Tres French… Fleecing Le Google…

What is it about the EU in general and France in particular? Just can’t stand the idea of something, anything, being free? Looking to suck up a kickback, er, tax on anything of use?

‘Only The Latest Tiff’ has France demanding a payment from Google for the privilege of sending traffic to them. Yup, you got it right. Link to something in France, pay up! To me, the answer is obvious. Don’t link to anything in France and let their web traffic dry up and blow away. Who needs them? Oddly (or maybe not so odd) Google seems to think along the same lines:

http://searchengineland.com/france-tells-google-to-pay-for-linking-to-content-but-google-says-no-137109

Pay To List French News Sites? “Non,” Writes Back Google To France — It’ll Just Drop Them

Oct 19, 2012 at 9:13am ET by Barry Schwartz

Google has sent a letter to the French policy makers about a proposal to charge Google for linking to their content.

France 24 reports Google threatened French publishers by telling them they will not pay to link to their content and if they are forced to, Google will simply stop linking to them.

The official letter, written in French, doesn’t appear to be written in such a direct tone. The letter describes how this proposal can hurt the internet as a whole, can hurt French readers and most importantly – hurt French publishers. Google says they send four billion clicks per month to publishers and 1 billion of those clicks comes from Google News. Google News is free, there are no ads on Google News, but yet Google has an AdSense program that paid out over $6.5 billion to U.S. publishers from in 2011. So Google believes they are doing their part in helping news publishers remain financially fit.

French news publishers obviously feel otherwise. Google does make it sound that if the law is passed, Google will not participate and remove all French publishers from their index.

Meanwhile, Brazilian publishers may boycott Google News.

Then there’s this one:

Give a free map? Collect a ‘fine’…

http://searchengineland.com/french-court-fines-google-660000-dollars-google-maps-109930

French Court Fines Google $660,000 Because Google Maps Is Free

Feb 1, 2012 at 4:00pm ET by Matt McGee

Google faces a $660,000 fine after a French court ruling that the company is abusing its dominant position in mapping by making Google Maps free.

According to The Economic Times, the French commercial court “upheld an unfair competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against Google France and its parent company Google Inc. for providing free web mapping services to some businesses.”

Bottin Cartographes provides mapping services for a cost, and its website boasts several business clients such as Louis Vuitton, Airbus and several automobile manufacturers.

The French court ruling requires Google to pay $660,000 (500,000 Euros) in damages and interest to Bottin Cartographes, along with a 15,000 Euro fine. That means Google’s total cost from the ruling is about $680,000.

So, in France, to ‘give it away for free’ gets you whacked; but to charge for it, well, that is only natural… Sounds like the wrong side of town here… So does that mean the Government is ‘pimping’? Kind of looks like it to me…

And several more such events listed at the bottom of those articles.

While I’m not particularly fond of the “attitude” at Google about sucking up all data possible on folks and making it public ( I do not think I ought to become a ‘public person’ against my will, nor that anyone in the world ought to be able to do a panning view of my home ) I’m also no fan of someone else wanting a ‘piece of the action’ just for existing. Sheesh… So I’m to be “data raped” AND France wants a cut? Non, merci.

Add to that the recent case where Italy found GUILTY some geologists for failure to do the impossible (they didn’t predict an earthquake…) and one can only wonder what kind of insanity has gripped the EU Legal Systems.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/23/world/europe/italy-quake-scientists-guilty/index.html

(CNN) — Earthquake experts worldwide expressed shock at the manslaughter convictions of six Italian scientists who failed to predict the deadly L’Aquila quake, warning that the decision could severely harm future research.

Two scientists resigned their posts with the government’s disaster preparedness agency Tuesday after a court in L’Aquila sentenced six scientists and a government official to six years in prison. The court ruled Monday that the scientists failed to accurately communicate the risk of the 2009 quake, which killed more than 300 people.

Luciano Maiani, the physicist who led the National Commission for the Prediction and Prevention of Major Risks, resigned in protest of the verdict Tuesday afternoon, Italy’s Civil Protection Agency announced.
[...]
“The situation created by the sentencing yesterday on the facts from L’Aquila is incompatible with a clear and effective performance of the functions of the commission and its role as a consulting bodies for the state,” Maiani said in a statement released by the agency.
Seismologists were aghast at the court’s decision, noting that earthquakes remain impossible to forecast with any kind of accuracy.

“To predict a large quake on the basis of a relatively commonplace sequence of small earthquakes and to advise the local population to flee” would constitute “both bad science and bad public policy,” said David Oglesby, an associate professor in the Earth sciences faculty of the University of California, Riverside.

“If scientists can be held personally and legally responsible for situations where predictions don’t pan out, then it will be very hard to find scientists to stick their necks out in the future,” Oglesby said in a statement.

In related news, enrollments in geology classes (and any science with any public impact) are expected to plummet while a large number of unfilled Geologist positions are expected to remain available for the foreseeable future /sarcoff;>

Sometimes I wonder if Europe has gone mad…at other times I’m sure…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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25 Responses to Tres French… Fleecing Le Google…

  1. gallopingcamel says:

    If a structrural engineer approves the design of a building that later collapses due to flaws that were overlooked or incorrect calculations, that engineer can be sued for the harm caused. Engineers in general are used to the idea that they are held to a higher standard than scientists in ivory towers.

    If scientists were held the same standard of accountability that engineers or doctors live with you would have a lot less opinionated crap from academia. What if these Italian “Earthquake Experts” published something that convinced residents that there was no need to evacuate? Should they bear any responsibility when it becomes clear that an evacuation was warranted?

    “If scientists can be held personally and legally responsible for situations where predictions don’t pan out, then it will be very hard to find scientists to stick their necks out in the future,” Oglesby said in a statement.

    I would say it is about time that academics are held responsible in this way. In my dreams, Michael Mann, the Hockey Team and all the Greenie groupies in academia should be persuaded not to “Stick their necks out” by means of an appropriate jail sentence. It might be hard to pin any deaths on them but the economic harm they have done makes Bernie Madoff lookm like an underachiever.

  2. gallopingcamel says:

    If the French can tax Google for providing free services, what is stopping them from taxing Linux distros like Ubuntu for providing free software? After all the Linux pigmies must be doing some harm to Bill Gates’ “For Profit” software distribution business.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @GallopingCamel:

    I have no complaint with suing someone for a FAILED prediction. Scare everyone into leaving town and then ‘nothing happens’? Folks trampled in the stampede ought to be able to sue.

    But in THIS case, they were found guilty of NOT making a prediction; of not predicting death and damage. So how about if I sue you for failure to predict a technological breakthrough that causes my retirement account to drop in value?

    Or how about suing G.M. for failing to predict the electric car market correctly?

    Worse than that, though, it isn’t possible to predict an earthquake. Not in size. Not in timing. At best you can make vague handwavings about rough trends. A probability estimate of the form “One in 10 chance in this next month”. So these folks were found guilty of saying “1 in 10″ instead of “On Tuesday it will happen and be a Mag 7.3 that kills 300 people.” They were guilty of NOT doing the IMPOSSIBLE.

    That’s quite different from holding Mann & Hansen responsible for telling lies…

  4. p.g.sharrow says:

    In Italy you are convicted first and then allowed to try to clear yourself. Guilty as charged until proven innocent! The “Judges” were under considerable pressure to give the people a conviction to free up federal funds for compensation. pg

  5. gallopingcamel says:

    Chiefio,
    I would agree with you if the “Earthquake Experts” were convicted even though they did not make a prediction. My understanding is that they offered an opinion that was reported in the “Media”. Given their alledged “Expertise” the general public believed them.

    Under indictment the scientists claimed that prediction of earthquakes is “Impossible”. If they had believed that before the event they should have said so rather than allowing the press and citizens to believe otherwise.

  6. John F. Hultquist says:

    We need to coin a term for the Europeans, especially the French, tying themselves into a net of rigid rules such that they can’t do anything. “EuroKnots” is descriptive. When you can’t do things for yourself and then charge others for doing it for you, you have succumbed to EuroKnots.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I, too, think the earthquake ruling is a blunder. The error bars on predicting earthquakes is measured in multi-decades or even hundreds of years. Building codes and preparation make sense — living and working in old buildings does not. Pick a day, a week, a year – then go live in a tent – just crazy.

    p.g.sharrow suggest a legal/compensation connection. A further explanation of that would be interesting.

  7. Hal says:

    There is more to the Italian case than everybody thinks.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/10/mischaracterizations-of-laquila-lawsuit.html

    “If officials were expressing a view about authority rather than a careful assessment of actual earthquake risks, this would help to explain their sloppy treatment of uncertainties.”

  8. Hal says:

    The scientists were countering a non-seismologist:
    A second factor was the prediction of a pending large earthquake issued by Gioacchino Giuliani, who was not a seismologist and worked as a technician at Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics.

    EM: on Hansen, his prediction of the west side highway being underwater may be coming true.LOL

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Hal:

    Thanks for that link. It explains some things a bit better. Still, IMHO, it makes the verdict even worse.

    The “Scientists Group” were the officials in charge of risk planning, and they said what is know to be true. A large earthquake can’t be predicted. It’s a bit more murky on the point of dismissing the small quakes as stress relief. It IS that, if persistent over very long times. It IS NOT that, if a sudden ‘swarm’ in an otherwise quiet area. Yet even then, most “swarms” pass without event. (Remember Yellowstone and that swarm? How about the (several) swarms at Mammoth “Lakes”? And so many more…)

    So to say “There is an earthquake swarm, ought we to panic?” ought to be answered with “Yes.”, leaves them liable for ‘incitement to panic’ without good cause. MOST of the time such clusters of earthquakes ARE stress release and mean nothing. Occasionally they are a pre-shock indicator of ‘things to come’… but those things might come in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries…. So in fact, the right thing to do is “Check your preparedness kits, and pour that glass of wine” as the wine will calm down excitable folks and reduce the risk of heart attack (which is far more likely than the quake…)

    That they were in a pissing match with a non-Seismologist who got it right most likely just means he was lucky and they were unlucky. Vegas is built on such principles ;-)

    In essence, the Scientists were put in the slammer for saying “You (and in particular he) can not accurately predict quakes and it’s best to calm down” and having the “surprise” quake happen by surprise… because they could not predict it would happen then…

    So I see the subtlety in the argument, but it’s still a bad decision. I really don’t need “authority” shutting down towns and transport ever time a 3.0 happens or ever time a storm MIGHT hit…

    And yes, I have to “eat crow” now, as it DOES look like Hansen was right about the highway being under water… but he had the causality wrong ;-)

    @John F. Hultquist:

    Euroknots is nice… but… perhaps Eurheimer’s would be better… they seem to be unable to remember their past attempts at the same political / economic / governmental / legal silliness too ;-)

    Perhaps noun cause and effect? Euroheimer’s causes Euroknots leading to Euconstipation? An economic stagnation that stinks in the end? ;-)

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    Got a link to a story on that angle? The money one?

  10. Steve C says:

    EM, if you spend too much time trying to make sense of the senselessness that is Europe, you’ll have to accept the title of “Eurologist”. Given the nature of the subject matter, it seems a fitting moniker …

  11. pouncer says:

    The French are contemplating “protectionism”? The land of Bastiat is seriously proposing such sophisms — again? Still? I’m shocked. SHOCKED.

    And if Marx’s believers are called Marxists why aren’t Fred Bastiat’s followers Bastiards?

  12. Petrossa says:

    The French, i live there, attack Google because the big mediacorps complained to the government that they lose revenue to Google, and the government is upset that Google doesn’t pax tax over their adverts in France but in Ireland via a taxhaven construction.

    Officially the french google agents are not allowed to close contracts for ads, only to forward the clients to Ireland. The problem is that Google rather stupidly advertised for french staff members with the stipulation they had to negotiate and close contracts.

    Google is not completely clean in this.

  13. adolfogiurfa says:

    Taxes, taxes, taxes until there are no revenues whatsoever to tax. Their 75% tax for high income people/corporations will just make them flee from France.
    It´s so wonderful the EU idea, that everyone wants to be swiss, Swizerland had to stop a massive immigration of foreign companies escaping from the EU paradise.

  14. Petrossa says:

    Belgium and England are actually the favorite nations.

  15. gallopingcamel says:

    @Hal:
    Thanks for that link. It explains some things a bit better. Still, IMHO, it makes the verdict even worse.

    Sorry, Chiefio, you are totally wrong on this. Anyone who sets himself up as an expert offering advice that leads to the loss of life or property must be held accountable. Engineers and doctors have learned to live with this and now it is time for scientists to be held to the same standards. When scientists are offering opinions on matters that have no immediate consequences in the real world ( e.g. questions like what is the age of the Universe or do “Black Holes” evaporate?) nobody is going to get excited if they are wrong.

    When scientists tell us that we need to invest in windmills or stop using Freon or DDT there are immense economic consequences so those scientists should be accountable just as engineers and doctors are. This Italian decision is a huge step in the right direction. The next logical step would be to indict Al Gore and Mikey Mann for the harm they have caused. Sadly, the harm is way beyond what we could recover by means of fines so lengthy prison terms seem to be appropriate.

    Scientists have been getting away with offering opinions that cause immense problems without being held personally responsible. Did anyone go to jail for the huge loss of life that followed the banning of DDT? Did anyone go to jail for the huge economic consequenses of flaky science related to the “Ozone Hole”, “Acid Rain” and “Climate Science”? Maybe it is time to raise the stakes so “Experts” will think before they speak.

  16. blueice2hotsea says:

    The (red-herring) defense is beguiling, but don’t fall for it. The charge was NOT ‘inaccurate prediction’ which of course would be unfair, because it was basically impossible for the defendants to actually know what was about to happen. And I believe the defense argued as such.

    I believe the actual charge was ‘false assurances’ which resulted in negligent homicide. To prove that charge, it had to be shown that the defendants could not have known what was about to happen(!), yet nevertheless encouraged people to relax and have a glass of wine. See, the defense convicted their own client.

    Falsely yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater, and expect responsibility for stampede deaths. Likewise, disconnect the alarms and there will be hell to pay following the fire

  17. p.g.sharrow says:

    E.M.Smith says:
    30 October 2012 at 7:13 am
    @P.G.Sharrow:Got a link to a story on that angle? The money one?
    How about your post link to cnn, ;-)
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/23/world/europe/italy-quake-scientists-guilty/index.html

    “The court agreed, finding the six scientists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology and a member of the Civil Protection Agency guilty and ordering Italian authorities to pay 7.8 million euros ($10 million) in damages.” :-}> pg

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @GallopingCamel:

    Rather than argue about WHO is right or wrong, I’d rather look at WHAT arguments are being made and the ASSUMPTIONS implicit in them.

    My position is predicated on an ASSUMPTION that the scientists would not have said “There WILL NOT be an earthquake”. That they would have said something of the form “Earthquakes can not be predicted, there is no more chance then than today or yesterday”. Perhaps with an added “And that guy is a dolt for predicting it, go home, have a glass of wine, and chill”.

    Your position is predicated on an ASSUMPTION that what was said was a positive affirmation of no quake risk. “There will not be an earthquake then!”. I can not believe any geologist or seismologist would say that. (Then again, I can not believe a court would convice scientists for failure to predict… so what I can or can not believe is not very important ;-)

    It all comes down to “What did they REALLY say?”. Since I doubt either of us has read the original quotes in Italian, we both must make some kind of appeal to authority on what was actually said…

    Per ~”hold scientists to the same standards as Engineers”: I generally agree with that, except for the fact that Engineering is a fairly exact science while others are pretty vague. Economics, for example. Best you can do is rough guesses with some numbers applied to avoid big booboos and keep the hand waving to a minium. Make the standard “be as right as Engineers” and you will have zero Economists. Just can’t be done. So you can have them all sitting around saying “There’s nobody noes nuttin’ leave us alone.” or you can give some leeway and accept that it all comes with wide error bars (but it’s the best we’ve got). I’m OK with either one, BTW. My general leaning toward “Symmetry” would argue for “one law fits all”… but realize that says a whole lot of folks are going to get zero help with things like, oh, “investment advice”… (That might be a good thing… since tossing darts at the stock chart is almost as good as the best stock pickers and better than average…)

    If we can hold lawyers to the same standard, too, that would be great ;-) (“Sorry, you convicted an innocent man. You get to serve out his life sentence. ;-)

    @BlueIce2HotSea:

    To use your analogy: What about being in a crowded theatre and saying “A fire is no more likely tonight than any other night.” then having a fire break out? Ought one be liable for that? (So again it all comes down to exactly what was said; which we don’t know…)

    I’d love a pointer to the exact things the scientists said. If it was, in fact, “There will not be an earthquake then”, I would withdraw my complaint; as that would be a statement that can not be made while being honest. If it was “The probability is low” or “No more than any other night” or “that guy can not predict it”, then I stand by my complaint.

    I just can’t imagine any geologist saying “There WILL NOT BE an earthquake.” It is just to patently false. Then again, we’ve already established the worth of what I can not imagine ;-)

    @PG: Thanks!

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @Petrossa:

    True story:

    I once worked for a small startup in Silicon Valley. We had a contract with France Telecom for a few $Million seed money for ‘rights’ (along with several other contracts with other telcos). One day, my boss (the VP of Business Affairs aka Corp Lawyer) brings in all his staff an proceeds to “rip a new one” for the VP of Marketing & Sales. Why?

    Seems he had hired ONE GUY to handle setting up European sales who happend to live in France. Just ONE. Fairly cheap too…. but… French Law said that if you have even ONE employee in France, ALL sales in France were subject to some kind of sales tax. ( I think this was pre-EU). That turned out to be about a $6 Million / year tab… The Corp Lawyer knew about this, but the VP S&M didn’t; and got pointedly asked “why did you not consult with legal first?”…

    So the guy in France was immeditely given the required notice (several months, I think, but we would dodge future years tax hits) and the whole thing went off to litigation (that being cheaper than $6 Million and there being reasonable odds of some kind of reduction in the process).

    About 2 years later the company entered bankruptcy and I’m pretty sure that no tax was ever paid… but at least France managed to not have any employees during those years…

    It looks to me like Google is learning a similar lesson. NEVER put operations in France… at least not until the corporate lawyers and accountants give it a very long look see…

  20. Petrossa says:

    EM
    Yeah, that’s France for you. That law is still in effect. They still live in the 1950′s mentally. But actually that is among one of the reasons i moved there. That, the climate and laïcité.
    Their administration is such a mess you can slip under the radar without any effort. It’s a beautiful country, if only there were less french people, but after enough time you learn to live with their less then convivial behavior. :)

  21. boballab says:

    EM:

    When this first started way back when it was reported in the Italian/European Press the press conference the panel held. Now here is where the problem comes in and why you are wrong on this.

    Prior to the Press Conference the panel of experts among themselves talked about how you can’t predict earthquakes one way or the other, however in the press conference they blew off the chance that a major earthquake was possible after smaller quakes. Matter of fact the leader of the expert panel told the public not to worry there was NO CHANCE of major quake and then proceeded to pick out a wine for them to drink:

    ON MARCH 31st 2009 Bernardo De Bernardinis, then deputy chief of Italy’s Civil Protection Department, told people in and around the medieval Italian city of L’Aquila that a series of tremors which had been felt in the area over the past four months posed “no danger”. Speaking to a journalist from a local television station, he said that “the scientific community continues to confirm to me that in fact it is a favourable situation, that is to say a continuous discharge of energy.” Six days later L’Aquila and several surrounding villages lay in ruins. An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 had destroyed thousands of buildings and killed 308 people.

    Fabio Picuti, the public prosecutor, stresses that the charge is not about whether the experts, who included Enzo Boschi, then president of the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV), should have predicted exactly when, where and with what force the earthquake would have struck. He recognises that is something which remains beyond the bounds of science. Instead, he says, the seven are guilty of negligence because they did not take the risk of a big quake seriously enough. He argues that their discussions, as recorded in the official minutes of the meeting of March 31st, were too generic and completely failed to address the risk at hand.

    Gian Michele Calvi, an expert in earthquake engineering who is one of the indicted seven, says the commission recognised that L’Aquila is in a highly seismic zone, and that a powerful earthquake could therefore happen at any time. But he says that, based on the evaluations of the committee’s seismologists, they considered the probability of a major quake to be “essentially the same with or without the seismic sequence”, and that as a result they did not discuss the possibility of emergency action.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21529006

    Immediately after that meeting, De Bernardinis and Barberi, acting president of the committee, held a press conference in L’Aquila, where De Bernardinis told reporters that “the scientific community tells us there is no danger, because there is an ongoing discharge of energy. The situation looks favorable”. No other members of the committee were at the press conference.

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100622/full/465992a.html

    Now how would you react if a panel of “experts” in the pay of the city of Los Angles came out and said there is NO CHANCE of a major quake in the LA area after an increasing swarm of smaller ones on the San Andreas happened? Over the next six days no one on the panel comes forward and disputes the “NO CHANCE” statement and then the big one hits LA and leaves many dead, how would you react then?

    The US media covered this story badly and in a biased way because the “expert” panel in this case acted just like the Hockey Team in the Climategate emails. The uncertainties they discussed among themselves, what they told the public is completely different. In this case the world didn’t need 20 years to find out the truth about the experts, they only had to wait for 6 days before the “NO CHANCE” earthquake hit. Again this wasn’t about them NOT PREDICTING the earthquake, it is about them not telling the truth about the POSSIBILITY of the earthquake to the public that heard a prediction from someone else. This last isn’t just my opinion but a US Seismologist from California’s opinion:

    Dr Jordan argues that a focus on prediction rather than forecasting held sway in Italy in the days before the quake at L’Aquila. He says that the seven members of the commission concentrated on refuting the predictions made by Gioacchino Giuliani, a laboratory technician at the nearby National Institute of Nuclear Physics, who claims to have developed a method for predicting earthquakes that involves measuring emissions of radon. His public pronouncements reportedly caused panic in the nearby city of Sulmona two days before the meeting of the commission (no big earthquake followed on that occasion). The members of the commission therefore, according to Dr Jordan, “got trapped into a conversation with a yes/no answer”. The result, he says, was that the commission gave the impression that there would be no quake.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21529006

    This panel never once came out to the press and stated:

    “We can’t predict IF or WHEN a major quake will occur in the area. However this area is a High Risk area and you need to have…”

    You know the STANDARD warning any seismologist in the US makes when talking about California quakes. They always stress the POSSIBILITY that the “Big One” could hit tomorrow or 100 years from now and that you need to be prepared everyday. This panel of experts NEVER did that, instead the head of the panel stated there was “NO CHANCE” on TV and over the next 6 days none of the other panel members came forward and corrected that very false and misleading statement.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @Boballab:

    So the “scientists” were stupid enough to say ‘there is no danger’. A positive prediction. Dumb then.

    Per France:

    Looks like they are going after Amazon and a couple of others now too. Though they ‘wash’ their sales through other EU countries and claim to be legal that way.

    Guess that “Other Peoples Money” is running low… even with (or because of?) 75% tax rates…

  23. Petrossa says:

    Amazingly, and by pure coincidence obviously, the sale of high end residences in Britain, Belgium and Switzerland went up by up to 30% since the current president was elected.

    I guess there won’t be many left to tax anymore in a few years. But the president promised the tax would be lifted in 2014. And you know how politicians keep their word so that will be ok.

    Funny aside, the dutch still pay a ‘temporary extra tax’ on gasoline to boost the 1991 budget. By now it must have paid the whole budget.

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    @Petrossa:

    On Fast Money they had a blurb about some rich guy leaving France. I wasn’t listening closely (it was going to tape and I’m making bread in the other room) but I think they said it was the founder of the Michelin Guide or some such…

    Looks like it’s a ‘Race To The Bottom’ now between the PIIGS, France and the USA. (With California in the lead in the USA, at roughly Greek Parity…)

    Guess I better learn to enjoy Disaster Movies… we’ve got at least 5 years of them queued up… Likely ending in a War Movie theme at the end as collapse leads to non-civil “solutions”.

    The really sad thing is how many folks actually think this will work. “This time for sure”!! as they once again stare at the Socialism Shiny Thing…

    UPDATE: Replay of the tape shows it is Gerard Depardieu

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gérard_Depardieu (short from: Rich and awarded Actor)

    The Michelin Guide reference was to the fact that an American is now top of the list..

    http://www.ibtimes.com/film-star-gerard-depardieu-latest-french-tax-exile-876730

    Le Soir newspaper said the star of “The Return of Martin Guerre” and dozens of other movies over the past 40 years, was seen at a pricey restaurant in the nearby town of Estaimpuis celebrating his new purchase.

    Belgium, which enjoys a lower tax rate, has attracted a number of prominent wealthy French seeking a tax haven, including Bernard Arnault, the owner of the Christian Dior empire, as well as the Mulliez family, who own the Auchan and Decathlon retail chains.

    The French magazine Le Point commented: “Nechin may well be less glamorous than London, Geneva, Brussels or even its climate less pleasant than Monaco [but its wealthy French residents] enjoy extreme Belgian clemency for large fortunes.”

    More than one-quarter of Nechin’s residents are now French nationals.

    French government officials are not taking these departures well.

  25. Petrossa says:

    The most shocking for the government was Bernard Arnault because that is very old money, the richest and extremely influential man of France actually taking on Belgian citizenship. His example set the tone for other old money.

    Honestly, i really don’t understand what they are thinking in Europe. Anyone with half a brain can see this is going downhill. They now are so desperate they even want to fast-track the joining of semi-pirate nations like Albania and Serbia, or Islam nations like Turkey which mostly even isn’t in Europe. Safety in numbers i guess.

    Flight forwards is all i can think of. There is no turning back without dire consequences so they are doomed to just shoulder on to the bitter end. Luckily i am of an age that i’ll be ok. Glad i don’t have children though.

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