The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Hollande Continues to Prove that a Fake Left-Winger Is Worse than Most Right-Wingers

The majority of French citizens are opposed to the relaxation of labour standards that Hollande wants to push through, and there have been massive demonstrations against it. So what does Hollande’s government do?

France’s government announced Tuesday that it would empower Prime Minister Manuel Valls to bypass parliament and push through controversial labour reforms by decree despite widespread public demonstrations against the bill.

And the French people had a party at the Bastille when Hollande won! Hollande is a far more loathsome individual than, say, British PM David Cameron. Cameron ran as a right-wing pig-fucker who intended to destroy the social state.

There are other options than neoliberalism, but people like Hollande are too intellectually cramped and too much products of “there is no alternative” to even know what they are, let alone consider them.

The people who run France are a small and inbred group. They make Britain’s elites look inclusive. In 80s, the foreign aid community’s joke about the French system was that it produced the best second-raters in the world.

Hollande doesn’t even rate as a “second-rater.” He’s incompetent as a neoliberal technocrat, unable to game the system.

I am tired of very intelligent, highly-educated morons running the world.

I suggest the French go riot at the Elysee palace, and by riot, I don’t mean demonstrate outside.

Demonstrate inside. Perhaps explain, personally, to Hollande, a soft-handed courtesan born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who has never soiled his hands with hard labor, why his ideas are bad ideas.

This sort of bullshit will continue until it is stopped by ordinary people making a ruckus in the halls of power.

And they aren’t going to be allowed in because they ask nicely.

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  1. Sanctimonious Purist

    Yup. I feel exactly the same about the present occupant of the White House. Fake left winger indeed.

  2. Seas of Promethium

    How sovereign is France in reality?

    This reminds me of one of those scenes in Star Trek: The Next Generation when someone hurls an object into what looks like empty air and it bounces off a wall of pixellation and suddenly they realize that they’ve been on the Holodeck the whole time.

  3. Seas of Promethium

    The Bush II neocons reconfigured the West into a Warsaw Pact-style system of “representative” governance floating around disconnected from the real levers of power. Fratboys drunk on power.

  4. EmilianoZ

    To be fair, these are not Hollande’s ideas. These are the reforms the Germans want the French to carry out. The alternatve is to get out of Europe. Are the French ready for that? They can express themselves in the elections next year.

  5. markfromireland

    @ Ian: A modern jacquerie?

  6. Shh

    “pig-fucker” :’-)

    @EmilianoZ “To be fair, these are not Hollande’s ideas. These are the reforms the Germans want the French to carry out. ” Not to be rude, but, umm, that’s kind of the point. Hollande is a useless ass pony who listens only to his benefit and is willing to lie, steal and cheat. Like the other pig-fucker, only worse.

  7. Ian Welsh

    If France is not strong enough to tell the Germans to fuck themselves, then everyone should leave the EU–except the Germans.

  8. markfromireland

    @ Ian

    The Germans have been getting very assertive across a range of issues . Worryingly they’re pushing for an integrated EU military force. To which end the Bundeswehr are already integrating Dutch units into their command structure.

    This is not a development I welcome, between this and the Ukraine debacle I’ve moved from being an EU supporter to an Exit sympathiser.

  9. Synoia

    We’ve had a bit of experience with assertive Germans over the years. It didn’t go well, and the process was unpleasant, and at times somewhat pointed.

    Something about Hapsburgs, Defenestration, and 450 years of effort comes to mind.

  10. Ian Welsh

    A European military is the pre-requisite for moving to a unitary state with the ex-countries acting like American “states”.

    I’ve been anti-Euro since its instigation, I’ve been anti EU, period, since the summer, as what happened in Greece is unacceptable as is the increasingly explicit anti-democratic bias of the Euro-elites.

  11. wendy davis

    Pig fucker, indeed, as are all of the faux-socialists in Europe. Dunno if they’ll ever get inside the buildings given police cordons, tear gas, etc., but #NuitDebout has been rumbling since the edict, and long before.

    #Global Debout is slated for May 15; here’s hoping it won’t get co-opted…too far.

    @ mfi: isn’t the integrated EU military force all about keeping borders secure from those in diaspora seeking help? The same ones who are refugees due to the western Imperium’s wars?

    At least the EU seems to be reconsidering passport-free travelers from Turkey as Erdogan commits war atrocities increasingly, as in Cizre.

  12. Shh

    Don’t forget Cyprus…

  13. Johnnygl

    These guys are just begging for marie le pen. French socialists may soon have their “pasok” moment at the next elections.

  14. Daize

    I live in France. Ian’s comments are spot on in every way. Hollande is a blind bitch willing, even begging, to be slapped around by the Germans. I am so disgusted by him it isn’t funny. And yes he could tell the Germans to fuck off if he wasn’t so in bed with them and if he wasn’t the shitty hypocritical neo-liberal that he is. At least you guys in the anglo world have real alternatives you can vote for… though it seems America will end up with Trump.

  15. Daize

    Although regarding Trump, I would actually vote for him over Hillary if those were my only two choices.

  16. Oh, Lord, this was my constant complaint under Bill Clinton and is now in the reign of Obama! With the Shrubbery, it was “plant a radish, get a radish (maybe you’ll get two)” — funny, I hadn’t thought about “The Fantasticks” for a thousand years — but these corporate Dems simply paralyze society. Most people don’t know what hit them until it’s hit them over and over and over again, and maybe not even then.

  17. I’ve considered him a putz since his undermining of Ségolène Royal’s 2007 presidential campaign when she was the leader of the French Socialist Party.

    Royal was probably the best chance for a socialist world leader – since the early 2000s – and her loss put put the conservative buffoon Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidency for the remaining two years of the Bush presidency.

  18. V. Arnold

    The Oligarchs, Fascisti, whatever ever you want to call them, have figured out the perfect way to keep “us” distracted; they put people in power who antagonise their populations with nonsense and blatant corruption of traditional “values” across all borders and polity…
    Focus on individuals, not those behind “the curtain”.
    Sheldon S. Wolin called it inverted totalitarianism.

  19. ProNewerDeal

    Ian, consider writing an article about H Clinton’s CURRENT health insurance policy.

    Apparently there would be a Medicare Public Option for those aged 55-64, & an ACA Public Option for those aged 18-54? Am I understanding this correctly?

    Why not just have one Medicare Public Option for the aged 18-64 (the premium could be partially actuarially based on age)?

    Why should I believe H Clinton? H Clinton & her hacks like Prof K constantly brag about her being “experienced, wonkish, knows the details”, & dismissive of Sanders as a lightweight. Yet AFAICT H Clinton is a Trump Jr in terms of continual flip-flopping, & NOT specifying detailed policies, albeit not as extreme of a flip-floppa or lightweight as Trump.

    Thanks in advance to Ian or fellow commentor(s) for any reply!

  20. Probably because the next step is eliminating Medicare and replacing it with that public option, which itself will be whittled away.

  21. CB

    One of hillary’s first efforts will be resurrecting obama’s grand bargain. To “save” SS, of course. So 1984.

  22. markfromireland

    @ wendy davis May 11, 2016

    isn’t the integrated EU military force all about keeping borders secure from those in diaspora seeking help?


  23. wendy davis

    @ mfi: Succinct, would you care to elaborate? My impression was that Merkel’s advocacy for implementing the long-time proposal was about ‘keeping our values’ as the EU was mooting the
    Schengen Agreement. But I poked around and found some older articles with headlines like this one at the Telegraph: ‘‘Create an EU army to keep back the Russians; Jean-Claude Juncker suggests European Commission president says pooling Europe’s defence resources could help send a message to Vladimir Putin’

    NATO hates the notion as robbing military funding that should ‘obviously’ go to NATO (and the US, of course), op-ed writers maintaining that Cameron is against it because he wants it renegotiated, etc.

    But as you likely know, Israel, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait (iirc) are to build nato bases in Brussels. Pretty large Umbrella organization by now.

    So is the timing about Ukraine?

  24. tony

    Hollande also led France into a military intervention, allegedly to secure France’s access to Mali resources.

  25. Seas of Promethium

    The only reason to go to a unified military would be to have an increased (i.e. from zero) say in policy.

    That was the thinking twenty years ago, and Washington was dead-set against the idea for that very reason.

    If it’s getting the green light now, presumably the calculation is that the Euro leadership is now so completely beholden to Washington that the issue is moot. But in that case, there’s also no longer any obvious reason for Euro citizens to want it in the first place.

  26. wendy davis

    In any event, from #NuitDebout on twitter unfortunate, but predictable:

  27. Hugh

    I have written for a few years now that the Eurozone has 6 fatal flaws:

    1. The lack of a fair and democratic fiscal and debt union
    2. A weak, and capricious, central bank interested only in defending an unsustainable status quo
    3. An insolvent and predatory banking sector
    4. Europe internal mercantilist trading patterns
    5. Thoroughly corrupt political classes
    6. A ruling kleptocratic class of the rich

    All of these would need to be resolved for what has been called the construction of Europe to go forward. To date none have been and only a few have been even tangentially addressed. Hollande is very much an example of point 5. I remember when Hollande was elected and progressives were all impressed, a SOCIALIST was elected in France. I tried to point out that this did not mean what they thought it meant and that he would be a major disappointment. France has a strong, top-down central state and its president is a semi-dictator. All the major parties, whatever their name or supposed orientation, are elitist to the core. These elites have far more in common with each other than they do with the French people, and they act in similar ways. They use the powers of the state to do what they think is good for the French people whether the French people like it or not.

    Reinhold Niebuhr wrote about the hypocrisy of such “dominant and privileged groups” and “the unconscious and conscious identification of their special interests with general interests and universal values”. That is, in their minds, if it is good for them and their class, it is by definition good for the French people. So they should just shut up and take their medicine. What strikes me is how similar the French Socialists are to classic Wilsonian liberalism: elitist, paternalistic, rabidly anti-populist, pro-corporatist, and interventionist.

    Europe also had another significant problem: how to square the free flow of peoples with maintaining and protecting the cultures and languages, especially of smaller groups. It never made any sense, but in good economic times, these contradictions could be massaged. But those good times are long gone.

    The death knell came when Angela Merkel destroyed Greece in part as an example of German power but mostly, and even more hypocritically, as a backdoor bailout of German (and French and Dutch) banks. A report came out recently that stated that only about 5% of the bailout money stayed in Greece the other 95% went to the bank bailout. This was considered a great, if quickly forgotten, discovery, even though it was a point that some of us had been making for 5 years.

    Compare this treatment of an EZ and EU member to Germany’s acceptance of a million Syrian refugees. The Germans and Merkel are, if anything, are as incoherent as anyone. I have often wondered why she didn’t simply invite a million Greeks to settle there. They would be much easier to assimilate than the Syrians. I sometimes wonder too how Germany’s declining population (and workforce) figured into Merkel’s decisions. But then I tell myself Merkel was probably thinking something like this. Millions of migrants/refugees are headed not so much to Europe as specifically to Germany. If Germany takes the lead in accepting a large number of these, it will gain the moral high ground to dump even larger numbers of refugees on its neighbors. This plan rather spectacularly failed with many states refusing to accept refugees. Hence Merkel’s shady deal with the corrupt and completely untrustworthy Erdogan. At the same time the European Commission is threatening to fine states that do not accept refugees/migrants 250,000 euros per refugee. The EU is already falling apart, but it is actions like this one, I think, that will do it in as member states rebel against or simply ignore EU central authority.

  28. Synoia


    Europe has a tried and well tested mechanism to resolve the problem you describe.


  29. Tom

    @ Wendy Davis

    Erdogan isn’t committing atrocities. PKK is doing that. It was PKK that broke the ceasefire and PKK whose continued terrorism against Kurds who make up the majority of AKP support base, brought the fighting to its current state.

    Erdogan is a man committed to democracy and secularism and always was. Hence why he isn’t banning HDP and only prosecuting those who used their personal vehicles to supply weapons to the PKK. Erdogan has always believed in representing the will of the people and protecting minorities which is also why confiscated properties of Armenians were returned and the 1916 genocide acknowledged.

    PKK on the other hand is committed to dictatorship and rule by fear. It never respected the ceasefire and did not enter the political process. Indeed, it continued to wage war till Erdogan finally said enough and let the TSK begin operations to clear the PKK from its borders.

    PKK are not freedom fighters and the vast majority of Kurds side with the AKP which unlike the PKK, has protected their rights while PKK beats them up and extorts them as well as kidnap their children.

  30. Hugh

    Tom gives us the Turkish version of hasbara. But Turkish hasbara doesn’t work for the same reason that Israeli hasbara stopped working in venues like Ian’s. You tell us, “Don’t believe your f*cking eyes.” Too many of us refuse to do so.

    People only believe a Big Lie if they secretly wish it were true, –and if they are willing, or desperate enough, to suspend their critical thought. But if we don’t believe Trump, and we don’t believe Clinton, where we have every right to be invested, why in the world would we believe you and your Alice in Wonderland fantasy propaganda, where we aren’t invested at all?

  31. markfromireland

    @ Hugh

    This is the same Tom who pops up with breathless “analysis” and a rooted aversion to providing links. His most recent piece of shamelessness was trying to pretend that Turkey feeds clothes and houses its refugees in purpose built heated camps with power and water and most importantly sanitation.

    Turkey does have some show camps which house around 200,000 Syrian refugees many if not most of whom are of Turkic origin. The remaining 2.3 million that’s two million three hundred thousand are left to starve on the streets and survive by begging or sending their children out to work in sweat shops or worse.

    If you want to see what the reality is the UK independent ran an article with a series of photos showing what life is really like for refugees in Turkey:

    Pictures of life for Turkey’s 2.5 million Syrian refugees

    Distressing though they are those photos are mild.

    “Shameless asshole” doesn’t even begin to describe this shill. I suggest you treat him with the contempt he’s earned time and time again and ignore him.

  32. Reminds me of voting for Obama over Hillary in 2008 because he ran against her on NAFTA.

    Then rather than renegotiate its worst terms as he promised, he secretly resumed Bush’s TPP and finally passed it with mostly GOP votes.

    A more effective mole Wall St. could not have found.

  33. Ken Hoop

    Weren’t there published reports his adviser, in Canada I believe, could have been elsewhere, was assuring the oligarchs that his opposition to free trade was a pretense? Of course Clinton was no different, nor Dean, you would have had to go as far left as Kucinich to assure fair deals for the workers.

  34. VietnamVet

    There have been an incredible series of blunders; the murder of Gadhafi, the overthrow of the elected Ukraine government, the continued attempt to replace the Syrian government with Islamists, supplying Jihadists with modern anti-aircraft missiles and the economic warfare against Iran, Greece and Russia; all carried out by “leftists” and “conservative” governments at the direction of the Western elite. The consequences will the end of the EU, the Eurozone and the Empire; if not mankind.

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