Thursday, April 19, 2012

The 2012 French election post

Dream team?
Next Saturday I will be headed to the French embassy to vote (we vote a day earlier than in France so as not to influence the result over there on Sunday...yeah, right!).  A nice moment for me because contrary to my votes in Venezuela those in France will be counted, the winner will win.  But I digress already.

Contrary to 2007 I am late in writing about French elections even though this time around my vote has been decided long ago: I will vote for Sarkozy this time, having overcome my misgivings on the man.  In 2007 I went for Segolène Royal. Flip flopping?  No, I vote for the candidate more than for the political affiliation of that one; and for the record, were I to be allowed to vote in the US in November Obama is my current choice.

I have chosen Sarkozy for several reasons but the main one because I think he has gotten an unfair bad rap. Even Moises Naim whose analytic acumen I appreciate compared him in El Pais to Berlusconi and South American re-electionists that shall remain nameless when in reality Sarkozy pushed for a constitutional amendment to limit French presidential mandates to ONLY two consecutive terms.  That is right, Sarkozy was elected in a Constitution that allowed him to run as often as he wanted and the amendment he managed to pass limited him to one single, immediate, reelection.  No Cleveland for him.  As he probably will be losing the second round ballot in two weeks we are likely watching his very last weeks in office.


The problem of Sarkozy is his abrasive personality.  Maybe I am nonplussed because having been subjected to 13 years of chavista abuse I find Sarkozy antics rather quaint, though irritating.  Still, the fact of the matter is that Sarkozy seems to be paying today the price for his earlier behavioral mistakes, so to speak.

Considering that he had to face earlier in his term a relentless crisis he could not proceed to the necessary reforms that France needs.  One of the few he managed to pass through, pushing back retirement age by two years, was by itself such a painful process that it made it basically impossible to push other much needed reforms such as reverting the 35 hours week and making employment more flexible in a country where too many people still hold the same job for life, only beaten by Japanese tradition if any.  But the crisis is not a full excuse for him: in the first year of his term he wavered too much in pushing important reforms thinking he had 5 years ahead.  And down went the financial system, and the possibility of reform.

French people are very conservative in nature even if they are lifelong members of the socialist party. The admirable French welfare state cannot be afforded anymore.  That is what is ailing Sarkozy badly, making people forget or overlook some of his other real success as battling the economic crisis to try not to make it worse.  History will judge whether his efforts associated to those of Merkel were the right ones.  But within France I never heard of any other serious counter proposal.  In fact those of Hollande, which he will not be able to fulfill unless he is willing to jeopardize the European Union future,  are a mere promise of a return to an unreachable halcyon past.  The markets are already serving notice.

Sarkozy has moved his butt on the international stage, something that is not appreciated either.  Be it his leadership over Libya after recognizing his early mistakes over Tunisia, or the dynamic duo with Germany, or his unabashed desire to return in the pro US fold, or his timid start at moralizing French foreign policy so as not to put up with dictators of any stripe.  That last one in particular has costed France a lot in Venezuela as Chavez vulgarity was not accommodated the way Chirac did.  I am convinced that Sarkozy's team has learned a lot, and changed a lot, and that a second term would find France foreign policy occupying a bigger place than France would deserve in normal circumstances.  I am almost certain that Hollande's foreign policy would be close to disastrous....

I do not mean to say that Hollande is a bad candidate.  I even tried to join the Socialist primary so as to vote for him because the other option, Martine Aubry, would have been a catastrophe for France.  The petulant nature of French electorate would have elected her anyway, but to much, much greater damage than Hollande who is not stupid and has a sense on how the real world works, even if he is quiet about it.  The problem of Hollande is Melanchon and his supporters who I call Melanconnards, an untranslatable bad pun meaning that they are assholes.

I have had experience of Melanchon for a decade now, when a very polite comment on his then blog as a socialist senator was never published even though it merely suggested that some of his information on Chavez should be revised.  See, Melanchon is a rat who abandoned the French Communist party when it was doing its post Berlin wall sinking to join the Socialist Party and its improved electoral prospects.  Since then Melanchon has abandoned the socialist Party and has gathered a coalition of commies and "occupy whatever" guys.  Melanchon was even in the past an ardent supporter of Chavez, embracing constitutional assemblies and speaking of a French 6th republic.  Now, political expediency considered, he thinks that Evo Morales is a better model for France..........

In French political double standards for Sarkozy to talk to the National Front of Le Pen is seen as a grotesque action, a No-No taboo.  But for Hollande to consider an alliance with the equally destructive Melanchon crowd is acceptable.  And thus the problem of Hollande: to win and get a parliamentary majority next June he will negotiate with Melanchon and become his hostage.

My vote for Sarkozy is clear, unequivocal.  Maybe not a ringing endorsement but considerably more than a mere resignation.  For all his faults I can see that Sarkozy has learned a lot, that he is a true democrat in spite of his occasional outbursts, usually sent the way of that traditional French negativism on anything just for the sake of it.  But he is almost certain to lose the vote and that is OK with me: I am getting quite used be on the losing side of 90% of the votes I participate in.

PS: The French system has changed (and I also voted NO on that referendum).  Presidential and legislative elections are now synchronized which I think is a huge mistake as the "cohabitations" under Mitterrand and Chirac did work much better than expected and forged for the firsts time ever a French consensus on some key issues.  France is still nominally a parliamentary system though the president is very powerful IF he also has a majority in parliament.

I have the impression that the mistake of synchronizing elections will come back to bite the political class in the next May parliamentary election as neither the Socialists or the UMP are likely to win an outright majority.  In fact it is quite possible that regardless who wins in two weeks, he will get an adverse parliament anyway.

That would not be so bad as what France needs today is a "grand coalition" German style to make some of the reforms that Germany made over a decade ago and that are now paying off handsomely for them.

I am sorely tempted to vote socialist in June in case Sarkozy were to pull it off in May.  I am that evil.

48 comments:

  1. Daniel,

    In spite of showing some weakness in its economy, France has still held up well, especially when compared to its Southern neighbors.In a way it is the key balance point of whether the Euro Zone can survive or not.If it were to start sliding in a negative sense because of inadequate policies of a new government , it would be unfortunate.

    There was a BBC report that was surprisingly objective that pointed out that there exists a significant amount of Sarkophobia that is not really explainable in rational terms based on the policies of the government, but more like an emotional reaction from many who see the figure of Sarkozy himself as revolting and not fitting with with their image of what a French president should be like.

    It is said that much of this is driven by the French University " Elite ".

    Sarkozy has also suffered from having been pegged as a " friend of the rich" based in part on a victory celebration he held in an upscale French restaurant.The BBC reporter checked out the restaurant and said it was really not that extravagant as to warrant so much fussiness.

    Firepigette

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  2. Anonymous11:32 AM

    "Hollande... will not be able to fulfill [his counter proposals] unless he is willing to jeopardize the European Union future"

    Daniel, you suggest that Hollande is not stupid, that he understands how the world works, and that his policies are likely to cause the EU serious harm should the Socialists win the election. Are we to conclude that the Socialists actually want to cause trouble in the EU, that they are prepared to destroy the EU on purpose?

    Antonio

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    1. Those are electoral positions that already the socialists are trying to back pedal. Socialists are convinced Europeans but some of their proposals are running against Europe. They will have to solve that contradiction soon.

      Again, the problem is Melanchon holding them hostage.

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    2. Actually, the Socialists are the biggest advocates for European integration. However, Hollande is clearly making a bunch of irresponsible proposals. More government handouts aren't going to save France.

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  3. Daniel;
    Thanks god you can’t vote here. I bet Chavez was your choice back in 1998. (just kidding).
    Look I know nothing about French Politics, but I’m very in to US Politics. It always bother me how many Venezuelans, (I’m Cuban but my wife is Maracucha) are so naive when it comes to Politics, It explains exactly why Chavez is in power. (Same goes for my beloved Cuba.)
    I know, based on reading you, that you are left leaning, however some of your own analysis & conclusions arrive to a place well in the right.
    Let me say this, the left here in US is not the “Low Profile” left from Some of Europe, instead the Radical Left in this country is alive and well and Obama represents that left, I grant you that he have not being able to do all he would like to do, but just wait for a “lame duck” period and you will see, Just like he told “Al amigo PUTIN”
    This is a Guy whom dedicated one of his books to Saul Alinsky of all people. (Yes the Guy whom dedicated his Book “Rules for Radicals” to Lucifer). A Guy who loved and admired none other than Machiavelli. Yes, the same community organizer whom organized a protest while in Harvard on behalf of Derrick Bell (a Communist Radical) or Progressive how they like to call them these days.
    But Let me refer to his actions rather than his associations, This is a president that have Increased the spending in just 3 ½ years two times as much as his predecessor in 8 years and wasted most of it, for Example.
    The Solindra case (Half a Billion Dollars)
    GM (The Volt, It is estimated to have close to $200K in subsidies per car.) Despite the fact that FORD is selling more and never received a dime from the “Stimulus”.
    Health Care Bill (Armageddon) it is a disaster, health care prices have sky-rocketed because of it. (When you can have your son until he is 21 under your insurance, who pays for that.?) The thing is he does not think in economic terms but In Ideological ones. Despite the fact that the law is Unconstitutional, (Write it Down you can quote me on that), because it goes against every core principle of our constitution. “The Government can’t force you to buy anything”, “Inaction can’t be punished”. If the government forces you to do that, then it can force you to do anything.
    The case of GSA Department and Corruption of His administration, The case of Fast and Furious,
    Why is Erick Holder the Attorney General.? Have you look in to his past? Just an example, 2009 Voter Intimidation case from the Black Panthers, is on YouTube, dismissed by Mr. Holder.
    White House “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones, (Convicted and confessed Communist.)
    Anita Dunn Communications Miniter for Obama when she said Mao Zedong was her "favorite political philosopher”.

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  4. CONTINUED..!

    Mark Lloyd: OBAMA’s chief diversity officer of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) conference:
    “In Venezuela, with Chavez, really an incredible revolution, a democratic revolution to begin to put in place saying that we are going to have impact on the people of Venezuela. The property owners and the folks who were then controlling the media in Venezuela rebelled [...] folks here in the U.S. government worked to oust him and came back and had another revolution and Chavez then started to take seriously the media in this country”.

    His Pastor Reverend Right, his mentor and spiritual guide.
    Most recently, our president on a move just compared to a move someone like Chavez would make, made a public opinion statement regarding a case under investigation, basically suggesting Trevon Martin was a model citizen, and that his son (if he had one) would be just like him. Mind you Trevon was at his dad’s house when killed because he had recently being expelled from school for the 3rd time, for possession of Marijuana and 15 items of female jewelry he could not explain why he had on his back pack. (Obama showed no respect for the Union, since this is not a federal issue but a State Law issue, regarding Stand Your Ground Law in Florida, and also no respect for the person accused whom in this country is innocent until proven guilty, regardless of what the president’s opinion is.
    This was just Hours before he publicly “Urged” the supreme court (a la Chavez) to rule correctly (in his favor) in the healthcare case.

    Look I’m not a Fan of Romney, I wish we had another Reagan, even another Clinton, or at least someone who had read Milton Friedman instead of Saul Alinsky.

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    1. Please, let's discuss about French politics. This is not a post on Obama.

      Besides "urging" the court to rule in your favor is not the same thing as making sure that the court is ruling in your favor. Last time I checked there was still a solid conservative majority in the Supreme Court that is not only unlikely to listen to Obama exhorts, but which can actually use that against him.

      Let's keep a sense of perspective, shall we?

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    2. Yeah, Obama "urging the court" is in truth a message for the public, not for the court. If he could fire them at will, it would be a message to them. The words may sound the same, but there is an enormous, immeasurable difference.

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  5. Charly1:08 PM

    Daniel "left leaning"? Come on, he is a "ultraderechista,... antichavista furidundo", dixit JVR, one of the moral pillars of the Republic.

    Daniel, my congratulations on an article well thought and even better presented. Personally I was delighted that I could vote by Internet for Sarkozy (the goon) versus Hollande (the idiot) until I realized this will only be ready for the "legislatives". Having already been to Caracas twice in the last 2 weeks, I do not feel to hit the road again. I am starting to hate Caracas, walking aimlessly into the SAIME (ex ONIDEX)corridors, trying to figure out why, after 12 years in the country and 8 years with a resident C.I., I do not yet have a resident visa, Kafkaean? Orwellian? Take your pick.

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    1. Bolivarian. It's like Kafkaen with bananas.

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    2. best ever.

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    3. I hate to agree pero keplercito se la comio hoy.

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  6. NOTE: any new rant against Obama will be ruthlessly erased. Wait until I write on the topic, please!

    If I indicated my current preference for Obama it was to make a point in contrast to my former preference for Royal and my current for Sarkozy. That is, I am not betrothed to any political current in particular except bona fide dictators and their wanna-be. By the way, 4 years ago I was standing on the side line as to the US result because I liked neither and my current support is due as much to Obama growing up in the job as to the GOP wasting the opportunity they got one year ago and for them letting Tea party social agenda run all over them. Being anti Obama is not enough for me just as being anti Chavez is not enough for me as some supporters of Capriles reproach me.

    Sorry.

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  7. Wow …. Daniel Sorry..!
    It was just one Post (Continued) due to limit of characters.
    Sorry It won’t happen again, I have posted very little here, and ready every Day, I’ll continue to do the second, unless I agree with what you are saying that way I can write a comment without making you mad.
    By the way I was trying to make a point about Left & Right, but misunderstood. Sorry Again..!

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  8. Well, let me top BETO by taking a bat to a hornet's nest. Bringing back the House of Bourbon, I stand with Louis Alphonse! He married Venezuelan! Who needs these messy democracies anymore...

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    1. He would be an usurper. Now we have the house of Chavez. He should divorce and marry a Chavez daughter. No?

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    2. LOL! Indeed!

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  9. @ AIO

    Taking the risk of being “censured” I’ll go ahead and respond to you, and Daniel.

    The United States is a Federated Union (At will) of 50 States, the case in discussion is a challenge from 27 States, in the High Court of Obama care.

    - Obama is part (not judge) he should express NO OPINION about the case in Public.
    - It is customary Presidents don’t talk about supreme court cases before they are decided
    - He is taking a Position from the Federal Stand, on a case Challenged by States
    - In this country there is Balance of Power (3 branches) Equally Respected.

    I agree with You and Daniel that there is a difference between "Urging" the court and Firing the Judges (a la Chavez) But that is exactly my point, what have kept this country together and powerful is the respect of the Institutions.
    It is not illegal what Obama did, but he should not be "Urging" the courts or the Public, on a matter that will not/should not be decided by Public Pressure, but by Interpreting the Constitution.
    Mind you, this is not the first time he does that and once Daniel posts something Obama Related, I’ll take the Opportunity to explain further.
    Have you heard the phrase” Slippery Slope”?

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    1. I still think you are overreacting. US presidents in the past may not have been "urging" but they sure bitched at adverse resolutions. I see nothing wrong in the case of Obama as he is defending what is after all the core of his presidency, what will send him to history books for better or for worse. By doing so he is taking a major risk because an adverse ruling can unravel his presidency real fast, even if he is reelected. But that is a risk for him to take not for us to decide whether he can take it.

      It is called politics and we are in the XXI century when we cannot expect a president not emit his opinion on justice when every one else and their brother do.

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    2. BETO, you are way off base. American politicians express opinions on what the judiciary should and shouldn't do all the time and its more often from the right-wingers. Ever listen to Newt Gringrich talk about the courts.

      Obama's statement was perfectly reasonable and given the SC justices are lifetime appointees his statement was in no way a "threat" to them.

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    3. BETO, i first read this comment a couple days ago, and didn't really have time to respond - nor was I sure what to say. Let me begin my saying that my own earlier comment was only to note the profound difference, despite superficial similarity, of the statements from Obama and Chavez. I didn't mean it as an argument in favor of Obama speaking freely on a pending Supreme Court case (I didn't really think about that question at all), but certainly understand why you inferred that. No problem.

      And I take your point. I think the argument about being party to the case is the most compelling, much more so than "customary." However, I do believe that (as Daniel and ConsDemo note), this has really been happening for quite some time in the U.S. Obama is hardly a trend-setter here. (I disagree with your Newt comment - if the guy wants to President, he's no longer an ordinary citizen like you and I and he should act like he expects a President to act. There's plenty of time for comments after the SC ruling.) There are plenty of government officials (read: members of Congress) who speak out of turn on stuff like this way too often.

      Also, I only see a "slippery slope" danger in this matter if the SC Justices actually factor the President's words into their decision. Not likely. And if they do, it will all but certainly work against him - which makes one good reason for Obama to keep his mouth shut, but I'm sure his people considered that.

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  10. I think the forces deciding the fate of French politicians are not solely economic, but social as well. The eventual demographic demise of the welfare state and accompanying European native populations that support it, all this makes it possible to play the race-religion card in this election. So, Marine Le Pen is not a statistical blip. Of course there are triggering factors: The Mohamed Merah horrors, the danger of the imposition of halal food on an unwilling population (the case of halal butcheries in Ile de France reminds one of England, where practically all supermarket meat is halal and laws do not require halal labeling, denying freedom of choice and religion to customers). I am convinced that at bottom Europe is fighting to keep its identity as part of the West, in particular, the idea of equality before the law as sine qua non along with the intuition (now justified by recent sociological studies) that the root of all equality is based on monogamy (a religious concept, after all): http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/jul/26/religion-polygamy-monogamy-psychology-crime. Why, for example, is gay marriage such a hot potato, if not for the fact that you can't allow gay marriage and disallow polygamy? Well, there I go, I just pushed all your buttons.

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    1. Whose buttons? :-)

      For that one, gay marriage has NOTHING to do with poligamy. A marriage is between two persons, not a cougar and a woman or a mandril and 10 mormon females.

      Nobody seriously is holding such arguments in Europe; those are fundamentalist arguments that come along the flat earth and we never made it to the moon ones. By the way, Sarko came out against gay marriage and I am still voting for him. Affter 13 years of Chavez I have learned that there are more momentous issues than gay marriage, such as freedom of expression or preserving European Union.

      As for immigration. Europe needs to deal with immigration because they are the ones that will pay for what little retirement I may get.

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    2. About gay marriage I agree with you in principle but in practice...in practice, I believe there is a culture war going on. Over the years one area where I have read a lot is the intersection between biology and animal/human societies. There's a book "The 10,000 year explosion" that has a website associated to it (by the way the book is fascinating too, very original), and in the website is a description of the two major cultures of humanity: cad cultures and dad cultures. In dad cultures men and women team up and develop cooperative relationships, in cad cultures they don't. Western societies, especially modern urban centers, have a mixture of cad and dad cultures, but the dad cultures do better economically. Monogamy is an institution of the dad culture that serves to promote and dignify the teaming up of men and women, which the cad cultures look down upon and rejects. That teaming up is what serves as groundwork for the belief that all men will have the opportunity to reproduce (biological equality) and that a woman is a man's other half (social equality). So in the end I think the grounding of Western civilization is at stake, and France is the first European country to face the change because of it's huge Muslim population, which, needless to say, is a cad culture.

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    3. I hope you realize that you are backing my argument! Gay marriage is about making gay culture a dad culture......... :-)

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  11. @ Consdemo
    Newt is not the president, he has no elected post, him like you and I can say whatever he wants.
    Cite to me the Right wing President that have “Urged” the Supreme Court, to make this or that decision BEFORE any decision was made by the court.
    Look, don’t take me wrong, if you are a lefty, be my guess and vote for him. I respect your option, that is why I live here and Not in Cuba.

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  12. @ Daniel;
    Yes I know I may be over reacting. (I remember when I used to hear that from my many Venezuelan Friends back in 1999.)

    Look, don’t get me wrong, I really like your point of View in France and Enjoyed your Post, if you want to know, what really made me write was your “Dream Team” label on the Picture.
    I was just trying to illustrate that Progresists may seem harmless to democracy from the distance, but many times that is exactly what they want you to believe.

    About your quote: “I see nothing wrong in the case of Obama as he is defending what is after all the core of his presidency, what will send him to history books for better or for worse. By doing so he is taking a major risk because an adverse ruling can unravel his presidency real fast, even if he is reelected”
    I could say the same about Chavez, why bother for better or for worse he is taking a risk, history will definitely judge him, but that is not the point.
    The point here is that Chavez is destroying a Country and saving the distances of course, that is my concern with Obama. If you happen to agree with what Obama has done it is fine with me.
    That is why I said Jokingly “you may had voted for Chavez” because I have many good friends who did, for all the wrong reasons, but still even once they have experienced what the left can do to a country, yet they think what the left does in USA is good.
    Lo que es Bueno pal Pavo es bueno pa la Pava.. NO?
    I promise No more OBAMA comments, unless you make a post about him and I’ll gladly try to convince you that Obama is the wrong choice for USA.

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  13. BETO, you are trying to make a distinction without a difference. Ike lamented his appointments to the Supreme Court and George H.W. Bush bashed the court for declaring flag burning constitutional. Neither of them had the power to overturn the court's decision, nor does Obama.

    Look if you think climate change is a hoax, are eager to start another unwinnable war in the Middle East (this time with Iran), or want to enact more draconian anti-immigrant laws, by all means, vote Republican. Don't claim we need a Republican because Obama is somehow a threat to the Supreme Court.

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  14. @ Consdemo
    Ok, one by one! Bush Bashed the Decision “After a decision was Made” no problem with that since after a decision is made there is no way to influence it, right? (Let me make it clear, I said “Urging” the court BEFORE a decision was made).
    I don’t know if climate change is a Hoax, it is definitely not proven. I hate to disappoint you but I tend to go by science and not emotion.
    Regarding Immigration, I’m pretty consistent and I have said and I assure you the Arizona Law is Unconstitutional, (even by the right leaning Supreme court, like Daniel Said). The reason why ? Well if you go by the law of the Land, a Permanent resident is Obligated to carry documentation, but a US Citizen is not, therefore that law is Impossible to enforce, Because No one in this country can stop me on the streets and ask me for “Papers” that is Unconstitutional. (Police can only ask for driving Permit, which is a privilege not a right.) So yes, this right Winger thinks the immigration law in Arizona is draconian.
    Regarding IRAN, you are a bit confused, US is not eager to go to war with them, they are Eager to take over the world, two different things. Yes fortunately this country is the Moral Beacon of the world, about unwinnable?? ask France or Germany. It is naive to think Iran is not trying to get a Nuclear weapon, but again Obama thinks just like you.

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    1. Beto

      Enough. You are way, way out of topic. And pushed there by another conservative... Go figure. You strat to sound like jose vicente rangel calling me an "ultraderechista"

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  15. Daniel;

    I know I'm off topic, sorry..! I didn’t get the Joke about JVR. Since CONDEMO is not a conservative by any stretch.

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  16. Well Daniel I like your choice, but if the French socialists win I will short the Euro (despite the positive German econ stats), long the US Dollar index and short the S&P500 until well after Halloween... the market is too jittery to trust French socialists to do the right thing, even if they are conservative socialists...

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  17. So this post can be somewhat on topic, my (hopeful) prediction for tomorrow is Sarko 28, Hollande 26 and hopefully Sarko gets a boost in to the second round. Interesting back and forth between Daniel and BETO on my supposed ideological leanings, guess I’ll keep you guessing. In terms of the people I’d vote for in the US, France and Venezuela, they are the same as those of Daniel. I’ll shed no tears if Hugito kicks the bucket tomorrow, nor do I hope El Diablo will go easy on him.
    For the record, most French politicians (including Sarkozy) are far too statist for my tastes, but Sarko at least broke with Gaullist tradition of being reflexively anti-American. Interestingly, Hollande’s patron Mitterand was more cooperative with the US than his supposedly conservative successor, but Hollande’s pledge to pull French troops out of Afghanistan suggest his Administration would move away from the US.
    Daniel, you’ll need to post a thread on the US elections sometime soon! BETO, you can keep harping all Obama’s supposed threat to the SC all you want but I don’t see any evidence it will be an issue in the fall. Sorry, the science argues in favor of man-induced climate change, the opponents aren’t motivated by scientific doubts but rather opposition to any efforts to ween Americans of their fossil fuel addiction. Telling the public they are owed cheap gas is always going to be an easier sell then telling them they need to change their ways to protect the future of the planet, but that doesn’t make it right. I hope you are right about the Arizona law being ruled unconstitutional, but the fact remains the Republican position is to make life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they will “self-deport” to quote Mittens. Finally, WWII is not the analogy for war with Iran. The more appropriate analogy is the war in Iraq only this one would be even more difficult and have much larger blowback.

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    1. I was reading a couple of month ago "denialism" by michael specter, about how science is misunderstood when not outright misused, fromorganic foods to climate change and what not. I highly recommend it even though Specter points out that the root problem is that people in fact do not want to read scientific evidence that clashes with their initial beliefs. That is, no one suffering from denialism will be helped by the book, though those of us who put up with them may be helped in our suffering.

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    2. Charly1:30 PM

      As a blog on Chavismo, this one is superb. However, drifting into such areas as "denialism" and global warming, climate change or whatever you want to call it is a risky business. There are already quite a few competent blogs on both sides of the divide when it comes to CAGW, no point troubling the water some more. Specter's is just a point of view and he suffers from the same weakenesses he point at the so called "deniers".

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  18. My own father, for all his education in Wharton, has come to believe that global warming is a hoax. In fact, he, along with many conservatives in the West, has come to believe that the whole of academia and the scientific community in particular is powerful, privileged and corrupt. He may have a point, especially with respect to certain branches of study, which as a whole, have betrayed their mission and become centers for corrosive identity politics. See for example, Martin Kramer's analysis of departments of Middle Eastern Studies in US academic centers. Alternative (read, conservative) media outlets and think tanks are now becoming alternative digital universities with digital libraries and digital resources previously impossible to obtain. The peer review system for quality control of what gets published has now broken down, especially in Economics (see for instance Paul Krugman has to say in his blog on this matter). This may be happening in other areas, e.g. climate science. What gets published is no longer reflects scientific consensus, but money and politics, e.g. the handful of anti-global warming climatologists in the WSJ got equal space as the vastly more numerous climatologists on the other side not once but twice. Made the whole debate look like just bickering, maybe on purpose. As a result, there is no longer any scientific truth one can point to.

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    Replies
    1. Wharton? Do they have geophysics there?
      Martin Seth Kramer? Kramer? The guy who studied in Tel Aviv?
      This guy?

      The guy who supported the Iraq invasion and said money going to Gaza would go to a higher birth rate for radical Muslims?
      Right...

      Delete
    2. Yes THAT Kramer, Bernard Lewis´ most distinguished student, who (with the exception of this one strident view about UNRA´s role in building up a Palestinian youth bulge immersed in a hate culture) IS a moderate and tries to un-link Middle East issues from the Israeli question, looking at each one on their own merits, you know? That type of scholar... He is an interesting read for sure.

      Delete
  19. I would like to add that Scientists deal in facts , not automatically in truths, and are also subject to adherence to belief systems as are others.Philosophy attempts to deal more in Truth, Science in facts, and Politics pretends to a mixture.This mixture is often very confusing and harmful.

    New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts — and often become even more attached to their beliefs.I think this might be true because more people value their " truth" over facts.It is interesting to observe this in oneself if one can detach enough from one's own political beliefs, or ideology long enough to catch a glimpse.

    A new body of research out of the University of Michigan suggests that we base our opinions on beliefs and when presented with contradictory facts, we adhere to our original belief even more strongly. Just imagine! Contradictory facts? Or does this refer to when we see that the facts presented do not represent ALL of the facts.Example:Some people might claim that it is shown that crime has remained steady or even slightly decreased in Arizona, where there is a large population of illegal immigrants as a proof that illegal immigrants are not to blame for an increase in crime.Yet have there been studies showing the changes in the amount of illegal immigrants ? and how this would reflect on the matter? Or also, what do we do with the question of what would crime be like without the influx of these immigrants? Here we see that facts might not be complete, so people end up relying on intuition and/or beliefs.I am not condoning- just just describing a situation.

    We love to think of our brain as something that's been trained in Cartesian logic, when in fact, our brain is sort of hard-wired to leap to conclusions very quickly. Maybe a good use of that is saving ourselves in a dangerous situation.Profiling can actually save our lives at times.On the other hand, it can also make us very dull when it comes to learning new tricks.


    But this isn't a question of education, necessarily, or sophistication, it's really about preserving that belief that we initially held to be true.We are all less objective than we think we are.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Boludo Tejano12:30 PM

    Daniel @ Apr 19, 2012 10:40 AM
    NOTE: any new rant against Obama will be ruthlessly erased. Wait until I write on the topic, please!

    Who was it that wrote the following?:

    and for the record, were I to be allowed to vote in the US in November Obama is my current choice.

    Daniel Duquenal wrote that passage

    If Daniel doesn’t want Obama to be discussed on a thread about the French elections, then Daniel shouldn't have written about Obama in his article on the French elections.


    Period.

    It is apparently all right for Daniel to write about Obama in his article about the French elections, but it is not right for commenters to respond to what Daniel wrote about Obama in his article about the French elections.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is right for Daniel to write a 100+ lines post on French election and demand thy the bulk of the comment section is not devoted to one single item that appears in a single line. The more so when that item was designed to illustrate the way Daniel makes his choices and NOT the wisdom of his choices.

      Since this is about French elections let's be a little bit cartesian for a change.

      Delete
    2. Boludo Tejano8:45 PM

      Daniel:
      Since this is about French elections let's be a little bit cartesian for a change.

      Daniel, per your reply, consider the final sentence of my comment deleted, with my previous comment ended thusly:


      If Daniel doesn’t want Obama to be discussed on a thread about the French elections, then Daniel shouldn't have written about Obama in his article on the French elections.

      Period.


      You have enough experience in writing about US politics to know that your statements on US politics quite often elicit rather strong reactions, for a variety of reasons. There is no reason to be surprised about what occurred on this thread. Precedent was already established.

      Please come to the realization that when you take a partisan stance on the politics of a country that is not your own, some citizens of that country may react to that partisan stance. It is to be expected. If you do not want that reaction, then don't take a partisan stance. Make no mistake, your stances on US politics quite often come across not as objective, but as partisan.

      I will end with a story about a French tourist I spent some time with in South America. She told me that when her friends and paisans had gone to the US as tourists, many were invited into homes. She informed me that there was something SICK about the US, that we would be so hospitable to strangers. That convinced me that there were definite differences between the US and France. Later, having heard from fellow employees about similar attitudes towards strangers in Germany, I decided that my observation should be broadened to state that there were definite differences between the US and Europe- not just France.

      Delete
    3. Humm... let's see... keeping cartesian at it you are giving me license to erase a comment on Venezuelan politics written by people that have never set foot in Venezuela? Did I get that one right? :)

      Ps: having spent over a decade and a half in the States, having lived for at least a year in 5 states (and briefly elsewhere), having been recognized by AIO as knowing too much US history for a foreigner, what am I allowed to express that will not sound partisan?

      Delete
    4. I never said TOO much...but a little knowledge really is a dangerous thing. ;)

      Delete
    5. Boludo Tejano7:29 PM

      Ps: having spent over a decade and a half in the States, having lived for at least a year in 5 states (and briefly elsewhere), having been recognized by AIO as knowing too much US history for a foreigner, what am I allowed to express that will not sound partisan?

      I will grant you that you know more about the US than I know about Venezuela. Nonetheless, there is more than a bit of ARROGANCE in that reply. I say: maybe you should be more neutral. You say: how can I be more neutral? I know so much! Yes, ARROGANCE. Knowledge does not necessarily make one more partisan. In fact, seeing the nuances of many sides of an argument may prevent one from being partisan, or at least overly partisan.

      I would also point out that you do not know as much as you think you know. As evidence: military justice and military music. If you go around trumpeting how much you know, don't be surprised when you get called on it. As you know, there are other examples.

      Ciao.

      Delete
    6. Whatever....

      But for the record I wrote: "I think, anyway, because I cannot remember who said that about military music, if Bernard Shaw or Mark Twain on the Sousa music or something of the like." [added emphasis]

      which under no circumstance can be taken for the forceful statement you imply.

      Delete
  21. Early returns are a mixed bag for Sarko, he is down 25 to 28 for Hollande. Of the idiot vote (far left+far right), LePen got 20% to 11% for Melanchon. Given LePen's voters are far more likely to break for Sarko in the 2nd round, that may offer him some hope.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Sarkozy will most likely lose for this reason everything he said he would do he didn't all he did was stop advertizment on tv after 10 PM what he should have been doing is woking on the incopatence of police now with this shooting case the whole world knows the french police are a big joke i mean they had the ip adress scince the first day and didn't react till the guy shot up a jewish school if you ask me somethings wrong there.

    And the best thing for hollande is to get ride of his stupid idea of 75% tax on rich because that will only create more unemployment due to the rich not being able to afford to have employees.
    some one made a movie poster using sarkozy and holland and it fits this election perfactly it was the movie dumb and dumber

    ReplyDelete

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