A Leftist Powwow: Hollande Welcomes Cameron Foe to the Élysée

U.K. Labour Party leader Ed Miliband arrived at the Élysée as the first British dignitary to call on French President François Hollande since the Socialist's May election victory, generating speculation (and denials) that the move represented a swipe at Prime Minister David Cameron

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Remy de la Mauviniere / AP

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, left, takes leave of French President François Hollande following their meeting at the Élysée Palace in Paris on July 24, 2012

It may be difficult for some observers not to read something deliciously catty into French Socialist President François Hollande hosting Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband in Paris on Tuesday. Miliband is the first U.K. official to visit the Élysée since Hollande’s May victory, a meeting that seemed deliberately planned to tweak Miliband’s political foe, Conservative U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

After all, Hollande watched in February as Cameron used an official visit to Paris to publicly back the re-election drive of his “friend,” fellow conservative and then presidential incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. Less than a month later, Hollande’s request to meet with Cameron during a campaign jaunt to London was refused — a move widely interpreted as a sign that Cameron did not want to help the Socialist candidate beef up his international profile. And in June, Cameron created a stir ahead of a G-20 meeting by pledging to roll out “the red carpet” for French millionaires deciding to flee Hollande’s sworn 75% income tax rate on the rich.

Little wonder, then, that some observers viewed Miliband’s arrival in Paris as a case of political payback. “Hollande’s Red-Carpet Revenge on Cameron,” taunted a headline in London’s Independent.

The killjoy reality, however, is that any Hollande swipe across the Channel appears to be an afterthought — if even that. Élysée officials say Miliband’s visit is simply part of the broad contacts Hollande wants to nurture between his government and leaders of European parties of the left and right alike, as he seeks to find the elusive way out of Europe’s hydra-headed debt and monetary crisis.

“You can’t have strong and fruitful partnerships with fellow European countries if you limit yourself to speaking with only one part of them,” says an Élysée official. “David Cameron knows this, was duly informed of Mr. Miliband’s visit and was receptive to the meeting. He’s very aware this visit is neither a personal swipe nor politically motivated against him. We consult with all responsible and respectable parties and officials.”

Miliband’s Élysée visit was only one of a trio of meetings planned for him in Paris — all with fellow leftists. The Labour leader also huddled with Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry. The agenda of talks was generally the same: the alarmingly high youth unemployment rates all E.U. nations are battling. That plight has lifted joblessness among the young to 52% in Spain, 36% in Italy and over 20% in both the U.K. and France.

The objective of Miliband’s Paris meetings was to discuss ways youth unemployment may better be battled at the European level than it is exclusively by national initiatives. That, however, is an angle of attack that fans suspicion the Miliband sojourn is more politically edged than the Élysée is letting on.

The reason? Tuesday’s focus on youth unemployment lies within a broader push by all center-left parties and leaders against the austerity remedies conservative governments have imposed across Europe in response to the debt crisis. Hollande’s victory came in large part because of his promises to balance necessary spending cuts with renewed attention on the growth stimulus that all European economies require to quell the current turmoil.

Cameron has been particularly adamant in defending his deep spending cuts to rein in debt — even after they contributed to the U.K.’s slide back into recession. As a result, Miliband and his fellow Labour members have begun decrying the failure of “Camerkozy” austerity — and looking to Hollande’s progrowth policies as perhaps their own ticket back to power.

So doesn’t that mean Tuesday’s Élysée powwow was a de facto meeting of anti-Cameron minds?

“No, though it may be a result of François Hollande having had deeper and more frequent contacts with center-left parties in Germany, Spain, the U.K., etc.,” the Élysée official says. “But these exchanges aren’t limited to leftist peers. We want to consult with all responsible political actors in Europe.”

Skeptics are right to doubt this line, especially given the growing trend of major European leaders trying to influence politics outside their borders. Sarkozy did that when he embraced then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during the American’s 2008 visit to Paris. Sarkozy similarly supported German conservative Angela Merkel’s Chancellor bid — a favor Merkel, like Cameron, returned with interest during Sarkozy’s failed re-election run.

On July 26, Cameron is slated to meet with Mitt Romney during the presumptive Republican candidate’s visit to London. That stop is part of a six-nation tour Romney is staging to broaden his international contacts and bone up on his foreign policy credentials — a courtesy Cameron pointedly denied Hollande.

The London linkup, in the meantime, will allow Cameron to make up for his decision to rebuff Romney’s request for a meeting during a visit to the U.S. earlier this year — one that included a love-in at the Obama White House. For his part, Hollande seems to think life would be easier by making time for whoever may come calling.

“Of course [Hollande] would meet with Mr. Romney if he were to plan a visit to Paris — it’s only normal,” the Élysée official says. “Mr. Romney may not be in power today, but he does represent a party, electorate and segment of American society that’s far too important and influential to ignore when you’re a friend of and partner with the U.S.”


President Obama consistently tries to marshall jingoism in support of his green-energy corporatism:

"Other countries are now exporting technology we pioneered and they're going after the jobs that come with it because they know that the countries that lead the 21st century clean energy economy will be the countries that lead the 21st century global economy. I want America to be that nation. I want America to win the future."

This is silliness for many reasons. For one thing, many industries that need subsidies are dead-end industries that end up sucking more wealth out of an economy than they provide.

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Second, if we want solar energy, should we really mind if the Chinese are willing to subsidize our solar panels?

Liberal environmentalist writer Stephen Lacey -- an alumnus of the Center for American Progress, which uses Obama's "Win The Green Future"talk all the time -- has a good piece exploring the value of "leading the world in solar energy" and similar goals. He makes a sort-of tongue-in-cheek point that there are some races we should let China win, such as the burning coal race and the GHG race. I would add the "Real Big Walls" race, too.

Lacey's argument:

"What does it mean to “win” the clean energy race, anyway?

"... with each passing year, this framing seems to lose its edge and meaning. It assumes that capturing the value of clean energy is a zero-sum game. It also takes a very isolated approach to all the other economic, environmental and health factors that surround the development of clean energy. ...

"China's (oft-maligned) support for solar manufacturing may have an equally important impact on downstream solar in the U.S. Although China's heavy subsidies helped put American and European solar manufacturers out of business, Chinese producers have dramatically lowered global module prices — in turn lowering the installed cost of PV and helping create tens of thousands of downstream installation jobs in America.

"Who's the 'winner' in that situation?

"Finally, comparing yearly numbers doesn't always give us a full picture of the market. In 2007 and 2008, Spain had become a top contender in the early global solar race. But when it dismantled a grossly generous feed-in tariff, the market collapsed and investment ground to a halt. The same story has played out in other solar markets around the world. Being a leader in the long term doesn't necessarily mean attracting the most investment each year. It means providing consistency and a path for clean energy to scale with fewer subsidies."


Starting in the Spring of 2009, it looked as if Obama's team had been assembled by randomly picking names out of a phone book. I say that because very few of them actually had a clue what the heck they were doing. Here we are starting year SIX and very little has changed. One thing has become apparent over time, Facts and the TRUTH hold very little weight in the Obama Administration....

The examples are too numerous, but Obama's people maker Nixon's people look like boy scouts. And despite all of that, the New York Times and MSNBC portray Barack Hussein Obama like he was King Arthur or Alexander The Great.
Were this a Republican Administration doing what Obama's has done, Several people would be serving Federal Prison time. Yea, there's a Double-Standard alright.

This is yet another example. Look at the myriad scandals over the years. Look at 
the testimony during the numerous Congressional hearings trying to find the truth.
It's not that "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH". Nobody is willing to tell it. Why?
So, all we get is lies and obfuscation over and over. These people wouldn't know the TRUTH if it walked up to them and slapped them in the face. It starts at the top...


Since the 1980s, the fraction of people receiving college level education has increased from 17.4 percent to 27.2 percent in the 2000s. So it’s not surprising that this is reflected in the drop in numbers claiming religious affiliation today. But although the correlation is statistically significant, it can only account for about 5 percent of the drop, so some other factor must also be involved.

That’s where the Internet comes in. In the 1980s, Internet use was essentially zero, but in 2010, 53 percent of the population spent two hours per week online and 25 percent surfed for more than 7 hours.

This increase closely matches the decrease in religious affiliation. In fact, Downey calculates that it can account for about 25 percent of the drop.

That’s a fascinating result. It implies that since 1990, the increase in Internet use has had as powerful an influence on religious affiliation as the drop in religious upbringing.

At this point, it’s worth spending a little time talking about the nature of these conclusions. What Downey has found is correlations and any statistician will tell you that correlations do not imply causation. If A is correlated with B, there can be several possible explanations. A might cause B, B might cause A, or some other factor might cause both A and B.


f I had to guess I would say that the internet is better at providing people with a community of like-minded individuals who share values and are better aligned philosophically. The internet has supplanted the traditional parish which is a community that most likely reflect s a broader cross-section of society (and is more diverse) under a denominational umbrella. The added bonus of the internet is that one can interact with a community with as much or as little anonymity as one wishes. You can develop great friendships, engage in meaningful discourse, or you can reveal little of yourself and still have the pleasure of interaction. The same can't be said of parishes where you must deal with all types of people--the interesting, the louts, etc, and expose yourself to real-time conversations.

In two generations we may do the majority of our conversing via electronic media. No one will know how to interact in person.


Take elementary- and middle-school teachers, for example. Women in these full-time spots made median weekly earnings of $937 in 2013, compared with $1,025 for men. Those figures translate to women making 91.4 cents for each dollar earned by men – a gap of 8.6 cents. That gap widened to as much as 16.4 cents for social workers.

“To improve women’s earnings and reduce the gender earnings gap, women and their families need enhanced efforts to ensure non-discriminatory hiring and pay practices, better training and career counseling, and improved work-family supports,” IWPR concluded.

Looking more broadly at the labor market, median weekly earnings for full-time women workers were $706 last year, 82.1% of men’s weekly earnings of $860, translating to a gap of 17.9%, according to the report. Woman-dominated jobs tend to pay less than fields made up primarily by men, IWPR noted.

“Thus, tackling occupational segregation is an important part of eliminating the gender wage gap,” IWPR’s report noted.

Looking to gain female support in its push to raise the federal minimum wage, theWhite House recently released a report showing that women would disproportionately benefit from such a hike. While women constitute just under half of  the overall labor force, they are about three-quarters of the workers in the 10 largest low-wage jobs, dominating occupations such as childcare workers, home health aides and waitstaff, according to recent analysis from the National Women’s Law Center.


  With all the press covering the Pakistani drones, it’s easy to forget that more drone strikes have occurred in Afghanistan, along with the sorties carried out by fixed wing aircraft, truck launched rockets (HIMARS), and helicopters. In a designated battle ground, it’s harder for people reading the news back home to tell what is happening. It can also be difficult to tell who is responsible for some drone strikes. According to the Drone Wars UK website, 39 British drone strikes weren’t reported to parliament, as they simply involved a British operator flying a borrowed U.S. Reaper Drone. In this case, the British people are being deceived. If the U.S. government was deliberately allowing these strikes to be perceived as essentially British, I can find no clear evidence of it, but the responsible party of some strikes is clearly clouded.

In Yemen, the evidence of the U.S. government concealing our air strikes is crystal clear. In December of 2009, the U.S. launched two Tomahawk cruise missiles at an alleged Al Qaeda training camp. 41 civilians were killed in the error, but the credit was claimed by the Yemeni government. The airstrike was announced to have been carried out by their jets. It took the hard work of Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye and a Wikileaks cable to prove to the world that the strikes were American missiles. In August of 2010  Shaye was arrested and accused of being associated with Al Qaeda. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but according to The Nation’s famous journalist Jeremy Scahill, he was due to be pardoned when President Obama interceded. Shaye stayed in prison until July 2013, but still has to finish his sentence while under house arrest.

  The 2009 Tomahawk strikes weren’t the last time that Yemen claimed credit for a U.S. action either. According to The Washington Post, a September 2012 drone strike killed innocent civilians, and again the Yemenis promptly took credit. In this case, the Yemeni government was forced to back down by an angry public, and the Yemeni and U.S. governments had to admit the truth of who carried out the attack.


In late-1990s China, the Ministry of Railways was eager to make room on its lines for an increasing number of freight cars, so it began phasing out sluggish passenger trains on short routes and hustling its long-distance trains -- a campaign dubbed “Speed Up.” The maximum locomotive speed was bumped from 30 to 100 miles per hour. The system’s total capacity opened up, and the distance traveled by an average passenger more than doubled. The ministry laid a pilot set of high-speed tracks in northern China, began planning the Beijing-Shanghai link, and in 2004 awarded a series of contracts to companies from France, Germany, and Japan.

The Ministry of Railways (a secretive bureaucracy nicknamed “Boss Rail”) purchased complete train sets from manufacturers like Alstom, Siemens, and Kawasaki -- as well as the technology for brake systems, traction converters, and control networks, which the Chinese then assembled in their own factories. China’s needle-nosed bullet trains can look quite distinctive with their white livery paint and “CRH” -- China Railway High-Speed -- in thick black block letters. But some are the Siemens Velaro model (a version of which set a 2006 world speed record at 250 mph); others are Alstom New Pendolinos (the favorite of Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains in Britain); still others are the Zefiro 250 type, made by the Canadian company Bombardier and equipped with 480 beds. Nearly all high-speed train models that China uses today have been refitted with new domestic-made parts, reverse-engineered once the patented machinery was safely within the country.

This process, which the government euphemistically calls “digestion and re-innovation,” demonstrates China’s genius for improving foreign technology, a skill once dominated by the Japanese, and it set the course for a home-built industry that would soon be able to export its own train sets and parts. For a country that was still manufacturing and using coal-fired steam trains as recently as the late 1990s,2 the rapid absorption of high-speed rail marked noteworthy progress. But it wasn’t enough to support an economy that, by 2003, was growing 10 percent annually and needed faster infrastructure to support its smoke-spewing factories and instant cities.


Ever since the government was forced to release 1000's of classified documents pertaining to UFO's and Alien visitation, (thanks to the Freedom of Information Act) It's quite evident that there has been "aliens" visiting our planet for about as long as we've been living here. The History and the Science channel have been running some excellent programs on this topic for the past couple of years, but lately they have really been getting into some deep dark secrets, and I'm in awe of what's been going on behind our backs for so long. I knew UFO's existed after my whole family witnessed one that was so close you could see the bottom of it and the color of the metal, yet it didn't make any sound. That was back in 1969, and I remember it as if it happened yesterday. It gives me chills when I think about it.

Katrina Bull
Katrina Bull

Good idea for these two to meet up. Given that the UK Coalition looks doomed and Miliband is bound to win an election. My guess is that he will be UK Prime Minister before the end of the year.


No great surprise, two socialists meet and get on well, spending other peoples money and wasting it on big state spending, its a European disease believe me. Red Ed can stay in France?

Firozali A.Mulla
Firozali A.Mulla

Let us face it. After 1950s the wars the politicians used the army technique and we were very successful. However that was real war , the real cause to have peace. But I have repeatedly said this , we lack leaders of that calibers and the doom and the egotism is the cause of the modern techniques with the old factors of production. How may oldies use the PC for investigating the history and how we cam fight the recession , depression , the economy now we are in. The only good news was Tony Blair came up and said, I am sorry, and we closed the chapters there. If just saying sorry helps the my dog is very faithful to me At least he gets a meal of bones and guards the property and says nothing Here we have tale we will never be able to tell our new generation as they will only call us link-poops , " Why did you wait for so long?" I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

Firozali A.Mulla
Firozali A.Mulla

Let us face it. After 1950s the wars the

politicians used the army technique and we were very successful. However that

was real war , the real cause to have peace. But I have repeatedly said this ,

we lack leaders of that calibres and the doom and the egotism is the cause of

the modern techniques with the old factors of production. How may oldies use

the PC for investigating the history and how we cam fight the recession ,

depression , the economy now we are in. The only good news was Tony Blair came

up and said, I am sorry, and we closed the chapters there. If just saying sorry

helps the my dog is very faithful to me At least he gets a meal of bones and

guards the property and says nothing Here we have tale we will never be able to

tell our new generation as they will only call us link-poops , " Why did

you wait for so long?" I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA The reason why we

have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen the more and talk the

less. ”

Zeno of Citium