Glamour of a Dying Empire – the Apartments of Napoleon III in the Louvre

The Louvre was a magnificent royal palace, which quickly lost its status after the French Revolution of 1789. After King Louis XVI was executed, the mob looted the building and the empty halls were eventually filled with art masterpieces to turn it into the world-famous museum that we all know. Regardless of that fate, some parts of the palace continued to play its original role during the short periods of time when the French monarchy was restored.

A place well-worth visiting even during a short visit to the Louvre is the wing hosting the apartments of Napoleon III. The last French Emperor had quite a lot in common with his famous uncle Napoleon I. Both of them advanced their careers in times when France was a republic and then transformed it into a monarchy. However, the similarities end here. While Napoleon became the most powerful French ruler, who expanded the country through conquest, his nephew presided over the agony of the French Empire from which it never recovered. The defeat in the Franco-Prussian war put an end to the rule of Napoleon III and to the monarchy in France.

Nothing reminds of those turbulent years when you walk through the lavishly decorated rooms where Napoleon III, his family and his ministers once walked. The impression is difficult to express in words, that’s why I added all the pictures below. The nostalgic feeling of being transplanted, though temporarily, into that glamorous past probably haunts most of the visitors. An exception are the pickpockets, who do their work regardless of any feelings and are ready to pay for the 15-Euro ticket because they’ll make more inside.

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Napoleon III

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The bedroom

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“Beware of pickpockets”

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The large dining room

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The small dining room

© 2016 Blogwrath.com

Who Killed Rob Ford?

Mayor Rob Ford passed away at the age of 46. Though it was expected, it was still a strong blow to all who knew him well. I was out of Canada when it happened, so I didn’t follow the Canadian media coverage. I couldn’t even force myself to read the internet articles because I was sure that the same people who systematically tried to destroy him would be shedding crocodile tears after he was dead.

Death at 46 is not normal or natural – many people and institutions contributed to that outcome. I struggled with emotions while planning that piece. I thought maybe at such a sad moment I should follow the path of “peace and reconciliation,” the way things felt in the heartbreaking speech of Ford’s little girl Stephanie about how now he was a “Mayor of Heaven”. He sure is.

Rob Ford had the ability to connect with people, even though he looked shy and awkward. I will remember him forever as he appeared in the video below, greeting a group of kids at City Hall. That was in 2014, after the pompous Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong led the coup, which declared Rob worse than Satan and stripped him from his powers. Yet when on that day the kids came and sat behind me, they got excited when they saw him. While he was slowly climbing the stairs a boy exclaimed: “I am your biggest fan!” “Me too!” added another one, to which Ford simply replied: “Thank you.”

Leaving things at that feel-good level would be unfair to Rob Ford – sugar-coating his work and situation won’t be something he would agree with. The media did their best to cover up people’s admiration for him or to picture his supporters as ignorant idiots. His life was a constant struggle and confrontation over the principles he defended – that’s what made him popular. He was the rarest breed of politician – the one who actually meant what he promised, respecting the people who were ignored and considered only money sources to be taxed for financing mindless social projects.

He would’ve liked such an approach because he never ran away from his battles, even when they were forced on him. I am deeply familiar with what he went through over the years, with the media attacks and smears, with the constant confrontations with parasitic social activists and corrupt politicians. In 2014 I planned to write a rebuttal of the press blackmail against him. I thought it was going to be a modest project that would take couple of weeks, but the more I delved into the matter, the more it felt like diving into a sewer as more and more materials emerged. The small project eventually turned into a large book (Lynched: The Media War against Rob Ford) which grew to nearly 400 pages, published on Amazon.

It was depressing to see what Ford was forced to endure over many years. Corrupt and evil politicians like Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne haven’t experienced even a fraction of what Ford had to go through at the hands of the media.

It’s no wonder that the systematic harassment had negative consequences on his personal life, leading to many problems, including addiction. And while the addicts are defended by the mainstream press in Canada to the point that now they want to force safe-injection sites in the Toronto neighbourhoods, no such consideration was given to Ford. He was mercilessly ridiculed and attacked.

That contempt was extended also to his family and supporters, the ordinary people of Toronto who dared to think for themselves and confront the social schemes peddled by our elites.

He wasn’t an articulate man, he said openly what he thought and the ordinary people understood him. This wasn’t acceptable to the knights of the political correctness who saw everything he said as a verbal assault on the special interest group du jour. Ford was blackmailed and sued and every initiative he started was blocked regardless of the cost. He managed to pass motions that saved the taxpayers nearly $1 billion, but it was an epic battle, because of his opponents’ determination to sabotage him no matter how much the cost to the people of Toronto. He fought for the taxpayers to the very end, as the shameful City Council budget session in 2014 below shows – the Council rejected almost all of his proposals.

There is not enough space here to cover all the disgusting media filth thrown at Ford (though that is covered in the book). Often the harassment took bizarre forms when Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale went to snoop at Ford’s home or when the comedy hack Mary Walsh ambushed him at the same place. When he refused to march with the naked exhibitionists at the gay parade and chose to spend his time with his family, the Toronto Star and the homosexual lobby even sent photographers to spy on him at the cottage.

The hostility took an even more ridiculous shape during the Winter Olympics in Russia in February, 2014. Due to the Russian laws limiting homosexual propaganda, the City Hall social justice warriors decided to fly the rainbow flag during the event. Ford opposed it and said that the Canadian flag should express the support for all athletes. He was outnumbered by the usual suspects like Councillors Josh Matlow, Sarah Doucette, Gord Perks, Paula Fletcher and Norm Kelly to whom scoring a few points with the influential gay minority was much more important than the Canadian team. The notorious Daniel Dale was outraged that Rob Ford would display the Canadian flag at his office window.

The odd priorities of the City Council pretty much outlined what we could expect after the cancer diagnosis eliminated Rob Ford from the race. We ended up with John Tory – a cardboard mayor with one functioning arm, which stamps his approval on every demand of the special interests (though it would have been even worse under Olivia Chow). At his first appearance as a mayor-elect, at the tranny flag ceremony at City Hall, he almost got beaten when fist fight erupted among the participants. He broke most of his promises made during the campaign and even increased the taxes. Under Tory they abolished the police “carding” under pressure from the Black Lives Matter, an extremist group financed by Soros. As a result, the black gang violence in Toronto (despite the cover-up of the racial statistics) skyrocketed – now you have a very good chance to be stabbed or shot in the downtown core, which wasn’t the same under Rob Ford.

Councillor Norm Kelly, the acting “mayor” in Ford’s last year, decided to become in his twilight years an international Twitter celebrity with special appeal to the hip-hop community. Acquiring over 100,000 Twitter followers was more important than his constituents. At the request of militant feminazis, the entertaining Tory-Kelly duo spent significant time last summer trying to stop the pickup artist Roosh V from speaking in Canada. This is the circus we have to put up with under the “new and mature” City Council.

Even after his death, the smear of Rob Ford continued. I forced myself to read one article of it written by Andray Domise. He is a “community activist,” a wannabe Obama, who ran against Rob Ford in Ward 2. Only one thing is worse than a socialist and it is a vindictive socialist who lost an election. In his article Domise trashes Ford under a thin guise of compassion. He blames him for not bending the rules to accommodate a “patois-speaking” woman who couldn’t pay the community housing rent due to sickness and didn’t want to move to the alternative accommodation she was offered. Domise has no problem demanding welfare entitlement – as a poor taxpayer I would never be offered those choices in a similar situation.

The worst vitriol Domise reserves for Ford Nation:

We speak of Ford Nation — a collection of the aggrieved, the disillusioned, the fed-up taxpayers of Toronto – as though they constitute a legitimate political bloc. Yet we failed to collectively confront and reject what Rob Ford created: a final enclave for open bigotry in Toronto. Ford Nation was in many ways a prototype for the Donald Trump brand; the dying scream of nativism against the corrupting forces of multiculturalism and political correctness. As individuals, members of Ford Nation spoke fiercely of their respect for tax dollars. As a group, they spoke in blatantly racist language against mayoral candidate Olivia Chow during municipal debates. As a mob, they physically attacked protesters at Ford Fest, ripping up signs and even targeting a gay man for physical assault.

Such opinions always ignore the truth that Ford Nation included every imaginable ethnic group in Toronto and bigotry was the last thing on their minds. But that is the distorted opinion of every “progressive” about common people who don’t fit in a special interest group. Such opinions express pure contempt and surprise that those people dare to stand up and defend their interests. In the twisted minds of people like Domise that’s just bigotry. Never mind that Canada’s ultimate socialist, Olivia Chow, was much more interested in accommodating China, she even went there to solicit votes for her mayoral campaign. To people like Domise and Chow patriotism is a dirty word.

As of the clash with the homosexuals – that militant group went to Ford Fest with offensive signs with the sole purpose to start a fight. Domise conveniently forgets the cases when such groups have attacked and assaulted people at various events (the case of Rev. David Lynn and the rabid lesbians comes to mind).

These were the people who did their best to systematically ruin Rob Ford’s life over many years. Unfortunately, they succeeded.

A few days ago they managed to top themselves. Those shameless losers even complained over Ford’s funeral, that laying in state at City Hall cost $19,000. I don’t recall any conservatives complaining when the honour was bestowed upon Jack Layton. Rob Ford saved the taxpayers nearly $1 billion, Jack and his wife went through life stealing every tax dollar they could lay their greedy hands upon. Once again, the Ford family showed its class by deciding to cover those expenses. We are still waiting for the greedy Olivia to do the same about Layton’s funeral expenses.

Why is all of this so important? What we had witnessed during Ford’s career and the way he was treated by the media maggots in life and death is much more significant than him. It affects all of us. The media united front is ready to unleash its rabid dogs on everybody who deviates from their line. This is much bigger than Rob Ford and we should be aware of it – every politician who behaves like him will be treated the same way and must be prepared for it.

The same smear model was applied by the Liberals during the 2015 federal election. In his attempt to embarrass Harper and the conservatives, Justin Trudeau didn’t miss the opportunity to express his indignation when the Prime Minister appeared at a rally organized by Doug and Rob Ford in Toronto.trudeau-against-rob-fordIt was an odd move by the shiny non-entity that now occupies a Prime Minister’s chair, which is too big for him. At approximately the same time, Justin Trudeau was campaigning with Kathleen Wynne and her henchmen. That was one of the situations that Jesus meant when He said “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Even the worst problems in Rob Ford’s personal life pale when compared with the magnitude of horrible deeds that the McGuinty-Wynne gang has done.

If Martin Scorsese optioned their story, he could make a movie that will top any of his other mob stories. Yet Justin Trudeau has no problem associating with such people. Politically, Canada is spinning in a downward moral spiral.

As I was working on this piece, I heard on the radio that Councillor Josh Matlow was planning a motion to strip Donald Trump’s name from the Trump Tower because the presidential candidate wanted to build a wall to stop the illegal Mexican invaders. I am glad that the City Council has resolved all other pressing issues and that’s the only one remaining.

The circus continues. I have the feeling that Rob Ford is looking down at us from his celestial abode, laughing and shaking his head.

© 2016 Blogwrath.com

 

 

Journey into the Macabre – the Catacombs of Paris

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Walls of bones and skulls in the catacombs

Visiting the Catacombs of Paris was the most bizarre part of my trip to France. The long underground tunnels have hosted for centuries the bones of an estimated 6,000,000 Parisians. The reason for the existence of this ossuary is that nearly two centuries ago the French capital ran out of cemetery spaces and the solution was to move the bones underground into the abandoned quarries. Originally, the remains were dumped there but gradually they were neatly arranged into walls of bones with skulls put in-between to face the passerby with their empty eye sockets.

Originally, the tunnels were quarries for extracting the so-called “Paris stone”, a type of high-quality limestone, used to build most of the houses and palaces in Paris. In the Roman times they used open quarries, but by the Middle Ages the extraction moved underground, which created that complicated maze of tunnels. By the XVIII century the extraction works stopped but new problems emerged. Some of the tunnels started caving in, damaging houses and causing panic among the city population. That forced King Louis XVI to create in the 1770’s a special institution to deal with the problem. That was described on a large plate near the entrance of the catacombs:

7-catacombs-of-paris-creation-inscriptionEngineers strengthened the walls and installed supporting pillars in many tunnels. Special plates installed on the walls mark the year of the work and the name of the engineer in charge:

5-catacombs-of-paris-engineer's-markEverything came to an end after the anarchy of the French Revolution stopped most public works. They were continued only after the Restoration in the early 1800’s. Meanwhile, the underground space became a repository for more and more remains. It took the bones of the thousands of the victims of the revolution, including their butcher Maximilien Robespierre. By mid-XIX century the catacombs became a popular spot. Many Parisians felt the thrill of walking the stuffy and humid tunnels while watched by the skulls. According to our guide, the place was visited even by royalty – Emperor Francis I of Austria in 1814 and Emperor Napoleon III of France in 1860.

Not much has changed since then, other than the fact that no new bones have been moved in. There is electric light, but the tunnels are still dark and depressing. For safety reasons only 200 people are allowed to be in at a time. That makes the access complicated. The visitors line up in a queue that runs around the whole block. The average waiting time is over an hour.

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Waiting to enter the catacombs

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The entrance with the guards

Once you reach the door, you are faced by two grim security guards who look in your bag and check you with a metal detector, which has become the new normal in Paris. There are no elevators and the visitors are going down in small groups through a deep and narrow stone stairwell (about 90 stairs). Climbing them on the way out is almost a nightmare.

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The deep stairwell

Then we take a long corridor, which is strengthened with bricks. At its end we enter the old quarries where the limestone is still visible.

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The long corridor

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The old limestone quarries

That takes another long walk and we finally reach the entrance of the ossuary where a sign tells us that we are required not to touch anything or smoke.

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The entrance of the ossuary

As I mentioned above, the remains of millions of people are not concealed but laid in the open. Walking along those long corridors surrounded by so many bones and skulls creates an eerie feeling. Some people couldn’t take it and rushed at full speed to the exit.

At some places the bones look like they have been hastily thrown in a pile, but in most parts they are arranged neatly and it looked that the people who did it enjoyed their work.

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A perfect wall of bones and skulls

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A pillar of bones

Most of the piles are neatly marked with signs, which indicate the cemetery where the people were originally buried. The remains below came from the old cemetery of Faubourg Montmartre and were laid to rest in the catacombs in 1859.

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The remains above are much older – they came from the St. Eustache Cemetery and were placed at the catacombs in 1787, just two years before the Revolution.

It is not easy to walk around surrounded by so many dead people. Still, I didn’t mind spending another hour among them. My wife, however, didn’t feel at ease at all and I agreed with her that we should get out quickly. The way out involved a long walk through a wet and slippery corridor, which fortunately wasn’t decorated with attentive skulls.

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At its end came the grueling climb of another narrow stairwell with 90 stone stairs.

Stepping out of the darkness and on the sidewalk brought the same experience Dante probably had after leaving hell. The cloudy skies of Paris and the cool air outside felt like a salvation.

© 2016 Blogwrath.com

Walking on Champs-Élysées on a Rainy Day

Champs-Élysées is the best-known street in downtown Paris. It hosts many expensive private residences; it is also the place where the palace of the President of France is located. It is very wide and the French have not yet figured out how to ruin it by adding a few bike lanes.

The main attraction of Champs-Élysées are the many high-end stores. Sadly, the Muslim menace has reached even this posh street. At almost every expensive store you are greeted by a security guard, who politely asks you to open your bags for inspection and then checks you with a metal detector.

The pictures were taken two days ago in the late afternoon, right after the rain stopped.

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© 2016 Blogwrath.com

The Eiffel Tower at Night

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The Eiffel Tower in Paris is beyond any doubt the most recognizable landmark of Paris. It was not the same in the beginning, after the tower was erected in 1889. Many Parisians saw it as a sore thumb, which ruined the landscape of Paris. The famous author Guy de Maupassant deeply detested it.

But as it happens with any new landmark, people gradually learned to like it. It soon became the symbol of Paris, visible in brochures, photos and countless other materials promoting the city. Even Adolf Hitler, after he conquered France, didn’t miss the opportunity to be photographed in front of the tower. Selfies didn’t exist Hitler’s times, but a selfie with the Eiffel Tower in the background will be a picture mandatory to see in the Canadian press when our homegrown idiot Justin Trudeau visits Paris.

During the day, the Eiffel Tower is a dull dark structure, which impresses mostly with the mastery and ingenuity of the people who created it. At night, however, it becomes lively and looks magnificent due to its lights. I am not sure how that works, but the latter are arranged in a way that provides countless variety of colours (moving and static) with different intensity that can switch in ways that convey different colour messages.

We visited it two days ago, right after France switched to summer time, and when we arrived it wasn’t that dark.

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The Eiffel Tower at dusk – a closer look

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The tower attracts many people

The Eiffel Tower is open to the public – they have access to its different levels at different prices. In daytime, climbing it by foot or “ascenseur” is a good idea because of the breathtaking panorama of Paris that can be observed from the top. At night, however, all you can see are the city lights, so we skipped that part. Still, there were many people lining up for tickets to climb the tower.

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Buying tickets

We spent the time walking around to take pictures from different angles and distances. Despite the late hour, people kept coming. As with every large gathering of tourists, here also you can’t avoid the inevitable small merchants and thieves. There were quite a few pushy flower sellers taking advantage of the romantic bug that affects the visitors of Paris.

Others (mostly black guys) walked around carrying their wares on strings. And they are only two types – selfie sticks that fit most phones and small metal replicas of the Eiffel Tower in different colour (all made in China). In the park behind the tower I spotted two Arab guys selling bottles of wine, placed on the muddy alley (it rained the whole day, but it stopped at sundown). They were charging 10 euro per bottle. Other than the fact that wine is haram in Islam, it is worth noting that the local wine in France could be extremely cheap. You can get a relatively good bottle of wine for as little as 1.50-3.00 euro (heavily subsidized agriculture is one of the gifts of the European “Soviet” Union to the French farmers).

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The Eiffel Tower viewed from the park

The other category is not as visible as the vendors. The thieves around the tower are mostly gypsy pickpockets (often from Romania or Bulgaria). They usually work in groups – some distract the target, while the others clean his or her pockets and purses. They are very creative in their methods and that could be a theme for whole new article. I had a close call in the subway when such a thief almost snatched my camera. Right now France is under terror alert and groups of heavily armed soldiers patrol most tourist places and streets. That seems to give second thoughts to the gypsies and they are less active in such places.

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Front view from across the street

Fortunately, the government is still capable of keeping the façade of Paris relatively clean. The hordes of rapists and other criminals that Frau Merkel imported by the millions have reached France, but they are not visible in Paris. They live mostly in the Muslim ghettoes and the outskirts. I planned to visit such a vibrant Muslim neighbourhood, but was strongly discouraged from doing so. In a nutshell, one can lose his camera and end up badly beaten in the process.

Now is the time to visit Paris – in a few years from now the tide of Muslim barbarians could turn that magnificent city into a new Palmyra. The Eiffel Tower may survive as the world’s tallest minaret.

 

© 2016 Blogwrath.com

Bataclan Theatre Five Months after the Muslim Terrorist Attacks

Bataclan Theatre in Paris is a place that will be linked forever with the worse terrorist attack in the French history. On November 13, 2015, during a rock concert held there, a group of Muslim terrorists attacked the audience killing 89 and wounding over 200. When you are in Paris, it is not difficult to see that the pain of that event still reverberates in the minds of the Parisians.

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Bataclan in March, 2016

While visiting the city, many people feel the need to pay their respects to the victims. I did the same the other day. The once lively café at the ground floor is shut down and so is the whole building. A fence has been erected in front of the building and a construction notice explains that the theatre will be going through a substantial renovation. There were construction materials scattered around.

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Bataclan under renovation

The strong feelings of the people of Paris about the terror attack have been reflected in numerous graffiti on the side wall of the building, but they are barely legible after having been painted over with white paint.  Still, an inscription on the fence is clearly visible.

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Loud and clear message

The traces of the horror are also still visible on the side wall – in the narrow street we saw holes made by the bullets, both on the wall of Bataclan and on the opposite building. That was the place where many people tried to escape from the windows.

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The side wall

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The escape windows

And here are a few of the bullet holes and other damage:

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paris-bataclan-march-2016-6Here is what I saw:

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As I mentioned in my previous post, after the bombings in Brussels, the mood in Paris is gloomy. There is heavy army and police presence and many people think that the city could be hit again. And with the sea of Muslim immigrants who are flooding Europe thanks to incompetent and often simply evil politicians that option becomes more and more probable.

© 2016 Blogwrath.com

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