Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 08, 2017

The New President Of France ...

The new President Of France ...


... and some youngster receiving her advice.

Posted by b on May 8, 2017 at 5:11 UTC | Permalink

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There's neither another crash coming up, nor a European spring...take my word for it. ;-)
Who cares how high private debt is, as long as its interest rate is 0.0%?

Posted by: smuks | May 12 2017 1:19 utc | 101

@97 pp

well there's not much in that article itself, rather what's there is not very fully developed ... it does have a link to just the 'gemplus' portion of the drop ... but this story The Great SIM Heist, How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle is an amazing one ... it shows how utterly corrupted is everything on the planet to do with communications. and, of course, the cosmodemonic cia is at the bottom of it all.

Posted by: jfl | May 12 2017 1:41 utc | 102

@101 smuks

i'll write that down smuks, on the crash. i'm sure i don't need to remind you that steve keen was on the short list of those acknowledged to have called the great financial collapse of 2008. see how your sop pans out. you seem to have great belief in the ability of tptb to continue to work their will on the world they are so viciously abusing.

on the european spring, if and when the crash does revisit some means of 'redirecting' the rage of ordinary people will be in great demand. tptb tend to stick with "what's worked before" ... even when it hasn't.

i suppose if we all continue to cooperate with tptb they will, in fact, continue to work their will on all of us for some while longer ... until their monster has finally grown beyond their control, and they and we collapse on together on our own in, tribute to our acquiescence in their demonic designs.

and the fed is raising rates, in baby steps.

Posted by: jfl | May 12 2017 1:55 utc | 103

i don't know why the fed would raise rates.. i thought they wanted oodles of money to continue inflating everything - make real assets worthless and paper assets stratospheric... isn't that the idea? these are the kinds of actions i would expect of a 'central banker', lol... claim to be going after inflation, while making inflation a reality and money - worthless..

Posted by: james | May 12 2017 2:17 utc | 104

Pretty much everybody knew a crash was coming prior to 2007, even me as a complete layman. Of course, it was hard (if not impossible?) to tell when and where it would start.
Actually I expected another one in 2012/3, and then again in 2015...but when it just didn't come, I started to question my basic assumptions and see some things differently. TPTB or whatever you want to call 'them' (of which we're all minor parts) aren't stupid and know what political consequences a total collapse would have, so they'll do what's necessary to prevent that. Which means stabilizing and finding ways to stop the growth of the 'monster'/ the financial system. After all, it's just 'money' - and there's no limits to how much of that can be created...

Posted by: smuks | May 12 2017 11:11 utc | 105

Only a select few know what sort of dark art is on The Fed's balance sheet. We're still in the middle of a giant experiment based on a near religious belief in twisted economic theory, these fukkers have absolutely no idea what they are doing.

You're right James, if they are not reinflating & fortifying old bubbles then they creating a great many new ones... with no idea of where these bubbles are because their 'trickle down' monetary dogma entrusts the already wealthy to distribute newly created money throughout the economy.

Meanwhile, every single bet is well hedged as stashed cash sitting in the Caymans will cover the massive contraction that inevitably counters the greatest monetary expansion of all time, buying up assets for pennies on the dollar. Again. Short memories. Or maybe some bought into what was perhaps the greatest fake news of all: The Great Moderation.

This is what the French have voted for, the status quo, the neoliberal golden boy... not that their was a choice mind you, anything and everything non-centrist is considered that reality Le Pen was easy pickings, the best of opponents.

I would love to see a debt jubilee in Europe, however the Mediterranean tells me that it would mean unelected Eurocrats admitting fault. Not going to happen. And so, we must conclude that debt slavery is the aim, thus Q.E.Infinity is the only known answer.

If governments have been subverted and allow the concept of Too Big To Fail or will not break up monopolies and collusion, then it is the responsibility of each and every person to take responsibility for every penny they lay down at a local level and make their money work for their own communities. Ethical, community-minded public banking does exist - just without the retail sized marketing budgets of their offensively obese counterparts.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 12 2017 12:06 utc | 106


I really like your conclusion in the last paragraph, even if I don't agree to anything else you write. :-)

Posted by: smuks | May 12 2017 22:00 utc | 107

@106 madmax2.. thanks.. we are in agreement and i too like your last paragraph especially as it throws out a positive idea of supporting the local community, as opposed to the devolution into corporations calling all the shots, preaching globalism while tearing apart local laws, rules and work meant to protect local communities... walmart could give a fuck about my community.. folks need to get real on the idea of corporations having our best interests at heart.. same deal with the federal reserve and all the central banks happy to play make believe with everyone's life while they make like some front for private finance...

@107 smuks.. like i said before, i never looked into it deeply before about 15 years ago,) but i am sorry - we have been conned royally by the powers that be into a different form of slavery - debt- and it continues to grow into this inflationary madness we are presently in.. one day someone other then speculators are going to be calling the shots.. until then, we're screwed and this greed = war and more war, are going to continue, hopefully not before the planet is completely ransacked... a person wearing a suit working in the financial industry is the last person i would trust to say anything other then a bunch of mumbo jumbo bullshit..

Posted by: james | May 12 2017 23:19 utc | 108

There's this old saying: 'If you owe the bank 100 thousand, you have a problem. If you owe 100 million, the bank has a problem'. Debt becomes meaningless at some point when there's simply too much of it to allow any default.

Posted by: smuks | May 13 2017 22:52 utc | 109

@109 smuks.. i agree. this is the present world we live in where money has become meaningless! making money out of debt makes sense on paper, but it has gotten way out of hand and the planet is suffering from it..

Posted by: james | May 14 2017 5:38 utc | 110

I have been too absorbed in the battle across the channel (the one no one wants to discuss - maybe fear of heartbreak) to take much onboard about the French poll other than the result truly shows the French to be a people of principle.
They knew they were screwed whichever creep won.
Going for the neoliberal would cost everyone dearly especially working people, whereas going for the racist slapper would damage a segment of society & if Le Pen was true to her word which was a big gamble post 100 days of the trumpet, most people wouldn't be screwed over too bad.
The people of France truly demonstrated what a community is by electing to spread the pain rather than foist it off on those of African, Asian & M.E. heritage.
Given that neither pol themselves are people of principle it is likely to be all for the cat, but the people of France are at least trying to make the best of an awful choice - for that they must be commended.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 14 2017 6:03 utc | 111

@111 debs.. i think it was the same deal for the people of the usa, in that most of them felt between a rock and a hard place.. personally i didn't buy the view on le pen being this racist person.. if someone is opposed to immigration they are supposed to be racist? i am not buying that.. why are we such an uprooted people and planet? no one is comfortable to stay in the same place.. now, i understand all the exploitation and how one would want to flee all that, but to my mind the exploitation is being done by the so called first world countries on the other countries where everyone wants to leave... perhaps we could stop the exploitation and more people would want to stay where they were born?

and as for the syrian, libyan, iraqi immigrants - we can thank our wars on their countries for all that, so - yes the west is responsible, so must therefore accept immigration? how about we stop the wars first??

turns out trump in the usa, who did appeal to a good number of racists has made it much more difficult from people of different cultures, according to a philipino friend who was studying in the usa, but is now back in canada due the discomfort and harassment.. apparently things have gotten much worse for 'people who look different' in the usa in the short amount of time trump has taken office..

i think the reason such a large number of people in france voted for le pen is they see what france has become and it doesn't seem like home to them anymore.. i guess folks will call me a racist for saying this now.. i am not buying it, nor am i buying how le pen has been portrayed in the msm.. oh and with this macron dude, we can count on more wars in faraway countries being stamped for the good of the banksters... time will tell and i hope i am wrong..

Posted by: james | May 14 2017 6:30 utc | 112

@105 smuks, 'After all, it's just 'money' - and there's no limits to how much of that can be created... '

Review of Steve Keen’s “Can we void another financial crisis?”

Explaining why today’s debt residue has turned the United States, Britain and southern Europe into zombie economies, Steve Keen shows how ignoring debt [is] the blind spot of neoliberal economics – basically the old neoclassical just-pretend view of the world. Neoclassical’s glib mathiness is a gloss for its unscientific “don’t worry about debt” message. Blame for today’s U.S., British and southern European inability to achieve economic recovery thus rests on the economic mainstream and its refusal to recognize that debt matters.

... the key, to me, lies in realizing the all that 'money' has been loaned into existence. it's all debt. and debt matters ... that's the message of michael hudson above and of steve keen, Can we avoid another financial crisis?. that's also why it seems to me to be essential to return Seigniorage - the exclusive right to freely create money in a given realm - to the sovereign people of that realm and to remove it from the banks. otherwise the miracle of compound interest will kill us all, in a a bit of twist on what keynes is said to have said.

surely it is impossible to forecast with any accuracy the hour and the day when the next crash will come, but it will come, and the numbers in keen's tables look ominous indeed.

Posted by: jfl | May 14 2017 8:36 utc | 113

Ongoing complete recomposition of the Fr political parties: some join the Macron centrist train and others are called zombies by their former colleagues. Non one of course question their age, the fact they already receive multiple pensions in addition to eventual political mandates etc, as a possible factor of the electors loathe (electors who at 50 start hearing they are too old for any job and start living with the social subsidies till their death)
Even the Le Pen family-party is under storm: the niece has announced she quit -temporarily- politics to raise her kid. The people who voted her as their MP and planned to vote her again in a month felt somehow betrayed. The aunt's main help (former Socialist Philippot) announces that if the party stops calling for Frexit he will quit. In the last days before the poll Marine had toned down on this issue realizing that people were afraid of the consequences.

Posted by: Mina | May 14 2017 8:55 utc | 114

|@ Debsisdead | May 14, 2017 2:03:48 AM | 111

Interesting comment. Your 'folks across the channel' are a curious lot, a large majority, for whatever reason, derive some satisfaction, maybe comfort, out of the continuance of the status quo. Historically the island had a profound civil war about two generations before the American Revolutionary War (capitalised due to the mythological sacredness of the event) and was still in the living memory of the Founding Fathers (capitalised for same), from which one can conclude some form of status quo had become institutionalised at that time. Reading modern historical accounts do reinforce such interpretations as that does account for the English government's refusal to accommodate colonial conditions. Little has changed on the British island since, the last real unrest being that of Labour during the inter war period until buried during M. Thatcher's occupation of Downing St. You are unlikely to see those conditions in Britain again anytime soon, no matter how riled the youngsters get on the street.


>>Going for the neoliberal would cost everyone dearly especially working people, whereas going for the racist slapper would damage a segment of society & if Le Pen was true to her word which was a big gamble post 100 days of the trumpet, most people wouldn't be screwed over too bad.
The people of France truly demonstrated what a community is by electing to spread the pain rather than foist it off on those of African, Asian & M.E. heritage.<<

is troubling as it is impossible to tell the difference between actual fact and propaganda spread by the media selling their 'thought product' to persuade and influence the vote in their favour. That also happened in the election U.S. 2016, where 98% of the media used their marketing powers in a filed attempt to put Hillary KKKlinton into the WH; at first to assure the selection of the candidate Hillary ostensibly could easiest prevail over, Trump's costs of publicity during the primaries near nil, followed by a sea-change to an unprecedented 98% media support during the election proper. What part of the Media's story is still credible? About the only defence the public has in such political conditions is to back whichever candidate having the least ability to damage; Trump in the U.S.,(look at his enemies); Le Pen in France, (look at where Macron was supported); and Jeremy Corbin in the UK, (look at efforts to neutralise his political effectiveness); (sorry not familiar enough with recent German politics). Out of what seems to be happening politically, the least likely 'fact' would be the accusation of fascism and xenophobia levelled at Le Pen as evidenced in your statement; please show actual facts that the Russians did anything in that election, I see corporate media behind most bushes instead. YMMV, fair enough.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 14 2017 9:52 utc | 115

On the Macronleaks the French MSM have been really creative (each journalist needs to keep his job in front of the new comers close to the new power who will necessarily appear):
first 48 hours: total blackout apart from a title and no ref to contents 'still being analyzed'; then rare mentions, to say that 'ridiculous fakes'; then start to write article on the financing of the campaign based on the leaks! (to say it's all very legal but borrowed from start-up financial schemes).

Posted by: Mina | May 14 2017 10:04 utc | 116

Any follow-up on the localisation of the printers?

Posted by: Mina | May 14 2017 10:08 utc | 117

@jfl 111

I find some of Keen's points interesting, but this obsession with 'debt' is entirely outdated thinking. There's another saying: 'It's not the stock that matters, but the flow.' - the amount of 'debt residue' is irrelevant as long as it can be serviced, which is always the case if interest is lower than the nominal growth rate and the country has a +/- balanced current account.
Put differently: Debt is ok as long as it doesn't grow much faster than the economy, and is owed within the country *or* in domestic currency. How can a compounded interest of 0% kill us?

The real blind spot of neoliberalism is inequality:
If it gets too extreme, this kills not only demand (and thus growth), but also democracy.
In the US and Britain (and Spain etc. post-2000), real wages have stagnated, so consumers had to take up credits instead to afford all those 'goodies' on offer. If you look at statistics, all these trends started around 1980 with 'Reaganomics': no wage growth, inequality, increasing money supply, growth of the financial sector. And asset bubbles of course - all this credit needs some kind of collateral.

Financialization worked nicely for the 1% for 30 years, but you can only detach the growth of financial 'wealth' from the real economy for so long. Until 2007, more precisely.
Another crash...Central Banks are too afraid of that to happen, so they do 'whatever it takes' to prevent it. And their pockets are deep...

@james 110

Don't forget money and debt are one and the same thing. We're entering a zero interest (or rather: neg. real yield) world, in which entirely different rules apply. There's no 'making money out of debt' anymore, except for a few criminal loan sharks.

Posted by: smuks | May 14 2017 12:48 utc | 118

smuks says:

There's no 'making money out of debt' anymore, except for a few criminal loan sharks

yep, just for the margin scalpers, the scavengers...

and that 'economic growth' is all but over, except for some lingering activity here and there, the jig is up...

so, do the math.

Posted by: john | May 14 2017 15:12 utc | 119

"and that 'economic growth' is all but over, except for some lingering activity here and there, the jig is up..."

Hey, that's my words - how about some royalties? ;-)
I've done the maths, that's why I'm writing what I'm writing.

Posted by: smuks | May 14 2017 15:23 utc | 120


sorry, wasn't directed at you, just reiterating.

'cause it's really the crux of the matter.

Posted by: john | May 14 2017 15:31 utc | 121

@118 smuks, 'Debt is ok as long as it doesn't grow much faster than the economy ...'

but that's exactly keen's point, after a run of growing faster than the economy, the taking on of new debt finally collapses ... and with it the economy, which was running on debt (fumes).

have a look at his table 10 in 2015 - you can sort by the column headings. france, for instance ... as this is the french thread ... has debt growing at 2.1% while gdp is growing at 2.0%. china's private debt grew at 15.1% while gdp grew at 6.8%, italy's private debt 'grew' at -1.3% and its gdp at 0.8%. china's still on a run, france is loosing steam, italy already has. when credit, which has been driving the economy in each case, shrinks it brings about a corresponding shrinkage in gdp ... and then there is no longer a way to deleverage. in a word, quoth keen : japan.

their blindness to debt is what keen argues is the neoclassical economists' outdated thinking ... if it can even be classified as 'thinking' at all. i find keen's exposition much more convincing than the waving of hands of the dominant neoclassicals, or neoliberals, same bunch.

but, no need to argue, we'll see whose views are more nearly correct in the not too distant future.

there's an interview with diana johnstone up that's an interesting read. people are going to realize just who they've elected in france quite soon, it seems.

Posted by: jfl | May 14 2017 15:43 utc | 122

@118 smuks... how do i send you royalties, because i want to quote you too!!!

Posted by: james | May 14 2017 15:48 utc | 123

@112 "i think the reason such a large number of people in france voted for le pen is they see what france has become and it doesn't seem like home to them anymore.. i guess folks will call me a racist for saying this now.. "

Precisely. Say things like that too often and somebody will play the racist card.

I see what's going on in Europe as a generational thing mainly. Forward looking young folk who are happy to be European rather than British, French, Dutch, Italian whatever versus older people clinging to the remnants of national identity.

Posted by: dh | May 14 2017 15:59 utc | 124


i like this quote:

Modern humans first emerged about 100,000 years ago. For the next 99,800 years or so, nothing happened. Well, not quite nothing. There were wars, political intrigue, the invention of agriculture—but none of that stuff had much effect on the quality of people’s lives. Almost everyone lived on the modern equivalent of $400 to $600 a year, just above the subsistence level… Then—just a couple of hundred years ago—people started getting richer. And richer and richer still (link)

Posted by: john | May 14 2017 16:48 utc | 125

@james 112
It's funny how 'immigration control' has become such dirty combination of words in this neoliberal west. What was argued for was not a cease to immigration, but a withdrawal and a new set of rules that better suited a time and region. It's a pretty desperate place when you get heckled as a racist when your platform is sovereignty. Culture matters, and Europe is forgetting itself... if you dont value and respect yourself, don't expect others to value or respect you either.

Your point re: moral obligation of the west to take immigrants is well said as well, seeing the west acts as firestarter. We may acknowledge the moral hazard, though, the media does a pretty good job as blurring how the FRUKUS+turk/gulfies pour funds and fire into theatres of conflict under the guise of 'humanitarian' outfits like the White Helmets.

jfl 122
Yep. Debt saturation, followed debt deflation. Only the thing breaking the stalemate is debt forgiveness or the discovery of a new colony of beings in our solar system who we can sell a mortgage to...that should kick start things.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 14 2017 19:44 utc | 126

Debt saturation, followed *by debt deflation.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 14 2017 19:52 utc | 127

@126 It's to the point where European culture is seen as a negative. Hardly surprising when you keep getting colonialism stuffed down your throat.

Posted by: dh | May 14 2017 20:00 utc | 128

@john 121, james 123

High five - it's the crux indeed, and if more people understand that, it'd be a huge step forward.

@jfl 122

Debt is the basis of investment, and thus of any (capitalist) economy.
Yes, we had 'a run of [debt] growing faster than the economy' from 1980 to 2007, but this doesn't imply that it has to collapse now. It just needs to be stabilized in the current zero-growth-zero-yield state - something that not all CBs and govts (and their donors) have accepted yet.

France has a pretty good economic record, with balanced current account (until recently) and wages growing with productivity. No problem there, nor in China - the worrisome countries are the 'Five Eyes', as the figures for Canada and Australia in the table show quite clearly.

If you want, you can see (excessive) debt and inequality as two ways of looking at the same thing - so a discussion on which is the real 'blind spot' wouldn't even make sense...;-)

Posted by: smuks | May 14 2017 23:02 utc | 129

@129 smuks, 'It just needs to be stabilized in the current zero-growth-zero-yield state - something that not all CBs and govts (and their donors) have accepted yet.'

yeah. the 'zero-growth-zero-yield state' is intimately tied to the 'cashless' society, as we saw so recently in india ... the idea is to tap every transaction on earth in order to keep the 'financial class' satisfied, put them in literally at the ground floor of the new, improved neoclassical economic dispensation. all the money/debt on earth will be theirs, billed out to the rest of us by the nanosecond.

things are not headed in the right direction, smuks. at least not according to my dim lights.

i think you're right about debt and inequality, neither one officially exists according to the neoclassicists. its just 'a way of life' for the leisure class.

Posted by: jfl | May 15 2017 1:00 utc | 130

@124 dh.. good comments.. thanks..

@126 madmax2.. thanks.. i agree fully with all your comments in your post..

@129 smuks.. we agree on the debt issue, but i it more like jfl@130 in being concerned about the direction this is all headed.. seems like a big bubble to me, not based on something real... getting the rest of the planet to believe in a continuation of the same, via a cashless society scares me.. plus, i don't like being tracked for everything. i am one of those weirdos that never uses a bank or credit card for transactions, unless i absolutely have to.. i don't want to be tracked! mind you, i use the internet, lol..

regarding the immigration issue and sovereignty - someone thinking they are more european then the specific country they come from, or in the case of myself, thinking i am a person of the planet, more then i am a canuck.. it is an interesting phenomena... on the one hand i get it, but on another, i think people are being conned into thinking they are being more forward thinking when in fact they are being bamboozled.. work opportunities and wages are going down here in canada... which works great for corporations and shareholders, but not for ordinary people, unless they're in a position to have a financial stake in these corporations - ie - mutual fund holders and pension plans, etc.... those on the outside looking in, are cut out of that and i think this is an increasing number of folks.. i feel we are in and headed towards a different type of slavery with many happy to join in, thinking they're being 'forward' thinking in how they view the changes on the planet...

to me corporations and their power to elect politicians is a slippery downward slop and we have long pasted this point.. same deal letting corporations provide the food and everything else for us.. we are in a dangerous place.. the way forward for me, is to support locally and avoid corporations as much as possible.. idealistic james signing off, lol..

Posted by: james | May 15 2017 1:52 utc | 131

What kind of discussion is possible with 3rd reich nostalgics?
Coming from ppl living mainly in the US it is even more scary, given the record of their behaviour towards the blacks and the history beyond it. You msm might not tell you but a large group of Le Pen voters are white supremacists and 3rd reich nostalgics. Another large group is not but it is a non functional party for this very reason.
Must see: Raoul Peck I am not your negro (new film based on some James Baldwin unpublished writings)

Posted by: Mina | May 15 2017 8:14 utc | 132

@jfl 130

"the idea is to tap every transaction on earth in order to keep the 'financial class' satisfied"

- or rather, that *was* the idea of financialized capitalism, but a zero-growth world doesn't yield enough to satisfy it. So there's basically two ways: 'printing' capital gains until the currency collapses, or questioning why there should be any 'capital gains' if capital is over-abundant.
Cashless...yes and no, only if there's no inflation does cash become a problem.

@james 131

I don't use credit cards etc. either, but a cashless world makes it easier to push real yields negative.

Not sure why you mention immigration, but the fact that economic wealth breeds political power (and uses it to cement its privileges) is a huge problem indeed in our democracy(?). In fact it's something that happens naturally as a society splits into a so-called 'elite' and the common folks, and it prevents the system from renewing itself. Question is where to start tackling that the root (inequality), or at the transmission level (the influence that money can buy)?

Posted by: smuks | May 15 2017 11:04 utc | 133

Posted by: dh | May 14, 2017 4:00:13 PM | 128

There is no 'European culture'. It is an artificial construct like 'European values'.

Cultures are very distinct even within former national entities - to the point of people seriously discussing secession which could happen in Spain, in Britain just the way it happened in Eastern Europe.

If Macron does not manage to stop Schäuble Europe will be dead.

Posted by: somebody | May 15 2017 11:05 utc | 134

add to 134

This is a survey of young people in Germany and Europe

42% identify most with their town or region, 23% with their country, and 24 percent with the world as a whole.

In Europe youth generally identifies most with their town or region (30 percent). Identification with Europe (11 percent) is less than identification with the world (31 percent).

Posted by: somebody | May 15 2017 11:14 utc | 135

@134 @135 sb

and even if the ersatz 'european culture' were real it would be unrelated to the eu, a north american artifact, directed from north america, with the europeans left with only the ability to assent or not to its directives. and their assent is easily bought.

Posted by: jfl | May 15 2017 11:30 utc | 136

@133 smuks ' but a zero-growth world doesn't yield enough to satisfy it ...'

capitalism is predicated on infinite expansion, it cannot exist in a zero-growth world itself. whatever does exist will not be capitalism, if such a zero growth world is possible.

a lot of present day 'winners' are going to have to share their 'winnings' for that to come about.

i agree that both the present gross inequality and the connection between economic and political power have to be eliminated if we're to carry on from here.

Posted by: jfl | May 15 2017 11:35 utc | 137

@134 You may see European culture as an artificial construct. I see a common European heritage in terms of art, music, architecture, philosophy etc. Sure it has become Disneyfied but it exists. Do you also deny the existence of Chinese, African, Maori etc. cultures?

Posted by: dh | May 15 2017 12:47 utc | 138

Remember there's no agreed upon definition of 'culture', so it doesn't make any sense to get into fierce arguments about it. ;-)
(not to mention that what most people call 'culture' is in constant flux, changing all the time...)

Posted by: smuks | May 15 2017 15:25 utc | 139


Mathematically it might even be possible, but it wouldn't be stable imv - plus, it doesn't make sense since 'growth' is its main reason for being. Let's not forget mankind lived in a zero-growth world for millennia, and will again in the future (if there is any future, that is).

Either they share their winnings, or there'll be some changes which make the 'winnings' worthless...what good is a billion $ in a bank account, if you can't invest it and it's value just decreases over time?

Posted by: smuks | May 15 2017 15:31 utc | 140

@139 Very true. However we need words to communicate. Flawed though they may be. Culture is a word. European Culture is two words by which it is generally understood to mean a common European cultural heritage that is found in the geographic region known as Europe.

Somebody will probably be along soon with a different definition.

Posted by: dh | May 15 2017 15:35 utc | 141

'European culture' = 'cultural heritage in Europe' is a tautology ;-)
Depending on how you define it, there may be only one global culture, or multiple cultures within every city and state. And today's 'culture' may be completely different from what it was 25 years ago.

Posted by: smuks | May 16 2017 10:40 utc | 142

| @ Mina | May 15, 2017 4:14:01 AM | 132

Would second your commendation about the new James Baldwin production, his POV is most needed in the Europe facing the massive refugee crisis it is - the accommodation and acceptance of an other as opposed to xenophobia for the stranger. Once I had one of James Baldwin's books where he was propounding the indivisibility of the black and white in 'America'; that they were effectively one people although one part, through fear, had not realised their condition. I don't recall the title and had lent it out and it was never returned. A grave loss for my library of treasured books.

Am not sure about your comments re Le Pen. Not being a francophone, all information is second hand. It does seem a policy is in place to demean that political position and relegate their candidates into extremist shadows. I am incapable of hearing the difference between 'secure borders' as a sovereignty issue as a means of protecting the community as opposed to 'secure borders' as a dog-whistle issue for xenophobia; like a perpetrator lying or an innocent proclaiming, the same words are heard, and I am not, without sufficient information, capable of telling the difference. Since Le Pen is so well loved by MSM for so long, I tend to question the veracity of the medium conveying said stories sans evidence. YMMV

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 16 2017 12:46 utc | 143

@142 No. A tautology expresses the same thing in two different ways. Europe is a region and it has a specific culture which represents the various peoples who live in the area. If 'European culture' is a tautology so is 'global culture' or 'North American culture' or 'Caribbean culture.' Culture is a collective term for human intellectual achievement and can be applied regionally. Of course cultures evolve and change but the definition of culture stays the same. If words have no generally agreed upon meaning language becomes useless. Your turn.

Posted by: dh | May 16 2017 13:13 utc | 144

French President Macron names right-wing PM, meets Merkel to plan austerity and war

The day after his inauguration at the Elysée palace, French President Emmanuel Macron chose a right-wing graduate of the elite National Administration School (ENA) as prime minister, before flying to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Macron plans to use the labor law of his predecessor François Hollande, rammed through the National Assembly without a vote in the face of mass protests and the opposition of 70 percent of the French people, to tear up contracts and social benefits by decree.

While Macron was in Berlin, Edouard Philippe was on the 8pm TV news on TF1 to introduce himself to the French people and lay out the social attacks he is preparing. Concerning Macron’s plans to impose social cuts by decree, he said: “The president of the Republic has committed his authority to this proposal. He explained that it is indispensable to transform the framework of labor legislation. It is very heavy, very complex. It does not protect workers well. We cannot be inactive.”

Macron’s installation of Philippe as prime minister and his close ties to Merkel underscore the bankruptcy of arguments that voters were morally obligated to vote for Macron against the neo-fascist Marine Le Pen in order to oppose nationalism, dictatorship and militarism.

i guess the next milestone in france will be the parliamentary elections in june. this strong follow-up to hollande's dictatorial actions seems to show just who, in fact, was the fascist in the french presidential election.

Posted by: jfl | May 16 2017 22:15 utc | 145

You tried to define 'European culture' by using the words 'European' and 'cultural', which obviously doesn't work. There is no such thing as a definition of 'culture', so all I'm saying is anyone using the word should be aware of that and discuss accordingly. We still have to use words, yes, and in most cases it is obvious what we mean, even if expressions we use aren't really precise. But some terms are notorious battlefields, such as 'nation', 'people', 'culture', 'dictatorship', 'democracy', 'fascism', 'liberty' etc. - using them makes a sober discussion rather difficult...

Posted by: smuks | May 16 2017 22:52 utc | 146

@133 smuks.. yes, and a cashless world is what the banksters want for that reason and more, i am sure.. everything must be tracked! it is what the corporations want! all privacy must be removed.. it is a threat to the corporations and governments dominance of all information and people...

i was only talking about immigration as debs is dead made a comment a few days ago which i responded to, only to be left high and dry as the dude posts infrequently.. it was about the idea that someone who wanted le pen in power must be a racist.. i don't agree with that view, as you will pick up in my commentary since debs left his comment.. i think it is a pressing issue in so far as globalism, or corporatism is a pressing issue.. they want slave labour.. personally i am not in favour of it.. actually regarding culture - i think this same corporate agenda doesn't want any culture other then a 'logo' type culture where you put on your logos showing what corporations you honour.. we have reached a point where young people have no clue the prison they are building for themselves and everyone else.. some of them do..

Posted by: james | May 17 2017 0:16 utc | 147

in ot news... the usa never misses a beat in bullying others with their financial sanctions bullshit... funny how they miss the newly branded al qaeda, but if you are syrian - there is a bullseye on your back, thanks the good ole' us of a..

"US sanctions more Syrian individuals and entities over govt links

The US Treasury has imposed financial sanctions against five individuals and five entities accused of providing support to the Syrian government. The sanctions further target businessman Rami Makhlouf, himself placed on the sanctions list in 2008, by going after his two brothers and a cousin, as well as a Damascus-based charity the US says he owns or controls."

Posted by: james | May 17 2017 0:22 utc | 148

@146 It certainly makes discussion difficult with you. Do you need every abstract concept defined? We discuss things like politics, religion all the time on MOA. I suppose it all depends what you mean by politics and religion.

I think most people have a clear idea what is meant by European culture. They may have their own individual versions but the basic concept is clear. Culture is the intellectual, literature, architecture, music etc. of a particular region, in this case Europe.

Aren't you the guy who didn't want to argue?

Posted by: dh | May 17 2017 0:38 utc | 149

@145 jfl
The grooming of Macron seems immaculate, and highlights how far the DNC got their formula wrong with Clinton 2.0... I mean, ffs, the DNC wrote the modern blueprint for puppet installation with Barry'O (a clever advancement on neolib stooge Blair) yet still manage to snatcher defeat from the jaws of victory against an opponent riddled with holes.

Le Pen may need to host a contraversial prime time reality game show for a year or two in order to develop her TV media skills.

@Mina 132
I'm not sure who is harder to converse with - extreme right wingers or the unelected, our-way-or-the-highway Brussels elite. If the concerns that drive the movements behind Le Pen are not adequately serviced by Macron, five years may bring something much darker. Perhaps some short term pain was necessary for France, and Europe, to have a look at itself.

@107 smuks
Cheers. I guess it's all perspective really. Watching an Irish Bank go belly up to the tune of €35 billion in slow motion, then have some ECBanker turn up and tell you how that German bank backed private debt is now magically public debt fully owned by the Irish kind of breaks the spirit a little... least you can win titles like Neoliberal Posterchild Of Europe with this economic rationale.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 17 2017 1:18 utc | 150

Sovereignty is an interesting concept but I wonder how a French and a German could have the same definition. France is (overly) centralized while in Germany, most people identify to their city or their region far more than with the "federal state", as they call it. Germany is a much younger nation than France as you know.
Concretely, if we applied some necessary measures regarding to the environment, we would be implement ways for people to be auto-sufficient and well organized locally, rather than seeing their train cancelled by a technocrat in Brussels or the new highway planned to reach some place 1000 km from him decided by someone who has never visited the region in question. I believe a number of people understand 'sovereignty' this way and not in terms of migration problems.
About the EU and the sovereignty of its states, it seems like a joke that the EU wished to have for Eastern border a collection of (Greek and Turkish) islands and rocks at sea. Talk of terrestrial defense...
The migration problem has been used by the European media to try to convince people that most of the refugees are Syrians fleeing from war and that therefore we should bomb Syria. The reality is that in part, we have people fleeing from war-torn countries (mainly Eritrea, Libya, Syria, Sudan) but even more important numbers of Morrocans or sub-Saharan African. There is a political problem that the countries don't want to address because they make so much money with the states from which these people from countries not at war come that they can't criticize their economic partners (in the pillage of the resources which should go to the people who see no other hope than crossing the desert or the sea).
As for the blacks brought by slave-traders to America to work for the white colonists, as you probably know, they are not 'migrants'. That's the very point made by Raoul Peck and probably a good reminder nowadays.
For Le Pen, there are other anti-EU party in France who are more serious than the Le Pen family and its skinheads security for demonstrations, bookfairs where you can meet all the publishing houses who know the truth about the gas chambers (i.e. that they didn't exist) etc.
I agree with you James that the whole labour traffic is just a new slavery but that doesn't make Le Pen's party capable of doing anything. Not every Le Pen voter is a racist, most are just actually believing in a complete blockage of the system or explosion on the streets as a solution. We've seen the result in Syria, Egypt or Tunisia...

Posted by: Mina | May 17 2017 8:20 utc | 151

Posted by: Mina | May 17, 2017 4:20:34 AM | 151

If I remember correctly, everybody in France hates 'Paris'...

Posted by: somebody | May 17 2017 9:08 utc | 152

Actually i wonder if sovereignty is not some sort of toil passed to the masses so they have something to argue about, and keep believe they live in democratic societies. Where is sovereignty in the internet? when each single site owner has to adapt to each new format or browser every year or every month?
MM2: 'much darker' in 5 years? hard to imagine anything darker than the current situation, unless you live on a far away island continent like Australia or North America. Thousands of ppl drown at sea everyday; thousands are bombed or left to die from hunger or cholera due to political agendas and a moral emasculation preventing the players to address core issues such as women rights, tribalism and religion; the rest of us watching in silence and horror not knowing how to pay the rent next year. Le Pen was bold in some of her statements regarding wearing the veil to meet religious authorities in Lebanon, the problem is that she will never dare address religious patriarchal problems in the French sphere and treating all religions on an equal level. And when are we going to hear more about the price paid by women in Eastern Congo (ex Zaïre) for all these smartphones and tablets to function?

Posted by: Mina | May 17 2017 9:11 utc | 153

add to 152
La France comme Etat-nation va doucement craquer

It is quite simple: It is difficult to control via democracy what people do in some center far off, but you can control and are interested in what happens in your town or region. It gets more painful when your region owns natural resources.

Posted by: somebody | May 17 2017 9:15 utc | 154


If this is what 'European culture' means to you, I have no problem with that. But please accept and be aware of that it means very different things to different people. I'm not saying your definition is wrong, it's just there's a million other ways to define it.


Just when we discuss battlefield terms, you mention 'sovereignty'...;-) - what does it mean to you?
"France is (overly) centralized while in Germany, most people identify to their city or their region far more than with the "federal state", as they call it."
- actually in France I often get the opposite impression, maybe precisely because France's political system is rather centralized?
'A much younger nation', depends very much on your definition of 'nation'.

Posted by: smuks | May 17 2017 12:07 utc | 155

@MadMax2 150

I know, but the alternative may well have been worse, with AIB going bust and setting off a huge chain reaction in Europe's financial system. Neither the ECB nor any government wanted to risk that, and I can't condemn them for it.

On the other hand, before 2007 Irish 10 year bond yields were at 4 or 5 %, - so servicing the debt is actually cheaper now than before the bail-outs. The banks have been saved, but sovereign (and other) debt is now so high that there can't be any (real) interest.

Posted by: smuks | May 17 2017 12:17 utc | 156

Sorry, that was meant to be 'today it's 0.87 %' for the link, dunno why...

Posted by: smuks | May 17 2017 12:19 utc | 157

@james 147

If they want it, they have no trouble getting all this information today already, 'thanks to' video surveillance, electronic tills etc. And even in a cashless world, there would still be ways to buy stuff anonymously, e.g. with prepaid cards (like gift vouchers).
The real question is, how can you introduce negative real interest rates?

Ok I see...and mostly agree. While I see Le Pen as a dangerous racist using inflammatory rhetoric to divide the country (and distract from the real problems), this doesn't say anything about the motivation of her voters. There can be many different reasons for casting a certain vote, and judging a person's motive from pure behaviour observation is never a good idea.

Historically, waves of immigration have always led to friction between various groups, one reason being that recent immigrants are exploited as cheap labour, thus putting pressure on everyone's wages. The answer should obviously be to fight for and guarantee decent wages and working conditions for everyone - but right-wingers like Le Pen prefer blaming the weakest players in this game, rather than those who really profit... Mind you, I don't even blame corporations for it, it's their capitalist duty to increase profits at all cost, but it's the state's job to regulate labour conditions to limit their profiteering.
'Logo culture' is an interesting fact it's sort of an oxymoron, no? A (monopolistic) corporate logo is pretty much the opposite of culture, however you define it, if you ask me.

Posted by: smuks | May 17 2017 12:48 utc | 158

This seems to be a rather undead thread.
Dunno about you, but I find this Comey and 'who told whom what and when' stuff rather boring. Just distraction from what's actually going on imho...anyone noticed how every time China & Russia officially announce their multipolar 'new world order', there is some big sensation on the news which eclipses the announcement? Be it 'Water on Mars!' or 'Global hacker attack!'...

Posted by: smuks | May 17 2017 12:48 utc | 159

The a to z on the sovereignty debate in France is here


Posted by: Mina | May 17 2017 22:29 utc | 160

@160 Cela dépend de ce que vous entendez par souveraineté.

Posted by: dh | May 18 2017 0:47 utc | 161

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