I guess it's no wonder that Dumbya's kitty boo-boo and nakedy pics had to dominate the national AND local U.S. news coverage (so to speak) recently as we now have finally been let in on about what to expect when we get those next reports of the big explosions in Iraq.
Shock and awe, indeed.
And . . .
“We got what we had coming,” wrote Rep. Eric Cantor in his book “Young Guns” in 2010. He was referring to the drubbing his party took in the 2006 Congressional elections.*
If only it were a done deal.
Milestones in Shamelessness
Thank You Mr. Bush
This is nothing less than an inevitable continuation of Bush's War, a war we lost by starting it.
. . . Al Qaeda, as we were warned, is now bigger, uglier, more insanely brutal and about to take over in Iraq. Thank you Mr. Bush although you'll have to share the ignominy with Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, inter alia. This is the world you have given us along with an America too divided and self-hating to pay its bills and maintain itself.
We stay up nights listening to lies, inflated or invented scandals and hating each other for it. We install depraved religious idiots, fascists, anarchists, separatists, denialists and bigots in the legislature while slandering, libeling the president and thwarting every effort to deal with the mess the Republicans left us.
Thank you for uniting Syria and Iraq under the flag of death, for destroying any hope that this new century might be better than the old one. Thank you for bringing back the spectre of nuclear war in the middle east, for giving Iran and other nearby countries a good reason to build nukes. Thank you so much.
Amid Continuing Crisis, Russia Cuts Off Ukraine’s Natural Gas
Have you been wondering what's really going on in the eastern Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia (not to mention the ensuing and heading-off-a-deep-clifting Civil War in Iraq)?
It's been pretty hard to find an unbiased rendering of it so far and this little tidbit from last year's brou-ha-ha about the abandonment of French citizenship by Bardot and Depardieu gives us an interesting gateway to an entirely different explanation** of what's been going on since the debt explosion of the 70's (and that so much more's going on over there than we'll ever be told by our government-owned-and-occupied media). Don't overlook the comments. They are worth their weight in foreign degrees.
By now we probably have all seen the footage of French actor Gerard Depardieu proudly showing his Russian passport and most of us have also heard reports about French actress Birgitte Bardot declaring that she will leave France in disgust and also ask for Russian citizenship. Does any of that matter? Depardieu was angered by a comment made by a French minister who condemned his move to Belgium to avoid paying high taxes, as for Bardot, her wrath was triggered by the fact that French authorities have decided to put down two elephants in the Lyon zoo rather than treat them for tuberculosis. Taxes, elephants and movie stars, hardly something worth spending much time on.
There is much more to this than meets the eye.
First, all this is taking place while the European media is replete with general anti-Russian hysteria and especially vicious Putin-bashing articles. Behind all this there is a powerful constellation of big money interests which include Boris Berezovsky, of course, but also the business partners of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, top officials of BP Oil and Gaz and MI6, Chechen and Israeli mobsters and key members of the Russian "non-systemic opposition" (i.e. those parties which could not even get a single representative elected to the Duma: folks like Boris Nemtsov, Valeria Novodvorskaya, Aleksei Navalnyi, Ksenia Sobchak, etc.) and Georgian intelligence agents. To say that Depardieu and Bardot are swimming against the stream is an understatement.
Second, both stars have added insult to injury by not only heaping praise both on Russia as a country and a real democracy, but especially praising Vladimir Putin himself.
The "new Russian" Depardieu
Third, and this is extremely important and yet almost totally overlooked by most commentators, it would be difficult to find a bigger contrast then between Depardieu and Bardot. No, I don't mean the looks, I am referring to the fact that Depardieu comes from a Communist family and still considers himself as a Communist whereas Brigitte Bardot has very strong connections to the French national right, the National Front, and Jean Marie Le Pen personally. And yet, for all their differences, they both looked to Putin's Russia as a viable alternative to what is taking place in their native France.
Lastly, this is happening against the background of a huge, truly unprecedented economic, social and political crisis in Europe which will probably see the collapse of the Euro and possibly part of the EU. In France specifically, a total loser was elected as President - Francois Hollande - whose nickname inside his own socialist party was, forgive the crude expression, "limp dick" (the French Socialists had planned for years to present Dominique Strauss-Khan as their candidate, an man of immense personal charisma and intelligence, but whose inability to control his sexual impulses made him a perfect target for a discreditation operation by agents of the US and British banking interests).
Why does all this matter? Because Depardieu and Bardot are but the tip of an iceberg of Europeans totally disgusted with what is taking place in their country and who are looking towards Russia as much more than just a "somewhere else" - they could have easily picked far less controversial countries such as Switzerland, Iceland, Monaco or even Costa Rica or Thailand. It is absolutely clear that both actors picked Russia because, unlike the other countries I mentioned, Russia is a *political alternative to the EU*, a country which dares to openly defy the European political elites. By their choice of Russia, Depardieu and Bardot gave a direct slap in the collective face of the European elites.
Bardot as Marianne
It is important to realize the immense symbolical weight that the names Depardieu and Bardot have in France. Both of these actors are in a very direct way national symbols. Take Bardot, for example, not only was she considered for years as an international sex-symbol but she was actually used as a model for Marianne, the French symbol for Liberty. As for Depardieu, not only is he universally considered as the most talented French actor alive, he is also a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur and a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite.
As for Russia and France, these two countries always have had a very strong, if complex, relationship. This relationship began in 11th century when the Russian Princess Anna of Kiev married the French King Henri i and eventually ruled France as the Regent and Queen for her son Phillip I. Ever since the relationship between Russia and France has always been very strong, to the point that even Napoleonic wars paradoxically ended up strengthening them (both sides very much admired each other).
General de Gaulle
During World War II, I would argue that France was the only real ally of the Soviet Union (if only because both the British and the US were busy planning various types of military attacks on the USSR and even holding secret negotiations with the Nazis up to the very last days of the war). Finally, General de Gaulle, arguably the most important French political figure of the 20th century, always tried hard to strengthen the alliance between the Soviet Union and France until he was overthrown by a revolution in May of 1968 organized by a cabal of Anglo-Jewish bankers who replaced the patriotic de Gaulle by George Pompidou, an ex-Director General of the Rothschild Bank, who proceeded to immediately subordinate France to Anglo-Jewish financial interests (see for example the infamous "Rothschild Law" - Google translated) and May 68 became the prototype for all the future Anglo "color-coded" revolutions.
De Gaulle was overthrown, but he left behind a powerful and uniquely French ideology called "Gaullisme" which is a mix of strong and independent patriotism in foreign affairs and social solidarity inside France. While this ideology has been comprehensively betrayed by the officially 'Gaullist' parties, it is still very much alive in the French collective memory and, in particular, amongst the supporters of the influential French dissident Alain Soral.
The "defection" of personalities such as Depardieu or Bardot very much feed into what I would call an "underground Gaullism" which is seeing a strong rebirth in large segments of the French society. At the core of it is a comprehensive rejection of the Anglosphere's attempt to rule the planet, a rejection of the current international financial system (WTO/WB/IMF/EU/NAFTA/etc.) imposed by international banking cartels and a fundamental rejection of both internationalism and capitalism, seen as two sides of the same coin.
This is, of course, very similar to what we could refer to as "Putinism" even though Putin himself still goes out of his way not to overly antagonize the Anglosphere (if only because Russia is not strong enough yet to do so). This French attraction to Russia is thus very natural.
The rest of Europe is, however, unlikely to join into this phenomenon. Northern Europe, from Germany to the Scandinavian peninsula, is firmly under the control of the Anglosphere. Central Europe, being even more spineless and intellectually dull, has turned into a confederation of US banana republics, and only in southern Europe is there a strong sense that something has gone terribly wrong and that new ideas are needed (hence the economic warfare waged by the international banking system against countries such as Greece, Spain or Italy).
Still, France is the country of revolutions par excellence and arguably still the intellectual powerhouse of Europe. France has the potential to become a trend-setter if it decides to do so. It therefore shall be very interesting to see if the Depardieu-Bardot phenomenon will remain a one-time-only event, or if other signs of a growing Franco-Russian bond will begin to emerge.
** This is also the opinion of Michel Rocard who believes that this law "prohibits the State to finance without interest at the bank of France" and forced to "go to finance the private financial market 4 or 5% ".
Critics, (such) as Emmanuel Todd, even consider that the debt is illegitimate and should not be reimbursed ,.
Read about the 1973 law (click link for translation) that changed the debt source and quotient for the French.
Does that date trigger any remembrances for you? (Hint: Nixon, gold standard, Watergate (not having a clue about . . .), etc.)
Not that there was anything wrong with that. - Seinfeld
The debate on this law has become very popular on the Internet. It was notably (used) by Étienne Chouard which prefaced the book of anti-globalization essayist André-Jacques Holbecq, Public Debt, A Profitable Business, published in 2008.
Without naming the "1973 Act" the web documentaire Money Debt also criticizes the fact that the States borrow money and pay interest when they could create money. Étienne Chouard's Money Debt, and both cite also the American equivalent of the 1913 Act on the Federal Reserve.
Gabriel Galand and Alain Grandjean , members of the "Unemployment and Money" Association, founded in 1992, denounced this law in a book in 1996. This is also the reading of Pierre Khalfa.
Several French political parties have expressed their criticism of this law in their program for the 2012 presidential election. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan this fact in his book The Sting of the Century. He says: "How can we agree to have transferred money creation to the private sector, that is to say, the private banks? [...] Is it normal to build a highway to fund broadband, to borrow 3% to banks or bonds while the public central bank lends to 1%? [...] Even as we could, as France has done until '73 [...] finance at an affordable rate our public facilities?
And there are lots of other sources on how and why we have such tremendous (and (somewhat) secretly initiated) debt burdens.
It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown – Where They Hid Our Civic Treasure and How We Can Get Our Hands On It
And just for fun on this lovely almost-Summer day:
* In truth, however, both Cantor’s attitude circa 2010 and his sudden downfall last week were part of a long-running and basically unchanging Republican melodrama. The clash of idealism and sellout are how conservatives always perceive their movement, and what happened to Eric Cantor is a slightly more spectacular version of what often happens to GOP brass. That right-wing leaders are seduced by Washington D.C., and that they will inevitably betray the market-minded rank-and-file, are fixed ideas in the Republican mind, certainties as definite as are its convictions that tax cuts will cure any economic problem and that liberals are soft on whoever the national enemy happens to be.
And so the movement advances along its rightward course not directly but by a looping cycle of sincerity and sellout in which the radicals of yesterday always turn out to be the turncoats of today; off to the guillotine they are sent as some new and always more righteous generation rises up in their place.
It is the logic of the French Revolution, only nowadays these cycles of idealism followed by betrayal (and then by idealism again) drag us always in a reactionary direction. The New Right in the 1970s dismissed Nixon-era Republicans as squishes and called for a startling form of conservative purity. The principled president they made possible, Ronald Reagan, had only been in office a few years before conservatives were asking “Why the Reagan Revolution Failed,” to quote the subtitle of a popular 1986 book.
Reagan’s designated successor, George H. W. Bush, bravely challenged the world to read his lips and disappointed the faithful even faster. A few years later the idealistic Freshmen of 1994 arrived on the Washington stage, shaking their fists at the mighty; after a few noble years of shutdowns and defundings and even a bit of impeaching, they too were dismissed as compromisers, this time after one of the greatest outbreaks of corruption the city has ever seen and for which the grinning mug shot of their one-time hero Tom DeLay will stand forever as a symbol.
And let us not overlook George W. Bush, the prayerful leader of a triumphant conservative movement a mere 10 years ago; today he is regarded on the right as an impostor if not some kind of closet liberal. Ditto Karl Rove. Ditto Newt Gingrich. Ditto even Grover Norquist, in some circles.
Then came the Tea Party, dedicated to building a republic of economic virtue and determined to liquidate a host of Republican deviationists; its one-time hero Eric Cantor swiftly became its victim, carted off in a tumbril to meet the fate of Danton. He got what he had coming, as he himself said of the previous generation of faded radicals.
What is it about this pattern that makes it so perfect for modern conservatism? Part of the explanation, as I argued in my book The Wrecking Crew, is simple expediency: Ronald Reagan was a sellout when his poll numbers were bad and an ideological hero when they recovered. George W. Bush may or may not have abandoned his principles (whatever they were), but there is no doubt that he was a lousy president, launching a catastrophic war and staring stupidly in the wrong direction while hurricanes chewed up Louisiana and a real-estate bubble wrecked the global economy. Such a loser could not possibly have been a real conservative.
But there is also something greater in this eternal progression of authenticity and fakeness than sheer opportunism: Sometimes the acts of betrayal that obsess the right really do seem to happen. Consider the case of Eric Cantor. The specific object of his idealistic passion, back in his bang-bang Young Gun days, was small business, which he hailed in glowing terms as the soul of the free-market order and the very opposite of the hated Wall Street bailouts. This was, of course, typical populist posturing of the period. Also typical was the direction Cantor took in reality, becoming such a staunch defender of big business and Wall Street that the stock market actually swooned on news of his defeat.
The man who beat Cantor, a college economics professor named David Brat, simply called him on this blatant reversal. Brat’s shoestring campaign was a market-populist crusade, an uprising against “crony capitalism” and its flesh-and-blood representative, Eric Cantor, friend of the Chamber of Commerce.
“All the investment banks up in New York and D.C., those guys should’ve gone to jail,” this guy Brat said at one particularly inspired moment. “Instead of going to jail, where’d they go? They went onto Eric’s Rolodex.”
Even his stance on immigration was meant as a shot at the tech companies who will benefit in a lopsided way from immigration reform.
Why is it that Republicans are uniquely prone to this cycle of idealism and betrayal? I think the answer is simple: Because free-market idealism is a philosophy that automatically leads to betrayal — and also to misgovernment, and cronyism, and even corruption, as we saw in the DeLay era.
The movement’s greatest idealists often turn out to be its greatest scoundrels — think of Jack Abramoff, or of Oliver North, or (as Rick Perlstein has pointed out) the gang of hard-right purists who signed up to do dirty tricks for Richard Nixon. In truth, there seems to be no real contradiction between conservative morality and following the money; to be a capitalist true-believer is to sell yourself.
Free-market idealism, after all, is about applying market forces to the state. This is what everything from Citizens United to toll-road privatization is all about. To be true to such a principle means respecting incentives, answering the call of money. And it ain’t small business who has the money in Washington these days.
Read on, MacDuff.