Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bayrou, Internaute

François Bayrou is Internet-hip and "tablet-ready." Who would have thought?

High Tech Heist at the Élysée

In computer geek parlance, a "honey trap" is a machine deliberately set up to ferret out nefarious behavior on the Internet. It seems that someone set up such a honey trap to look into illegal downloading of films and other copyrighted material via the software BitTorrent. And what do you know? Guess who got caught in the trap: The Élysée, home of the HADOPI law, were someone apparently illegally downloaded a copy of "Tower Heist." (h/t Frédéric Martel)

Another Deal Undone?

The euro is falling, Italian borrowing rates are rising, and Jens Weidmann is still resisting, but the latest euro-saving deal seems to be coming unstuck even faster than the previous ones.
Meanwhile, at least four more European Union members — none of them using the euro — have expressed reservations about the agreement, which only Britain definitively opposed at the summit meeting. Some leaders said in Brussels that they wanted to consult their parliaments. Hungary, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech Republic now say they want to see the text of the proposed treaty, which is meant to enforce strict limits both on members’ annual budget deficits and on their cumulative debts, before fully committing themselves. France and Germany hope to have a draft of the treaty approved by the end of March and ratified by the end of 2012.
The fiscal strictures are meant to prevent future crises, but the financial markets appear to be much more focused on whether the euro zone nations will put their money where their mouths are now, when they say they will defend the euro and its members. Beyond the bailout funds already in place, the Brussels agreement calls for member nations’ central banks to provide 200 billion euros ($259 billion) to the I.M.F. to create a bigger “firewall” of money that would help protect heavily indebted euro zone states from speculative pressure.

And here is Médiapart:
Or quelques jours ont suffi pour montrer que le texte bouclé à Bruxelles n'est qu'une dangereuse supercherie.

Cet accord de principe n'a d'abord que peu de chances d'être traduit dans les formes juridiques d'un « traité intergouvernemental » d'ici mars 2012, comme le veut Nicolas Sarkozy. Il a encore moins de chances d'être ratifié dans les 26 pays membres de l'UE concernés. Il n'en a aucune d'être appliqué « à l'été 2012 », comme le souhaite le chef de l'Etat.
Told you so.

Chirac Convicted

Jacques Chirac received a 2-year suspended sentence for misuse of public funds while mayor of Paris. He is the first French chief of state to be convicted of a crime since Marshal Pétain. The verdict is sadly anticlimactic, coming at a time when most people have forgotten Chirac the ruthless politician and remember only the grandfatherly duffer.

For those who wish to be reminded of the other Chirac, I recommend a TV documentary on the Front National entitled "Le Diable de la République." It features, among other fine moments, the famous speech in which Chirac, pioneering the tactic (now associated with Sarkozy) of poaching on FN territory, delivered a speech attacking immigrants for bringing polygamy, large families, odors, and noise to an otherwise tranquil France.

I knew of this speech, of course, but had never before seen it, since the Internet did not exist in those days, nor was French TV yet available in the US. Seeing it makes it possible to appreciate the tone as well as the words, and in expressing contempt for immigrants Chirac surpasses Sarkozy by a country mile. The irony, of course, is that he was later able to claim victory in 2002 as the anti-Le Pen candidate and defender of French democracy--a pose for which we see a younger Marine Le Pen mercilessly mocking him with a dead-on Chirac imitation worthy of Nicolas Canteloup.

So, when you are inclined to find fault with the judicial system for piling on to a semi-senile 80-yr-old for crimes committed 20 years ago, remember the other Jacques Chirac, and know that in a certain roundabout sense, justice was done.