Friday, May 12, 2017
I now live in Paris with a menagerie of adopted stray animals.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Emmanuel Macron vanquished Marine Le Pen in yesterday’s French presidential election. The result again confounded pollsters, who had largely converged on a prediction that Macron would take 62 percent of the vote. He instead took 66.1 percent. As Nate Silver noted on Twitter: “A bigger error than Brexit and much bigger than Trump.”
If we calculate the tally to include abstentions and blank ballots, another remarkable result emerges: Le Pen managed to come in third in a two-man race. According to the Interior Ministry, 20.8 million voters backed Macron, 16.8 million abstained or cast blank votes, and just 10.6 million pulled the lever for Le Pen. This was a sharp slap in the face to her, her party, and everything in French history it represents.
For those of us who feared Le Pen would do well enough to claim a moral victory, the relief was immense, and any American with his head screwed on straight should share in it. Le Pen’s most memorable line in last Wednesday’s debate may have been, “France will be led by a woman. It will be me or Mrs. Merkel,” but in truth, France under Le Pen would have been led by a man, and that man would have been Vladimir Putin. As has been widely reported, Le Pen is in hock to the Kremlin, which funded her campaign. During one of her visits to Moscow, Le Pen explained her views to Kommersant: “The economic crisis gives us the opportunity to turn our back on the United States and turn to Russia.” That many Americans found this fact irrelevant when asking themselves whether Le Pen’s victory would be in their interests reflects a new and strange species of geopolitical masochism. That members of Congress, including Steve King and Dana Rohrabacher, travelled to France to endorse Le Pen is both incomprehensible and unforgivable.
Election silence descended upon France at midnight on Friday. By long-established law, this is when campaigning must end. Directly before the silence fell, however, nine gigabytes of data, putatively e-mails stolen from Macron’s campaign, were dumped onto Pastebin. The campaign had only enough time to confirm it had been the victim of a massive hack; it could not otherwise respond, nor could French journalists report on the contents of the documents. It looked to be what it probably was: a last-minute Russian bid to tip the scales in favor of Le Pen.
On Saturday, France’s election commission met and confirmed to the public that the leaked data apparently came from Macron’s “information systems and mail accounts from some of his campaign managers.” The documents, they said, were probably mingled with fakes. They urged French media and citizens not to relay their contents.
Some Americans, surprised by this, mistakenly concluded the blackout had been imposed specifically in response to the attack; a number of them even embellished this theory by envisioning an establishment bent on protecting its privileges and concealing the truth about Macron. Others concluded the silence of the French media was voluntary. Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast, for example, tweeted, “Most French media ignoring the hack. See? It can be done. It’s called news judgment.” Neither was the case. This is longstanding French election law. Had evidence surfaced that Le Pen was a shapeshifting reptile from outer space, it wouldn’t have been any different. Once election silence descends, it descends.
Because the leak hit right before the pre-election news blackout, there wasn’t time to pinpoint its provenance, but French voters were already entirely aware that the Kremlin had been busily involved in this election. The French edition of Sputnik, along with the Kremlin’s other local propaganda organs and organelles, pumped out rumors that Macron was a closeted homosexual supported by a “very rich gay lobby.” That charge reflected Russian obsessions more than French ones; no one here seemed much to care. But other Kremlin propaganda was better targeted to French culture, including insinuations, quickly reproduced throughout France’s faschosphère, that Macron was something like an honorary learned elder of Zion, a man so tainted by his appetite for banking and his rootless cosmopolitanism as to be Jewish in function if not in form. The hacking and phishing attacks on Macron’s campaign were sufficiently unrelenting that Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued a warning to Moscow in February: “This kind of interference in French political life is unacceptable.”
And it was. It is possible that French voters previously inclined to dismiss the warnings of Russian tampering as exaggeration or partisanship were sobered by the last-minute leak. It’s even possible, if not provable, that some of the discrepancy between the polls and the results was owed less to a flaw in the pollsters’ methodology than to voters’ disgust with the effort to manipulate them. American cyber-security experts quickly spotted Cyrillic script in the metadata, which suggests either that the authors of the attack were the usual suspects or that someone wanted it to look that way. It would be highly pleasing to think that the discrepancy between the polls and the final vote was owed to the decision by French voters to uphold the French tradition and round up the usual suspects.
It is true that there is no cause now for an access of optimism. A France so furious and frustrated that 10.6 million of its citizens would vote for the National Front will not easily be repaired. The country is balkanized: It has been whipsawed by rapid deindustrialization; it is plagued by high unemployment; and it has failed to properly integrate many of its Muslim citizens — although Americans who believed this problem to be so severe as to warrant the election of Le Pen, and even to mount their own efforts to elect her, have been deceived. It is a fortunate thing that they succeeded only in insulting the people they had hoped to manipulate. That our own citizens, in turn, were obviously manipulated is now our problem to solve, not France’s.
We should be pleased by the result but realistic. Macron is too young for the job, he has never been elected to any office before, and he has no established party. He owes much of this victory to luck, in the form of his major rivals’ self-destruction. But at least (unlike, for example, Obama, to whom he has been compared) he seems aware of all of this. His first speech as president-elect in the courtyard of the Louvre struck a grave tone. The solemn stagecraft — he spoke before the symbol of France’s royal power, now the center of its republican culture, following the playing of the European anthem, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” — seemed required to soften the unnerving reality: France still has serious problems, and now it has an untested, 39-year-old president, too.
“The task before us, my dear fellow citizens, is immense,” he said, repeating the word “immense” several times. “We must restore morality to public life, defend the vitality of democracy, strengthen our economy, build new safeguards in the world arounds us, put Europe on a new foundation, give everyone a place, assure the security of French citizens.” All of this is true, and there’s little time to do it. His tone frustrated those in the mood to celebrate, but I thought it suitable. “I’m aware of the divisions in our nation which have led some people to extreme votes,” he said. “I’m aware of the anger, anxiety, and doubts that a large proportion of you have also expressed. It’s my responsibility to listen to them,” he said. He promised the voters that he would do his utmost to ensure that in five years’ time, they would have no reason to vote for extremes. It is a big job. It will take a lot of luck to pull off, even for Macron, who so far has been one of the French politicians I’ve seen. Here’s hoping he succeeds.
I now live in Paris with a menagerie of adopted stray animals.
Monday, May 8, 2017
it is also known as oribus powder, and used to mock powders to which charlatans attribute marvellous virtues, as if they were gold, or from which gold could be made. It is used to describe things that have no virtue.
They are anti-Semites, nostalgic for the Third Reich, violently anticapitalist, with a hatred for democracy…. People think they’re marginal. But in fact, I discovered, she protects them. She supports them. They are at the heart of everything.
But honestly, how else are we supposed to make sense of the far-left memes revelling in ironic beheadings, ironic Soviet tanks, ironic gulags, as anything other than the mirror image of the alt-right’s Pepe-with-swastika-armband? How else are we to make sense of the situation in which a tweet from Trump himself perfectly sums up what our friends on the antiliberal left are saying?
I’m sitting in France right now, and in my face are reports of the National Front’s increasingly plausible rise to power, and also reports of Russia’s keen interest in helping this happen. … The Putin regime plainly is interested in destabilising Western European electoral politics, and this interest looks remarkably continuous with the destabilisation that has already occurred in the United States.
They claimed this attack in circa 2.5 hours. As far as attacks in West, this may be a record. Only 1 that comes close is Brussels airport. As far as attacks in West, this may be a record. Only 1 that comes close is Brussels airport. Despite popular perception, ISIS does *not* claim everything & they typically take up to 12 hrs.
The chatroom’s admins have instructed users to make fake Facebook accounts that are “ideally young, cute girl, gay, Jew, basically anyone who isn’t supposed to be pro-[FN].” Users are then instructed to lock down these dummy accounts so no one can tell they’re fake. Once they have their fake Facebook profiles, they’re told to infiltrate the comment sections of large French Facebook pages and post pro-FN memes and jokes about François Fillon, France’s current frontrunner for the presidency. And they’re doing something similar on Twitter, creating dozens of French-appearing sock puppet accounts. They then collect all of them on lists and organize campaigns to make things trend in French.
The user who initially invited BuzzFeed News to The Great Liberation of France wished to remain anonymous and said he believes the Discord group is mostly made up of 4chan users. … The anonymous user said he also suspected that it wasn’t just Americans and French people in the Discord group. “Right now there is this loose sort of alliance between Russian neo-fascists like Alexander Dugin and the international alt-right,” he said. Which appears to be true — there have been several recent 4chan threads where users with American IP addresses are asking to learn about Alexander Dugin, a prominent fascist Russian political scientist.
exactly twenty-two years after the murder of Brahim Bouarram, a young Moroccan drowned by a group of FN sympathizers in the Seine river in Paris. This reminds us also of the massacre of October 17, 1961 when a few hundred Algerian men were thrown into the river by French police under the orders of the infamous Paris Prefect, Maurice Papon.
As we learn from reading a 2012-text written by journalist Florence Beaugé, it is a knife found by twelve-year-old Mohamed Cherif Moulay on March 3, 1957, in a dark corner of his house in Algiers’ Casbah. The night before, a group of French paratroopers had entered his family house and tortured his 42-year-old dad, Ahmed Moulay, in front of his wife and his six children, with water, electricity and, at least one knife, before killing him. The knife was forgotten by one of the soldiers and later found and hidden by Mohamed Moulay, 12 years old. It is only in 2003 that the knife will exit the Moulays’ house, when the Algiers correspondent to French newspaper Le Monde brings it back to France to be used as an evidence in the trial for defamation that Jean-Marie Le Pen’s attempted against Le Monde. 5 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters wide, it is the same kind of knife that was used by the Hitler Youth. It was fabricated by German knife makers in the Ruhr according to the investigation made by journalist Sorj Chalandon. The blade bears the name of J.A. Henckels, manufacturer in Solinger.On the sheath, one can read J.M. Le Pen, 1er REP.
I now live in Paris with a menagerie of adopted stray animals.