La France Profonde

My daughter's first baby-sitter's cousin Jean-Dominique Senard, is the new head of Renault, replacing Carlos Ghosn. He is a member of a Burgundian family of diplomats and, of course, wine-growers who were also the trusted manufacturers of chips for casinos across the border in Switzerland. His girl cousin was keen to work for an Anglophone family in Paris to improve her English, back in the 1960s when France was much more monolingual than it has become.

To understand the frustration of the Gilets Jaunes, one must recognize that modern France still has relics of the Ancienne Régime like this family, which also holds a title from before the French Revolution, not used however out of Noblesse Oblige. The Senard family, who are Catholic, are also active in ecumenism and business.

Now the oligarchy, which has plenty of other relics of royalty, will be under attack from the disgruntled motorists who are setting up their own political party in opposition to Pres Macron's “En Marche” which doesn't have a set political program.

I am intrigued by the move against Pres. Trump's long-term financial backer, Deutsche Bank. While Trump is of German heritage on his father's side, his record of stiffing creditors and frequent bankruptcies might have led Frankfurt's leading bankers to cut off his access to funds. This never happened, and Congress committees on intelligence and financial services are seeking information from DB. It is unclear if there are subpoenas out or not.

A key rational for the probe is DB's involvement in money laundering from Russians and other allies of Vladimir Putin via a Danske Bank sub in Estonia. This reminds me an element of the Nixon resignation: “Follow the money.”

Markets today are back in recuperation mode overall, with exceptions among the companies which have been reporting dud figures for 2018 or recent quarters. We have one from Britain today.

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