Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Decline of France as Seen Through the Increasingly Odd Marital Lives of its Presidents

Emmanuel Macron, 39 and his wife, Brigitte, 64

Note: I'm defining "odd" from a traditional or traditionalist Catholic perspective. On that definition, a "normal" family is one husband, one wife, multiple kids, and one van. If your situation is not "normal" or is "odd" by that standard, that's okay. I don't own a van either.

When former French President François Mitterrand died in 1996, his funeral was attended by both his wife and his long-term mistress. "How French," it was said, at the time.

That's an interesting and perhaps funny anecdote. But it doesn't tell the whole story . . .

I want to take a closer look at the marital lives of the modern French presidents. And for good measure, I'll throw in the four major candidates for the current election. If you follow me to the end, I think you'll see why I did it.

Modern France has a five-year presidential term. And you are allowed to run again. Hence, in the almost sixty years since the founding of the Fifth Republic, there have been only seven presidents - eight, counting whoever wins in two weeks.

THE ELECTED PRESIDENTS

Charles de Gaulle (1959-1969): 1 wife, 3 children.

The De Gaulles were staunch Catholics. His wife, Yvonne Vendroux, reportedly wanted to ban the mini-skirt.

Georges Pompidou (1969-74): 1 wife, 1 child.

Pompidou was a close friend and aide to De Gaulle. Before becoming president, he managed the Anne de Gaulle Foundation for Down syndrome (de Gaulle's daughter Anne had Down's syndrome).

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1974-81): 1 wife, 4 children.

Giscard d'Estang is tied with Mitterand for having the most kids on the list. In fairness, I should point out that he is probably also tied with Mitterand for extra-marital womanizing.

François Mitterrand (1981-95): 1 wife, 4 children, 1 mistress.

Jacques Chirac (1995-2007): 1 wife, 2 children.

Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-12): 3 wives, 1.33 children per wife.

As everyone knows. For his third wife, Sarkozy married a former model. This, of course, is a French thing. We would never do that here.

François Hollande (2012-17): 0 wives, 3 domestic partners, 1.33 children per domestic partner (all of them were from his first one).

Hollande's first partner, Ségolène Royal, was a successful politician in her own right, making it into the second round of the 2007 presidential election. The Hollande-Royales would often domestically pose around their domestic breakfast table with their four domestic kids, before Hollande would kick Royale out of his domicile in favor of domestic partner # 2, Valérie Trierweiler, a talk-show host. Hollande and Royale are on record as saying that they never married because it was "too bourgeois."

THE 2017 CANDIDATES (obviously, we know now that the bottom two won't win)

Emmanuel Macron: 1 wife (25 years his senior), 0 children.

Macron started "dating" his future wife when he was 15 and she was 40 (Brigitte Trogneux was his high-school teacher). But they didn't actually marry until he was 30 and she was 55. He is now 39 and she is . . . you get the picture. In fairness, she doesn't look a day over 61.

Marine Le Pen: 2 husbands, 1 current domestic partner, 1 child per husband/partner.

Given the other examples, one wouldn't think that Le Pen's non-traditional marital life would hurt her politically. Then, again, unlike, say Hollande, some of Le Pen's potential supporters are conservative Catholics. I suspect it doesn't do her any good.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon: 1 wife (divorced), 1 child.

Mélenchon is sort of the odd-man out. He has intentionally tried very hard to keep his private life private, and thus there is nothing on it in Wikipedia or similar sources. In fact, the rumpled Maoist was married and divorced many years ago. His one daughter is apparently devoted to him, as well as to his socialist causes.

François Fillon: 1 wife, 5 children, 1 castle.

Fillon wins the title for having the most traditional family. And, yes, he is a Catholic, and, yes, they do live in a castle (which is even better than a van). However, he is, arguably, too pro-family, or at least, too pro-his family. A few months ago, his campaign suffered a huge setback when it was revealed that he had put his wife on the public payroll with alleged little-work jobs - netting the Fillons at least a million dollars over the years. There were also similar allegations involving two of his children and smaller sums. This scandal almost certainly cost him the chance to advance into the second round of the election.

What does it all mean?

I've had a bit of fun with the public private lives of French politicians. But my purpose was not to criticize them per se, rather, it was to point out the change in, shall we say, standards for what the French find acceptable, or at least acceptable for their presidents and politicians. Or even more to the point, what those presidents and politicians themselves find acceptable.

There's also the question of French identity and how demographic trends are affecting it. France is becoming more Muslim, not merely because of current immigration or the current "migrant" wave (although that's obviously a part of it), but because non-Muslim French are having far-fewer children than their Muslim counterparts. For example, by some estimates, more than half of all babies now born in greater Paris are born to Muslim parents. So, to put it bluntly, if the French wish to protect their non-Muslim Frenchness, then unless they want to kick all Muslims (including those who are French citizens) out of the country, they need to have more babies. Yet their presidents and politicians are not setting the greatest example. (True, the question becomes more complicated when you look at divorce - babies are babies, whether they come from one spouse or three - or, one or three domestic partners. But I think it's true that, on a general level, at least, it's all of a piece. "Instability" tends to lead to fewer children, and/or is a symptom of preferences not being fully ordered to the having or raising of children.)

Seen in the light of the past two decades, the funny comments about Mitterand's mistress are almost ironic. How French, indeed. Or, rather, how French it used to be. Compared to the current average, the one wife plus one mistress of that old socialist Mitterrand, looks positively bourgeois.

Hey, don't blame me, man. I voted for . . .

Okay, never mind.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day

YomHaShoah, 2014

As part of Holocaust Remembrance Day or YomHaShoah, sirens go off all over Israel, and everyone stops whatever it is that they're doing to stand in respectful attention.

Videos show cars slowing down to a halt on highways. The drivers also get out and stand.

It is incredibly moving.

I don't think it would be as moving and important if it were merely "remembering." But, of course, it's not. It's symbolic of the unflagging determination of a nation that long ago collectively decided to robustly defend herself - always ready to fight back against those who wish to destroy her.

France could use a bit of that.

We could use a bit of that.

Is the Holocaust the greatest evil of the 20th century? I'm not sure it is.

Perhaps there should be a Gulag remembrance day across Russia.

The Chinese don't have a remembrance day. Instead they still have a giant picture of their very own mass murderer on their most prominent government building. They're too busy making money to take him down.

But if others, for whatever reason, don't wish to "remember", that's not Israel's fault. Rather, it's a comment on what makes Israel and it's citizens different - more (I'm struggling for the right word here) clear-eyed.

More honorable (at least in that one respect)?

We should do the same thing in New York, every September 11th.

Is there a 9/11 remembrance day? I suppose there probably is - people place flowers someplace or another, or whatever. Sixteen years ago, a sort of tragedy happened, and then many of us became Islamophobic. It's all so very sad. Hatred is wrong.

Let me amend what I earlier said. We should have a Cowardice Day. (And, yes, I mean the appellation to apply to us.) It wouldn't exactly be uplifting, but at least it would be accurate.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

French Elections: Surprise, There's No Surprise!

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen

The counts and projections show that independent, Emmanuel Macron, and National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, were the top two vote getters in today's French election. They now advance to a runoff that will be held on May 7th.

Both Macron and Le Pen achieved percentage totals in the low 20s, with Macron probably beating Le Pen by a few points. The other two leading candidates, Francois Fillon, the candidate for the Republicans, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the candidate for the ironically named Unsubmissive France, came in third and fourth, with probable totals in the 19s.

The American and British media have been trying to gin up drama by claiming that the win by two "outsiders" is historic and unexpected - with the official candidates for the governing party and the major opposition party coming in fifth and third, respectively. But in truth, political parties in France are currently much more fluid than they are in, say, Britain or the United States, with "new" major parties popping up or changing their names every few years. But through it all, the electorate has remained roughly divided along a spectrum described as far-left, center-left, center-right and far-right.

Macron and Le Pen have been the favorites for months, with Fillon and Mélenchon given only small odds for any upset. For sure, in a race where the winners were separated from the losers by only a few percentage points, it could have gone another way. But the fact is, it didn't.

Le Pen is given almost no chance to win the runoff vote.

In mid-February, when I wrote this, Le Pen was briefly favored to win it. But since late February, chances for a Le Pen win have hovered at only around 35% in the prediction markets. And after today's results, they've been cut in half to 18%.

I assume this is due to the fact that Le Pen underperformed by a number of points - she, not Macron, was predicted to be the top vote getter in the first round. Also, one of the scenarios where she was thought to have had the best chance to win a runoff - Fillon leaping ahead of Macron for the second place slot - did not materialize.

The two losing major candidates, as well as the two most recent past French presidents - François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy - denounced Le Pen and endorsed Macron. And the entire mainstream French media, as well as much of the electorate, is focused on stopping Le Pen at any cost.

The theory that a terrorist attack would "help" Le Pen proved false. My view is that most French have pretty much accepted terrorism as the new normal. It won't be going away, so why not focus on the price of cheese?

Or vote for the nice young man in the well-tailored suit.

Or engage in some good old-fashioned collective virtue signaling about the evils of "racism." We don't do that, we're 21st century Europeans.

No doubt. And you're about to surrender to 11th century Middle-Easterners.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BREAKING: "A man got out of a car and began shooting with a Kalashnikov on the Champs Elysees"


Update (3:50 PM CST): The French police are now saying that there was only attacker. However, much of central Paris remains under lockdown.

Two policeman have been killed in a shooting earlier today on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

The incident occurred at approximately 9 PM local time, near a Marks and Spencer store at 104 Champs Elysees Avenue.

The gunman was shot dead. There are reports that there may be another gunman, presumably on the run.

The entire area has been blocked off and police are telling people to avoid it.  

Reuters quotes a witness: "A man got out of a car and began shooting (at police) with a Kalashnikov on the Champs Elysees."

A police spokesperson said the gunmen targeted police guarding the entrance to a subway station, and that the incident was a "likely" terror attack. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

CNN Refuses to Cover Muslim Black Supremacist Shooting Spree

"Those poor darkies."

These days, I'm not easily shocked. But this did shock me.

One might anticipate that in an ongoing mass shooting situation, where the suspect would turn out to be a Muslim black supremacist who screamed "Allah Akbar!" when he was arrested, that CNN would find some way to cover it but downplay it, or excuse it. Bring on the CAIR spokesman to take advantage of the horrific murders by making a speech about Islamophobia, or the sociology talking head to blame capitalism or mental health funding cuts or whatever.

Or at least, Anderson Cooper, reporting from the scene, wearing a designer t-shirt worth more than an entire Haitian village.

But no.

Actually, according to the Daily Caller, CNN television news didn't cover the breaking story at all.

There is now an article on CNN's webpage. But there were no mentions of it during its news broadcasts up until prime time.

However, in the same time period, there were stories about, among other things, the sexual harassment charges against Bill O'Reilly and a child-custody battle involving Alex Jones.

CNN is now no more a news organization than was the outfit that published the anti-semitic tabloid Der Stürmer in Nazi Germany.

Maybe CNN was once the cable news station of record.

Even Darth Vader endorsed it.

No more.

Watch it in airports, if you must. Otherwise, try another channel, any other channel.

You'll get more honesty from the Home Shopping Network.

From the Daily Caller:
CNN Completely Ignores Anti-White Fresno Murders
By Chuck Ross
The murders of three white men by a black supremacist gunman in Fresno received limited media attention on Tuesday, most notably at CNN.
CNN’s dearth of coverage of the shootings, carried out by 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad, an African-American Muslim, stands in stark contrast to its reporting of other non-political news events: the manhunt for a Cleveland man who killed a 74-year-old man on Sunday, a sexual harassment scandal involving Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, and a child custody battle involving radio host Alex Jones.
A review of CNN’s broadcast through primetime shows that the Fresno killings received no mentions on air. An article about the attacks is loaded to CNN.com.
MSNBC gave a brief mention to Muhammad’s racially-motivated killings during the day Tuesday. Fox News hosts discussed the story during several primetime shows. NBC, CBS, and ABC aired segments on the story during their nightly broadcasts.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Not Funny: On Easter Sunday, Milo Yiannopoulos Titles Trailer for Comeback Video "He is Risen"


"He is Risen," the supertitle to the trailer for the Milo Yiannopoulos "comeback video," promoted on Easter Sunday, wasn't referring to Christ.

It was referring to Milo Yiannopoulos.

In the thirty-seven second trailer, we also see Yiannopoulos dressed twice as a Catholic priest, including in the final shot.

Of course, one of the recent controversies swirling around the ex-Breitbart journalist was the question of whether he had or had not been abused by a Catholic priest. 

How edgy.

"The Bitch is Back." Funny.

"He is Risen" (on Easter Sunday). Sick.

It's true that Yiannopoulos has done a huge amount of good. Among other things, he's given articulate and powerful defenses of the Catholic faith - much better than most contemporary bishops, for example. And, of course, he has claimed to be a believing Catholic.

I have no reason to doubt that he is.

But he obviously has huge problems. And, no, I'm not, here, specifically referring to his sex life.

As everyone knows, I've strongly defended Yiannopoulos in public.

In general, his enemies are my enemies. They're your enemies. 

But Yiannopoulos needs to get his personal issues resolved. If he doesn't, his ongoing implosion will greatly hurt the causes that he claims to represent.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Jerusalem: "Mentally Unstable" Muslim Stabs Good Friday Pilgrim to Death with a Kitchen Knife

The knife used in the attack

I am assuming the young woman - a British tourist - was a pilgrim, as she appears to have been heading to a Good Friday commemoration in the Old City.

The Palestinian Authority had just raised the stipend for families of Palestinian terrorists.

Here is the story and commentary from the blog, Elder of Ziyon:
From YNet:
A 23-year-old British student was killed after being stabbed multiple times in the chest in a terror attack at IDF Square on Jerusalem’s light rail on Friday afternoon.
The terrorist was arrested after a number of police officers managed to gain control over him. He was later identified as 57-year-old Jamil Tamimi from the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud.
Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics arrived at the scene to find the woman lying on the ground unconscious after having suffered multiple stab wounds.
The Shin Bet later reported that the terrorist attempted to commit suicide this year by swallowing a razor blade while in hospital. In 2011, he was convicted of sexually assaulting his daughter.
“This is another incident of many in which a Palestinian suffering from mental health or personal issues has chosen to carry out an attack as a way out of his problems,” the Shin Bet statement said.
A mentally ill and probably disgraced member of the "peaceful" Tamimi family wants to kill himself. What better way to rehabilitate his image and get likely killed than to murder an innocent woman in a public place?
This story is not only about a mentally ill murderer. It is yet another indictment of a Palestinian society that glorifies terrorists and turns their shame into honor.
The murder is already being called heroic by Palestine Today.
The official Wafa news agency is not yet sure whether the person arrested is the stabber, saying that a Palestinian was arrested on the pretext of being involved in a terror attack.