Sunday, June 02, 2013

Sweet and Sour France

A chapel for fishermen (click to enlarge)
There is sweet living in France, in spite of the crisis. And yet I have more mixed feelings this time around.

The stay is in a fancy resort area of France where relatives happened to live way before it became a famous resort area. Living is cool, for the rich, the casual visitor or the native still hanging there. They all go to the same market two days a week, carrying all their grocery bag as there is no more the "paper or plastic" dreadful question in France: you bring your bags now, almost everywhere.  All mix, whether they come from the fancy villa hidden in the pine forest or the fisherman shack.  There is something about relentless sand and pines and rain that brings up a notch humility in all.

Civility in France is a welcome relief from the unbending vulgarity here, one that this time around I appreciated more than ever.   In Paris we saw Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet walk in front of us while we had diner at a brasserie. What is noteworthy here is that the woman is the top challenger for Paris mayor election next year and she was walking alone in a busy street, no one stopping here, no body guards accompanying her, and yet recognized.  This is simply inconceivable in Venezuela where one year ago I saw Ismael Garcia attend the same pedicure as I do, accompanied with two body guards in a closed mall....

The view from the altar
But that civility might not run as deep as I wish to believe. The general bad weather forced me indoors way more than I would have liked it to be and thus I watched TV, mesmerized by the anti gay marriage protest of  May 26.

It is to be noted that the law was officially promulgated a few days after my arrival. And promulgation meant that the Constitutional Council had validated it. What was the point in holding the Paris rally against a law that is now the law of the land and that cannot be reversed? Will they annul all the weddings that will take place between now and the hypothetical arrival to power of these people that want to overturn it?

The thing is that the parliamentary right, UMP, had decided to use the latent anti gay, homophobic sentiment of France to bolster its energy against the government of Francois Hollande. Duly supported by the Catholic Church of course. This tragic error has allowed the apparition and revival of a series of groupuscule that now do violent gay bashing and the like. I was listening to one of these characters explaining that he was protesting because he felt he was not consulted about the marriage for all reform, while being absolutely opposed to it. Does he realize his contradiction? Why should he be consulted since he is clear in his position? Was he planning to bring useful amendments? That sent me a shiver in my spine: the guy was a mere chavista. They are everywhere, from the Argentinean "piquetero" to the fundamentalist tea partier.  And I did not know that there were that many of them in France still, in spite of the sweet living I enjoyed these days.

As for myself, when I see the lack of real condemnation from the UMP, the shameful attempt at gaining extremist vote at the expense of gay rights I must say that this swing voter is no more: I cannot see myself voting for the French democratic (?) right gain, and not only that, expect me campaigning against them. I predict that the cost for the UMP will be high even if today the crisis hides it in the current bad numbers of Hollande.


  1. Anonymous1:37 AM

    Maduro said Sunday that Chavez was still dead but improving.

    Maduro is having plastic surgery to make him look like Chavez. Chavez is a dead dried-up tissue and bones. Good luck to the plastic surgens.

  2. Anonymous8:36 AM

    Oh paleeeeze, leave the Tea Partiers alone already!
    You simply can't compare them with e.g. leftist chavista or piquetero thugs and radical moslem debris who's protests always turn violent.
    Name one Tea Party or NRA event that wasn't peaceful. BTW at NRA rallies, EVERYBODY is carrying and no shootings ever take place. Unlike at the Kumbaya 420 party in Colorado, where 3 people got shot.

    1. Mike

      I wrote "fundamentalist tea partier". But since this is not clear enough for you I am going to ask you for any concrete evidence from the tea partier as to their support of gay rights. I mean not of the kind that some of my best friends are "gay", "jewish", "black", etc..... the standard cope out to prove supposedly that one is not bigotted.

    2. And while I am at it I am also in favor of gun control. Sorry if this inconvenience you too. You brought the topic, not me.

    3. The libertarians among the tea party are completely supportive of gay rights.

    4. Yes, Libertarians. But they are not "fundamentalist". And they are not the favorite people inside the Tea Party, kind of a necessary evil.

      The problem here is that the Tea Party seems too often hijacked by people who are not of the most democratic credentials.

    5. Anonymous2:10 AM

      What makes you believe, Daniel, that "something is not clear enough for me"? Nice innuendo play to avoid calling me "too dumb to understand your point".
      And why should I present evidence that Tea Partiers are pro gay rights? They have a right to their own opinion, not one being imposed by you. And they have a right to PEACEFULLY express their believes.
      Freedom of speech is not designed to please everybody and you seem to be rather intolerant when it comes to your core values. How about extreme and militant gay rights activists that wanted to make "Heather has 2 mommies" mandatory reading in public schools to 6 year olds? Do you support this? (They failed, btw).
      Regarding gun control, I am so glad the extremely tough laws of e.g. Chicago work so well! May I suggest you enlighten yourself and read the impeccably well researched book by John R. Lott "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws". But then, facts have never stood in the way of the religion of Liberalism.

    6. You are having a hissy fit. Get a grip.

  3. Daniel,

    Perhaps you could define " Chavista " dear.

    Tea Partiers do not want what they deem as unnecessary social programs which they believe to be destructive to both the work ethic among the lower class, and the incentive to innovate and succeed among the working people.

    But you are right about one thing: Chavistas do exist everywhere where there are human beings.Here in the US most of the people who sympathize and support Chavismo are hard core Liberals.Dunno about France.

    And no I am not a tea partier,nor a left or right wing, nor anything else ; just a person trying to look at the issues with as much of an independent spirit as I possibly muster,and I think if we use the word " Chavismo" ,maybe it is a good idea to have a clear and stated definition so as to avoid failures in communication.

    Enjoy your trip and try to detach from politics so that you can renew your strength.Life is about to get real tough.


    1. chavista mind set goes from right to left. it is more adequately described as fascist these days.

  4. I am going to cite an interesting article I just read:

    The UK government is trying to make us believe that its proposed introduction of a gay marriage law is a progressive move with the declared purpose of giving gays equal rights of which they are deprived at the moment. But this is not true: in fact homosexuals of both sexes already have equal rights, due to the legalization of civil partnerships. This is so much true that many gays don't want same-sex marriage....So, if the gay community already won equal rights, why is Prime Minister David Cameron pushing for same-sex marriage? [insert your favorite conspiracy theory here, but a typical one is that the imposition of a top down European federal government is being implemented via the back door by state policies that favor the extinction of the distinct indigenous populations' cultural (especially religious) and racial identities].

    The original article I got this from is here:

    Is the situation in France similar regarding already existing civil unions? If it is, then the opposition to same-sex-marriage is not opposition to equal rights for gays but opposition to something else altogether, at least in countries where the state was already recognizing equal rights for gays in civil unions.

    My feeling is that the issues of same-sex-marriage and same-sex-parenting should have been kept as separate issues since clearly the first is an equal rights issue whereas the second involves the welfare of children for which the state is responsible while the harmlessness of same-sex-parenting is definitely not a settled issue yet, at least not scientifically settled:

    To legalize wholesale same-sex-parenting before waiting for the evidence is to force the issue, and I am afraid this is what has been done. As a result, conspiracy theories have taken over and now Europeans are using the issue of same-sex-marriage as a proxy war against Hobbe's Leviathan, which has now been accused of instituting genocidal policies against native Europeans:

    1. I am not going into conspiracy theories. I am going to say that civil union has a restricted scope and thus it is a denial of automatic rights that come with marriage.

      Each country has a different approach because of its legal system. In France adoption had to come along marriage because the "code civil" includes adoption law along marriage law. Separating both would have required a major overall of the family legal system. Besides there are enough control over adoptions that it should not matter who is adopting as long as the couple has been properly screened. But in other countries the distinction is possible.

    2. Conspiracy theories aside, it seems to an outsider that the French public reaction against same-sex-marriage is way out of proportion. Something else is brewing and gays are being used as a proxy.

    3. Indeed.... Just as anti gay feeling replaced the red scare in the US at the end of the Soviet Union

    4. Yes, but is more dangerous than it ever was in the US. This issue of same-sex-marriage is being used as a proxy war against the large centrist parties in France, causing them to be seen as having systematically betrayed the popular will and causing a large chunk of moderate French population to be categorized as bigoted en mass and shoved to the extreme right. Nothing could be worse for France than having a backlash political movement come to power only to be taken over by a well organized extreme right like happened in Egypt, for example. And with the computer power available today, 1984 is definitely a distinct possibility, as you yourself see for Venezuela. So, this is extremely grave... Today France is one of the most racist countries in Europe: I just hope the centrist parties have a good look at this.

  5. Anonymous9:47 AM

    François and not Francois

    1. i do not have c cédille on my computer. sorry.


    3. Anonymous1:35 AM

      Immensely better and easy to remembet, this will let you type ça et où et œuf et € et £ et des dizaines d'autres

  6. Miami is packed with French families that completely abhor Hollande and his completely idiotic laws to tax people 70% off their income. Its freaking absurd that, in the country that assembles the Airbus 380 and designs the most advanced helicopters in the world, educated people are still voting for retrograds as M. Holande.

    1. And they just took away family tax exemption for the higher incomes.....

    2. Anonymous2:15 AM

      You get what you vote for and therefore deserve it, particularly if you repeat. See Venezuela over the last 14 years.

    3. "70% of their income".
      Packed with so many French? How many French are living in Miami who earn over 1 million euros? 2 million French? 1 million? 100 thousand French in Miami earning 1 million euros?
      Any more specific data?

    4. Jacques2:13 AM

      It's 75% BTW, not 70% Then you have to add the CSG (Contribution Sociale Généralisée) which is a flat tax which started at 0.5% but is reaching now... look it up on (good luck to you if you can figure it out, it's as clear as tobacco juice in wooden bottles, I'd say it's around 10% now. Then you have the ISF (Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune) which is a wealth tax (look it up again on which bites in at as early as 1.3M euros.

      France has taken the lead off the Sweden of thirty years ago, when a children's book author, Astrid Lindgren, found herself in the 102% tax bracket (yes, ONE HUNDRED AND TWO PERCENT). So that, the more people bought her books, the poorer she became. Sweden has recovered, but France has just caught the disease.


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