At The Financial Times: the return of ‘fiery populist’ Cristina Fernández de Kirchner causes a masculinist/political panic! Committed Observer has her say

Headline: Cristina Fernández to lead new alliance in Argentina elections

Sub-headline: Fiery populist’s comeback threatens to split opposition vote in legislative mid-terms

The sub-headline almost says it all! The panic of the chicken-littles at the Financial Times in the face of the political resurrection of that ‘fiery populist’ Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. This is redolent of that old cliche of the ‘hot blooded Latina’ of an age long past. Just indicative of the myopia of the editors and headline writers of this publication!

But once the reader gets past this masculinist characterization of Ms. de Kirchner, and its muted panic over the perpetual enemy of the ‘Neo-Liberal Center’, Populism,  Benedict Mander’s reportage offers some valuable insights.

Committed Observer

https://www.ft.com/content/3024e494-58ff-11e7-b553-e2df1b0c3220

Below I have added links to the other reports from Mr. Mander regarding Ms. de Kirchner and the Peronists.


The Financial Times editors in a sober mood, almost!

From June 20, 2017

Headline: Fernández eyes influential role in midterm Argentine elections

Sub-headline: Former president will have decisive impact on vote that may have economic implications

The former leader remains central to national life. Her role in midterm legislative elections in October could decide the outcome, while the success of Mr Macri’s market-oriented economic reform programme will depend to a significant extent on the legal and political fortunes of the fiery populist.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have warned that a victory for her in the province could “paralyse” investment decisions.

As she wrote on Facebook recently: “How far is the pressure from the executive power going to go to keep using these legal cases as a manoeuvre to distract from the grave and real problems that are afflicting our country, and which the people are suffering?”

https://www.ft.com/content/b2404d44-503d-11e7-bfb8-997009366969

 


 

From February 27, 2017

Headline: Argentina’s Mauricio Macri weathers storm as Peronists in disarray

Sub-headline: Floundering opposition struggles to challenge reform

In recent weeks, Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s president, has faced a storm of criticism.

After failing to condemn an official who offended many when he played down the gravity of Argentina’s military dictatorship, he is now accused of favouritism towards his father’s company in negotiations over the repayment of a $300m debt to the state after a botched privatisation of the post office in the 1990s.

“It worries me that Macri seems to be making so many unforced errors, but this scandal over the post office will blow over. Macri is still so much better than the previous lot, who are a bunch of crooks,” says Jimena Morales, a well-heeled architect who voted for Mr Macri.

Indeed, some analysts quote Peron, who said that Peronists are like cats: when it seems like they are fighting, they are in fact reproducing.

Mr Scioli, a former governor of Buenos Aires province, cast doubt on Mr Macri’s ability to reactivate the economy, expressing concern about debt levels and shrinking salaries. “The government’s reforms have led to a deterioration in many economic and social indicators. They say this is necessary so that later we can be better off — I hope that time comes,” he says.

For Mr Bárbaro, the demise of Peronism is irrelevant to the political fortunes of Mr Macri, who he argues is simply profiting from the resentment sowed by the divisive Ms Fernández. “In Argentina, those in power often end up defeating themselves. They don’t need an opposition.”

https://www.ft.com/content/f580ec18-ea43-11e6-893c-082c54a7f539

 

 


From December 27, 2016

Headline: Cristina Fernández charged in Argentina corruption case

Sub-headline: Former president suffers her biggest legal setback after public works accusations

In the latest legal setback for one of Latin America’s most charismatic leaders, who styled herself on the Argentine heroine Evita Perón, Ms Fernandez will be tried for allegedly steering public contracts to Mr Báez. The millionaire businessman has been under investigation since 2013 as the frontman for Ms Fernández and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, in an elaborate money laundering scheme. This involved luxury hotels in Patagonian resorts that news reports claim are usually empty.

Elisa Carrió, an important figure in Mr Macri’s coalition and an outspoken crusader against corruption, assured the Financial Times earlier this year that Ms Fernández would “end up in prison” since she was involved in “almost all the lawsuits” connected to the previous government.

https://www.ft.com/content/78c0dfa6-cc86-11e6-b8ce-b9c03770f8b

 

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@SudhirHazareesingh : Old Socialist has some questions & comments

‘ Even if it did not reach the landslide proportions anticipated, Macron’s latest electoral achievement is stunning.’  At 57% Abstentions! call this bourgeois political chatter worthy of The New York Times! With Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in that legislative body, potentially allied to those Abstainers is Macron’s Neo-Liberalism Lite in trouble? Or should we readers look to these telling examples of that, that exposes the myopia of a partisan? Never fear, you adroitly cover your ass with ‘This low participation is not to be over-interpreted:…’ !

There were few public meetings across France, and the opposition failed to mobilize its electorate against Macron, as highlighted by the record-high abstention. This low participation is not to be over-interpreted: it merely demonstrates that French parliamentary elections have essentially become a third, confirming round of the presidential contest.

Are the resignations of François Bayrou, Marielle de Sarnez and Sylvie Goulard  indicative of both bad judgement and faulty leadership of King Macron?

The affairs had come as an embarrassment to Mr Macron, who campaigned on a promise to clean up French politics following a series of high-profile scandals over party payments and the hiring of family members. Mr Bayrou’s position as minister in charge of a new “moralisation” bill intended to raise ethical standards in politics had become untenable.

https://www.ft.com/content/e2561f62-5656-11e7-80b6-9bfa4c1f83d2

In light of the above, what of your claim:’This emphatic electoral victory is a personal triumph for Macron, whose popularity has soared since he entered the Élysée Palace. He has hardly put a foot wrong.’

Or should the reader look here?

Even the stogy Oxbridgers at The Economist hedge their Macron Triumphalism with their headline and this quote from Jean-Luc Mélenchon:

Headline: Emmanuel Macron wins a majority, though not a record one

Sub-headline:Despite low turnout, France’s president will have more than enough seats to carry out his agenda

‘Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left Unsubmissive France party, who won a seat in Marseille, declared that the low turnout rate constituted a “civic general strike” against the new president.’

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21723683-despite-low-turnout-frances-president-will-have-more-enough-seats-carry-out-his

See Arthur Beesley’s commentary on ‘the Jupitarian Politics of President Macron’:

https://www.ft.com/content/73aadc3a-5118-11e7-bfb8-997009366969

Ms. Chassany’s contribution:

https://www.ft.com/content/17f75282-4f61-11e7-a1f2-db19572361bb

As for Macron as political/personal opportunist, see Simon Kuper’s essay of  May 17,2017 titled The chill behind Emmanuel Macron’s charm’ at The Financial Times:

Emmanuel Macron watches a smartphone video of an egg cracking on his forehead at a campaign event. He ­guffaws, then plays the video again. “It didn’t hurt. It came from a long way, did you see?” he marvels to his wife Brigitte and an aide. “The guy got lucky.”

The scene is from Emmanuel Macron, les coulisses d’une victoire (“Behind the scenes of a victory”)‚ a fly-on-the-wall documentary of his campaign that screened on French TV after he was elected president. It’s the most intimate portrait I’ve seen of a political leader. After the artificiality of the campaign, we’re starting to get to know Macron better. He’s a remarkable chap. But there is also something chilling about him. One man who knew him well for many years told me: “He seduces everyone. And then he kills.”

The key to Macron is that he is what the French call a grand séducteur. He quickly learnt that his charm could get him whatever he wanted. Almost every schoolboy fantasises about seducing his sexy high-school teacher. Macron did, even after Brigitte initially turned him down.

He also got used early to being the smartest person in the room. That doesn’t mean he has an original intellectual mind. He twice failed the entrance exams for the Ecole Normale Supérieure, France’s most cerebral “grande école”. But he’s a polymath who quickly absorbs everything from Rossini’s operas to Hegel. His father, a neurologist, had applied his brain more discreetly: his most cited academic article is on sneezing in cats. However, Macron’s charm required larger outlets. After writing his master’s thesis on Machiavelli, he got rich fast as a banker, then absorbed enough economics to be named finance minister.

Like his political ancestor Tony Blair, who walked into Downing Street 20 years ago this month, Macron is an actor at heart. (He met Brigitte when she taught him drama.) Watch the online video in which a journalist hands him a copy of Molière’s play The Misanthrope, a favourite of Macron’s, and suggests he mug up the opening scene so they can perform it together in a week. No, replies Macron, let’s do it right now. And he does, from memory: “Leave me, I beg of you . . . ” He also used to have ambitions of performing as a pianist.

https://www.ft.com/content/464df34e-3a48-11e7-ac89-b01cc67cfeec

There is so much more to be said of your Macron Triumphalist Press Release, but your final paragraph is a model of the expression of that Triumphalism, while praising the very obvious personal and political faults of The Great Leader!

In this respect too, Macron’s presidency marks a return to a hallowed French tradition: that of a gouvernement des esprits, embodying Cartesian reason and acting as the guardian of the general interest. This depoliticized ideal of a consensual civic order brings home the ultimate paradox of France’s latest political revolution: at a time when democratic cultures elsewhere are reverting to ideological polarization, Macron is steering his nation towards an era of moderate absolutism, with a resolve remniscent of Napoleon’s magnificent injunction: “il faut que je sois le centre”.

The pressing question: what is ‘moderate absolutism’ ?

Old Socialist

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/french-election-hazareesingh/

 

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Sue Halpern on ‘The Nihilism of Julian Assange’: a comment by StephenKMackSD

Sue Halpern offers some very important insights and compelling observations on the character of Julian Assange in her review of  ‘Risk’ , a documentary film directed by Laura Poitras. Yet Ms. Halpern expresses an absolute certainty that Russian hackers ‘interfered’ in the 2016 Presidential Election. Based upon:

…Reality Leigh Winner didn’t use a digital drop box when she leaked a classified NSA document to The Intercept in May outlining how Russian cyber spies hacked into American election software.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/07/13/nihilism-of-julian-assange-wikileaks/

Were these hackers the political instrument of Putin? The pertinent question would be where is the evidence proving that Putin is the prime actor? Ms. Winner provided  the leaked information from an intercepted NSA, what to call it, information, documents, internet gossip. Ms. Halpern fails to present empirical evidence, if such exists, would it be available to a film reviewer? This essay appears in one of the most prestigious publications, The New York Review of Books, that is fully vested in publishing New Cold War propaganda. Timothy Snyder’s being one of its regular contributors.

StephenKMackSD


June 23, 2017 1:30 PM PDT

This lengthy ‘Report’ by the Washington Post could have only come from sources inside The American National Security State. This is an evocatively embroidered timeline of ‘Russian Hacking’. It is the simulacrum of truth i.e. propaganda.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/obama-putin-election-hacking/?utm_term=.6ef0c1b4841d

Can the operatives of that Security State be believed? It certainty plays into the Myth of Hillary Clinton as Victim of a Comey/Putin/Assange conspiracy. Is the reader simply to willfully forget the lies and obfuscations that these institutions have engaged in for seventy years? Or is the New Cold War Fever, stoked by the New Democrats acting like Joe McCarthy, so deeply imprinted on the Public Mind that it cannot be overcome? The Washington Post is Neo-Conservative tabloid, so what better place for this propaganda broadside, not based on empirically verifiable evidence, but on selective leaks. Sanctioned by the agencies that have committed heinous crimes in the name of National Security.

Publius

 

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@GIEconomist @StephenKMackSD

Thank you for your comment. Three decades of being an Economist is quite impressive: The heavy responsibilities of interpreting the Sacred Texts of that ‘Science’ from Smith onward-is this the point where I should pay obeisance to your Authority? Yet the ‘Dismal Science’ is the endeavor of such Political Romantics, Social Darwinist, and other Free Market Nostalgics like the dreaded Trinity of Mises/Hayek/Friedman.

Wolfgang Streeck raises some very interesting questions and offers some telling insights on the Trump political phenomenon in the March/April 2017 edition of New Left Review:

Interregnum

What are we to expect now? Trump’s demolition of the Clinton machine, Brexit and the failure of Hollande and Renzi—all in the same year—mark a new phase in the crisis of the capitalist state system as transformed by neoliberalism. To describe this phase I have proposed Antonio Gramsci’s term ‘interregnum’, [20] a period of uncertain duration in which an old order is dying but a new one cannot yet be born. The old order that was destroyed by the onslaught of the populist barbarians in 2016 was the state system of global capitalism. Its governments had neutralized their national democracies in post-democratic fashion so as not to lose touch with the global expansion of capital, putting off demands for democratic and egalitarian interventions in capitalist markets by conjuring up a global democracy of the future. What the still to be created new order will look like is uncertain, as is to be expected of an interregnum. Until it comes into being, according to Gramsci, we have to accept that ‘a great variety of morbid symptoms will appear’.

An interregnum in Gramsci’s sense is a period of tremendous insecurity in which the accustomed chains of cause and effect are no longer in force, and unexpected, dangerous and grotesquely abnormal events may occur at any moment. This is in part because disparate lines of development run unreconciled, parallel to one another, resulting in unstable configurations of many kinds, and chains of surprising events take the place of predictable structures. Among the causes of the new unpredictability is the fact that, following the populist revolution, the political classes of neoliberal capitalism are forced to listen rather more closely to their national populations. After decades in which national democracies were hung out to dry in favour of institutions that promoted globalization, they are now coming back into their own as channels for the articulation of discontent. The times are now past for the planned demolition of lines of national defence in the face of the rationalizing pressure of international markets. Trump’s victory means that it is highly unlikely that there will be any second referendum in Great Britain on the eu model according to which referendums are repeated until the people produce the right answer. A newly composed electorate will no more go along with supposed economic necessities than it will acquiesce to claims that border controls are technically impossible. Parties that have relied on responsibility will have to relearn what responsiveness means [21] or else they will have to give way to other parties.

https://newleftreview.org/II/104/wolfgang-streeck-the-return-of-the-repressed

This should give you an idea of where I stand politically.

Regards,

StephenKMackSD

http://on.ft.com/2rIrUDa

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At The Financial Times: Edward Luce almost embraces The New Democrats: Sanders & Corbyn play ‘the crazy old uncles in the attic’. Old Socialist reviews this disjointed political melodrama

Jon Ossoff is not a ‘Centrist Democrat’ but a Corporatist Democrat. Paul Jay and Nina Turner offer a more cogent, not to speak of a realistic, appraisal of the Ossoff defeat:

This district has a median income of $83 K per year and has voted Republican since 1971. This demonstrates the bad judgement of the New Democrats, they squandered 23/24 million dollars on a fools errand. The Clintonistas perpetual bad judgement on display. Watch the video, and check for my mistakes, as I’m doing it from memory.

As for the Neo-Liberal Lite Macron, as some kind of political model for the New Democrats:

A win for Mr Ossoff would have signalled that the pragmatic, Emmanuel Macron, wing of the party could deliver results.

The above sentence qualifies as a statement worthy of Mrs. Malaprop. Macron is a Corporatist!

Are the resignations of François Bayrou, Marielle de Sarnez and Sylvie Goulard  indicative of both bad judgement and faulty leadership, that the New Democrats seem to have an overabundance ?

The affairs had come as an embarrassment to Mr Macron, who campaigned on a promise to clean up French politics following a series of high-profile scandals over party payments and the hiring of family members. Mr Bayrou’s position as minister in charge of a new “moralisation” bill intended to raise ethical standards in politics had become untenable.

https://www.ft.com/content/e2561f62-5656-11e7-80b6-9bfa4c1f83d2

What Mr. Luce attempts is a maladroit attack on both Corbyn and Sanders, the two political nostalgics stuck in the glory days of the Welfare State: these sentences  describes Luce’s sovereign contempt for both these politicians:

For the time being, that man is Mr Sanders. Like Mr Corbyn, he comes across as sincere. Like the crazy uncle in the attic, he cannot change the subject. You may find his economic views naive or dangerous. But you know what he stands for. Once you start listening, it is hard to stop. If you are young, you appreciate his idealism.

The Neo-Liberal Age collapsed in 2008 and all those ‘Free Market Technocrats’ have yet to bring back prosperity, although they pronounce the Market Incantations with numbing regularity: heavily garnished with Populist hysterics. Mrs. Clinton appears here as the voice of ‘incrementalism’, in sum,  ‘political rationalism‘, instead of the New Dealer Sanders and Labour stalwart Corbyn, playing their parts, is this disjointed political melodrama of  ‘the crazy old uncles in the attic’ . As opposed to Mrs. Clinton’s role as Goldwater Girl of the 21st Century.  What was once dubbed as ‘The Rebellion Against The Elites’ has been discarded, a descriptor redolent of class bias, that has been foreshortened to Populism.

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/f69b4b68-55d0-11e7-9fed-c19e2700005f

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The ‘Macron Earthquake’ suffers some violent after-shocks! A comment by Old Socialist

It was on June 19, 2017 that Anne-Sylvaine Chassany proclaimed the ‘Macon Earthquake’ in the pages of The Financial Times !

https://www.ft.com/content/391d17de-5273-11e7-bfb8-997009366969

Are the resignations of François Bayrou, Marielle de Sarnez and Sylvie Goulard the after-shocks of that ‘Earthquake’ ?

The affairs had come as an embarrassment to Mr Macron, who campaigned on a promise to clean up French politics following a series of high-profile scandals over party payments and the hiring of family members. Mr Bayrou’s position as minister in charge of a new “moralisation” bill intended to raise ethical standards in politics had become untenable.

This puts Macron well  within the unsavory territory of his once opponent Fillon!

But never fear the propagandists at the FT are still trading on the ‘Macron Earthquake’ predicated, in large part, on a 57% Abstention Rate:

Following his party’s decisive victory in Sunday’s legislative elections, Mr Macron has a sufficient majority (308 of the 577 seats in parliament) to pass sensitive reforms without the support of Modem, which secured 42 seats.

How inauspicious! The next question is what next?

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/e2561f62-5656-11e7-80b6-9bfa4c1f83d2

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At The Financial Times: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany proclaims ‘The Macron Moment’. Old Socialist comments

In declaring the ‘Macon Moment’ Anne-Sylvaine Chassany resorts to election hagiography to the second power:

‘A year ago, France had all the symptoms of a severe allergy to economic reform: social unrest, rising populism, a rebellious parliament, an unpopular president. Yet, after a long and eventful electoral cycle, it has handed over its executive and legislative powers to a pro-business leader intent on overhauling the economy.’

The political facts that escape the political myopia of her Macron Triumphalism are the glaring fact of a 57% abstention rate, the opposition being 227 to La République en Marche’s 350 , the fact that both Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon have seats in that legislative body.

Ms. Chassany declares the:

The Macron earthquake has swept the mainstream parties aside and installed probably the closest that France can get to a “grand coalition” of centrist forces in their place.

That ‘earthquake’ constitutes a mild tremor, and those ‘centrist forces’ are about the potential promise Neo-Liberalism à la française, based on these principles:

But the pièce de résistance of Ms. Chassany’s Macron Press Release, is this from Capitalist par excellence Gilles Moec, a London-based economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch:

“There will be union protests in September, there are still some unconvinced people out there, but Emmanuel Macron has been explicit enough about what he intends to do,” says Gilles Moec, a London-based economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “He can’t backtrack now.”

“He has momentum at the beginning of his mandate, as shown by this very strong majority in parliament,” Mr Moec added. “A big chunk of the French electorate are ready to give him the keys of the country — even some of those who didn’t vote for him in May.”

Even the stogy Oxbridgers at The Economist hedge their Macron Triumphalism with their headline and this quote from Jean-Luc Mélenchon:

Headline: Emmanuel Macron wins a majority, though not a record one

Sub-headline:Despite low turnout, France’s president will have more than enough seats to carry out his agenda

‘Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the far-left Unsubmissive France party, who won a seat in Marseille, declared that the low turnout rate constituted a “civic general strike” against the new president.’

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21723683-despite-low-turnout-frances-president-will-have-more-enough-seats-carry-out-his

This reader awaits the Actual Earthquake that will result in Macron’s introduction of his legislative program. Where will his proclaimed Jupiterian style lead?

  1. :  a person that has a well-developed Mount of Jupiter and a long and large finger of Jupiter and that is usually held by palmists to be characterized by ambition, leadership, and a religious nature with all his vanity the Jupiterian is warm-hearted — W. G. Benham †1944

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Jupiterian

Or  his reputation for being an unapologetic political/personal opportunist, revealed in the pages of this newspaper by Simon Kuper?

Old Socialist

https://www.ft.com/content/391d17de-5273-11e7-bfb8-997009366969

 

 

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