Saturday, December 8, 2018

Yellow Vests - Week 4

The movement shows no signs of going away as violent clashes again hit Paris. But it's not just in Paris. Other cities also experienced protests. The movement is also gaining other groups and is morphing into a general protest against President Macon. Students are protesting Macon's school reforms which include a tuition increase, require choosing a specialization and mandatory 4 month military service. Videos of high school students on their knees with their hands tied have incensed the populace. And the trade unions are getting into the act as they protest for higher wages and pension increases.

But it's not just the rich politicians and designer stores who are feeling the protests. Many tourist sites were shut down on Saturday. Soccer games were cancelled. I personally know that the owners of one our favorite restaurants have shut down for the past 3 Saturdays as they could not get into the city. This is a family run restaurant operated by a husband and wife team and 3 employees. It is not an operation that can afford to lose 1/6 of their revenue.

President Macron has been missing most of the past week as protesters call for his resignation. He has gone from winning the election with 66 per cent of the vote to an approval rating of 18 per cent.

What happens in Europe can be a predecessor to events in the US. These protests are a direct result of progressive ideology. The average Frenchman is making a statement that their personal well being is more important than climate change.

Miniature Cities in Paris

I thought this museum would be a bunch of musty maps but I will be going there the next time I'm in Paris.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Yellow Vest Protests Continue

I left Paris Friday afternoon and therefore missed the next installment of the yellow vest protest. But Saturday, they were back at it and the Champs Elysee, Arc de Triumph and Tuileries Gardens were filled with tear gas, smoke and water canons. Numbers vary but the news claims that 300 people have been arrested and about 100 injured. There was also a lot of window smashing and mayhem against the flag ship shops along the Champs. Commerce was shut down and the economic impact is starting to get large. My impression is that the CRS (French riot police) didn't hold back and went in hard from the beginning.

President Macron was out of town at the G20. His approval rating is in the low 20s. Keep your eye on these events.

Here is a link to the riots at France 24.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Yellow Vest Follow Up

The French tax on diesel fuel is a blatant use of taxation to force social change. Emmanuel Macron is all in behind the Paris Climate Change Agreement and is determined to set the pace for Europe. In a speech today where he was expected to address the concerns of the Yellow Vests, he doubled down on his environmental plan to move france to renewable energy. His only concession was to offer 3  months of "talks" with the movement. It was obvious that he does not care about the financial concerns of the people in this movement.

As far as the Yellow Vests are concerned, they are starting to get better organized. they now have a small group of members that will provide leadership, as a focal point for discussions and to keep outside sources from hijacking the movement. It looks like this is going to become the French TEA party.

But you won't hear anything about it on that side of the pond.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Yellow Vest Protests: A Lesson for Progressives

For years, Europe promoted diesel automobiles but now they want to push other types of vehicles, such as hybrid gasoline vehicles. Therefore, President Macron, of France, instituted a 20% increase in tax on diesel fuel. As you know, per liter taxes are regressive and hit the middle and lower class hard. France now has a grass roots anti tax protest called Gites Jaune, or Yellow Vest.

Today, in Paris, it turned serious. Some 8000 protesters swarmed the Champs Elysee and Arc de Triumph to shut down traffic. As the day worn on, barricades were built, fires were lit and the riot police used tear gas.

Unlike other French demonstrations, this organization has no central leadership so the government has no idea how to deal with it. Some pundits have compared it to the Occupy movement but it is made up mostly of middle aged people who are tired of being taxed. I'm not sure where this will end but I suspect the anti tax movement will become more organized with time and become a political supporter of the right wing.

The lesson to progressives is that the people will only take so much before they revolt, and when they do, it will not be pretty.

News from Across the Pond

You get a different spin on the news over here. For example, for the past 2 weeks, Brexit and Theresa May's problems have been the top news item. I imagine that nobody in the US cares about it.
Another is that a British man has been found guilty of spying in the United Arab Emirates and sentenced to life in prison. As you can tell from reading my old Dubai stream, I don't think much of the UAE legal system. I suspect that he accidently learned something detrimental to the Sheikh that they didn't want to made public.
And, as you would expect, all news about our President is unfavorable.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Yellow Vests protests

It probably has not hit the US news but there is a protest going on in France at the moment. Motorists are protesting rising diesel fuel taxes and have closed several highways last weekend. So far, one person has died when a car tried to escape a crowd and hit one of the protesters. We had booked a tour in Bordeaux last Saturday and it was changed to Sunday because of the protests.  Restaurant owners we know in Paris closed early because customers could not reach their establishments. And a major protest is planned for Paris on Saturday which claims to have the goal to shut down Paris.

The movement is named for the yellow reflective vests that motorists are required to keep in their cars. This should be a lesson for our tax and spend Democrats. The people will only stand for so much and then they react. President Macron is not very popular at the moment.

More information can be found here.