 1981, he resigned his post as a sub prefect rather than serve under Socialist President Mitterand. He served briefly from 1986-87 as junior Minister of Culture in Chiracs second government.
He leads his own Conservative party named the Mouvement pour la France, which has enjoyed some successes in the elections for the European Parliament. None the less, the parties membership has declined in the last 5 years. He was the first to use the phrase, "Polish Plumber" in referring to the loss of jobs to cheaper immigrant labor.
He launched his 2007 presidential bid and is using what he considers the rapid Islamization of France as his key issue. A poll in 2006 gave him a 37% approval rating as far as people saying they had a good opinion of him.
Because of his views on immigration and the effects of immigrant culture in France, his main rival is Jean-Marie LePen of the Front Mational and they are involved in a confrontation with LePen accusing de Villiers of stealing precious signatures away from mayors that should have gone to him. As usual, the fights are the loudest between rival far right groups.
He has a large family and promotes his fervent Catholic faith. His family has been connected with the radical conservative banned Catholic Cardinal LeFevre and the conservative Catholic Movement that clandestinely operates out of remote monasteries.
His brother is a lawyer who has defended Vichy government officials.
There has been scandal in his family, in 2006, his eldest son, Guillame was indicted for raping his younger brother, Laurent 15 years ago. de Villiers claims that this is a conspiracy against him for political reasons.
What will he accomplish in this election? Can he take votes from LePen? He is a boring, effete publiuc speaker and his charisma eludes me, perhaps he appeals to a conservative portion of the French who still believe in the nobility.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Night Fuck Sarko!

Let's keep it real! Here's a few moments from a live concert in the middle of Toulouse by the most popular rap artist in France today, a 26 year old Buerre (Algerian/Urban French) girl named Diam's. If you can't speak French, well, pick up on the energy! This is an extract from a piece called La Bouille and the refrain is Fuck Sarko! Sarkozy, even if he managed to get elected, could never govern France. He's the problem and these kids are the future!
To put Diam's in perspective, she is a tough young feminist, very political, very much anti violence and fights against the repressive male culture of the Banlieus. Extremely intelligent, one of the new generation of political literary rappers. She is being haeled as a great French poet!


The second in the series of profiles of the French Presidential Candidates, today we
look at Arlette Laguiller, or as she is known to most French voters, Arlette.
She was born on March 18, 1940 at Les Lilas, Seine-Saint-Denis. In 1968, she joined Lutte Ouvriere and led a strike against the Credit Lyonnaise that turned into a major strick by the workers in the banking industry in 1974.
Since 1973, she has been the spokes woman, best known leader and perrenial presidential candidate for the LO (Lutte Ouvriere) Party. She is a French Trotskyist and is commited to the cause of communist workers revolution.
She has run for president in every election since 1974 and this in 2007 will be her 6th and final run. During most of the races, she has been the only female candidate.
She has been a tireless worker, dedicated to workers rights and has accomplished a lot inspite of the fact that the once powerful French Communist Party is rapidly shrinking. The French Communist Parties are a Far left coalition which have been very instrumental in effecting social change and were the back bone of the Resistance against the German Occupation in WW2. One of the main reasons DeGaulle finally got the Americans to divert to Paris was to help dislodge the Communists from forming the first post war government .
She is a great speaker and a real humanist, greatly loved for her warmth which comes through in her personal appearances. She lives simply, being head of the party is not a well paying job, has no car. She is out on the streets doing her own postering and personally meeting and talking to people everyday. Never the less, she is able to influence the direction of social action and in the last election was able to still command 6% of the overall vote. In her own way, she is a legend, an inspiration and the bearer of a great tradition of Social humanism.


From reading the frequency of times I post on certain subjects, you would have to guess that I am obsessed with Dick Cheney. I suppose I am, but it's his fault....
How are we supposed to react and interpret to the latest restriction he has put on reporters on Airforsce 2 covering him. As of yesterday, he directed that he could not be referred to as Vice President anymore but rather as Senior Administration Official.
Just thinking about the implications is too bizarre! Here is a report from yesterday:

Interview of a Senior Administration Official by the Traveling Press
Aboard Air Force Two
En Route Muscat, Oman

3:07 P.M. (Local)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The reason the President wanted me to come, obviously, is because of the continuing threat that exists in this part of the world on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border -- a threat to Afghanistan, clearly, in our efforts there, the Taliban, cross-border operations; a threat to Musharraf and his government. There were something like seven or eight suicide bombings in the last week or two in Pakistan. And obviously also, the threat to the homeland from the standpoint of operations and activities of al Qaeda in this part of the world -- for example, you go back to the airliner plot last fall, second generation Pakistani militants living in the U.K., but with ties back in al Qaeda areas along the Pakistan-Afghan border. So we've all got an interest, obviously, in trying to address those issues.

Let me just make one editorial comment here. I've seen some press reporting says, "Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them." That's not the way I work. I don't know who writes that, or maybe somebody gets it from some source who doesn't know what I'm doing, or isn't involved in it. But the idea that I'd go in and threaten someone is an invalid misreading of the way I do business.

In the above interview, the Vice President refused to let himself be identified as the vice president, but in the opening, referred to himself by name in the first person.
What is the logic of this?
Is it his obvious contempt for the press and his power to extort stupid agreements?
Or, is it a petty demand of a tyrant to never let his name pass anyones lips, like the Emporor Hirohito who forbade commoners to speak his name or look him in the face?
As a puublicly elected servant of the American people this is just plane bizarre, megalomaniacal and contemptuous..
Entire sections of the planet have gone to hell in a handbasket directly because of him and his arrogant selfish mad policies. This is just a symptom of the murderous psychosis that lies behind those beady eyes.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

French Politics 101

Let's try to get aquainted with the various candidates running for president in the upcoming elections in France. I've written about Segolene Royal, Francois Bayrou and Nicola Sarkozi because they are the front runners from the biggest parties, but there is a big spectrum of candidates out there, all with different issues and priorities.
Today we will get to know Jose Bove! You might have heard his name in the USA. He is one of the leading anti mondialist voices in the world today.
He was born in 1953 in Talence, France outside of Bordeaux and spent his early childhood in Berkely, California where his parents were researchers at the University.
He speaks fluent English. When he came back to France, he went to a Jesuit School in Paris where he was expelled for his political views and was the 60's!
He was a pacifist and fled the army.
He moved to Larzac on the plateau in the south central region of France and became a dairy farmer and produced Roquefort Cheese. The army tried to appropriate lands there and he and a group of farmers resisted and won!
In 1987, he founded the Confederation Paysanne, a agricultural union of small farmers that placed value on humans, the environment promoting organic farming. One of his main crusades is against genetically altered plants introduced by agro industry.
He is a member of Greenpeace, and the anarchist organization, Alternative Libertaire.
He worked with the American small dairy farmers to help them organize and is considered a hero by many small farmers in the midwest USA.
In 1999, in Millau, France, he and a group of protestors non violently "dismantled" a McDonalds in broad daylight. This action was a protest spotlight to the use of imported hormone treated meat and the fact that the fast food industry is one of the main buyers and promoters of the productivist agricultural system.
He was arrested, tried and sentenced to three months in prison which he served in 2002. This made him into a bigger celebrity and brought attention to his causes.
The next year, in protest to Americas restrictions on the import of Roquefort Cheese, due to the EU's ban on American hormone treated beef, and the effect it was having on the small producers in France, he smuggled 30 kilos of Roquefort into the USA in his luggage.
He is very active in world peasant movements. He states that he is not against the WTO, but is against the unfairness of the restrictions and subsidies that allow larger, wealthier countries to out produce and under sell poorer ones.
He was present at the WTO Protests in Seattle and has been active in destroying genetically modified crops in Brazil.
He also has been accused of Anti-Semitism, not for any anti jewish statements he has made, but because he supports the struggle of the Palestinians and visited Arafat against the protests of the Israelis when Arafat was being confined in his headquarters. When he came back to France, there were confrontations of pro Palestinian and pro Israeli supporters when his plane landed. He further fueld the controversy by stating that he believed that The Mossad was behind some of the wave of Synagogue burnings in Europe to keep the Pro Israeli sentiments high!
He was very active in the opposition in the Referendum of the EU Constitution last year.
In France he has been convicted three times of destruction of fields of genetically altered crops and has served another sentence and was recently sentenced again to another 3 months in prison. Because of this he was refused entry into the USA for "moral reasons" last year.
On February 1, of this year, Jose Bove had 40,000 signatures and a demand from his supporters to run for president. He says he is the voice of those who have no voice.
He considers himself a part of the new left movement and is part of a coalition to defeat the right and far right which have a toe hold in the rural population here after the evaporation of support for the traditional Communist Party.
He is very active, a charismatic, likable man and he will continue his campaign if his current appeal fails from inside prison! What ever you think of him and his chances for success, he is man of conviction who has fought heroically for what he believes in!