Did the nation that gave the world the French Revolution and Karl Marx lose its right to boast of this symbol of Christianity?
This is a question, I await your thoughts.
Eric Swalwell nods in approval.
From Daily Mail: French security forces are ready to smother the centre of Paris with a ‘last resort’ chemical weapon in a bid to keep protesters away from key buildings, it has emerged.
Astonishing revelations about the debilitating powder – which can be spread across an area the size of six football pitches in just ten seconds – highlights the increasing desperation of President Emmanuel Macron’s administration as it faces up to a law and order crisis.
The country has been hit by five straight weeks of violence sparked by the Yellow Vests protest movement that has seen national monuments including the Arc de Triomphe ransacked.
There were 168 arrests in Paris on Saturday alone as the demonstrators – who are named after their high visibility jackets – fought running battles with police, who responded with water cannon, baton charges and tear gas.
Now senior officers have confirmed that some of the 14 armoured cars deployed by gendarmes contained ‘a radical device that was only to be used as a last resort’ against their own citizens.
A gun-like distributor on the vehicles’ turrets can spray the powder over 430,500 sq. ft. in ten seconds, Marianne magazine reports. The high-density noxious product contains the same power as 200 tear gas grenades, and is designed to knock people out indiscriminately in an emergency.
A source at the Paris police prefecture said: ‘If a large crowd forced barriers through the security perimeter, then the powder would be used as a last resort in order to stop them.’
But it is sure to raise concerned questions among civic rights groups, as well as monitoring organisations, including the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, of which France is a member.
Read the whole story here.
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From Fox News: As France braces for another round of violent protests this weekend in Paris and the rest of the country, embattled French President Emmanuel Macron is a missing man as his government tries to curb the chaos caused in part by his unpopular plan to hike gas taxes.
Macron swept into power in 2017, having emerged out of obscurity less than a year earlier. Espousing his own brand of centrism, he has presented himself on the world stage as a spokesman for multilateralism and internationalism against a nationalist wave moving through Europe.
While he has regularly been seen on world stages, including the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, he has been conspicuous by his absence this week, choosing to keep away from the limelight as his government attempts to deal with the issues being protested by the “yellow jacket” protesters who have protested and even rioted in cities over France in recent weeks.
Macron had initially stood firm on the hikes, saying they were necessary to combat climate change and France’s reliance on oil. But on Wednesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that the government was scrapping the tax hike altogether. A government spokesman also suggested on French radio that a wealth tax that Macron ended last year could be re-introduced.
The French government has said that 89,000 additional police officers and law enforcement personnel — with 8,000 in Paris — had been mobilized ahead of Saturday to head off planned protests, which show no sign of slowing down, despite the damage control by the government.
But as ministers scramble, Macron himself has been neither seen nor heard, leading to criticism from his political opponents. Marine Le Pen, Macron’s right-wing 2017 presidential election rival, urged Macron on Wednesday to meet with the protesters before Saturday.
“Do not hide at the Elysee, do not ask others to do what the French expect of you, listen to them, hear them before Saturday,” she told reporters.
“Is Macron still in Argentina? He must surely have an opinion,” left-wing 2017 presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted, a reference to Macron’s recent visit to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
According to Reuters, Macron intends to address the nation early next week. The Associated Press reported Friday that Macron has spent the week holding closed-door meetings in the Elysee Palace, with his office announcing that he would not speak before Saturday’s protests.
Read the whole story here.
Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!
I guess the French are finally fed up with being taxed to death.
From Fox News: Thousands of French protesters flooded the nation’s capital Saturday to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial fuel tax increase — clashing with policies as they called for Macron’s resignation.
The angry clashes, both in Paris and other towns and cities across the country, mark the eighth day of “yellow jacket” protests against the tax, but have also come to encompass a growing anger against Macron and the French ruling class — seen by many as out of touch.
The yellow jackets have become a uniform of sorts for the protesters, originating from the neon yellow jackets French drivers are required to keep in their vehicles.
Authorities said that at least 8,000 protesters flooded the Champs-Elysees in Paris alone, with 81,000 protesters in total nationwide compared to 244,000 last Saturday. Police deployed some 3,000 security forces after an attempt to march on the Elysee Palace last week.
Police used smoke, tear gas and even a water cannon to try and disperse the protesters, Le Monde reported. Officials said that a no-go zone, set up around key areas including the presidential palace and the National Assembly on the Left Bank of the Seine River, has not been breached.
At least eight people, including two police officers, were injured, while dozens of protesters were detained, including for throwing projectiles. In La Madeleine, an area filled with luxury brand shops popular with tourists, businesses shut down due to the protests. In other cities, such as Lyon and Marseille, protests were more peaceful.
The diesel fuel tax has gone up seven euro cents (nearly eight U.S. cents) and will keep climbing in coming years, according to Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne. The tax on gasoline is set to increase by four euro cents. Gasoline currently costs about 1.64 euros a liter in Paris ($7.06 a gallon), slightly more than diesel.
Macron, however, has said that gas tax increases are necessary to reduce France’s dependence on fossil fuels and fund renewable energy investments.
The protests are the latest blow for Macron, who has been dogged by sinking internal poll ratings for months, dropping into the 20s as he has struggled to shed the perception that he is an out-of-touch elitist.
Responding to those concerns, Macron has noted that he does not face any midterm elections and told Bloomberg News in October he intends to keep “exactly the same pace” with his reforms
From Daily Mail: France is to set a minimum legal age for sexual consent for the first time – just weeks after two courts cleared grown men of rape after they had sex with 11-year-olds.
Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told French radio that the age of 13 was a ‘limit that is worth considering’ for the upcoming legislation. But she noted that judges should also have the ability to assess whether someone was old enough to give consent in individual situations.
It comes after French courts refused on two occasions recently to prosecute grown men for rape after they had sex with 11-year-olds because authorities couldn’t prove coercion.
It is already illegal in France to have sex with under 15s, but rape charges can only be brought if prosecutors can prove the act was non-consensual.
Amid public horror, the government is now drafting a bill to say sex with children under a certain age is by definition coercive. Feminist groups plan a protest Tuesday to argue the age should be set at 15.
The age is just one piece of an upcoming bill on sexual violence and harassment. The bill has gained importance amid worldwide concern unleashed by the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
‘The question of the age below which the minor’s consent is presumed not to exist is crucial, because there are obviously extremely shocking and unacceptable situations,’ Belloubet said.
One of her colleagues in the French government has said that a minimum age for sexual consent has not been set for the bill. Marlene Schiappa, a junior minister for gender equality, said Sunday that the cutoff could be between the ages of 13 and 15.
‘Below a certain age, it is considered that there can be no debate on the sexual consent of a child, and that any child below a certain age would automatically be considered to be raped or sexually assaulted,’ Schiappa said on BFM TV.
Two recent court cases have heightened the debate over who is old enough to consent to sex under French law.
A jury last week acquitted a 30-year-old man who was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in 2009, French media reported. The jury in the Paris suburb region of Seine-et-Marne found that while there had been a sexual relationship between the girl and the man, it did not constitute rape according to the legal definition of the crime in France. The girl’s parents reportedly found out about what had happened when their daughter became pregnant.
French media also have reported that the prosecutor’s office in the city of Pontoise near Paris decided in September that a 28-year-old man suspected of having sex with an 11-year-old girl should be tried for sexual abuse instead of rape because of how French law defines rape.
French law defines rape as any act of sexual penetration committed on others ‘by violence, coercion, threat or surprise.’ The definition does not distinguish between adults and minors for either the victims or perpetrators, although the potential criminal penalty is higher when victims are under 15.
A minimum age of sexual consent does not currently exist in French law. The law only says that an adult who performs a sexual act with a person under the age of 15 ‘without violence, coercion, threat or surprise’ can be prosecuted for ‘sexual abuse,’ not rape.
Read the rest of the story here.
From Daily Mail: Five more women have come forward to accuse Roman Polanski of molesting them when they were children. They women described how the convicted child rapist, now 84, sexually assaulted them in the late 1960s and 70s before he went on the run for the statutory rape of another underage girl.
The five new anonymous victims revealed their stories to imetpolanski.com, a new website set up in the wake of multiplying sexual assault accusations against Hollywood figures.
Its founder Matan Uziel shared details of their allegations with The Sun on Tuesday.
Among them is one woman who claims Polanski molested her in 1972 or 1973 when she was nine years old. He was around 39.
Another claims he ‘squeezed and rubbed’ her genitals in 1976 when she was 15 and he was 43 as they sat a dinner table with her parents and actors Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston in the Alpine Swiss town of Gstaad. ‘Polanski sat on my left side, put his hand on my leg. He then proceeded to touch my genitals and tried to squeeze and rub it with his hand, all that under the table in front of my father’s face,’ she said.
It was at Nicholson’s Hollywood home where the director drugged and raped Samantha Geimer in 1977 when he was 13.
She added that Gstaad, where Polanski was pictured last month, was a safe haven for pedophiles. ‘Gstaad is a corrupt place. Beautiful but rotten from within.
‘It was and is a sanctuary for well known pedophiles and perverts who want to molest children, far away from any danger, far away from the press. ‘When you pay high taxes and throw your money, they turn a blind eye,’ she said.
The new accusations bring the total number of women who have accused Polanski of assault to 10.
Of the new accusers, two say they were attacked by him in 1969, the same year in which his first wife Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Charles Manson family. It is not clear whether the alleged attacks happened before or after her slaying. The other alleged attack happened in 1976 when the woman was 12.
Four other women previously described how Polanski abused them.
They include Marianne Barnard, an artist who says he photographed her nude and then molested her on a beach in Malibu, California, when she was just 10. Her mother arranged the meeting, she said.
German actress Renate Langer claimed on October 3 that she was attacked by him in Gstaad in 1972. Swiss police are investigating her accusation.
She revealed how he attacked her in an interview with The New York Times, admitting that she was too afraid to tell her parents about it at the time.
In August, a woman who identified herself only as Robin M. claimed at a press conference that she was attacked by Polanski when she was 16 in 1973. She said the incident happened in southern California but would not go into further detail. She is not suing him but offered to testify against him to stop his 1978 arrest warrant from being dropped.
Charlotte Lewis, a British actress, also claims to have been assaulted by Polanski. She said he forced himself on her as she auditioned for a role in one of his films in Paris in 1983. By this time, Polanski was already on the run for having raped Geimer six years earlier.
She reported her accusations to police in Los Angeles but not in Paris where the alleged attack took place.
Polanski remains on the run after fleeing the US following his 1977 attack on Geimer. He has been pleading for years to have the 1978 arrest warrant thrown out so that he can return to America.
He fled to France days before he was due to go to court over the attack. At the time, Polanski had reached a deal with prosecutors which meant he would serve a shorter sentence.
Does anyone with a brain take this blowhard, energy-gobbling mansion owner and private carbon-emitting jet plane flyer hypocrite seriously?
And I thought proggies were all about “paying their fair share?” Heaven forbid we “undermine our alliances” with NATO by demanding they pay their fair share. Oh the horror!
From Hollywood Reporter: Al Gore spoke about Donald Trump and his withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement, as well as the controversy around Russia’s possible involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign, during an appearance on NBC’s Today on Monday.
“We’ve never had a president who’s deliberately made decisions, the effect of which is to tear down America’s standing in the world, starting with his withdrawal from the Paris agreement,” said the former vice president. “The climate crisis is by far the most serious challenge we face, but he’s also undermined our alliances such as NATO and hurt our standing in the world in many ways.”
Gore said that when he met with Trump after he was elected president, he found Trump “attentive” and had a “pleasant exchange” with him when they spoke about the environment.
“I had hoped he would come to his senses on the Paris agreement, but I was wrong,” said Gore, who has not spoken with Trump since the president’s decision on the climate-change agreement.
When asked about the Russia controversy, Gore said he thinks it is being buried that intelligence agencies have been unanimous in saying there has been “an unprecedented assault on our democracy” by Russia. “Everything that’s coming out now has to be seen in that context,” said Gore.
He declined to comment on Donald Trump Jr.’s recent scandal but said the country is going to “face some challenging months ahead.” He stressed that he has complete confidence in Robert Mueller, the independent counsel who is investigating the Trump campaign’s potential involvement with Russia.
Gore is promoting his Inconvenient Truth follow-up An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which hits theaters on July 28.
Trump won. Get over it.
Via Yahoo: While he’s not nominated for an Oscar this year, George Clooney did take home the French equivalent of the Academy’s golden statue at the César ceremony.
Touted beforehand as “the most charismatic actor of his generation,” the Ocean’s Eleven star and his wife Amal, pregnant with their twins, brought Hollywood glamor to Paris at the Salle Pleyel on Friday. Dressed in his signature black Armani tuxedo and bow tie, Clooney looked dashing next to his wife, who showed off her baby bump in a fitted white gown tapered with an ombré of ostrich feathers.
The father-to-be was honored with a career award at the ceremony, along with French film legend Jean Paul Belmondo, who also received a Lifetime Tribute during the evening.
After a lengthy clip real of his greatest hits, Clooney was called onstage by host Jerome Commandeur. Greeted with a standing ovation, Clooney thanked the crowd saying, “Merci, merci” several times. Commandeur then invited Oscar winner Jean Dujardin, Clooney’s Monuments Men costar, to present him with the César d’Honneur. The former costars embraced, and Clooney, excusing himself to the audience for his “horrible” French, asked Dujardin to translate for him.
The duo proceeded to bring down the house, as his former costar gently ribbed him by purposefully mistranslating his speech, adding words like “handsome” to Clooney’s description of himself. The speech also got political, with Clooney cautioning the audience, “As we stand here today the world is going through some pretty momentous changes, not all for the best.” He added, “As citizens of the world we’re going to have to work harder and harder not to let hate win.” At some point during Clooney’s measured words, Dujardin added on his own, “Donald Trump is a dangerous for the world.”
As for his expectant wife, Clooney gushed, “To my wife Amal, there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not proud to be your husband. And I am excited about the years to come, and particularly the months to come. I love you very much.”
Clooney was in France last May for the world premiere of Money Monster at the Cannes Film Festival. His next directing project, Suburbicon, is slated for release later this year.
The César Awards is an annual ceremony recognizing the top achievements in the French film industry and is comparable to the American Oscars. Last year’s honorary César — an award named after the French sculptor who designed it — went to Michael Douglas. Past honorees have included Scarlett Johansson, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and Sylvester Stallone.
A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre.
After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van.
However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.
When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied,
‘Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings.’
I had no Monet
To buy Degas
To make the Van Gogh.
See if you have De Gaulle to send this on to someone else.
I sent it to you because I figured I had nothing Toulouse .
~Steve~ H/T Joseph