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2018-07-23 The New York Times International Edition

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Lacking ally,
Europe must
make Plan B
Spies shake
their heads
as gap grows
with Trump
Wolfgang Ischinger
President’s Russia policy
increasingly at odds with
that of security agencies
BERLIN The past few weeks have been
tough for Atlanticists in Europe who
still think we shouldn’t give up on the
United States. President Trump almost
wrecked a NATO summit, he offended
his hosts in Britain, and he called the
European Union a “foe” of the United
States, all the while cozying up to
Vladimir Putin, a “good competitor.”
For months, Europeans concerned
about the president’s statements have
been reassured by American friends:
Ignore the tweets, focus on what the
administration does, and trust our
checks and balances. That made some
sense. Senior cabinet members like the
secretary of defense have remained
committed to the liberal international
order and to America’s alliances and
partnerships. Congress has strongly
supported NATO. And American
troops still guarantee Europe’s securiAfter Trump’s
performances, ty.
But in internawhy would
tional relations, it’s
not only deeds that
consider his
matter; words also
administration do, especially the
American presia trustworthy
Let’s face it: Mr.
Trump’s core beliefs
conflict with the
foundations of Western grand strategy
since the mid-1940s. He believes America is getting a bad deal from its European allies. He expresses admiration
for autocrats like Kim Jong-un and Mr.
Putin, while reserving his most acidic
comments for democratic partners like
Germany’s Angela Merkel and Canada’s Justin Trudeau. He represents the
opposite of liberal internationalism.
That sends Europe a sad message:
The era of America’s benign hegemony
may be over, with Europe extremely ill
On July 11 and 12, Mr. Trump undercut a NATO summit that was yielding
results: reaffirming a goal for members to strengthen the alliance by
spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on the military by 2024.
While European military spending has
been rising for some time, Mr. Trump
was correct in saying that some members, including Germany, aren’t doing
enough. He also has legitimate concerns about trade imbalances.
Still, his mischaracterization of the
goal as “dues” owed to America makes
it harder for European leaders to ask
their voters for increased military
spending. And his bullying comments
led Europeans to suspect he might be
The New York Times publishes opinion
from a wide range of perspectives in
hopes of promoting constructive debate
about consequential questions.
Trouble at home
An exhibition in London
looks at how contemporary
artists deal with his legacy
When the world first learned of Michael
Jackson’s death, from an accidental
overdose in 2009, the news had a whiff of
unreality about it.
This was in no small part because, for
so long, it had been hard to remember
that he was actually a person. A child
prodigy who in adulthood became a genuine Peter Pan — fantastically refusing
to grow old — Jackson was always more
an idea than a human being in the flesh.
Nearly a decade later, the shape-shifting body frozen in memory, his extraordinary image endures as if he never left.
Now, an ambitious and thought-provoking new exhibition at the National
Portrait Gallery in London, running
Y(1J85IC*KKNPKP( +#!"!$!@!z
A Roma woman and her daughter in front of the remains of their house in Kiev, Ukraine, where nationalists have attacked Roma camps. PAGE 3
Loving tech, glitches included
China builds a future
that isn’t quite ready, as
clunky robot waiters show
The mind-reading headsets won’t read
minds. The fire-detecting machine has
been declared a safety hazard. The robot
waiter can’t be trusted with the soup.
China is ready for the future, even if
the future hasn’t quite arrived.
China has become a global technological force in just a few years. It is shaping
the future of the internet. Its technology
ambitions helped prompt the Trump administration to start a trade war. Hundreds of millions of people in China now
use smartphones to shop online, pay
their bills and invest their money, sometimes in ways more advanced than in
the United States.
That has led many people in China to
embrace technology full tilt, no matter
how questionable. Robots wait on
restaurant diners. Artificial intelligence
marks up schoolwork. Facial recognition technology helps dole out products
as varied as KFC orders and toilet paper.
China is in a competition with itself for
the world record for dancing robots.
That embrace of tech for tech’s sake —
and the sometimes dubious results it
leads to — were on display at the Global
Intelligence and World Business Summit last month in Shanghai, which several luminaries in Chinese tech and academia were supposed to kick off with
their minds.
Donning black headbands that looked
like implements of electroshock therapy, the seven men and two women onstage were told to envision themselves
pressing a button. The headbands would
transmit their brain activity to the robotic hand sharing the stage, which
would then push a button to officially
start the conference.
A countdown began. A camera put the
robotic hand onto a huge screen above
the stage. The people onstage seemed to
concentrate. And then, nothing happened. The hand remained motionless.
The camera panned away.
A spokesman for Yiou, the tech consultant that hosted the event, declined to
comment except for a pair of smiling
All of this embarrasses some people
in the Chinese tech scene. They warn
that the excess exuberance is one sign of
a venture capital bubble, which may be
about to burst. Rather than show China’s
Robots take food to the customers’ tables at the Robot Magic Restaurant in Shanghai.
But after the cameras are put away, human waiters put the food on the table.
newfound tech might, they argue, spectacles like dancing robots and ineffective mind readers cover up the country’s
lack of progress in other areas.
Those deficiencies were made clear in
April when the United States forbade
American companies to sell chips, software and other technology to ZTE, a
Shifting images of Michael Jackson
Chinese telecom company. ZTE was
found to have violated American sanctions by selling products to Iran and
North Korea. The ban brought the company to a virtual standstill, before the
Trump administration lifted it on July 13.
Chinese people shouldn’t lose touch
When President Trump directed aides
to ask President Vladimir V. Putin of
Russia to the White House this fall, the
invitation was his latest attempt to use
personal diplomacy in the pursuit of better relations with the Kremlin.
But it was also at odds with moves by
the rest of the Trump administration
that served as blunt reminders that the
national security establishment appears to be following a radically different Russia policy than the commander
in chief.
The Pentagon declared on Friday that
it would provide $200 million in assistance to Ukraine to help fight the Russian-controlled separatists in the country’s east. “Russia should suffer consequences for its aggressive, destabilizing
behavior and its illegal occupation of
Ukraine,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
said in a statement.
And a day earlier, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, pledged
to offer Mr. Trump a candid assessment
of the vast risks of inviting Mr. Putin to
the White House.
The disconnect between the policies
aimed at curbing Russia and the president’s position has never been wider, a
gap that presents serious risks, current
and former American officials said.
“If you are not clear about what the
policy is, you are going to have an ineffective government,” said John Sipher, a
28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency who served in Moscow in
the 1990s and later ran the agency’s
Russia program for three years. “It is
worse than that. Parts of the government are working at cross-purposes to
each other.”
In administration strategy documents, NATO communiqués and other
official orders, Russia is called a growing threat, a potential or actual adversary intent on undermining democratic
institutions of the United States and its
allies. The Trump administration has
imposed sanctions on Russia’s elite, and
the special counsel has indicted about
two dozen Russians on charges of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.
But in recent days, as Mr. Trump sustained his attacks on European allies,
declared his meeting in Finland with Mr.
Putin a success and signaled that he
wanted a more constructive relationship with Moscow, following a policy of
isolating Russia has grown more difficult, officials said.
“The combination of the president’s
through Oct. 21, seeks to measure the
impact and reach of Jackson as muse
and cultural artifact.
“Michael Jackson: On the Wall,” curated by Nicholas Cullinan, sprawls
without feeling bloated, occupying 14
rooms and bringing together the work of
48 artists across numerous media, from
Andy Warhol’s instantly recognizable
silk-screen prints and grainy black-andwhite snapshots, to a vast oil painting by
Kehinde Wiley. (Jeff Koons’s famous
porcelain sculpture “Michael Jackson
and Bubbles” is notably absent, though
it is reinterpreted in several other
First the obvious: No artwork, however clever or pretty, that has been inspired by a talent the size of Jackson’s
can compete with its source material. To
get the most out of what this show has to
offer it is best to acknowledge this at the
entrance and move on, as the most successful pieces do, eschewing strictly
aesthetic concerns and exploring instead Jackson’s conceptual possibilities.
Consider for example one of the simplest works in the show, David Ham-
Andy Warhol’s silk-screen portrait of
Michael Jackson from 1984.
mons’s 2001 installation, “Which Mike
Do You Want to Be Like . . . ?” The piece
— full of wondrous pride even as it conjures a sense of depressing limitation —
consists of three abnormally tall microphones and its title recalls the Holy Trinity of late-20th-century black American
entertainment icons as set out by the
rapper The Notorious B.I.G.: “I excel
like Mike, anyone: Tyson, Jordan, Jackson.” (B.I.G.’s own guest feature on Jackson’s 1995 “History” album marked a
crowning achievement in his career.)
More than 20 years later, rappers still
clamor for a Jackson co-sign. On “Scorpion,” his latest chart-topping release,
Drake flexed the ultimate status symbol, having purchased the rights to unreleased vocals and scoring a posthumous
feature with the King of Pop.
Jackson, more than Tyson or even
Jordan, so epitomized black excellence
that Ebony magazine could unselfconsciously run an airbrushed image of him
on the cover in 2007, his creamy skin and
silky cascading hair framing a razorsharp jawline, beside a headline reading
“Inside: The Africa You Don’t Know.”
A year after the singer’s death, Lyle
Ashton Harris recreated that image on
Ghanaian funerary fabric. It’s jarring to
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Issue Number
No. 42,100
12–13, 2018
MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018 | 3
Israel cements a right-wing agenda
to be the first time the police moved to
enforce the law.
“Iran is already here!!!” the arrested
rabbi, Dubi Hayun, wrote on Facebook
from the police station — not the first
time an Israeli Jew has complained that
something resembling Shariah law was
taking root.
Sallai Meridor, who was Israel’s ambassador to the United States a decade
ago, explained the week’s developments
as a precursor to elections in November
“They may feel that this is their last
chance to pass laws” before the campaign season begins in the fall, Mr. Meri-
Wrapping up its business before a long
summer recess, the right-wing, religious coalition that holds power in Israel’s Parliament has moved aggressively to push through its polarizing
agenda, piling up points at the expense
of its already weakened foes.
Last Monday, it empowered the education minister to bar some groups that
criticize the Israeli occupation of the
West Bank from speaking in public
schools. On Tuesday, it accelerated what
critics call the creeping annexation of
the West Bank by cutting off Palestinians’ access to the Supreme Court in
land disputes. On Wednesday, it blocked
single men and gay couples from having
children through surrogacy.
The capstone, though, came Thursday, with passage of a law granting the
Jewish people an exclusive right to national self-determination.
“Is there a unifying principle to this
madness?” asked Donniel Hartman, a
rabbi who is the president of the Shalom
Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, which
promotes Jewish pluralism and democracy.
But to right-leaning Israeli Jews, the
measures were part of a long-overdue
restoration of the proper balance between Israel’s dual identities as a Jewish
and a democratic state. Many supporters of the governing coalition see that
balance as having been tilted dangerously askew after a quarter-century of
legislating from the bench by a liberal
Supreme Court.
“There are people who it’s in their interest to make it sound extreme, but
they’re overexaggerating,” said Sharren Haskel, a 34-year-old member of
Likud, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party. “We are a right-wing government, we’re proud of it, and we’re
bringing Israel to a better place.”
Critics in the opposition, and even
some on the right, say the frenzy of lawmaking reeked of pre-election-season
posturing by a coalition that has cemented its hold on power, and whose
members were trying to outbid one another for the support of their most hard-
“We believe in liberty and
patriotism and you need to have
it in a country like Israel where
you’re surrounded by enemies.”
Members of Israel’s Parliament with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, on Thursday before their summer break.
core primary-campaign voters.
Israelis across the political spectrum
cited support from the Trump administration as providing Mr. Netanyahu’s
government with protective cover. They
also pointed out that the wave of nationalism and populism sweeping across
Europe and the United States made
their own country look like just another
face in the crowd.
Still, the rightward legislative lurch
was extraordinary for Israel.
Yediot Ahronot, one of the country’s
most widely read newspapers, on Friday summed up the week’s events with
a drawing of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, showing a giant black flag flying
overhead. “Israel 2018: Coalition celebrating, equality being trampled,” a
headline read.
Nor were the divisive moves confined
to the legislative chamber.
Last Monday, the chairman of Brandeis University, Meyer G. Koplow, was
interrogated by airport security on his
way back to New York because, after attending a bridge-building session organized by the educational organization
Encounter on the West Bank, he had
thrown a brochure articulating the Palestinian point of view into his checked
He later received an apology from the
But in an online post, Michael J. Koplow, Mr. Koplow’s son and an executive
at the Israel Policy Forum, a liberal
think tank, publicized his father’s run-in
over what he said was “the most rudimentary evidence of basic engagement
with the Palestinians,” calling the interrogation “yet another example in a
seemingly never-ending string of the
massive problem that Israel is having
with American Jews.
“Israeli Jewish values and American
Jewish values increasingly diverge,” Mr.
Koplow wrote in the post, “and for many
American Jews, the values of openness,
empathy, and non-discrimination are
ones that are harder and harder to find
in Israel.”
Then, on Thursday, a Conservative
rabbi in Haifa was awakened at his
home and arrested by the police. He was
charged with officiating at a wedding
between a Jewish man and woman. The
ultra-Orthodox rabbinate has a legal
monopoly on performing such rites. But
the arrest of the Haifa rabbi is believed
Ukraine’s Roma under assault
dor said, “and they’re focusing on competing for right-wing votes, rather than
on long-term, strategic issues or what
the world may think.”
He also suggested that elections could
be called sooner, with Mr. Netanyahu expected to be indicted in a tangle of corruption investigations.
Mr. Hartman, the president of the
Shalom Hartman Institute, said, “Israel
is suffering from a new phenomenon,
and that’s political stability.”
Indeed, even if Mr. Netanyahu were to
leave office, recent polls show, the coalition, led by his Likud party, could survive with scarcely a hiccup.
“The opposition is irrelevant,” Mr.
Hartman said. “And the stability of Israeli political life is enabling some of the
darker forces to put forth bills and ideas
that would never have been passed before.”
To members of the coalition, there is
nothing dark about their legislative efforts. “We have a pure-right agenda; we
believe in liberty and patriotism and you
need to have it in a country like Israel
where you’re surrounded by enemies,”
Ms. Haskel, the Likud lawmaker, said.
Those enemies are not merely political.
In Gaza on Friday, the Israel Defense
Forces responded to the killing of a soldier by Palestinian militants with
airstrikes on bases and weapons caches
maintained by Hamas, the militant
group that controls the Gaza Strip.
Yet others said Israel’s government
was showing a dangerous degree of hubris — and not only with its legislative
moves this week.
Bradley Burston, a left-wing columnist for the newspaper Haaretz, said
in an interview that some in the government now appeared to believe that it
might not be necessary ever to reach a
solution to the Palestinian conflict.
“Till now, leftists believed the occupation was unsustainable,” Mr. Burston
said. “But on the right, the more friends
they have abroad who are themselves
authoritarians, accepting of illiberal
rule, the easier it is to accept that there’s
this bizarre, quasi-colonial situation on
the West Bank. And maybe you can just
keep it going long enough that it becomes permanent.”
The government may have overstepped this week in the vote against
surrogacy rights for single men and gay
Support for gay rights increasingly
cuts across social, political and even religious lines in Israel, and calls for a nationwide protest strike swept the country within days. Scores of companies,
the city of Tel Aviv and other major institutions, including the national labor federation and the emergency medical
service, allowed their workers to take
part. Officials warned that the work
stoppage, planned for Sunday, could
even delay flights in and out of Ben Gurion Airport.
With little other recourse than taking
to the streets, critics on the left and in
the Arab minority say the policies and
hostility they see emanating from Parliament are growing difficult to bear.
Ahmad Tibi, a veteran Israeli Arab
lawmaker, said he and his liberal Jewish
friends increasingly felt “strangled” by
what he called a “fascist atmosphere.”
Mr. Tibi, who recalled almost wistfully
a kindler, gentler form of oppression
decades ago — “They confiscated our
land, but they talked sweetly,” he said —
indicated that Mr. Netanyahu had nothing to fear from the United States, or
from anyone else.
“Why are they passing these laws?”
he said. “Because they can.”
An old ethnic enmity
resurfaces with ‘cleaning’
of cities by nationalists
The Roma who live in tarpaulin camps
and abandoned buildings in and around
Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, say they
make their money harmlessly by picking wildflowers and selling the bouquets
to lovers on the city’s streets.
But members of Ukrainian nationalist
groups say that instead, the Roma pick
pockets, steal scrap metal and foul the
city with their presence, often dressed in
rags or hand-me-downs while begging.
Tensions over the Roma are as old as
Ukraine and run as deep here as anywhere in Eastern Europe, but the ancient enmity has taken a twist recently.
Beginning in April, Ukrainian nationalist groups that were given free rein
four years ago to fight the Russian military incursion have taken instead to attacking the softer targets of Roma
camps, saying they are “cleaning”
Ukraine’s cities.
After an attack in April on a camp in
the Lysa Hora park outside Kiev, when a
nationalist group threw rocks, squirted
pepper spray and burned down tents, it
seemed like an outbreak of the old ethnic scourge, and the episode drew criticism from Western governments and
rights groups.
The Ukrainian government seemed
to see the assault differently, at least at
first. Far from prosecuting the nationalist group, known as C14, which filmed
the attack and posted photographs on
the internet, the government gave it a
state grant in the form of free rent for auditoriums to support “patriotic education.”
No arrests were made immediately
after the April attack. Soon enough, five
other major assaults ensued, along with
dozens of smaller episodes. After one
nationalist group, called Sober and Angry Youth, killed a Roma man, David
Pap, last month in Lviv, the police detained suspects. Nothing had been done
against this group earlier, though it had
posted a video online of its members
chasing Roma through the city in “A Safari on the Gypsy.”
In July, a court sentenced one participant in the April attack to two months of
house arrest.
“No group has the barbaric right to do
what was done,” the interior minister,
Arsen Avakov, said after the killing in
Lviv. Mr. Avakov said the police would
act “even if these people cover themselves with the status of veterans.”
The attacks pose a dilemma for the
Western-backed government in Kiev,
which analysts say is seeking populist
Investment Opportunity for Independent Water and Power Producers in Kuwait
The Ukrainian nationalist group C14 burning a Russian flag in Kiev. C14’s leader says
altercations with the Roma were prompted by their “stealing and clogging” the streets.
appeal before presidential elections
next spring. The government is beholden to nationalist paramilitaries for their
role in the war in the east, even as some
of those same groups espouse ugly ideologies.
“We were called fascists,” Yevhen
Karas, the 30-year-old leader of C14,
said in an interview, referring to the reaction to the attack in Lysa Hora park.
But, he added, “I do not care what they
call us.”
The C14 group also identifies as an educational group that organizes lectures
and seminars on a number of topics, including law and security.
C14 said in a statement that its members “safely burned” the camp of make-
“No group has the barbaric right
to do what was done.”
shift tents, saying they were “cleaning”
Mr. Karas said C14’s members did not
use excessive force while confronting
Roma camps, and he asserted that the
episodes were not xenophobic attacks.
Mr. Karas said the group’s mission was
to weed out Russian influence in Kiev
and to keep order in the city. He said the
actions were prompted by the Roma
“felling trees, stealing and clogging” the
Olga Zhmurko, the Roma program director of the International Renaissance
Foundation, a nongovernmental group
that promotes democracy, said, “Farright groups promote themselves as
Robin Hoods who help communities
manage the discomfort caused by
Roma,” but in fact do little other than
sow chaos.
Ukraine has a dark history regarding
treatment of the Roma. During World
War II, at least 22,000 of about 300,000
Roma killed by the Nazis in Europe were
from what is now Ukraine, according to
Mikhail Tyaglyy, a historian who has
studied the genocide.
After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014,
the Roma were early targets during the
Russian intervention in the east, with
abuses starting on the pro-Russia side.
Paramilitaries backed by Moscow
rounded them up, saying they were
dealing drugs.
Reacting to the more recent attacks,
the rights groups Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, Human
Rights Watch and Freedom House published a joint letter in June condemning
the government’s passivity. The United
Nations has demanded that Ukraine’s
government, which espouses European
values and receives Western financial
aid, bring “perpetrators to account.”
That is no easy task in a country
where members of nationalist paramilitaries are also considered by many to be
war heroes.
Few Roma now remain in the Ukrainian capital, where they were once a common sight. Most left after the attacks began. One, who offered only her first
name, Anna, said that she and her children sold wildflower bouquets. She said
she had migrated to the city from the
Carpathian foothills because “there is
no work” in rural Ukraine. The attacks,
she said, have frightened Roma: “It’s
very difficult when a person doesn’t understand another person.”
Mr. Karas, the head of C14, noted that
his group’s members confronted all
“criminals,” not just those from ethnic
minorities. He said the group also
sought out and publicly shamed people
they deem Russian sympathizers.
“When people look for justice,” he
said. “They come to us.”
Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Moscow.
The Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP) in collaboration with the
Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) would like to invite competent
international, regional, and local companies to submit EOIs for Al-Khairan phase 1
and Az-Zour North 2&3 IWPP Projects “the Project”. The Project will be procured as
Public Private Partnership ("PPP") projects, in accordance with the Law No. 39 of
2010 and its Executive Regulations along with any applicable provisions under the
Law No. 116 of 2014 and its Executive Regulations.
The objectives of the Project are to introduce the private-sector practices and capital
to sectors that are traditionally under the control of the public sector, reduce overall
costs to the State of Kuwait for provision of power generation and water production,
improve reliability of power generation and water production capacities, introduce
competition to the electricity and water sectors, and promote efficiencies.
Az-Zour North 2&3 Project will be the second phase of the IWPP Az-Zour North and
will be located on the Az-Zour North site adjacent to the west boundary of the AzZour North 1 IWPP and to the North boundary of the existing Az-Zour South power
complex, approximately 100 km south of Kuwait City on the Arabian Gulf coast. The
scope of Az-Zour North 2&3 Project is to design, build, finance, operate and transfer
a power generation and water desalination plant using a gas turbine combined cycle
technology with a net power capacity about 2700 MW at reference site conditions and
net water capacity of 165 MIGPD.
Al Khairan Phase 1 Project will be located on the Al-Khairan site adjacent to the
south boundary of the existing Az-Zour South power complex, approximately 100 km
south of Kuwait City. The scope of Al Khairan Phase 1 Project is to design, build,
finance, operate and transfer a power generation and water desalination plant using a
gas turbine combined cycle technology with a net power capacity of approximately
1,800 MW at reference site conditions and a net water capacity of 125 MIGD.
All interested and competent companies are requested to visit the following website
of The Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects,
in order to obtain the Request for EOI document, which is available free of charge.
EOIs for the Project must be submitted by e-mail to and be in
accordance with the submission requirements set out in the Request for EOI
document, by no later than 12 noon (Kuwait time) on Sunday 18 November 2018.
The EOI process will be followed by a Request for Qualification phase to be
announced at a later date.
The Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects reserves the right to amend the scope of the Project, modify, cancel or
suspend the Expression of Interest process or any or all stages of the investment opportunity, at any time for any
reason without any liabilities.
6 | MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018
A Virginia city remains torn, a year after rally
is also president of the North Downtown
Neighborhood Association. “We’re sitting here with all these people who are
screaming and focused on turmoil, and
our mayor was one of them.”
Charlottesville struggles
with how to move on from
white nationalist violence
In the days following the deadly rally by
white nationalists in the Virginia city of
Charlottesville last summer, angry residents took over a City Council meeting,
screaming and weeping at the microphone. They blamed leaders for failing
to stop hordes with guns, swastikas and
Confederate flags from descending on
the city.
“Why did you think that you could
walk in here and do business as usual after what happened?” Nikuyah Walker,
one of the activists there that day,
bluntly asked the mayor.
Today, in a sign of how much has
changed since white nationalists rallied
here and shocked the nation, Ms.
Walker is mayor herself, the city’s first
black woman to serve in that role.
Since the rally, nearly every official
who held power at the time has resigned
or retired. The city attorney, who concluded that there was no legal way to
stop the rally, took a job in another town.
The police chief stepped down in the
wake of a critical report accusing him of
failing to protect the public on the day of
the rally. The city manager, who oversaw the city’s response, will leave by the
end of this year.
Instead of uniting the right, the rally’s
purported goal, it empowered a leftist
political coalition that vows to confront
generations of racial and economic injustice. But despite the dramatic overhaul of the city’s leadership, wholesale
change has been slow to take hold.
The bronze Confederate generals that
ignited the rally still sit on horseback in
public parks. Activists still demand
their removal. A judge still forbids it.
The local man who planned the rally
still walks around town, scuffling with
people who scream “murderer” when
they see him.
Nearly a year after the rally, which
featured beatings, brawls and a car that
plowed into a crowd of anti-racism counterprotesters, killing one and injuring
more than two dozen others, this picturesque city of 48,000 people is still engaged in a tug of war over its soul.
The most nettlesome divide, it turns
out, is not between the far-left and the
alt-right, whose members battled in the
streets on Aug. 12 last year. It is between
those who want Charlottesville to go
back to the way it was before the rally,
when a Google search brought up results like “happiest city in America” or
“best food in small town America,” and
those like Ms. Walker who say that the
city must make sweeping changes to address deep-seated racial and economic
Ms. Walker has vowed to channel the
grief from the city’s tragedy through the
development of thousands of new apartments and a seat at the decision-making
table for low-income residents, who are
disproportionately black, and an end to
“stop and frisk” policing. About 18 percent of families in the city struggle to
make ends meet.
“For decades, people wanted to hide
behind the illusion of perfection in Charlottesville,” she said at a recent forum on
racial and economic disparities.
Ms. Walker, though, faces huge challenges.
“She wants to totally transform the
status quo,” said Dave Norris, an early
supporter who served as the city’s mayor from 2008 to 2012. “But what she’s up
against is a community that’s rather
fond of itself and rather enamored with
the status quo.”
A statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va. Nearly every city official who held power at the time of last year’s deadly white nationalist rally has resigned or retired.
Mayor Nikuyah Walker, center, at a City Council meeting in May. A parks and recreation
aide who earns $14.40 an hour, she is Charlottesville’s first black female mayor.
After the rally, residents cried at concerts held to raise money for victims.
Store windows displayed cards memorializing Heather Heyer, the woman who
died after being struck by the car that
barreled into a crowd. The City Council,
once divided over the fate of the Confederate statues, voted to shroud the figures in black tarps.
But the residents, who united briefly
in shock and grief, quickly divided into
those who blamed the violence on outsiders who invaded their beloved city,
and those who saw the rally as a revelation of the ugly reality of racism within
the city itself.
Andrea Douglas, director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, said the rally revealed
something important about Charlottesville itself.
Despite its self-image as liberal and
racially tolerant, few black faces can be
spotted in the expensive restaurants or
luxury condos downtown, even among
the employees, she said. And she noted
that the organizer of the Unite the Right
rally, Jason Kessler, lives in town and attended the University of Virginia, the
largest institution here.
“This notion of ‘outsiderness’ is interesting,” Dr. Douglas said. “He didn’t
come from elsewhere.”
Months before the rally tarnished
Charlottesville’s image, Ms. Walker, 38,
had announced her bid for City Council
with the slogan “Unmasking the Illusion.” She ran as an independent, a signal that she intended to challenge the
establishment Democrats who have run
the city for decades.
Unlike anyone who had been elected to
the Council in decades, Ms. Walker was
born and raised in Charlottesville. Not a
seasoned politician, Ms. Walker became
known for helping low-income residents
navigate the city’s bureaucracy. A parks
A heated exchange at City Hall in May. Anti-racism and anti-capitalist activists who
campaigned for Ms. Walker continue to dominate City Council meetings.
and recreation aide who earns $14.40 an
hour, she shamed the city into paying its
temporary and seasonal workers a living wage. A former resident of a low-income housing development known as
Friendship Court, she went door to door,
organizing residents to give them a
greater voice in the plan to transform
the development into mixed-income
Instead of squeezing a few dozen affordable housing units out of developers, she wanted to add thousands. Instead of merely providing “implicit bias”
training for police officers, she wanted
an end to “stop and frisk.”
Those proposals may have sounded
radical before the rally, but to many residents who were soul searching in its aftermath, they made sense. Anti-racism
and anti-capitalist activists fired up in
the rally’s aftermath hit the streets for
Ms. Walker’s campaign. On Election
Day, she received more votes than any
other candidate.
“It’s hard growing up in Charlottesville and being black in Charlottesville,”
Ms. Walker told the crowd that night.
“There are so many people who are brilliant and talented and they never make
it because of the conditions of this city.”
In January, after Ms. Walker was
sworn in, four out of five city councilors
voted to make her the new mayor, including Michael Signer, the mayor she
had excoriated just five months earlier.
“I believe that thousands of people
would welcome Ms. Walker into this
role,” Mr. Signer said.
But many in the business community
watched Ms. Walker’s ascendance with
dread. She had vowed to vote against a
$75,000 marketing grant to the downtown business association to help bring
tourism back. And she seemed more focused on publicizing the city’s sins than
its successes.
“It’s a little unsettling for people who
are trying to run businesses,” said Jon
Bright, owner of the Spectacle Shop who
Since the rally, tourism has rebounded.
Tourists drink craft beer under umbrellas on a pedestrian plaza downtown that
has been renamed Heather Heyer Way.
A judge ordered that the black shrouds
over the statues be removed.
Some say the biggest changes have
taken place in people’s hearts, as white
residents who had never thought much
about racism flocked to meetings that
raised awareness of white privilege organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice, an anti-racism group.
And two busloads of people, white and
black and including public housing residents partly funded by the city and
wealthy residents who paid their own
way, traveled together on a pilgrimage
to the lynching museum in Montgomery, Ala., to memorialize a black
man who was murdered by a Charlottesville mob in 1898. The group, which included Ms. Walker, brought soil from the
site of the lynching. Pilgrimage organizers hope to display a memorial marker
in Charlottesville that will help put the
Confederate statues in context.
But despite these efforts, the town remains divided and struggling to mend.
Even the notion of healing itself has become politically fraught, viewed by
some as a premature call to return to
business as usual.
“We’re not ready to heal yet,” Wes Bellamy, a city councilor who is an ally of
Ms. Walker’s, said at a Council meeting
last fall, in emotional remarks that
ended with him giving the black power
These days, Ms. Walker, who declined
to be interviewed for this article, talks
less about healing the town than she
does about uplifting its most vulnerable
members. She has tried to give a new Civilian Review Board powers to oversee
police conduct and squeeze more money
out of the University of Virginia to help
low-income residents. But there is only
so much that she can do. The position of
mayor in Charlottesville is a largely ceremonial and part-time role, with few formal powers. Ms. Walker complained
publicly that she was unable to get a response from city housing officials about
a 76-year-old woman being evicted from
public housing.
Activists who helped elect Ms.
Walker, meanwhile, continue to dominate City Council meetings, venting
their outrage at everything from a community engagement session that they
felt was too corporate, to a flier advertising ornamental trees that they viewed
as promoting gentrification.
At a City Council meeting in May, a
mostly white crowd of activists heckled
the founder of Charlottesville’s public
defender’s office after he appealed for
civility. They protested the newly appointed police chief, RaShall M. Brackney, the first black woman to serve in
that role, even though she has the support of Ms. Walker.
Eugene Williams, 90, a black retired
affordable housing developer, watched
the meeting on television from his home.
Decades after his lawsuit successfully
helped desegregate the city’s schools,
he finds it hard to identify with the activists of today, who shout at public meetings and focus on removing statues. He
switched off the television in disgust.
He didn’t tune in long enough to see a
woman injured in the car attack limping
to the microphone, her leg still in a
The woman, who is white and identified herself as Star Peterson, demanded
that the city acknowledge the failures of
last summer. “We will not move on so
easily,” she said. “That is a promise.”
Spies shake their heads as Trump doubles down on Russia
repeated attacks on NATO, his repeated
failure to hold Putin accountable for the
2016 assault on our elections and his refusal to call Putin out regarding the current efforts to subvert the midterms all
raise legitimate questions about what is
going on with the president,” said David
Laufman, the former chief of the Justice
Department’s counterintelligence and
export control section.
Adding to the difficulty of deciphering
American policy toward Moscow is the
fact that Mr. Trump seems to have told
relatively few people about what he and
Mr. Putin discussed at their one-on-one
meeting in Helsinki last Monday.
Mr. Coats said he did not know what
went on in the summit meeting, and
other national security officials said
they were in the dark as well. Secretary
of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday
that he had spoken to the president
about the meeting, but Mr. Trump has
not shared his thoughts widely with the
In other administrations, such a meeting would have produced a plethora of
diplomatic cables and other documents
outlining it as well as briefings for national security officials or lawmakers,
according to former officials.
“At this point, all I have heard is crickets,” said Eric S. Edelman, a former under secretary of defense for policy in the
George W. Bush administration.
If a president does not brief his staff,
intelligence agencies have few options
to learn about the meeting. Their most
obvious solution — eavesdropping — is
off limits when it comes to the commander in chief, even during a meeting
with the leader of an adversary, according to former intelligence officers.
Still, the intelligence agencies would
probably try to intercept Russian discussions of what was said in the meeting
between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, former officials said.
The disconnect between the White
House and intelligence agencies could
create a thorny situation if American
spies collect information that might be
embarrassing to Mr. Trump — such as
Russian officials saying that Mr. Putin
had extracted concessions from Mr.
Trump during the Helsinki meeting.
“When you are stealing secrets, and
those guys are talking about the Trump
administration, then those guys are going to be in a tricky spot,” said Daniel
Hoffman, a former C.I.A. operations officer who served in Moscow.
Still, Mr. Hoffman disputed the idea
that the charged atmosphere would create a morale crisis in the C.I.A. He said
that even during the early years of the
Iraq war, when many intelligence officers fought with the White House over
the intensity of the insurgency there, the
functions of spycraft continued.
“We recruited spies. We stole secrets.
We did the work,” he said.
Mr. Trump has been at odds with most
of the national security establishment
since the beginning of his administration. He and his allies view members of
the intelligence agencies as part of a so-
Some intelligence officials think
that President Trump is not fully
absorbing their briefs, even when
they are tailored to his tastes.
The disconnect on Russia between President Trump and his administration’s intelligence and security agencies presents serious risks, American officials said.
called deep state opposed to his policies.
Mr. Trump had been planning to ask
Mr. Putin to the White House since their
Helsinki meeting, two people familiar
with the event said. But bringing Mr.
Putin, a former K.G.B. chief, into the
White House would pose stiff security
risks, said James R. Clapper Jr., a former director of national intelligence.
“The Russians will be leaning forward
to both collect intelligence and to thwart
what we do to collect against them,” Mr.
Clapper said. “Similarly, we will be lean-
ing forward to collect against them and
to thwart their efforts to collect against
Some intelligence officials reacted
with resignation to Mr. Trump’s plan.
While previous presidents would have
consulted them about the risks of such a
meeting, the officials have become increasingly convinced that Mr. Trump is
not fully absorbing their briefs, even
when they are tailored to his tastes with
models, physical demonstrations and
extensive use of photographs.
Intelligence officials are growing concerned that Mr. Trump cherry-picks
their findings to reinforce decisions he
has already made, several administration officials said in interviews. They
noted that in the case of North Korea, he
picked up on evidence last summer of
growing nuclear capabilities to bolster
his threats of military action; now that
he is pursuing a thaw in relations with
North Korea, he is ignoring similar evidence.
One senior official called it a disheartening experience.
Mr. Trump appears to have ignored
his intelligence agencies in setting up
the meetings with Mr. Putin, said Mary
McCord, who helped run the Justice Department’s national security division
until she left last year.
“The president didn’t benefit from the
expertise of professionals who have
spent their entire careers studying Russia’s manner of counterintelligence,
their tradecraft and Putin himself,” she
The meeting is not a certainty. But it
could be problematic because it offers
Mr. Putin a diplomatic victory and suggests to allies that United States-Russia
relations are back to normal, said Brian
McKeon, a former top Pentagon official.
For now, there is little indication that
the divide between Mr. Trump and national security officials will close. Mr.
Trump shows no signs that he intends to
ease off his diplomatic push or curb his
criticisms of the national security establishment.
At the same time, Pentagon officials
have said they will continue to oppose
Moscow’s aggression in Europe, and the
intelligence community and law enforcement agencies have vowed to continue to draw attention to continuing
Russian attempts to interfere in American elections.
At a national security conference in
Aspen, Colo., last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, Christopher A. Wray, was asked about the president’s attacks on the bureau. He seemed
to suggest that he was not paying close
attention to Mr. Trump’s messaging or
the chaotic atmosphere emanating from
the White House.
Mr. Wray joked that he meets people
who frequently say to him, “We are all
praying for you.” He said that prompts
him to think to himself: “I haven’t seen
television in the last two hours. Is this all
the other stuff, or did something new
Julian E. Barnes and Katie Benner reported from Washington, and Eric
Schmitt from Aspen, Colo. Reporting was
contributed by Mark Mazzetti and Adam
Goldman in Washington, Maggie Haberman in New York and David E. Sanger in Aspen.
MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018 | 7
Memo from boss:
You’re vegetarians
Company won’t reimburse
employees for meat eaten
during meetings for lunch
Shonda Rhimes, the creator of hits like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” is looking forward to creating shows away from the strictures of network television.
Plotting the unexpected
A star TV writer-producer
describes her grand plans
as she moves to Netflix
Shonda Rhimes achieved almost everything a television producer could hope
for during her long run at ABC. She
made herself into not only one of the
most prolific writer-producers in the
business, but also a mogul, as the
founder and head of the Shondaland
production company. ABC filled its entire Thursday night lineup with shows
created or produced by her — a body of
work that includes “Grey’s Anatomy,”
“Scandal” and “How to Get Away With
Murder” — but Ms. Rhimes was restless.
Now, after signing a multiyear, ninefigure deal with Netflix, Ms. Rhimes will
try to match or top her network success
in the wide-open expanse of streaming,
free of time slots, commercial interruptions, and restrictions on content.
In an interview in Los Angeles — during which she laid out her Netflix plans
for the first time — Ms. Rhimes sounded
confident that she will deliver something unexpected.
“Everybody thinks that there’s a
‘Shondaland show,’” Ms. Rhimes said.
“No. There’s a Shondaland show that we
made for ABC. Now I can’t wait to show
everybody what a Shondaland show is
that we make for the world.”
Netflix’s courtship of Ms. Rhimes began, in earnest, in the late fall of 2016. At
the time, she had more than a year to go
on her ABC contract, so she didn’t tell
anyone at the network about the breakfast she had planned with Ted Sarandos,
the chief content officer of Netflix.
With her agent, Chris Silbermann of
ICM Partners, in tow, Ms. Rhimes and
Mr. Sarandos took a table in the back of
Republique, a casual restaurant in Los
Angeles. During the sit-down, Ms.
Rhimes was frank with Mr. Sarandos
about how she viewed her next act.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to make you a
second ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’” Ms. Rhimes
said. “That was one of the first things I
said. And he said, ‘I’m not interested in
you making a second ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’”
Word of the breakfast made its way to
The Hollywood Reporter — but the brief
item that ran soon afterward in the trade
publication’s Power Dining column
failed to identify Ms. Rhimes correctly:
“Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and wife Nicole
Avant ate breakfast with ICM Partners’
Chris Silbermann at Republique,” the
item read.
“I was like, ‘For once, bias is working
in my favor!’” Ms. Rhimes said. “Nicole
and I are both black women. We couldn’t
look more not alike. But somebody decided that’s who that must be. And it
saved me a whole lot of trouble.”
Last August, Netflix and Ms. Rhimes
had an agreement for a contract with a
base salary of around $150 million, with
incentives that could kick the producer’s
earnings much higher, according to two
people with knowledge of the deal.
The news of a streaming company’s
successful wooing of a major network
producer hit Hollywood like an earthquake. As Dana Walden, co-chief executive of the Fox Television Group, described it this year, “That sent a message to the entire talent community:
There’s a new template in town. For any
uber-premium creator, the value has
gone up 10 times.”
Ms. Rhimes, 48, is among the select
few television producers whose work
has helped define a cultural moment. In
the ’80s, there was Steven Bochco, with
“Hill Street Blues” and “L.A. Law.” Next
came David E. Kelley, of “Ally McBeal”
and “The Practice” fame. And then
there was Ms. Rhimes, who made her
mark during what would turn out to be
the last years of appointment television
The producer and director J. J.
Abrams, who has known Ms. Rhimes for
several years, said she brought something distinctive to network programming. “The thing that you can’t deny is
her characters are surprising, her characters are vulnerable, her characters
are ambitious, her characters are broken, and her characters are involved in
situations that are shocking and stressful,” Mr. Abrams said. “She is able to tell
real stories in ways that feel relatable.”
Ms. Rhimes said she had two principal goals for her time at Netflix. One is to
come up with shows that are more expansive than her ABC fare. The other is
to turn Shondaland into an enduring
company that will live within Netflix in
the same way that Marvel exists inside
the Walt Disney Company.
Selling tickets for his second act
Former Trump press aide
markets passes to party
introducing his memoir
Typically, an author’s colleagues have a
house party to introduce a book, or
gather in a local pub.
Not Sean Spicer, who served six
months as President Trump’s embattled
press secretary and is now the author of
an about-to-be-released memoir of that
time, “The Briefing.”
Mr. Spicer’s is having a book party on
Tuesday in Washington’s newly fashionable Wharf district. If you pay $1,000 for
“Press Secretary” access, you get four
tickets, personalized books and access
to a V.I.P. reception. At the “Deputy
Press Secretary” level ($500), you get
two tickets to the party and V.I.P. reception, plus signed books. At $250 as “Assistant Press Secretary,” you get two
general admission tickets and signed
If Mr. Spicer or his book party sponsors invite you, you get in free. Still,
you’re expected to buy the book.
Two days later Mr. Spicer is having a
glitzier, invitation-only party in the
lobby of the Trump International Hotel
in Washington, where he is expecting
cabinet officials, members of Congress,
White House staff members, “talking
heads and the D.C. and New York press
corps,” he said.
He’s offering anyone who pre-orders
his book a chance to win two tickets to
the Trump International Hotel event,
plus a $200 Visa gift card. Mr. Spicer is
not charging his guests to attend, but the
Trump family is charging Mr. Spicer
$10,000 for use of the space.
“I have been very humbled by the reaction that I’ve had throughout the
country by people of all walks of life and
all political backgrounds to share my
story and my experience with them,”
Sean Spicer became a kind of anti-celebrity as presidential press secretary. In his book,
he describes President Trump as “a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow.”
Mr. Spicer said in a recent interview. He
added later, “I get it that a lot of the sort
of establishment folks in D.C. are appalled by this stuff, but I’ve been extremely appreciative of the support that
working-class Americans have expressed around the country.”
Mr. Spicer, who characterizes Mr.
Trump in the book as “a unicorn riding a
unicorn over a rainbow,” is emblematic
of a lengthening list of former Trump administration officials who have faced
challenges finding a second act. Critics
say Mr. Spicer in particular sacrificed
his professional reputation when he
summoned the press corps to the White
House on Inauguration Day to endorse
the new administration’s first official
falsehood: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration —
period — both in person and around the
Over his half year in office, Mr. Spicer
became a kind of anti-celebrity. His
echoing of presidential untruths, his addressing the firing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director James B.
Comey from the nighttime shadows of a
White House hedgerow, his referring to
Nazi death camps as “Holocaust Centers,” made the afternoon White House
briefing a can’t-look-away television
spectacle that topped the soap opera
“General Hospital” for viewership. The
actress Melissa McCarthy created a
gum-chewing parody of Mr. Spicer on
“Saturday Night Live.”
“I deal with a lot of those issues at
length in the book and explain the context and circumstances,” Mr. Spicer
said, including the issue of lying: “You
may not agree with what I say, but you
might say, ‘That’s an interesting explanation.’”
Post-White House, Mr. Spicer has
landed a spot as an unpaid pundit on Fox
News and his representatives are seeking a network to buy a pilot talk show,
tentatively named “Sean Spicer’s Common Ground,” in which he would meet
“some of the most interesting and
thoughtful public figures for a drink and
some lite conversation at a local pub or
cafe,” the pitch sheet says.
He has recorded three episodes of a
podcast with the conservative writer
Katie Pavlich called “Everything’s Going to Be All Right,” and will record a
fourth from Tuesday’s book party, before taking a hiatus until after the book
tour. Mr. Spicer is also a spokesman and
senior adviser for America First Action,
a pro-Trump “super PAC” that has
struggled to reach its fund-raising goals
for November’s congressional midterm
What does he aim to accomplish with
his book?
“Before I answer this question, let me
pause and think what I’ve agreed to with
other papers,” he said, before beginning
to draft a statement out loud. “It hopefully answers a lot of questions as to who
I am, how I got to where I did, and to
walk through some of the transitional
moments of the campaign, transition
and the early days of this White House.
Wait, instead of ‘the White House,’ let’s
say ‘the early days of the administration,’ since ‘the White House’ sounds
more like a building.”
In an advance copy of “The Briefing”
obtained by The Guardian, Mr. Spicer
describes his former press secretary job
as requiring the skills of a fighter jet pilot, champion boxer and tightrope artist.
Mr. Spicer pointed out that he did not
make all those comparisons in the same
The book also lauds Mr. Trump,
whose “furious assault on his opponents
is a talent few politicians can muster.”
The president seems pleased. He
tweeted an endorsement of “The Briefing” to his 50 million-plus Twitter followers on a recent Saturday, saying of the
book, “Really good, go get it!”
Mr. Spicer began pitching his book as
far back as April, when he made an appearance to unveil a Melania Trump
mannequin at Madame Tussauds in
New York. (Mrs. Trump did not attend.)
At a recent fund-raiser for America
First Action at the Trump International
Hotel, Mr. Spicer handed out his business card, urging attendees to buy his
“My threshold is,” Mr. Spicer said of
his efforts, “do I enjoy doing it, and will it
benefit me in some way?”
WeWork is no longer a safe space for
This month, the co-working juggernaut announced that it was essentially
going vegetarian. The company will no
longer serve red meat, pork or poultry
at company functions, and it will not reimburse employees who want to order a
hamburger during a lunch meeting.
In a memo to employees announcing
the new policy, Miguel McKelvey, a WeWork co-founder and its chief culture officer, said the decision had been driven
largely by concerns for the environment, and, to a lesser extent, animal
“New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an
individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact — even more
than switching to a hybrid car,” he wrote.
Additionally, WeWork could save “over
15 million animals by 2023 by eliminating meat at our events.”
Mr. McKelvey, in his first interview
since the decision was announced, said
the policy was also aimed at raising consciousness among the company’s nearly
6,000 employees.
“It’s multidimensional,” he said.
“We’re coming at it from an awareness
and a mindfulness perspective. The
headline has been ‘meat-free,’ but this is
a much larger effort to develop personal
accountability in our team.”
WeWork’s enforced vegetarianism
could be dismissed as another whimsical human resources directive from a
highflying technology start-up with an
inflated sense of self-importance.
But the move also represents a more
substantial development that is reshaping workplaces around the country: In
ways large and small, companies are imposing corporate values on the personal
lives of their employees.
Hobby Lobby has refused to pay for
birth control for its employees, citing the
owner’s Christian values. And the chief
executives of companies including Koch
Industries and Westgate Resorts have
sent memos and informational packets
to employees suggesting how they vote.
Other companies have tried to prevent employees from using everything
from Uber to cigarettes. In 2015, IBM
banned employees from using ridesharing apps, citing safety and liability
concerns. (Employees rebelled, and the
company did a U-turn a day later.) And
several big employers, including General Electric, have successfully paid employees to quit smoking. Scotts MiracleGro even has a policy of not hiring smokers, a move it says helps keep health
care costs down.
In some of these cases, the values of a
few executives are imposed on workers
who must adhere to their employers’
worldview, often relating to issues with
scant connection to the business. But
WeWork appears to be the first big company to tell its employees what they can
and can’t eat.
“Human beings really don’t like when
you take choice away from them,” said
Laszlo Bock, the former senior vice
president of people operations at Google
and the author of “Work Rules!”
“What people are much more amenable to is nudges,” he said. “How can you
change the environment that doesn’t remove choice, but sends a signal for people to make a good decision?”
Mr. Bock has personal experience
with vegetarianism. While he was at
Google, two of the many cafes at com-
pany headquarters tried out “meatless
Mondays,” going vegetarian for just one
day a week. Employees rebelled, throwing away silverware and staging a protest barbecue.
Meatless Mondays didn’t last at
Google. But in time, the company made
changes to the cafeterias — like offering
smaller plates and making salad bars
more prominent — that improved employees’ eating habits.
“When you exercise this level of control over employees, even with good intentions, it often backfires,” said
Heather Bussing, an employment lawyer in California. “Just because you really believe this is the right thing to do,
not everyone will agree with you.”
At WeWork, a company led by idealistic co-founders who got their start with
an eco-friendly co-working space in
Brooklyn, vegetarianism is a reflection
of their unconventional personalities.
“I don’t eat meat, but I don’t consider
myself a vegetarian,” Mr. McKelvey
said. “I consider myself to be a ‘reducetarian.’ I try to consume less and be
aware of the decisions I’m making. Not
just food, but single-use plastics, and
fossil fuels and energy.”
As Mr. McKelvey sees it, imposing his
values is a natural part of being a corporate leader today. “Companies have
greater responsibility to their team
members and to the world these days,”
he said. “We’re the ones with the power.
Large employers are the ones that can
move the needle on issues.”
Miguel McKelvey, a co-founder of WeWork, said the decision had been largely
driven by concerns for the environment.
There is little question that WeWork
has the legal right to withhold meat from
its employees. Companies have no obligation to feed their workers, much less
offer steak and lamb on the menu. (And,
of course, none of this applies to companies or individuals who rent space from
WeWork.) “Companies are free to make
rules about the things they reimburse or
don’t reimburse for,” Ms. Bussing said.
“But usually they have to do with adult
movies at hotels and alcohol, rather
than what you’re ordering at dinner.”
There will be some wiggle room at
WeWork. Seafood will still be permitted
on company menus and expense accounts. And employees who “require a
medical or religious accommodation”
can request an exemption from the enforced vegetarianism. (Mr. Bock was
not convinced this would work. “Even
then, you have to self-identify and let
somebody know about it,” he said.
“Then you’ll be the person eating carne
asada while everyone else is eating the
lettuce bowl.”)
Uncomfortable as the new dietary
policy may be, Mr. McKelvey said WeWork is only just getting started. The
company is phasing out leather furniture, single-use plastics and is going carbon neutral. In time, he said, the company will evaluate its consumption of
seafood, eggs, dairy and alcohol.
“We could have introduced a series of
nudges, but then we wouldn’t be having
this conversation,” Mr. McKelvey said.
“And awkward conversations are how
we learn.”
The 35th Oxford Analytica Conference
Global Horizons 2018
September 19-21, 2018
Christ Church, Oxford, UK
How will
impact your
Conversation session: The Future of Work
Join a world-class debate
with experts, policymakers
and executives:
8 | MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018
Grand Netflix ambitions
for a star TV producer
“It would be really amazing to me at
some point down the line — not now — if
somebody said, ‘There was a Shonda for
Shondaland?’” Ms. Rhimes said. “It
needs to be bigger than me.”
In the days after signing the deal, she
was enthusiastic about the creative
freedom Netflix had promised her but
found herself with an immediate problem: She had no idea what she was going to write.
“It wasn’t like I had a treasure trove of
ideas in the back of my head that I’d
been hiding and saving,” she said. “So
the panic overtook me for a while.”
Mr. Abrams had sympathy for his
friend’s plight. “You can have all the success in the world, but none of it matters
when you’re there alone with the blank
computer screen,” he said.
Over the next few months, Ms.
Rhimes tended her continuing ABC
work and scouted material that could be
a fit for Netflix. But she still had no clue
about what, exactly, she would throw
herself into as a writer-producer.
“In October,” she said, “because of
who I am, I was like: ‘Why don’t I have a
show yet? I should have a show all written and ready to go. I should have eight
episodes all written.’”
Mr. Sarandos reassured her: You just
started, take a breath. Colleagues said
there was no way Ms. Rhimes could go
deep into something new when she still
had to wrap up the seventh and final
season of “Scandal.”
She flirted with a sci-fi project — “I’m
obsessed with that, but it hasn’t cracked
yet” — while warding off the well-meaning but irksome questions from people
curious about her Netflix plans. After
Memorial Day in May, she escaped the
noise of Los Angeles for the quiet of Arizona.
“I was trying to meditate, which I
can’t do,” Ms. Rhimes said.
That was when she came upon an article in New York magazine about a fashionable young grifter, Anna Delvey, who
swanned about New York with a beautiful crowd — only to end up in Rikers Island on charges of grand larceny.
“I knew exactly what the show was,”
Ms. Rhimes said, “which is a very clear
She bought the rights to the story, by a
New York magazine staff writer, Jessica
Pressler, and started writing almost immediately.
“I felt comfortable,” she said. “I slept
Betsy Beers, Ms. Rhimes’s producing
partner since 2002, said she could tell
Ms. Rhimes was onto something.
“What I heard was the excitement,”
Ms. Beers said. “What I wait for is a tone
in her voice — you hear this level of excitement in her voice, where she can’t
stop talking about it.”
In addition to the show about the grifter, Ms. Rhimes has seven other series in
the works at Netflix, ranging from period dramas to a documentary.
• An adaptation of a group of lush romance novels set in Regency England —
the Bridgerton Series, by Julia Quinn —
that the “Scandal” veteran Chris Van
Dusen will turn into a dramatic series.
• A series based on “Reset,” a book by
the former tech executive Ellen Pao
about sexism in Silicon Valley. Ms.
Rhimes said she was likely to write this
• “The Warmth of Other Suns,” the
award-winning 2010 nonfiction book by
Isabel Wilkerson on the flight of AfricanAmericans from the Jim Crow South to
the North and the West. It will be
adapted by the actress and playwright
Anna Deavere Smith.
• “Pico & Sepulveda,” a series set in
Mexican California during the 1840s.
• An upstairs-downstairs series called
“The Residence,” based on the 2015 nonfiction book of the same title, by Kate
Andersen Brower, about the private
lives of United States presidents, their
families and White House staff.
• “Sunshine Scouts,” a series that Ms.
Rhimes described as a “darkly comic,
ironic, twisty show about some foulmouthed teenage girls who are trapped
at the end of the world.” The writer and
director Jill Alexander will be in charge
of this one.
• “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,” a documentary centered on the dancer and
choreographer Debbie Allen and her reimagining of the holiday ballet.
Ms. Rhimes said the idea of building
out Shondaland had been with her for
some time. She stressed that she had not
grown bored with the work she had been
doing for ABC, but she found that she
was able to solve crises that once occupied a week of her time in 30 minutes
flat. She added that she remained proud
of her ABC shows and the spotlight they
threw on characters who had gone underrepresented in Hollywood.
“We created a brand and an audience
for ABC that they did not necessarily
have before, which was a certain kind of
woman,” Ms. Rhimes said. “I literally remember when we started, them saying
that no woman is going to watch a woman who is this ‘not nice’ and this sexually
active and this competitive.
“I really hate the phrase ‘smart,
strong women,’ but the ‘smart, strong
women’ thing really exploded with the
shows we made,” she continued. “And
people followed along in a way that felt
really good for network television.”
“It would be really amazing
to me at some point down
the line — not now — if
somebody said, ‘There was
a Shonda for Shondaland?’”
In contrast with her fellow super
producer Ryan Murphy, who had talks
with Amazon and Fox, his studio at the
time, before he decamped to Netflix, Ms.
Rhimes knew exactly where she wanted
to achieve her Shondaland dream: Netflix.
Mr. Sarandos was eager to sign her
not only because he was a fan of her
work but also because of something he
noticed in Netflix’s closely guarded
data. “More than half” of Netflix’s 124
million paying subscribers have sampled one of the Shondaland shows available on the streaming service, he said.
As Ms. Rhimes works to develop her
lineup, her production company is on its
way to a new location: Raleigh Studios,
in Hollywood, about a mile from the Netflix headquarters. While checking out
the property, Ms. Rhimes and a group of
her Shondaland colleagues spent a
while staring at a framed photograph on
the wall of the United Artists founders
Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith. Given
Ms. Rhimes’s ambitions for the company, which she sees as a 21st-century
incarnation of that artist-driven studio,
she considered it a good portent.
“We have this whole dream,” she said.
“There’s going to be a row of offices, and
we’re all going to be working on our
scripts at the same time. And everyone
is going to come out of their offices and
scream about how bad their script is:
‘Does anyone know what I’m supposed
to do for Act 5?’ And everyone is going to
drink Scotch and then run back to work.”
“I don’t think that’s what’s actually
going to happen,” Ms. Rhimes continued. “But it does feel really good to know
that it does feel like a very United Artists, creative kind of place.”
Ellen Pao’s book “Reset,” about sexism in Silicon Valley, is the basis for one of eight
series that the writer-producer Shonda Rhimes has in the works with Netflix.
Federal Court of Australia Proceedings No. NSD 1126 of 2015
Notice to Group Members Re Proposed Extinguishment of Rights
The Federal Court of Australia has ordered that this notice be published for the information of persons who might be Group Members in a class action (Class
(Class Action)
commenced in the Court against McGraw-Hill Financial, Inc (now known as S&P Global, Inc) and Standard & Poor’s International LLC (now S&P International, Inc)
(together, S&P
The Class Action has been commenced on behalf of persons (Group
(Group Members)
Members) who:
(a) during the period between 2006 and 2008 acquired interests in the Duke Funding XI Ltd Series 2006 Class A-3E collateralized debt obligation (Duke
(Duke CDO),
CDO), which
was assigned a credit rating issued by or on behalf of S&P; and
(b)acquired those interests in reliance upon that credit rating and have suffered losses as a result.
The Class Action involves claims alleging S&P did not have a reasonable basis for the Duke CDO ratings and that the rating was misleading and negligent.
The Applicant has settled the claims made in the Class Action on terms which are subject to approval by the Court, but which include two important terms: (a) a
confidential payment to the Applicant; and (b) the exclusion of Group Members from the proposed settlement and an extinguishment of the claims of
Group Members. The settlement is part of a broader settlement whereby it is proposed that all other applicants and all other group members in related class actions
are proposed to be paid compensation for their claims (unlike the Group Members in the Class Action).
If you are a Group Member then you have a right to either: (a) object and/or make submissions in relation to the fairness and reasonableness of the proposed
settlement which excludes you; or (b) opt out of the Class Action.
If you are a Group Member and do not opt out of the Class Action by 4pm, 3 August 2018 (Sydney time), then any Court approval will
extinguish your claims against S&P in relation to the Duke CDO.
If you think you are a Group Member and you want to object to the settlement or opt out of the Class Action then you should contact the Court
immediately by email at
If you take no action you may lose any right to receive compensation or pursue separate action on the same claim.
China goes wild over tech
with reality, warned Liu Yadong, chief
editor of the state-run Science and Technology Daily. In a recent speech, he said
that China still lagged behind the United
States in tech and that those who argued
otherwise ran the risk of “tricking leaders, fooling the public and even fooling
China isn’t the first country to get
ahead of itself in tech. At the height of its
economic powers, Japan had robots that
prepared sushi. More recently, Silicon
Valley has gone gaga over more than a
few pointless products, like Yo — the
app that said only “yo” — and Juicero,
the $700 juicer. Ultimately, the exuberance could be a good thing for China, as
useful products find their place and bad
ones disappear when the boom matures.
And China has come a long way. What
was an agrarian backwater 40 years ago
is home to the world’s single largest
group of internet users and some of its
most valuable internet companies.
Now it’s pushing ahead into emerging
tech. In 2017, Chinese start-ups took up
nearly half the dollars raised globally for
artificial intelligence, according to CB
Insights, a research firm that follows
venture capital. By 2020, China is expected to account for more than 30 percent of worldwide spending on robotics,
according to the research firm IDC.
Many in China see the country’s supremacy over the United States in tech
as inevitable, and they are eager to get
to that day.
“Chinese are much more willing to try
something new just because it looks
cool,” said Andy Tian, chief executive of
Beijing-based Asia Innovations Group,
which runs mobile apps. “It sounds superficial. It is superficial. But that’s the
driver of progress in a lot of cases.”
The E-Patrol Robotic Sheriff could fill
that bill. It is among several security robots that have shown up at train stations
and airports around China in recent
months. The E-Patrol Robotic Sheriff —
which looks like the camera lens from
the HAL 9000 computer in “2001: A
Space Odyssey” mounted on a white
trash tub — patrols the high-speed rail
station in the central Chinese city
Zhengzhou, tasked with using facial recognition to find and follow suspicious
characters, as well as to measure air
quality and detect fires.
During a winter visit to the station,
the robot was nowhere to be found.
First, it had missed a fire, officials said.
It also had a tendency to collect so many
selfie-seeking fans that it became a
safety hazard. A spokesman for the train
Waitresses repairing a robot at the Robot Magic restaurant in Shanghai. Waiters say the robots create more work than they save.
station said it was getting an upgrade
and would eventually return.
Robots have captured the Chinese
imagination. A Beijing television station
this year made a robot-dominated version of the country’s annual Lunar New
Year television special. Robots and humans performed tai chi and comedy routines, and sang and danced.
Companies and local officials have
good reason to show off their splashiest
and silliest wares. China frequently
takes a top-down approach to technology, with local governments rushing to
follow plans that come down from on
high. Gizmos with futuristic verve are
often the best symbols of progress.
Dancing robots, for example, became
something of a fixture of company and
government presentations last year.
“They were everywhere,” said David Li,
a co-founder of Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab, a government-supported platform that supports small hardware
start-ups in Shenzhen. He estimated
that he had seen 10 dancing robot shows
in a single week.
Alibaba, the Chinese online shopping
giant, has also gotten into the act,
though in a more sophisticated way. At
one of its new Hema grocery stores in
Shanghai, rolling robots take cooked
food out onto a sort of runway that connects the kitchen to seating. A team of
waiters standing nearby said a human
hand was required for soup and
steamed dishes, lest the robots inadvertently splash someone with hot liquid.
An Alibaba spokeswoman said in an
email that the store was a prototype that
sought to combine digitization with a
unique consumer experience. “The system has driven significant traffic to the
Hema store,” she added.
Robot restaurants have been popping
up across China. One in Shanghai’s Xujiahui district, Robot Magic Restaurant,
cultivates a space-age, minigolf ambience. Diners enter through a door on
which animated fairies flap their wings.
Inside, a robot with hearts for eyes
charges its batteries in an ersatz cave
rimmed by silver stalagmites tipped
with glowing white lights. On the ceiling,
fake stars twinkle. Waiters said their automated counterparts had caused more
work than they had saved.
The robots take trays of food out to
customers, but are unable to lower them
to the table. Real waiters stand back so
photos and videos can be taken before
shuffling in and serving food the oldfashioned way.
The robots also break down. Three
times during an hour lunch, a waiter had
to lean a robot on its side and take a
blowtorch to the undercarriage to burn
out food and trash caught in its axles.
When asked whether he was worried
that the robots would take his job, the
waiter laughed.
Still, patrons were impressed.
“I’ve just been to America, and I didn’t
see many new things at all,” said Xie Aijuan, a retiree in her 50s. “I don’t think
they have anything like robotic restaurants there.”
“China is surpassing America,”
agreed her dining companion, Zhuang
Jiazheng. “Robots are coming. Tech is
advancing. It’s all a matter of time.”
Enthusiasts who build their dream cars
When Aaron Otstott began researching
a new car, he wanted to know something many buyers don’t care about:
How easily could he make it faster?
“I bought it from the beginning,
knowing that I would be doing modifications,” he said.
He settled on a 220-horsepower
Volkswagen GTI, a vehicle beloved for
its practicality and strong performance. And then he set to work joining
the proud fraternity of enthusiasts who
possess the kind of hubris that can
make automotive engineers like Richard Parry-Jones shake their heads.
“I have no doubt in my mind they
cannot do it better,” said Mr. ParryJones, who from 1998 until his retirement at the end of 2007 was in charge
of Ford’s worldwide vehicle development, including models from Lincoln,
Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover and Aston
An owner might make a vehicle go
around corners faster than it could
when it came from the factory, he said,
but that will come with a cost in comfort or even safety.
“They can never achieve the finely
balanced trade-off we have achieved,”
Mr. Parry-Jones said.
Even so, the desire to make modifications demonstrates an owner’s passion, he said. And that’s not a bad thing
— as long as the owners know what
they’re doing.
“If you are a total ignoramus and
you are just not really doing it carefully and getting advice and doing
research and so on, you shouldn’t
touch anything but appearance items,”
Mr. Parry-Jones said. “However, many
enthusiasts are not stupid at all. They
are quite knowledgeable.”
Mr. Otstott, for sure, knew what he
wanted. He bought the GTI knowing
he’d be trying to wring every ounce of
performance out of every penny he
“I had done the research and knew
that for less than $1,000 I could get it
above 300 horsepower,” he said.
Indeed, after buying the car in
March 2016, he purchased an electronic upgrade that he estimated had
raised the GTI’s output to 300 horsepower. He has made other changes,
both cosmetic and mechanical. Next
up: altering the suspension to improve
Mr. Otstott, 44, a video game programmer and father of two from
Austin, Tex., is far from alone in thinking he can improve on vehicles that
automotive engineers spent years
Aaron Otstott of Austin, Tex., with his 2016 Volkswagen GTI. “I had done the research
and knew that for less than $1,000 I could get it above 300 horsepower,” he said.
testing and creating. Car, truck and
sport-utility owners spent $41 billion in
2016 on automotive accessories,
whether stereos, wheels or engine and
suspension modifications. That was up
from about $37 billion in 2014, according to a report last year by the Specialty Equipment Market Association,
the trade association for aftermarket
equipment makers.
About $400 million in 2016 went for
“engine control and computer products,” a category that includes the
device purchased by Mr. Otstott, which
tricks an engine into producing more
power. Some $600 million was spent on
superchargers or turbochargers. And
about $2 billion was spent on suspension changes — alterations that range
from making a vehicle lean less when
cornering to increasing the ground
clearance of a pickup.
Drastic changes, however, do raise
the possibility of making a vehicle less
safe, said David McLellan, who was
the Corvette chief engineer from 1975
to 1992.
“You see this guy with his pickup
truck another foot in the air,” he said.
“His rollover stability is greatly diminished. Is he smart? Is he better than
the original equipment engineers? I
would have to say absolutely not.”
When owners begin making
changes, the results can go either way,
said Thomas Gillespie, author of the
textbook “Fundamentals of Vehicle
Dynamics” and a co-founder of Mechanical Simulation, a Michigan company that develops software to simulate vehicle performance.
“You can pick parts that would make
the vehicle behave better in the more
extreme handling situations,” he said.
“On the other hand, you could also
screw it up.”
It’s also possible to run afoul of
federal safety regulations.
Owners are permitted to modify
their vehicles, a spokesman for the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in an email. But
aftermarket equipment makers may
not do anything to “make inoperative”
federally required safety equipment.
For example, starting with the 2012
model year, Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standard No. 126 requires vehicles to have electronic stability control.
Such systems are designed to detect
and end a slide, reducing the chance a
vehicle will “trip” and roll over — a
particularly dangerous form of crash.
All members of the
Specialty Equipment
Car engineers Market Association
are encouraged to
make sure suspenthe skills of
sion changes resultsome home
ing from their prodmechanics
ucts are not so drasbut warn
tic that they can
of hazards.
overcome the electronic stability control, said Christopher
Kersting, the president of the association.
Some of that testing is done by Link
Engineering of Plymouth, Mich.
“We’ve tested products on well over
100 S.E.M.A. members over the last
two or three years,” said Terry Ledwidge, Link’s director of business
Testing costs about $15,000, and
Link has found that the electronic
stability control systems on most
vehicles are flexible enough that they
work despite suspension changes, Mr.
Ledwidge said. “There is a lot of robustness built into the system on the
production vehicle,” he said.
But one of the changes that can
cause problems involves significantly
increasing the ride height of a vehicle,
like a pickup, because it raises the
center of gravity — a change that can
impair the vehicle’s handling.
“If you get too outrageous, you are
going to run into problems there,” Mr.
Ledwidge said, although he added that
test failures were rare.
Mr. Kersting said that his association
did not require its members to have
such tests, but that they were aware
that they had to be careful because
there was “a stout product liability
tradition in this country.”
There are no federal safety regulations regarding increasing an engine’s
power, although doing so is almost
certain to void the automaker’s powertrain warranty. (Some enthusiasts
theorize that if they have a major
mechanical failure they can quietly
remove the guilty gizmos and perhaps
avoid being caught.)
Increasing an engine’s horsepower
is much harder than in the old days,
when engines had carburetors instead
of sophisticated computerized systems,
said Jason Siegel, an assistant research scientist at the University of
Getting more power now involves
modifying the software, which is “neither easy nor inexpensive, and maybe
not even possible without some inside/
leaked information,” he wrote in an
All challenges aside, Mr. Kersting
expects continued growth in the aftermarket industry.
“The reason the market grows the
way it does is that the carmakers have
a mass-production model and it does
not leave a whole lot of room for people
who want to improve or personalize or
upgrade their cars and trucks,” he said.
Social media — like websites or
Facebook pages for owners of specific
models — is also playing an increasing
role, Mr. Kersting said. “Now people
who have similar interests are able to
find one another and share expertise
and the passion they have for whatever segment of automotive lifestyle or
hobby they enjoy,” he said. “It has been
very good for the market.”
Once upon a time, owners making
changes irked Erich Heuschele, the
manager of Fiat-Chrysler’s SRT Vehicle Dynamics, which is responsible for
the automaker’s high-performance
models, like the Dodge Challenger SRT
Demon. But he has learned not to get
emotionally attached to the vehicles he
“Cars go to a diverse audience and
diverse customers, and people don’t
always agree with the balance or compromises, and you can’t get upset with
that,” he said. “I don’t get miffed. I kind
of get a chuckle.”
10 | MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018
A stunning falling-out
A.G. SULZBERGER, Publisher
Nikos Konstandaras
DEAN BAQUET, Executive Editor
MARK THOMPSON, Chief Executive Officer
JOSEPH KAHN, Managing Editor
STEPHEN DUNBAR-JOHNSON, President, International
TOM BODKIN, Creative Director
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE DEMARTA, Senior V.P., Global Advertising
SUZANNE DALEY, Associate Editor
ACHILLES TSALTAS, V.P., International Conferences
CHARLOTTE GORDON, V.P., International Consumer Marketing
JAMES BENNET, Editorial Page Editor
HELEN KONSTANTOPOULOS, V.P., International Circulation
JAMES DAO, Deputy Editorial Page Editor
HELENA PHUA, Executive V.P., Asia-Pacific
KATHLEEN KINGSBURY, Deputy Editorial Page Editor
SUZANNE YVERNÈS, International Chief Financial Officer
Trump’s choice
for the latest
Court vacancy
will continue a
trend toward
power and
Corporate interests haven’t had it so good at the Supreme Court in a long time.
Under Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. the court has
given big business a leg up on workers, unions, consumers and the environment — and will do so even
more aggressively if the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s choice to replace Justice
Anthony Kennedy.
Corporations won the power to spend unlimited
amounts of money on political campaigns in the 2010
Citizens United decision. The owners of businesses
have earned the right to cite their personal religious
beliefs to deprive workers of reproductive health care.
At the same time, the justices have made it harder for
employees and customers to sue big businesses by
allowing corporations to require mandatory arbitration
clauses in contracts people are forced to sign if they
want jobs or to buy goods and services. The court has
also made it easier for polluters to get away with poisoning the air and water.
In many of these decisions the five conservative
justices have shown no restraint in rejecting judicial
precedent and in substituting their judgment for that of
lawmakers. Just last month, in a blow to public-sector
unions with contracts covering nearly seven million
workers, their 5-to-4 ruling dismissed a unanimous
40-year-old decision that state governments and unions
had long relied on. In the recent case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the court held that government workers covered
by union contracts do not have to pay fees for collective
bargaining expenses if they are not members. The
ruling does not directly involve businesses. But it will
hurt all workers because benefits won by unions often
establish benchmarks that help improve wages and
working conditions even at companies without unions.
Under the Roberts court, between 2005 and 2015,
when businesses were either plaintiffs or respondents
but not both, businesses prevailed 61 percent of the
time, according to a study by Lee Epstein, William
Landes and Richard Posner published last year. That
compares to a rate of 44 percent when Chief Justice
William Rehnquist led the court from 1986 to 2004, and
43 percent when Warren Burger was chief justice from
1969 to 1985.
Neither the Rehnquist nor the Burger courts could be
considered liberal, but the justices that served on them
were more likely to have heterodox political views,
regardless of whether they were appointed by Republican or Democratic presidents. Over the years conservative groups like the Federalist Society and the Heritage
Foundation have worked to make sure that Republican
presidents appoint judges and justices who are reliably
pro-corporate. Partly as a result, the Roberts court has
been much more adamant in opposing regulation and
expansive in establishing corporate rights. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito Jr., both appointed by President George W. Bush, are the most
pro-corporate justices since 1946, according to the Epstein, Landes and Posner research.
Judge Kavanaugh, who serves on the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,
fits neatly into the Roberts-Alito worldview.
In 2012, Judge Kavanaugh wrote an appeals court
opinion striking down an Environmental Protection
Agency rule that requires upwind states to reduce
power plant emissions that cause smog and soot pollution in downwind states, a decision that was later
struck down by a 6-to-2 majority of the Supreme Court.
And in 2016, he wrote an opinion that said the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau was unconstitutional because Congress decided
that the president could only fire its director for cause.
The full appeals court reversed that portion of his decision in January.
In a dissent last year from a decision involving net
neutrality rules put in place by the Federal Communications Commission, Judge Kavanaugh wrote that the
F.C.C. did not have the authority to issue the rules —
despite a Supreme Court ruling saying it did.
Judge Kavanaugh dissented again when the appeals
court upheld a Department of Labor decision that
found SeaWorld had violated workplace safety laws by
not adequately protecting a trainer who was killed by
the orca Tilikum, made famous by the movie “Blackfish.” The judge argued that the department overstepped its authority by regulating sports and entertainment — something he argued it had not done before. In fact, the government has previously regulated
safety in the entertainment industry and other workplaces where workers were killed by dangerous animals.
The court’s pro-corporate decisions are widening the
chasm in power and wealth between the country’s elite
and everybody else. And the Roberts court is also increasingly preventing lawmakers, regulators and the
public from doing anything about that growing problem.
Contributing Writer
ATHENS For centuries, even when
Athens was a bastion of the West during
the Cold War, Greece and Russia have
seen themselves as natural allies. Both
are Christian Orthodox nations on
Islam’s western frontiers; even as a
NATO member, Greece tried to maintain channels of communication with
the Soviet Union. Yet a sudden dispute
over alleged Russian meddling in Greek
affairs has escalated rapidly. This could
have long-term consequences for
Greek-Russian ties and for the Western
This month, Athens informed Moscow that it was expelling two Russian
diplomats and refusing entry to two
others. Among the accusations: the four
were trying stoke opposition to a recent
agreement signed by Greece and a
northern neighbor, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, ending a
27-year dispute over the latter’s name.
Ratification by both countries would
open the way for a renamed the Republic of North Macedonia to join NATO and
the European Union. Greek opponents
of the deal object to their neighbors’ use
of “Macedonia” in any form, saying this
implies claims on the Greek province of
the same name; Macedonian nationalists object to adding a qualifier to their
country’s name.
It is easy to see how Russia, which is
opposed to Macedonia joining NATO,
could be tempted to exploit this volatile
mix to encourage hard-liners on both
sides. Macedonia’s prime minister,
Zoran Zaev, claimed in an interview
with BuzzFeed News that Greek busi-
nessmen “sympathetic to the Russian
cause” paid large sums of money to foes
of the deal in his country to commit acts
of violence before a referendum on the
agreement is held.
The Russian foreign ministry issued a
stern protest to the Greek ambassador
over the expulsions and has threatened
to respond further. On July 18, a ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova,
declared that Greece was acting under
pressure from its allies and warned that
“such actions do not remain without
The Greek government reacted
angrily. The foreign ministry in Athens
declared these statements “a characteristic example of
disrespect for a third
Greeks and
Russians have country and a lack of
understanding of
long seen
today’s world, in
themselves as which states, regardnatural allies. less of their size, are
That changed independent and can
exercise an indethis month.
pendent, multidimensional and democratic foreign policy.” It added, “In any
case, the Russian authorities themselves are very well aware of what their
people do.” A few days earlier, a State
Department spokeswoman, Heather
Nauert, tweeted: “We support Greece
defending its sovereignty. Russia must
end its destabilizing behavior.” In
Moscow’s view, this alignment between
Athens and Washington confirmed its
suspicions of collusion.
Until now, Russian officials had been
full of praise for Greece. In 2015, Foreign
Minister Sergey V. Lavrov noted
Greece’s opposition to sanctions against
Russia. “We appreciate the stance of the
Greek government, which understands
the complete counterproductivity of
attempts to speak this language with
Russia,” he said after a meeting in Moscow with his Greek counterpart, Nikos
Kotzias. Last Friday, the Russian Ambassador in Athens, Andrey Maslov,
tweeted: “The past years were a time of
an unprecedented boom in RussianGreek relations.” But, he added, “The
actions of the Greek side . . . have become a disappointment for us.”
The Greek move was unexpected. Not
only has Athens has always been careful
in its dealings with Moscow, but this
sudden rupture was executed by what is
considered to be the most pro-Russian
government Greece has had — a government that in March refused to join its
Western allies in expelling Russian
diplomats in retaliation for Moscow’s
alleged involvement in the poisoning of
a former Russian double agent and his
daughter in Britain.
The coalition government is dominated by the radical-left Syriza party,
which opposed international sanctions
imposed on Russia after its invasion of
Ukraine. Its leader, Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras, visited Moscow for
support in 2015, while threatening the
European Union, the International
Monetary Fund and other creditors that
Greece would walk away from its bailout commitments.
The junior coalition partner, Independent Greeks, is a hard-right nationalist party. Its leader, Defense Minister
Panos Kammenos, while an outspoken
supporter of Moscow, has also worked
closely with United States military
officials; his political contortions include denouncing the Macedonia deal
while remaining in the government.
The United States has been Greece’s
major ally since 1947, when Washington
stepped to help a right-wing government defeat Communist forces in a civil
war in 1946-49. In the years after, the
Greek left opposed the United States
while supporting closer ties with the
Soviet Union. Russia is now, by default,
the antithesis to the “imperialist alliance,” as Greece’s small but unbending
Communist Party calls the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Communists, echoing Russian officials, saw the
expulsions as Mr. Tsipras’s “gift” to
NATO, timed to coincide with the recent
NATO summit.
Support for Russia’s positions goes
beyond any effort to embarrass the
government or oppose the Macedonia
deal. President Vladimir Putin enjoys
broad support among Greeks, more
than in any other European country.
Greece (along with Vietnam, the Philippines and Tanzania) was one of only
four countries among 37 surveyed by
the Pew Research Center last year in
which Mr. Putin got more than 50 percent approval for his international
This could be because he projects the
image of a powerful leader who is proud
of his Eastern Orthodox heritage, visiting the monastic community of Mount
Athos in northern Greece and playing
on deep-rooted feelings in his own
country and here. During the nearly
four centuries of subjugation to Ottoman rule, Greeks yearned for liberation
and many saw Russia as their salvation.
Although these expectations were
usually disappointed, Russia has often
played a crucial role in Greek history.
Major milestones included a 1774
treaty under which Russia assumed the
right to protect all Orthodox Christians
in the Ottoman Empire. This allowed
Greek merchants and shipowners to fly
the Russian flag, thus escaping Ottoman
taxes and expanding their wealth and
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece, left, at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia last year.
Secrets from the Trump-Putin meeting
Jesse Armstrong
The meeting with President Trump and
Vladimir V. Putin, president of Russia,
last Monday was off the record, and both
leaders have been reluctant to offer
specifics. But here, we present a transcript we obtained of the time they spent
together in Helsinki:
TRUMP: Look. There’s something I
need to clear up, Mr. Putin. And I didn’t
want to embarrass you, so this needed
to be behind closed doors. I need to ask a
very tough, very direct question.
PUTIN: Very well.
TRUMP: You have to tell me, Mr. Putin
. . . am I a spy?
PUTIN: [checks earpiece] Errrr . . . as
TRUMP: Am I a spy for you guys? I
don’t think I am, but I need to check.
James Bond, mind control. There’s a lot
of stuff out there. And I need to know. I
can’t trust my guys. So, I want you to tell
me, man to man, am I working for you?
PUTIN: Um, well . . . ?
TRUMP: I don’t mean the stuff, the
tremendous stuff we cooperate on — all
the business interests and the money.
And the help I was smart enough to
publicly ask for in the election. Those
were my ideas. But is there something
more going on I don’t know about? Like
a brain chip? Or a serum? Did I sign
something I forgot?
PUTIN: I don’t think . . .
TRUMP: Because I’m incredibly smart
and incredibly busy — but I can’t be
expected to remember every single
thing that happens in a hotel room. That
would be crazy to try to remember. So.
Do you have anything like that?
TRUMP: But you’re nodding?
PUTIN: No, I’m not.
TRUMP: I think you have something in
your eye, but that’s good to know.
[Pause] Do you like me? Shall we be
PUTIN: We should get to work.
TRUMP: Exactly! I was thinking that!
So I have a list of things I am supposed
to gripe about here. PUTIN: Such as?
TRUMP: Oh, I don’t know, lots of things.
It’s embarrassing. I don’t want to say.
But listen. I’m a tough negotiator, but if I
don’t mention any of these “allegations”
at the news conference when we come
out — PUTIN: Uh-huh.
TRUMP: If I don’t mention any of these
complaints, like [reads from notes] dead
civilians, dead journalists, stolen parts
of countries, trying to kill democracy,
etc., etc., what could I get in return?
PUTIN: Well, if you don’t mention them,
maybe I could . . . in return, also not
mention them?
TRUMP: Hmm. That sounds like an
interesting deal.
PUTIN: I mean, you probably need to
mention one of them, no? Or there
might be difficult questions. You want to
raise Ukraine?
TRUMP: O.K. But if I forget, will you?
It’s more your thing. I might say the
wrong word. I wouldn’t, because I’m
smart, but I might, because I’m hungry,
and when you’re hungry you can go
wrong? In your head.
PUTIN: For my part I would like to talk
about sanctions and the easing of —
TRUMP: Hey. I’ll tell you what, how
easy is it to get a guy with poison if his
name is Robert? Is that easier or harder
than a man named Dave or something?
Harder right? Or am I wrong? I’m sorry,
you were talking.
PUTIN: I was asking about sanctions.
TRUMP: Please don’t do sanctions! I
know people in my country have been
bad, on internet security. Passwords.
But if I apologize for the lax security
that made it so easy for you guys to do
what I publicly asked, could you lay off
the sanctions on us?
PUTIN: We have no sanctions on you.
TRUMP: Boom! Thank you! I trust you.
PUTIN: There is no reason for you to
trust me or me to trust you.
TRUMP: Exactly. Would it be cool if you
gave us Finland and we gave you
Alaska, or is that crazy?
PUTIN: Finland is not part of Russia.
TRUMP: Not yet! Ha ha ha ha ha. I’m
kidding. I’m a tough negotiator. I couldn’t give you Alaska anyway . . . unless? I
don’t know. Let me think on it. It sounds
— tough. There could be a way. Let me
think. Could I maybe build a hotel in
space? Guarded by a space force. Would
that be allowed, would you let me?
PUTIN: Er, I think so?
TRUMP: Thank you! Then that’s settled! Hold on. I forget, what was I giving
you? Alaska’s going to be hard. Let me
think. Leave it with me. I’m smart. I’ll
figure it . . . hold on — [looks at the translators] why are they here? Can they go?
PUTIN: Well, can you speak Russian?
TRUMP: I’m very smart. I can’t see any
reason I couldn’t.
PUTIN: Very well, let us dismiss them.
[The translators depart. Mr. Putin
speaks for a while in Russian.]
TRUMP: [stares for some minutes]
Interesting ideas. I agree.
is the creator and
executive producer of “Succession.”
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MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018 | 11
A secret history of Leviticus
Idan Dershowitz
How to make a life from scratch
Kennedy Airport and a package of
something precious would come:
spices, fabric, a packet of documents.
The best was when her small coffee
table came, with compartments for
coffee cups, and a small rug made of
artificial grass. She did the sacred
Eritrean coffee ceremony and for a
moment was no longer a refugee but
rather a woman performing the rituals
she had performed all her life.
“I am home now,” she said, as she
poured us cup after cup of coffee. She
has since died. It was her daughter
who just married.
For what is the meaning of life, after
all, than coffee and tea and talk with
loved ones? What is home, to a refugee? I never took home for granted.
But it never occurred to me that I
might not have my home.
“I don’t want the children to be
refugees,” my husband would say, and
we’d share a dark, knowing laugh. “But
I do want them to know what we refugees know: that you can make your life
from scratch. I want the children to
have the strength and wile of survivors.”
“We refugees,” he said, by which he
meant, we refugees who survive.
Ficre died unexpectedly, a few days
after his 50th birthday, from cardiac
arrest. We’d thought he was healthy.
Several doctors separately said to me
they were not surprised to hear he was
a refugee. More than one cardiologist
told me, the heart is a metaphor and
the heart is real. Sustained strain can
break the heart. People who walk to
freedom often carry that strain for the
rest of their lives, invisible, but everpresent.
Yes, he was mine and now I sing his
song. But he was also no different from
so many other refugees who have to
leave their homes, people with names
that some make little effort to pronounce who continue to build America.
Nor am I any different from the millions of people who fell in love and
made family here.
Ficre’s presence in my life reminds
me of the limits and dangers of nationalism everywhere, that families can be
torn apart for generations and that in
the words of the poet W. H. Auden, “we
must love one another or die.”
And in the story of Ficre is the lesson that we are impoverished if we
remain strangers to one another and
that what makes this country unique is
that the world is in it.
Ficre left this earth too early. So it is
my job to tell his American story. I
offer this story to ask, will we build
homes with open sides that welcome
wayfarers into our lives?
No text has had a greater influence on
attitudes toward gay people than the
biblical book of Leviticus, which prohibits sex between men. Before Leviticus was composed, outright prohibitions against homosexual sex —
whether between men or women —
were practically unheard-of in the ancient world.
Chapter 18 of Leviticus contains a list
of forbidden incestuous acts, followed
by prohibitions against sex with a menstruating woman, bestiality and various
other sexual acts. In Verse 22, we find its
most famous injunction: “You shall not
lie with a male as with a woman; it is an
abomination.” (Leviticus 20:13 repeats
this law, along with a punishment for
those who violate it: “They shall be put
to death; their blood is upon them.”)
Like many ancient texts, Leviticus
was created gradually over a long period and includes the words of more than
one writer. Many scholars believe that
the section in which Leviticus 18 appears was added by a comparatively
late editor, perhaps one who worked
more than a century after the oldest
material in the book was composed. An
earlier edition of Leviticus, then, may
have been silent on the matter of sex
between men.
But I think a stronger claim is warranted. As I argue in an article published in the latest issue of the journal
Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel, there
is good evidence that an earlier version
of the laws in Leviticus 18 permitted sex
between men. In addition to having the
prohibition against same-sex relations
added to it, the earlier text, I believe,
was revised in an attempt to obscure
any implication that same-sex relations
had once been permissible.
The chapter’s original character,
however, can be uncovered with a little
detective work. The core of Leviticus 18
is the list of incest laws, each of which
includes the memorable phrase “uncover nakedness.” This is typically understood as a euphemism for sexual intercourse, so “you shall not uncover the
nakedness of your father’s sister” would
mean something like “do not have sex
with your father’s sister.”
Most of the incest laws are presented
in a straightforward manner, but two
are not. The first exception is: “The
nakedness of your father and the nakedness of your mother you shall not
uncover; she is your mother, you shall
not uncover her nakedness” (emphasis
mine). At first, this verse appears to
outlaw sex between a man and either of
his parents. However, the italicized
explanation, or gloss, suggests that the
law actually addresses only one parent:
the mother. It is difficult to reconcile the
two parts of this sentence.
The same thing happens again a few
verses later: “You shall not uncover the
nakedness of your father’s brother.”
Simple enough, right? The following
gloss, however, may give you whiplash:
“you shall not approach his wife, she is
your aunt.” By the time we’ve finished
reading the gloss, a prohibition against
intercourse between a man and his
paternal uncle has transformed into a
law about sex between a man and that
uncle’s wife.
Each verse in Leviticus 18’s series of
incest laws contains a similar gloss, but
the others are merely emphatic, driving
home the point. (For
example, “You shall
The Bible
not uncover the
forbids gay
nakedness of your
sex. But
daughter-in-law; she
an earlier
is your son’s wife, you
version of
shall not uncover her
the text
nakedness.”) Only in
these two cases — the
permitted it.
father and mother,
and the father’s
brother — do the
glosses alter our understanding of what
is prohibited. A law prohibiting sex with
one’s father fades away, and a law
against sex with one’s uncle is reinterpreted as a ban on sex with one’s
What we have here is strong evidence
of editorial intervention. It is worth
noting that these new glosses render
the idiom “uncover nakedness” incoherent. The phrase can no longer denote
sex if uncovering the nakedness of one’s
father is an act that also involves one’s
mother — as the gloss implies.
But more strikingly, the two exceptional verses are the only ones that
address incest between men — all the
others involve women. Once the new
glosses were added to the text, the
prohibitions in Leviticus against incest
no longer outlawed any same-sex couplings; only heterosexual pairs were
If a later editor of Leviticus opposed
homosexual intercourse, you might
wonder, wouldn’t it have made more
sense for him (and it was probably a
him) to leave the original bans on homosexual incest intact?
No. The key to understanding this
editorial decision is the concept of “the
exception proves the rule.” According to
this principle, the presence of an exception indicates the existence of a broader
rule. For example, a sign declaring an
office to be closed on Sundays suggests
that the office is open on all other days of
the week.
Now, apply this principle to Leviticus
18: A law declaring that homosexual
incest is prohibited could reasonably be
taken to indicate that non-incestuous
homosexual intercourse is permitted.
A lawmaker is unlikely to specify that
murdering one’s father is against the
law if there is already a blanket injunction against murder. By the same token,
it’s not necessary to stipulate that sex
between two specific men is forbidden if
a categorical prohibition against sex
between men is already on the books.
It seems that with the later introduction in Leviticus of a law banning all
male homosexual intercourse, it became expedient to bring the earlier
material up-to-date by doing away with
two now-superfluous injunctions
against homosexual incest — injunctions that made sense when sex between men was otherwise allowed.
This editor’s decision to neutralize old
laws by writing new glosses, instead of
deleting the laws altogether, is serendipitous: He left behind just enough
clues for his handiwork to be perceptible. One can only imagine how different
the history of civilization might have
been had the earlier version of Leviticus
18’s laws entered the biblical canon.
is a biblical scholar
and junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.
was President
Barack Obama’s inaugural poet in
2009. She is the president of the Andrew
W. Mellon Foundation and the author
of, most recently, “The Light of the
A self-portrait by Ficre Ghebreyesus.
Europe needs a Plan B
more interested in leaving the alliance
than in leading it.
Such implied threats attack the
foundation of the alliance: the idea of
solidarity and commitment to one
another’s security. Americans tell us
Mr. Trump can’t leave NATO without
Senate consent — a debatable notion
that misses the point. Any doubt about
America’s commitment hurts the credibility of NATO’s deterrence.
That is what makes Mr. Trump’s
statements so dangerous. They may
extract a few billion dollars for defense
spending, but they destroy the assurances that those dollars — or euros —
are meant to bolster.
Those uncertainties were magnified
by the president’s bizarre appearance
with Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Mr.
Trump in effect disavowed his own
intelligence community. He failed to
declare Russian meddling in Western
democracies unacceptable. If Mr. Putin
does not feel emboldened now, when
will he? Who will now believe that
interfering in democratic elections
comes at a price? Mr. Trump’s performance seemed to indicate that
America is ready to give up its ambition to be the free world’s respected
That was painful for America’s European friends and allies to watch.
Throughout the Trump presidency, we
have tried to preserve a close partnership with America, influence the
Trump administration and safeguard
European interests.
It hasn’t worked. Mr. Trump ignored
our concerns by leaving the Paris
climate pact and the Iran nuclear deal,
and he slapped tariffs on his closest
Why, then, should Europeans consider this administration a trustworthy
partner? A recent ZDF Politbarometer
poll found that only 9 percent of Germans do.
But there is no realistic Plan B yet,
posing a conundrum: Europeans cannot simply go it alone, but we must
prepare to be left alone. So we must
develop a Plan B. Duck and cover will
not suffice.
First, Europe needs a dual-track
approach. We should strengthen our
military readiness and decision-making capacity while showing the White
House more clearly that its actions
have costs for America. We also must
address some of Mr. Trump’s justified
concerns, like increasing military
spending — but in our own interest,
rather than to please him.
We should also offer to work closely
with those Americans who believe that
a strong partnership with Europe
remains in America’s best interest.
Europeans need to engage, engage,
engage: with Congress, with governors, with America’s business community and civil society.
But can we rely on
American system
Is America,
of government to
under Trump, work as promised?
ready to stop
Now is the time to
being the free check and balance!
At the risk of “meddling”: Are there
Republican senators
willing to refuse to
vote for any Trump
appointee unless he
stops denigrating his own intelligence
Security should not be an issue that
pits the United States against Europe.
Many Western societies are divided
between those who believe in preserving the post-World War II order
and those who would replace it with
19th-century nationalism.
Europeans who believe that abandoning the Western liberal order would
be an extraordinary act of stupidity
must step up our game. But we won’t
succeed without strong support from
like-minded friends across the Atlantic.
American patriots, will you work with
has been chairman
of the Munich Security Conference since
2008 and teaches at the Hertie School of
Governance in Berlin.
A stunning
September 16–18, 2018
influence. In 1821, when the Greek War
of Independence broke out, the Greek
Orthodox patriarch was hanged by the
Turks and his body thrown into the
Bosporus; when it resurfaced unexpectedly, Greeks took it to Russia, to the
city of Odessa, where it was afforded a
grand funeral in the Russian Orthodox
Church. In 1827, a combined British,
French and Russian fleet destroyed an
Ottoman-Egyptian fleet at Navarino,
leading to the declaration of an independent Greece after years of struggle.
More recently, the relationship has
been more complicated — with Soviet
support and then abandonment of
Communist forces in the civil war, with
Russia’s intricate economic and political
relationship with Cyprus, with the
current marriage of convenience between Moscow and Ankara. There is
also a strong ethnic-religious current
that influences politics in both Greece
and Russia.
The question now is, what prompted a
Greek government with pro-Moscow
sympathies to take such drastic action?
Was it because of fears of violence over
the Macedonia issue, as suggested by
the claims of Mr. Zaev, the Macedonian
prime minister? Was it because foreign
meddling with the fires of nationalism in
Greece could harm the government’s
prospects in elections that must be held
by autumn 2019? Were the expulsions a
way of declaring allegiance to the
United States?
In any case, this unexpected turn of
events could lead — despite Athens’s
protestations to the contrary — to a
re-evaluation of Greece’s relations with
Russia. The result could be Athens
playing a more prominent role in stabilizing the western Balkans, and aligning
itself more fully with European Union
policies rather than deferring to Russia’s concerns and interests.
a columnist at
the newspaper Kathimerini.
Speakers include:
Democracy in Danger:
Solutions for a Changing World
Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate 2015
Former President
UN Security Council
This September, The New York Times will bring together
its senior journalists with international business leaders,
policy makers, and a broad variety of experts to debate
and discuss the current state of democracy with a focus
on new solutions. Delegates from different countries
and industries will collaborate to identify concrete
actions for governments, businesses and citizens to
take to preserve a free society.
Sergey A.
Dean, Faculty of
World Economy and
International Affairs
National Research
University Higher School
of Economics, Moscow
Freedom on the Net
Freedom House
Register to attend
Secretary General
Council of Europe
With emerging democracies backsliding into
authoritarianism and others falling prey to populism,
there has never been a more urgent need to assess
the evolving state of democracy and its impact now,
amidst rapid global change.
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12 | MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018
American rugby
hopes for a boom
Despite infighting, leaders
of the sport see sevens
World Cup giving it a lift
Brian Barlow created a Facebook page that features videos of unruly spectators at youth sports events. “Some people, frankly, want to punch me in the mouth,” he said.
Shaming unruly parents
Youth referee in Oklahoma
puts videos online of dads
and moms abusing officials
In one video, a fan at a youth soccer
game bellows profanities and violently
kicks a ball that slams into a teenage referee standing nearby. She disagreed
with a penalty called.
Another captures parents at a youth
basketball game charging the court to
hurl punches at the referee. Yet another
shows parents berating game officials
as they walk to their cars after a soccer
game. The players were 8-year-olds.
The videos were posted on a Facebook page, Offside, created in frustration by an Oklahoma youth soccer referee, Brian Barlow, who offers a $100
bounty for each clip in order to shame
the rising tide of unruly parents and
spectators at youth sports events.
“I do it to hold people accountable —
to identify and call out the small percentage of parents who nonetheless create a toxic environment at youth
sports,” Barlow, 44, said. “It’s a very visual deterrent, and not just to the person
caught on video but to others who ask
themselves: Do I look like that jerk?”
In fact, many do.
A torrent of verbal, and occasionally
physical, abuse toward referees across
the United States has disrupted the sidelines of youth sports.
The harassment has grown so rampant that more than 70 percent of new referees in all sports quit the job within
three years, according to the National
Association of Sports Officials. The chief
cause for the attrition, based on a survey
conducted by the association, was pervasive abuse from parents and coaches.
The result has been drastic referee
shortages across the country with
scores of youth and high school games
canceled and leagues aborted. Barry
Mano, the president of the officials’ association, said it received one or two
calls weekly inquiring about the organization’s assault insurance or for the legal advice that goes with it.
Here in Oklahoma, Barlow chose to
fight back. Players, parents, coaches
and administrators in the area say his
online postings — he has put up only a
small fraction of the hundreds of videos
from around the United States he has received — have altered sideline behavior.
“If one parent starts yelling at a ref, all
the other parents move away and say:
‘Hey, you don’t want to be videotaped for
Barlow’s Facebook page,’” said Kristin
Voyles, whose 14-year-old son, Easton,
is a referee and soccer player in Broken
Arrow, a Tulsa suburb. “We know that
everyone on the sideline has a smartphone in their hand.”
Sid Goodrich, the executive director
of the Oklahoma Soccer Association,
agreed that Barlow’s initiative has had
an effect.
“People are looking at themselves
and asking, ‘Am I the reason we don’t
have more referees?’” said Goodrich,
who added that his association loses
about 40 percent of its referees each
year, forcing zealous recruitment of new
Barlow’s quest to shine a light on the
worst sideline behavior has made him a
minor celebrity in the Tulsa area. In the
18 months since he started the page,
which also includes guidance for referees and pictures of appreciative fans, he
Top, parents brawling at a youth softball tournament in Kingsport, Tenn. Above, Barlow’s 12-year-old daughter, Zoe, is a referee who has been threatened by irate parents.
has been the subject of three segments
on local television stations.
But Barlow has also made his share of
enemies among the “cheeseburgers,” as
he calls the abusers, that he denounces.
“Some people, frankly, want to punch
me in the mouth,” he said.
Travis Featherstone, a Tulsa coach,
referee and father of young players,
praised Barlow’s intentions, but wondered if the page went too far.
“There may be a different way to go
about it, as in getting more parents involved with it instead of just pointing
them out and making them look like
they’re awful people,” Featherstone
And some parents have begged Barlow, who owns a marketing company, to
take down certain videos, a request he
has occasionally granted. (Because the
videos are recorded in public settings
and posted with the permission of the
person taking it, he said, he has avoided
legal issues.)
Just because Barlow runs the page, it
does not necessarily mean parents and
fans always tone it down around him, or
even his 12-year-old daughter, who is a
referee for games with younger children.
After a game last month, Barlow and
two other referees needed an armed police escort to their cars. Last month, his
daughter, Zoe, had to stay inside a building for 90 minutes after a game at the
urging of tournament officials, to protect her from threats made by parents
who were irate with calls made by the
crew of referees. The game had to be
“Sometimes I have to intercede and
tell these parents that it’s not the World
Cup, and remind them that the players
are 6 years old and the ref is 12,” Lori
Barlow, Brian’s wife, said.
Brian Barlow, a referee for 14 years,
has done more than use the Facebook
page to stand up for his fellow officials.
He started a program called S.T.O.P.
(Stop Tormenting Officials Permanently) that distributes bright signage
prominently placed at youth sports
complexes. One sign reads: “Warning:
Screaming at Officials Not Allowed.” Another reads: “Caution: Development in
Progress, Stay Out of It.”
The initiative also includes S.T.O.P.
vests that are worn by volunteers acting
as field marshals, assigned by leagues
to oversee games. The marshals also
have large, red octagon S.T.O.P. signs,
and if parents are growing agitated with
the officials, the marshals are instructed
to hold up the S.T.O.P. signs from the
Youth referees also hand out small
badges to offending coaches that read in
part: “This is a warning. A ‘youth’ referee has issued this pass. The next one
will be a dismissal.”
Six Oklahoma clubs have paid a onetime fee of $999 to join the S.T.O.P. initiative, and 30 leagues from states including Virginia and Washington have made
Barlow’s methods are not the only efforts to curb abuse across the country.
The South Carolina Youth Soccer Association last year instituted a policy
called “Silent September.” Parents and
visitors at games statewide were not allowed to verbally cheer, or jeer, players
or referees for the entire month. Clapping was allowed.
“It was a resounding success and
made for a much more focused environment for learning and for play,”
Burns Davison, who heads rules and
compliance for the South Carolina association, said. “We got everyone’s attention. People thanked us for the peace
and quiet.”
Other states have tried a more punitive approach. Legislatures in nearly 20
states have increased the penalties for
assaulting a sports official by making it
a discrete category of the crime, according to Alan S. Goldberger, a lawyer from
New Jersey and the author of “Sports
Officiating: A Legal Guide.”
One factor that many sports officials
believe contributes to parents’ bad behavior is the desire for their children to
earn athletic scholarships. Leagues in
Massachusetts and Virginia have tried
to address that pressure and jolt parents
back to reality with signs at the entrance
to athletic complexes that read: “No
N.C.A.A. scouts are looking at your child
today,” or “No N.C.A.A. scholarships will
be awarded on this field today.”
Many families regularly spend $2,000
to $20,000 a year per child on elite club
team dues, private trainers and other
costs, like far-flung travel to the best
tournaments and recruiting showcases.
The investment of money and time leads
to heightened expectations among parents, even at a contest between elementary schoolers. In fact, sports officials insist that the younger the players, the
worse the sideline behavior usually is.
“When I got into officiating I looked
forward to doing the youth games; I didn’t know that was where most of the
trouble was,” said Mary DeLaat, a basketball referee in the Milwaukee area
who began officiating in 2014 but quit
this year. “The parents are all like, ‘My
kid is going to get that scholarship and
be the next LeBron James.’
“When something isn’t going right
with that plan, the blame has to go somewhere, and often it’s the referee. It’s our
It’s possible, of course, that the sideline behavior springs from bad officiating, in part because the shrinking pool of
referees leads to quick turnover in the
ranks, which can lead to unprepared
“It’s a very volatile situation,” said
Donnie Eppley, an experienced N.C.A.A.
basketball referee who oversees officiating for several high school and youth
programs in central Pennsylvania.
In early May, Barlow donned his
bright yellow referee jersey to work a
semifinal game of the Oklahoma high
school state soccer championships in
Tulsa. To his relief, it went smoothly,
with no irate parents or fans — and one
even thanked him.
“That kind of thing does happen,” he
said afterward, soaked in sweat outside
the locker room. “Lots of people get it
and are very nice, too.”
Earlier that day, Barlow was having
breakfast with a handful of soccer
coaches and administrators. One coach
at the table, Richard Beattie, conceded
that he was once the kind of person who
might have ended up as a video star on
Barlow’s Facebook page. But a few
years ago, at a coaches meeting, he saw
himself on video kicking a water bottle
and yelling at the referee. He was embarrassed and resolved to change.
“I was once the biggest abuser,” Beattie said, “and if I can say that my behavior was unacceptable and had to change,
then other people can do it, too.”
Barlow smiled.
“This is what I mean; this is what
we’re trying to do,” Barlow said. “Have
we won the war? No. Are we fighting
back? Yeah, we are.”
Doris Burke contributed research.
This summer, it is the “other World Cup.”
One week after soccer’s grandest tournament ended in Russia, the rugby
world has converged on San Francisco
for a far more modest competition.
The Rugby World Cup Sevens, which
began Friday at AT&T Park, consists of
24 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams
vying for a world title in the wide-open,
high-octane, seven-player version of the
sport. It is expected to draw about
100,000 fans. NBC Sports Network has
been televising the event, one of the biggest gatherings for rugby sevens, and
American ruggers accustomed to toiling
in the shadows hope it will be another
step toward establishing the sport’s legitimacy in the United States.
The tournament comes at a crucial
moment for rugby in America, where
the sport’s advocates have been promising a rugby boom for a generation. But a
little more than a year ahead of the
Rugby World Cup in Japan for the more
traditional 15-player version of the
rugby union, American rugby has struggled in recent months to overcome infighting, miscalculations and excessive
Several top executives and board
members at U.S.A. Rugby, the national
governing body, left in recent years as
their plans to bolster the sport, including the organization of this Rugby World
Cup Sevens, went awry. The most notable misstep was starting a for-profit
marketing and media company that included a digital network to stream competitions. The venture sputtered from
the start. Its operations are being folded
back into U.S.A. Rugby.
Then there is the tension over how to
spend the organization’s scarce resources. Some advocates lean toward
building up the national team to try to
create positive publicity for the game.
Others say more money should be funneled into the youth game to produce
the players of tomorrow.
“It’s a double-edged sword because
for a long time it’s been an upside-down
pyramid, where adults paid most of the
dues and got most of the benefits,” said
Paul Bretz, a school principal in Newark, Calif., who is a referee and runs
youth rugby programs. “But if the goal
is to grow the youth game, the funding
needs to go to the kids.”
Rugby’s boosters point to statistics
showing it is the fastest growing team
sport in America. According to the
Sports and Fitness Industry Association, 1.6 million people played rugby at
least once last year, nearly twice as
many as in 2012. The number of people
who played at least eight times has risen
45 percent over the same period.
A growing proportion of these participants are young, not just the college students who have been the core group of
players for years. (The game is played
on about 900 college campuses, though
almost entirely on the club level.)
Players, coaches and administrators
hope this Rugby World Cup Sevens, the
first on American soil, will finally inch
the sport closer to the mainstream,
much the way soccer capitalized on the
1994 FIFA World Cup.
“We’re just on the cusp,” said Will
Chang, a former board member at
U.S.A. Rugby who helped win the bid to
host the World Cup Sevens. “Twenty
years ago, soccer was very much a castoff sport. Rugby is probably no different
than soccer was in the early 1990s.”
The problem with the analogy is that
rugby supporters have been using it for
years, and despite promising signs, like
the growth in participation and a new
professional league, rugby remains a
niche sport in a crowded landscape.
Also, this World Cup Sevens has had
its hiccups. The original bid for the event
did not anticipate the cost of housing all
500 or so players, transporting them
around the Bay Area and finding places
for them to practice. As a result, Ross
Young, the interim chief executive of
U.S.A. Rugby, said the event would be
lucky to break even, a far cry from the $4
million profit the organizers hoped to
“U.S.A. Rugby didn’t really understand or care to research the amount of
money it would take to get the World
Cup off the ground in such an expensive
city,” said Matt McCarthy, the editor of
Rugby Wrap Up, a rugby news site.
In the United States, rugby has long
been defined as a sport you picked up after you finished playing sports like football and wrestling. Several members of
America’s sevens team are converted
football players, including Perry Baker,
who once had a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Last season, he was
named sevens world player of the year.
As good as he is, he still must defend the
sport to rugby purists who consider sevens the equivalent of arena football.
“I’m always getting attacked by people who say, come play real rugby,”
Baker said. “Honestly, there’s no difference. All your skills are more under duress because the passes are longer, you
have to be more accurate with your tackling. No disrespect to 15s, but I get tired
of seeing people say, real rugby, fake
Baker’s success aside, Paul Santinelli,
a board member at U.S.A. Rugby, said
getting children to pick up the game was
a key to the sport’s long-term health.
Despite rugby’s rough-and-tumble
image, he insisted that the game was
safer than football, especially at the
youth level. Parents are rightly worried
about the impact of concussions on their
children’s health. But Santinelli and others note that tackling in rugby involves
using the shoulder and arms to wrap opponents and take them to the ground.
The lack of helmets and shoulder pads
means players avoid leading with their
heads when tackling.
While the rugby establishment pours
resources into the national teams, with
some success — the men’s and women’s
sevens teams are both ranked in the top
10 — attempts to begin professional
leagues have hit roadblocks. Doug
Schoninger, an investor from New York,
started PRO Rugby in 2017. It collapsed
after one season. In June, Schoninger,
who estimates he spent $6 million of his
money on the league, sued Chang and
other members of U.S.A. Rugby, accusing them of stymying his efforts.
“It’s all about perception. Ten
years ago, it was considered
more ‘thugby.’ Now, we get
more cultural respect.”
U.S.A. Rugby declined to discuss the
accusations because the case is pending.
Meanwhile, a new seven-team league,
Major League Rugby, just finished its
first season. A salary cap has kept player costs in check but made it difficult for
many players to focus solely on rugby.
Players earn about $10,000 for a full season. Also, the game remains a mystery
to most fans.
“Sometimes, I get asked, ‘What’s
rugby?’” said Blake Rogers, who played
for the Glendale Raptors near Denver.
“But it’s all about perception. Ten years
ago, it was considered more ‘thugby.’
Now, we get more cultural respect.”
Sevens, the shorter, faster version of
the game, is catching on. Each year, Las
Vegas hosts one of the 10 stops on the
world tour. After a fitful start, the weekend tournament now draws more than
30,000 fans.
The tension over whether to emphasize the youth game, the national team
or the professional game has led to a
schism within U.S.A. Rugby. It has also
presented an opportunity to bring in
new executives with different skills to
professionalize an organization that was
long dominated by former players
whose love for the game sometimes
clouded their business decisions.
“We’ve been amateur and need to become professional,” said Dan Lyle, a former star player who is now an analyst
for NBC Sports. “The game is emerging
in America, and that’s why all this turnover is happening, because people realize that you have to write a business
Still, he said, “you have to start off
with the idea that you can’t all of a sudden create a bonfire overnight.”
Enrique Palafox of a San Francisco rugby club trying to elude a tackle in a rugby sevens
match, the shorter, faster version of the sport whose World Cup is in his city this month.
16 | MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018
On the Normandy cheese trail
A French tasting tour
through sleepy villages
and gorgeous rolling fields
“Once upon a time, there was triple
crème in Normandy,” said François
Olivier, a fourth-generation cheesemonger in the Norman capital of Rouen.
Standing beside the glass counter of his
family-run fromagerie, opened in 1907,
Mr. Olivier gestured at an impressive array of Normandy’s dairy products, including raw-milk Camembert, unpasteurized butter and cream from the region’s mottled Normande cows.
But was there a local triple crème, the
cream-enriched cheese of my dreams,
with a sky-high fat content (at least 75
percent butterfat) and a milky-white,
soft-ripened rind?
No. The cheese that lured me to Normandy was nowhere to be found.
The French region of Normandy
northwest of Paris is a diverse expanse
of coastal hamlets and chalky cliffs,
rolling meadows and sleepy villages of
half-timbered houses. It had crossed my
radar often, whether through the history of Joan of Arc’s demise or the DDay beach invasions in 1944.
But my curiosity about Normandy’s
cheese was more recent, beginning in a
Stockholm outpost of Androuet, a chain
of specialty cheese stores. The original
shop, founded in Paris in the early 1900s
by the enterprising Henri Androuët,
was among the first to source cheeses
from across all of France. The shop in
Stockholm does the same on a much
smaller scale, and it supplied my first
taste of the buttery triple crème known
as Brillat-Savarin.
“It’s from Normandy,” the Swedish
cheesemonger told me three years ago,
when I had just moved to the neighborhood.
A half-truth, I later learned.
The triple crème’s story does indeed
begin in Normandy, where it was created by the Dubuc family in the late 1800s.
In the 1930s, Mr. Androuët rechristened
it in honor of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the celebrated 19th-century epicure and fromage fanatic. Androuet’s
website says that Brillat-Savarin is now
industrially manufactured mainly in
So what’s being produced from the
Normande herds today? To find out, I
spent a few blustery days at the end of
January sloshing through the muddy
back roads of central Normandy with a
friend who also was prepared to eat her
weight in raw-milk cheese.
Before the trip, I stopped in Paris at
Fromagerie Goncourt, an artisanal shop
in the 11th Arrondissement, to talk to the
owner, Clément Brossault, who possesses a wealth of cheese knowledge.
“Normandy has always been really
connected with Paris,” Mr. Brossault
Above, the village of Camembert in Normandy. Left, the Fromagerie Goncourt in
Paris, and far left, a look inside the shop.
Cheese maturing at the Fromagerie de Tradition in La Houssaye, top, and at the Fromagerie Durand, the only artisan producer of Camembert in the village, above.
said, noting its proximity to the capital,
the main food market, and the ease of
While a team of cheesemongers assisted customers drifting through the
door, Mr. Brossault recounted how he
had biked around France to meet the
farmers and artisan producers who
would later supply his shop. But only a
few of those days were devoted to Normandy. “It’s true that we know some regions better than Normandy,” he said.
“Because for us, it’s less exotic.”
Why roam through the backyard of
Paris when you can play in the Pyrenees?
Fromagerie Goncourt carries the four
Normandy cheeses with A.O.C. status
(Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, a legal
guarantee of quality): Livarot, Pontl’Évêque, Neufchâtel and Camembert
de Normandie. All are soft cow’s milk
cheeses that vary in shape and pungency.
The last, Camembert de Normandie,
is among the most popular French
cheeses — a funky, creamy, raw-milk
cheese that bears little resemblance to
the rubbery pucks sold in American supermarkets. Recently, large dairy corporations have been swallowing up
small producers in Normandy and elsewhere, threatening the future of artisan
farmhouse Camembert and arousing
strong feelings. A controversial agreement in February to allow pasteurizedmilk Camembert to bear the same
A.O.C. status further fueled the flames.
“To understand Normandy, it’s important to see that you have two sides,” Mr.
Brossault said of the changing cheese
landscape. “But the industrial side can
be really good, too.”
I took him at his word and made our
first stop in Normandy at Fromagerie E.
Graindorge, a cheesemaking factory
and tourist attraction in the rural Pays
d’Auge region. It was an easy hourlong
drive from the city of Caen (after a twohour train ride to avoid Parisian traffic)
that took us through a patchwork of apple orchards and rural farms. Founded
in 1910 as a family-owned operation, it
The triple crème’s story does
indeed begin in Normandy.
was sold in 2016 to the multinational
dairy corporation Lactalis. Today, the
factory continues to produce the four
A.O.C. cheeses, along with some nonA.O.C. and pasteurized varieties.
The commercial complex is surrounded by startlingly green farmland
just outside the small village of Livarot.
It welcomes visitors with an educational
center and a self-directed tour through
the factory that culminates in a tasting.
The tour begins with a short video about
the fromagerie’s history (in French,
with English subtitles) and continues
through a glass passageway above the
fluorescent production facilities. Peering through large windows, we spied
workers in white aprons and hairnets in
a vast milk-processing hall, various aging rooms and a testing lab. Farther
along, square boxes of Pont-l’Évêque
flew through a labyrinthine labeling machine. In another room, two workers
deftly wrapped and hand-tied reeds
around wheels of pungent Livarot, the
traditional method to help the soft,
washed-rind cheese retain its shape.
Exiting through the gift shop, we
passed a large refrigerated case filled
with Graindorge cheeses, four of which
were cut into bite-size pieces for sampling. The cheeses varied in pungency
but it was impossible to decipher the nuances; chilling cheese inhibits flavor. So
I bought two wheels to sample later: an
earthy raw-milk Camembert de Normandie and a slightly sweet, drier Camembert au Calvados made with local
apple brandy.
The experience was altogether different the next day when we pulled up outside Fromagerie Durand, the only artisan producer of Camembert in the village — a handful of timber-frame houses
clustered on a grassy hillside like a herd
of grazing cattle — for which the cheese
is named. Instead of a slick cheesemaking factory, this was a get-your-bootsdirty farm; the cheeses made here are
not only A.O.C., but also “fermier,” which
means that all the milk comes from the
farm’s own cows.
At Durand, there was also a selfguided tour of sorts, in the form of
weatherworn placards nailed to the outside of the building that outlined the
cheesemaking process. Through dusty
windows, visitors could peek into the
drying and aging rooms and watch
workers filling Camembert molds by
In the adjoining shop, we found the
owner, Nicolas Durand, in muddy overalls and rubber galoshes taking a break
to read the newspaper. During busier
months, the fromagerie offers tasting
sessions for visitors, but we contented
ourselves with a Camembert de Normandie to go, a bold cheese with the
aroma of its barnyard origins.
And so went our days, accumulating
cheeses as we drove through the hills of
the Pays d’Auge, past small-town war
memorials and grand half-timbered
manor houses on winding back roads
dotted with signs for local Calvados and
apple cider.
In the evening, the spoils were spread
across a hotel coverlet: a Camembert or
two, a square of mild Pont-l’Évêque, at
least one bottle of cider and baguettes
from a village boulangerie. Typically, we
favored the Camemberts — creamy and
full of flavor — but an unexpected contender emerged when we tasted a
Deauville, a rich cousin of the Pontl’Évêque with an orange-hued rind and a
powerful aroma that belied its balanced
By chance, we had plucked the
Deauville from an office fridge at Fromagerie de la Houssaye, a small
producer outside Boissey on a dirt road
that was much too narrow to accommodate both my Opel rental and a steel
tanker truck transporting milk.
On our final morning in Normandy,
we headed north across the Seine to
meet Charles Bréant, a dairy farmer,
cheesemaker and one of the five brothers behind Camembert Le 5 Frères. At
the end of a muddy road outside
Bermonville, a town in the Seine-Maritime département of northeastern Normandy, we stepped out of the car to an
enthusiastic chorus of mooing.
Less than two years ago, Mr. Bréant
began producing Camembert Le 5
Normandy making organic Camembert
with raw milk from their own Normande
Despite misgivings about my
footwear (sneakers that are no longer
white), Mr. Bréant showed us around
Frères, a raw-milk farmhouse cheese,
with milk from the family dairy farm.
“When we sell milk to industry, we decide nothing,” said Mr. Bréant, who apprenticed at Ferme du Champ Secret,
one of the few farmhouse producers in
the farm with Lucky, an energetic
brown-and-white fox terrier, following
close behind.
Although production of Camembert
Le 5 Frères follows the exacting A.O.C.
standards, the farm’s location, in SeineMaritime, disqualifies it from A.O.C.
“Camembert de Normandie” certification.
The cheese’s colorful label — “5
Frères,” in large type above geometric
wedges of royal blue and white —
caught my eye later that afternoon at
François Olivier’s cheese shop, where it
stood out from the other packages of traditional Normandy cheeses.
“It’s creamy and strong, because it’s a
farmhouse cheese,” Mr. Olivier said approvingly.
So strong and deliciously funky, in
fact, that I thought better of hauling that
final Camembert with us on the return
trip to Paris. Some things — like Normandy’s farmhouse cheeses — are best
consumed at the source.
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