If you were so unlucky as to receive all of your inputs on world news and events from only the American mainstream media, you would obviously be a bizarre, twisted creature so enveloped in fear, propaganda and misinformation you'd have trouble even finding your way to the next NASCAR race.

You would also view France as being a meek, cowardly country full of wine and cheese eating French people, of whom you find repugnant.  You would also view them as being a lesser country to the great, free nation of America, the home of liberty.

It is amazing how America's government, through their fascist state controlled media monopolies and government run schools have managed to shape this image of France in direct contrast to the truth.

While America considers itself to be the beacon of liberty, the French have spent centuries fighting, and on numerous occasions rioting in the streets, fighting for the ideals and rights of free men and liberty.

American media also seems to insinuate, regularly, that the French are cowardly and weak, often pointing to their defeat and surrender to Germany and Italy in the Battle of France in 1940, at the beginning of World War II.

Again, since world history is not taught in American schools, it goes unnoticed by many that France was the America of it's time in the 18th and 19th century.

France, initially under Napoleon, ravaged the world, taking over much of Europe and had outposts for its empire in virtually every corner of the planet.

This empire, as all empires do, eventually became so bankrupt and unmanageable that it eventually imploded on itself and by the time of World War I, France's empire was on it's last legs.

In World War I, France sent 7.5 million of its fighting men into battle and 1.4 million were killed, with another 4.2 million wounded, for a total casualty percentage of 75%.

This left France mortally wounded.  After fighting battles around the world from the Napoleonic Wars in 1799 onward, the nation was almost barren of battle capable, healthy men by 1918.

Less than a generation later, the empire hungry armies of Germany and Italy came and took over France in a little more than a month.

It is interesting that France dominated the planet, much the same as the Americans currently do, for nearly two centuries, but after being ravaged by the same issues that are plaguing America now, and being decimated in World War I, American media always connotes France as being weak and easily "giving up".

American schoolchildren are also taught that America essentially "won" World War II, saving the French, even though America was not involved until nearly half way through the war, with other countries, most notably the Soviet Union, suffering major loss of life during the long war.

The Soviet Union had 23 million deaths (10.7 million military / 11.5 million civilian) during the war, whereas the US had a total loss of life of 418,500, even less than France who lost 562,000 even despite their short period of involvement.

So, it is very bizarre, and sad, that most Americans do not even realize the similarities they have with France, and how much of American culture has its roots with France, with France even providing much of the capital and some military assets to the anti-British rebels (who would be called terrorists in America today) who fought and won independence for the United States in the American Revolution.

While most Americans have seemed to forgotten their strong connection to France, France had not forgotten its affinity for the United States and what it was trying to build during the first few great centuries of its republic.

Many are not even aware that the Statue of Liberty, an icon that so many Americans salute so proudly to, was a gift from France in 1885.

France has seen the US as being the flag carrier for many of the ideals of liberty and freedom that were built upon in France.

Yet, when France gave its initial disapproval of the now-failed Iraq occupation (called a "war" by the US), the American military-industrial complex went to work to demonize France as being practically allied with the "enemy", with laughable results such as some American restaurants changing the name of "french fries" to "freedom fries".

American citizens would do very well to look at many of France's mistakes made through all its years of empire, and to learn from them.  But due to American propaganda and state controlled media, this is unlikely to happen.

Today, France and America both find themselves shadows of their once lean, bright, valiant selves.

While America's woes are too many to list (see the new documentary, "America: From Freedom to Fascism" on Google Video for some insights into this), France also finds itself in some precarious situations.

As per tradition, there have been numerous riots in Paris over the last few years, but none of the riots have any of the noble causes of the past, but are both indicative of France's deep rooted and festering problems.

Over a period of three months earlier this year, students rioted in the streets over a proposed labor law change that would have made it easier for workers under twenty-six years old to be fired.

This particular riot was like a magnifying glass into much of France's problems.

To begin with, France, as with most of Europe, has an appalling socialist leaning and mind boggling bureaucratic quagmire in regards to most of the facets of its economy, which has left it lagging most of the rest of the world in growth as business is barely able to function under the incredible weight of all the rules, regulations and price fixing of the government.

Yet, when the government actually took one small step to try to alleviate some of this burden and give a spark to the economy by enabling businesses to feel free to hire with less fear due to the fact that they could now fire someone who was completely incompetent, the very people it would have helped fought it like grim death itself.

This one act was more than enough to show that France does not have the capability to unburden itself and give itself a chance in the modern, competitive economy.

Also symptomatically, on the anniversary of immigrant-related riots this week, trouble appears to be sparking up again as predominantly muslim youths act out their anger in the suburbs of Paris.

Some see this as being some sort of religious or ethnic issue, but the actual issue is economic, similar to the student riots.

Overburdened by socialist tinkering, France has high levels of unemployment which is most evident in the poor immigrant classes who find themselves feeling shunned while also living in poverty and unemployment.

Unbelievably, many in France are calling for the government to "do more" to "create" employment for them as well as to give them more money when in fact, too much social engineering and government bungling and waste is the actual problem in the first place.

If France cannot ever realize the source of almost all it's problems are the government's actions itself, there is no hope at all for this country.

If students riot to restrict employment opportunities dramatically and if France thinks the solution to poverty stricken immigrant issues is to further hamper the free market, then this terrible spiral of fixing it's problems by causing bigger problems will not end until a complete collapse of the economy and bankruptcy of the nation.

In this way, America and France, whom started down the same path together, yet took separate roads, appear to be heading for the same messy finale.