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French Morals: Lesson 1.

 
 
Lash
 
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 07:37 pm
So, let me get this straight.

If you are a French politician guilty of graft, corruption, maybe murder--who knows? the French will simply say it didn't happen. Walter---somebody---explain this to me. It can't possibly be what it appears to be.

THE BARROT AFFAIR: STATEMENT BY ALDE GROUP LEADER GRAHAM WATSON MEP
http://eld.europarl.eu.int
22nd November 2004


"The revelation that one of the new team of European Commissioners has a criminal record could not have come at a worse time for Europeans. After a difficult gestation for the new EU Commission, we had all hoped to be able to get back to normal business.

"Jacques Barrot was convicted in February 2000 of corruption and given an eight month suspended prison sentence. He is not guilty of personal enrichment. Under an amnesty law adopted five years earlier by a French parliament keen to protect its political leaders, the conviction was immediately amnestied, his criminal record cleansed and the press forbidden from reporting his conviction. Last week the French press summoned up the courage to make it public, under the cover of a debate in the European Parliament during which the cat was let out of the bag.

(Excuse the interruption...PRESS FORBIDDEN TO REPORT HIS CONVICTION!!!!...O.K., carry on.
"Strictly speaking, Mr Barrot has no criminal record and would not be disqualified from holding public office in France.( <--They've been reading the Bill Clinton How To Lie Right In Somebody's Face And Be Condescending At the Same Time Book.) He did not appeal against his conviction because he was absolved. In many other EU countries his conviction would disqualify him from office and such an amnesty would be unthinkable.

"What this affair reveals is the gulf between the political and legal cultures of the EU's member states. Acceptable practice in one is anathema to another. Mr Barrot is not uniquely culpable. He was convicted along with two accomplices for an offence for which many others have been condemned and which testifies to a systemic failure in French political and legal culture. Mr Barrot's crime is to have worked within the system and accepted its practices, however wrong.

"Since the EU's member states are notoriously unwilling and often unable to keep each other in line through peer pressure, the European Parliament is the forum through which such pressure must be brought. Traditional diplomacy between independent States is realpolitik. Our task is moralpolitik.

"This is not a legal but a political affair. Mr Barrot was convicted of corruption. He did not see fit to inform the Presidents of either of the European Commissions to which he has been nominated, or the European Parliament, though he must have known that such a matter would be considered to be of material interest in other EU countries.

"The European Union forces us to confront weaknesses in our own societal systems and cultures. We need to exploit the creative tensions this causes to build a stronger, common culture inspired by the best from all approaches.

"The affair reveals weaknesses at EU level too. Before a Prime Minister appoints a government minister there is normally a security vetting involving the country's intelligence services. Jose Manuel Barroso has no European Commission intelligence service on which to call. If a member state fails to exercise a duty of care towards the Commission, the latter is left with the consequences. That is why I have called for a meeting of Parliament, Commission and Council to discuss the situation.

"I feel sorry for Jose Manuel Durao Barroso. His Commission nearly fell over problems with the Italian nominee, Mr Buttiglione. Yet Buttiglione's crime was his opinion; Mr Barrot's crime is real. If Mr Barrot refuses to resign and Mr Chirac refuses to withdraw him, the new Commission President must choose between sacking his Commissioner and risking a conflict with member states unwilling to give up the right to appoint who they choose, or backing his Commissioner and defying the European Parliament to challenge his decision. Mr Barroso is placed in an invidious position. If I were in Mr Barrot's position I would recognise the situation and offer my resignation, thereby preventing further damage to the European Commission as a whole.

"Under pressure from the President of the Commission, Mr Barrot has written a letter to European parliamentarians defending himself. He has offered to come before MEPs and explain matters. We will listen to him politely and attentively. But there can be few explanations when the facts of the matter are clear: he was convicted of a criminal offence and did not reveal it."
---------
Chirac is guilty of embezzlement or some similar crime of theft--and hasn't got to stand for it as long as he's President.
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 08:41 pm
Man, you got your panties in a bunch eh!
How in gods name does this affect you, except mentally?

I thought the same laws applied to an American President as well. He cannot be tried for a crime while in office, but....
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 08:46 pm
but, you're wrong.

A President is supposed to be the chief enforcer of the law--not one who breaks it with impunity.

I suppose it doesn't effect me any more than Bush affects non-Americans. I'm sure you never saw anyone here concerned a tad about Bush...

I was astonished that not only does the French govt let off their crooked politicians--but they command the press not to report about it. There's something sick about that.

Sort of like royalty over there.
0 Replies
 
RicardoTizon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Nov, 2004 08:58 pm
I Think there should only be limited instances when the press is not allowed to make public certain information and these are:
1. When they concern national defense or safety.
2. When it will endanger the life of someone concern.
3. When the subject matter is under investigation and the revelation might endanger the investigation.
4. When the person involved is a minor.

What happen there is a cover up plain and simple. The EU is a very powerful Union that has global implications. To have convicted felons among their ranks diminishes the prestige of the whole body.
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2004 05:23 pm
Ceili wrote:
Man, you got your panties in a bunch eh!
How in gods name does this affect you, except mentally?

I thought the same laws applied to an American President as well. He cannot be tried for a crime while in office, but....


Forgive them, they don't have kerry to beat up on anymore.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Nov, 2004 12:36 am
Well, Lash, although I quite a bit of (different) laws in different countries, why knowledge of French Law isn't so good at all that I would be able to explain this.


Well, sometimes the Liberal Democrats* aren't bad at all, especially when the hit on the conservatives**. :wink:

*ALDE is the fraction of Liberal Democrats in the EU-parliament. With the eemption of the UK Liberal Democrats, all other member parties are right-leaning.
** Both, the French president and (since some time) the French government are conservative. The French parliament is in majority more to the right, too.


In Europe, espeically conservative governments tent to do such or similar: the worst example is of course Italy, where they changed a couple of laws in favour to the criminal acts of government members and especially the Prime Minister (so-called 'lex Berlusconi').

But since the latter is a Bush friend, this has never been a topic in US ....
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Nov, 2004 12:47 am
An aside:

Lash, are you planning a serie on French morals ("Lesson 1")?

I'd really like that topic, would however suggest that you perhaps should give a small historic summary as well and not put the cart before the horse :wink:
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2004 04:43 pm
0 Replies
 
MaryM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 11:50 am
Ah zee French:

HANOI, Oct 7 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac warned Thursday of a "catastrophe" for global diversity if the United States' cultural hegemony goes unchallenged.
Speaking at a French cultural centre in Hanoi ahead of Friday's opening of a summit of European and Asian leaders, Chirac said France was right to stand up for cultural and linguistic diversity.
The outspoken French president warned that the world's different cultures could be "choked" by US values.
This, he said, would lead to a "general world sub-culture" based around the English language, which would be "a real ecological catastrophe".
Citing Hollywood's stranglehold over the film industry as an example, Chirac stressed that only with government assistance could countries maintain their cultural heritage.
Vietnam is a former French colony, but only around 375,000 of its 81 million people speak French. English is considered by most people a far more valuable and practical second language, particularly among businessmen."

The evangelicals aren't the only people who deny evolution.

Someday the US will be passe', perhaps when Asia gets its act together. I hope we handle it better than the French who, except for their enlightened energy policy (nukes), have to look a dozen decades back for "recent" success, and their attempts to maintain the illusion of influence are pitiable. It is hard to imagine that the EU can be effective with France. UN lite is the likely outcome.




"
0 Replies
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 12:51 pm
lash, how many french people do you personally know?
0 Replies
 
MaryM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 01:25 pm
Silly silly French. Warning, this column is by Novak, and some here say he shouldn't be read:

http://www.suntimes.com/output/novak/cst-edt-novak29.html


"However, the problem goes much deeper than Bush or the 80 percent election preference for John Kerry in French polls. A writer here told me of his 19-year-old daughter attending a one-day French army briefing, mandatory after conscription was abolished. The last four hours consisted of a harangue on U.S. foreign policy, especially in Iraq. That war was described as a plot by American capitalists to cheat Iraqis out of their oil in a lecture that would have done justice to a conspiracy-minded Internet blogger."

I would be upset too if the US upset my plans for cuddling up to Saddam, but 4 hours of official propaganda for every 19 year old seems excessive.
0 Replies
 
Magus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 01:52 pm
Well, goodness gracious, MaryM... how much time do you spend daily on the Internet?
Do you have an AGENDA? Do YOU proselytize?

Lush Rimbaugh's sanctimonious hatemeisters have been communally excoriating the French for years... (hypocritically) accusing all the French of being (sigh) arrogant and partisan!

What impels these Francophobes?

It is my observation that Hate is their HOBBY. They find it entertaining, recreational and engaging... and much easier than participating in anything constructive.

Deprived by the State of any opportunity to burn witches for fun, they must focus their victimization elsewhere...
I liken them to packs of dogs who roam at night seeking livestock to torment for their amusement.
They attack en masse, snarling and biting, and enjoy their feral activities greatly.

But at dawn they go back to their Masters and grovel as they are chained and scolded...
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 01:55 pm
Magus, it's simple. Their actions speak louder than their Francais.
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 01:57 pm
By the way, the fourth option in Lash's poll is in first place...
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 01:59 pm
Not really D'art....
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 02:00 pm
It is. I just looked again...
0 Replies
 
MaryM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 02:03 pm
Well then Magus, if everything is ok, what is there to talk about?
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 02:03 pm
Imagine a bar graph:

Y
Y
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY

Now, let's say I want to distort the graph to make it look like Y is really winning 2-1. Just cut off the bottom (journalists do this all the time).

Y
Y
XY
XY

But now we go back to the original question.

X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY
XY

That is much more representative of the response.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 02:04 pm
#4 has the majority, not the plurality. :wink:

edit: Or do I have that reversed???
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Dec, 2004 02:05 pm
Agh, A2K cuts out the leading spaces when it displays the post. I was hoping it wouldn't do that. You get the idea anyway.
0 Replies
 
 

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