The Rebel of French Culture is dead: long live Johnny

The stage lights went dark on December 5, 2017, for a certain septuagenarian labeled “the greatest rock-star unknown outside France”. Johnny Hallyday on that day perhaps got his wish to come face to face with his mysterious Marie, to whom he dedicated a song of despair and hope on his 60th birthday. In the extraordinarily long funeral cortège on the Champs Elysées, a venue normally reserved for great statesmen a million French citizens, young and old, said goodbye to the French “King Of Rock & Roll”. The very familiar refrain from Marie could be heard along the somber route, while dozens of bands played this haunting melody which had become the fastest selling single ever in France. A magnificent tribute to his career, his tremendous charisma, his rebel-without-a-cause behavior in an otherwise well-defined national culture: “Oh Marie, if you only knew all the wrongs done to me, Oh Marie, if I could find peace in your bare arms; Oh Marie, I hope that in heaven we shall meet.”

None other than the President of France himself, Emmanuel Macron and former President Nicolas Sarkozy were among the dignitaries eulogizing Johnny. Even former Minister of French Culture, Jacques Lang, had words of praise for the non-traditional Frenchman. Street interviews revealed the presence of many traditionalists who reluctantly acknowledged that Johnny was not of “their” culture, but loved him anyway. “He transcends generations”, stated Macron.

Many more millions will be added to the 110 million albums sold over six decades. As a seventeen-year-old infatuated with two American idols, Elvis Presley and James Dean, he forged a splendid career against all cultural odds. His always-sold-out venues naturally included spectacular entrances, whether on a Harley Davidson or dropped from a helicopter and his trademark on-stage gyrations and a chaotic lifestyle, earned him the title of “the French Elvis”. And yet, his music has hardly caused a ripple in America or the UK. What is so different, of course, is the language, but also the content and meaning of his lyrics. His sound is a French interpretation of rock and roll, with lyrics often touching on the darker side of humanity, dealing with despair, hope and prospects of this wonderful dream ending, especially after his diagnosis of lung cancer. Such is the tone of many of his songs, especially SEUL (alone) and Quelques Cris, (A few cries). That his appeal in the English-speaking world is not great is baffling, although some Americans know him for his acting in movies like The Man From The Train. His detractors remind us that Johnny must be a foreigner (his father is Belgian and his mother is French), and that his fanbase is mostly from the provinces, not Paris, an unkind cultural put-down. However, he consistently filled the largest stadiums three nights in a row, a feat not often duplicated by British or American rock stars. Three months after his death, his records are still sold out, but If you listen by the stars tonight, you will surely hear Johnny having a rocking good time with his Marie

P.S. During his lifetime he was estranged from both parents. In death, he is estranged from two of his children as he left all of his US and European assets to his fourth wife (32 years his junior) and their two adopted Vietnamese children. MERCI JOHNNY

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M-T-M: Three Presidents On The March

Macron – Trump – Macri: the trio of presidents that promises to save a weary world that is about to lose its Western ways. Emmanuel MACRON, barely 40 years old and youngest President of France since Napoleon. Donald TRUMP (70), President of America-First-Again, and Mauricio MACRI (58), President of Open-For-Business-Again Argentina. Though not obviously orchestrated, they seem to act with some harmony of purpose. While their political party affiliations have been of the flexible kind, their actions and intentions are not ideological but very clear: they spell a Machiavellian pragmatism. All three are clearing the swamp left by prior socialist administrations, doing away with restrictive regulations, loosening labor laws, inviting investors with lower tax rates and fairer regulations, encouraging job and company formation, talking tough on welfare and immigration (Macri mentioned a possible fence with Bolivia), revamping education for the 21st century. All have made money in the “free market”, perhaps the consequence of being born into moderately rich immigrant families. Macron’s parents were both doctors. Trump’s and Macri’s parents became rich in the real estate world and, in fact, did business together in NY and Buenos Aires. Macron became wealthy while working as an Investment Banker for the Rothschild Bank after a brief stint in the Inspectorate General of Finances of the Hollande administration. He was then appointed Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs where he was successful in getting business-friendly reforms passed.
Elite schooling shaped their thinking. All frequented prestigious schools: “Sciences Po” and “ENA” for Macron, “Wharton School of Finance”/U. of Pennsylvania for Trump, and Macri graduated from the “Pontifical Catholic University” of Argentina, and attended a few classes at Wharton. Politically, all are “mavericks”, outsiders, although Macri was twice elected Mayor of Buenos Aires after becoming well known as the chairman of the very popular Argentine soccer team Boca Juniors. Republicanism is on the march. Macron formed his own centrist party: LA REPUBLIQUE EN MARCHE (The Republic on the March).  Macri formed PRO i.e. PROPUESTA REPUBLICANA (Republican Plan party). They had to do this in order to be free to attack the stale traditional organizations and their wishful but failing policies. Trump did virtually the same thing by simply appropriating the Republican name and turning it into his own vehicle. Macron was not the favorite in the primaries, but handily beat the “extreme right” candidate, Marine Le Pen in a run-off. Le Pen argued for a FREXIT (French exit from the European Union), but  Macron argued the opposite, though his was not the popular view in France during the election cycle.
All married well. Trump and Macri are said to have married beauties, in fact, three each. Some in the press are wondering if Melania has “met her match” in elegant Juliana Awada, Mrs. Macri. While Trump married a much younger woman, Macron married a much older one, Brigitte, who was his drama teacher in High School.
Macron can be described as the most intellectual and erudite of the three. He studied and excelled in philosophy and piano, though his passion remains Public Finance.  Trump definitely is the “street-smart” operator whose unpolished language is understood by the popular masses. Macri’s popularity can be traced to his very successful management of a highly successful soccer team. He is rich but not arrogantly so, and is motivated to correct the grievous errors of  Argentina’s decades of Peronist mismanagement.
It is however not perfect harmony. Macron objects to Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris environmental agreement. Macri openly supported Hillary Clinton for President. There may well be more disagreement, but it all trends in favor of pragmatism, peace, and prosperity.

Macron wanted to make

Trump Meets With Argentine President Mauricio Macri in the Oval Office

Trump’s Alter Ego Speaks French

French President Emmanuel MACRON and US President Donald TRUMP could not be more different as political big shots, yet so similar. One highly educated in France’s elite schools (Science PO and ENA), the other obtained a Master’s in Economics from Wharton School of Finance (U of Pennsylvania). Macron is barely 40 years old, and married a much older woman (his HS teacher), while Trump, barely 70 years old, married several times and each time to a much younger woman. In person-to-person contact, their chemistry seems to be positive. They converse with ease using similar business language. Each got rich in the open market, one in investments, the other in real estate. Neither had ever been elected to any public office, though Macron did try a couple of times. In the end, he did get appointed to important government posts in two previous administrations. Though “outsider” Trump has been a member of two political parties in the US, plus a stint as an Independent, he chose the Conservative side of politics to run for president. Macron actually formed his own centrist party (En Marche), adding to the array of French parties, none of whom ever get more than 30% of the electorate in primaries. He is said to come from the Left, but “dazzles the Right”. Trump comes from everywhere and is home everywhere. Without a majority in the primaries, Macron landed in a run-off with Right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen who he beat in a landslide. Both Presidents have chosen pragmatism over ideology.

Macron loves public policy and making France “competitive again”, but dislikes Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.” Such an irony: France is known for its concern with “greatness”, as France was “great” under Napoleon and DeGaulle. For them, “greatness” is steeped in honor, duty, heritage, and love of homeland (French schools emphasize history). Greatness in Trump’s eyes is tall buildings, fat checking accounts, and large big-boy toys. True, Trump became a billionaire focusing on the “deals”. But, then, Macron is also rich, though only a millionaire. He earned his fortune while on the job at the Rothschild Investment Bank. This kind of luck makes even a socialist find a way to justify becoming rich. Macron, the ex-socialist, sounds American when he says that rich is not bad, we need not punish success, but we do want to help more people become rich (paraphrased). Therefore, reduced taxes make a lot of sense. All of this points to a convergence with Trump’s “capitalistic” thoughts, especially those involving private investment. Other areas where both presidents seem to move in parallel are found in energy policy (Macron wants nuclear), education, welfare, labor laws (Sunday store hours, hours worked), but not environmental practices. Note to reader: the French see no contradiction in working nuclear power plants while demanding a purified environment).

Armed with the legendary French astuteness, he disarmed his post-election competition by hiring the top guns from several rival parties for important government functions. The lure of an ambassadorship or cabinet post is stronger than money and ideology, on all continents. In fact, Macron also co-opted the economic message of his main rival party (Les Republicains) headed by Sarkozy, aka “Sarkozy the American”. Macron is in favor of a strong EU and wants to further tie the knot with Germany but on better terms. At times Macron refers to himself as the modern “Joan of Arc”, although that label fell on his arch-rival from the Right, Marine Le Pen. This pragmatic and young President holds positions found in Le Pen’s arsenal as well as in Trump’s, such as better immigration control, reduced burden on companies and jobs, jobs, jobs….homeland first…

Both presidents have many similar views, hold strong opinions, are hell-bound on executing on their respective plans. Macron approaches those issues with astuteness, subtlety, and elegance. Trump’s approach is that of a street fighter, using harsh if not insensitive language without much subtlety but with absolute self-confidence. Pragmatism is their common quality. Maybe this transatlantic magic spreads to other places. For instance, current President of Argentina, Mauricio MACRI who is shaking things up with market solutions down in Buenos Aires. More on him later…

 

Ideology Redefining Traditional Values

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, made a remarkably frank and honest statement in 2015 when, in response to a reporter’s question, he stated with a grin on his face: “We (politicians) all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we have done it”. Some politicians act out of expediency (go along to get along), others seem to really believe what they claim, perhaps only because they reside in an echo chamber and keep hearing the same message from colleagues, so it must be true. Of course, Liberals claim the Right is living in an echo chamber. The difference is that Conservatives are people of conviction via the path of discovery and analysis, whereas Liberals rarely know why they believe certain things, but they are sure that those beliefs are absolutely true. How often do Liberals respond to a Conservative explanation by saying that if only they knew as much about the topic as the Conservative does, they could make a better argument against the other side? How would they know without knowing what they don’t know? Speaking from my own experience, I changed my mind when I finally understood some important truths while I was still a believer in JFK Democracy. Yes, converts tend to have stronger and more well-founded opinions than others who are simply born into a particular belief system.

To forestall Conservatism, Liberalism had to redefine itself as Progressivism which then had to redefine the terms of our political discourse. Words like diversity no longer mean “dividing into categories”, but unifying diverse people. The problem arises when people realize the unnatural if not contradictory application of “diversity” which collided with the old truth that people of a feather flock together. This is the phenomenon that Professor Robert Putnam described in his book “Bowling Alone” wherein he explains that society has integrated neighborhoods with diverse people, but they did not assimilate nor socialize together. So, Progressives found this term “inclusion” as a fix, albeit a weak one, necessitating another oxymoronic notion found in the expression “unity in diversity”. Instead of promoting the brilliantly apt original motto for America E PLURIBUS, UNUM (from many cultures, into one American culture), they unraveled basic American cohesion, as evidenced by racial and ethnic strife everywhere. At least the European Heads of State had the courage to admit that their policies of “multi=culturalism” have failed. Europe is suffering the unintended consequences of those policies, as America has begun to suffer the same pain. You cannot expect diverse immigrants to become American when government encourages them to live their ancestral ways within our borders. It is the seed of America’s, and the West’s, demise..

Fairness is another one of those favorite concepts that Obama and his Progressive band of community organizers love. In response to press questions about the application of lower tax rates to actually improve the flow of taxes to the federal government, as happened during the Reagan years, the President responded by saying that it is a matter of fairness to keep the rates high. Where was that logic born? what is not fair about reducing tax rates and actually ending up with more tax dollars in the federal treasury. Not fair to whom? Fairness or spite?

Equality, Justice, and Equity are the holy grail for Progressive pundits. Like the other “words” they sound good, so they must be good. And of course, intent is what counts, not results. In the world of philosophy, the means justify the end, provided of course that the intended end is just if not pure. The US Constitution guarantees “equality before the law”. Progressives ignore that fundamental right and construct new equality and demand social justice, economic justice etc…. why? they simply want a new conversation with a new lexicon. Equity is something that most of us know as being earned over time, such as equity in a property, equity within a social group based on past performance or at least reputation. But in the Progressive world, like the monopoly game, we start out with a certain amount of equity, so as to equalize performance and results. What they do not realize or understand is the individuals thusly given “equity” will expect that assist throughout life, making them dependent on government or other people for their advancement. No incentive to improve one’s own efforts and results. Surely they will tell me that I “simply do not understand” the issue. It is not fair that some beings are born into poverty while others are born into wealth or talent. They want to change what God has created. Just like environmentalist Quijote taking on the biggest boldest windmills and changing the world’s temperature, although they do not know whether the temperature should go up or down.

The re-ordering of values does not stop there. The biggest Progressive machine in the world is the UN which has the ultimate windmill to tackle: human society, and underwritten to the extent of 75% by American taxpayers who do not want the UN to be giving orders to the United States. Its Agenda21 has detailed templates for all communities around the world to live as dictated by UN’s people-controlling standards in the social, environmental, economic and even cultural domains. Our international poster child in the Midwest is Dubuque, getting medals and recognition for its “sustainability” program. After 5 years of formal procedures, they still do not know what it is costing its taxpayers and what exactly the return on their tax dollars has been or will be…Sustainability, equality, equity, diversity, multiculturalism, climate change are all in the newly revised edition of the Progressive mind.

 

New Year’s Lament

I went and got a college education

To learn about truth in this nation

Patiently waiting for it to appear

As promised by Prof. Godot, oh so clear

“Truth exists, he said, I have seen its manifestations”

Yet, time after time, like ghost revelations

They appear and quickly disappear,

Perhaps truth comes this year…

Donald Trumps Them All

Sixty some million patriots elected Trump

Opposition wallows in presidential slump

Wishing President to be traditional politician

yet Trump as his own American magician

draining swamp while greening White House lawn

in fashion of Attila or of Caesar crossing forbidding Rubicon

let Trump be Trump, damn the torpedoes

control your petty libidos

America will be great again

America to that will say Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanctuary America

What if all 50 states declared themselves sanctuary states?

The immigration lawyer hired by Montgomery County, Maryland, reportedly charges $575 per hour to steer the county government into a “sanctuary” status. Montgomery follows the trend started by cities like San Francisco and Chicago providing a “safe space” for illegal aliens who might be deported under the new administration managed by America’s deal-making president, Donald J. Trump. While the total city count is approaching 500, many counties and some states are planning to join this movement.

It is amazing that these governmental entities, which constantly petition the federal government for more and more funds, suddenly seem content with losing those federal dollars. The federal government could not have devised a better budget-reduction scheme than this. California alone receives about $350 Billion from the federal government annually. Could California survive without those dollars? Could virtually bankrupt Chicago and Illinois survive without federal money? Of course those cities and states that send more in taxes to Washington than they receive in federal payments might be delighted to stop receiving funds if they also then stop paying taxes to the federal government. It is obviously not as simple as making a political decision, but it does reflect a generalized “entitlement” mindset among political leaders.

Would this prospect not bring us back in part, to the origins of the United States when the foundational documents talked about a union between the “several states”? Have we not come too far from federalism? In fact, why do states send money to Washington only to receive part of that money, in some cases more than the original amount, back in our state?

I scratch my head and ask:  why do we have sanctuary cities in the first place? to protect illegal aliens from deportation or even prosecution by the entity whose constitutional job it is to enforce the country’s immigration laws? …to prevent family “break-ups”…. when the alien families broke themselves up when they left their homeland to come to the US? Finally, why do we have illegal aliens roaming the country freely against the wishes of a majority of citizens, some of whose wages have been depressed because of government-encouraged cheap foreign labor? Why has this problem not been fixed since it began after the demise of the Bracero (temporary labor permits) program over 50 years ago? Could it be that industry wants cheap labor and Democrats want cheap votes? One last question: if the 1920’s country-quota system was discriminatory because it favored Europeans (so said Ted Kennedy) then why is the current system not de facto discriminatory since it favors those who live close to America’s unprotected national border?

Why has America turned itself into a massive sanctuary for the failed state of Mexico and failing Central American states. Oh wait, America might as well be a “safe space” for everyone. Our college professors who seem to have “emotional incontinence” or “intellectual deprivation”, are leading the way in providing SAFE SPACE FOR …those in need of protection from diverse opinions.

 

 

Universities of Intolerance

The University of Notre Dame recently invited the noted conservative thinker and author of Coming Apart, Dr. Charles Murray, to address faculty and students on the hot topics of today. This was done in the tradition of freedom of speech, academic freedom,  balanced representation of critical issues. In the past, liberal speakers such as Harvard Professor Robert Putnam, who is a recognized authority on the subject of diversity (his book BOWLING ALONE was a best-seller), graced the ND auditorium in a welcoming atmosphere. Such a welcome was not extended to Dr. Murray, nor to other conservative speakers before him. Noisy and often violent protesters, organized presumably by on- and off-campus left-wing organizations who smell hell’s sulphur in conservative speech.

Just like the word “liberal” has been corrupted to no longer mean “liberty”, but its opposite, i.e. politically-correct, anti-tradition, even anti-history, so has the treasured university policy of guaranteeing “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech” become an empty promise. It is useful, if not ironic to remember that conservatives are the original “classic liberals”, promoting individual freedom of thought, respect and tolerance. How things have changed. It is a well-known fact that conservative professors, at least in state-financed colleges,  although many private ones have joined this anti-intellectual movement, learn to keep their mouths shut, for fear of being ostracized. Only some long-tenured professors and non-career adjuncts seem to have the courage of their conviction and speak out on campus, putting their longevity in jeopardy. Liberal professors have no such concerns.

After retiring from three decades in global business activities, i became one of those adjuncts at a private university and naively expected vigorous discussions for and against the great topics of the moment. I learned quickly, however, that many, if not most, full-time faculty were indeed liberal, some ridiculing any conservative comment. I learned quickly that today’s faculty are ideologically driven in whatever subject they teach. I learned, for instance, that cultural anthropology can have a left or right “spin”. I cannot help but think back to my college experience of the 1960s when the great professors that I respected highly, did not betray a personal perspective. They presented all sides of an argument. Just like journalism has been corrupted to become advocacy reporting, so has the teaching profession. The result of course has been that students are no longer taught to analyze and argue differing perspectives, but are injected with a singular viewpoint, or set of talking-points which they naturally accept as the absolute truth, and regurgitate  instinctively. This, therefore, explains why they are so upset at conservative speech which threatens their intellectual glass foundation. Having been empowered by their liberal High School teachers, they feel empowered and will  challenge conservative professors, while robotically agreeing with liberal ones. Furthermore, so often students seem to take control of a university with weak management and dictate the terms of university reform. (students teaching the teachers?).We have witnessed campus upheavals where liberal professors act out a sort of “Stockholm Syndrome” and become part of the robotic behavior chaos (e.g. Mizzou). Most students don’t know the Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, the intellectual statesman for the leftist cause, but they act in accordance with many of those so-effective rules: #5 ridicule is man’s best weapon against an enemy; others: repeat a lie frequently, it will stick; push the envelope of your adversary’s rules, they will become “broken”. Have you heard this one?…..accuse and never explain …. This new atmosphere is  totally opposite of what a college campus is supposed to breed: open, inquisitive and tolerant minds

Will Muslim Customs Overpower Western Customs?

Swiss law imposes a stiff fine on children who refuse to shake hands with their teachers … a century-old custom that Muslim immigrants see as an affront to their religion, which does not allow physical contact with the opposite sex unless it takes place within the family context. …. Two powerful “rights” are colliding: freedom to practice one’s religion (obey Laws of God) and the right of a nation to hold fast on its customs, values and principles (obey Laws of Man). Western principles of Separation of Church and State have not been challenged by a religion, as we believe in “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”.

Switzerland has decided to hold on to its laws and traditions. Immigrants are expected to adapt to Swiss laws and customs, as Switzerland will not change its national character to suit an immigrant community.
Under the rubric of Multiculturalism and Freedom of Religion, Muslim immigrants seem to move on  to the subjugation of Western civilization. Just 5 years ago, the Heads of State of Germany, France and the UK were joined by the Catholic Archbishop of Germany declaring multi-cuturalism a resounding failure. Yet, this failed policy continues in Europe and America. Sooner or later the Muslim community will bring this reality into focus.

Demographic Change or Immigrant Invasion?

Is it possible that waves of Muslim refugees and Mexican immigrants will fundamentally change Exceptional America, i.e. change American values and principles. Exhibit 1 could be: Jorge Ramos who is Mexico’s pre-eminent propagandist on American airwaves. Born in Mexico and a naturalized US citizen, he pontificates as Univision’s nightly news anchor and weekly TV magazine show host, strongly supporting and encouraging Mexican immigration into the US, as if Mexicans had a natural right to do so. Of course, Jorge ignores the basic concept of national sovereignty and rule-of-law.  His rationale consists of two main points: 1) immigrants contribute far more ($2B) to the US economy than they “take” in welfare, incarceration, education and other social costs 2) “America is our country, not theirs” and “we are not going to leave”“there is a demographic shift in America and there is nothing that America can do about it. Of course, this shift is aided and abetted by a succession of US governments which catered to a small number of businesses that exploit cheap labor, and “liberal” politicians who see future Democrat voters that will outvote the doomed Republican party of dying white folks. He claims 60 million Latinos in the US (which includes Brazilians, Cubans and South Americans some of whom do not get along with Mexicans and do not agree with the socialist attitudes from Mexico and Central America) and predicted 100 million by 2044 when “whites” will be statistically a minority. He made these arrogant statements at the televised Premio Lo Nuestro (a Latino Entertainment Awards show) broadcast Friday March 3, 2017. While he has always been fiercely pro-illegal and pro-open borders, he has dropped references to diversity and tolerance in his subtle and hatefully anti-American rhetoric. Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly on Fox News invite him occasionally to explain his twisted logic, but he only cites “his” facts that are supposed to lead us dummies to conclude that they are doing us a favor. Statistics like 15% of all federal prisoners being Mexican citizens does not disturb him at all. He and the Mexican government demand perfect justice for the 30% of the Mexican population that lives, legally or illegally, within the US borders. Yet, Mexico has a terrible human rights record when it comes to “foreigners” in Mexico, especially Central Americans in transit to the US., having erected a fence on their border with Guatemala.It is a felony to be in Mexico illegally. When asked to explain this alarming statement that “America is ours, not theirs“, he changes the subject; it soon becomes clear that the message was intended only for Mexican ears. What nobody considers is the fact that massive immigration tends to change the host culture beyond recognition. As Rome was changed by the Barbarians, as Native American culture was subsumed by the European culture, so will massive Hispanic/Latino immigration change the values and principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Sixteen million Latino viewers get their biased news from Univision every night; another 5 million from equally-liberal Telemundo and CNN En Espanol. The question I have posed to immigration pundits but remains unanswered is this: If the 1920’s quota-based immigration law was discriminatory because it favored Europeans, then why is the 1965 law not de facto  discriminatory because it clearly favors Mexicans due to their proximity? Texas is beginning to realize that the demographic change also means a fundamental cultural change. A new slogan is appearing on T-shirts: DON’T CALIFORNIA MY TEXAS.…California is essentially a Mexican state…. Muslim and Hispanic immigrants bring with them totally different cultural values and principles which subsume the American culture over time. Just ask what these immigrants are proud of, and they will proudly talk about their foreign heritage, not their new homeland…