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samedi, 15 octobre 2016

Eric Margolis on Germany and France

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If You Think the US Has Problems…

Eric Margolis on Germany and France

Europeans, whose male political leaders all seem to have mistresses,  would laugh off Trump’s awkward gropes and the outrage they caused as adolescent. Better gropes than a possible war with Russia over Syria.  But Trump looks like a mastodon stuck in a primeval tar pit, ambushed by Democratic hunters.

Does anyone remember the Democrat’s young god, Jack Kennedy, who used to drag women into the White House linen closet,  smoke a joint, and give them a presidential quickie? Lyndon Johnson’s Texas rough-riding, or Nelson Rockefeller’s too young girlfriends that did him in? 

RefugeeMapGermany2015.jpgBad as things are in the US, they are not much better in Europe. The foolish flight of racist Britain from the European Union has deflated its outrageously inflated pound sterling and spread panic among fat cat bankers and property developers. The last rags of Britain’s imperial pretensions have been ripped away.

Things are so bad right now that the odious Tony Blair, who seduced the wife of his patron, Rupert Murdoch, is trying to slither back into political life.

Here in Germany, Europe’s bulwark, the political ground is shaking. Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a cautious, capable leader. Her courageous admission of 1.1 million Mideast and Afghan refugees was the right thing to do morally but a political disaster for her center-right party.

In fact, Merkel’s long tenure in office may be nearing its end.  Younger Germans are tired of bland ‘Mama Merkel’ and their nation’s kowtowing to Washington. Germany remains in some ways the defeated, occupied nation of 1945.

Many Germans call for stronger government action over the foundering Deutsche Bank. Located here in Frankfurt, this dummkopf bank has lost huge amounts of money and run onto the rocks due to unconstrained greed and managerial ineptitude. Deutsche’s real problem is that it tried to be like a rapacious American bank rather than like a conventional, conservative German bank. How could Germans be so stupid?

The Berlin government will probably have to rescue Deutsche Bank sometime soon, or at least engineer a takeover. It does not help that the US may fine Deutsche up to $14 billion for peddling rotten real estate bonds in the US before 2008. Or that the bank may be in hock for a staggering $46 billion in mysterious derivatives few understand. All this is pure casino capitalism.  Maybe they should rename the bank, Die Bank Trump!

Deutsche Bank’s collapse could bring a Lehmann Brothers-type panic to Europe’s already deeply stressed financial system.

Italian banks are in terrible shape, up to their tortellini in bad debts. Their depositors are likely to be hard hit in any bail-out or bail-in. However, the rule remains: save the banks first, then women and children.

Meanwhile, across the Rhine, France’s political landscape is shaking. The wretched President Holland, who has the charisma of a wet croissant, is now the most unpopular leader since Robespierre – maybe even more so.

Like the US Republican rats abandoning their sinking electoral ship, France’s center-left wants to ditch albatross Holland but can’t find any candidate popular enough to replace him.

Presidential elections are due in April and May, 2017.  The opposition Republicans have a so-so candidate in Nicholas Sarkozy and a good one in Alain Juppé. Sarkozy is still under investigation for taking campaign cash from Libya’s late Muammar Khadaffi – who was bumped off in what looks like a French-engineered murder.

Behind them looms the specter of National Front Leader Marine le Pen.  Her effort to ditch the EU and NATO, kick out the Arabs, and adopt economic nationalism makes her a French version of Trump. But she is a far more adept politician and a gifted speaker.

Like America’s Republican oligarchy facing Trump, France’s political elite trembles before Le Pen. So does the rest of Europe as her radical thinking enflames rightwing parties across the continent. The Front National could replace France’s venerable Socialists as the nation’s second party and main opposition.

Spain is in political paralysis, unable to elect a government.  In Brussels, the EU is trying to reshape its role after Brexit and find a new ‘raison d’etre.’  At least it will no longer put up with British sabotage. It’s what Trump would call ‘a disaster.’

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