David Fenby

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2017 May

From: A & D Fenby <fenby@orange.fr> To: Lilyan White <lilyanwhite@yahoo.com> Sent: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 7:49 AM Subject: election time in France


Hi Lilyan and Doug

I love the Indian computer virus saga; nice diplomacy Doug! Perhaps you should consider a job in the State Dept, where I understand there are more than a few vacancies, or even in the White House, where there ought to be many more vacancies. Increasingly, Anaig and I have to watch out for traps posing as seemingly genuine emails; the worst are those that pretend to come from Amazon or FedEx.

The good news today is that Marine Le Pen plagiarized one of Fillon’s speeches; I can understand her desire to appear to move to the centre to attract some of his supporters, but she now comes across as a crook (- hardly news!) plagiarizing another crook (- yet to be proved in court). France in monumentally (- only a slight exaggeration) unsettled: our fear, and that of many, is a small voter turnout on Sunday, something that would favour Le Pen because her supporters always vote; May 1 was marked by widespread protests, especially by the young, with some police injured. Macron maintains a 20% lead in the polls; I remain optimistic he will win, but I am very much less optimistic about what he will be able to achieve – perhaps keeping Le Pen out of power will be achievement enough!

Trump? How much worse can it get? With his current ratings (45% support), he is a liability to the Republicans.

I am almost certain things were worse in Rome during the 1st C BCE. I’ve spent a fascinating month or so with Caesar; he was assassinated yesterday, something about which I have few regrets, although, as dictators/tyrants go, one could do (and we have done) very much worse.

Fortunately, conditions for walking in Paris have improved. I find that the best way to escape concerns is to trot off to the Luxembourg; this has worked for me for almost half a century. A recent visit was quite outstanding because the tulips were at their prime; I even went again the following day with Anaig, who was suitably impressed.

One of the films I’ve seen recently might interest you – ‘Denial’ – the focus is David Irving, a most unappealing bloke. It’s entertaining but not profound, a good ‘watch’, but nothing more than that.

Anaig’s back assessment begins next week; it will be a stressful decision-time for her, but I feel she is well prepared.

Love and hugs,

2017 March

David Fenby <fenby@orange.fr> Anaig

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 9.42.47 AM.png File:Screen Shot during visit Denise, Helen 02-08-16.jpg

I thought I’d mention that Ben Chu, with whom I did my post-doc work at SUNY Stony Brook, and his wife have recently set up home in La Jolla (La Jolla Village, 8515 Costa Verde Blvd).

2017 Feb 18

during visit Denise, Helen 02-08-16.jpg JPG!! David Fenby, Anaig

Forwarded Message -----

From: lilyan white <lilyanwhite@yahoo.com> To: A & D Fenby <fenby@orange.fr> Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2017 8:27 AM Subject: Re: Carnival of Nice

Dear David: I find the story of Alexei quite remarkable. 30 years ago Russia was even more totalitarian then, later freedom and welcome in NZ he had the luck of immediately asylum and now pro the dark side. It is very difficult to comprehend.did you get any hint why the pivot back towards the bad old ways? These are beginning hard times here with round ups of Mexicans-he said he is hiring 10,000 extra ICE (border guard types). There was news they were standing outside schools as well as at check points and doorsteps. I feel this is a foreign country invasion and one has no rights and it all makes no sense. The Dems talk and plot, but have what - 10% of their power.. But for the judicial branch, some versions of FBI (BUT THIS IS TENOUS)..they can be fired...federal judge cannot...a handful to sene Republcan senators..it would be scarey, indeed. And the creepy quislings on the right esp in the House-an example Chafeetz who called about 7 session to try Clinton for so-called things she did to facilitate the Bengazi disaster now looks but sees no problem with Trump whether he is conspicously breaking the emoluments law, conflict of interest laws etc or just refusing to abide by the law time after time again Chafetz sees nothing and of course the rank and file of the House and Judicial branch are happy as pigs in mud time--they got all the power and can be corrupt at willl--the kleptocracy is being built. A new Banana Republic is being born! Oher worrisome news is Doug lost 5 pounds and despite being stuffed at every meal to remedy it..is not yet back to 180; David I hope you are keeping warm and happy..Ben Chu said your health issues were more serious than you let on. They were here for dinner the other nght. At a moment here and there I worry that the Gods are picking up all the good, the saved, th blessed (no I don't believe in this Christian vocabulary I use here--it s just for the weight of the drama) and will pack them off to a different universt and I shall be left alone here in this dismal land ruled by some Orange horror figure from the Middle Ages or kids hi fi Hugs and take care, Lilyan

From: A & D Fenby <fenby@orange.fr> To: Lilyan White <lilyanwhite@yahoo.com> Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 11:21 PM Subject: Carnival of Nice

Hi Lilyan and Doug

After a few days absence, the sun has returned to Nice, which is just as well because it’s Carnival time. We have Svetlana and Alexei, Russian friends who live in Brisbane, in Nice a present, but not staying with us. About 30 years ago, Alexei, then a meteorologist on a Russian ship, deserted the ship in NZ, and was immediately granted political asylum. Now, alas, he is pro-Trump, pro-Putin, pro-Le Pen, etc. Fortunately, Svetlana, who doesn’t share his views, had warned us, and so all things related to politics are off limits. Anaig and Svetlana are spending a couple of days potting together in Vallauris; that seems to be going very well.

On this same topic, we learnt 4 or 5 years ago that it’s dangerous to discuss politics in Nice. The city and region are centre-right, but the extreme right (Le Pen) has a very strong following here.

In 3 weeks, we’ll be back in Paris. The prospect is a little frightening because the city is still having very low temperatures. That said, it will be grand to be ‘home’ once again.

I’ve been spending some time with a Roman called Sulla; he was no worse than many of his contemporaries, but he did have a loyal army behind him. Sulla and Trump would have got along nicely. Immersed in the collapse of the Roman republic, I see similarities with what his happening today, but the differences far outweigh these similarities. The corrosion of trust is a common element. Trump is doing a magisterial job of undermining trust in the US and beyond, and Europe has so many politicians willingly contributing to this cancer.

But enough! The suns shines, I have a day alone, the Mediterranean calls – I’m off for a long walk. I’ll avoid the centre of town because the Carnival attracts thousands and thousands of old pensioners, all arriving in monumental tour buses.

Love & hugs,