Coward Old Universe…

by Jeremy G.

Extradite him, and do it now

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 29, 2009

Why do we refer to something that happened more than thirty years ago as a “sex scandal” when it would be called “pedophilia” if it had happened yesterday? This question has been bugging me for the past two days, after the latest twist in the Polanski case. He was arrested on Sunday in Switzerland, and that was enough to make him Hollywood’s darling.

Polanski is a great film maker. Even the girl who he admitted having sex with when she was only thirteen says so, and wants this to end. And I think that many people will understand her. Especially that the courts were not particularly efficient in their pursuit of justice. But a couple of points:

  1. It is not up to a victim to decide if it’s time to stop a judicial process. Justice has a duty to fulfill to protect victims and society. It is up to the judicial system to punish what it considers as a crime, not to anyone else.
  2. The courts mishandled this case badly. But Polanski’s decision to flee the United States was the true source of delay, not the mistakes of the courts. I find it a bit easy to say that, in the name of time, everything should be forgotten.

On France 24 tonight, during the daily talk show, one guest argued that when he decided to leave the United States for Europe in 1978, Polanski probably heard again his father’s words when he was being taken to Auschwitz — “Run Now.” Please tell me this is not the only argument that we’re left with on the other side.

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Posted in Justice In America | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Nuclear Iran: Plan B?

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on February 18, 2009

The Telegraph ran an interesting story today, indicating that Israel is targeting key Iranian scientists involved in the country’s quest for the nuclear bomb.  Granted, those who have followed this issue and those who know the existential fears that Iran’s nuclear program is causing in Israel will not find this surprising.

That said, Israeli efforts to disrupt the program hint at how difficult plans to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities are to implement.  Such plans are also likely to be highly inefficient.  Contrary to Osirak, Saddam’s single nuclear reactor whose location was not a big secret, it is highly probable that the Israelis and the West have very little information regarding the location of the Iranian facilities.  Launching an air strike against those involve two major and inter-related risks: 1) Failing to destroy all of the facilities and 2) allowing Iran to mobilize the “Arab Street” – if that actually still means anything – further.  The combination of those two factors would have far more disastrous consequences than the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.   Israel’s failure to clearly win the conflict allowed Hezbollah to claim full victory.  But Hezbollah is only a group, not a country with Iran’s resources.

So there is an alternative.  However, in the long run, efforts for a rapprochement with Iran – and not its regime – which shares far more with the West than any other country in the region, will be essential to establishing a solid peace and to addressing the major issues in the Gulf.

Posted in Israel, Nuclear Iran | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Bush’s Lost Gamble

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on December 4, 2008

Many are already drawing the lessons from the Bush Era. In my opinion, history, only, will provide the best assessment of the Bush presidency. In the short run, though, odds are against Bush because of the situation in Afghanistan and the failure to manage the Iraqi issue, but also because he opted, at the very beginning, for a strategy that would have never allowed him to emerge as a popular or be perceived as a responsible leader.

Historian Niall Ferguson, discussing the “problem of conjecture,” puts it best:

… preemption is doomed to be unpopular. Its success can never be proven. And its failure is far more costly than the consequences of mere negligence. Were another major terrorist attack to happen now – which can never be ruled out – President Bush would surely overtake Richard Nixon, and perhaps all other previous occupants in the White House, in the unpopularity stakes. With one voice, the world’s media would declare that administration’s policy had worsened the very disease it purported to cure.

Thankfully, no terrorist attack on U.S. soil has occurred since 9-11 or since Ferguson wrote those lines. Paradoxically, it seems though that, “with one voice,” most analysts have already declared that Bush will go down as the worse president in history. That might be true, but the fact of the matter is that only history will make the final call.

P.S.: If you do acquire the book, do read Kagan and Ikenberry’s pieces. More on that later.

Posted in George W. Bush | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

La lutte ouvrière soumise aux RTT elle aussi…

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on November 9, 2008

La scène se déroule mercredi soir – le 5 novembre – près du métro “Malakoff-Plateau de Vanves”. Des militants de l’organisation d’Arlette Laguiller – non, l’organisation n’est pas morte malgré la retraite de sa chef historique – s’affairrent autour de la station, à distribuer des tracts et pour vendre leur journal.

J’arrive à la station. Ils sont cinq à cet endroit, à distribuer des tracts, lorsque l’un d’entre eux – le camarade en chef? – regarde sa montre et dit: “Ah, bah, il est 18 heures. On arrête, hein?” Et les autres de suivre le mouvement, promptement.

Les vilains capitalistes n’ont pas à s’en faire. A ce rythme-là, la révolution n’aura pas lieu demain.

Posted in Gauche française | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

West Wing made the right prediction

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on November 5, 2008

The theme of the “Mommy Problem” developed by the now-defunct television series West Wing has been stunningly relevant throughout this campaign — as discussed here.

But more broadly, the screenwriters pictured the race with a surprising lucidity. Slate made an interesting video on the topic, though it could have said a bit more about the comparison between John McCain and Arnie Vinick.

Posted in 2008 Elections | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Congratulations America

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on November 5, 2008

A display of democracy and resilience, the American way this time around…

Posted in 2008 Elections, Resilience | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Le Pen prend sa retraite

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 15, 2008

Le processus de tri-partition de la politique française – voir ici et ici – se clarifie et s’accélère.  Le sondage du Figaro de vendredi montre que les meilleurs opposants à Sarkozy sont Besancenot et Bayrou, et que les Français ne reconnaissent à aucun leader du Parti socialiste la capacité à tenir tête au président de la République.  Voilà un phénomène qui ne surprendra personne, étant donné le vide idéologique complet dans lequel se trouve le Parti socialiste, et les deux alternatives politiques concrètes que représentent Bayrou et Besancenot respectivement.

Les jeux d’alliances au sein du PS n’ont strictement aucun sens, et relève plus de la tactique que de la stratégie de long terme.  Le dernier combat du Parti communiste contre Besancenot fait tout aussi pâle figure face à un rouleau compresseur qui a le mérite de la clarté.

Noblecourt présente une interprétation intéressante des événements, spéculant sur un ralliement de Bayrou au PS qui signifierait la fin de l’aventure du MoDem par son intégration au PS.  Cependant, aussi faible que soit la position politique de Bayrou, le PS n’a aucun projet et n’a pas su renouveler son logiciel intellectuel.  Le sondage du Figaro montre que les Français ne sont pas dupes, et ne cherchent pas de brillants tacticiens politiques mais un véritable projet.

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Eight years is a long time

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 11, 2008

Jon Stewart recently made a parallel, on his show Friday, between George W. Bush’s acceptance speech in 2000 and John McCain’s acceptance speech last week. Beyond the legitimate debate regarding the similarities between the two candidates that I mentioned here, I was struck by the extent to which eight years in the White House can physically change a man.

This was Bush in 2000:

This is him today:

Denial is one thing. And inexcusable policy mistakes have been committed. But I still have a hard time believing those who depict Bush as an unaffected, cold man.

Posted in Bush, George W. Bush | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

So FOX News does not have the monopoly…

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 11, 2008

… of political bias.

Two stories, here and here, within the past few days, published by the Washington Post and the New York Times respectively, have reported on the issues set by the partisan approach to the 2008 elections of MSNBC and specifically of two of its main anchormen, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. The strategy has not been as efficient in practice as MSNBC could have expected, as the channel now seems to prefer the less controversial David Gregory for news coverage and election night.

The efficiency of market and supply and demand forces is striking. Merely being provocative does not seem to be a viable strategy . This bodes well for the future of the political debate.

Posted in 2008 Elections, Political Bias | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who’s Curt Shilling Anyway?

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 11, 2008

“Bitter” and “miserable”.  The judgment of reason has been delivered on the people of New York.  And it does not seem very good.

Then again, it’s coming from the arrogant Curt Schilling, who expresses his outrage when New York football fans like their chances this year given the injury of Tom Brady, quarterback for the arch rival New England Patriots.  I’ve never heard Schilling complain against Red Sox fans who cheer when Rodriguez gets hit by a pitch in Boston.  In that situation, I honestly prefer to be bitter and miserable, rather than a real imbecile.

It strikes me that Schilling would promote himself as the grave digger of the New York Yankees dynasty when he’s only wearing two World Series rings – compare that to Derek Jeter, Schilling.  I’m a lucid Yankee fan – more on this when the Yankees miss the playoffs – and certainly not a Rodriguez apologist – see this – but  nothing makes me more furious than the contempt of millionaires who only exist – sometimes – thanks to fans and nothing else.

Posted in Baseball, New York Yankees | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »