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Monsieur Hollande’s Opus?

According to The Guardian, the socialist, François Hollande, appears to be in the process of unseating Nicolas Sarkozy. The results have been known since 7:00pm local time and should be announced any minute now. You can follow the election updates at The Guardian site here.

My in-house translator just woke up from her post SAT slumber. She’s got a French AP coming up next week, sooo…

In the meantime, stand by for Wall Street to commence wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. Wait. Skip that last part. Do you know how much a good suit costs these days?

If Hollande wins, good for the French. It means that they know what’s going on, won’t be taken in by the fearmongers and definitely do not want to adopt Third world labor habits and living standards.

Here’s an update from Paris by writer Fiachra Gibbons:

Euphoric atmosphere at Bastille — hard to believe that François Hollande, the clubable once chubby Monsieur Flamby, could provoke quite so much fervour, but he has — and we don’t even have the official, official results yet. The truth is the thousands of Parisians here have gathered as much to celebrate the demise and humiliation of Nicolas Sarkozy as the triumph of François Hollande.

People are smiling, laughing, being wonderfully joyful and polite — generally not behaving at all like Parisians ought to in public. It must have been like this after the liberation — when Parisians, who usually go to great lengths to ignore and be pointlessly rude to each other, also let their hair down for a few days. A Portuguese gardienne from my quarter who hasn’t talked to me once in six years just hugged and kissed me on the mouth when she recognised me in the crowd. Immaculata voted for Le Pen in the first round but against Sarko today. “It is true there are too many foreigners and Muslims in France but his voice was driving me mad. He’s a crazy person. And he was making the country as crazy as him. It could not go on. All he cared about was himself and his rich friends.”

A shout of “Sarko en prison!” — roughly, “Lock up Sarko” — has been taken up by a part of the crowd, a reference to the multiple corruption and party funding investigations he will now face, from the Karachi scandal over the death of 11 French engineers in Pakistan over alleged unpaid kickbacks to Bettencourt brown envelopes and now allegations of millions from Gaddafi. An even more grisly chant of “Copé au pot eau!” (“Put Copé against the wall [and shoot him]) is also making an occasional appearance, aimed at the not very likable head of Sarko’s UMP party — who if you can imagine such a thing, plays the Mr Nasty to Sarko’s Mr Nice — and who was responsible for the ban on niqab. But the violence of the slogan seems completely at odds with the mood of the night and is being drowned out by the very drole, “Copé au burqa!” (Put Copé in a burqa!)

Lots of people I have talked to believe France is rid of Sarko forever, that there is no way back for him now. (There are, rather cruelly, not giving his marriage much of a chance of survival either.). They point to his frequent protests that he would withdraw forever from public life if he lost, which I think amounted to “Re-elect me or I will never play with you again”.’But I don’t think this will be the last we hear of him. Remember he has Transylvanian blood — and as far as I can seetonight, there’s been no crucifixes or silver bullets

It sounds rather personal.

Update: It’s official. François Hollande is the next President of France:

François Hollande élu président de la République LIVE
Le candidat du PS a devancé Nicolas Sarkozy au second tour de l’élection présidentielle, avec 51,8 % des voix contre 48,2 % au président sortant, selon les estimations Ipsos pour “Le Monde”, France télévisions et Radio France à partir des premiers bulletins dépouillés.

51,9 %
48,1 %

Présidentielle : 71,96 % de participation à 17 heures

Not a landslide but decisive nonetheless. Congratulations to all my former French ex-pat colleagues who voted today.

More on why Sarkozy lost from Angelique Chrisafis at The Guardian reporting from Paris:

Sarkozy is the 11th European leader to be ejected since the economic crisis. But the irony is that he was not booted out directly because of it. The eurozone crisis was paradoxically one of the only ways he could have won the election, selling himself as Super Sarko, an international firefighter and problem-solver, protecting France. That was the message of his election posters which featured his portrait against the sea: Captain Courage in a storm. But instead of vaunting his crisis-busting skills or even leadership in the intervention in Libya, he chose to pour his energies into veering hard-right in a crusade against immigration and halal meat, blaming Islam for the troubles in French society, and claiming to protect the Christian roots of Europe. Much of this harked back to his ill-fated far-right flirtations in office, from his controversial ministry of immigration and national identity, which he eventually abandoned, to a speech blaming Roma for crime in France and dismantling their camps.

Sarkozy’s courtship of the far right ultimately failed. By bringing the favourite topics of the Front National into the mainstream, namely immigration and fear of Islam, he served only to strengthen its leader, Marine Le Pen. He also dented his own legacy, leaving himself for the time being remembered in French minds not for what he defined as his bullishness in defending France abroad, or for reforms such as lowering the pension age, but for a divisive, stigmatising campaign that even some in his own camp privately felt was repulsive.

Sunday’s vote was a personal referendum on Sarkozy.

There’s a warning in there for Obama that I think the Democratic party has not been paying attention to. If you court the far right, you end up strengthening it. Also, this fall, expect it to get very personal. Bludgeoning the voters with accusations of racism will probably backfire this year even if they happen to be a lot more true this year than in 2008. Win by racism, lose by racism. And those of us falsely accused in the past will not be coming to your aid this time. Maybe it would have been better to have spent the last four years fixing the crisis instead of giving in to rich friends and polishing your image.

Just sayin’.

Latest update: François Hollande says this about going forward: “Austerity can no longer be inevitable in Europe” The Socialist candidate, elected President of the Republic Sunday, said he was “proud to have been able to restore hope.” He asks to be judged on two commitments: “Justice and Youth”.

Sounds like he has been talking to Krugman. Or Occupy.

What’s wrong with Obama

This is a graph from pollster.com of Obama’s favorable vs unfavorable rating going back to Jan 2008. Anyone who’s read what I’ve written about him (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) knows I think he’s an empty suit. An empty, bigoted suit, pressed by the corporations who own him.

I’ve been wondering what’ll happen when people wake up to the depth of the con. Now I know. Nothing will happen. Waking up isn’t part of the plan. If they have to stop dreaming, they’ll just start hallucinating.

Look at those two converging lines.

That loss of rosy faith is not based on the fact that he’s broken every campaign promise he’s made, starting with not ending the war, the torture, the surveillance, the imperial Presidency, going on with not even trying to deliver on health care for all, and continuing through an endless list.

The pollsters say the loss comes from him being a Muslim Kenyan Socialist Nazi gun-hating terrorist-loving radical leftie.

Christ on a bike in a pancake hat.

A man who spent decades going to the most politically connected church in Chicago is not a Muslim. (Original article taken down from Chicago Tribune, May 2008)

A man who’s never since childhood spoken with an aunt, dearly beloved as per his book, an aunt who turns out to be barely scraping by in a Boston housing project, such a man knows less about the Kenyan concept of family than I do, to say nothing of actually having anything Kenyan about him.

A man who throws about a trillion taxpayer dollars (a trillion for God’s sake) at Wall Street without even trying to stop it from being used to pay obscene bonuses is not a socialist. (There was a feeble attempt after it hit the news, but the attempt was so weak, it died in the Senate without a word from him.)

A man whose idea of withdrawing from Iraq is to escalate in Afghanistan doesn’t hate guns.

A man whose concept of breakthrough thinking is begging Republicans to approve of his every word is so far from being a radical I’d call him a milquetoast.

But none of this is why people are losing that warm fuzzy feeling about him. It’s not even that they’re put off, at last, by the way he’s conveniently oblivious to vile misogyny, his own and his followers’. Or his arrogant disregard of gays. Or the cynical use of racism to squelch a few more voices.

It’s that he’s a socialist radical dictator freak.

And judging by the skid marks, these people brake for hallucinations.

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Shoes and Ideology

$540 Lanvin trainers

$540 Lanvin trainers

First Lady Michelle Obama is being criticized for wearing pricey designer sneakers to hand out food to the needy.

While volunteering Wednesday at a D.C. food bank, the First Lady sported her usual J.Crew cardigan, a pair of utilitarian capri pants and, on her feet, a sneaky splurge: trainers that go for $540.

That’s right: These sneakers – suede, with grosgrain ribbon laces and metallic pink toe caps – are made by French design house Lanvin, one of fashion’s hottest labels. They come in denim and satin versions, and have been a brisk seller all spring.

Apparently she needed the ridiculously expensive but comfy shoes to walk her daughters’ new dog.

“I got up at 5:15 in the morning to walk my puppy,” she joked Thursday. “That’s how my day starts. Even though the kids are supposed to do a lot of the work, I’m still up at 5:15 a.m. taking my dog out.”

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Michelle probably got the shoes at the Ikram boutique in Chicago. Continue reading

Pin The Tail On Obama

obama-socialistAmidst the sturm und drang that is the nascent Obama administration, pundits, analysts, talking heads, blogger boyz and other professional bullshitters are running amok, racing each other to see who can be first to bang his/her head into a brick wall trying to figure out just where the Spokesmodel-in-Chief is coming from, and exactly where he might think he’s going.  Needless to say, none of them seem to have a freaking clue.  Is he too tired, over his head, fiendishly Machiavellian, liberal, centrist, Socialist, Marxist, fascist, or, just,  as Mickey Mouse allegedly said to the divorce court judge about Minnie, fucking Goofy?

The New York Times, in an interview aboard Air Force One, tried valiantly to pin the Teflon TelePrompTer Reader down about his overall philosophy of governance, to little avail:

Q. The first six weeks have given people a glimpse of your spending priorities. Are you a socialist as some people have suggested?

A. You know, let’s take a look at the budget – the answer would be no.

Q. Is there anything wrong with saying yes?

Obama then goes on to give a classic 4-paragraph, professorial ObAnswer that didn’t come anywhere near to answering the question.

Q. So to people who suggested that you are more liberal than you suggested on the campaign, you say, what?

A. I think it would be hard to argue, Jeff. We have delivered on every promise that we’ve made so far. We said that we would end the war in Iraq and we’ve put forward a responsible plan.

Q. In terms of spending.

Obama then goes on to give a classic 3-paragraph, professorial ObAnswer that didn’t come anywhere near to answering the question.  Which of course, prompted the interviewer to again ask the president if he was a Socialist:

Q. Is there one word name for your philosophy? If you’re not a socialist, are you a liberal? Are you progressive? One word?

A. No, I’m not going to engage in that.

No wonder the pundits, analysts, talking heads, blogger boyz and other professional bullshitters are all having such a hard time sussing out where he’s coming from; they’re using yardsticks to measure water temperature.  The only logical answer to the “where’s this guy coming from?” question is, “someplace only he knows.”  He fits no known description, he is an Obacanacratist.  He fully intends to “change” the “old ways of Washington,” just like he always said he would.  What I can’t understand is why so many people find something so obvious, so hard to comprehend.

Until everybody, on both sides of the aisle, and down the middle, wraps their heads around the fact that he’s not a Democrat or Republican, Socialist, Marxist, or any other -can,” “-crat,” or “-ist” you can think of, they’ll never be able to answer the only pertinent question, which is not, “what’s he up to?” but, “are we going to let him get away with it?”

Cross posted @ Cinie’s World