Is Paris Burning ?

A famous request from Adolf Hitler was also the tile of a book about the liberation of Paris in 1944, and might be a question about the riots of this week by the “Yellow Vests”

There is not a single media report about the Yellow Vest demonstrations in Paris and France that I’ve read or watched that has not been slanted by Fake News.

It has (usually) not been deliberate, I gather, and nobody has said anything factually wrong; what is the problem is the fact that (very) important stuff has been omitted.

It is not wrong to say that the demonstrations were caused by the government’s decision to raise gas prices. What is missing is that this is just one of several draconian measures dating back half a year, i.e., ‘tis the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

It requires someone on the scene to describe what has really been happening.

For the past four to five months, the French government has done nothing but double down on bringing more and more gratuitous oppression and more and more unwarranted persecution measures down on the necks the nation’s drivers and motorcycle riders.

In fact, the imposition of ever harsher rules has been going on for the past decade and a half or so — whether the government was on the right or on the left — and that is why the choice of les gilets jaunes (the yellow jackets) by the demonstrators is particularly ironic.

The 2008 law (under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy) requiring the presence of high-visibility vests (gilets de haute visibilité) aka security vests (gilets de sécurité) in every vehicle — hardly an unreasonable rule, for sure, as similar ones exist throughout the continent — was just another example of the myriad of evermore-onerous rules for car and motorcycle owners over the past 15 years, and so the government in effect provided the 2018 rebels with their uniforms.

What has been most irksome for les Français since the turn of the century has been the ubiquitous radars, which, like red-light cameras in the United States, are accused of having (far) more to do with bringing revenue to the state than with road safety.

And just like the arms industry in the Soviet Union, if there was one area of France where the technology was always moving forward, it was the radar business.

When I served on the traffic commission in my small city in Mission Viejo, CA, we managed to avoid the ubiquitous red light cameras.

I have been opposed to those cameras for years. I can understand the French antipathy to the radar as Arizona, under leftist governor Napolitano, had radar vans parked along highways everywhere.

Over the years, the radars have become evermore stealthy and insidious. For instance, radars have gone from contraptions being able to photograph a single car on only one side on the road, in the lane closest to the machine (with a burst of white flash quite jolting to the driver at nighttime), to taking multiple pictures over the entire roadway simultaneously of several cars driving in both directions.

The first radars were installed in 2003 under President Jacques Chirac and his interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, and in the beginning, drivers were always warned beforehand when a radar could be expected ahead (which brought about what allegedly was the desired goal, to get French cars to slow down).

Eventually — in spite of the insistent promises of then-interior minister Sarkozy — new radars were installed without the signs announcing their presence.

Recently came the news of mobile radars, meaning unmarked cars loaded with a radar-installed contraption driven by gendarmes dressed in civilian clothes. (Everywhere, young boys daydream of wearing a shiny uniform and fighting criminals; imagine, then, a policeman being asked to put on plainclothes to do nothing but drive back and forth in order to trick honest citizens who have done nothing but “violate” a rather arbitrary administrative rule, one that has barely changed, if at all, in almost 50 years).

Meanwhile, crony capitalism has given rise to a side economy, a side economy whose only purpose revolves around the punishment of citizens with cars or motorcycles — not least with blossoming (and very expensive) driving schools for drivers to regain some of the points they have lost on their driver’s licenses (again, for violations of a rather arbitrary malum prohibitum rule). If that’s impossible, they lose the driver’s license itself, for a year or more, which leads in turn to job losses for some 80,000 Frenchmen every year, since they can no longer drive to work.

Of course, this does not affect the residents of Paris as they have the Metro and often walk to work.

On July 1, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe did what no other country in Europe or in the West (or, as far as I know, on the planet) has done: go against the march of progress and lower the slowness limit (sorry, the speed limit) on secondary (country) roads by 10 km/h, decreasing the limit from 90 km/h (56 mph) to 80 km/h (50 mph).
• At about the same time came the contracts that the government decided to write with private corporations, handing the business of the state’s (plainclothes) gendarmes over to their company employees, to take over the business of the mobile radars in their shiny new fleets of vehicles. (Meanwhile, other private companies have been getting similar contracts from city governments, meaning wage earners doing mostly nothing but driving up and down the city streets, while a license plate reader decides which cars’ owners will be getting automatically-generated fines.)

This sounds a bit like the collusion between cities, like Costa Mesa CA, which reduced the yellow light duration below state minimums to generate more revenue from fines. The camera contractor split the fine revenue with the city.

This is actually the point at which the first protests started. During the summer, the country saw a huge increase in instances of destruction (or incapacitation) of radars on the roadside. Many were defaced with paint, others were set on fire, while still others were simply covered with something like a garbage bag (one man arrested while covering a radar was let free by a judge who decided that since the garbage bag hadn’t actually brought any physical harm to the machine in any way, the defendant could not be accused of destroying it).

• More recently, the government added more gratuitous sanctions to the driver’s license point system, which is already far more punitive than that of most European countries, not least neighboring Germany’s.

France seems determined to punish drivers.

The result?

The movement, organised through social media, has steadfastly refused to align with any political party or trade union but has grown into a mass movement amid frustration at Macron’s presidency.

The ‘yellow vests’ include many pensioners and has been most active in small urban and rural areas where it has blocked roads, closed motorway toll booths, and even walled up the entrance to tax offices.

Chantal, a 61-year-old pensioner who came from an eastern Paris suburb, said she was avoiding the ‘hooligans’ but was determined to send President Emmanuel Macron a message on the rising costs of living.

‘He has to come down off his pedestal,’ she said under cold rain on the Champs Elysees. ‘Every month I have to dip into my savings.’

The immediate trigger for the protest wave was Macron’s decision to raise tax on diesel fuel in a move to encourage the driving of less-polluting cars.

Can Macron survive this ? We’ll see.

56 thoughts on “Is Paris Burning ?”

  1. The article in No Pasaran leaves me wondering about the unmentionable topic — Does the steadily increasing governmental boot-grinding in the French face apply equally to all residents of France, or only to those who can trace their ancestry in France back for more than a few generations?

    In my particular US State, the government reasonably requires all road-using vehicle owners to carry insurance. However, a significant portion of the population does not bother to comply. The governmental response, rather than enforcing the law they voted for, has been to require the mugs who do buy insurance to also buy “uninsured motorist” coverage to pay the bills in the event of an accident caused by one of those scofflaws. This can amount to about a 30-50% premium over the vehicle owner’s own coverage. Uninsured motorists are rarely prosecuted. If you have to ask who are those “uninsured motorists” — well, that would make you a “racist”, wouldn’t it?

    Someone in downtrodden England remarked a while ago that the Law had become a Holy Terror for ordinary citizens, and a mere nuisance for criminals. Where does it all end? Maybe the French are giving us a clue.

  2. France *should* be very well-positioned from an energy standpoint, given their high use of nuclear power for electricity generation…but is appears that they are backing away from this on grounds of a perceived need to switch to “renewables.” Most likely, they will drive the price of electricity way up, as has apparently happened in Germany…which sure doesn’t do much to make electric cars more attractive!

    France also has an excellent (and mostly-electrified) passenger rail network…OTOH, I believe that their freight transportation is less rail-centric than that in the US. If that is the case, and they really care about reducing fossil fuel usage, they should be looking at how to expand the share of freight rail in the transportation mix.

  3. Indeed – and we have to go to a blogger who just happens to be on the scene, for an explanation of what is going on – and has been going on in the French provinces, while our fearless National News Hounds sleep by the fire…
    Frankly, looking at how the French governing class has been shaking down their own citizens, I’m only faintly surprised that other cities aren’t burning as well.

    Maybe by next weekend.

  4. I don’t know anything about what’s going on there. There’s no one in the MSM in any language who can be trusted to report honestly. I don’t think No Pasaran is exactly objective either, but might at least bring a different perspective that the MSM will never do.
    It’s illuminating to read books about the French Revolution and aftermath that focus on the whole country, not just Paris, and make it clear that the Revolution, or the Republic, was never a project of France as a whole. The Revolutionaries were always a besieged, and highly factionalized, minority, who had to enforce their authority through brutal militaristic practices. That set the standard for leftist governments ever since. Marx came along later with silly and overbroad economic justifications for the reasons why the vast majority of people rejected what they had to offer, but the overt brutality and terror were there from the beginning.

  5. Arizona had the speed traps under Napolitano with vans by the side off the highway with a mast and radar which could be raised. Everybody was well aware of those vans and looked for them. I’m not sure Jan Brewer got rid of them or it was Ducey. Anyway, they are gone.

    Even The Guardian ignores the real story of the war on driving. Of course, that would not go well with their policy on global warming.

    No mention of the radar speed traps.

  6. More on the French riots.

    In September, just a few days after French President Emmanuel Macron’s environment minister resigned to protest the watering down of his policies, actress Juliette Binoche tapped 200 like-minded artists to sign a manifesto calling for “firm and immediate” action on climate change.

    “We are living through a planetary cataclysm,” said Ms. Binoche, in a missive published in Le Monde alongside the likes of director Pedro Almodovar, actor Jude Law and writer Michael Ondaatje. “We thus consider that any political action that does not make fighting this cataclysm its concrete, declared and assumed priority will no longer be credible. We consider that a government that does not make saving what can still be saved its first objective will no longer be taken seriously … It is a question of survival. It cannot, by consequence, be considered secondary.”

    Movie actors are driving French Policy.

  7. Chantal, a 61-year-old pensioner [said] ‘Every month I have to dip into my savings.’

    We don’t know the whole story about Chantal, but perhaps 61 year old pensioners are part of the problem. There’s usually plenty of blame to go around.

    Also: if the French don’t want to pay carbon tax and subsidize renewables, why did they elect Macron?

  8. “why did they elect Macron?”
    Because of their silly multi-party, two-stage election process. The party that is the first choice of the second most people is entirely unacceptable to the large majority of people. So if they make it through to round two, then anyone else who does is sure to win, and all you need in round 1 is like high 20s or so because there are so many parties.

    Throw in that one of the two “major” parties was suffering from severe unpopularity from being in charge the last few years, and the other had a last-second breaking scandal that seemed more than a little bit fishy and Deep-State-ish…

    So you end up with a president with no natural constituency except for the international media and political establishments.

  9. In Chicago the yellow light duration used to be only 3 seconds. The red light camera tickets have been a huge boon for the city.

    All the traffic lights have a range plus or minus a few seconds, and the previous standard was that if a yellow light was less than 3 seconds the motorist wouldn’t be fined. Four years ago the soon-to-be former mayor quietly tweaked the standard so tickets would be given for 2.9 seconds or above. It brought in millions of dollars of additional revenue and made criminals out of tens of thousands of drivers.

    His opponent in the 2015 election made a big issue out of it, so the mayor was forced to increase the duration to 3.5 seconds and remove 50 cameras.

  10. In California the law was, and may still be, 3 seconds minimum. When I was on the traffic commission we learned that lengthening the yellow by 1 second reduced citations by 80%. In Costa Mesa, CA the city had reduced the yellow to less than 3 seconds and a lawyer sued the city and won. The judge ordered the city to refund the fines of those affected by the illegal alteration. The city refunded the fine only to those who had pleaded “not guilty.” and brazened it out. That was about 5% of those cited.

  11. Here is even more on the French riots, and this is starting to sound like someone gets it.

    At last, a people’s revolt against the tyranny of environmentalism. Paris is burning. Not since 1968 has there been such heat and fury in the streets. Thousands of ‘gilets jaunes’ stormed the capital at the weekend to rage against Emmanuel Macron and his treatment of them with aloof, technocratic disdain. And yet leftists in Britain and the US have been largely silent, or at least antsy, about this people’s revolt. The same people who got so excited about the staid, static Occupy movement a few years ago — which couldn’t even been arsed to march, never mind riot — seem struck dumb by the sight of tens of thousands of French people taking to the barricades against Macronism.

    It isn’t hard to see why. It’s because this revolt is as much against their political orthodoxies as it is against Macron’s out-of-touch and monarchical style. Most strikingly this is a people’s rebellion against the onerous consequences of climate-change policy, against the politics of environmentalism and its tendency to punish the little people for daring to live relatively modern, fossil-fuelled lives.

    Sound familiar ?

  12. I have no idea what the riots are about, and trying to put them into a US (or UK) template is a sure recipe for being grossly wrong about everything.

    That being said, this sort of thing is why I have zero fear of the loony left’s “climate change” hysterics. People love “caring” about the environment, but they have zero interest in paying to do so. For decades the environment has gotten much much cleaner and people haven’t really seen any cost. If that continues, then they’ll continue to support the nonsense. But if they have to pay twice as much for a car, for gas, for electricity, etc., their interest will disappear overnight.

    (Ditto for the “single payer” or “medicare for all” nonsense. It will be amusing to watch the excuses they come up with for not pushing such silliness in any actual written form in any forum they control.)

  13. “For decades the environment has gotten much much cleaner and people haven’t really seen any cost.”

    That is what we have been told so often — and it is a classic case of ‘accurate but misleading’.

    The environment in Pittsburgh, for example, has got much cleaner by many metrics. Some of that was better technology, some was more stringent regulation, but most of it was a consequence of offshoring industry: No factory = No pollution. Unfortunately, it also meant lost jobs, which in turn meant lost tax revenue for government and lost innovation as opportunities went away. The Obama class did not see any cost … but lots of normal citizens saw a significant cost.

    Meanwhile, in China, there was the reverse. All those offshored factories arrived, creating jobs and revenues which significantly improved the standard of living for many Chinese people … but they had to pay a price in terms of environmental degradation.

    Strange thing is that the people who misunderstood what was happening tend to be academic globalists. According to their own dubious theories, they should have been the first to recognize that the planet does not care if the CO2 is emitted in Pittsburgh or Beijing; supposedly, they care about “global warming”. Their failure to recognize the three card monte aspect of offshoring manufacturing is partly Leftist bias, and partly the well-known problem of the specialist’s frequent failure to see the bigger picture.

  14. I think the French “yellow vests” understand quite well what is happening and it isn’t just “climate.”

    The government is at war with working people who have to drive to work. The radar speed traps are not about climate, aside from discouraging people, who have to drive to make a living, from driving. The Paris elites, like our blue state elites, do not have to drive. The Metro is wonderful and I have ridden it many times. What we are looking at in France is the old war on the Bourgeois

    It’s no wonder the US media is ignoring it.

  15. RE yellow light traps. Been musing on Mike’s report of 3 seconds for a yellow light. At what posted speed limit would that time period likely leave a significant percentage of drivers unable: 1) to (safely)stop before entering the intersection, and also 2) unable (without accelerating and getting a ticket for that) to get across the intersection before the light changed? What driver who has encountered a yellow light has not pondered this question?

    I first saw an analysis of this sort of question in freshman college physics. I have used it a number of times since then to pique student interest in physics classes I have taught. Of course the answer will vary depending on assumptions, such as driver reaction time, how well their car can brake (without getting rear ended), accounting for distractions, width of intersection,and similar.

    I’m gonna guess Mike heard about some of this in city counsel discussion about the yellow light time. But to answer the question, yes, it is possible to create a (revenue enhancing) yellow light trap. My back of the envelop calculations suggest 3 seconds would probably start catching lots of people at about 45 mph.

  16. The Yellow Vests have won the first victory.

    After weeks of yellow vest wearing everyday French citizens protesting French President Emmanuel Macron and his proposed tax hike on diesel fuel to fund the fight against global warming, France announced a delay in said tax increase:


    Both Le Monde newspaper and France Info radio said the planned increase, which has provoked violent riots, will be suspended for several months. Philippe is also expected to announce other measures aimed at easing tensions, just three weeks after insisting that the government would not change course and remained determined to help wean French consumers off polluting fossils fuels.
    But will this be enough? Translation below: Christophe Chalençon #GiletJaune, on the moratorium: “This is not what we are going to bring people home” The challenge has gone far beyond that point. #Macron must cancel & not just postpone the tax increase by 3 months. And give the French back the floor.

    Will this be enough ? I wonder.

  17. Crumbs is all they can possibly hope for. The supermajority of the French public wants government in charge to make perceived problems go away. They only object to the costs and if the water gets to hot to quickly. Income floors and redistribution sells well there. It is all they know. They might not like the side effects, but they have no notion that their go-to solution is the problem.


  18. One of the more interesting things about the French riots is how little the German media have noticed them right next door. If there’s any news at all about the riots, its usually buried somewhere in the foreign news section. For example, as I write this, there’s nothing anywhere near the top of the websites of the Frankfurt and Munich newspapers, nor of Focus, Germany’s second biggest news magazine. Spiegel, which usually ignores what’s been going on in France lately as well, actually does have a couple of blurbs, reporting not on the riots themselves, but on Macron’s reaction to them (The Invisible President):

    and the German Left’s confusion about what their attitude should be about a rebellion of the masses (The Left Argues Over Their Attitude Towards the “Yellow Vests”)

    Obviously, the “masses” are no longer always right as far as the Left is concerned, in Germany or elsewhere. They’re only right if they do as their told by their betters.

  19. “Obviously, the “masses” are no longer always right as far as the Left is concerned”
    The Left has never thought that. There’s not a lefty movement anywhere or anytime that wasn’t 100% composed of “intellectuals” and disaffected rich losers, who view the majority of the population as cattle, at best, and vermin at worst.

  20. There’s not a lefty movement anywhere or anytime that wasn’t 100% composed of “intellectuals” and disaffected rich losers, who view the majority of the population as cattle, at best, and vermin at worst.

    There are a number of books on the French Revolution that point out how it began with the Bourgeoise and what the Argentines would call “descamisados” or “shirtless ones.” They were not the really poor until later and, in the countryside, the peasants usually stayed with the Church. The leaders were all Parisians and there were massacres in some provincial cities like Lyons.

    A pretty good source on the story is a book called, “12 who ruled, “ about the Committee of 12 who conducted The Terror.

    Few books about the French Revolution have had better legs in the academy than R.R. Palmer’s classic, “Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of Terror in the French Revolution.” First published in 1941, it is still often found on college syllabi across the country today.

  21. The genius of the American founders was that rather than define a system that requires the knowledge of experts, they set one up that relied on the self-interest of different segments of society. You can always count on that, but you can’t always assume the “experts” will be decent or, well, expert. Unfortunately, over time the “experts” figured out how to take over anyway.

  22. For commuters everywhere, it worth using the drive time to listen to Prof Pangle’s lectures on the American Constitution, part of the Great Courses series. He certainly changed my understanding of what drove the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

    One of the key issues was how strong the central government should be. Under the Articles of Confederation, the central government was too weak even to honor the international treaties it signed. Key Federalists wanted a central government that would effectively have unbounded power over the people — the Anti-Federalists anticipated the problems this might create. On many of the important issues, the fears of the Anti-Federalists have come to pass — exacerbated by subsequent Constitutional Amendments which diminished State government as a counter-balance to the Federal leviathan (eg direct election of senators, direct taxation of the people by the central government).

    As Brian says, eventually the “experts” took over and perverted the original selling point of limited government. But maybe key Founders never intended for the central government to be limited in any way?

    Fortunately, an all-powerful central government dooms itself to failure, by making commitments it cannot honor and throttling the economic goose which used to lay golden eggs. Our “experts” face the same dismal future, for the same reasons, as the old Soviet nomenklatura. Unfortunately, their failure is making life hard for us peons.

  23. exacerbated by subsequent Constitutional Amendments which diminished State government as a counter-balance to the Federal leviathan

    The Civil War destroyed federalism, much as the English Civil War destroyed the divine right of kings.

    The 10th Amendment was a casualty. It is ironic that Wilson, the most racist president we have had, introduced the Progressive agenda.

    Before the Civil War, we had racist presidents but Wilson reversed most of the post 1865 civil rights of blacks.

  24. “Fortunately, an all-powerful central government dooms itself to failure, by making commitments it cannot honor and throttling the economic goose which used to lay golden eggs.”
    I think a strong case can be made that things started to go badly off the rails in America a bit over a century ago with the disappearance of the frontier. There used to be space to flee to if the government became too intrusive. There isn’t any way to get away from Them anymore.

  25. I think a strong case can be made that things started to go badly off the rails in America a bit over a century ago with the disappearance of the frontier.

    It’s not just the closing of the frontier. I’m listening to Karl Rove’s biography of McKinley on audio in the car. In 1892, at the GOP convention, the delegates from South Carolina and Texas were mostly black.

    Wilson did more damage than most people realize. The Democrats are back favoring segregation again.

  26. On many of the important issues, the fears of the Anti-Federalists have come to pass

    I recently read The Federalist Papers and it was sad to see all the “this will never happen” predictions that have, indeed, happened.

  27. Because of their silly multi-party, two-stage election process.

    I have noticed many systems are designed so that every failure is catastrophic.

    The system was designed to limit the chance of crazy third (fourth, fifth, sixth) parties to win national election in France. And it has. No system can avoid failure. And when this one fails, because the French people are tired of the heel of government by Sorbonne, the craziest party will be elected when the myriad “me-too” parties collapse. It seems as if the designed choose Weimar as his model.

  28. The Macron government has now announced that the gas tax increase is cancelled completely.

    This is from Le Figaro. This is one of France’s two top daily general-interest papers. I don’t know if they are known for writing jumped-up, overly dramatic stuff or not. I know there’s some of that in French papers, but this seems… dire.

    Apparently they realized that people thought their first offer of a “suspension” of the tax was just a trick, and that they planned to immediately impose the tax at the earliest practicable opportunity.

    People thought that because that, of course, was exactly the plan.

    But now Macron says he’s abandoning the hikes completely.

    But there’s more. A lot more. Macron’s more definitive statement was prodded, some in his government say, by fear that there will be a union of extreme left and extreme right radicals to kill government officials and politicians and cops; a “putsch” is feared.

    H/T Ace.

  29. Miker K @ December 5th, 2018 at 5:30 pm Says:

    In 1892, at the GOP convention, the delegates from South Carolina and Texas were mostly black.

    That was in 1892. The Republicans in the South were divided between “Black and Tans” (which included the blacks, who continued to vote in significant numbers into the 1890s), and “Lily Whites” (who competed with the Democrats for white votes by joining in the suppression of blacks).

    With the final suppression of black voting after 1900, the Lily Whites took control of the state party organizations, and selected the delegates to the national conventions. They were a significant voting bloc at the conventions, and traded their support for control of federal patronage in the South – i.e. exclusion of blacks. Taft and Hoover both made such deals.

  30. After they took control of Congress in 1892, Democrats passed the Repeal Act of 1894 that overturned civil rights legislation passed by the Republicans, including the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1875. It took Republicans nearly six decades to finally achieve passage of civil rights legislation in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    That’s from the Black Republican blog,.

  31. Lincoln’s assassination was such a horrible tragedy for the nation, and for the South especially, ironically enough. The chance to rebuild the South in anything like the spirit expressed in his second inaugural address was lost. The Radical Republicans wanted to punish the South, not rebuild it, and thereby embittered Southern whites, then left Southern blacks at their mercy for another several generations.

  32. It is ironic that Wilson, the most racist president we have had, introduced the Progressive agenda.

    Actually, the Progressive Agenda first came from Teddy.

    He’s the president who favored and pushed forward the plethora of alphabet agencies that got the whole thing rolling.

    He was also supportive of the trust-busting that sashayed into the income tax, the Fed Reserve, etc., even after JP Morgan saved everyone’s asses in 1907.

    On some levels, i like Teddy, but on this, hevwas a terrible President.

  33. I agree with both of you. The villain was Stanton who was incorruptible but a zealot who went after Sherman for trying to end hostilities with Johnston on the lines that Lincoln had laid out. Then they learned of the assassination.

    Stanton smeared Sherman in newspapers and Sherman would not take his hand at the Grand Review in Washington City the next month.

    Sherman hated politicians all his life although his brother was a Senator and a candidate for President several times.

    Stanton and the radical Republicans, who impeached Johnson for trying to get rid of Stanton, had more to do with the “Lost Cause” mythology than anyone else. Blacks suffered for a century, partly at least, from those actions

    Roosevelt certainly was a radical reformer. The same forces that elected Wilson were driving Roosevelt. Some of his trust busting was needed but the 16th and 17th amendments, not to mention the 18th, were destructive.

  34. Agreed. Not saying all Teddy did was bad. I think the fact that he set up PERMANENT AGENCIES to do it was likely bad. Much better would have been pressure to self-supervise and a temporary body to get them on track.

    I always contrast with his predecessor, Grover Cleveland, who I argue was the last truly great PotUS, because he was the last one to truly understand the proper limits on Federal power and government power in general.

    His wiki entry notes two signs of it prominently — his veto of the Texas Seed Bill, and passages from his third SOTU.

  35. I’m reading (listening to the audio) Karl Rove’s biography of McKinley. McKinley,ey was a real reformer but not a radical like Teddy.

    We are living, to some extent, with the consequences of Leon Czolgosz’ gunshot.

    Rapid economic growth marked McKinley’s presidency. He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition and in 1900 secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed he led the nation into the Spanish–American War of 1898

    In the 1900 election, he chose Roosevelt. His VP from 1896 to 1899 was Garret Hobart, who died in office. Hobart was a solid VP.

    As vice president, Hobart proved a popular figure in Washington and was a close adviser to McKinley. Hobart’s tact and good humor were valuable to the President, as in mid-1899 when Secretary of War Russell Alger failed to understand that McKinley wanted him to leave office. Hobart invited Alger to his New Jersey summer home, and broke the news to the secretary, who submitted his resignation to McKinley on his return to Washington. Hobart died on November 21, 1899 of a heart disease at age 55; his place on the Republican ticket in 1900 was taken by New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt.

    Hobart is unknown today and McKinley almost so.

  36. More news about the riots today.

    And more about the police keeping protesters out of Paris.

    A group of four protesters who came to Paris from Normandy on Saturday told The Associated Press that they saw people wearing yellow vests turned away at train stations all along their route. They said fellow protesters trying to reach Paris from Toulouse in southern France reported the same problems.

    A national police spokesman said officers stationed at train stations around the country are under orders to verify all passengers and turn away any carrying equipment that could be used to “cause damage to people or property.”

    But they are spreading to Belgium and Netherlands.

  37. Tatyana: No one’s protesting because of that laundry list.
    France has never had a government even slightly interested in liberty. The fact that the people even there have a breaking point regarding taxation is giving globalists pause, and we can at least celebrate that.

  38. France has some good ideas. I think their medical care system is a model for what we should do.

    It was funded by payroll deductions, like 85% of US health insurance. There are two problems that have affected that plan . One is high unemployment, which is due to labor regulations, and the other is the number of free loaders who have signed up for the program for the poor, called CMU.

    Gradually, Securite Sociale covered greater and greater portions of the population until now 99% are covered. The government pays for those who do not earn enough to contribute and Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU) determines how much the member must pay.

    One problem has been that many British retirees are moving to France and living in villages that have lost population of native French. They sign up for CMU and have never contributed. They refuse to return to Britain and the NHS, for which I cannot blame them.

  39. Brian,
    What do you mean – no one’s protesting because of that list?
    This are their demands, so yes, they are. They want the government to take control of airports and “maternity homes”. They welcome “migrants” (occupying hordes from the 3rd World) – but NIMBY. They want retirement at 60, and sometimes at 55. This is revolt of the slaves; they don’t want to create wealth, they want more handouts from the government and expropriations of the wealthy – 1300eur minimum is their goal, and “more progressive income tax”.
    As to people’s breaking point – the French reach that point fairly often; they have tradition of rebellions, from series of what’s called French Revolutions to modern day’ “national strikes”.

    I think they will get their demands satisfied, but mostly the ones that allocate even more power to the State. And yeah, the gas tax will be removed – until it will be called something else and re-instated.

  40. The people writing “demands” are often not the ones suffering from the war on driving. The usual Socialist agenda does not include working for a living. I’m not sure about the origin of that list.

    The French Revolution was begun by lawyers, not peasants.

  41. Tatyana: what reason is there to think that whoever wrote that represents the protesters in any way? Or that anyone does, gor that matter. It’s like thinking any of the grifter PACs with “Tea Party” in their name represented that movement.
    As to your point about the French being statists with no interest in Anglo-American style liberty, well, duh.

  42. Brian:
    My French is non-existent, so I can’t assess validity of the source – maybe you can?
    From what I gather, it is an actual list published in social media related to the movement, and is the sum of their pipe dreams. Could be anything, of course

    Mike: it is a mistake to assign the blame for revolutions (i.e. violent rioting and insurrection) exclusively to “lawyers”, or intellectuals, or any educated propagandists. Their words were just that – words – until wide masses transformed the talking into shooting and killing. People are responsible for their actions personally. Yes, peasants are to blame and very much so – much more than the lawyers who thought it up, in theory. Also: the “I was just following X” excuse haven’t worked since Nuremberg Trials.

  43. Hahaha. The world has gone mad.
    “France opened a probe into possible Russian interference behind the country’s Yellow Vest protests, after reports that social-media accounts linked to Moscow have increasingly targeted the movement.”

    The article was from Bloomberg, but appears to have been pulled, because all links to it are broken. But The Moscow Times, whatever that is, still has it up, presumably because this idiocy of the last two years is the greatest (and most absurd) propaganda for Russian might that has ever been published.

  44. “It’s his one chance not to be lynched by the riotous mob.”
    I’m skeptical that telling the riotous mob that they’re actually Russian dupes is going to calm them down, but maybe that’ll work on the French…

  45. Btw, Brian, look at this twit:
    I’ll translate: someone called Vitauskas (Lithuanian name) asks “Guess from country came these [yellow-vest-wearing] “tourists” to sightseen Parisian spires, and screaming [in Russian] “Go ahead! Where the hell you’re going? Where to? Get back!” – while attempting to storm a hotel? You have three guesses…”

    Found linked @one of the blogs in my dreamwidth “reading circle”.
    It is the same tactic putinoids used in Eastern Ukraine: camouflage and provocation

  46. Their words were just that – words – until wide masses transformed the talking into shooting and killing

    They weren’t all lawyers but most Third Estate members of the Nation al Assembly were lawyers. The Rolands, husband and wife, were intellectuals.

    The peasants were certainly involved with the agrarian revolts that burned chateaux. The Vendee revolt, however was counter Revolution.

    Class differences were not as great in the Vendée as in Paris or in other French provinces. In the rural Vendée, the local nobility seems to have been more permanently in residence and less bitterly resented than in other parts of France.[6] Alexis de Tocqueville noted that most French nobles lived in cities by 1789. An Intendants’ survey showed one of the few areas where they still lived with the peasants was the Vendée.[7] The conflicts that drove the revolution in Paris, for example, were also lessened in this particularly isolated part of France by the strong adherence of the population to their Catholic faith.

    Massacres of unbelievable ferocity resulted.

    Although town dwellers were more likely to support the Revolution in the Vendée,[15] support for the revolution among the rural peasantry was not unknown.

    Even there, the active members were mostly town people. Not peasants

  47. Russians! Russians everywhere!

    “Bobby, why didn’t you finish your homework?” “The Russians, ma’am.”

    “Hey, I’ve been waiting for an hour at the bar for our date, where are you?” “Sorry, the Russians are holding me up.”

    Someone should make and post the real story behind historical events:
    “The American Revolution was a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain, becoming the United States of America. They defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) in alliance with France and others. Also, the Russians.”

  48. Funny, Brian.
    Except, not much.

    You don’t know them as I do. They meddle.
    Returning to my Macron: the defense “it’s the other guy’s fault!”, and “oh, look, squirrel!” always work with wide populace.

    Mike, you’re making my point.
    [besides, if you wish to wander into class differences, town vs country, patriarchal feudal society vs young bourgeois classes, economic shift from agrarian towards industrial, outmoded idle aristocracy vs worker bee proletariat (tangent into lumpen-pr.], etc – I have to give you a fair warning. I am much, much longer schooled at it than you. Taught all about in USSR educational propaganda machine, starting from 2nd grade till final exam on “Scientific communism” in university. By nature, I was always an A+ student and an avid reader].
    So, let’s assume we are both well-read on the subject.

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