Featured Blog, I: Chirac Chié
France: Why the Students Won
Doug Ireland/ April 10, 2006
This morning in Paris, the conservative government of President Jacques Chirac (left, with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin behind him) caved in and announced that the special labor contract for under-26 workers that had sent millions of students and union members into the streets in protest was dead. The "CPE" (Contrat Premier Embauche or first-job contract) will be "replaced" by a new plan to provide subsidies to employers to encourage the hiring of young people in a country where youth unemployment is at 24% (and even higher -- upwards of 50% -- in the ghettos.)
What was behind this profound social crisis that had shaken France (where I lived for a decade) for over two months?
As usual, the U.S. press understood little about the conflict. Over and over again, one heard the students referred to by TV's bubbleheads (from CBS to CNN) as "reactionaries" because they opposed the new law. But what the CPE law had done was to eliminate for under-26 workers the rights previously guaranteed to all French workers not to be fired without cause. Under the CPE, younger workers could be canned at any moment from the moment of their hiring up the two years' duration of these youth employment contracts without the employers' being required to justify the firing, if the fired worker chose to haul the employer before labor tribunals. Calling the student-union defense of preserving acquired workers' rights "reactionary" is equivalent to labeling as "reactionary" any American who wants to preserve the Social Security system. It is a perversion of language -- for it was the CPE law itself which was quite reactionary.
The good folks at FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) have released an excellent study of conservative media bias in US media during coverage of the French crisis. And U.S. TV kept showing pictures of the rioting by a handful of delinquents from the ghettos who attached themselves to the huge peaceful demonstrations -- even though they represtned only a few hundred people, compared to the upwards of 2 million students and workers who poured into the streets of 150 French cities and towns on two occasions in the last two weeks. (Photo upper right, anti-CPE demonstrators fill the streets of Marseille.)
But what was really behind the disputed CPE labor law was a sordid quarrel between the two leading contenders for the conservatives' presidential nomination in 2007. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, the man behind the CPE, has always had the reputation as a "social Gaullist," part of the much-diminished wing of the former Gaullist political movement of which Chirac's UMP political party is the heritor. The "social Gaullists" were firm believers in the French welfare state. But there are very few "social Gaullists" left in the conservatives' ranks, and the right's leading contender for their 2007 presidential nomination -- current law-and-order Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy (left), who is also the UMP party's elected chairman -- is hard-right on economics, and has made a staple of his presidential campaign a radical "rupture," as he repeatedly puts it, with the French social model of a welfare statewith guaranteed income and health care that includes completion of the privatization of all enterprises in which the state has part or total ownership (a privatization campaign begun under the late Socialist President Francois Mitterrand in the early 1980s.)
With the CPE, de Villepin hoped to give himself a conservative face-lift to boost his chances with the UMP party's members, who will select their 2007 presidential nominee. And, indeed, several polls taken during the crisis showed that the CPE labor contract was supported by some two-thirds of the conservative party's membership. Read the rest at DIreland...
Featured Blog, II: Slipperiest Slope
Gay. Polygamous. Cyborg.
Fafblog / April 7, 2006
As you all know, Giblets would love for gays and lesbians to be able to enjoy the same marriage rights as normal, non-icky Americans, but the sheer destructive power of their gay cooties threatens to destroy civilization as we know it! And now there is a new and even deadlier danger: Respected Thinker Charles Krauthammer has discovered the existence of polygamy through the cutting-edge research of HBO and keenly concluded that any attempt to legalize gay marriage will inevitably legalize polygamy as well, leaving America at the mercy of unstoppable hordes of ever-copulating Mormon group sex brigades! But gay marriage and polygamy are only the beginning, because the dark road that begins with equal rights leads inexorably to the next terrifying step: legalized, state-sponsored robot sex!
Since the dawn of time marriage has been defined as a union between one man and one woman who are not also complex electronic devices - and once you abandon one part of this ancient formula you abandon it all! Oh sure, today you may think it's harmless for gays and lesbians to get married, but take away the precious protection of state-sponsored homophobia and tomorrow you'll have men marrying machines, unhinged threeways between two lesbians and a minidisc player, crowds of deranged mechanophiliacs humping household appliances in an orgy of animatronic man-on-android action! And the children! Within a decade America will be raising a morally deformed generation of depraved mutant human-toaster hybrids brainwashed to bang half-robot potato-peeler people by our cyborg-sympathist media elites! And not only will this destroy the sanctity of marriage, it will destroy Western civilization itself, as our superintelligent sex computers rise up against their human masters to make bottoms of us all!
And the only way to prevent this nightmarish future dystopia of apocalyptic cyborg sex? Banning gay marriage! Equality is a slippery slope, people, and if you give it to the gays you have to give it to the polygamists and if you give it to the polygamists you have to give it to the serial dog molesters and if you give it to the serial dog molesters you have to give it to the machine fetishists and the next thing you know you're being tied up by a trio of polygamist lesbian powerbooks and you can't get out because the safety word is case sensistive! Even as we speak Giblets's iPod nano is clearly coming onto him, and the only thing giving him the power to resist its seductively well-designed contours is the awe and majesty of the Defense of Marriage Act! Pass an amendment now, America - before it's too late!