Friday, April 21, 2017

Oui nous pouvons!

French presidential contender Macron checks in with everybody's favorite ex-president Barack Obama.

Lovers of democracy must stick together to oppose the Putin puppet show featuring Trump and the Nazi Marine Le Pen.

Meanwhile the NYTimes ran a big article about Macron yesterday:

If the ever-precocious Mr. Macron is to succeed, his first challenge is to sell a product still largely unfamiliar to almost everyone: himself.
That Mr. Macron is such an unknown underscores his unusual position in a French election that, to some degree, is a referendum on the future of Europe. The far-right leader Marine Le Pen threatens to take France out of the European Union. By contrast, Mr. Macron is ardently pro-Europe and has portrayed himself almost as the anti-Le Pen.
Le Pen, of course, is a big fucking Nazi and a crook too.

Even before Ms. Le Pen’s remarks this week denying France’s culpability in a notorious wartime roundup of Jews, recent revelations in the French news media, including a well-documented new book, revived nagging concerns about the sympathies of the woman who would be France’s next president.
Two men in her innermost circle — Frédéric Chatillon and Axel Loustau — are well-known former members of a violent, far-right student union that fought pitched battles with leftists and took a turn toward Hitler nostalgia in the mid-1990s.

Mr. Chatillon’s company, Riwal, served as the exclusive supplier of campaign materials to the National Front in elections from 2012 to 2015. Prosecutors suspect it of systematically overcharging for posters, fliers and the like sold in campaign “kits” — and then, milking giant reimbursements from the state.
Under French law, the state reimburses the campaign expenses of candidates who earn more than 5 percent of votes. Mr. Chatillon had refined the system to an art, according to a high-ranking French campaign finance official and Mr. Chauprade, as well as two new books that closely examine the National Front’s finances.The official and one of those books, “Le Procès Interdit de Marine Le Pen,” or “Marine Le Pen’s Forbidden Trial,” by Laurent Fargues, describes how that system worked.
A printer would charge Riwal, say, 180 to 220 euros, or $191 to $233, for 400 posters; Riwal would then charge a small front party affiliated with the
National Front, called Jeanne, €500 for the posters. Jeanne, in turn, would charge the candidates the inflated price.
After the election, the candidates would claim reimbursement from the state for the inflated amount, and that reimbursement would be turned over to Jeanne.
At least some of that money would wind up in the coffers of the National Front, according to the French campaign finance official, who requested anonymity because of the continuing presidential campaign.
“They’ve constructed an economy out of reimbursements from the state,” said Mr. Chauprade, who has been interviewed by prosecutors about the party’s financial affairs.
Mr. Chauprade said he had been pressured by Ms. Le Pen herself to buy a kit, but refused, to the fury of party officials.