Monday, September 26, 2016


Evidence does not need many words to be notarized.  We saw an uneven "debate" between a candidate cognizant and a candidate pathologically unfit.  Secretary Clinton is obviously prepared/informed/in control of the issues.  Trump came over as the real estate slum landlord he is.  Too self aggrandizing to leave space for anything which does not fit into his ugly suits and narrow perspective, he looked bewildered... more a "bouncer" than a Republican bona fide presidential nominee.  Secretary Clinton showed some hauteur.   She is familiar with the White House (where she belongs) after all. 

I hope the voters will take notice ! 


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


The death of Phyllis Schlafly reminds me of the death squadrons led by the likes of Anita Bryant, Barry Goldwater, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity & Co.  While the progressives are generally scripted and concentrate on such issues as education, social welfare, climate change, inequality, the Right represents constitutional immobilism and a pro-life, pro-gun rights, climate skeptic, anti-gay-biased current, set in biblical stone.  The Right often shows signs of dementia (Trump/Fox News). The Left often appears to be unable to choose between an international outlook or some form of fatalism. Democrats are equally divided over free-trade and globalization.

The input of the conservatives is mostly negative. They are less occupied with a coherent agenda than they are united, for now, against the "persona" of President Obama. His sarcastic nonchalance regarding i.a. the Tea Party wing in the Republican party drives his opponents crazy. The accumulative contradictions of Trump still do not come close to denting the stoic defense lines of a president who appears to be immune to the mud slinging of an opponent he so vividly despises.

Unfortunately, the reciprocal hate between parties in America appears to have become structural. President Johnson's deals over the heads of the party lines are a thing of the past. The machine is now stuck in the shallow waters of mutual antipathy. A President Hillary Clinton might be seen as an Obama surrogate. A President Trump will have all the wrong impulses after having been called an international pariah by his own. He lacks self-confidence and bites like a wounded animal. Secretary Clinton, for her part, will never be a "sunny/exciting" president...she is too much of a work alcoholic to leave the windows open.

Hence, the choice is one in favor of the possible over the undesirable. The choice is self-evident. 
In his last General Assembly address, President Obama proved again his analytical world vision, brilliant but verging on pessimism.  He is more a philosopher king than a hands-on president. His words lead more to thinking things over and to reconsidering one's         certainties, than to (overhasty) action.  Unfortunately Trump's one-line jabs and serial lies might stick. This house-untrained attack dog is messy.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


After years of stating that President Obama was not legitimate because not born in the US, Trump has now reversed course saying that indeed the President was US born.  The "deplorables" in his flock remain unconvinced though, after years of Trump brainwashing.
It is not the admission which is surreal, but the lack of apologies and the accusation addressed to Secretary Clinton. Trump cannot reverse direction without soiling his footprint. This psychopath is out of reach ...

The Democratic contender, meanwhile, is accused of the trivial, the mundane and frankly unacceptable innuendos.  It is seldom about fact, it is always about misogynistic slander. It is hard to understand how Trump can still find support with the women on his staff or with the voters. The IQ deficit is surprising, or is it the new normal?

Michelle Obama's wit, grace and intelligence becomes a sensation in this brain-dead season of discontent.  Anyway, America is beyond recognition for now. The daily nightmare has become a curse.  It is to be hoped that this journey into night is not beyond redemption.  If Trump were to win, the brain-drain might be hard to stem...for years.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Secretary Clinton's health is yet again another reason for allowing this horrible campaign to reach a "non-return" low.  Her aversion to exhibitionism is perfectly understandable, especially given the relative banality of her ailment.  Unfortunately, indiscretion and travesty caught up, since by now most standards of tact and restraint no longer apply.  She is being accused (yet again) of self-aggrandizing syndrome on all sides. True, she should even be more aware of the reigning vulgar manipulative scrutiny. Refusing to adhere to the Barnum rules comes at a price. Trump's ringmaster tactics have marginalized any form of discretion and style which one would normally expect from a presidential nominee. The media (not only Fox) and some insecure journalists, or plainly unabashed liars, play an immoral role in this very bad play.

I cannot recall any other general election in a Western democracy that comes close to the current travesty of truth-telling or civilized behavior. One hallucinates at the idea of a Trump Supreme Court/nuclear and foreign policy/war on every other category of "dissenters". An inward looking America endangers self-respect and the respect outside. It would weaken innovation and turn its future topsy-turvy. 

Susan Sontag might have come to the conclusion that America's illness is not a metaphor but a potential death sentence. Compared to this larger existential menace, Secretary Clinton's little health non-event amounts to too little to be dwelt upon for too long. She should, nevertheless, not feed the narrative by appearing to be too impervious. "Distance" nowadays has become an endangered species.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


The US presidentials are no longer about issues, they are about pathology.  That this free-fall could happen is also due to the temperament of a president, who, in most things and about most issues, prefers to reign in "rapid response".  His allergy to demagoguery is often mistaken for disdain.  This does not give him a free pass on all issues. His tenure will be seen as uneven, even when rationalization might explain a lot.

Today the "logos" has taken a break, and we are lost in the primary jungle of raw
irresponsibility.  Trump is obviously the main villain in this sordid play. Insults, lies, immature behavior create a toxic brew, which finds few takers where it should count but a large following in a crowd which feels, too often rightly so, snubbed and taken for granted.
Secretary Clinton is obliged to respond in ways that are imposed by the  Republican nominee and which are mostly unfamiliar to a personality who prefers experience over loose talk. Hence she often comes over as "scripted" or hurried, as lately (and which backfired).

The "establishment" Democrats and many Republicans alike can hardly believe their eyes and ears. Many rank and file Republicans are supporting Clinton, not with their heart but with their reason. The former party of the elites becomes nativist, and the Democratic party of yesterday becomes the refuge of the lost republicans and a large "establishment in exile".
Trump might not win but he has set in motion a movement of disenfranchised individuals and frustrated third-tier opinion makers which might survive for awhile after November 8. The Republican nominee surely will not, and by his own choice. He will abandon and betray his flock as he has done during his professional life as a real estate dealer with a total disregard for manners and leader acumen.

The mutual distrust between Trump and Mrs. Clinton is structural by now. I wonder if they could even come to a handshake at the debates. They shouldn't. No bridge can span the abyss created by his vicious attacks and by her contempt.  The real issues will be buried in the mud. In the end, whoever wins, the American psyche will need some recovery therapy.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Since the EU is hors jeu, paying the price for Germany's Willkommenskultur, and after populist nativism is spreading at both sides of the Atlantic, the US president wisely chose to go to Asia for what might have been a last trip abroad.  Unfortunately, his journey was not smooth sailing.
The arrival in China was somewhat chaotic. Everybody familiar with the Chinese knows that "face" is of a crucial importance to them. So it was probably no accident that they decided to deprive the President of the customary red carpet arrival, which they seldom or never forget. The President preferred to gloss over it. In the group photo, he was again "marginalized", while Putin and Erdogan had their happy moment.  The president of the Philippines addressed the US president in course terms. Obama chose to ignore both the man and the chosen wording.
He gave again proof of his "cool" temperament and played on the issues rather than on comprehensible pique.

Compared to Trump, the President looks like a Jeffersonian sage.  He is naturally concerned about his legacy.  Trump accuses the President of being "soft" and chooses his usual path of verbal noise without subtitles.  Like Farage in Europe, he can sell vulgarity as pertinence. Secretary Clinton is right to stick to the high ground, but she is hostage to the e-mail/server saga which often grounds her ambition.

President Obama has entered his last months in what must be a melancholic mood. The Republicans will remain devoid of any elegance until the last hour. The TPP might not pass because of the provincial mindset of free-trade haters (Democrats and Republicans alike).  All intellectual discourse  has become suspect and the populist vernacular is, for now, the voice of too many in the land. The strategic implications of the TPP have gotten lost in a myopic political abyss. The pivot to Asia is a historical choice which should not be derailed.

Trump's latest utterances and banalities during the Commander-in-Chief Forum interview were frightening and hair-raising (what else to expect from Trump?). Matt Lauer, moderator (?) of this bizarre event, should stick with The Today Show.  Americans, however, should watch more of the Republican nominee so they might make up their mind once and for ever and agree that he represents an unacceptable and dangerous choice. His ISIS "plan in the no plan" is surreal.  His Putin hug speaks for itself. His hit-and-run doctrine regarding oil in Iraq or other possible spoils of war goes against every principle of international law.  It starts to be scary!

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Trump has been compared to many.  Most had better remain nameless, all are disreputable.
Actually, his perfect twin is the British Nigel Farage clown, the father of the catastrophic Brexit.  The not so narrow victory of the Brexit league risks reducing the United Kingdom to irrelevance and the European continent to an amusement park with some cultural and gastronomic exceptions.  Without Britain, the former continental demons will have a free ride once the elections in Germany and France take care of what is left of the Salon de l'Horloge spirit.  Farage & Co. are the ultimate arsonists who set Europe on fire.

Trump appeals to the same type of voters and, if elected, might facilitate the same outcome. His support comes from a segment of voters, not unlike in the UK, who feel frustrated, snubbed and ignored.  I haven't seen a cultural, academic or informed lobby applauding the insults of the not-so-great real estate bluffer. His chances are nihil, on condition that no deus ex machina  comes to the rescue. That some individuals feel frustrated is a fact and their alienation from the elites can be easily understood at a time of unreliable economic data. The danger is that here, as in the United Kingdom, the tele-evangelists and political farceurs might take advantage of this latent, not illegitimate negative mood of mostly white male blue-collar workers.

If America were ever to vote Trump and the Nuremberg style, America might as well commit suicide, provoking an internal hemorrhage of history, culture, innovation and democracy. Noise will kill discourse and everyone with manners will choose the Aventine over the Capitol. Fox News will be the law of the land and Breitbart would be the Camelot of the regime. I think that this Ubu Roi nightmare has no chance, but the Democratic presidential nominee better be prepared for what will be more of a carpet bombing assault than a battle of ideas...the Queensberry rules will not apply!

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi stands trial before the International Criminal Court at the Hague. He stands accused of the destruction of Mali's religious monuments in Timbuktu.  He pleads guilty and expresses regret.  For the first time, the Shariah and the instrumentalization of the Quran are on trial in the person of Al Mahdi.  The prosecutor considers this J'accuse as historic because it is about the destruction of collective identity.  In doing so, she lifts the taboo on other similar nihilistic destructions in Afghanistan, Syria and the list grows every day.

Humans are twice victimized, in their own lives and in their memory. The international community has been for too long at fault in dealing with either. The refugees multiply, Syria sinks further into Dante's deeper circles of hell and all traces of former collective memory and continuity are no match for the hatred of Jihadists, and some others!  Every small step to reverse the advance of barbarism helps a least culture has its day in court.


Trump must think:  Veni, Vidi, Vici.  His Mexican day-trip stole the media rug from under the feet of Secretary Clinton.  Besides, in Mexico he "coated" his immigration message; returning to the US, he immediately reversed to the former hard-core core version, without blinking.
Hence, he played up to his base, aided in this by the usual henchmen, on and off screen. As a result, the Mexican president got even smaller than his natural height and looks like a trapped fool hanging onto his Twitter as to a life-vest.

Trump will continue his Barnum policies. He does not care if his fellow elephants become stressed, as long as they continue to give him a free-ride. Most bonafide rational Republicans are leaving this ship of fools for safety and self-respect but he plays to a different audience and has his own brand of claque.

Secretary Clinton, and others must have watched this Mexican show in disbelief.  "Making America great again" is a hollow slogan.  There is no more to it than noise. On the other hand, making America look foolish makes one a de facto collaborator of the Assange/Putin & Co. syndicate. That Ailes, Sessions and Giuliani want to be part of this poisonous strain leaves the more sober observers at a loss for words.