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I never heard of Janine DiGiovanni and I don’t know anything about her.  If I took her word, I could say she was born in the US and she’s one of Europe’s most respected journalists. At least that’s what she says.

Last week, Newsweek published an article titled "The Fall of France," written by DiGiovanni. It was crammed so full of . . . flat-out falsehoods that it could easily have been a satire, or a stunt.  It caused a small uproar in Paris and a few people learned that Newsweek isn’t quite dead yet. As for DiGiovanni’s biography, she sees herself as an intrepid journalist trekking through war zones and . . . I’ll just say that Lara Logan could have been a role model. That would explain DiGiovanni’s blatant disregard for the truth and facts in favor of a distinct rightwing conservative bias in the Newsweek article about France.

After years of globetrotting and dodging bullets, DiGiovanni says she now finds herself stuck in Paris where she’s glum and miserable. Over lunch at a restaurant in the fairly posh 6th Arrondissement, DiGiovanni’s companion tells her that he’s going to kill the Finance Minister, Pierre Moscovici, who happens to be sitting at a table nearby.

The rightwing privileged elite have a tendency to think of violence when they can’t have their way because they can’t win at the ballot box.  DiGiovanni doesn’t object to her friend’s idea because  of the  burden of high income tax rates on the wealthy.  Casual references to assassination are heard differently in France than in the US, too.  

Like any tea party radical activist in the movement to untax the rich, DiGiovanni conjures up her own set of facts to advance her agenda:

"Since the arrival of Socialist President François Hollande in 2012, income tax and social security contributions in France have skyrocketed. The top tax rate is 75 percent, and a great many pay in excess of 70 percent."
The truth is François Hollande proposed a 75% income tax rate during the 2012 election campaign but it was struck down by the high court and it never went into effect.  No one would ever pay 75% because marginal rates only tax the income over the level where they’re set, just like in the US. The effective rate, which measures the tax paid versus income as a percentage is much lower than the top marginal rates, just like in the US.  

An alternative tax reform was finally approved just before the new year. The 75% rate will apply to employers that pay annual wages and salaries over € 1 million ($1,350,000). One-third of it will help fund social security.  In the US tax system, we would say that the tax rate on income paid is 50%, not 75%. The 25% surtax for Social Security is a temporary measure that will only be applied for the 2013 and 2014 tax years. Shifting the liability from individuals to their employers eliminates the worry about a mass exodus of the highly paid elite. France doesn’t collect taxes on income earned abroad. The top marginal rate for individual income tax will be 45% compared to 39.6% in the US. It’s not unreasonable.

Ignoring reality and channeling Ayn Rand, DiGiovanni rants about “a frantic bolt for the border by the very people who create economic growth.”   She compares these refugees from Socialism to the persecuted Huguenots who left France over 300 years ago.  Victimized by an unjust society, the rightwing privileged elite is heading for London, including her lunch date, the would-be assassin. The Finance Minister could probably be persuaded to pay for a farewell party.  

The exiting droves are a rightwing hallucination, not reality. There's no supporting proof or evidence.    

French citizens who reside abroad retain their voting rights and they have proportionate representation in the Assemblée Nationale.  If French citizens are fleeing the “heavy hand of socialism” as  DiGiovanni suggests, and yes she did use that phrase, I'd expect to see their antipathy reflected in the election results.  In the 2012 election, did the voters abroad show any indication of bias against the Socialist candidates?  

The election results are found on the Assemblée Nationale website.

The registered French voters in the UK were combined with others in Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to reach the minimum requirement.  The voters elected the Socialist Party candidate by a larger margin than voters within the borders of France.

Candidate  
Party
Vote Total
Axelle Lemaire
Socialist
54.76%
Emmanuelle Savarit
UMP
45.24%
The ridiculous notion of French citizens leaving France to escape Socialism would make a little more sense if it could be demonstrated that they go to a country where Socialism isn't tolerated, such as the US.  The totals for French voters in the US are also available on the Assemblée Nationale website combined with Canada and the Socialist Party candidate won by a larger margin than the national total.
Candidate  
Party
Vote Total
Corinne Narassiguin  
Socialist
54.01%
Frédéric Lefebvre  
UMP
45.99%

DiGiovanni says she loves France and doesn’t want to leave.  She also describes France as “a nation of navel-gazers” with “tunnel-vision” and a shortage of English speakers.

In other words, the problem with France is that it’s too French.

Here’s an American living in one of the most civilized cities in the world, in a foreign country with a highly developed culture, and traditions that derive from high ideals and principles.  She doesn't recognize it or appreciate it because she chooses to shill for the privileged rightwingers' agenda.   Ironically, she feels no kinship with the nation that gave the US an unforgettable gift: the Statue of Liberty which stands in New York Harbor, an everlasting symbol of our shared history.  

There’s no value in the writing of a journalist who only repeats worn stereotypes.  It’s well past time for the privileged elite to learn a new tune about their moral responsibility to the rest of society.

Read on for the post script below.

Some years ago, I was travelling to France with a friend who wanted to come along.  It was her first time there. We had dinner with a couple of people I know and my friend chattered innocently about how great it is that the people in France get so much free stuff.

Without realizing it, she came close to getting a sound slap across the face.  I listened as she was given  an emotional lecture about the value of labor and a living wage that encompasses a quality education for each generation of youth, health care on demand, and adequate social security for retirement.  These aren’t free. Their cost is paid during a lifetime of labor. Those who are unable to work are human beings and with all of the immense wealth of a prosperous country, it would be unconscionable not to care for those who need it.

I never heard anyone explain it quite like that and I’ve been told it only goes so far because we’re Americans here and France isn’t an example we follow.  Only a few weeks ago, I was reading about the life of Theodore Roosevelt when I came across a quote that was almost word for word identical to the outburst I remember. Yes these are American values and they're Progressive values, which have been a little forgotten. Now is a good time for remembering them.  

"We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living--a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit a reasonable saving for old age."

Theodore Roosevelt at the Progressive Party nation convention, August 6, 1912.

Vive La France

Note: As I searched for links to English language sources that document the difference between reality and the ridiculous and insulting claims made by Newsweek, I found a pretty good analysis here.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for posting this (4+ / 0-)

    It's not enough for the punditocracy to get stuff about their own country wrong because, well, they're pundits (see David Brooks and Ross Douthat), now Newsweek in its current Daily Beast incarnation, has to go out and let ITS pundits be the Ugly American in other countries.

    Incidentally, in the 1960s and the 1970s, there was  coverage of Los Angeles that sank to this level by writers who flew in, spent a week, and then went back to New York to write about Los Angeles, claiming they "understood" the city. They didn't.

    •  Even on a human level, politics aside, who would (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dem Beans, Dave in Northridge

      put themselves in a foreign country and criticize it like this, whether it's deserved or not.  Did these rightwing bullies learn nothing about ingratiating yourself with other people? Were they raised by wolves? Which is an offense to wolves because they don't even rise to that level of socialization . . .

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:24:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You made an important error.... (0+ / 0-)

    The 75% top tax rate is correct. France's highest court reversed the lower court 10 days ago and approved it. So, at least on that point, Newsweek was right.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

  •  ANYBODY... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, Nailbanger, ssgbryan

    Who complains about living in Paris is automatically nullified in my book.  I would give my left nut to live in Paris.

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

    by RichM on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:23:51 PM PST

    •  There's a susbstantial effort by the rightwing to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RichM

      sell the trickle down Voodoo untax the rich economics that everyone knows failed. The voters in France decisively rejected all that in 2012 when they elected the PS. It's very similar to the situation in the US with the rightwing getting more insistent and nasty.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:38:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have nothing against France (0+ / 0-)

    Except their non-defense of their country in WW II.

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    by dov12348 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:28:48 PM PST

    •  historically ignorant in the extreme (5+ / 0-)

      The French defended their country to the best of their ability and simply lost.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:45:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh. (0+ / 0-)

        Read a little about the Maginot Line, stopped at the Ardennes - oh, they could never get through that forest!

        All they had to do was extend it to the fucking channel.

        Read about General Gamelin and why there was no resistance throughout most of the country during the German invasion.  Amongst a lot of other things.

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        by dov12348 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:51:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dov12348, Caelian

          The Maginot line was a bust and Gamelin had a terrible war plan.  Both true  But why would you blame the entire French public for this?  

          Granted that France acted inexplicably in the lead up to WWII, and could have stopped Hitler easily when he occupied the Ruhr or even as late as during the attack on Poland, when the western borders of Germany were almost unprotected.  But the British were just as complicit in letting Germany run wild. It was probably the most preventable war in history. at least the European end of it.

          And if the French are such cowards, how do you account for WWI?

          If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

          by Dem Beans on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:02:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not blaming the French public. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm just focusing on WW II, which they really helped to fuck up.  The British had problems too - too many differences for an analogy though.

            Most countries had problems.  The US - for not entering early enough, for turning away the St. Louis' Jewish refugees and a lot more.

            But this was a pro-France diary - thought I'd throw in a monkey wrench - cause a little dust-up. ;)

            But there are a lot of things I love about France.  In fact 2 of my favorite films ever were French - Jean DeFlorette and Manon des Sources.

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            by dov12348 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:08:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Go visit Verdun or the Somme sometime (5+ / 0-)

              I've been to Verdun. The French took 400,000 casualties at just that battle. They lost an entire generation in that war.

              Our losses in WWII, horrible as they may be, were a drop in the bucket compared to French, British and Canadian losses in WWI.

              It's easy to sit here with perfect 20/20 hindsight and say "They should have attacked Germany when they had the chance".

              None of the Western powers were eager for a second go around with the memories of WWI still fresh.

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:21:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes I have perfect 20-20 hindsight. (0+ / 0-)

                With the help of having read about 40 books on it.

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                by dov12348 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:52:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I wanted to answer you properly and with all due (0+ / 0-)

                  respect. I don’t know if you really wanted a dustup as you commented above, so I’ll stick to what I do know.

                  Talk about France quitting the EU brings up WWII for two reasons.  
                  1] Sensible people don’t want to return to the rivalry and hostility the EU was supposed to end;
                  2] Like today, the period between WWI and WWII was defined by paralysis and denial of the real threats and dangers that exist.  

                  After WWI, France, Britain, Belgium, and the US, too, disarmed partially and/or scaled back their militaries. Germany was considered disabled for a time. Midway between the two wars, the Great Depression was more important than military defense.

                  The Maginot Line was part of a larger strategy, encouraged internationally, in favor of defense and non-aggression.  France also had mobile forces that could be moved anywhere to stop an invasion.  The military was prepared for a stationary war fought from trenches as in WWI.  Note:  The Maginot Line required fixed resources including personnel and supplies. Extending it across long distances wasn’t feasible. Resources were devoted to other needs like an Air Force.

                  Belgium and the Netherlands were neutral. Britain and France were allies.  Instead of preparing for war in 1938, they signed the Munich Agreement with Germany, handing territory in Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Actions are based on what’s known at the time, not future events.  Two years earlier, the whole world went to Berlin for the 1936 Olympics and pretended there was nothing abnormal or dangerous about the Nazi government or its policies.

                  When it dawned on Belgium, France, & Britain that they needed to prepare, it was too late. Their mobile forces, aircraft and tanks, were no match for what the Germans had and how it was used. Mobility, speed, and logistics were game changers that prevented the allies from pinning the Germans down in stationary trench warfare.

                  Bombing from the air, the Germans quickly flattened the city of Rotterdam and destroyed the most important port in Europe and one of the most important in the world, changing the conventions of war in a day.  Before that, population centers, strategic facilities and infrastructure weren’t military targets in the way that they came to be in the Germans’ new form of total war.  If they should have seen it coming, it was too late.  Paris is about 275 miles south of Rotterdam, closer than the distance between Boston and Philadelphia.  

                  Historical documents from the era explain more fully.

                  Understanding ourselves is always the best way to understand others when we want to condemn.  Why do we fail to respond to injustice and challenges to our civil liberties today?  Recognizing that we all share the same human behavior, here, there, then, now, is the way to build solidarity and courage to do what’s right.

                  There is no existence without doubt.

                  by Mark Lippman on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 12:14:40 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  It's worth noting (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PatriciaVa, Mark Lippman, Visceral, MadEye

          that the highly professional British Expeditionary Force was also badly beaten in 1940. It wasn't just the French.

          Had it not been for the evacuation at Dunkirk the entire force would have been killed or captured.

          Tactically the Germans were just way ahead of everyone in 1940.

          Even the Soviets would likely have been beaten except for having the luxury of sacrificing large amounts of territory (and personnel) to buy time to regroup.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:15:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dunkirk is part of it and it's ironic how no one (0+ / 0-)

            who criticizes France mentions it. It stands out when you hear harsh judgments because the same could be applied to others considering Dunkirk. But the contempt is reserved for France.  It doesn't really matter except to know the complete story.

            Germany had invaded the Netherlands and completely razed the city of Rotterdam to the ground. No one had seen war like that at time except for the German invasion of Poland. People couldn't believe it would done elsewhere. There had to be a reason that only applied there.

            Rotterdam was a shock and the French made a very calculated decision for one purpose, to preserve Paris because of its importance to their history, identity, and culture. Standing on top of a pile of smoking rubble and declaring victory is a fantasy, and one that appeals to some Americans for some reason.

            There was plenty of destruction in the north of France from Normandy and along the border with Belgium.

            There is no existence without doubt.

            by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:54:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  French Casualites = 550,000 killed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mark Lippman

              That number is actually higher than our losses, from a country with 1/3 our population.

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:23:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  worth noting: No Dunkirk without the French Army (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MadEye

              without the determined last stand of the French Army, the British, and many French, would not have been able to get virtually any of their people out of Dunkirk.

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:37:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  If you think about it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mark Lippman

            (and you may well have) no nation's military was able to defeat the German military of circa 1940 in a one-on-one full-scale confrontation. Even the Battle of Britain, Germany's first major defeat (as far as I recall) was just an air battle. The army, with all its troops, motorized vehicles, and armor, sat and watched.

            If I recall correctly, it wasn't until major parts of the German military were tied down in occupation in the west and in battle in the east that the allies began the long process of successfully defeating the German military.

            And yet, as you point out, despite unimaginable losses a generation before and both misunderstood and underappreciated losses defending itself from the wrath of the German military in 1940, France is singled out as if it were somehow a bunch of "cheese-eating surrender monkeys."

            France could have done better, no doubt about it. The Third Republic was already on the verge of political collapse even before Poland was invaded. But it's disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of French families who forfeited their sons, in my view, to act as if the nation did nothing to defend itself.

        •  incompetence =/= cowardice (0+ / 0-)

          Nobody calls the Poles, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Danes, etc. cowards for surrendering to the Germans even faster.  The British are lucky they had the English Channel; they'd have been conquered too.  Same with us and our two even bigger moats.  Imagine American Jews getting shipped down south to death camps and the Japanese doing to us what they did to China.

          And even the incompetence argument is flimsy.  Much of the German high command was skeptical of the plan to drive through the Ardennes for precisely the reasons the French dismissed it: difficult terrain, the risk of the tanks and their infantry support falling out of sync (either way could be deadly), and the whole thing getting flanked by the Maginot Line and the main French force along the Belgian border.  Since the Dutch and the Belgians went down even faster than the French did, and the Belgians had largely failed to fortify their territory effectively, the master plan that did extend to the Channel under different flags (and had the benefit of strategic depth that the Franco-German border wouldn't have, hence the hardness of the Maginot Line) didn't work.  It didn't help that there was debate about whether Germany would dare to bring the British into the war by violating Belgian neutrality.

          After the Fall, there was no official resistance for the simple fact that by and large the French establishment (especially the military authorities) were sympathetic to the Nazis' aims: they too feared communism, lamented "decadent" liberalism, and disliked the Jews.  In any event, like all the other occupied countries, there was nothing to be gained by resistance and a lot to be lost.  The war made De Gaulle; he wasn't a big player beforehand and they called him a coward for "running away" to England and regarded him as little more than a usurper of legitimate French authority.

          Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

          by Visceral on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:49:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why was there no second line of resistance (0+ / 0-)

            from the border all the way to Paris?

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            by dov12348 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:55:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  there was never intended to be one (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dov12348, Mark Lippman

              The idea of mobile warfare was in its infancy in the 1930s - dismissed as the pet theory of ambitious young officers - and it was something that the European peoples as a whole never did well (as opposed to their enemies: Turks, Mongols, Moors, Huns, Scythians, etc.).  Blame Europe's comparatively rugged terrain as opposed to the steppes and the desert, not to mention the sedentary agricultural lifestyle versus herding and raiding.

              It was the Wehrmacht that proved that mobile warfare was possible by conquering Continental Europe.  Nobody wanted that kind of loose, fast-paced warfare; they honestly expected it to dissolve into chaos - no hope of command and control, tanks racing ahead of their infantry support and getting creamed, isolated infantry getting flanked and annihilated by enemy tanks, aircraft taking pot shots at enemy cities far from the front to no real effect, etc.

              In retrospect, WWI's trench warfare is seen as hopelessly outdated (thanks to WWII, which hasn't happened yet for the sake of argument), but considering how little the front moved over 4 years, the French could well have seen that as a desirable thing.  Considering that Germany was defeated not on the battlefield but by the socioeconomic strain of a long bloody slog of a war's effects on the homefront, bog them down and bleed them slowly would have seemed like a good idea.  Absolutely we'll do what we did then, but on purpose this time, and with all the sophistication that a conscious logical treatment of the problem can provide.

              Drawing the enemy deep into your own territory for guerrilla-style attrition would have to wait for Mao and Uncle Ho (and wouldn't have saved Paris anyway), who would develop that style of warfare precisely because they didn't have the money or the industrial base for Western-style war.

              Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

              by Visceral on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:29:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Blitzkrieg is a word everyone remembers from (0+ / 0-)

                history class and everyone knows it means "lightning war."

                It's comical to hear the illogical arguments and questions that come up about six weeks during 1940 in France.

                Why didn't they extend the Maginot Line? Why didn't they build a second line, or a third?

                Germany had aircraft. Bombers. They could fly over. So did France. And the British too. But they didn't keep pace with the arms race of that era, in numbers and technology. There's always something behind the question, why didn't they do more to defend themselves.

                People in France could easily ask why Americans don't do anything about the radicals in Congress who shut down the government or refuse to raise the debt ceiling. A default could cause a global financial crisis and affect them, too.  

                There is no existence without doubt.

                by Mark Lippman on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 01:18:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  History is taught a little differently in France. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa, marktheonegun

      It's funny you mention that because I was discussing this article with a friend of mine today and I said I can imagine almost every country on the map today gone in 1,000 years but France would still be there and I wish I could say the same for the US.

      I can't imagine why you think you have something against France though it's well known that some Americans like to remind the French of history without really knowing too much about it.  

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:46:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've read about France in WW II. (0+ / 0-)

        That's all I was talking about.  And it disgusts me to this day.

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        by dov12348 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:52:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes it sure is (0+ / 0-)

        I remember when I toured Normandy. The French version of D Day is that on June 6th some guys came over and did some stuff and then on June 14th Charles DeGaulle came and liberated France.
        I love France, would go there any time but their governmental history is nothing to brag about, especially in he first half f the 20th century.  Forget how long it took them to surrender, and look at how many Jews  Laval turned over to Hitler and who helped him do it. Now THAT was a cultural problem

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 05:36:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In my life, it's not consistent with progressive (0+ / 0-)

          values to find fault with an entire nation judging it by its worst, or for not fighting a war long enough before surrendering to an invader.

          No one I know would talk about Laval as if he represented France or its culture. For one, thing, he was executed by the French for his actions. Today there's a non-stop debate about racism and bigotry examining  free expression, hate speech, the open exchange of ideas, bigotry, extremism, violence, the political process.

          The French have more than government run schools. They watch events in the US like a reality show.  They recognize that the government and its running of things have been criticized  by the rightwing as a form of nihilism since Reagan's first inaugural.    With the global economic collapse, and the NSA spying, I've never heard a word of anger or criticism or blame. The writer of the Newsweek article said "navel-gazers" and the French do look inward and criticize themselves as individuals and as a nation more than they do others.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 07:30:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  As one Frenchman put it, (4+ / 0-)

    "L'enfer, c'est les autres".

    Dans ce cas-ci, c'est une journaliste américaine. Tant pis pour elle.

    (Hell is other people [J.-P. Sartre]. And in this case, it's an American journalist.  So much the worse for her).

    If it's so bad, why is she in Paris? Idiot.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:32:39 PM PST

  •  Newsweek wants a United States of Europe, headed.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, Pablo Bocanegra

    ..by the a "small group of far-sighted statesmen" in Brussels, regardless of whether this is sought by the citizens in the individual countries.  Two weeks ago, Latvia became the 18th member of the EuroZone.  How many Latvians support the Eurozone?  25%.

    To the extent that French customs/policies retard the emergence of a US of Europe, France will be criticized by the clueless bureaucrats and their enablers who seek this US of Europe.

    What the editors at Newsweek fail to realize is that clannish behavior is embedded in our DNA.  Citizens of Spain will cheer for the Spanish national team at the World Cup, never for a team from the US of Europe.

    Just as there are more countries today than their were twenty years ago, there will be more twenty years from now.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:36:37 PM PST

    •  France is going to withdraw from the EU and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa

      the plutocrats are furious about that.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:02:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Vraiment? Ça alors! (0+ / 0-)

        Really?  When are they planning on doing this?

        Better to hide your tax returns and be thought a crook than to release them and remove all doubt. [Adapted from Abraham Lincoln]

        by Caelian on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:16:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's popular opinion that has been growing. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Caelian

          I wrote about it in November and I'd say it's even more likely now than it was then. Don't get me wrong.  It's not unanimous and it wouldn't be France without disagreement.

          Even the New York Times wrote an editorial about it last Sunday though the reasons they cited were about as factual as the Newsweek article.

          The European Parliamentary elections are in May. Much depends on the outcome.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:07:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Stated as fact (0+ / 0-)

        Yet it's not a fact.  Are you thinking Ms. Le Pen will be elected?

        •  First, and most importantly, there (0+ / 0-)

          is a Left in France headed by Jean-Luc Melenchon. The Front de Gauche is to the left of the ruling Socialist Party. Melenchon received 11% of the vote in the last Presidential election. The Front de Gauche actually has more seats in the Assemblée Nationale than Marine Le Pen's Front National which gets a disproportionate amount of media attention.

          Melenchon also holds a seat in the European Parliament and leads the movement for withdrawal on the Left. I wrote a diary about it a few months ago. The FN says it wants withdrawal but it's not at all the same thing or a coalition. The Left-Right spectrum really means something in French politics.  Melenchon and LePen are as far apart as can be. I suppose it seems odd in a two-party system.

          Anyway, the real focus now is on the May elections for seats in the European Parliament. This election has nothing to do with the national election in France which is a long way off, 2017. Right now, I say Le Pen and the FN have peaked.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:22:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't seem likely to me. (0+ / 0-)

        Partly for the same reason European central bankers are so willing to prop up France: If France exits the euro, there is no euro. Similarly, if France exited the EU, there would be no EU. It would be a seriously radical move; if they were even thinking about it, it'd make all the headlines within hours.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:25:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was a Radical Move to join the EZ (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark Lippman

          How many times did the French have to vote?  The PlutoCrats didn't get the results they wanted, so they made the people vote again, and again.

          I can't stand Thatcher.  But she was prescient as foresaw the quagmire that the Eurozone would become, ensuring that her country would never cede its monetary sovereignty.

          As a result, the UK has become the premier nation in the continent of Europe.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:50:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, right. It was a big step and took a while. (0+ / 0-)

            Getting out wouldn't be that easy, either.

            (Yeah, the Euro was a bad idea, and I guess Thatcher is due some credit there. Though I'm pretty sure Germany is considered dominant in the EU … they haven't shot themselves in the foot with austerity.)

            Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
            Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
            Code Monkey like you!

            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:56:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was also going to say that a withdrawal isn't (0+ / 0-)

              something that could happen tomorrow. It could be limited to withdrawal from the Euro because it's a source of tension.

              The US economic recovery has been comparatively stronger than Europe's and the conventional wisdom calls for following a similar monetary policy. They'd have to convert out of the Euro to do that. There are other questions about establishing a Treasury, and a Central Bank.  The existing public debt is the greatest concern because it means the European Central Bank could make a transition smooth or difficult. It's not a situation anyone talked about at the start, a major country with perhaps the world's 5th largest economy under the thumb of an external financial institution.

              On the day that the Newsweek article hit the fan, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew showed up in Paris for 3 days of talks with Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici who was in the middle of a media shit storm about the ridiculous death threat. It's like a farce. I don't think anyone Jack Lew was there which was too bad because something might have emerged about future plans.

              I have a purpose when I diarize. I mainly report news that has been undercovered or missing from the US media. It's not easy to gather, it meets resistance because it's unfamiliar, and I can only use pristine sources, some of which aren't in English.

              I thought the Lara Logan 60 minutes episode, and the NY Times recent Benghazi investigation would help people understand that the flow of Information is unreliable and inconsistent when controlled by corporate interests that might have their own agenda.  The general lack of concern is a bad sign.

              What's the purpose of Newsweek printing an article with flat out lies and a slant in favor of the poor persecuted rich people. It's propaganda. It has a purpose to influence opinions and create inertia.  I appreciate many of the comments and if I can't be polite and courteous I sidestep what's not pertinent.

              Thank you for being interested enough to take a look.

              There is no existence without doubt.

              by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 08:19:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Would it make headlines? In the US? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PatriciaVa

          There was editorial about it in the New York Times last Sunday though it was mostly gibberish. Still, I thought it was significant that they acknowledged something.

          Around Dec 18-19 the third round of EU-US free-trade talks were completed in Washington DC, coinciding with Glenn Greenwald's testimony before the European Commission, and a statement about provisions in the trade agreement for trans-Atlantic data sharing and storage of the type the NSA was doing. These stories were intertwined in a newsapalooza. Oh, there was an angry demonstration in Brussels outside the EU HQ too.

          I'm not sure how much of that was in the headlines in the US.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:34:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How did the US press treat the Dissolution of USSR (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mark Lippman

            I guess the press thought that citizens of the many former Soviet Republics were mature enough to have their own currency, to craft their own fiscal policy.

            But the same press corps believes that the rank-and-file Germans and French who want nothing to do with the EuroZone are "too ignorant" to know what's good for them.

            So much cognitive dissonance.

            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

            by PatriciaVa on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 04:51:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't mean to say all is well in Euroland. (0+ / 0-)

            Far from it, as you say. But AFAICT things are not nearly that desperate yet (for France).

            Sure, people can speculate about the possibility. That doesn't make it likely in the near future, and it's very different from actual plans or threats to exit.

            Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
            Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
            Code Monkey like you!

            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 06:54:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Last time I picked up a copy of Newsweek (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, Mark Lippman

    I was impressed by how utterly, completely, and totally it was dumbed-down.   I would estimate that it was written at the fifth-grade reading level.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:41:17 PM PST

  •  top marginal rate here is typically closer to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, nextstep

    45-51% due to the Medicare surtax, state tax, and itemized deduction clawback.

    •  When I say margin rate I mean the federal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      income tax progressive scale with 39.6 at the top.  It's hard to compare one system to another.  France has a graduated income tax scale too. After that, the two systems diverge from each other in a number of ways.
      There's no real state and local equivalent there. Localities have no taxing authority.

      The best way to compare is by revenue collected vs GDP making sure to treat Social Security consistently on both sides.

      The bottom line is what everyone knows. The French pay more taxes. The rich can't really complain because the income tax skewed against the top is balanced by a VAT which is essentially a flat tax that hits middle and lower incomes hard.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:09:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can't ignore.... (0+ / 0-)

      That France has a wealth tax....the "Solidarity Tax on Wealth" that ranges from 0% to 1.8% (perhaps being lowered to 15% for 2013), depending on net assets...

      Coupled with high income tax rates, that is extremely unfriendly for the wealthy.

  •  That T.R. quote is good. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, Caelian

    Christie: "I'm going to find the real bullies!"

    by Inland on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:42:50 PM PST

  •  Respect is earned, not demanded (0+ / 0-)

    No one who is one of Europe's most respected journalists would  actually say so straight out.

  •  "has no word for entrepreneur". (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, Egalitare

    I'm embarrassed for her.  There's a lot to like in France, and not like, but the ignorance is shameful.

    Christie: "I'm going to find the real bullies!"

    by Inland on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:47:14 PM PST

  •  Typical Ugly American (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman

    Complaining that not enough people speak English in non-English speaking countries.  Go to Britain if it bothers you so much.

    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

    by Dem Beans on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 02:52:35 PM PST

    •  I have found the French to be very (0+ / 0-)

      welcoming and interested in America, but I do speak French.  The only thing that doesn't go over well is rudeness. Lack of courtesy. I don't think Americans understand that being proper is important in France in a way that's associated more with the British.

      The casual remark from her date about killing Moscovici is way over the line. There maybe more to come for her because of that. She supposedly left the country to do some journalistic reprortin' in South Sudan and her Twitter account seems to be inactivated.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:23:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  France as an interesting experiment in austerity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman

    Instead of austerity by cutting services, France raised taxes.

    I've been curious if there will be any significant information to see if there's any difference in that kind of austerity than the usual one.

    Although, I'd imagine the data will be noisy enough to turn the interpretation into the usual Rorschach test.

    •  Since they're raising taxes on rich people, (0+ / 0-)

      it shouldn't hurt too much (for the same reason cutting their taxes doesn't help much).

      The interesting thing, as Paul Krugman has pointed out, is how many people are furious with France for being so fiscally irresponsible as to raise taxes rather than cut spending. Which tells you everything you need to know about what people mean when they sing songs about “fiscal responsibility.”

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:21:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  right, that's my guess, but having actual data (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Code Monkey

        to test it will be interesting.

        I was thinking of that Krugman point as well. Those people who are furious at France believe raising taxes on the rich will destroy the economy. (Or at least they claim to believe.)

  •  Funny she herself wasn't planning to leave (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caelian, Mark Lippman, Egalitare

    But she is crying that all the beautiful people are leaving France.

  •  OH no! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman

    The horror!  A lack of English speakers!  In France?  The place where they try their hardest to exclude non French words from the language?  

    Who would think they would perpetrate such an evil!?

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 03:33:19 PM PST

  •  C'est vrai (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman

    blockquote.Ironically, she feels no kinship with the nation that gave the US...the Statue of Liberty...<.blockquote>

    Not to mention some practical help at a place called Yorktown, from the Marquis de Lafayette, merci beaucoup!

  •  It's nice Newsweek's following up on hard-hitting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman

    commentary like "The Wimp Factor", "Hit the Road, Barack", and "Heaven is Real" with this garbage. It's sad -- not so long ago, Newsweek was a decent, if MOR, news magazine with enough journalistic muscle to pull off a seven-part series running down the 2008 Presidential election.

    Did anyone at the time expect that it'd be the mag's last hoorah? Three years later, amid hot-potato sale and resale and desperately trying to revision Newsweek as some kind of Gawker in print, they announced the 2008 Presidential rundown would be the last one. Since the end of 2012, it's been a pricey electronic subscription-only thing instead...

    ...oh wait no oh god it's back! Nooooo! Someone shoot this zombie 'til it stays down!

    •  The new owners can sell it to people who think (0+ / 0-)

      it's the old guard publication. It was re-purposed for the
      distribution of rightwing slime.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 10:54:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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