Andy Divine contemplates the monster he helped create! Old Socialist comments briefly

Andy Divine is at full shriek in his March 22,2019 column titled:

Trump Is a Massive Failure — and Getting Exactly What He Wants

What eludes Mr. Divine’s grasp is exactly how to define the pressing question of what Trump wants. What Trump does is to cause political chaos, and then blames others for the consequences of his actions, its straight out of his Reality Television shtick: that ran on NBC for fifteen seasons, 192 episodes, and established in the public mind that somehow Trump was a Leader, a Decision Maker of consequence, whose tag line was ‘Your Fired’ . Look to the number fired from the Trump Administration, since he took the oath of office, including his familiar Omarosa!
Mr. Divine’s essay is a indictment of Trump, with Andy acting in his capacity as an America Political Moralist. Reading his essay straight through to its end is revelatory , but this last plaintive, even mawkish paragraph inspires what?

Yes, we’re numb. Yes, this has become normal. And yes, as far as liberal democracy is concerned, this is an extinction-level event.

Old Socialist

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Mrs. May & the evolving ‘Brexit catastrophe’. Old Socialist comments

Here is a bit of long overdue political realism, from an anonymous Tory :

One Tory MP who voted for Mrs May’s deal, said: “Every single person I speak to in my party is saying she needs to go — and she needs to go yesterday.”

The ‘leadership’ of May makes one nostalgic for the arrogant Posh Boy Cameron, who led the way toward ‘Brexit’? But  never fear dull-witted enarque, the self-appointed leader of the E.U. ,Macron, who can’t even govern his own country, is the political actor next in line to ‘lead’ the E.U.? Or just one more political poser about to get his political deserts.

Old Socialist

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Edward Luce’s toxic amalgam of ‘Depth Psychology’ & The Occult, as an exploratory device for American politics 2019. Old Socialist wonders

Headline: Magical thinking crosses party lines in America

Sub-headline: The left may prefer white magic to Donald Trump’s black, but everyone is dabbling

Mr. Luce wastes no time calling to account the New Democrats for their lackadaisical attitude toward Trump. Yet this elides from the political picture the responsibility of both Parties and Pundits, like Luce, in their long-term advocacy for the Neo-Liberal Swindle, and its aftermath from the 2008 Crash to the dismal political present present.Trump is a product of this political/economic catastrophe.

Yet in this thicket of Political Metaphysics, that lapses into  Occult jabber, that is unintentionally comic, Luce fails to ask the salient question: where is the money coming from to support this crowded field of candidates?

The New Democrats, fully under the thumb of the Clinton coterie, not to speak of AIPAC, don’t have an inexhaustible supply of money to waste on these candidates. But to create the fiction of choice might that money be spent upon such candidates, as the in-or-too of lending that fiction plausibility? Also keep in mind the willful destruction of campaign finance reform orchestrated by Citizens United and Justice Roberts, champion of stare decisis ?

While after some maladroit stage management , a specialty of  Mrs. Clinton and her minions , she will enter as the compromise candidate that  offers the best chance to win in 2020. The only real problem with this sketch of a possible scenario is that Sen. Sanders, and his coterie, represent a real danger to this possible coronation of Hillary. So the imperative of attacking Sanders must begin as soon as possible, in sum, The Bernie Bros must be resuscitated and or re-imagined for this campaign.

In his haste to  write his column, Mr. Luce misses an opportunity to think and imagine what might be plausible in an actual American Politics. In favor of a failed, not to speak of a maladroit Hegelian pastiche: Luce should stop reading the Straussian fabulist Fukuyama!

Political Observer



Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.

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Edouard Philippe announces the new hard line on the gilets jaunes . Old Socialist comments

As the ‘in-order-too’ of saving Macron, M. 37%,  from his demonstrated incompetence to ‘govern’ France, much less to lead the E.U. , Edouard Philippe announces a harder line on gilets jaunes , an increase in fines, and the firing of police chief Michel Delpuech. To be replaced by a political fellow traveler of Thatcherite Radical Fillon, or worse?  Will Macron’s dependable arrogance lead to him in the wrong direction, prior to the publication of his ‘Grand Débat National’ findings?

Speaking on Monday after a series of emergency meetings, Edouard Philippe said the government would increase the fine for participation in an undeclared event. Paris police chief Michel Delpuech was also dismissed.

“From next Saturday, we will ban gilets jaunes protests in neighbourhoods that have been the worst hit as soon as we see sign of the presence of radical groups and their intent to cause damage,” Mr Philippe said in a televised statement, flanked by interior minister Christophe Castaner and justice minister Nicole Belloubet.

The quotations from Guillaume Tusseau, a fellow Technocrat, to match the Macron, Philippe and Party Boy Castaner trio, reminds the reader that these French Posh Boys are utterly inexperienced in the art 0f governance, not to say inept.  And therefore are completely unprepared to face The Revolt of The Great Unwashed in all its political hues.

Two sources of information that might ‘balance’ the Financial Times Macron Propaganda:

Headline: Eye on France: More yellow vest violence in central Paris

Sub-headline: After another weekend of yellow vest violence and disorder, notably in central Paris, the French papers are dominated by pictures of street fighting and by debates about policing, protestors and the alleged theft by law-enforcement agents of Paris St Germain football jerseys.


Headline: Report from the Ground in Paris: The Most Recent Gilets Jaunes Protests

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Our own Colonel Smithers was in Paris for the most recent Gilets Jaunes protests (“Gilets jaunes protests cause extensive damage on Champs-Élysées“; “Macron calls for ‘strong decisions’ after violent Yellow Jacket protests“)[1] and threw a series of emails over the transom. I’m going to put extracts from the Colonel’s mail in chronological order and add pictures that he sent; I don’t need to add any commentary, because Colonel Smithers is so lucid.

Old Socialist



Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.






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@FT of two minds on the latest Brexit Melodrama? Old Socialist shares the Headlines

Headline:May warns UK faces ‘crisis’ following Bercow ruling

Sub-headline: Commons Speaker has said PM’s Brexit deal must be substantially changed before a further vote

Headline: Bercow’s bombshell cannot mask May’s Brexit failure

Sub-headline:Prime minister has lacked political skill and made serious mis-steps from the outset

Old Socialist





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At The Financial Times: Vulture Capitalist Paul Singer defends his greed as ‘shareholder accountability’ ! Almost Marx scoffs

Headline: Do not let company founders hide from accountability

Sub-headline: Lyft’s dual class structure will prevent shareholders from having reasonable input

Recall Mr. Singer as the purchaser of Argentina’s bad debt? and the fact that Macri paid the ransom for re-admittance into the Free Market Club? as I recall 1.3 billion was the price tag! And less that a year and a half, with the peso in free fall, Macri applied and got an IMF bailout for his failing Austerity Lite: de Kirchner is waiting in the wings: the definition of ‘success’?
That bit of inconvenient ‘Economic History’ puts Mr. Singer’s plea for ‘shareholder accountability’ garnished with self-congratulation where? Examples here:

My firm, Elliott Management, frequently encounters technology companies where founders or longtime managers created remarkable innovations but then struggled with the challenges of maturing products, expanding organisations or slowing growth.

They often respond by aggressively seeking new sources of growth, paying richly for acquisitions that do not fit with their business models or allocating capital towards peripheral activities that fail to generate returns. Worse, such efforts often damage the core businesses that brought success in the first place.

Many companies are able to pull off these transitions without active shareholder involvement. But even at the most successful tech groups, allegations of privacy violations and other abuses have been most acute at companies such as Facebook and Google where dual-class structures are in place.

Those with the insight and daring to found a business deserve our respect. But once they sell the vast majority of the company to the public, they should not be allowed to run it forever without any shareholder input. Public ownership must mean public accountability.

My selection of quotations is self-serving, but not anymore self-serving than Mr. Singer’s whole argument,that Capitalism, and its companies need investors like himself to keep them ‘honest’!  Public Ownership and Public Accountability under the leadership of Vulture Capitalists like Singer is the sine qua non of  Capitalist Virtue.

Almost Marx


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Macron Apologetics from Financial Times, episode DLVII: Old Socialist considers the ‘Grand Débat National’.


Headline:Emmanuel Macron scents revival as France’s great debate ends

Sub-headline: President plans next steps after national dialogue that has shown his campaigning vigour

M. Macron addresses not ‘the people’ but 600 mayors, should this surprise?

Mr Macron — who launched the debate with a marathon seven-hour performance of fielding questions, joking and sparring with 600 mayors in a small town in Normandy — has been in his element criss-crossing the country after retreating from public view in what seemed like a crisis of confidence following the first demonstrations.

But Boris Vallaud and Patrick Devedjian provide some political context:

“He prefers a direct dialogue,” said Boris Vallaud, a member of parliament for the now much-diminished French Socialist party. “Everyone marvels at the performance, but the fact that he’s going over the heads of the parliament, the unions, the representative institutions, is a weakening of democracy.”

Patrick Devedjian, a former government minister under President Nicolas Sarkozy and a politician of the opposition Les Républicains, put it more bluntly: “It worked well. He was good.”

Does the attentive reader of this Financial Times ‘report’ need to look any further than the items Macron excluded from this debate:

He excluded some ideas from the start, including a reimposition of the wealth tax abolished by his government and the reversal of hard-won liberal laws such as those allowing gay marriage and ending the death penalty. said were not subject to consideration

This Financial Times  ‘report’ ends with an anonymous comment from ‘one senior official’ : ‘more concrete changes for them ,not less reform’ reflects the opinion of the ‘people’ , or just the magical thinking of a Macron political operative repeating ‘The Party Line’ ? Hoping that the unrest will shrink further, in the month that this ‘report’ will take to put together. And will be subject to ‘…Mr Macron’s advisers insist that he will respond with his characteristic energy to the issues raised by the debate,…’ . An ‘actual debate’ would not be subject to any politically self-serving limitations! 

“Their demands are really that things move quicker, not that they stop,” said one senior official familiar with Mr Macron’s thinking. “They want to see more concrete changes for them, not less reform. The conclusion of the great debate will not be to do nothing. The French people won’t accept that.”

Old Socialist


Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.

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