, Mr. Sandbu postulates the ‘Macron Imperative’. A comment by Old Socialist

Headline: Emmanuel Macron’s hopes of a grand euro bargain are misplaced

Sub-headline: French president risks undermining his programme for economic reform at home

That ‘economic reform’ of France was even  the subject of Mr. Bret Stephens’ May 5, 2017 essay, he being the latest addition to the Neo-Conservative coven at the New York Times, is worth a reading. The intellectual habit of mind of the Neo-Con is premature triumphalism.

Mr. Sandbu elides from his essay Macron’s ‘Jupertarian Politics’, but simply hints at his hubristic political model, and that the reforms of French Labor Laws must not be abandoned, in the interest of his grand designs for a re-invigorated EU, under the leadership of a Macron/Merkel/Schäuble troika. Is Macron the natural inheritor of the European Federalism of the unelected Technocrats of Jean Monnet? Allied to the delusional Grand Politics of De Gaulle?

Mr. Sandbu shouts ‘Stop’ to the limping Macon Neo-Liberal juggernaut, called en Marche. Mr. Sandbu as dramaturge, makes the central conflict of his melodrama, that between domestic labor law reform, as an integral part of Macron’s ‘Jupertarian’ delusions, and the equally dubious project of the re-invigoration of the EU Cartel, which is, prima facae, undemocratic to its core. Neo-Liberalism is not, nor has it even been interested in Republicanism, nor the thriving of Democratic Institutions. Its obsession, with the temperature taking of the God of the Market, makes it the arch-enemy of those Republican/Democratic institutions and their traditions, no matter how imperfectly realized! That God of the Market collapsed in 2008,as did its companion deity The Self-Correcting Market: due to its wholesale thievery.  Both are still on the critical list,  except to its legion of nurses, like Mr. Sandbu, who acts as apologists for the twin failures, and use the possibility of a full recovery of their patients, as the cornerstone to their agitprop.

Take these paragraphs of Mr. Sandbu essay:

On the domestic level, Mr Macron has shown an uncanny ability to overcome the perceived trade-off between efficiency and solidarity that has bedevilled French economic policymaking. He recognises — and more importantly, clearly communicates — that limbering up the economy can make it more, not less, protective of ordinary people.

Hence his moves as economy minister to tear down regulatory barriers that cushion insiders, but relegate ever more people to an outsider status of precarious work or no work at all. Hence, too, the scaling up of labour market deregulation slated as the top priority for Mr Macron’s first year as president.

The plans are right, the will seems strong, and if he and his government obtain the reforms they want, the economic rewards will be significant — and France’s influence in Europe and the world will be enhanced as a result.

The ‘limbering up of the economy’ is the clumsy euphemism for its Neo-Liberlization and the use of the word ‘bedevilled’ is another euphemism for the fact that Mitterrand’s surrender to the Dark Side, the embrace of the Free Market Dogma, was just a baby step. What is really needed is the total emancipation of France’s from the thrall of Socialism! The key to success for Macron’s ‘Jupertarian Politics’ is predicated on internal Neo-Liberal Reform.

What Mr. Sandbu leaves out of his carefully massaged propaganda is that Macron was elected with an almost 38% rate of spoiled ballots , white ballots and abstentions, not to mention his political status as ‘the lesser of two evils’.

What follows is a description of ‘Macron’s Folly’ in melodramatic terms. Macron must ‘reform‘ France before all else. Mr. Sandbu last two sentences are instructive of what might just be dubbed ‘The Macron Neo-Liberal Imperative’

Mr Macron must not put his domestic reforms at risk of being weakened by his European initiatives.

An economically thriving France will be strong in Europe, fiscal discipline or not. But a domestic economic promise undermined by a European distraction will make France fail both at home and abroad.

Old Socialist




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While Rome Burns episode CCIX: Is ‘Game of Thrones’ on thin ice? Atlantic ‘staffers’ answer this burning question. American Writer comments

The reader can always count on The Atlantic to provide what? The hand wringing chatter of Neo-Con David Frum, as he passes himself off as ‘Wise Republican Elder’? That position is  already occupied by porcine Newt Gingrich, from his perch at ‘Fox News’. That perch had to be considerably reinforced so Newt could comfortably take up his residency.

Also think of The Atlantic’s participation in The Aspen Ideas Festival, that Koch Brothers sponsored parade of intellectual/political /economic hacks. In one of America’s most celebrated acts of public mutual masturbation, starring such luminaries as David Brooks, Thomas Friedman and Arianna Huffington, and a cast of equally impressive bought and paid for Public Intellectuals.

Not to forget the purchase of The Atlantic by Mrs. Steve Jobs, another Silicone Valley billionaire courting bourgeois political respectability?

But here the reader is confronted with the conundrum of The Game of Thrones, examined by Spencer Kornhaber, David Sims, and Lenika Cruz. Surely a topic worthy of the Atlantic’s Brain Trust!


Headline of the essay: Is Game of Thrones on Thin Ice?

Sub-headline:  Three Atlantic staffers discuss “Beyond the Wall,” the sixth episode of the seventh season.

The political victory of Trump and Trumpism, the political/moral eclipse of the New Democrats, and the beginning of a New Civil, with Charlottesville as its flashpoint, in the political present- having willfully forgotten Ferguson and a tidal wave of Police murders of black folk, and the rise of Black Lives Matter – the editors of The Atlantic choose to spend their critical/moral/civic energy on a television melodrama, that will soon enough be consigned to the status of re-run.

In December 2013, Straussian historical poser Francis Fukuyama postulated ‘The Decay of American Political Institutions’ argued in his usual mendacious verbosity, a Straussian specialty:

Call the Atlantic editors myopic? Or just willfully ignorant of the Second American Civil War!

American Writer











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Some thoughts on Jerry Lewis & American life by Old Socialist

When I was growing up, in Lynwood, California, Watts on one side, Compton and  Long Beach just south, and to the east Downey. My younger brother Philip and I would mow the lawn, take out the trash, and sweep up the flowers, from the Jacaranda tree, which to us seemed endless, from the front sidewalk and the path to our front door. Our sweeping, during the summer, was twice a day, if my mother insisted, as she always did.

We finished our chores and passed my mother’s grooming inspection, hair combed and more importantly, neck and ears washed. An absolute must! We collected our 30 cents. (A candy bar cost 6 cents at the show, a very important consideration for a 7 year old!) So we were candy-less! and we walked a block to Long Beach Blvd. and The Arden Show. We saw Martin and Lewis occasionally but what we really liked were films like This Island Earth and Forbidden Planet: Anne Francis swathed in a gauze swim suit, swimming in a pool, while Leslie Nielsen questioned her, on her father Walter Pigeon’s terrible secret about the Krell of  Altair IV.  All of this much more important than the dull witted clowning of Martin and Lewis. Not to speak of Robbie the Robot as featured player, in this Sci-Fi melodrama. And the old recycled serials from the forties, like Commander Cody Sky Marshal of The Universe.  Or Superman, who was an obvious phony, because the star wasn’t George Reeves, of  television fame.

For my brother and I, our entertainment preference , more an obsession, was Sci-Fi.  The Day the Earth Stood Still was our urtext,  in its many re-releases, and the subject of endless conversations, steeped in wonder,  at the possibility of the existence other life forms, in the age of Nixon/McCarthy Cold War paranoia of the political ‘Other’. That ‘Other’, perfectly cast as lead player, was the very exotic looking Michael Renne, the epitome of the suave sophisticated British gentleman:  my brother and I were two California kids in mid-20th America, the very definition of naiveté.

We were the first generation of television addicts; we even turned on the T.V. set and watched the test pattern, on Saturday mornings, before the broadcasts day began. I don’t remember where my parents were. We now live in an age dominated by this noisy unwelcome guest 24/7.   For Philip and I, Martin and Lewis were the annoying prelude to what we came to see, a vision of a future. Not knowing that that vision was conceived by the apologists for the American National Security State, the American Movie Industry, that helped make Martin and Lewis equal to the ‘circus’ of the ‘bread and circus’ of that State!

Old Socialist


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment feuilletonist, a comment by American Writer

The regular reader of feuilletonist Janan Ganesh is offered more book chat, as bookend to his essay of August 14,2017 ?

Headline: What the summer book choices of the elites reveal about politics

Sub-headline:  Three titles dominate and, if you look closely enough, a single idea connects them
The tantalizing question that remains unanswered, who are these ‘elites’? Those ‘elites’ are rhetorically out of reach to the reader, but the framing hints at what? That Mr. Ganesh has access to communication with this ‘elite’. But the first book Ganesh ‘reviews’ is Graham Allison’s Destined for War and his ‘Thucydides trap’ thesis. That ‘elite’ loves nothing more than the windy overarching, not to speak of intellectually pretentious, and utterly pessimistic/nihilistic frame for the unraveling of the American Empire. And the concomitant rise of American Fascism, this line of argument anathema to that ‘elite’, who are the servants of that State. Recall the worship of Straussian Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man’ framed by a pretentious yet tantalizing bit of Hegel ? Or another Straussian’s contribution to this pessimism genre, Bloom’s ‘The Closing of the American Mind’ ?
The ‘Dog Days of Summer‘ have given Mr. Ganesh another opportunity to demonstrate his skill as ‘literary critic‘:
Headline: The two faces of the 1 per cent
Sub-headline: The public elite nurse constant material worries, the private elite worry that they are not very interesting
What the reader encounters in this August 18,2017 essay is more book chat: the golden opportunity to review Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities. Mr. Wolfe was and is a transplanted Dixiecrat, playing the part of a Dandy, as conceived and realized by American kitsch meister Walt Disney! For some valuable insights, on the Dandy, read that great practitioner of the art of the feuilletonist, and an eminently readable literary critic, par excellence, Cyril Connolly’s ‘The Evening Colonnade’ titled The Dandy 1,2,&3
Mr. Ganesh again demonstrates his ignorance of Mr. Wolfe’s American career: his attack on The New Yorker and its editor William Shawn in 1963. Read Nathan Schiller’s enlightening essay at Construction, for the particulars of the Wolf misogyny as aid of his self-promotion campaign. Even Wolfe’s eventual editorial ally/promoter Clay Felker joined the chorus of his critics.

In 1963, Tom Wolfe argued that The New Yorker was a dull magazine that existed to make suburban Americans (particularly women) feel as intellectually sound as their contre-personnes in France. His piece, a two-part, quasi-satire, written in Wolfe’s self-proclaimed “hyberbolic style” and entitled “Tiny Mummies!” was ostensibly a profile of the magazine’s editor William Shawn. In reality, it made fun of everything about The New Yorker, from its byzantine editing process to its syntactically-confused sentences to the dancing at its kind of awkward fortieth birthday party, which Wolfe reported on by walking into the function despite the fact that it was invite-only.

The result of his effort was a not-insignificant national literary controversy. Among the luminaries who yelled at him were J.D. Salinger, E.B. White, and Walter Lippmann, who wrote that Wolfe was an “incompetent ass.” Lengthy rebuttals were written, and even the White House called to complain—How little of you to criticize . . . The New Yorker!—(sorry, couldn’t resist)—only to be asked, by editor Clay Felker, to write down its grievances and submit them for publication in New York magazine, which had run Wolfe’s piece.

At the time, New York was the Sunday supplement to the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune­­, so if you are so inclined, you may choose to read Felker’s tongue-in-cheek response as epitomizing the stylistic contrast between the two magazines that continues to this day: the elegant, refined, and slightly uptight New Yorker versus the chic-populism (and sarcastic web headlines) of New York. And although New York’s success can be traced to Wolfe’s piece (which helped double the magazine’s ad space), the real winner in the controversy was neither of the institutions, but the writer himself, Tom Wolfe.

Mr. Ganesh fails to realize that some of his readership read the reports of this manufactured controversy in both Time and Newsweek , in that very year!
The important contemporary use of the Wolfe’s novel is that it is instructive in the political present, according to Mr. Ganesh’s narrative. As instructive of the divide between the 1% and the 99%, to use The Occupy Wall Street descriptive model. That is sure to raise the ire of Mr. Ganesh, as he uses Elite and Populist as reductive models descriptive of the political present. In which Ganesh acts as the ‘middle term’ the ‘rational centrist’ who can view the two poles of that political present. Ganesh as self-appointed political arbiter places his pose as Tory Hipster in doubt. The ‘Elite’ have more to fret about than their being uninteresting. Except to the feuilletonist with a deadline to meet!
American Writer
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My reply to @AB

@AB thank you for your comment.
‘Just because you religiously reference old FT articles like you’re writing a Family Guy episode doesn’t make you sophisticated.’ Yes, I do reference old FT articles. Religiously, no! The reason is obvious, I am a regular reader of this newspaper, and those references were germane to the issue. Then, the Family Guy non sequitur- you put the spurs to your rhetorical mount and were immediately thrown from the saddle. In sum, your argument descends in to a collection of personal insults, not to speak of public shaming, two of the hallmarks of the anti-intellectual, the Know-Nothing. For this kind of polemic you have a gift, yet it is no substitute for actual argument. Even though it has a limited appeal, it would have been more effective had you been able to infuse your screed with humor. Or, was that what the Family Guy reference was meant to accomplish? If so it fell with a thud!








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@BretStephensNYT makes the astounding claim that Barack Obama is responsible for Charlottesville! Almost Marx comments

Mr. Stephens can’t resist the continuing temptation of baiting the readership of the New York Times. To that reader, Obama plays the role of ‘Liberal’, rather than what he is politically, a Neo-Liberal i.e. a New Democrat. In sum, Obama is Heroic when compared to the utterly vulgar Carnival Barker Trump. But the reality is that the whole of America’s political class is in a state of political/moral collapse. As I write this, on August 18,2017, the comments on Mr. Stephens’ polemic have reached 1211.

Headline: Trump, Obama and the Politics of Evasion

His polemic is consistent in repeating the Neo-Conservative Party Line, as it evolves from his pen: he riffs on his theme as the expression- like the lawyer in America’s ‘Law Courts’ his ‘guiding principal’  is his self-serving mendacity, allied to his worship of the Bitch Goddess! Not to speak of the natural bellicosity of the Armchair General, a grand tradition in the life world of Neo-Conservatism. In this episode of the American Political Melodrama, Obama is the object of Mr. Stephens’ scorn and contempt, while Trump plays the role of the bearer of reason. The world turned upside down, the hallmark of the political Straussian.

Almost Marx



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The Tale of Two Show Trials: Occupy defendants Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, & Alex Chow vs Occupy Wall Street Protester Cecily McMillan. A comment by Almost Marx

Compare Judge Wally Yeung’ comments on the Wong, Law and Chow case :

Judge Wally Yeung said the case was the “best example” of an “unhealthy trend” in which some youngsters had “casually destroyed public order” in the name of their ideals.

To the comments of Judge Ronald Zweibel’s comments on the Cicely McMillian case:

“A civilized society must not allow an assault to be permitted under the guise of civil disobedience,” he said. “The jury rejected the defendant’s version of events.”

Mr. Wong’s statement:

“I still believe that time is on our side and one day Hong Kong will be a place where we can determine our future,” he told activists outside the court, as some broke into tears while others hugged each other.

“If the ones who are sent to prison don’t give up, I believe there’s no reason for anyone not in prison to give up or step backwards. Keep up the fight, we love Hong Kong.”

Ms. McMillian’s statement:

“Whether personal or political, violence is not permitted. This being a law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of,” McMillan said. “I cannot confess to a crime that I did not commit. I cannot throw away my dignity in return for my freedom.”

Here is further attack on Ms.  McMillian’s credibility by Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain as reported in The Huffington Post:

Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain echoed that statement on Monday, telling Zweibel before his sentence that McMillan’s testimony about having her breast grabbed was “perjury” and “a fabrication clearly designed to manipulate the system and once again to assault Officer Bovell, although this time to assault his character.”

Would that this newspaper, The Financial Times, had exercised the same concern for Occupy Wall Street Protester Cecily McMillan Show Trial, as they have for Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, & Alex Chow Show Trial!

The reader need only compare Ms. McMillian’s Show Trial,  with the removal of Judge Judge Scheindlin, from the ‘Stop and Frisk’ case. Her comparison of Kelly and Bloomberg as  ‘“looking like two angry white men.” is the perfect rejoinder to Bloomberg’s lawlessness interference in that ‘Stop and Frisk’ case! Judicial corruption rules American Jurisprudence!

For weeks and months, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin had been excoriated by New York City’s highest public officials for her ruling in 2013 that the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy had violated the rights of minorities. At the time, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, in essence, that he hoped the ruling would not take effect while he was still in office, because he did not want to be “responsible for a lot of people dying.”

The attacks on Judge Scheindlin only intensified after a federal appeals panel stayed her ruling, criticized her actions in the case and removed her from continuing to oversee it.

But last week, as Judge Scheindlin prepared to step down after nearly 22 years as a federal district judge in Manhattan, she offered her first extensive interviews about the case and her tenure, with a particularly blunt response to the criticism.

She would never forget, she said, seeing a front-page photograph in a newspaper the day after she released her ruling, showing Mr. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, as she put it, “looking like two angry white men.”

“They seemed out of touch with the issues that the communities cared about,” Judge Scheindlin said. “They didn’t seem to understand the impact of these policies on real people and real neighborhoods and real communities and the detrimental impact it was having, even on policing. And that’s the point. They didn’t seem to get it. It was all about fear — New York would blow up.”

Almost Marx

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