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| January 27th, 2017 | Continued

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The Mad King

 

authors note: It’s rare that I write on a non-French subject. But this situation concerns the World.

In his recent book, “The Mad King – His Non-Fake Facts”, Investigative Journalist Atherton Cooper details the “career arc” of the conman who became (a self-appointed) King. Donald Trump.

As he was ascending to his “throne” (courtesy of the Electoral College, not the “will of the people” as he frequently claims,) in this post, I wrote: “Donald Trump is America’s Hitler.”

The parallels are chilling.To say the least.

Immigrants discriminated against and barred from entering. (By the son of an immigrant.)

Children seperated from their parents and locked up in cages in unsanitary and inhuman conditions.

Racist attacks on rival female politicans of color and different religious beliefs to “go back where they came from.” When, despite their ethnicity, they were “born in the U.S.A.”

And perhaps the most startling revelation was his first wife’s comment that “the donald’s” bedtime reading was Hitler’s Mein Kampf,which he annotated.

At first glance you might think that’s another thin “maybe” factoid. Until you consider the not coincidental similarities between the two dictators labels for critical media.

Hitler – “lying news.”
Trump – “fake news.”

Clearly, no American, of either party, ever expected they would be governed by a president who retained control of his business interests(through his sons), profited directly from the public purse – charging higher than usual prices for secret service accomodation at his hotels – playing golf at his own courses on the taxpayers back , while bragging that he wasn’t taking his presidental salary, and, in contrast to every other president, not making his tax returns public.

The bottom line is simple: Donald Trump is a conman. Who, by virtue of a gaping flaw in the American political system, got the opportunity to run the biggest con imaginable : Taking America to the cleaners. HIS cleaners.

As Mr. Cooper explains in “The Mad King”, Trump started out as, and remains, a bully. (Albiet now, sadly, on a larger stage).

The reason his father sent him to military school was the discovery that Donald was planning to go to the “bad” side of new York, to buy a switchblade.

The bully morphed easily into a conman. Aided by his Father’s wealth and credit line.

He conned the New Jersey Gaming Commission into granting him a casino lisence, without the usual checks saying he was: “too young to get into any trouble.”

But the Donalds casinos were, as you probably know, were nothing but trouble. Rapidly closing.

Undeterred, Trump conned on. Always demanding the highest payout, always stiffing contractors and employees, and sueing anyone who wouldn’t “play ball” on Trumps diamond.

His greatest success as a con artist, was convincing too many Americans that he was the consumate businessman, who would “drain the swamp” and “run America like a business.” (One of his few Truthful statements. He does run America like a business. HIS business.)

This “Business Czar” fairytale was “validated” by his book, “The Art of the Deal”, written by Tony Swartz.(not Trump) And by his reality TV show : “The Apprentice.”

A classic example of style over substance.

Trump has failed at more than 30 business endeavours. Trump Steaks. Trump airlines,Trump, the game, the list of losers goes on and on. And, not to forget the ultimate “you can be rich like me” con – Trump University.

The Donald, in spite of Daddy’s money and credit line, has gone backrupt four times.
And when American banks finally got smart and refused to lend him anymore, Trump knocked on the doors of European banks. (Now, so we’re told, releasing Trump financial records to investigators.)

All Trump’s of conning, given his character and history is not suprising.

What is suprising is that no one, not even the scores of mental Health professionals, who were, at the get go, warning that Trump was “dangerous”; forsaw that he would become Deadly. Literally. To the American people.

By(before the Coronavirus pandemic) disbanding the agency that was responsible for preparing for exactly what Amercia is now facing; by his deperate attempts to turn every disaster into an excuse for self-praise; by continuing to stoke resentment against Asian Amercians by called Covid-19 “the Chinese Virus”, and worst of all, by not pulling out all the stops to give medical professionals the supplies they need, Donald Trump has confimed his madness. And in the process, sentenced an as yet unknown number of Amercians, to death.

Beneath his narcissism,beneath the incredible hubris, Donald Trump, the ultimate conman, the serial liar is certainly telling the truth to himself.

The truth that future generations will, and rightly, link his name with the other mad king. The one from Bavaria.

What a legacy to leave your son.

THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE.
WHAT ARE YA THINKING?

French Coronoavirus Samaritan

French Coronoavirus Samaritan

is, as I explained in my last post, the gignormous French luxury conglomerate LVMH. 

While the names, Dior,Givenchy,Guerlain and Fendi are universally familar – there is a name connected with the French Coronavirus Samaritan that,unless you’re intro International business, will not ring any bells.

That name is: Bernard Arnault. He is the big Kahuna. The Main Man. He who calls the shots. And since putting together, and running LVMH, Monsieur Arnault is now the third richest man in the World. Just behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

My fellow scribbler Susan Adams at Forbes has the luxurious details:

“Why are brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior so successful?” Arnault asks. “They have these two aspects, which may be contradictory: They are timeless, [and] they are at the utmost level of modernity. . . . It’s like fire and water.”

That paradox has translated into record sales and profits at LVMH, whose roster of more than 70 brands includes FendiBulgariDom Pérignon and Givenchy. That, in turn, has helped drive up LVMH’s stock price, which has nearly tripled in less than four years. Arnault, who owns 47% of the company’s shares with his family, is now worth $102 billion, $68 billion more than he was in 2016. He is the third-richest person on earth, just behind Jeff Bezos ($110 billion) and Bill Gates ($106 billion).

And at 70, Arnault is far from done. In late October, LVMH made an unsolicited $14.5 billion bid for the 182-year-old American jeweler Tiffany. If the deal goes through, it will be Arnault’s biggest acquisition ever. “If you compare us to Microsoft, [we are] small,” he says. Indeed, LVMH’s market value of $214 billion lags far behind the software giant’s $1.1 trillion. “It’s just the beginning,” says Arnault.

Arnault’s beginnings in France’s industrial north were far removed from the glittering perch he now occupies. His first love was music, but he didn’t have the talent to make it as a concert pianist. Instead, after graduating from an elite French engineering school in 1971, he joined his father at the construction firm founded by his grandfather in the city of Roubaix.

An exchange with a New York cab driver that same year planted a seed that would grow into LVMH. Arnault asked the cabbie if he knew of France’s president, Georges Pompidou. “No,” replied the driver, “but I know Christian Dior.”

At age 25, Arnault took charge of the family business. After socialist François Mitterrand became France’s president in 1981, Arnault moved to the States and tried to build a division there. But his ambitions were bigger than construction. He wanted an enterprise he could scale, a business with French roots and international reach.

In 1984, when he learned that Christian Dior was for sale, he pounced. Its parent, a textile and disposable-diaper company called Boussac, had gone bankrupt, and the French government was looking for a buyer. Arnault put up $15 million of his family’s money, and Lazard supplied the rest of the $80 million purchase price. At the time, according to reports, he made a pledge to revive operations and preserve jobs, but instead he fired 9,000 workers and pocketed $500 million, selling off most of the business. Critics recoiled at his brazenness, which seemed more American than genteel French. The media later dubbed Arnault “the wolf in the cashmere coat.”

Arnault’s next prey was Dior’s perfume division, which had been sold to Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, and a fight between the company’s brand heads gave him an opening. First, he teamed up with the boss of Vuitton, the leather-goods company whose founder had made custom trunks for Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III. Arnault helped the head of Vuitton oust Moët’s chief, only to get rid of him, too. By 1990, again backed by Lazard and using the cash from Boussac, he had taken control of the company, which included Moët & Chandon, the famous French champagne maker, and Hennessy, the French cognac producer that dates to 1765.

After conquering Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, Arnault spent billions to acquire leading European companies in fashion, fragrance, jewelry and watches, and fine wines and spirits. Since 2008, LVMH has purchased 20, bringing the total to 79 brands. In 2011 it paid nearly $5 billion for the Italian jeweler Bulgari in a mostly stock deal. Two years later it bought the fine-wool purveyor Loro Piana for a reported $2.6 billion. Arnault’s most recent acquisition was in April when LVMH paid $3.2 billion for the London-based hotel group Belmond, whose opulent holdings include the Cipriani hotel in Venice, the luxury train line Orient Express and three ultra-luxe safari lodges in Botswana.

“Bernard Arnault is a predator, not a creator,” says a banker who was close to the Boussac deal.

Arnault has not succeeded at every conquest. In 2001 he lost what the media called the “handbag war” for control of fabled Italian fashion house Gucci, to his French luxury rival, François Pinault. Over the next decade, LVMH used a stealth tactic common among hedge funds—cash-settled equity swaps—to secretly acquire 17% of Hermès, the 182-year-old maker of fine silk scarves and the iconic Birkin bag. Hermès fought Arnault off in a protracted battle that ended in 2017 with LVMH relinquishing most of its Hermès shares.

Before proclaiming his vision for his conglomerate, he catches himself. “In a way, I should not say that, because you may think I am pretentious,” he says. But then he lets loose: “[LVMH] is a French monument. Because it represents France all over the world. People know better the name of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Dom Pérignon, Cheval Blanc, than anything else. Maybe they know also Napoleon? General de Gaulle? We think it’s important that this group, for the long term, is controlled by a French family.”

THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!

WHAT ARE YA THINKIN’?

LVMH attacks Cornona Virus

LVMH attacks Cornona Virus

Usually they make luxury stuff like this:

 

 

 

Now they’re making necessary stuff like this:

And, best of all, for free.

“THEY” are the monolithic Luxury goods monster – LVMH. Home to spendy brands like Dior, Givency, Guerlain and Louis Vitton.

And lets not forget the World’s most expensive wine – Chateau  d’ Yquem. 

A wine(sadly) not even Da Bg has tasted. (So far)

LMVH is stepping up to the plate to do their part in protecting the french from the ever spreading coronavirus, by, as of today, shifting gears in the perfumieries of Dior, Givency and Guerlain, to produce hydroalcoholic gel.

Which they’ll distribute, for free to French hospitals.

As you’re no doubt aware(and if not now you are) hydroalcoholic gel is the most effective preventive measure thus far in the attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus.

This a doubly good news for french hospitals. Because although they haven’t yet run out of their HC gel supply,it was getting low.

Now, all French hospitals, as well as 39 teaching hospitals will have a new, and hopefully, continuing supply.

Here’s the word straight from the (luxury)”Horse’s Mouth”:

“LVMH intends to help address the lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus. LVMH will continue to honor this commitment for as long as necessary.

Though this initiatve LVMH plans to adress the lack of product in france and enable a greater number of people to take the right action to protect themselves from this virus.”

THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE
WHAT ARE YA THINKIN’?