Monday, July 18, 2016

The joys of Bolivarian socialism


Nearly 100,000 Venezuelans surged across the Simon Bolivar Bridge to buy such exotic goods as toilet paper, cooking oil, and flour, when the socialist police state briefly opened the border crossing. The men in orange are some sort of Colombian security personnel, and at left you can see how they are funneling the Venezuelans through a corral like those at ski resorts and airports.

I wonder how long it would have taken Bernie Sanders to reduce the United States to this pathetic state?

Friday, July 15, 2016

The past as prologue

No country can escape its past. (Certainly the United States hasn't, as we discovered most recently in Dallas.) France's past is Algeria. In the 1950s I was stationed for a year and a half in Orleans, a hundred kilometers south of Paris, and I rode the train a couple of times a month to escape the boredom of caserne life. The highway bridges were black steel, and every one had a cry of the heart painted across it in white. They appeared in alteration:

Algérie française 

FLN 

Ami Go Home!

The last was directed at me, of course. The first two staked out the alternative and incompatible positions on whether France would remain in Algeria. The  Front de libération nationale won the war, as guerrilla movements usually do, but millions of Algerians remained in France, to pack the slums around Paris and other cities, and to provide a home for the terrorists who now torment that wonderful country.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Foreign Secretary Boris

Okay, before she ever put her head on the pillow at Downing Street, Prime Minister May has appointed the Brexit champion Boris Johnson as her foreign secretary. That's a great start, it seems to me. He's an able man, whatever the job, and she has at one stroke defused the issue that she was against Brexit but now must lead the charge, or retreat, or whatever it is.

Monday, July 11, 2016

HRH's Prime Minister

The Brits don't fool around, do they? Less than three weeks ago, they voted to quit the EU, whereupon Cameron announced he would resign, which set off a scramble to replace him. Now it appears that the handsome Theresa May will move into 10 Downing Street on Wednesday.

Embarrassing, isn't it? We've known for more than three years that Mr Obama would be leaving the White House next January, but we're still fussing over who will succeed him.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

If this is the Ponte Vecchio, it must be time for a selfie!


Actually, I am impressed that the lad on the right seems actually to be looking at the Arno....

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Topolino


When I hitchhiked through Italy in 1955, often enough I found myself in the back seat of a Fiat 500 with my rucksack underfoot and my knees up to my chin. This is a classic "Topolino," the Italian name for Mickey Mouse, from 1952. It was to Italy what the Beetle was to Germany and the Deux Chavaux to France. I spotted this beauty at a rally in the Piazzale Michelangelo, in Florence this spring.

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Brexit, and other matters

Personally, I would have voted to Leave, but of course I have little stake in the matter. Mostly I have been amused by the propaganda blitz unleashed by the New York Times and the Washington Post, which I glance at every morning online. Whatever happened to the notion of journalism as a way of informing people, rather than persuading them of The Correct Path? I love it when the Yahoos (the Bitter Clingers of an earlier day) rise up against the Houyhnhnms (the Good People). It's not so much that I admire the Yahoos as that I can't stand the whinnying sanctimony of the Houyhnhnms.

Come, guys! Britain will do just fine on its own. This is the world's fifth-largest trading economy! It's an English-speaking nation. It more or less invented democracy, free speech, capitalism, and all the other good stuff that underlines the privileged life enjoyed by Good People everywhere. Do you seriously think France could have done this? Or Germany? Crikey, the whole point of the European Union was to stop Germany from invading France for the FOURTH time!

The great missed opportunity of the 20th century was that Thatcher and Reagan didn't lead us into an English Speaking Union. Britain, Ireland, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand -- what a concept! Indeed, it's not too late to repair the damage, in part. Why don't we repurpose NAFTA as the North Atlantic Free Trade Association?