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John McCain is on a world tour, and after flunking Middle East Politics 101 on the Jordan leg of his trip, he’s now on his way to London, where his campaign will hold a fundraising event. (For American citizens only as foreigners can’t contribute.) Proper attire for the luncheon affair is “lounge wear,” according to the Washington Post, which also reported that the event will be held at Spencer House on St. James’s Place, “by kind permission” of Lord Rothschild and Nathaniel Rothschild.
The latter “may become the richest Rothschild of them all,” according to a profile last year in the New York Times. The story said Nathaniel Rothschild was “close to becoming a billionaire through a web of private equity investments” in Eastern Europe, and that he was “a principal adviser to Oleg Deripaska, one of the richest oligarchs in Russia.” Indeed, the Daily Mail has said that Rothschild’s wealth had “been accrued in his role as the adviser to” Deripaska.
Deripaska’s name might ring a bell. Back in early 2006, lobbyist Rick Davis, who now serves as McCain’s campaign advisor, helped introduce the senator and the oligarch during an international economic conference in Switzerland. McCain didn’t do anything for Deripaska after the meeting, but the Russian was grateful for the introduction. Deripaska wrote “a thank-you note to Davis and his partner and offer[ed] to assist them in a subsequent business deal,” according to the Washington Post.
About eight months after the meeting, the State Department revoked Deripaska’s visa to the United States, due to concerns that he may have amassed his wealth illegally. That’s embarrassing to the Russian, and he’s hoping to reverse his ban on entry to this country, which he blames on “stupid and ignorant bureaucrats.” During one interview last fall, Deripaska said, “Maybe I’ll get the visa when the next (U.S.) administration comes in.” Given his contacts to McCain, through Davis and Rothschild, one can guess whom Deripaska will be rooting for this fall.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”