Posts Tagged ‘Danilo Turk’

Positively Forthright

October 13, 2016

Hooda thunkit?  Little Bobby Zimmerman as Nobel Lit Laureate?  Musta been some fine Owlsley blotter floating in Stockholm’s water supply.

I didn’t even bother to try predicting this year’s winner, much less spend any time rooting for the oddsmakers’ nominal favorite Haruki Murakami.  It has been abundantly clear this year that my few predictive “endorsements” have been far wide of the mark.  Donald Trump is still running for president of the United States.  Danilo Turk is headed home to Slovenia, and is not the world’s choice for Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Instead, Antonio Guterres will be dealing with even-greater numbers of refugees for years to come.  Would this be a good time to say that the Chicago Cubs look unbeatable this year?  Probably not.

So instead of prediction, I’m going to indulge in what might be termed prognostication’s little sister: fervent hope.  For once, readers of Waking the Dragon will find me rooting in favor of a possible FBI sting operation.  Here are the dots I may be straining credulity to connect:

  • September 22 2016: Millionaire real estate developers in Northern New Jersey formally ended their support for a November ballot initiative asking voters to approve casino gambling in the Meadowlands and Jersey City.  Polling data purportedly showed widespread public opposition to expansion of New Jersey’s gambling industry.

Jeff Gural, who owns the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, and Paul Fireman, who is the chairman of Fireman Capital Partners and developer of Jersey City’s Liberty National Golf Course  —two locations where the proposed casinos might be built—  cited a Rutgers-Eagleton poll that showed 58 percent of voters disapprove of the referendum, while 35 percent approve.”

  • September 28 2016: Steve Fulop, mayor of Bergen-by-the-Bay (Jersey City) announced that he would not run for governor in 2017 and urged fellow Democrats to unite behind Phil Murphy, a financier and former ambassador to Germany making his first run for office.

“Fulop told reporters outside city hall in Jersey City that he had seen speculation on the Internet that his reasons for not running included the Bridgegate case as well as his health, other legal issues, or his wife. ‘I’ve read on the Internet all sorts of theories, none of which are true,’ he said. ‘Rather, when I look at the [political] landscape today, understanding how the [New Jersey Democratic] party is fractured and my core beliefs on that, I ultimately don’t see any winners in [what would be] a very, very bloody primary,’ he said.”

  • October 7 2016: New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that he too would no longer seek the nomination of the Democratic Party in the 2017 gubernatorial election.  Sweeney (also an Ironworkers Union official) had been a sponsor of the casino referendum initiative, “arguing that the new casinos would initially create thousands of new construction jobs and would also eventually allow New Jersey to recapture some of the gambling revenue that had been lost when new casinos opened in neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania.”

What and So What

Here’s the way it works: in New Jersey you can run the same script over and over again … and get the same results, because the illusion of impunity is so pervasive.  So, two nice Jewish boys tired of being shaken down by insatiably ravenous New Jersey politicians pay a visit to Rabbi Fishman, who graciously agrees to help.  Jeff, Paul, and Uncle Sam all ante into the pot to create an operating fund for a casino referendum initiative.  Some of the money inevitably must be spent on renting politicians whose influence is required to get the initiative on the statewide ballot.  Negotiations with those politicians must be duly recorded with miniaturized video/audio devices that Abscam operatives of the 1970s would have regarded with alternating envy and incredulity.  A gloating team of AUSAs at Centre Street and the Rodino Courthouse doggedly check off the boxes on their checklist of evidentiary elements to be included in the eventual (massive) indictment.

Timing is everything.  Including the timing of the tiny strategic leak that seeps out of the investigation to let the marks know that they’ve once again been had.  Because now it’s time to recruit cooperating witnesses, and the last one grasping at the gunwale of DOJ’s lifeboat will be left to swim with the fishes.  Gural-Fireman-Fishman: let’s call it Jerusa-scam.



Almost Heaven, West Slovenia

July 29, 2016

Near-term prospects may be improving for Danilo Turk –at least one potential veto voter seems to be hinting at a possible okey-doke:

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be visiting European Union and NATO-member Slovenia this weekend, signaling a bid to maintain ties amid simmering tensions between the Kremlin and the two Western-led blocs.  While in Slovenia –his only third visit to an EU-member country this year– Putin will attend a commemoration of the centenary of a chapel at Kranjska Gora, which was erected in the memory of dozens of Russian World War I prisoners of war who died in an avalanche while building a [road through a] mountain pass in the Julian Alps for the Austrian army.

Kranjska Gora_0

Putin will also unveil a memorial to Russian soldiers who died in World War II at the main cemetery in Ljubljana, and meet Slovenian officials. The memorial is made up of eight pillars symbolizing the eight-year duration of both world wars.  There is a crane atop each of the pillars and the names of 3,000 soldiers are embossed in marble. The memorial has been made by Russian sculptors and financed by Russia.

Russia is Slovenia’s top non-EU trading partner, but the trade between the two has dropped by nearly 30 percent since EU sanctions were imposed [following Russia’s 2014 Ukraine incursion].  Some media reports suggest that the United States had advised Slovenia against inviting Putin given the enduring tensions between Russia and NATO. [However,] Slovenian authorities have been emphasizing the ceremonial nature of Putin’s visit and the absence of formal talks.  Slovenia has supported EU and NATO policies with regard to Russia while also striving to push aside obstacles to relations, which are underpinned not only by trade but in particular by shared Slavic culture.


It’s pretty clear that Putin is (and has been) making a blatantly obvious point about the numerous Russian soldiers who have died on European soil during the past 100 years.  This is probably considered diplomatic subtlety by Russian standards of international relations, and people who “share Slavic culture” probably understand the message all too well.

So what might this mean for the Moldovan candidate?  I don’t know.  What does Auntie Sam have to say on this topic?


Beethoven, Tell Tchaikovsky The News

April 11, 2016

There’s more than one election campaign underway in New York these days, and curiously, Donald Trump has had absolutely nothing to say about it.  But maybe that’s because he doesn’t want to offend current and future tenants of his luxury Manhattan condo towers. The United Nations General Assembly will elect a new secretary-general later this year, and many of the voters (UN ambassadors from around the world) from wealthier nations are livin’ large on the public payroll in The City That Never Sleeps.

In choosing a successor to Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, Africans and Asians need not apply: apparently, the fix is in and  the whole world knows that it’s Europe’s turn to be next upon the global throne.  All but one of the declared candidates are European.  The black sheep of the flock?  A Kiwi … but not Maori.

More than half of the candidates are from the Balkans  –four of them hail from nations that didn’t even exist as sovereign states a quarter-century ago (because their homeland was formerly known as Yugoslavia).  These are folks who could be said to have a definite vested interest in UN-sponsored “harmonization” of Europe’s migration policies.

Who’s left?  A Portuguese socialist engineer fresh from a ten-year stint as former UN high commissioner for refugees … and a Moldovan diplomat.

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia

Let’s quickly review some candidate traits that might not be well received among the electorate:

The Bulgarian (Irina Bokova) is assumed to be more or less in Putin’s pocket, and has annoyed the Israel lobby by her gentle treatment of Palestinians while head of UNESCO.  The United States will twist arms to suppress potential swing voters.

The Croatian (Vesna Pusic) has had five years’ experience as foreign minister, but “has been outspoken about gender equality and LGBT rights.”  Big turnoff for Russia, Asia, Africa and Islamic cultures.

The Macedonian (Srgjan Kerim) hasn’t personally tear-gassed any Syrian refugees, but probably won’t win too many votes from Islamic nations.

The Moldovan (Natalia Gherman) may be viewed as less-experienced compared to the rest of the field, and some delegates might suspect she’s Putin’s Plan B candidate if the Bulgarian can’t attract votes.  But that could be a mistake: many Moldovans have no love lost for their erstwhile Russian overlords.

The Montenegran (Igor Luksic) is a technocrat … and poet.  Even if he doesn’t own any Panamanian shell companies, that poetry thing may deter delegates from Asian and African nations.

The Kiwi (Helen Clark) served three terms as prime minister of New Zealand, but is or will be viewed as a stalking horse for the Anglo-American hegemonic powers.

The Portuguese (Antonio Guterres) may have ruffled a few feathers in Africa and Southeast Asia during his 10 years at the helm of UNHCR. On the plus side, he could receive considerable support from Latin American delegates.

The Slovenian (Danilo Turk) is a lawyer with years of prior experience as UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs, and as president of Slovenia.  Slavoj Žižek might be willing to vote for him, but only in a Slovenian election.  Turk may have many old friends among the General Assembly delegates, and on the surface seems a strong candidate.  We’ll see.

Lunghu’s analysis:

OK, so it’s Europe’s turn as UN secretary-general, but half the planet’s population also thinks that it’s long past time to be a woman’s turn as well.  That attitude may narrow the field from eight to four, and potentially open a gap for the dark horse mare.

  1. United States, allies and vassal states block Bulgaria’s Bokova.
  2. Russia, China and “non-aligned” nations in Africa, Middle East and Asia block Kiwi Clark.
  3. Russia, Asia, Africa, Islamic nations (and perhaps Poland!) block Croatia’s Pusic.
  4. Moldova’s Gherman emerges as the compromise female candidate. Or the Slovenian guy wins.

What does Paddy Power say? Their punter clientele favor Clark, currently priced at 3 to 1.  Irina Bokova is second-best, carrying 9 to 2 odds.  But what do these Irish lager louts know about international diplomacy and geopolitics, anyway?  Bugger-all, I say!