Russia’s Interference in US Elections: the Official Evidence

I read the whole document delivered to the Senate and to the President-elect on January 5/6 2017 that describes the main intelligence agencies’ case for Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It was rough going because of the document’s numbing repetitiveness. The author of the report is referred to grandly in several places as “The Intelligence Community.” I think there is no such creature. The real authors appear on p. 6 :

“This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.” (Bolding mine.)

I find the report plausible by and large but it contains nothing (0) constituting proof or evidence. I am aware of the fact that there may be good reasons rooted in concerns for national security why evidence must not be included in the document. Yet, of course, this deprives it of credibility to a great extent. And, nothing at all could be included? Hard to believe.

The credibility of the report resides entirely, it seems to me, in the fact that the heads of three main American intelligence agencies presented a consensus of what they affirm are findings. Left with nothing else, it’s fair to try and assess the worth of this consensus.

The consensus is more than nothing but it’s not much. It’s more than nothing because the three partners are in a position to watch each other, even to suppress cheating by one of their number. (I hold firmly to the view that conspiracy is unlikely because it’s dangerous and costly. But see below.)

My reservations are as follows: First, each one of these signatories, the people under whose names the report was published, is a political appointee. I don’t deplore this fact, it’s pretty unavoidable. I don’t have a better suggestion. Yet, each of the three directors is a member of the D.C. establishment and probably (probably) shares this elite’s revulsion about Donald Trump, the person, and disbelief about his election. This does not describe a conspiracy but a shared cultural understanding which requires no consultation.

And then, the Directors’ terms are coming to an end at the new president’s whim. They may (may) be interested in future appointments, including with lobbyists. One might see them as top-ranking swamp dwellers. I am awaiting leaks from inside the three agencies to confirm or disconfirm the political appointees’ report. If there is not any in the next month, my skepticism will decrease.

One of the three, the FBI Director, gave us recently a demonstration either of intellectual corruption or of irresolution, on the occasion of his report on the Clinton’s email scandals. If memory serves, he substituted himself for the Attorney General (herself compromised) to recommend that Mrs Clinton not be prosecuted in spite of massive evidence against her. His presence in the relevant trio detracts from its collective credibility, as far as I am concerned. Other might think that he betrayed Clinton by making any public pronouncement at all on the erased emails. This interpretation of recent events would also detract from the trio’s collective credibility.

So, I must return to the intrinsic value of consensus, a topic I brushed on above. As I go there, personally, I get a strange sense of déjà vu. When I was a young man and a young scholar, every French person I knew who was anybody was some kind of Communist (Stalinist, Maoist, Trotskyst, you name it), or a fellow traveler, or even to the left of the Communist Part (très chic this). It was so bad that I often stood alone denouncing the obvious crimes and failures of communism; I was ostracized, I was persecuted in my career by contributors to and supporters of the consensus. (I can think of only two honorable prominent French intellectuals never joined he consensus at all: Raymond Aron and Jan-Francois Revel.)  Few of those Communists were monsters, few believed in the virtuousness of mass deportations, or of concentration camps, or of any of the other catalogued horrors. Many of those whose hostility I was then facing would readily agree now that communism was a bad mirage. They should have known better but they did not. Yet, none has apologized. “Let bygones be bygones,” they think. The fact that they are so numerous facilitates self-forgiveness.

They were all victims of a collective delusion, in spite of their intellectual credentials. For many, the delusion lasted twenty or thirty years. This personal experience induces me to assign limited value to the consensus of those who are in the know. Incidentally, I flatter myself that thanks to this same experience, I have developed a good nose for hoity-toity totalitarianism. I smell a rat here.

But those of you who are old enough can dispense with my personal views. We remember well how the US went to war and invaded Iraq in 2003 under the guise of removing Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. An even broader consensus than the one about the present report supported the view that such objects existed within Iraq. The consensus then included not only the main American intelligence agencies* but the intelligence services of several major powers.** It even included the French service although the French government was resolutely opposed to the invasion. Well, it turned out, after a dedicated thorough search that there were no weapons of mass destruction to speak of in Iraq, consensus be damned!

Annex B of the report explicates the measurement devices behind the judgment of degree of certainty expressed on diverse questions. It’s a potentially useful tool. In principle, any smart newspaper intern could go through the whole report and scores its various assertions for credibility as reported. This might lead to an overall assessment of credibility for the whole report. I think no one will bother. The major newspapers don’t care or don’t want to. The TV channels are not much better. (Fox Business, might be an exception.) Nevertheless, I credit the report authors for including this technical annex. Incidentally, Annex A spends six pages and even a graph exposing the anti-American contents of RT television channel, which no one watches. That kind of futility does not inspire confidence in the whole endeavor. It creates the impression that the authors are straining to satisfy outgoing President Obama’s wishes.

And then, finally, ignoring all my grounds for skepticism, we are left with the question of how Russia – Russia – would ever have so much traction. How would a second-rate country be able to disturb so deeply an American political process that has survived for nearly 250 years through war, civil war, economic crises, etc. ? It’s worth remembering in this context that Russia’s population is less than half the American. That it was in steep demographic decline from 1990 until last year. That it has a fragile national economy dependent on the export of oil and gas, an economy the size of California’s, or Italy’s. That Russia’s GDP per person is less than half the American. And – by the way – why wouldn’t the Russian oligarchs worry that anything they do to us, we could do to them, and much worse?

Go figure!

I think we have better things to do than obsess about Russian hacking. Concern about Russian military adventurism – unchecked for 8 years of Obama administration – would make more sense.

* The CIA retracted a little but that was several days after the invasion had been launched.

** Donald Rumsfeld asserts this for Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia, China, France, and Germany.  (“Known and Unknown: a Memoir,”  p.434.)

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Stories of Women

In 2017, I will put together a collection of stories about women. It’s going to be entitled provisionally: “Stories of Women.”  Below is the preface and a sample story. I pay attention to comments. Thank you.

Preface

We exist in the path of an avalanche of books about women. Most of these try to demonstrate or to illustrate, beyond all reason, that women are more or less like the descendants of slaves brought over from Africa in chains and subjected to nameless atrocities for two and half centuries, followed for one hundred years by systematic denials of human dignity. This is nonsense, of course, I mean in Western democracies. In America, women live longer than men, they own most of the money, they have most of the votes. They also earn (earn) most of the college degrees. Besides, if women are oppressed, it’s difficult to identify the oppressor except if it’s really that unspeakable bitch, Mother Nature who decided that only women could become pregnant.   

   I can’t believe that men in general are the oppressor. For one thing, nearly all the women I know, or that I have heard of, that I have read about, and who don’t own a man, desire one with all their heart. They plot and scheme – when they don’t bravely even go under the knife – to try to catch one, except lesbians of course, and I am not even sure about them. If you don’t believe me, just witness the bitterness, the rage of Italian women forced to remain single because Italian men are often Mama’s boys who rediscover after their teenage years that only their mother knows how to really cook their spaghetti and to iron their shirts just so. Do the oppressed long for an oppressor? Would it make any sense?

   Western women are not an oppressed class, but women, in general, are very important for two reasons. First, as the Chinese are said to say, they hold up half the sky. In fact, they are more than half of what is human. If you don’t pay attention to women, you are just not paying attention. Second, here is one of the three or four intelligent things I have said in my life: It’s mostly mothers who rear boys. As a consequence, men have more woman in them than women have man in them. It’s not absurd to think of humanity as a sort of iceberg, half of the top of which is male, with a large female more or less submerged underwater biomass.

   In a previous work ( I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography) I described extensively my intense childhood and adolescent interactions with three adult women and how they shaped me forever. But the shaping does not end with a male’s legal majority or when he leaves the nest for good. It continues throughout life, first with girlfriends, then with wives and mistresses, of course. Most of those women are more keen on transforming him than he is to resist their efforts. But that is well explored territory where I would not dare venture with my small pen because I fear unflattering comparisons. (Typical “male insecurity” there, I hear you snickering!)

   There are also women to whom one is not related and with whom one is not doing unspeakable things, or thinking of it, (or few, or seldom) and who nevertheless matter. Some count although they barely cross one’s life; many matter for reasons that are not completely clear. It seems to me that the measure of importance of people resides in what is remembered of them, even remembered for no particular reason, or when the reason is of insufficient magnitude to explain even the existence of the remembrance.

   This is a collection of short stories about women who stuck to my memory for different reasons. Some, I passed like one passes an express trains in the night, long enough to see passengers in the well-lit compartment, not long enough to make more than superficial sense of the view. Others were part of my journey for a little while, others, for a long time. They are some of the women I remember with clarity. It’s “some,” rather than “all,” or “most, or even “many,” because the stories included here are all decent. I excluded forcefully vivid remembrances offending on common decency.* This is intended mostly as a family book. (Beware: There is still a little bit adult language in some parts.) While I hope it will make women smile, this book is also a sort of how-to-book for men. Those who read it won’t be worse off; they may end up being better off and their relationships with the other sex. I think that is not a common genre, unfortunately.

   One more thing: A small number of the stories in this book stage or portray my wife, my wife of many years. Not everything in these few stories about her would be thought flattering. I can see you, girlie men, shuddering at the thought of what she will do to me when she finds out. And you, compassionate women readers can’t help but worry a little on my behalf, imagining what you would do to me in her place. Do not tremble for me, any of you! Like most women, my wife would rather be pictured in an unflattering light than not be pictured at all. Besides, she does not often read what I write. “I already know all of your stories,” she says airily. At least, you can be sure that this male writer has not been spoiled by unseemly domestic adulation.

Three Astonishing Women

I leave my newspaper on the table outside as I dart inside the café to get more sugar. When I return, five seconds later, a middle-aged woman wearing dark glasses is walking briskly across the street, holding my newspaper in her hand.

   Hey, I shout fairly amicably, I was not finished with my paper.

She turns around and throws the paper on the table near me.

   I don’t want your stupid paper, she says. What would I do with it? I am legally blind.

Fact is that her glasses are unusually thick. Point well taken. What do I know?

I drive into an unevenly paved parking lot behind a woman in a big van. As she makes a right-hand turn, I spot a blue handicapped sticker on her windshield. Just as she is about to place her van in the reserved handicapped space, her engine stops. After several useless attempts to re-start it, she steps out of the vehicle and starts pushing.

   I am a real sweetheart and also an old-fashioned nice guy so, my first reflex is to get out and to give her a hand. I abstain because I soon judge her efforts to be futile. She is trying to move the heavy van up a significant bump. I think there is no way the two of us can vanquish gravity and place the van in its proper spot.

   Then, the woman braces herself; the back of her dress rises and her big calves become like hard river stones; she harrumphs once and the van ends up perfectly parked in the handicapped space. I learned another lesson: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Speaking of parking makes me think of the last time I went to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. I only wanted a copy of a trailer permit. I had duly paid paid for the original when I obtained it. I was in foul mood much before I reached there because, everyone hates the DMV, right?

   Less logically, my irritation grew as I advanced up the line, as I got nearer the end of my ordeal.

   The employee to whose window I am directed is a plump young Latina with a pleasant face. I explain my request. She goes tick, tick, tick on her computer with her lovingly manicured fingers and, quickly enough, she hands me the copy I came for.

   It’s $16.75, she says.

   I explode. That’s ridiculous, I stutter. That fee for a simple copy is an abuse of power. I changed my mind; I don’t want it anymore. Keep it!

    Well, I will just have to give it to you, says the lovable DMV lady employee with a big bright smile.

   I practically fall on my butt in the midst of dozens of pissed-off customers.

I guess I don’t know everything about women, as I often think I do, just most things.

© Jacques Delacroix circa 2006, 2016

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An Atheist’s Christmas

Christmas, the celebration, has a meaning that reaches well beyond Christianity. I don’t mean that it’s the exclusive beginning of a story about loving thy neighbor. That’s comparatively unimportant because some other religions also foster love, peace, and charity. The importance of Christianity is that it makes God become Man, forever. I mean, not a for a little while and only to fulfill mysterious mythical missions as in the religion of the Ancient Egyptians. I mean not in pursuit of nefarious and usually obscene goals such as seducing unsuspecting maidens, or even one’s own sister, as is common in both Greek paganism and in Hinduism*, not temporarily, but for good.

The Christian insistence that God can take human form durably irrevocably closes the distance between the Creator and his creature. It’s but two steps from Man himself becoming God. The incarnation of God was thus a necessary prelude to Western humanism, the belief that Man is the measure of everything. It’s notable that only Europe and its heir societies have, to this day, taken that step forcefully and irreversibly.

Even most religious believers in those parts of the world are humanists in the sense described above. No other kind of society has taken the step. Outside of Western Europe, the sacred and the superstitious reign supreme although there are humanists, in the Western sense, everywhere. (I am tempted to call them “converts” to humanism.) The belief that Man (including woman**) is central from the standpoint of value seems to me to be a pre-condition to democracy and to a fundamental requirement for human rights. I mean by “human rights,” basic rights that apply to all individuals irrespective of nation, tribe,caste, political affiliation, or sex.

To my mind, Christmas is intimately tied to the reasons why democracy works better and in a more sustained manner, and human rights are more likely to be respected as a matter of routine, in Western societies than elsewhere. This, in spite of the fact that there are brave efforts to sustain the one and to protect the other in all kinds of societies.

It seems to me that Christians widely misinterpret the story that Jesus was born in a manger (a cattle trough). The point is not that his family was poor. They were not; they had the wherewithal to travel to near Jerusalem from distant Galilee. Rather, as one of the Gospels states plainly, “there was no room in the inn” (Luke: 2:7). In other words, Joseph faced a typical Christmas hotel overbooking. So, Jesus’ birth, probably inside a warm stable, is another indication that he was a regular kid although he was God. It could have happened to any of us before the Internet.

* I am fairly well informed about Hinduism because I converted to that religion after receiving formal religious instruction in the early 80s, another story, obviously. I am not a worse Hindu that I was a Catholic, thank you very much.

** In the English language, for five hundred years, “man” was understood to include “woman.” It’s only since 1978, in the suburbs of America, that a distinction became required. Guess what usage I prefer.

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The Hacking Monster and the Demise of the Real People

“The Post cites U.S. officials who received a message from CIA Director John Brennan that said both FBI Director James Comey and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, stand with the CIA on the issue.” (It means, the Washington Post, specifically.)

Could be but why do we have to hear it from the Washington Post, a newspaper that illustrated itself for both its partiality and its incompetence in the recent election? Why should I be quick to believe those who have egg on their faces because of Trump when they assert anything detrimental to Trump?

Why can’t the president of the CIA, of the FBI and James Clapper give a very public joint press conference where their credibility would be at stake? Mind you, if they do anything like this at all, I will say, “Bravo,” but:

At the risk of repeating something I posted myself a couple of days ago, there is no scientific way to find out who hacked what, only that something has been hacked. What is serving in lieu of a Russian signature in this case, according to the president, to the main press, to anyone? I am not arguing here that Putin is innocent in general. I would easily accuse him of triggering the Deluge and of setting up the Inquisition. It just seems strangely convenient to blame him, because he is an evil man, precisely.

Why is so little said – in connection with any hacking – about the Clinton campaign’s proven electronic incompetence? I remind you that Clinton herself argued this when explaining the external bathroom server and the erasure of tens of thousands of emails. Is it possible the campaign was simply hacked by a 26-year old living in his parents’ basement and still on their health insurance? Did the main press forget that the Clintonites themselves affirmed that they did not know what they were doing in that area?

Why would Putin have favored Trump (again)? Was it because he calculated that Clinton was already sold and paid for in advance by other powers? Did he fear she had little left to sell?

Repeating myself anew: How would the contents of Clinton campaign emails influence voters if those contents were innocent (like mine, for example)? I heard somewhere on TV, from a Clintonite, that John Podesta’s risotto recipe had been hacked. I like risotto, don’t eat it often enough. If that recipe had been made public, it might have made me more (MORE) inclined to vote for Clinton. (I voted for Trump reluctantly.) That’s on the one hand. On the other hand, any credible information of cheating against any of her rivals, including against Senator Sanders, was sure to turn me off for good. It did. It’s reasonable to assume that it turned off some, or even many, independent voters. Yes, it’s quite possible that the hacking influenced the election but only because it revealed filth that was supposed to remain private. Go ahead, kill the messenger!

Conservatives and Trumpistas are all over TV protesting that the current startling revival of that old hacking story is part of an attempt to de-legitimize in advance the Trump presidency. Maybe, but it’s a weak explanation. What I hear and what I read looks to this experienced writer like a collective narrative being constructed haltingly. There is clearly an attempt for all to tell the same story but it’s not going well; it must be confusing for the average person, with kids to take to school and a mortgage to pay. It’s so confusing that a FB friend of mine who prides himself on being well informed as well as analytical gave the impression yesterday on his FB that he thought Putin was accused of tampering with the voting process itself. (That is with the ballots and with their counting.) He is not, so far.

What I think I am seeing instead is a multi-directional set of accusations and of confessions, accompanied by an attempt at collective redemption among the leftist intelligentsia* of this country after the historical kick in the ass administered by not quite half of American voters. It was completely unexpected; it was a landslide next to their expectations of possible Trump success (the 30% deplorables, maximum, at worst?) It was unfair. It’s nearly inexplicable. Faction argues with faction, sub-groups of the Demo Party with subgroups, state Demo centers within themselves, liberal think tanks are paralyzed; sometimes, individual liberals also argue with themselves. That’s all in order to explain and to justify the Trump catastrophe. As, the Bible for example, recounts over and over again, in the aftermath of a disaster, groups of humans usually do two things: First, they find scapegoats and cut their throats. Clinton’s confidante Uma Abedin’s throat has not been cut (yet) but she was sure thrown under the bus. Second, they elaborate an explanatory myth. Here it goes: Monstrous Mr Putin robbed us, the real people, of our merited victory and installed the obscene Donald Trump to rule over us.


* On the left of the American political spectrum, the intelligentsia runs deep. It includes everyone who has read five books, and anyone who subscribes to the Atlantic and sometimes read parts of it.

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Dude School: Fifteen Principles on How to Be a Man

From twelve to sixty at least, longer if you look young, count on getting the worst seats in public transport, or no seat at all.

Carry children’s bags, of course, but also women’s, including the oversize “carry-on” the over-painted middle-age woman on stiletto heels (the same on all flights), is unable to carry herself onto the plane, much less lift into the overhead compartment.

Learn to enjoy plate leftovers, first, your sister’s, then, your girl-friends’ and wives’, then, your children’s and your grandchildren’s, your great-grandchildren’s if you are lucky.

Accept early the fact that you will earn most of the money but get to spend very little of it. Household money used to be women’s money. Since Women’s Lib, there are two kinds of money: the household’s and hers.

Speaking of household, don’t do any chores that recur regularly or that don’t allow you to work up a sweat in five minutes or less. The exception is taking out the garbage cans but only if they are heavy. The woman in your life will claim that she wants you to share chores equally but, if you do, she will despise you secretly. It will squash her libido and she will blame you for it. Any task that is dangerous, painful or complicated is yours and yours alone.

Drink alcohol every day. Teetotalers live short lives. They are also mostly unsuccessful and they lack generosity. Drinking (in moderation, most of the time) will prime your flattery pump.

How much flattery of women is permitted? There is practically no limit. Everything goes.

Don’t complain or make any noise when you are hurt or sick. Women deliberately invented the common-place idea that men are just big soft babies. In the old days, the idea was fortified by the supposed uniqueness of the pains of childbirth. Now that few Western women experience childbirth without chemical help, the idea is too deeply anchored to combat. Don’t waste your time.

Every so often, you should get in touch with your inner child. Take the little wimp out and beat his ass.

Don’t bother to get in touch with your feminine side though. She is liable to tell you to fuck off.

Make money early in life, or get a job from which you can’t get fired, or acquire much needed and rare skills, such as plumbing. Men who can’t support themselves and men who worry about losing their job usually can’t get it up.

Aim high in your choice of women. If you are mated with a plain woman she will never forgive you her plainness. Although she insists on turning off all lights, if you make love to her only in the dark, she will resent you. Many very beautiful women say they are lonely. That’s because most men are too wussy to proposition them and risk being rejected. Being rejected is part of your job description as a male. Just watch the Animal Planet channel.

Any woman who claims she wants to get laid has a right to it. That’s the way Mother Nature intended it (otherwise, it would be Father Nature; think how ridiculous that would be.) Just find the resources, within yourself if you can, on the Web, if need be.

Don’t argue about money with the woman in your life. It’s easier and cheaper to earn more money than to pay the psychic costs of arguments you can’t win; it’s also cheaper than any divorce and less annoying than counseling.

Make yourself the promise that you will never beat her. She does not have to know about it though.

Most women care deeply about a multitude of tiny things while men only care about a small number of issues they think important. Yield on all the former and be intractable on the latter. If she won’t let you have your way, don’t argue; just walk away or drive away; she will follow you, to have the last word if nothing else. Remember to walk slowly and to drive in a simple pattern: She is slow and gets lost easily. Keep in mind that, not very deep down, they all crave submission (theirs). They just want to make sure they are submitting to the right guy, as Mother advised.

Resist marriage but yield in the end. The folklore of the whole world tells you that when marriage was an all-around good deal for men, they already resisted it. Now that you are expected to do half the dishes if all goes well and to pay all the child support in case it does not, you should sell your skin dearly. Making women compete for your hand will optimize the chance that you get one who is at least very motivated. (Not one who will leave to go and find herself in her early thirties.) Simple rule of thumb: All women want to be married much more than most men. Yet, you must yield in the end because unmarried men die like flies, always did, always will. Also, being married to a woman is still the best way to make and rear children.

© Jacques Delacroix 2005, 2007, 2016

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Adios a Fidel

 

It was so romantic when those truckfuls of young men with beards took over the cesspool of Havana on New Year’s Eve (a scene immortalized in The Godfather Two). They were bringing freedom and relief from poverty to the beleaguered people of Cuba who had suffered under American imperialism for more than sixty years.

When his main acolyte – the beautiful Che – was through shooting a few hundreds of political opponents – which took weeks – the business of revolutionary construction began in earnest. Soon, the Revolution had to face an invasion from disgruntled sons of the exiled Cuban upper-class plus a few misguided sons of the working class. The invasion was roundly betrayed by the fabled Pres. John F. J Kennedy. After that, the Revolution found extravagant financial support from the Soviet Union. a poor country itself but a large one.

Later, the leader of the Cuban Revolution tried to get the US nuked by his big Russian brother. That cool leader must have had his reasons, I am sure.

The stubbornness of opponents ( “guisanos,””worms”) was so great that the Revolution was forced to jail a few thousand of them, including poets (along with thousands of men whose crime was homosexuality). Other obdurate traitors to the Revolution left Cuba on balsa rafts and on rafts made with old barrels. Many drowned at sea. Their choice! After a while, one Cuban in five was living abroad, away from the workers’ paradise.

The Revolution triumphed in the fields of education and public health. Nowadays, Cubans’ level of literacy is a high as that of other Latin American countries. Although it’s not really free, the Cuban public health service is pretty good, what with its separate public-public sector and its sector for Communist Party members only, the two strictly equal to each other, of course.

When the first leader became too old, somehow, the best revolutionary found to succeed him was his little brother, as happened in other people’s democracies such as North Korea.

In the meantime, there had been several military adventures, all in tropical countries where even ordinary Cuban privates could afford bananas, for once. That they did not win anywhere was not their fault. One prominent general even had to be shot by the leadership because he was dealing drugs. His trial lasted a whole week.

Today, after fifty years, progress is so great that ordinary Cubans easily earn forty or fifty dollars a month. Many earn three times more by renting their bedroom to foreign visitors. Take university professors and medical doctors. They can always make much more than fifty a month be driving a taxi. And meat is now available six days a month instead of the customary four. You can’t argue with this!

As Westerners, we must be especially grateful that the Cuban Revolution has made the island into one of the best destinations for sex tourism in the world.

Yes, Fidel was really, really cool and we will all miss him. He was our youth. He gave Communism a second breath  with plenty of coconut-scented sun lotion. We could have sworn it would have worked this time: human progress, with smiles and liberty. He did embarked on a great experiment in human happiness. That it may have failed repeatedly is not his fault at all. Nobody is perfect. At least, his long life of power and influence has had the great merit of showing what happens to Communist take-overs in the long run, when no external factor puts a precocious end to them.

PS  To this day, many Cubans and an embarrassing number of Western leftists believe that the Cubans’ poverty is mainly due to the US BLOCKADE of the island. Well folks, there was a blockade, in the early sixties. It lasted two weeks (fourteen or fifteen days). Since then, there has been an American economic embargo on Cuba. It means that Americans cannot buy from or sell most items to Cuban economic actors. Cubans could always buy anything from and sell anything to anyone else in the whole wide world, including our Canadian cousins who have everything we have. We are talking here of a fifty year-old grand lie. You had to be cool, like Fidel and his little brother to pull it off!

WITH A LITTLE PATIENCE AND PERHAPS REPEATED ATTEMPTS, YOU CAN HEAR A VOICE BLOGGING FROM INSIDE CUBA BY JUST ACTIVATING THE LINK BELOW. IT’S NOT ALWAYS UP TO DATE, THE BRAVE WOMAN BLOGGER DOES WHAT SHE CAN TO ELUDED INTERRUPTION:        https://generacionyen.wordpress.com/

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Trump, l’un-Obama

Je suis desole mais je n’ai pas le courage de former les accents pour ce texte avec mon logiciel anglais peu commode. J’espere que vous pourrez quand meme me lire.

Chers amis francophones:

La victoire electorale de Donald Trump vous aura choque, bien sur car vos grand medias vous ont trompes tout en demontrant leur incompetence. Pour commencer, leurs envoye speciaux, ou meme permanents, connaissent generalement mal l’Anglais. Pour finir, ils sont eux-memes mal informes. Ils donnent l’impression de ne jamais sortir de Manhattan et de Washington D.C. On dirait qu’ils ne lisent que le New York Times, celui-la meme qui a accompli le fait-de-guerre journalistique de se tromper jusqu’a la derniere minute sur les probabilite de victoires de la candidate qu’il soutenait de facon ehontee.

Le monde tremblote, il est dans tous ses emois parce que, faute d’information elementaire, il ne sait pas a quoi s’attendre de la part de l’improbable President Trump. Je vais essayer de vous le dire brievement. Ce que j’ai a dire va surement surprendre nombre d’entre vous, francophones, et surtout des Francais soumis continuellement a une presse gauchiste rudimentaire autant que malveillante. On pourra juger de ma propre credibilite en parcourant le rest de ce blog qui comporte entre autres chose, plusieurs affichages en Francais

Il faut d’abord comprendre deux choses. Premierement, ce n’est pas tant que Trump a gagne, mais plutot, que Clinton a perdu. J’ai moi-meme vote pour Trump, et ma femme aussi, parceque nous pensons que Clinton serait en prison – sur la base de plusieurs chefs d’accusation – si le processus judiciaire normal n’avait pas ete deraille a dessein par l’administration Obama.* Ni ma femme ni moi n’avons beaucoup de choses positives a dire sur Mr Trump. L’analyse posterieure des bulletins de vote demontre que beaucoup de gens qui le considerent peu fiables ont quand meme vote pour lui. Il parait avoir remporte sensiblement moins de voix que Clinton. Il possede donc un mandat limite.

Deuxiemement, ce qui vient de se passer n’est pas seulement une victoire presidentielle plutot modeste mais un ras-de-maree anti-Democrate ( le parti) a tous les echelons. Les Republicains possedent aujourd’hui plus de sieges electifs qu’ils n’en n’ont jamais eu depuis la Grande Depression des annees trente. Cette domination inclut 39 postes de gouverneur sur cinquante.

Qu’attendre de cette nouvelle donne politique?

L’Immigration

Il est hors de question qu’on expulse dix ou onze millions d’immigrants illegaux. Trump a annonce qu’il allait pourchasser et sortir du territoire national les etrangers en etat d’irrregularite qui ont aussi aussi commis des crimes. Ceci est exactement, et depuis plusieurs annees, la politique… d’Obama. Il est possible toutefois qu’il le fasse avec plus de vigueur que son predecesseur.

Construire un mur sur la frontiere Sud comme il l’a promis maintes fois serait une grosse betise. D’abord, les Mexicains en situation irreguliere qui quittent les Etats-Unis sont aujourd’hui plus nombreux que ceux qui y entrent. Ensuite, meme dans les milieux les plus hostiles a l’immigration illegale, on a chacun ses exception, ses “bons Mexicains” sans lequels on aurait du mal a fonctionner. Si le gouvernment federal se mettait a expulser les Mexicains en situation irreguliere mais innocents de tout crime de droit commun, on commencerait vite a les cacher. (Moi aussi.) D’ailleurs, Trump a, durant sa campagne, bien evite de mentionner la plus evidente maniere de faire cesser l’immigration illegale. Il s’agit simplement d’appliquer la legislation existante et qui punit les employeurs de travailleurs en situation irreguliere. En fait, Trump va tendre un simple barbele aux endroits de la frontiere qui ne sont pas encore fortifies. Ensuite, il va imposer une taxe de 1/1000 de 1 % sur les mandats vers le Mexique et il declarera qu’il a construit un mur et qu’il a fait payer le Mexique!

Il y a en fait, pas un mais deux problemes d’immigration. Le premier est de savoir si on accepte des gens qui commencent leur sejour dans le pays en enfreignant les lois existantes. Le second, c’est de savoir si on les admet a la citoyennete. Ce sont deux questions bien distinctes. Beaucoup de Republicains repondent a la premiere question par un : “Non, mais….” Ils sont unanimes, par contre, pour s’opposer a leur accession a la citoyennete. Ceci pour plusieurs raisons dont l’une est que ceux des immigrants qui votent le font surtout pour le Parti Democrate.

Il y a aussi le cas special des immigrants Musulmans, dont beaucoup de refugies. Apres plusieurs attentats commis ici par des Musulmans et apparemment (en apparence) au nom de l’Islam, et vus les problemes lies a la menace terroriste que continuent a affliger la France et d’autres pays etrangers, l’idee de soumettre les immigrants Musulmans a une super-verification est bien accueillie. Il ne s’agit pas du test sandwich jambon/biere, par exemple. On peut imaginer de soumettre tous les immigrants a une question pointue sur la separation de l’etat et de la religion tout en leur faisant savoir que leur reponse est sujette a publication nominative. (Pour les Musulmans qui suivent les ecrit sacres de l’Islam a la lettre ce concept est une abomination.) Bien sur, les vrais terroriste mentiraient. En les faisant repondre a cette question sous serment, on organiserait un maniere instantanee de poursuivre en justice et surtout de placer en garde a vue ceux qui mentiraient et qui seraient pris plus tard. Contrairement a une propagande Democrate repandue mais mensongere, le programme de Trump ne comporte aucune mesure a l’egard des Musulmans qui resident deja aux Etats-Unis, soit comme citoyens, soit comme immigrants legaux. Aucune!

La fiscalite et l’economie

Avec une majorite aux deux chambres, Trump ne va pas se priver de baisser les impots, presque tous les impots, sans doute. Il fera le pari qu’une telle mesure incitative relancera l’economie vers une croissance normale pour l’Amerique, soit 3+% p de PIB annuellemnt. Il fera aussi le pari qu’a moyen terme, cette relance renflouera les caisses de l’etat federal. Une administration Trump fera entre aures choses, le necessaire fiscal pour recapturer des millards de dollars appartenant a des societes americaines mais parques a l’etranger a cause de la forte fiscalite a laquelle leur repatriation fait aujourd’hui face. Cela fera surement un appel d’air en Europe. Desole!

Les accords commerciaux internationaux

Mr Trump a fait beaucoup de bruit pendant sa campagne et s’est attire beaucoup de soutien politique en denoncant des accords economiques internationaux “injustes” auxquels appartiendraient les Etats-Unis. Ces accords seraient la cause, selon M. Trump, de la rapide disparition des emplois industriels americains (malgre la progression continue de la production industrielle). J’ai bien l’impression que Mr Trump ne comprend pas vraiment la logique economique de la specialisation et des echanges, y compris les echanges internationaux. Il est vrai que la plupart de gens ne comprennent pas non plus, et, je pense, surtout en France. Je resume donc: Quand les Canadiens font pousser leur propres bananes, il appauvrissent tout le monde. C’est ainsi parcequ’il y a des tas de choses qu’ils font mieux que la cultures des bananes. Il serait preferable de se consacrer a ce qu’ils font de mieux et d’acheter des bananes sous les tropiques.

J’ai toujours pense que l’existence neanmoins de tant d’accords commerciaux internationaux constituait une sorte de miracle et meme la preuve d’un sorte de sagesse des elites politiques. (Il n’est pas trop tard pour se mettre a la comprehension de la logique sous-jacente aux accords commerciaux internationaux. Les liens qui suivent vous ameneront a plusieurs essais sur la question sur ce blog-meme. Je les ai tous ecrit deliberement pour ceux que j’appelle les “ignorantsintelligents”:

version courte: https://factsmatter.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/the-de-industrialization-of-the-us-a-string-of-enlightening-fallacies-essay-on-international-economics-in-plain-english/

Le cours complet: /https://factsmatter.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/specialization/)

Il est pourtant vrai que la plupart des accords internationaux aboutissent aussi a des pertes d’emploi. En gros, tout le monde, Pierre, Paul, Marie Jeanne, Lucie, Eric, et Jean y compris, tend a vivre mieux grace a tel accord, mais Jean perd son emploi dans l’affaire. Trump ne semble voir que ce dernier aspect-la des choses.

Tout ce qui fait reculer les echanges contribue a diminuer le niveau de vie des uns et des autres sans pour autant, ou necessairement faire retrouver son emploi a Jean. Malgre cela, Trump va surement essayer de renegocier plusieurs accords internationaux pour leur faire favoriser plus les entreprises americaines. Dans la mesure ou il reussit, cela equivaudra a une baisse de revenu reel pour les travailleurs se trouvant de chaque cote de l’accord. C’est ainsi parce que les bananes cultivees au Canada doivent couter plus cher que les bananes du Honduras. C’est ainsi aussi parceque des bananiers Honduriens verront leur emploi diminuer our disparaitre si les Canadiens produisent leurs propres bananes. “Dans la mesure…” peut facilement impliquer une baisse de revenu negligeable et meme pas perceptible.

En plus, toute modification unilaterale d’un traite peut amener l’autre partie a prendre des mesures retorsives, autement dit, a faire de meme: “Tu imposes un tarif douaniers sur mes bananes; j’impose un tarif douaniers sur tes boulons.” Le fait que la riposte est aussi suicidaire que l’attaque ne la rend pas moins probable. Cela arrive tout le temps. C’est ce qu’on nomme en Anglais: “trade wars”. Selon moi, l’election de Trump risque donc d’etre suivie par une baisse du niveau de vie generalisee profitant cependant et seulement a une classe ouvriere americaine pourtant en rapide declin demographique. Toujours a mon avis, la premiere consequence sera peu perceptible tandis que le profit politique qu’en tireront le President Trump et le Parti Republicain le seront.

Le rechauffement global

Il s’est avere difficile pour l’administration Obama autant que pour ses predecesseurs de faire accepter a un grand nombre d’Americains **: 1 qu’il existe un rechauffement global important; 2 qu’il est lié de pres aux activites humaines; 3 et qu’ il convient de s’inquieter des maintenant. Le President Trump ne va surement pas faire du zele la ou l’Apotre Obama a largement echoue. “Don’t hold your breath.” “Ne retenez pas votre souffle” en attendant qu’il agisse vigoureusement sur ce plan-la

*Oui, c’est vrai, le President -elu Trump a ete poursuivi pour escroquerie. Il s’agit d’une affaire d’universite privee plus ou moins bidon portant son nom. Il a use de la possibilite, selon la coutume americaine, de terminer l’affaire en offrant aux plaignants une somme suffisante pour qu’ils retirent leur plainte. La vie continue, donc.

** Moi compris.

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