Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Research in France

The map is changing.

Moody's Threat

A Socialist candidate is nominated, and, as if by clockwork, Moody's, the rating agency, puts France on its watch list for a downgrade. It will be convenient indeed if, in three months' time, the ratings gnomes are sufficiently impressed by further austerity measures that they extol the Right's "responsible management" of the budget. Of course responsible management has nothing to do with the market's anxieties or with the growing spread between German and French sovereign debt (now 100 basis points). The worry is French bank exposure to Italy and Spain. The government may need to shore up the banks, and that is what has the market worried.

"La semaine de l'épectase de François Hollande"

Jean-Luc Mélenchon:

Est-ce envisageable de faire un accord de gouvernement avec François Hollande?
Il va y avoir un débat. Dans une campagne, on ne descend pas de la montagne avec ses tables de la loi qu'on révèle. Il y a des étapes. Là, on est dans la semaine de l'épectase de François Hollande. Moi, je n'ai rien contre lui, je n'ai pas de compte personnel à régler avec lui. Même s'il n'a pas été très régulier avec moi. Ce n'est pas une affaire de personnes. Mais là, c'est vraiment trop beau comme débat.
Hmm. Semaine de l'épectase. Not knowing the word "épectase," I looked it up:
L’épectase est, chez les chrétiens, une tension et un progrès de l’homme vers Dieu. Cela désigne aussi, dans un sens plus courant, la mort par l'orgasme.

I wonder which meaning Mélenchon had in mind.

Presumed Innocent

Bernard Squarcini, the head of French domestic intelligence, has been mis en examen but remains on the job. Claude Guéant exhorts his compatriots to remember the "presumption of innocence." Ah, yes, the presumption of innocence: so presumably Guéant would see no objection to nominating DSK prime minister, since he, too, has been convicted of nothing. Still, one imagines that even M. Guéant must feel just slightly uncomfortable at the thought that one of France's top cops now stands formally accused of a crime. Why not place him on administrative leave? Perhaps because in spying on Le Monde in connection with leaks in the Woerth-Bettencourt affair, he was acting on orders of ... Claude Guéant. Firing a subordinate for carrying out one's own orders would certainly entail a presumption of impudence. So Squarcini remains in his post ... for now.