Archive for Political Science Fiction

Someone’s dream job

The trick is finding a vacancy in one of the 535 positions:

The press likes to tell us how unpopular the President is. Congress rates even lower. Our representative earn three times the average worker, exempt themselves from the laws they pass, vote themselves junkets and vacations at the taxpayer expense, get pensions for life and complain they need a housing allowance to make ends meet. Yet somehow every one of these guys and gals leaves office a multimillionaire. I don’t care how much you save and invest, $160K a year does not turn into tens of millions in a decade unless you get Hillary to teach you about cattle futures.

Oh, they catch on fast enough, believe me.

Comments




He went to church incognito

The New York Post front page, following the resignation (effective next month) of White House press secretary Sean Spicer:

New York Post cover story: No More Mr. Spice Guy

Of course, he’s got no friends, because they read the papers.

Comments (3)




A bad idea whose time will never come

The perpetrator this time is Attorney General Sessions, who seeks more opportunities to rob the citizenry in the name of crime prevention:

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department will issue new directives to increase the federal govenment’s use of civil asset forfeiture, a controversial practice that allows law enforcement to seize property from suspected criminals without charging them with a crime.

Why? It’s profitable:

A 2014 Washington Post investigative series found that warrantless police seizures … have boomed since 9/11, hauling in $2.5 billion. Also in 2014, for the first time ever, the U.S. government seized more property from Americans than burglars did.

Burglars, at least, are honest about their intentions.

Peter Grant blasts this idea the way it needs to be blasted:

The State makes the claim, and then — without having to prove it — proceeds to confiscate the asset(s) that it alleges were financed through the claimed illegal activity. Their owner must then prove that the State is wrong before he or she can reclaim the asset(s) — at his or her expense. Many can’t afford that expense.

This is immoral on a fundamental level. It removes the burden of proof from the authorities, and places it on the individual. It’s not justice — it’s the antithesis of justice. If the asset(s) are confiscated after the defendant has been found guilty of a crime by a jury of his or her peers, that’s one thing. To just take them, without any legal justification whatsoever, is as much a crime as the misdeeds of which their owner may be suspected or accused.

At the state level, in only three states — Montana, Nebraska and North Carolina — a criminal conviction must be obtained before any assets can be seized. This should be the standard nationwide, and the Attorney General should embrace it. He won’t, of course.

Comments (7)




If you build it, they will [redacted]

Warren Meyer, spring 2015:

For some reason, it appears that building hotels next to city convention centers is a honey pot for politicians. I am not sure why, but my guess is that they spend hundreds of millions or billions on a convention center based on some visitation promises. When those promises don’t pan out, politicians blame it on the lack of a hotel, and then use public money for a hotel. When that does not pan out, I am not sure what is next. Probably a sports stadium. Then light rail. Then, ? It just keeps going and going.

Warren Meyer, summer 2017:

Finally, we may be at an end, though politicians are still hoping for some sort of solution that better hides what a sorry expenditure of tax money this really was.

What he means by “this”:

Phoenix has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the city-owned Sheraton Grand Phoenix downtown hotel — the largest hotel in Arizona — for $255 million.

The city signed a letter of intent with TLG Phoenix LLC, an investment company based in Florida, to accept the offer and negotiate a purchase contract, city officials announced Tuesday evening.

But the deal faces criticism from some council members concerned about the loss to taxpayers. The city also attempted, unsuccessfully, to sell the hotel to the same buyer for a higher price last year.

If Phoenix ultimately takes the offer, the city’s total losses on the taxpayer-funded Sheraton could exceed $100 million.

The city still owes $306 million on the hotel and likely would have to pay that off, even after a sale. That would come on top of about $47 million the city has sunk into the hotel, largely when bookings dropped due to the recession.

Now how did the city of Phoenix end up owning a hotel?

When Phoenix leaders opened the Sheraton in 2008, they proclaimed it would be a cornerstone of downtown’s comeback. They had one goal in mind: lure big conventions and tourism dollars. Officials argued the city needed the extra hotel beds to support its massive taxpayer-funded convention center a block away.

Fortunately, that can’t possibly happen here.

Comments (2)




Rather familiar

Nawaz Sharif has served as the 12th, 14th, and (currently) 20th Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We may assume that he don’t like this:

The Panama Papers — a collection of documents leaked from off-shore law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2014 — included documents that appeared to indicate that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had accumulated a substantial fortune far beyond what he and his family legitimately earned. The Pakistani Supreme Court set up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to determine where the money came from. Sharif produced documents to show that the money had been legitimately acquired, but the authenticity of those documents was in question. Daughter Maryam Sharif appeared to have signed forged documents to try to cover up the truth.

And how was the truth of the matter ascertained?

How was the forgery detected? A document purporting to have been written and signed in 2006 used Microsoft’s Calibri font. While Calibri was originally designed in 2004 and was available in betas of Windows Vista and Office 2007 throughout 2006, it didn’t actually ship in a stable version of Windows or Office until 2007. As such, its use in a document dated 2006 is extremely suspect. It’s not impossible that, for some reason, beta software was used to prepare the documents. But it is more than a little unlikely.

At least no one’s claiming they were done on an IBM Selectric.

Comments (2)




Few trophies

If it sometimes seems these days that President Trump is desperately searching for things he can brag about, the problem, I suspect, resides less on Pennsylvania Avenue than on the GOP wing of Capitol Hill:

[T]hese pathetic mooks aren’t actually trying at all. And do you think they are worried by threats that they might lose their majorities? Why would that bother them? The only way they truly feel comfortable in Washington is when they are in the minority. They have no more idea how to actually govern than any other similar collection of hand-puppets would.

Trump, I suspect, knows this perfectly well, and when he’s not running off at the tweet in an effort to monopolize the news cycle, he’s scheming to cut the GOP off at the knees. And he’ll do a better job of it than the Democrats, I think.

Comments (1)




A headline for a summer’s eve

The story, such as it is:

Mayor de Blasio — forgetting that he’s accountable to eight million Big Apple residents — blew off a Post reporter Saturday after he gave a speech in Hamburg, Germany.

The mayor did extensive interviews with German media after delivering a speech to activists protesting the gathering of world leaders at the G20 summit.

But when a reporter for The Post greeted de Blasio after he’d talked to the German reporters, he smiled, turned and walked away without any acknowledgment.

That, by itself, would not appear to be a big deal. But:

De Blasio flew to Hamburg on Thursday afternoon after skipping a somber NYPD swearing-in ceremony following the murder of officer Miosotis Familia.

And the combination led to this Post front-page headline:

Front page of New York Post 9 July 2017

This would never have worked if the G20 summit had been held in Spain.

Comments (2)




And they’re still broke

The Illinois Seventh District state representative:

If you thought your tax bill was going up from $1000 to $1012, you deserve this guy.

A resident of the state is displeased to correct his misfiguring:

My late brother, who spent a fair amount of time as a drunken sailor, would have objected strenuously to this characterization.

Comments (3)




More of that Us vs Them stuff

“If the president does it, that means it’s not illegal.”

So said Richard Nixon, to David Frost in 1977. Eric Holder, Barack Obama’s last Attorney General, was utterly dedicated to that idea; Donald Trump, autocrat that he is, has made similar noises.

Now Nixon wasn’t around for Twitter, but I am persuaded that his own little fan club would loudly support him; partisans, at least as far as I can tell, will happily endorse this idea if their guy is President, and will loudly reject it otherwise. To test this notion, I tossed off an ad hoc Twitter poll; obviously, it’s not at all scientific, and the sample size is tiny, but the numbers lined up almost exactly the way I thought they would:

Persuaded as I am that almost everything the government does violates the Constitution in one way or another — well, okay, they’re allowed to deliver the mail — I just wonder where the hell we’ve been getting all these farging megalomaniacs, and the lackeys to serve at their beck and call.

Comments (3)




Running off at the beak

I have never followed Donald Trump on Twitter, and I really don’t have to: sooner or later, anything he tweets will end up in my timeline. But there’s very little reason to care about his little sub-paragraph explosions:

I don’t care about the president’s nasty tweets because I’m more concerned about his incoherent foreign policy, his foolishly protectionist trade policy, his shaky grasp of basic economics, his inconsistency on issues like immigration and health care policies and a host of others. Despite a few bright spots like James Mattis, Neil Gorsuch, Nikki Haley and probably Jerome Adams, President Trump is already building his Democratic opponents a solid case in the 2018 elections. Compared to these things, the tweets mean less than the product that comes out of the other end of the bird.

Fortunately for The Donald, the Democrats are constantly finding new ways to crap all over themselves; it’s not really necessary for him to point them out. And there is one saving — well, not grace exactly: desperate would-be Hillary-humpers like Peter Daou (among others, but he’s about the worst) have been reduced to a mixture of incoherent sputtering and outright whining, providing sporadic entertainment.

Comments (4)




Will Cap’n Crunch walk the plank?

The subject is being discussed in Australia:

More than half of supermarket products marketed at kids are unhealthy, according to a new survey by the Obesity Policy Coalition. The finding has led to calls for cartoon characters to be removed from “junk food” packaging.

The OPC surveyed 186 packaged foods with cartoons or character promotions designed to attract children. It found 52 per cent were classified as unhealthy by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion calculator.

Grocers and food processors put up a counterargument, probably to no avail:

The Australian Food and Grocery Council says parents also have control over what they feed their children.

“Parents are best placed to make the right food choices for their kids, and they have a role in using their purchasing discretion to determine what foods they purchase,” a council spokesperson said.

Canberra, we may safely assume, has the same disdain for leaving parents in control that Washington does.

Comments (5)




But we want it now

Californians will not be getting single-payer health care this year. Some of them are quite upset about that.

Comments (2)




Quote of the week

Dystopia. Who predicted it better? As the Gods of Clickbait might say, the answer may surprise you:

It probably says something about us that we accept the dystopian future of Orwell as being to some degree inevitable, despite the fact he has proven to be wrong about most things. He was not wrong about everything. He got communism right in Animal Farm. His critique of writing is timeless and is probably more applicable today than in his era. On the other hand, the future is not “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Not even close. The future is a bot making sure you never get your feelings hurt or have a bad day.

In that regard, Huxley has proven to be the more prescient. Brave New World was much more accurate, especially with regards to the upper classes. Whether or not we will ever be “decanting” humans is questionable, but science may be closer to genetically enhancing people than maybe is proper. Similarly, H. G. Wells understood the arc of humanity was toward a softer end than Orwell imagined. His depiction of the Eloi, and his explanation for why they existed, is being proven out today.

Even so, Orwell is what resonates with us even today, as we drift into the soft authoritarianism of the custodial state. The most likely reason is that at some level, people understand that at the core of every Utopian scheme is a coldness toward humanity that eventually leads to the sort of ugliness we associate with Orwell. Huxley’s future is eerie and disconcerting, but Orwell’s gets right to the heart of it. There is no hope and there is no joy, because in Utopia, those things have been banned.

If you’d asked my high-school class in the late 1960, who studied both these authors, they’d definitely have preferred Huxley’s version of London to Orwell’s Oceania. Then again, not one of them likely imagined being any lower down than Beta-Minus.

Comments (5)




Always be closing

A little at a time, then a little more, until we get a handle on the situation:

A lot of ink and a great many pixels have been lavished on a phantasm: the “government shutdown.” Whenever Congress bestirs itself to limit federal spending in any way, we’re threatened with a “government shutdown” … as if the federal government would ever willingly shut down 100%. Note that in each of the “government shutdowns” of recent years, approximately 85% of all federal employees have remained at their jobs, guaranteed to be paid their full salaries.

The most recent “government shutdown” frightened Americans so little that Barack Hussein Obama had to make it irritating: he instructed Parks Department employees to prevent access to any federal park or monument, even though the Parks Department remained open and functioning.

Clearly, the “shutdown” wasn’t frightening enough … yet the phrase “government shutdown” remains a scare-staple of the Establishment, particularly among Democrats. They want us to think that calamity of some sort will ensue should we dare to deny them what they demand. It just isn’t so. In reality, the fear runs in the opposite direction: The Establishment and its minions fear that we’ll discover that we don’t need them and in fact would do better without them.

The phrase that pays here is “particularly among Democrats.” This implies that there are co-conspirators who are not Democrats at all. And when the chips hit the fan, it’s all the same, red or blue, Coke or Pepsi, VHS or Beta.

Comments (3)




When two tribes go to war

A point is all you can score, and first one to a hundred points wins — not a goddamn thing:

We have a tribal war going on in this country that has officially gone beyond any real policy issues. While the US and the Soviet Union had real differences in philosophy and approach, most of their confrontations were in proxy wars which bore little resemblance to these values. That is what politics are now — a series of proxy wars. We spend several days focusing attention on Jeff Sessions, but spend pretty much zero time talking about real issues like approaches to the drug war, and police accountability, and sentencing reform. Instead all we can focus on is the political proxy war of this stupid Russia hacking story. Obama’s birth certificate and Hillary’s servers and Russian hacking and Trump’s real estate sales — all we fight are proxy wars.

And like most tribal warfare, the two tribes are incredibly similar. I have called them the Coke and Pepsi party for years. Go talk to the the rank and file and sure, one group may like Nascar and barbecue while the other likes Phish concerts and kale, but you will see them asking for the same sorts of things out of government. Take the minimum wage, a traditional blue tribe issue. In Arizona, a heavily red state (we have a super-majority in the legislature of the red team), a $10 minimum wage referendum passed by nearly 60% of the vote last year. The members of the two tribes absolutely hate each other, but they support the same laws. I guess I should be happy they don’t get together, since as a libertarian I think many of these things they want are bad ideas.

Just about anything that requires the government to provide something to a chosen few is a bad idea by definition, since the unchosen many are invariably required to finance it.

How to deal with this disconnect? Backing away, perhaps:

No more Twitter. For those of you who use Twitter as a news aggregator, my posts will still appear on twitter and from time to time I will post things there that fit on twitter better than in a full blog post. But I am not going to read my feed, and I am really not going to engage with things in my feed. Everyone is trying to piss me off, and worse, a few times they have been successful and I have posted juvenile retorts that I later regretted. I am going to keep a Civ 6 game on my computer and every time I am even tempted to open twitter I will play a couple of turns of Civ 6, worrying instead how to keep Gandhi from nuking me again. Ironically, I just today ticked over 1000 followers on Twitter, so thanks very much for the support, but if you tweet at me over the next month I won’t see it.

To my 1400 or so followers: I’m not going anywhere any time soon. But neither am I going to play this endless game of Your Team Sucks, since it’s becoming distressingly obvious that both teams suck and most of their cheerleaders should be dropped into an active volcano.

Comments (7)




These too shall pass

A timely reminder — most of hers are — from Roberta X:

Politics is a rough game; talking smack is a game for adolescents and nitwits. At their intersection, bad stuff happens, the kinds of things that can screw up a civilized government. I’m sick and tired of hearing that this President (or his predecessor, and on and on back) is the end of everything, a threat that needs to be rubbed out — Oh, nonsense. They’re all temporary jobs, for a couple of years, or four, or six, and then we can throw ’em right out if they’re a problem.* Talk against them if you don’t like them? Oppose the polices you think are bad (and cheer on the ones you like)? Sure, do that. But try to be a grown-up about it — because a few of the nominal adults around you aren’t.

The footnote:

* All right, except for Supreme Court justices. Still, having grown up in a rural county with “IMPEACH EARL WARREN” stickers on the fence posts at every third or fourth intersection leaves one aware that there’s a way to remove them, too.

Though no SCOTUS justice has ever been removed — yet.

Comments (1)




Available only in beta

I’ve met a few of these randos myself:

[S]ocialism has always had a unique version of the free-rider problem: Dorks jumping on the bandwagon trying to get laid. All the chiliastic socialists of the Middle Ages and Reformation preached that “common property” included common wives; Marx and Engels were still getting asked this question — and dodging it — well into the 19th century. Which makes sense when you look at Bolshevik women. If that’s your dating pool — and I think we all take it as read that SJWs have zero game — then oh my god yes, let’s socialize sex. Here again, the best Alt-Realist tactic seems to be: Make fun of these dorks for the dateless wonders they are.

Better yet, they’ll provide you, at least temporarily, with a forum in which you can mock them. It will last as long as they’re paying the freight, or they figure out what you really mean, whichever comes first.

Weirdly, I’ve encountered far fewer issues with way-left women. I’m not sure why, though it may simply be a case of too small a sample.

Comments (6)




And history loops back once more

“Only Nixon could go to China.” — Old Vulcan saying, quoted by Spock in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1992)

It might not even require both halves of that “if.”

Comments (4)




Says here it’s an act

It’s not that I object to the premise, it’s that I hate acronyms and backronyms of this sort:

The true definition of “covfefe” — born from a deleted, after-midnight tweet from President Trump — remains unsettled, even to the commander in chief, who appeared to mistype it into existence on Twitter last month. But a congressman from Illinois wants to bring new meaning to the word.

The COVFEFE Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) on Monday, aims to preserve tweets from the president’s personal Twitter account, ensuring that Trump’s social-media posts are archived as presidential records.

“In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets,” Quigley said in a statement. “If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference.”

Seems perfectly reasonable to me. I just wish Quigley’d called it something else; nine times out of ten, a stupid name undoes a sensible law. (The other time, it’s something like the PATRIOT Act, which was a stupid law with a stupid name.)

Comments (2)




Ferret-faced losers

Actually, ferrets are cuter:

I watched highlights of the Comey hearings. This public theater reminded me of a fact I learned decades ago watching the Sunday News shows — namely, that it is evident our best and brightest don’t usually choose politics as their career. I think politics is filled with a whole bunch of Frank Burns of M*A*S*H fame. In addition to being not that bright, I think a vast majority of politicians are egotistic corrupt power-hungry asswipes. At every level of government. Yes, that is a sentence fragment. You may fix the syntax on your own. Diagram the corrected passage and send it to me in order to get your final grade.

Add just a hint of avarice, and you’ve got them down to a formula.

(And just because, a toast.)

Comments (3)




Wishing for that next wish

Note: I swiped this from Joe Sherlock. I’m pretty sure he won’t mind.

A guy met a fairy who said she would grant him one wish.

He said, “I want to live forever.”

“Sorry, I’m not allowed to grant eternal life,” said the fairy.

“OK,” he replied. “Then, I want to die after Congress gets some work done.”

“You crafty bastard,” exclaimed the fairy.

Comments




I quit … eventually

We assume there are lots of money-grubbing lice at the Capitol, but few seem so obvious about it:

State Senator Dan Newberry announced Tuesday he’s stepping aside from his seat with District 37.

In a news release, Newberry said he will continue to be in senior management at TTCU The Credit Union and is publishing a book.

Newberry said it was an honor to serve as the senator from District 37.

“I want to thank the citizens of District 37 for placing your trust in me to represent you at the Capitol for nearly 10 years,” he said.

Newberry, a Tulsa Republican, represents an area including Sand Springs and west Tulsa. And the Legislature has adjourned sine die, and barring a call by the governor for a special session, will not meet again until February 2018. I mention this latter because:

Newberry said in a statement he will resign January 31, 2018.

Because God forbid he should miss even a buck of his $38,400 annual salary as a legislator.

Comments (4)




Down that old gavel road

The Oklahoman has been sharply critical — or sometimes, not so sharply critical — of the proceedings of this year’s legislative session. This bit from Sunday’s editorial, however, is definitely pointed:

In floor debate, the appropriation chairs of both chambers praised the process that produced the budget.

“We had the most open and transparent budget process in the history of this state,” said Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang.

“We’ve done a fantastic job this year of coming up with a budget,” said Sen. Kim David, R-Porter.

Those statements serve only to remind one why it’s a bad idea to let students grade their own homework.

Ouch.

Fortunately, both of them are Republicans, so there’s no chance that anyone is going to dump on the paper for picking on women in the legislature.

Comments (1)




No change

This is apparently not going to be the new national anthem of Australia:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made it official:

Thank you for your letter dated 20 March 2017 regarding petition EN0094, which requests that the Australian Government change the Australian National Anthem to the 2003 song ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast.

The words and tune of the Australian National Anthem were adopted only after exhaustive surveys of national opinion, starting in the 1970s, and were proclaimed by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on 19 April 1984.

The Australian National Anthem is widely accepted and popularly supported by a majority of Australians. The Australian Government has no plans to change the Anthem.

Thank you for bringing this petition to my attention. I appreciate the important work of the Standing Committee on Petitions in putting community concerns before the Parliament.

I haven’t been so downhearted since Washington state rejected a measure to make “Louie, Louie” the state song.

Comments (2)




Trump needs plumbers

There must be some reason why the White House seems to be leaking like a big sandstone sieve, and the President must accept the responsibility:

After some thought, based on things I’ve read and heard about how Trump likes to do business, I realized that one of his main approaches is to take opinions and advice from all sides of an issue, and then make a final decision himself. He’s been doing it this way for decades, generally successfully.

So it may be nothing more than habit, a matter of not fixing something that doesn’t seem broken. But what I now fear is that Trump doesn’t understand that inviting Deep State swamp creatures into the pool, merely to get their sides of an issue, is being viewed by them as the President stupidly exposing his jugular to their long knives, which they then cheerfully wield to leak his political lifeblood in gushers to the NYT.

Frankly, Trump’s protests about the leakers seem a bit hollow to me, given that apparently he has invited many of those leakers into his own house and invited them to fill’er up from his own veins. I guess the short version is that I’ll believe he is really concerned about leaks when he starts acting as if he is concerned about leaks, and not just talking about how concerned he is.

Which, inevitably, means that some of the sneakier staff members will have to be flushed. You’d think that Donald J. Trump, of all people, would know how to fire someone.

Comments (7)




Himmler is somewhat similar

Does it ever seem to you that all these alleged Nazis look alike?

Back in November, the Left and the #NeverTrumpers (BIRM) wanted James Comey fired. Now that he actually has been fired, it’s a “coup.” Or is it a Reichstag fire? I thought Sessions’s appointment as Attorney General was the Reichstag fire, but maybe that was also a “coup.” He’s Literally Himmler, I’m pretty sure of that … if you wanna get technical I guess he’s Literally Otto Thierack, but since the Left doesn’t read they don’t know but three or four Nazis … which is funny in itself, given how much they love to throw Third Reich allusions around (for the record, comrades, CIA director Mike Pompeo is Literally Reinhard Heydrich, Education Secretary Betsy de Vos is Literally Bernhard Rust, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is Literally Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel. Why? [Belch] Why not?! And besides, it’s more fun to say “von Stülpnagel” than “Mnuchin,” and Trump’s Literally Hitler cabinet needs at least one guy with an umlaut in his name. Remember that, it’ll be on the midterm).

If you ask me, I’d be perfectly content were the rights to all that Nazi crap assigned to the one man who’s done something useful with the concept:

I tell you, that guy’s got balls.

Comments




Whatever that may mean

Everyone over here seemed to have an opinion on the French election, and Dave Schuler points out that many of those opinions were horribly uninformed:

Some Republicans here backed Le Pen because she’s the “right wing” candidate without digging into what that means in France. Some Democrats backed Macron because he’s the center-left candidate, equally without learning what that actually means. IMO that’s incredibly short-sighted. You can’t understand another country’s politics without getting an in depth understanding of its economics, history, current events, and culture or, in other words, unless you’ve lived there, speak the language, and immerse yourself in it. Even then you probably won’t appreciate the nuances.

We’re not used to nuance. The American electorate, for many years now, has been mired in “We’re great and you suck,” and as a result we get the kind of candidates we so richly deserve. Naturally, we project our neuroses upon all those other candidates worldwide, when what we really want is to declare our allegiance to the one warlord who will crush all others. Warlords, unfortunately, ain’t what they used to be.

Comments (5)




Not available on LP

The Z Man washes his hands of those wacky libertarians:

Anyone who truly believes altering tax policy will reverse a thousand generations of evolution is an idiot.

That’s the fundamental problem with modern libertarians. They believe this or they simply are incapable of mastering ground floor level biology. The reason the country of Niger is a basket case is that’s the way the people of Niger want it. It is full of Hausa. The reason Paris was Paris was that, up until recently, it was full of Parisians! Now that Paris is filling up with North Africans and Arabs, it is looking like Algeria with better plumbing.

It may turn out to be that the last vestige of France as we know it may be in the Légion Étrangère; the Foreign Legion has always had a minority of actual Frenchmen, but French officers were always in command.

Comments (6)




Now comes the journalistic hardcore

Hilde Lysiak, the ten-year-old publisher of the Orange Street News in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, is requesting some of Donald Trump’s time:

I hope she gets it.

Comments (1)




Silver standard

When you get as old as I am, you start snickering at the phrase “younger woman”: aren’t they all younger women? Of course not. But I’m long past the point where anyone over 29 seems to have gone to seed.

Of course, it helps if you’re in a position to take care of yourself, as is Christine Lagarde, sixty-one, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, now in her second term despite this little contretemps:

From 1993 to 2008 there was a long legal battle between [Bernard] Tapie and the Crédit Lyonnais bank (partly state-owned bank). Crédit Lyonnais had allegedly defrauded Tapie in 1993 and 1994 when it sold Adidas on his behalf to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, apparently by arranging a larger sale with Dreyfus without Tapie’s knowledge.

In 2008 a special judicial panel ruled that Tapie should receive compensation of €404 million from the French Ministry of Finance, headed by Christine Lagarde. She decided not to challenge the ruling. On December 3, 2015, a French court ruled that Tapie should return this compensation with interest. A few days later, the Court of Justice of the Republic ordered that Lagarde should stand trial for negligence. On December 19, 2016, Lagarde was convicted of negligence; however, the conviction was not deemed a criminal record and Lagarde was not sentenced to a punishment.

The US has been supportive of Lagarde, who has been something of a hardliner in office, but only to a point: for example, as Greece circled the drain in 2015, she called for massive debt relief, but when concrete plans for such relief were not forthcoming, she subsequently declined to assist the Eurozone.

Behold the hardliner:

Christine Lagarde on the rise

Christine Lagarde in silver

Christine Lagarde stretches out

Looking for brief samples of her voice, I stumbled across this AP squib from the IMF spring meetings — not quite a minute and a half — in which Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin complains about the US tax code.

I think she just might be sympathetic to the cause.

Comments (2)