Affaire DSK: Attention, une culture de l’assistanat peut en cacher une autre (Who will save our Gores and Strauss-Kahns from their desperate wealth traps?)

 Trappe à  richesse désigne  tout mécanisme auto-renforçant qui conduit l’individu à s’installer durablement dans la richesse.  S’il persiste de génération en génération, le piège commence à se refermer si des mesures ne sont pas prises pour briser le cycle. Wikipedia (proposition de définition)
Est-ce le développement d’une culture de l’assistanat qui nous aurait fait oublier les devoirs qui sont la contrepartie des droits que la société accorde à tout individu ? Journaliste de la Tribune de Genève
Je craignais que tout cela (…) ruine ma réputation. Je ne savais pas trop quoi leur dire et craignait qu’ils ne croient pas mon histoire puisqu’il n’y avait aucune preuve d’ADN à partir d’un acte accompli de viol. Je ne savais pas en fait comment appeler ce qui s’est passé (…) J’ai été choquée, relate-t-elle. Je ne masse que les zones non-érogènes (…). Il a insisté pour que je descende, s’est mis en colère, et est devenu verbalement violent et parlait fort. J’ai été profondément choquée quand j’ai réalisé qu’il me demandait des faveurs sexuelles. Masseuse (ayant porté plainte contre Al Gore)
Si vous réduisiez le budget de la défense de 10%, ce qui serait catastrophique en termes de structure des forces, cela ferait 55 milliards de dollars sur 1400 milliards de dollars de déficit. Le problème n’est manifestement pas de notre côté. Robert Gates
Plus peut-être que n’importe quel autre Secrétaire à la Défense, j’ai été un avocat fort du soft power – de l’importance critique de la diplomatie et du développement en tant que composantes fondamentales de notre politique extérieure et de notre sécurité nationale. Mais que personne ne s’y trompe : la garantie ultime contre les agresseurs, dictateurs et terroristes, au 21ème siècle comme au 20ème, est le hard power – la taille, la force et la portée mondiale de l’Armée américaine. Robert Gates
On n’a pas vu de rubans bleus pour DSK dans les couloirs du FMI. Il est vrai aussi que Wolfowitz avait décidé de combattre avec virulence la corruption dans les projets financés par la banque. Et que cette aggressivité rendaient beaucoup de gens mal à l’aise. Pierre-Yves Dugua
So far what confuses Americans the most, superficially at least, is that a man of the Left like socialist Strauss-Kahn should seem so comfortable with the elite tastes of the damnable aristocracy — the astronomically priced suits, the $3,000-a-night suite, the Air France privileges, and the medieval Norman baron’s sense of entitlement regarding an immigrant housecleaner — while the supposedly neanderthal, right-wing Americans and their primitive “accusatory” legal system (read the French press on all that) so far are treating the rights of a maid as equal to a Eurocrat’s. (…) A book also needs to be written about the psychology that drives elites to push for socialism or statism for others even though it would eventually end the easy affluence that they assume as near birthrights for themselves. A Strauss-Kahn suit, a jaunt to Vail, Martha’s Vineyard, or Costa del Sol — these are not only at odds with the notion of a state-mandated equality of result, they are themselves just dessert fruits of capitalism that would wither on the vine if socialism were fully enacted. Victor Davis Hanson
Ce qui doit être clair, c’est que la raison pour laquelle M. Strauss-Kahn était si populaire au sein du FMI (femmes exceptées) était que son propre comportement était tellement en accord avec l’éthos de l’établissement. Voici un endroit où l’on peut exercer le pouvoir sans la plus petite sanction électorale, profiter de ses privilèges sans le moindre contrôle, encaisser son salaire sans aucune fiscalisation  et dépenser l’argent des autres avec la plus grande désinvolture. Le WSJ

Qui délivrera nos DSK et nos Gore de la culture de l’assistanat et des véritables « trappes à richesse »  dont ils semblent irrémédiablement prisonniers?

Six-pièces dans le XVIe, 240 m2 place des Vosges, maison de 380 m² à Washington, riad de Marrakech, costumes à 35 000 $, Porsche, salaire annuel – sans compter la petite famille – à 495 000 dollars net d’impôts, retraite à 80 000 dollars, 40 milliards pour les « printemps arabes », régime sec pour la Grèce …

A l’heure où, pour le prétendu « printemps arabe« , nos dirigeants ont ressorti la « machine à promesses » pour faire ce qu’ils savent le mieux faire, dépenser notre argent …

Où, du fond de sa prison dorée payée comme le reste par les millions de sa femme, l’ancien patron déchu du FMI se prépare à se racheter une conduite …

Et où, au plus anti-américain des présidents américains engagé dans l’européisation forcée de son pays, un secrétaire à la défense sur le départ rappelle la véritable source de la puissance,  héritée de son successeur, qui lui a permis tout récemment d’éliminer l’un des cerveaux du jihadisme mondial …

Remise des pendules à l’heure avec le WSJ et Victor Davis Hanson.

Qui rappellent à leur tour la véritable raison de la popularité, juste avant la chute que l’on sait de l’ancien fonctionnaire le mieux rémunéré de Washington et grand ordonnateur de régime sec pour les autres.

A savoir, contrairement à un certain néoconservateur qui en son temps paya le prix pour son obsession de la lutte anti-corruption, sa parfaite et apparemment fatale adéquation avec l’éthos de l‘un de ces rares endroits du monde où l’on peut  à la Gore c’est-à-dire dans la plus grande impunité et avec le plus parfait abandon…

 « exercer le pouvoir », « profiter de ses privilèges » et « dépenser l’argent des autres » !

 The Strauss-Kahn Standard

Why the IMF overlooked DSK’s sexual marauding, and the vindication of Paul Wolfowitz

The WSJ

May 27, 2011

So now we know what a real scandal atop a leading international organization looks like.

Whatever becomes of the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, DNA evidence and all, it is now clear that the former head of the International Monetary Fund treated the organization as his sexual fiefdom. « Despite my long professional life, I was unprepared for the advances of the managing director of the IMF, » wrote Piroska Nagy, an IMF staff economist whom Mr. Strauss-Kahn pursued until she agreed to a brief affair in 2008. « I did not know how to handle this, » she added in a letter to a law firm investigating the affair. « I felt, ‘I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t.' »

Ms. Nagy’s letter—which added that Mr. Strauss-Kahn was « a man with a problem that may make him ill-equipped to lead an institution where women work under his command »—has received considerable media attention in recent weeks, and rightly so. But perhaps its real interest lies in the way none of Ms. Nagy’s points seem to have found their way into the firm’s October 2008 report to the IMF Executive Board.

On the contrary, the report, conducted by three lawyers at the firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, concluded that « there is no evidence that the MD [managing director], either expressly or implicitly, threatened the female staff member in any way to induce her to engage in the affair or to keep it confidential. » The IMF board gave Mr. Strauss-Kahn merely a wrist slap for a « serious error of judgment, » along with board assurances that the episode would « in no way affect the effectiveness of the Managing Director in the very challenging and difficult period ahead. »

All this was dutifully reported by the press at the time as one of those nothing-to-see-here stories. It also made for a striking contrast to the media’s overdrive when it came to trumpeting the unreal (in every sense) « scandal » that had brought down World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz the previous year. And one has to wonder why.

Remember that Mr. Wolfowitz’s alleged sin was that he had arranged a job transfer, along with a substantial raise, for his companion Shaha Riza, a bank employee at the time Mr. Wolfowitz took the helm in 2005.

But any suggestion that favoritism had been involved quickly fell apart when it came to light that Mr. Wolfowitz had disclosed the relationship with the bank’s board before taking the job; that he had sought to recuse himself from the matter; that the bank’s ethics committee had forbidden him from recusing himself; and that the committee had also directed him to arrange a promotion and pay raise for Ms. Riza « on the basis of her qualifying record » and out of concern for the « potential disruption » to her career for a conflict of interest that was not of her own making.

That was it. Yet outside of these columns, few other news outlets could be bothered to report the facts. Was it because Mr. Wolfowitz, as one of the most prominent advocates for deposing Saddam Hussein, was such a convenient media villain? Or because the board and management of the bank were so resistant to Mr. Wolfowitz’s aggressive anti-corruption agenda, and all too happy to leak selective and bogus information to suggestible journalists?

The answer was both. In the end, the bank board formally acquitted Mr. Wolfowitz of all charges of ethical misconduct, though it got what it most wanted, which was his resignation. Under successor Robert Zoellick the bank is out of the news and back to the business-as-usual of shoveling money out the door. How wonderful: Its annual claims on the American taxpayer now exceed $2 billion.

As for the IMF, his sexual pursuit of underlings forgiven, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was treated in the media as a hero for pushing vast sums on bankrupt economies like Greece. Even now, with the bailouts failing and their mastermind on bail, he is seen as a visionary brought low by his fatal flaw.

Yet what ought to be clear is that the reason Mr. Strauss-Kahn was so popular within the IMF (female company excepted) was that his own behavior was so in tune with the ethos of the institution. Here is a place where power can be exercised without electoral accountability, privileges can be enjoyed without scrutiny, salaries can be claimed without taxes, and other people’s money can be spent with abandon.

He thrived because he enhanced the power of the IMF and did the political bidding of the same European countries that loathed Mr. Wolfowitz’s independent streak. And—if the allegations against him prove to be true—no wonder DSK felt he could behave with impunity in the comfort of his $3,000-a-night New York City suite.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn will soon face his own reckoning, though we won’t hold our breath for any changes in the culture or the mindset of the IMF he once led. As for Mr. Wolfowitz, he long ago proved his innocence. What he has won now—and what his erstwhile detractors should concede—is an additional measure of vindication.

Voir aussi :

DSK’s Technocratic Socialism

Victor Davis Hanson

NRO

May 22, 2011

The bizarre story of socialist IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was almost storybook: The socialist guardian, now facing sordid sexual-battery charges, we are told, was slumming in a $3,000 per night hotel, with an understanding that he can show up at any time at an Air France flight and hop on a first-class seat. His sense of entitlement — from violating the law to living like 18th-century French royalty to purportedly having his way with a worker of the lower classes — was the logical bookend to the IMF’s harsh lectures to Greeks and others to suck it up, cut back, and live according to their means in these times of global recession. (Not to mention the prior exemptions granted by the IMF to the suspect’s past sexual peccadillos.) It is almost as if the more our global experts assure us that equality-of-result central planning works, the more such an egalitarian veneer seems to mask a self-indulgent core.

As we saw with allegations of Al Gore’s having groped hotel masseuses, there seems to be some sort of synergy with global humanitarian elites toiling on our behalf, fancy hotels, exclusive travel — and sexual aggression against those toiling in the service sector. In some sick way, just as Gore’s mounting hypocrisies came to symbolize the decline in global-warming religious observance, so too Strauss-Kahn’s “indulgences” may be emblematic of the mounting hypocrisies of the IMF.

In any case, Greeks who were thinking of defaulting (and they were legion) were looking for the slightest excuse of any sort, and now they may well have found one, however unlikely: If the head of the IMF overseers cannot follow the law, symbolically reflect in his own life the tough sacrifices asked by others, and abide by protocols of common decency, why then should his indebted subjects?

Voir également:

A Teachable Moment on American-European Faultlines

Victor Davis Hanson

NRO

May 18, 2011

The full story is not out on Dominique Strauss-Kahn and he is innocent of forcible sexual battery until proven guilty, but already the case has exposed an ancient abyss between European elite and American popular cultures — accentuated by the differences between New York’s rough-and-tumble media and legal worlds on the one hand and IMF technocracy and French privilege on the other. There are also questions of race and asymmetrical power in play, as well as the notion that an IMF head should adopt at least a façade of probity and sacrifice, given that his organization lectures tens of millions on fiscal sobriety and belt-tightening.

So far what confuses Americans the most, superficially at least, is that a man of the Left like socialist Strauss-Kahn should seem so comfortable with the elite tastes of the damnable aristocracy — the astronomically priced suits, the $3,000-a-night suite, the Air France privileges, and the medieval Norman baron’s sense of entitlement regarding an immigrant housecleaner — while the supposedly neanderthal, right-wing Americans and their primitive “accusatory” legal system (read the French press on all that) so far are treating the rights of a maid as equal to a Eurocrat’s.

The wonder about the French cultural furor over the incident is not that they consider us parochial and “hung up” on sex, but that the press and its op-ed writers are so blatant in their expressions of class snobbery and national chauvinism. For all the Euro-lectures about Western imperialist colonialism, this story (fairly or unfairly) casts the Americans as the everyman and the French as the haughty technocrat furious that rules of equality under the law apply to him — not to mention modern notions of feminism, about which one would have expected a sophisticated Frenchman to be sensitive.

One also might have thought the French press would have taken more note of the angle that a foreign national accused of committing several felonies is drawing on considerable power, influence, and money in his legal contest with an immigrant maid from Africa. Instead, in French press accounts, one distills a veritable caricature: “How dare those backward Americans do this? Do they have any idea of who Strauss-Kahn is and what he represents, or how we civilized and sophisticated Europeans deal with these dime-a-dozen sort of low-rent sexual accusations against men of culture from mere chambermaids?”

A book also needs to be written about the psychology that drives elites to push for socialism or statism for others even though it would eventually end the easy affluence that they assume as near birthrights for themselves. A Strauss-Kahn suit, a jaunt to Vail, Martha’s Vineyard, or Costa del Sol — these are not only at odds with the notion of a state-mandated equality of result, they are themselves just dessert fruits of capitalism that would wither on the vine if socialism were fully enacted.

Voir enfin:

The Gates Farewell Warning

America can be a superpower or a welfare state, but not both

The WSJ

May 28, 2011

Robert Gates, who steps down next month after four-plus years at the Pentagon, is making his retirement lap a tutorial on America’s defense spending and security needs. His message is welcome, especially on Memorial Day, and even if he couldn’t always heed it in his time as Secretary of Defense.

In a series of farewell speeches, Mr. Gates has warned against cuts to weapon programs and troop levels that would make America vulnerable in « a complex and unpredictable security environment, » as he said Sunday at Notre Dame. On Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute, Mr. Gates noted that the U.S. went on « a procurement holiday » in the 1990s, when the Clinton Administration decided to cash in the Cold War peace dividend. The past decade showed that history (and war) didn’t end in 1989.

« It is vitally important to protect the military modernization accounts, » he said, and push ahead with new capabilities, from an air refueling tanker fleet to ballistic missile submarines.

***

America’s role as a global leader depends on its ability to project power. In historical terms, the U.S. spends relatively little on defense today, even after the post-9/11 buildup. This year’s $530 billion budget accounts for 3.5% of GDP, 4.5% when the costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars are included. The U.S. spent, on average, 7.5% of GDP on defense throughout the Cold War, and 6.2% at the height of the Reagan buildup in 1986.

But on coming into office, the Obama Administration put the Pentagon on a fiscal diet—even as it foisted new European-sized entitlements on America, starting with $2.6 trillion for ObamaCare. The White House proposed a $553 billion defense budget for 2012, $13 billion below what it projected last year. Through 2016, the Pentagon will see virtually zero growth in spending and will have to whittle down the Army and Marine Corps by 47,000 troops. The White House originally wanted deeper savings of up to $150 billion.

Mr. Gates deserves credit for fighting off the worst White House instincts, but his biggest defeat was not getting a share of the stimulus. Instead he has cut or killed some $350 billion worth of weapon programs. He told his four service chiefs last August to find $100 billion in savings. The White House pocketed that and asked for another $78 billion. Last year, Mr. Gates said that the Pentagon needs 2%-3% real budget growth merely to sustain what it’s doing now, but it could make do with 1%. The White House gave him 0%.

In the Gates term, resources were focused on the demands of today’s wars over hypothetical conflicts of tomorrow. This approach made sense at the start of his tenure in 2007, when the U.S. was in a hard fight in Iraq. Yet this has distracted from budgeting to address the rise of China and perhaps of regional powers like a nuclear Iran that will shape the security future. The decision to stop producing the F-22 fighter and to kill several promising missile defense programs may come back to haunt the U.S.

Mr. Gates knows well that America won’t balance its budget by squeezing the Pentagon. « If you cut the defense budget by 10%, which would be catastrophic in terms of force structure, that’s $55 billion out of a $1.4 trillion deficit, » he told the Journal’s CEO Council conference last November. « We are not the problem. »

…So what is? Mr. Gates acknowledged it only in passing this week, but the reality is that the entitlement state is crowding out national defense. Over two decades ago, liberal historian Paul Kennedy claimed that « imperial overstretch » had brought first the Romans, then the British and now Americans down to size. He was wrong then, but what’s really happening now is « entitlement overstretch, » to quote military analyst Andrew Krepinevich.

The American entitlement state was born with the New Deal, got fat with the Great Society of the 1960s and hit another growth spurt in the first two years of the Obama era. The big three entitlements—Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, plus other retirement and disability expenses—accounted for 4.9% of GDP by 1970, eclipsed defense spending in 1976 and stood at 9.8% as of last year. Under current projections, entitlements will eat up 10.8% of GDP by 2020, while defense spending goes down to 2.7%. On current trends, those entitlements will consume all tax revenues by 2052, estimates Mackenzie Eaglen of the Heritage Foundation.

Europe went down this yellow brick road decades ago and today spends just 1.7% of GDP on defense. The Europeans get a free security ride from America, but who will the U.S. turn to for protection—China?

As Reagan knew, America’s global power begins at home, with a strong economy able to generate wealth. The push for defense cuts reflects the reality of a weak recovery and a national debt that has doubled in the last two years. But the Obama Administration made a conscious decision to squeeze defense while pouring money on everything else.

***

« More perhaps than any other Secretary of Defense, I have been a strong advocate of soft power—of the critical importance of diplomacy and development as fundamental components of our foreign policy and national security, » Mr. Gates said at Notre Dame. « But make no mistake, the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is hard power—the size, strength and global reach of the United States military. »

That’s a crucial message for Republican deficit hawks, and especially for a Commander in Chief who inherited the capability to capture Osama bin Laden half way around the world but is on track to leave America militarily weaker than he found it.

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