Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Cowardly French court bans video of smiling Downs syndrome kids because it may upset women after abortions

November 24, 2016

It is political correctness gone mad.

You might as well ban children with Downs syndrome from smiling. Or why not just order all Downs syndrome kids from being out in the open. After all they might be seen by a woman soon after having had an abortion.

“the freedom of expression of individuals with Down syndrome must bow to the right to abortion.”

The only logical conclusion is that in this French court’s eyes, a child with Downs syndrome really should not be alive.

The Stream:

French Court Upholds Ban on Video of Happy Children With Down Syndrome

The court claims the video might ‘disturb the conscience’ of post-abortive women.

Video of Downs syndrome children banned in France

Video of Downs syndrome children banned in France

An award-winning video entitled Dear Future Mom featuring happy children and young adults with Down syndrome is banned from French television.

France’s Conseil d’État (State Council) rejected an appeal to lift the ban on November 10, declaring that seeing happy people with Down syndrome was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices” — in other words, women who chose to abort their unborn babies diagnosed with the genetic disorder.

In a press release, Jean-Marie Le Mene, president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, which partnered with other organizations to produce the video and appealed the Higher Council of Audiovisual’s ban, said the court’s decision indicates that “the freedom of expression of individuals with Down syndrome must bow to the right to abortion.”

A cowardly court! An unjust court!

Sarkozy gets the ignominious boot and a Le Pen – Fillon presidential contest is likely

November 21, 2016

Sarkozy tried to adopt many of Le Pen’s positions but while he has provided Marie Le Pen’s positions with legitimacy, he has apparently only lost his own credibility. He has suffered a humiliating defeat coming behind both Fillon and Juppe in the centre-right primary.

France 24:

French ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy saw his ambition to lead the country for a second time dashed as he suffered a crushing defeat to his former prime minister, François Fillon, in the first round of a centre-right primary on Sunday.

Fillon will now face off against another former prime minister, Alain Juppé, in a November 27 run-off to become the centre-right Les Republicains’ nomination in May’s presidential election. With ballots counted at 8,709 polling stations out of a total 10,229, Fillon was seen gathering 44.1 percent of the votes, Juppé 28.2 percent and Sarkozy 21.0 percent.

Sarkozy, president from 2007-12, said he would now back Fillon, a surprise frontrunner in what is the centre-right’s first ever presidential primary, in the run-off vote.

As results trickled in Sunday evening and the gap between Sarkozy and Juppé became ever wider, Sarkozy had little choice but to concede defeat.

This was the first ever centre-right primary and anybody with 2€ was eligible to vote. With an unknown electorate, opinion polls were very circumspect. But those few which dared to make any predictions expexted Juppe to lead, Sarkozy to come second and for Fillon to be eliminated. Fillon’s margin over Juppe was surprising and gives him the edge for the run-off on November 27th.


Francois Fillon

But Fillon’s first-round win over Juppe and Sarkozy is also consistent with the narrative that opinion polls can no longer pick up trends which go against “political correctness”. The establishment are seen as the high priests of “political correctness” and nobody will admit to heresy in advance. Those who intend to vote against what is deemed “politically correct” just do not admit it. They neither admit to going against conventional wisdom whether in opinion polls or in exit polls. There were many secret voters against Brexit and many secret voters for Trump.

I expect also that France will have many secret voters for Marie Le Pen. While Fillon probably has a better chance against her than Sarkozy, opinion polls for the French Presidential elections (first round on 23rd April 2017 and the run-off round on May 7th) will almost certainly miss her “secret voters”. The polls will underestimate her strength. Her own party supporters probably can get her up to 30%. The left have no one to back and while many could force themselves to back Juppe just to keep Marie Le Pen out, they may abstain rather than back Fillon. After all for the unions Fillon is as bad as Margaret Thatcher.

For Marie Le Pen the best result would have been if Sarkozy had won. Fillon winning the primary run-off would be the next best thing since many of Sarkozy’s supporters at yesterday’s primary may well find a safe harbour with Le Pen.


If Sarkozy wins centre-right primary, Marie Le Pen will be next President of France

November 16, 2016

As with the US election, the French election will go to the one with the lower negatives (and bear in mind that Hillary Clinton did indeed have greater negatives where it counted than Donald Trump did).

Nicolas Sarkozy, beat Jean-Marie Le Pen to become president of France in 2007, and lost to Francois Hollande in 2012. He is now trying to win the centre-right primary election in November which would give him a strong chance of to become head of state again in May 2017.

But he begins to sound very much like Le Pen the father and may well meet Marie Le Pen who has broken away from her father to now be a not improbable candidate for President. Sarkozy (who, in my opinion, is about as trustworthy as Tony Blair’s pet snake) begins to sound remarkably like le Pen the father to try and take away Marine Le Pen’s base.

Le Pen versus Sarkozy? image The Telegraph

Le Pen versus Sarkozy? image The Telegraph

The Guardian:“War has been declared on us,” he told Valeurs Actuelles this month as he held court at the summer mansion of his singer-supermodel wife, Carla Bruni. “War. France must be merciless, it must push that fear over to the other side.” Sarkozy is putting forward a platform of hardline policies on French national identity, Islam, and security which veer even further to the far right than his hardline stance in 2012, when he set out to win over voters from Marine Le Pen’s Front National

He wants to ban the Muslim headscarf from universities and public companies, limit the French nationality rights of children born of foreign parents, and ban pork-free options in school canteens so Muslim and Jewish children would no longer be offered a substitute meal.

There are 4 candidates in the primary race,

Alain Juppé, 71, is the centre-right mayor of Bordeaux and former prime minister under Jacques Chirac. Once detested for his attempted pension changes in 1995 and nicknamed “Amstrad” for his robotic efficiency and cold, grey image, he is now France’s favourite politician.

Nicolas Sarkozy, 61, is currently leader of the right’s Les Républicains party. He was French president from 2007 to 2012.

Bruno Le Maire, 47, was an agriculture minister during Sarkozy’s presidency. The Normandy MP has styled himself as the candidate for “renewal”, standing for a new, younger generation in a contest dominated by older candidates.

François Fillon, 62, was Sarkozy’s prime minister, but has since questioned Sarkozy’s style and policies. He is running on a pro-business reform agenda, promising to tackle France’s economic woes.

As in the US election Marie Le Pen and Sarkozy have high negatives:

73% of French people did not want Hollande re-elected next year and 66% did not want Sarkozy back in office, while 63% did not want Le Pen.

Even if Marie Le Pen’s chances are still small, who her opponent will be could become crucial. If Sarkozy wins the right to stand in the first leg by winning the centre-right primary and if he joins Marie Le Pen as one of the two left standing after the first round in April 2017, then I can see Marie Le Pen winning the second round. Between the two of them I suspect that Sarkozy will have the greater negatives.

QuartzOn the face of it, her chances would appear slim. Unlike in the US, the French electoral system is designed to only deliver a president who is endorsed by an absolute majority of the electorate. But Le Pen’s rival parties are in disorder, which could ease her path, unless the electorate can pull together. ……. 

There are two rounds of voting in the French presidential election set two weeks apart. In 2017, the first round will be on Sunday April 23, the second on Sunday May 7.

 An unlimited number of candidates can stand in the first round, provided they gather a certain amount of support from local parliamentarians. If one of them achieves an absolute majority in the first round (50% plus one vote), then they are pronounced president. The fragmented nature of French politics means, however, that this has never happened since the system was set up in 1965. ………. 

There is every possibility that Le Pen will be ahead after the first round in April 2017 so the question is how much chance she has in the second round. ……

In the past, voters have united to prevent the far-right from winning the run off, but France’s other main parties are failing to offer new faces for voters—and recently we’ve seen all too well what can happen when the establishment fails to address the discontent of the people. They are also consumed by their own problems.  The left appears to have collapsed, while right-wing voters are deeply divided about who their candidate should be.  …….

Le Pen’s discourse of “the same old faces and the same old promises” has found some traction against this backdrop. With seven more-or-less familiar figures fighting it out, the contest hardly has the look of new blood about it. It doesn’t help that Sarkozy has various investigations hanging over his head and that Juppé was stripped of the right to stand for election or hold office for two years in 2004. …..

Voters on the left could probably see themselves voting for Juppé if he ended up in the second round with Le Pen but the same is not necessarily true in a Sarkozy/Le Pen contest.

If Sarkozy wins the centre-right primary, Marie Le Pen will be the next President of France. (And I would prefer a strident Marie to a slimy Nicolas).

France has closed 20 radical mosques and over 100 more could be closed

August 2, 2016

Not all mosques harbour the radical preachers who infect the vulnerable with the murderousness virus. But some certainly do. Not all madrassas are totally focused on brain-washing impressionable and malleable young minds into the state of would-be terrorists. But some are. Not all radical mosques and madrassas are financed from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. But some certainly are.

After Paris and now Nice, France has had enough. Since December, 20 mosques and prayer halls considered radical have been closed. Over one hundred more are on the list fpr closure. Banning the foreign financing of mosques and prayer halls is now being considered.


French authorities have shut down around 20 mosques and prayer halls considered to be preaching radical Islam since December, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday. “There is no place … in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques, and who don’t respect certain republican principles, notably equality between men and women,” the minister said. “That is why I took the decision a few months ago to close mosques through the state of emergency, legal measures or administrative measures. About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others.”

…….. There are some 2,500 mosques and prayer halls in France, about 120 of which are considered to be preaching radical Salafism, a strict Sunni interpretation of Islam.

……… Prime Minister Manuel Valls said last week that he would consider a temporary ban on foreign financing of mosques, urging a “new model” for relations with Islam.

Cazeneuve confirmed that authorities were working on a French foundation for Islam which would guarantee total transparency in financing of mosques “with rigorous respect for secular principles.”

In December 2015 Al Jazeera reported that 160 mosques had been identified and could be closed.

Al JazeeraFrance is likely to close up to 160 mosques in the coming months as part of a nationwide police operation under the state of emergency which allows places of worship that promote radical views to be shut down, one of the country’s chief imams has said. 

Following news that three mosques have already been closed since the November 13 attacks on the capital, Hassan El Alaoui, who is in charge of nominating regional and local Muslim imams and mediating between the imams and prison officials, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that more were set to be shut.

“According to official figures and our discussions with the interior ministry, between 100 and 160 more mosques will be closed because they are run illegally without proper licenses, they preach hatred, or use takfiri speech,” he said.

The majority of Muslims in France are Sunni and while some are clearly sympathisers and supporters of the Taliban and ISIS and Al Qaida, and even of Boko Haram and Al Shabab, the majority of Sunnis are not. But as Felix Marquardt, a Parisian Muslim and cofounder of the al-Kawakibi Foundation, which works towards Islamic reformation puts it:

“It hardly comes as a surprise to me that there are mosques that absolutely deserve to be closed in France,” he told Al Jazeera. ….. “There was a world view [being preached] that was quite worrisome. I’m talking about the politicisation of Islam. I’ve heard some speeches that tend to promote the notion among Muslims present that Islamophobia is organised by the French state, that somehow non-Muslim French people are against the Muslim minority.” …….. “The link between people committing barbaric acts throughout the world is that they think of themselves as Muslim. As long as Muslims refuse to look at that honestly…I think it’s not very serious intellectually and dubious morally and it’s shocking this point is going to keep on coming.”

Image result for Paris mosque closed

image from Al Jazeera

Pots & kettles as Obama criticises Cameron over Libya

March 11, 2016

It seems a bit rich for Obama with his utter shambles in Syria to be criticising David Cameron for the shambles in Libya. Not that Obama (and Hillary Clinton) didn’t mess up in Libya as well but the UK and France were taking the lead there.  And while it may have been the fall of Libya which unleashed the weapons and fanatics who morphed into ISIS, they would not have expanded as they did without Obama and Kerry dropping the ball in Iraq and Syria.

The Russian strategy seems to be actually forcing ISIS back, but plan B for ISIS seems to be to setup headquarters in Libya if they are eventually squeezed out of Iraq and Syria. The UK and France have to take their share of the blame for their sanctimonious but ill-thought out “regime change” in Libya, but the real frustration for Obama is that he has compounded the failed end-game in Libya and multiplied it in Syria.


David Cameron became “distracted” after the 2011 intervention in Libya, US President Barack Obama has said. Speaking to the Atlantic magazine, he said the operation went as well as he had hoped, but Libya was now “a mess”. The article also said he had warned the PM the UK would have to pay its “fair share” and spend 2% of GDP on defence. …..

…. BBC North America editor Jon Sopel said the unsolicited statement put out by the White House suggested Downing Street had reacted angrily to the article. “It’s like we’ve seen a curtain drawn back on the unspun thoughts of President Obama, complete with frustration as well, and what we’ve seen tonight is the White House trying to close the curtain as quickly as it can,” he added. …….

……. The toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya – following UN-backed air strikes designed to protect civilians – led to a power vacuum and instability, with no authority in full control. The intervention was led by the UK and France – and in his interview, Mr Obama reflects on “what went wrong”, saying: “There’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up.” Mr Cameron, he said, became “distracted by a range of other things”.

He also criticised former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying he had tried to claim the spotlight. The former French president, he said, “wanted to trumpet the flights he was taking in the air campaign, despite the fact that we had wiped out all the air defences and essentially set up the entire infrastructure” for the intervention. President Obama said the intervention “averted large-scale civilian casualties (and) prevented what almost surely would have been a prolonged and bloody civil conflict”. But he added: “And despite all that, Libya is a mess.”

Trying to pass on some of the blame onto Cameron and Sarkozy is not unjustified but it does not put Obama’s utter fiasco in Iraq and Syria into any better light. It really does not help the pot when it calls the kettles black.


Paris climate conference to be subdued after G20 summit skips over contentious issues

November 17, 2015

The G20 summit in Turkey was completely dominated by the issue of combating ISIS terrorism and never got around to discussing the contentious climate conference issues separating the developing from the developed countries. In fact they got stuck on whether the goal of keeping to less than 2ºC warming by the end of the century should be referred to or not. India and Saudi Arabia opposed the motion but eventually gave way. There was little time to discuss much more and the critical issues of financing the “good fight” and whether even developing countries should make larger emissions cuts were hardly addressed.

ClimateChangeNews reports:

Campaigners looking to this weekend’s G20 leaders meeting in Antalya, Turkey, for progress on the climate agenda have been left disappointed.

In a statement on Monday, the group of major economies reiterated their commitment to a 2C limit on global warming and to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.

There was little sign of convergence on contentious issues ahead of December’s UN climate summit in Paris: how to ramp up ambition, share responsibility between rich and poor, and get finance flowing. 

India and Saudi Arabia reportedly objected to a review mechanism that would require countries to regularly update their climate plans. The EU is pushing for five-yearly reviews, a proposal recently endorsed by China.

“The only thing G20 leaders had to say on climate was ‘see you at the climate summit’,” said Oxfam’s Steve Price-Thomas.

The Climate conference starts on November 30th in Paris and after the terrorist killings is likely to dispense with much of the circus and side-meetings that normally accompany these jamborees. The French Prime Minister confirmed that things would be subdued

A series of events linked to a UN climate summit in Paris in two weeks will be cancelled over security fears, Manuel Valls told local radio on Monday morning.

The conference will be “reduced to the negotiation” with “concerts and festive events” likely to be called off in the wake of the country’s worst ever terrorist attack, the country’s prime minister told RTL. 

Valls did not specify whether that included a mass demonstration planned by activists on the eve of the summit on 29 November.

Despite the attack, no country or head of state had asked France to postpone the summit, he added.

More than 100 world leaders are due to open the COP21 negotiations on Monday 30 November, at Le Bourget airport on the outskirts of the city.

Organisers are expecting over 40,000 delegates a a day at the critical conference, where a global warming pact is to be finalised.

In parallel, several civil society and business groups had planned side events around Paris.

In my opinion the COP21 Climate conference is rather pointless and misguided. China and India have already got what they want in terms of freedom to use fossil fuels virtually without restriction. The world would be better off with the whole event being cancelled, not that there was – or is – any chance of that happening.

Mayhem in Paris – and I wonder which Muslims are celebrating?

November 14, 2015

The mayhem in Paris is not over yet. So far 40 dead are reported and 100 have been taken hostage.

So tell me again that the religion of Islam and its high priests bear no responsibility.

Or that any peaceful side of Islam has not been obliterated by its barbaric manifestations.

Or that this is probably the barbarism of just a few Sunni fanatics and should not tarnish all Muslims.

Or that there are not Madrassa-brainwashed Muslim youths across Europe who are not secretly celebrating.

Or that no money from Saudi Arabia was involved either in the brainwashing or in the barbarism.

Or that it is not misguided multiculturalism which has provided the space for their isolation and their radicalisation.

And I wonder how many hundreds if not thousands of killers have been sneaked into Europe among the – no doubt – real refugees and asylum seekers?

Someday humans societies will grow up and all organised religions and their brainwashing of children will be obsolete. But not for a very, very long time.

Germany pips France in the rush to Tehran

July 15, 2015

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced yesterday that he had been invited by his counterpart to Tehran and would soon be visiting there. But he did not announce any date for his visit. In the meantime while Fabius was talking the Germans were making their travel arrangements. The German Economy Minister has moved fast and has already arranged to take a large trade delegation to Tehran in 4 days time on 19th July (Tehran and Isfahan).

Both France and Germany were major trading partners for Iran before the sanctions and are looking to take a serious chunk of the frozen moneys now being released (about €800 million every month) and which Iran will most likely use to get equipment and components it has long been starved of. There is likely to be a rush of trade delegations and Germany and France are sure to be in the front. However the three countries which have had most trade with Iran during the sanction years have been Russia, China and India and they will also be expecting to be preferred suppliers for whatever they can offer. In any event the world economy will see an increase of trade by about €10 billion per year and increasing as Iran’s oil revenues pick up.


Fabius noted that French firms were “very well thought of” in Iran but denied the nuclear deal was struck with an eye on business. “Trade is very important. It fosters growth. It’s important for the Iranians, it’s important for us,” he said.

“But when the president of the Republic (Francois Hollande) and I took the strategic decision (to agree to a deal) … we did not take it for commercial reasons, but for strategic reasons because we wanted to avoid nuclear proliferation,” stressed the minister.

France used to have a strong presence in Iran before the sanctions went into effect, with Peugeot and Renault being major players in the Iranian auto industry and energy giant Total heavily involved in the oil sector. But two-way trade has fallen from four billion euros ($4.4 billion) in 2004 to just 500 million euros in 2013, according to French statistics.


Germany sees a big rise in trade with Iran, preparing the first high-profile foreign delegation for visit to Tehran this week since the conclusion of nuclear talks on Tuesday. 

Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel will arrive at the head of a large political and trade delegation on Sunday for a two-day visit which will also take him to the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

The 60-strong delegation will include representatives of big German industrial companies such as Linde and Siemens, Amir-Hossein Zamaninia, Iran’s deputy oil minister for commerce and international affairs, said.

Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor, will meet with President Hassan Rouhani, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh as well as Iranian ministers of trade and energy and the central bank governor.

“We expect to see a big increase in trade, especially in German sales of capital goods,” the Deutsche Welle website quoted Michael Tockuss, chief executive at the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, as saying.

According to the German Foreign Ministry, bilateral trade grew by 27% to 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2014 because of the sanctions relief. With the conclusion of nuclear talks on Tuesday, conservative estimates foresee bilateral trade expanding to 6 or 7 billion euros in 2016 assuming sanctions are dropped quickly, DW said.


French socialists trying to rescue their Greek comrades

July 9, 2015

That Yanis Varoufakis was a marxist economist is no great secret though he likes to call himself a libertarian marxist. (I have no great opinion of the black magic of economists in general and especially since they are all theorists which backcast but can never make a forecast. But a marxist economist pushes the bound of credulity).  His forced resignation from the post as Finance Minister was the token, cosmetic gesture made by Tsipras to the creditors. Syriza is a strange blend of socialism and marxism and nationalism. Among the group of creditors it has become apparent that the French socialists are going out of their way to try and save Tsipras and they are desperately trying to help Tsipras come up with a good “socialist” plan that can pass muster with the other creditors.

Now it seems that French econmists are actuually helping Tsipras draft proposals which must be presented today.


The Greek media have reported that financial experts from France are helping Greece put together its reform plan. It’s a story that has been backed up in the French press too.

But France – which has taken a largely conciliatory tone towards Greece – has denied any of its officials were involved.

AFP quoted one un-named official as saying: “France wants to help things along and very much backs an agreement, but in no way are we helping them draft the proposals.”

That French officials will not be acting in the name of France is obvious. But it is equally obvious that French nationals – acting in an “unofficial” capacity, but with the probable knowledge and blessing of the French government – are helping the Greeks to draft their proposal.

Good luck to them. But the best for all is for Greece to leave the Euro and stay in the EU.

Outlook dire as a huge depression approaches France

November 30, 2014

Sarko’s back!

The best that France can offer

The best that France can look forward to

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