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Hollande Versus Obama In The Race To The Bottom

Politics / France Jan 16, 2014 - 03:58 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Le Fait du Prince

Different countries have different styles. In France, power has always been concentrated in Paris, from the last days of the monarchy, and then even more so under Napoleon. When the prince, king, president, or Emperor as Napoleon liked to call himself exceeded his powers, and then gave himself more of them, the cry rang out that this was “Le fait du Prince”.

Being a prince is of course celeb' status, like an ace basketball player, translated into French by president Hollande as not only having two “premiere dames de France”, one a live-in ladyfriend at the Elysees Palace, and the other nearby and visitable by scooter wearing a large-sized crash hat, but also being proud of it. Adding spice to the prince's affairs, the live-in lady and first of the First Ladies of France collapsed and was taken to hospital when she found out there was a young starlet replacing her to heat the president's bed!

In the USA of president Obama, his unloved administration is every day moving the Executive Branch of government to tighter, more complete control of the powers constitutionally vested in Congress – not that that makes the prince any less unpopular. As in the France of Hollande, Obama's power grab is a clumsy but traditional way to fight dismal poll ratings and a dismal economy which won't come right.

Also showing different styles for different places, Obama has resolutely decided not to interfere in the economy any more – due to it being sufficiently crippled – but Hollande sails onward. His most recent three-hour press conference and address to the nation's media was the venue for unveiling a raft of “liberal economic reforms”, and an opportunity for the Prince to sternly proclaim that what he did with his two First Ladies was his own affair. Within days of the “two ladies” affair breaking, Hollande's wordsmiths had spun the story as a tale of gung-ho virility, hinting that disapproval of his Bunny-collecting habit was only motivated by jealousy.

Reversing Presidential Failure

In both the US and French cases the underlying causes are drastically simple – the president has such low opinion poll scores, and counts for so little on the international stage that his administration has a misfit image of only able to multiply the gaffes and only do harm. In both cases, commentators call the president a stand-in president, an interim leader holding out until he is voted out. In the French case, from the last years of the Sarkozy presidency and into the Hollande years, parliamentary factions yelp the accusation of “le fait du prince” at each new and strange “liberal economic reform” which, curiously enough, always means more taxes, somewhere. And always more debt.

In Hollande's case, unruffled by highly organized and massive political resistance starting in Brittany, he soldiers along. He makes a point of defending, and threatening to extend his personally-vetted and -approved “ecological tax” gambit, which enraged the Bretons, to slap a new road tax on any commercial vehicle which has to move about in France. He told the nation's media, January 14, that this “ecotax” was vitally needed to fight global warming! Being as modern-minded as that, say 10 years ago, Prince Hollande would have been impossible to criticize. Now he is only laughable.

Country styles differ when it concerns the power grab operated by and for a failing leader. In the US, the Obama imperial presidency is presently engaged on taking total control of the justice system, of government oversight and control, the security services, and anything that can increase the Prince's legal power to do harm. In France, Hollande already has total control of the French legal system, with a firebrand Caribbean-origin justice minister given to impromptu firebrand press meetings where she harangues the media, while her full-time staff of legal writers pen new laws. Hollande focuses the economy for working his “acts of the prince”, most recently declaring himself reborn as a Social Democrat – and no longer a plain old Socialist Liberal – and therefore dedicated to reducing some taxes while increasing most others and devising a lot of new ones.

In several ways, Obama is ahead of Hollande in the princely power grab. One of the latest disputes between the US Department of Justice and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee illustrates the progress. The FBI and the Dept. of Justice have refused to cooperate with congressional investigation of the tax department (IRS), because the IRS is nakedly targeting any political opponents of Obama's Democrats, whose Attorney General Eric Holder has the dubious distinction of being the only one in American history found in contempt of Congress. The House Oversight Committee has issued a letter which states that the Obama Administration’s refusal to cooperate “may rise to the level of criminal obstruction of a congressional investigation.”

No Taste of Reality
Reported in French people mags and celebrity blogs, as well as the mainstream press, the Parti Socialiste administration of president Hollande has jumped back at least two centuries in its handling of the upcoming European parliament elections, which in France will be held 25 May, 2014.These will be preceded by the feared French municipal elections of end-March. Both are set as coming disasters for the PS administration. Hollande's chief lieutenant and Junior Prince, his interior minister Manuel Valls, has mulled what the press calls a deliberate “unreality agenda” for these two disasters – anything at all which can dilute the coming wall of votes against The Prince with Two First Ladies.

The strategems and gee-whiz ideas have been blenderized inside the PS headquarters, rue Solferino in Paris. Leaks from insiders, reported by the press, suggest the ploys may even include attempts at preventing selected French parliamentarians from stepping inside the building, let alone asking difficult questions for the Prince. Ballot box rigging, for starters, will be sure and certain – the only question is how to detect and report it. Divide and rule in the domain of public opinion likely includes the Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala affair, with this firebrand suddenly becoming “constitutionalist and PS-friendly”. Big fish potentials – castigators of the PS who can be bribed to recant in public – are said to include Gerard Depardieu, who once called Prince Hollande a small-time rural bureaucrat with no experience of, and too much appetite, for power.

In the US of Prince Obama, the stymied Dept. of Justice and FBI investigations of IRS partiality and harassment are directed by Barbara Bosserman, who as it turns out, has a long history of financial support of the Democratic National Committee and, according to public domain information, donated nearly $7,000 to President Obama’s election campaigns. Placing blatantly partisan persons in charge of major investigations of Princely government, in Obama's USA, is however already the norm in Hollande's France – after less than two years of the very small prince coming into power.

The Little Prince Thinks Big
The French islamic website Oumma, backed by Saudi Arabia not only informs its believers that voyages to Mecca will now be more secure thanks to the Wahabite Kingdom handing pilgrimage security over to the Israeli security firm G4S, renamed Al Majal G4S, but also tells them that its Men of the Year 2013 were Francois Hollande and his Jewish-origin Foreign minister Laurent Fabius. Their princely behavior in lobbying for Syria bombing, and against any relaxation of sanctions against Iran did not go unnoticed – or unrewarded by Riyadh.

In turn, this French way to steal a little American thunder, suck in petrodollars from Saudi Arabia, and please Israel which is looking around for a new friend and protector to replace prince Obama, has given Hollande a huge stock of idiot one-liners to explain away his old, new, borrowed and lethal friends on the international stage. Hollande-friendly media in France adds the details on how far the Little prince will go to lick Saudi boots. For example minister Fabius told the press that France “understood” why Saudi Arabia had contemptuously refused to take a non-permanent member's seat at the UN Security Council to show its ire at Obama refusing to bomb Damascus – or Tehran!

To be sure, the Saudi royals take a malign pleasure in treating the French like they should, making them wait a long while to get the next big arms contract or scrapings from the royal table, but for the Little prince this humiliation is normal when you kow-tow to inferiors. Knowing the mentality of their French counterparts, the Saudi royals also know how to please them at not too large expense. They rescued a bankrupt frozen chicken producer in the electoral fief of Hollande's defence minister Le Drian. They then sent their Special Forces to Corsica for French army training in insurgency fighting – by the army which fights Saudi-paid Islamic insurgents in Mali and Central African Republic!

The Little prince Hollande treats such things with gay abandon. He often, perhaps deliberately forgets the names and details of his latest gaffe or his PS government's scam, when unveiling his newest tax in special 8pm primetime TV Addresses to the Nation. His PS administration, regularly accused not only by the non-PS press, but also the French justice system of corruption, ballot rigging, tax evasion by ministers and PS mayors is now only programmed and able to make Muppet Replies to any charge.

Little prince Hollande openly says that midsized France may soon “have to replace” the US, which he doesn't name, as stand-in surrogate Great Power in the Middle East, as well as Black Africa. This will be done, he fondly imagines, and says, with Germany paying for the party! Unsurprisingly, Angela Merkel is now at least as dismissive of Hollande, as she is of Barack Obama.

French political commentators have railed at Hollande, his gaffes, his strange friends and bad company – and his Two First Ladies “policy” - but they reserve their greatest attack for Hollande's could-it-be-possible way of handling the French economy. Obama, here again, has a head start on his French counterpart but chances are that Hollande can upstage him. Hollande wants wars and circuses, and has the right international company for that, and for sure and certain one of his First Ladies can play Marie Antoinette at exactly the right moment. With a botox smile she can tell her Little Prince that all the people need is football and fried chicken from a Saudi-owned “French” chicken producer.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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