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Les Gilets Jaunes – A Bright Yellow Sign of Distress, by Diana Johnstone - The Unz Review
It was totally unlike the usual trade union demonstrations, well organized to march down the boulevard between the Place de la République and the Place de la Bastille, or the other way around, carrying banners and listening to speeches from leaders at the end.
But so far, the reaction of the government was to send police to spray torrents of tear gas on the crowd, apparently to keep the people at a distance from the nearby Presidential residence, the Elysee Palace.
Colette, age 83, doesn’t own a car, but explained to whoever would listen that the steep rise of gasoline prices would also hurt people who don’t drive, by affecting prices of food and other necessities.
In the past few years, there has been a growing government campaign to encourage, and finally to oblige people to subscribe to a “mutuelle”, that is, a private health insurance plan, ostensibly to fill “the gaps” not covered by France’s universal health coverage.
The “gaps” can be the 15% that is not covered for ordinary illnesses (grave illnesses are covered 100%), or for medicines taken off the “covered” list, or for dental work, among other things.
She cares for elderly people who live at home alone in rural areas, driving from one to another, to feed them, bathe them, offer a moment of cheerful company and understanding.
The tax evaders are the super-rich and the big corporations with their batteries of lawyers and safe havens, or intruders like Amazon and Google, but ordinary French people have been relatively disciplined in paying taxes in return for excellent public services: optimum health care, first class public transport, rapid and efficient postal service, free university education.
In rural areas, more and more post offices, schools and hospitals are shut down, unprofitable train service is discontinued as “free competition” is introduced following European Union directives – measures which oblige people to drive their cars more than ever.
Incoherent Energy Policies And the tax announced by the government – an additional 6.6 cents per liter for diesel and an additional 2.9 centers per liter of gasoline – are only the first steps in a series of planned increases over the next years.
The measures are supposed to incite people to drive less or even better, to scrap their old vehicles and buy nice new electric cars.
This particular exercise goes directly opposite to an earlier government measure of social engineering which used economic incitements to get people to buy cars running on diesel.
Indeed, it is perfectly hypocritical to call the French gas tax an “ecotax” since the returns from a genuine ecotax would be invested to develop clean energies – such as tidal power plants.
The Macronian gas tax is just another austerity measure – along with cutting back public services and “selling the family jewels”, that is, selling potential money-makers like Alstom, port facilities and the Paris airports.
This did not impress people who, yes, have heard all about climate change and care as much as anyone for the environment, but who are obliged to retort: “I’m more worried about the end of the month than about the end of the world.” After the second Yellow Vest Saturday, November 25, which saw more demonstrators and more tear gas, the Minister in charge of the budget, Gérard Darmanin, declared that what had demonstrated on the Champs-Elysée was “la peste brune”, the brown plague, meaning fascists.
This remark caused an uproar of indignation that revealed just how great is public sympathy for the movement – over 70% approval by latest polls, even after uncontrolled vandalism.
Maybe I have missed something, but of the many interviews I have listened to, I have not heard one word that would fall into the categories of “far right”, much less “fascism” – or even that indicated any particular preference in regard to political parties.
Some people ignorant of French history and eager to exhibit their leftist purism have suggested that the Yellow Vests are dangerously nationalistic because they occasionally wave French flags and sing La Marseillaise.
Historically, the French left is patriotic, especially when it is revolting against the aristocrats and the rich or during the Nazi Occupation[i]The exception was the student uprising of May 1968, which was not a revolt of the poor but a revolt in a time of prosperity in favor of greater personal freedom: “it is forbidden to forbid”.
After catching the eye of established king-maker Jacques Attali, the young Macron was given a stint at the Rothschild bank where he could quickly gain a small fortune, ensuring his class loyalty to his sponsors.
He peopled his party with individuals from “civil society”, often medium entrepreneurs with no political experience, plus a few defectors from either the Socialist or the Republican Parties, to occupy the most important government posts.
The only well-known recruit from “civil society” was the popular environmental activist, Nicolas Hulot, who was given the post of Minister of Environment, but who abruptly resigned in a radio announcement last August, citing frustration.
In the “difficult neighborhoods” in the suburbs of major cities, he said, the situation is “very much degraded : it’s the law of the jungle that rules, drug dealers and radical Islamists have taken the place of the Republic.” Such suburbs need to be “reconquered”.
With a degree in criminology, Castaner’s main experience qualifying him to head the national police is his close connection, back in his youth in the 1970s, with a Marseilles Mafioso, apparently due to his penchant for playing poker and drinking whiskey in illegal dens.
With no leaders and no service d’ordre (militants assigned to protect the demonstrators from attacks, provocations and infiltration), it was inevitable that casseurs (smashers) got into the act and started smashing things, looting shops and setting fires to trash cans, cars and even buildings.
Notes [i] The exception was the student uprising of May 1968, which was not a revolt of the poor but a revolt in a time of prosperity in favor of greater personal freedom: “it is forbidden to forbid”.
W-Moms: From “Working Mom” to “Winning Mom”
Combine that trick with the other illusion that creates motion in a motion picture (persistence of vision that blends one image into the next slightly separated image), and you have a 3D movie, most of which have been lame to lousy so far.
“It has developed an itty-bitty projector that shines light into your eyes—light that blends in extremely well with the light you’re receiving from the real world,” writes Rachel Metz, who reviewed the system for MIT Technology Review.
“I can envision someday having a video chat with faraway family members who look as if they’re actually sitting in my living room while, on their end, I appear to be sitting in theirs…Or watching movies where the characters appear to be right in front of me, letting me follow them around as the plot unfolds.”
In a video created by her team, a cube of the ceramic is crushed by a mechanical apparatus, but as it collapses and the weight is removed, it oddly lifts back up into its original shape.
One of the related teams Greer works with is made up biologists who want to see if her nanostructured ceramic “could serve as a scaffold for growing bones—such as the tiny ones in the ear whose degeneration is one cause of deafness.”
“It lets cars broadcast their position, speed, steering-wheel position, brake status, and other data to other vehicles within a few hundred meters.” So your car would have a clear picture of everything around it with enough space to allow time for reacting to situations.
While here in the United States the FCC is working on legally defining the Internet as a public utility service, protected by the fair practices you would expect for gas, electric, and your phone, Google is trying to come up with the best way to provide service to the 4.3 billion, planet-wide, who still live offline.
The necessity side of the equation involves 700 million people today who don’t have sufficient sources of clean water and the 1.8 billion in the next 10 years.
Technological improvements at the new Sorek desal plant in Israel include larger pressure tubes, more efficient pumps, and energy recovery devices providing “the cheapest water from seawater desalination produced in the world,” according to Raphael Semiat, a chemical engineer at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
But more importantly, because the organoid is derived from a specific person, tissue clusters grown from a skin cell of someone suffering from schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease can be analyzed for clues about those dysfunctions.
When it comes to converting sunlight into chemical energy that causes the plant to grow, a plant like corn is much more efficient than rice in firing up the process that keeps the planet green and people fed.
In his description of breakthrough number 9, Kevin Bullis writes about something called C4 photosynthesis—a supercharged process that works by capturing and shunting carbon dioxide, “concentrating it in specialized cells in the leaves.
Bullis continues, “If C4 rice ever comes about, it will tower over conventional rice within a few weeks of planting.” The yield per hectare would be increased by 50%, and there would be far less water and fertilizer required.
Bullis points out that 40% of the diet of humans consists of corn and rice, and recent statistics show the leveling off of the yields of these crops at a time when populations continue to grow.
Progress is slow, and it’s likely to take a decade or more before the genetic modifications will appear in rice fields, but according to Bullis there are also a number of other crops that are part of the C4 research, including wheat, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, and soybeans.
As labs are now able to sequence human genomes at the rate of two per hour and medicine is increasingly turning to sequencing for diagnosis and treatment, the need for large, available databases for researchers and practitioners is growing.
In his article for the MIT Technology Review, Antonio Regalado illustrates the value of such a database with the case of a six-year-old who is suffering from an unknown disorder that has seriously delayed his development, is shrinking his cerebellum, and is making him sicker with symptoms that have stumped his physicians.
But unless they find a second child with same symptoms, and a similar DNA error, his doctors can’t zero in on which mistake in Noah’s genes is the crucial one.” They plan to send Noah’s DNA information out on the Internet, but today there are no protocols for collecting, organizing, and sharing DNA databases.
- On 6. maj 2021
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