Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vive la France! Vive la République!

For Bastille Day (h/t David Bell):

Labor Tensions Escalate at Fabris

Workers have threatened to blow up the Fabris factory in Châtellerault if PSA and Citroën, the failed company's biggest clients, don't pony up $42,000 for each worker facing unemployment.

UPDATE: For a caustic comment on the unions in all this, see Marc Cohen.

Is Canonization Ahead?

With hagiography like this, we should expect that the Honorary Canon of Saint John Lateran can look forward to rapid canonization, should he ever pass on to a better world--though it's hard to imagine anything better than France under Sarkozy if one watches this program. Charles Bremner says all that needs to be said.

Sarko and the Military

On this Bastille Day, with its customary parades, it's only fitting that we should be told by Libé that Sarko has patched things up with his generals. Yes, he's struck a new tone about the military and is no longer scolding his troops for their lack of professionalism. But there's more than sentiment at work: France's return to NATO, much desired by chief of staff Jean-Louis Georgelin, has given the armies of the Republic grown-up games to play and a much-enlarged sandbox to play in. No wonder they're happy.

Banking Problems

The focus of this Times article is Germany--the new Japan, Paul Taylor speculates--but there is this about France:

Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and, to a lesser extent, Spain are all in denial about the extent of their banking problems, although the Dutch, Belgians and French have had to spend billions of euros of taxpayers’ money to save Fortis, ABN Amro, ING and Dexia.

But there is a puzzle here. Germany is said to be concealing the extent of its banking problems for fear of spooking voters before the upcoming September elections. What is France's excuse? And if the denial of banking problems is such common knowledge that the Times can print it as fact, why aren't French journalists probing more deeply into the alleged difficulties of the country's banks? Why isn't the opposition raising the issue?