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Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: Bill Clinton. From Hope, Arkansas to the jet-set. The former President of the United States, just named United Nations envoy to Haiti, has taken over Cannes after going gangbusters in Vienna at the LIFEbeat show. From Thisislondon:

"Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie may be royalty in the celeb world, but Bill Clinton showed who's really got the power in Cannes this morning.

"The former US President has completely 'taken over' the Hotel du Cap, where Brangelina normally stay when they are in the south of France.

"The former US president has completely 'taken over' the Hotel du Cap, where Brangelina normally stay when they are in the south of France.

"allowed anywhere near the hotel, its restaurant or bar while Bill is there. There's even an air block to stop helicopters flying over."

Mr Clinton is in Cannes to host an AIDS fundraiser dinner with Sharon Stone (last night), and the hotel confirmed this morning that there is a 'private party' and nobody is allowed near the hotel just for today. "

And tonight Bill Clinton's Arsenio sax goes under the hammer at a star-studded AIDS fund-raiser on the French Riviera. He hosts the AmFar fundraiser with his "old friend" actress Sharon Stone.

Out: Paris Hilton. We can say now with certainty that Paris is finally over. No one gives a shit anymore. Her Bijoux Phillips moment as enfant terrible of the jet-set has passed (that endless flame, that torch now passes on to Peaches Geldof; run with it, sweetcheeks). That stupid side of man-beef she is dating -- also over. All that's left is to get a prescription for Valtrex, because, as well all know, anyone who's fucking with Hilton -- which we advise that you don't do -- is going to get burned.

In: State Capitalism. Whether one is for or against "state capitalism," it is the dominant political ideology -- for the moment, at least -- in the global arena today. As the United States and Europe sink deeper into the recession with "green shoots" in the far distance, rising second world powers Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Malaysia, Rwanda and Brazil are mixed concoctions of unbridled capitalism and centralized government control by the state, for, ostensibly, the good of the state. From Foreign Affairs via The Council on Foreign Relations:

"Across the United States, Europe, and much of the rest of the developed world, the recent wave of state interventionism is meant to lessen the pain of the current global recession and restore ailing economies to health. For the most part, the governments of developed countries do not intend to manage these economies indefinitely. However, an opposing intention lies behind similar interventions in the developing world: there the state's heavy hand in the economy is signaling a strategic rejection of free-market doctrine.

"Governments, not private shareholders, already own the world's largest oil companies and control three-quarters of the world's energy reserves. Other companies owned by or aligned with the state enjoy growing market power in major economic sectors in the world's fastest-growing economies. 'Sovereign wealth funds,' a recently coined term for state-owned investment portfolios, account for one-eighth of global investment, and that figure is rising. These trends are reshaping international politics and the global economy by transferring increasingly large levers of economic power and influence to the central authority of the state. They are fueling the large and complex phenomenon of state capitalism."

One could argue that what President Obama is doing with the banks and the auto industry is not altogether different. Food for thought, no?

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