Monday, January 15, 2018

Not the Golfer-in-Chief


Jordan's King Abdullah -- in uniform (2nd from left) -- visits an army base on the country's northern border. King Abdullah occasionally participates in live fire drills, but this visit was to get a briefing. The King may be showing Donald Trump what being a Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East looks like.

Photo: Petra News Agency.

The end of concept company names



The demise of outsourcer Carillion probably has greatest significance for the world of public procurement, but a side benefit may be the end of meaningless appellations for mega merger corporations cooked up in a consulting firm's groundtruthing office suite. So farewell then Carillion, a name that always sounded 1980s progressive rock legends Marillion.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Social media censorship in large Persian Gulf country

No, it's not Iran. Twitter has removed a post by a prominent Saudi intellectual, Sultan al-Hajri, which criticized the cost of living and recent price increases in Saudi Arabia. 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Insider tweeting

That was Trump, yesterday. Today, Reuters --

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One U.S. service member was killed and four others wounded during a “combat engagement” in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, the U.S military said in a statement on Tuesday. The incident took place on Monday in Achin, Nangarhar province, the statement said. Two of the wounded service members are being treated at a medical facility and in stable condition, it added. Nangarhar, on the porous border with Pakistan, has become a stronghold for Islamic State, generally known as Daesh in Afghanistan, which has grown to become a dangerous militant group since it appeared around the start of 2015.

Trump would have been told about this yesterday. That means the most logical explanation for his tweet, which otherwise seemed out of context, was that as soon as he was told about the fatality, he picked up the phone and tweeted in anger, at Pakistan, likely reflecting the internal explanation that he was given of how the insurgent group was operating.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Military trolling

A Russian air force pilot at yet another Syria Mission Accomplished event with Master of Ceremonies Vladimir Putin --

Meeting in the air with our partners in the Western coalition, we always appeared to them, as the pilots say, "on the tail," which means victory in real combat.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Planning Ahead

Walter Isaacson's concluding chapter of his Leonardo biography clearly has in mind conference speeches/ management motivational boondoggles and Ted talks on the theme of what large organizations can Learn from Leonardo.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Central Planning

Wall Street Journal Weekend interview with Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, "the Senate's leading intellectual force for growth economics" --

There will be “estimates all across the board,” he continues [for growth effect of tax cuts]. “Joint Tax will have theirs, and private economists will have theirs. But just ask yourself at a gut level: Do you think it’s plausible that we can go from the 1.9% [growth] that CBO currently projects, to 2.3% average growth over the next 10 years, if we do a great job with the tax-reform bill?”

The fact that Toomey holds, and sold the tax cut to his colleagues on the basis of, a high confidence that this particular tax legislation will increase growth by 0.4 percentage points annually -- with all the other things that could happen and the huge prospect for changes in tax behaviour -- is a perfect illustration of the economic philosophy of the Republican party. Pull some levers, and 0.4 percent more widgets come off the assembly line!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Long lasting crazy



This  British "blue passport" obsession has been going for a long time. House of Commons debate on the EEC, 1975, Reginald Maudling, then in opposition --

There was a small point which arose in Rome concerning passports, and I did not understand it. It was suggested in the Press that some new European passport is to take the place of the British passport. I would regret that very much. I still cling, old-fashioned as I am, to the British passport and to the words which refer to Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State requesting and requiring, in the name of the Queen, that people should give us facilities. I hope that that will not be abandoned. If it is, it will be one of those examples of people trying to substitute for the substance of European unity a form of unity which pleases and helps no one. 

Above, Bernadette Devlin speaking to reporters after slapping Maudling on the floor of the House of Commons after Bloody Sunday in 1972.

Not concealing anything

Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu at military strategy conference in Moscow today, speaking immediately after Vladimir Putin --

Priceless combat experience in Syria was received by more than 48 thousand military men of the Russian army, of which more than 14 thousand were awarded with state awards. 80 percent of the operational-tactical crews and 90 percent of the army aviation have from 100 to 120 sorties. The long-range aviation crews received practice of striking at important militant targets. In total, the Aviation and Space Forces of Russia carried out 34 thousand sorties during two years. For the first time, pilots of ship aviation from the heavy aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov participated in combat operations, 420 combat sorties were performed by them. High-precision long-range missiles Caliber, X-101, Iskander, Tochka-U, X-55 and others were used for the most important targets of the militants. Ships and submarines inflicted 100 blows, and strategic aircraft - 66 shots at a range of 500 to 1,5 thousand kilometers. Each missile struck the assigned target.

And that's not even the end of his list. Russia's intervention in Syria was a massive military operation, glossed over in gullible media accounts which made it sound like sporadic technical and mostly air and long-range artillery support. Despite yet another Russian announcement of a scale down, their operations continue, both directly and in support of the Assad regime, as manifested in the continuing humanitarian crisis in Ghouta (the scene of the first of the large scale regime chemical weapons attacks).

Note to readers: you could free up a lot of time in your life between mid-June and mid-July by not watching the FIFA 2018 World Cup, taking place in Russia. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This one expression explains everything about Brexit

Unicorn Slaughter.

From the Financial Times report that the EU is preparing a magic-busting Canada plus just a little bit as their post-transition trade deal with the UK, given the unrealism of what the UK is likely to propose otherwise --

They [EU] expected the first months of 2018 to involve some “unicorn slaughter” as Britain’s illusions were confronted.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Get poor or die trying

The single most disingenuous clause in US House Speaker Paul Ryan's lie-ridden WSJ pitch for the tax legislation --

This is about helping a middle class that has been squeezed by a tax code that is expensive, complicated and skewed toward special interests. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck; nearly half say a $500 surprise bill or emergency would put them in debt.

A major source of such an "emergency" would be healthcare costs, the ability with which to cope is busily being shredded by ... Paul Ryan!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Up the Republic

Since rational arguments against the Trump-Ryan-McConnell tax bill aren't making much progress, it might time for a maximalist one: that since the tax bill will be signed by a President to whom the bill grants large but unknown tax benefits, it violates Article IV Section 4 of the US Constitution:
the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government. The head of state has pushed for, and will enact, a law from which he and family will derive big gains.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Jerusalem/ Al-Quds

BBC Sports website advertising choice during the updates on the Hearts win over Celtic. 

Flexible interpretation

Nick Timothy was Theresa May's co-chief of staff up to the botched general election this year, and a key scribe on her Brexit speeches. He's now arguing that her infamous "citizens of nowhere" speech at the Conservative Party conference on 5 October 2016 was not about Remainers, and points to the Red Tory section of the speech where it was coupled with indictments of tax avoidance and financial self-dealing. But, earlier in the speech, she said --

For the referendum was not just a vote to withdraw from the EU. It was about something broader – something that the European Union had come to represent. It was about a sense – deep, profound and let’s face it often justified – that many people have today that the world works well for a privileged few, but not for them.

Thus, she was equating the EU with what she could criticise in the later part of the speech. Since Timothy contributed to the speech, he should know that.

Incidentally, that "citizens of nowhere" line (which also nodded to Bannonism) was not even the worst part of the speech. That honour goes to --

But let’s state one thing loud and clear: we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration all over again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That’s not going to happen.

That commitment to leave ECJ jurisdiction set up the still-unresolved dilemma of the Customs Union, which was never a point of debate in the referendum. The ECJ issue bubbled up in the Tory hierarchy during 2017, possibly due to a simple misunderstanding in the Johnson household about what the ECJ was. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Thinker

Wall Street Journal editorial applauds the Republican tax "cut" bill --

... Speaker Paul Ryan deserves particular notice for years of intellectual and political spadework.

Just in case you think Paul Krugman is exaggerating when he describes Paul Ryan's image in the media.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

Simon Kuper in the Financial Times --

Last week’s deal with the EU may leave the UK tracking Irish regulations for ever (or as Brexiters call it, “freedom”).

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chuckle Brother

New York Times story a couple of weeks ago on how Donald Trump still believes all the crazy stuff he said before the election --

One senator who listened as the president revived his doubts about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate chuckled on Tuesday as he recalled the conversation. The president, he said, has had a hard time letting go of his claim that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. The senator asked not to be named to discuss private conversations.

New York Times story today on Trump's daily routine --

“He feels like there’s an effort to undermine his election and that collusion allegations are unfounded,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has spent more time with the president than most lawmakers. “He believes passionately that the liberal left and the media are out to destroy him. The way he got here is fighting back and counterpunching.

There's a lot of connective tissue between the two stories (not least in terms of a common byline, Maggie Haberman), which suggests that Lindsey Graham is in fact the source for the first anecdote.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Quote of the Day

The FT's Sebastian Payne in an excellent roundup of UK 2017 Election/ Brexit books --

The biggest strategic error was the clash between Crosby’s “strong and stable” message and Team May’s vision of radical social and economic reform. Selling this message of change in six weeks, during an election that was supposed to be about Brexit, was to prove impossible. The manifesto, which sought to define a new type of blue-collar Conservatism by tackling what Timothy saw as the five great injustices in British society, did not tap into a natural voting constituency ... Timothy’s dream of remoulding the Conservative party into a force that speaks more to the people of northern provinces was over. This Red Toryism, as some have termed it, remains an interesting theory that has yet to find a successful vehicle.

Red Toryism has an American analogue in the Reformicons, a group of conservative pundits and intellectuals selling a very similar claim, that there is a package of conservative-leaning economic and social policies that can appeal to lower middle and working class voters. Donald Trump may have gotten a little closer to finding that recipe -- as a candidate -- but it's clear that the cultural component of the appeal is more important than the economic one. Notice for example the signs at Trump's Pensacola rally last night: his most energized supporters really believe that the "establishment" is out to suppress Christmas. No tweaking of taxes and incentives is going to deal with that.

AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman

Friday, December 08, 2017

The new Anglo-Irish Agreement

From the Brexit negotiations first stage agreement --

In the absence of agreed solutions, as set out in the previous paragraph, the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unless, consistent with the 1998 Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree that distinct arrangements are appropriate for Northern Ireland. In all circumstances, the United Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland's businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom internal market. 

 ... . Both Parties acknowledge that the 1998 Agreement recognises the birth right of all the people of Northern Ireland to choose to be Irish or British or both and be accepted as such. The people of Northern Ireland who are Irish citizens will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens, including where they reside in Northern Ireland. Both Parties therefore agree that the Withdrawal Agreement should respect and be without prejudice to the rights, opportunities and identity that come with European Union citizenship for such people and, in the next phase of negotiations, will examine arrangements required to give effect to the ongoing exercise of, and access to, their EU rights, opportunities and benefits. 5

... Both Parties recognise that the United Kingdom and Ireland may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories (Common Travel Area), while fully respecting the rights of natural persons conferred by Union law. The United Kingdom confirms and accepts that the Common Travel Area and associated rights and privileges can continue to operate without affecting Ireland’s obligations under Union law, in particular with respect to free movement for EU citizens.

In other words, Ireland got the following: the UK had to assert that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK, the more than Northern Ireland residents take Irish citizenship, the more it becomes an EU enclave, and Ireland can continue to have its own special arrangements for its citizens resident in the UK.

This is a demolition of the Tory/ DUP Brexit.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Another Riyadh Orb

Tom Friedman, writing about Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (2 weeks before his visit to Riyadh) --

Hearing that Saudi princes were arrested for “corruption” is like reading that Donald Trump fired seven cabinet secretaries “for lying.” You know it has to be something else. Trump obviously missed the story last year that M.B.S. impulsively bought a yacht while on vacation in the south of France — it just caught his fancy in the harbor — from its Russian owner for $550 million. Did that money come out of his piggy bank? Savings from his Riyadh lemonade stand? From his Saudi government 401(k)?

The Wall Street Journal is today reporting that the mystery buyer of the "lost da Vinci" painting Salvator Mundi is in fact MBS (yesterday's version, that another prince known only for real estate investments had bought it, was clearly implausible),

The sequencing of him buying a painting of Jesus (possibly as a gift to the Louvre Abu Dhabi) while Jerusalem goes through its current travails is awkward. Implicit in the revelation is that US intelligence leaked the news as a warning to MBS not to make too much noise about Jerusalem.

UPDATE: Important detail from the New York Times --

The Times on Wednesday sent detailed questions about the purchase to Prince Bader. The newspaper also contacted the Saudi Embassy in Washington. Three intermediaries for Prince Bader, including two affiliated with the embassy, asked The Times to delay publication to await a response from Prince Bader. But at the end of the day the intermediaries said Prince Bader would decline to speak, and around the same time, the Louvre Abu Dhabi said on Twitter that it was expecting to receive “Salvator Mundi,” at which point The Times published its article.

Other than the tweet, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has supplied no details on the processology of its acquisition, but it was convenient to have the story appear right at the NYT deadline!

By Leonardo da Vinci - Getty Images, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64103353

Less optimistic than Trump

House of Commons, 27 April 1950 --

Winston Churchill: Does not the hon. Gentleman (Foreign Office Minister of State Kenneth Younger) realise that Dr. Weizmann (President of Israel) and King Abdullah (of Jordan) have both, over the vicissitudes of 20 or 30 years, shown themselves always staunch friends to this country, and will he avail himself to the full of the possibilities of bringing these two eminent men into the closest harmonious contact? Am I right in assuming that that is the general path upon which the Government are embarked and which is expressed in the statement to which we have just listened?

That was part of a general mood that the Israel - Palestinian issue was still solvable in a modest time frame, and a process that the UK thought it was advancing by recognizing Jordanian control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The UK became the only country to recognize the expanded Jordan (the oft-repeated claim that Pakistan also did is contested), and in any event it became moot after the Six Day Year.

Anyway, the point is that there's a precedent for one country thinking it can get out in front of a complex process with a unilateral step. 

Stay classy, DUP

DUP MP Nigel Dodds -- who may be the deepest of the true believers in the Sunlit Uplands vision of Brexit -- in the House of Commons yesterday during a debate a potential amendment to the Brexit bill being offered by Independent Unionist Sylvia Hermon --

Could the hon. Lady answer the question posed by the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), who asked whether she accepts, as he does, that it is a good idea to have regulatory convergence and common rules between Northern Ireland and the Republic? Could she give a straight answer to that, because many in Northern Ireland now view her as being on the side of the Dublin Government on these issues?

Lady Hermon:  I thank the right hon. Gentleman so much for that. [Interruption.] Yes, what do you do in response to that? 

Nigel Dodds:  Answer!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Jerusalem

There's not much to say that's not already been said about Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but his speech -- besides afflicted in delivery by an apparent mouth ulcer -- was incoherent, probably reflecting multiple authors.

On the one hand, saying that the recognition was the culmination of the Zionist vision of Israel -- that having created a modern country, it deserved a capital.

On the other hand, repeated references to the multiple religious claims on Jerusalem, which would be one of the best arguments against a unilateral decision on its status.

His focus on the specific details of getting a new US Embassy -- "architects, engineers, and planners" -- suggests that one explanation for the decision may be that, in his mind, a US Embassy in Jerusalem will be a monument to the legacy of ... Donald J. Trump.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Arabia Brutus


Saudi Arabia knows a sucker when it sees one. That's US Energy Secretary Rick Perry clowning with Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih during a visit to the Kingdom. The government has long since figured out that a little desert pageantry buys a lot of White House acquiescence. 

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Nice family you've got there

Reuters --

Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik, who last week announced his intention of running for the presidency in 2018, has been taken from his home in the United Arab Emirates and is being deported to Egypt, his family told Reuters on Saturday.

UAE news agency (WAM) --

An official source has announced that the former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has left the UAE heading to Cairo, Egypt. In a statement, the source added that the family of the former Egyptian Prime Minister is still in the UAE under generous care of the country.

Arabian Reformer

Saudi Press Agency --

An official source declared to the Saudi Press Agency that the allegations published by some sources in good intention or otherwise that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is embarked on abolishing the apostasy penalty are altogether false and incorrect. The source explained that such groundless claims are absurd according to the ruling system of governance and as per the practices of this blessed country since its institution. He confirmed that the public prosecution is embarked on taking the necessary legal measures to sue who dared to disseminate such lies which go contrary to the constitution of this country. The source stressed that such issue was already determined and un-negotiable at all in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Luckily this issue didn't bubble up during Tom Friedman's visit last week.

Short shelf life

New York Times' Peter Baker 3 months ago --

Now in the White House, President Trump demonstrated this past week that he still imagines himself a solitary cowboy as he abandoned Republican congressional leaders to forge a short-term fiscal deal with Democrats. Although elected as a Republican last year, Mr. Trump has shown in the nearly eight months in office that he is, in many ways, the first independent to hold the presidency since the advent of the current two-party system around the time of the Civil War.

With an atrocious tax bill about to pass due to a strong alignment of the White House with House and Senate Republicans, has any piece of political analysis of Trump aged more quickly?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Flimsy bet

Excellent New York Times analysis exploring the catastrophic security strategy failure of the Egyptian government in Sinai --

One person who did have some sway over Mr. Sisi was Egypt’s chief of defense staff, Mahmoud Hegazy. American officials saw him as the only person in Mr. Sisi’s inner circle with the authority to publicly contradict him, a former United States official said. They also had a personal bond: General Hegazy’s daughter is married to Mr. Sisi’s son. But last month Mr. Sisi fired General Hegazy, after an outcry over a devastating militant ambush on a security convoy south of Cairo that killed 16 police officers, and possibly many more. The move dismayed senior State and Defense Department officials who saw General Hegazy as a check on Mr. Sisi in a circle of advisers that has become ever smaller and, some fear, ever more sycophantic, said the former official, who spoke anonymously to protect internal deliberations on an important ally that rarely receives public criticism well.

So, this is an insight from within the US securocrat establishment that the key part of their military cooperation with Egypt rested on the relationship of a single person with President Sisi. There is no strategy, just a hope that one person, now fired, can bring a message to the top.

Incidentally, since that orb clutching moment in Riyadh, there have been two massive terrorist attacks in Islamic countries, the Friday atrocity and the Mogadishu bombing a few weeks ago.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Choice of words

In early 2001, a hot potato landed on the desk of the then Irish Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue. It was the summary of an internal police inquiry ("Carty report") into allegations of serious misconduct by Donegal police, including mishandling of a murder investigation. There seemed to be enough in the report summary to launch a broader independent inquiry into rogue elements in the police force, which might have even gotten into similar misconduct in adjacent counties, such as Cavan and Monaghan.

What did the Minister do?

He sent the summary report to the government's chief legal adviser, Attorney-General Michael McDowell.

McDowell, recognizing a hot potato when he saw one, said that he couldn't make a decision without seeing the full report. And the usual "ongoing investigations" excuse provided a dodge for government ministers from needing to see the full report, and so the allegations sat for over a year before their seriousness eventually became the basis for action. With the slow pace of the Irish legal system, that was a lot of time to lose, and by keeping everything very legalistic and narrow in scope, the broader relevance -- including to current circumstances -- was lost.

Things caught up with the government in 2005, when people started to ask about the lapses in timeline in reacting to the original information. Here's Eamon Gilmore in 2005 trying to get a straight answer to who saw what and when; note that the Minister for Justice of the time is now ... Michael McDowell! --

... My colleague, Deputy Howlin, drew attention to the fact that last Friday the Minister, Deputy McDowell, informed the House that the Carty report was not delivered to him or to the then Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, at a time when its full contents would have definitely been of interest to them and would have enabled them to make earlier judgments on some of the issues involved. ... However, during his period as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy O'Donoghue repeatedly indicated to the House that he had the Carty report. On 7 February 2001, in response to parliamentary questions, he did not indicate in any way that he did not have the Carty report, although he had plenty of opportunity to do so. On 23 May 2001, he stated that "the investigation by Assistant Commissioner Carty was completed and presented to me and, in turn, to the DPP". ... Either the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, had the report in 2000 or 2001 — as he told the House on 23 May 2001 that Assistant Commissioner Carty's report was completed and presented to him and, in turn, to the DPP — or he did not. ... This is not a minor matter concerning some incidental documentation that got lost in the amalgam of material that goes through a Minister's departmental office. This was a major report on an investigation into matters of the most serious character concerning the conduct of gardaĆ­ in Donegal. 

It was to no avail. McDowell and Bertie Ahern blustered through the questions relying on the distinction between having a precis or a distillation versus the actual report, and ignoring the broader question of why the precis wasn't alarming enough for quicker action. 2005 was the mid-year of the worst government in the history of the state, but at the time, an economic boom made them immovable. A few months after McDowell and Ahern had sidestepped their hazy memories of 2001, Maurice McCabe would make his first complaint about police misconduct in Cavan. That set in motion events which are playing out this weekend. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

England's difficulty is Ireland's ... fault?

Ruth Dudley Edwards, taking a Sun-level of analysis to the opinion pages of the Financial Times --

For reasons to do with Ireland’s complex electoral system of proportional representation and multi-seat constituencies, Mr Coveney [Irish foreign minister] keeps a nervous eye on the competition and courts the green vote, which has caused him to push a nationalist agenda and make bellicose statements about Brexit that Mr Varadkar [PM] began to echo. On Wednesday, Mr Coveney chose a Northern Ireland business breakfast to emphasise what had previously been hinted at: that Ireland is right behind EU negotiators in refusing to go to the next stage of the talks without progress on the rights of EU citizens, the financial settlement and the border. It is prepared to use its veto if necessary, and, for now is insisting that the border should be somewhere in the Irish Sea, leaving Northern Ireland de facto still in the EU. Apart from being anathema to unionists, as Ray Bassett, a rare dissenting voice among retired senior Irish diplomats, put it, “the demand that Britain will be economically dismembered, with the North staying in the customs union while the rest of Britain goes its own way, is universally seen as undeliverable by any British government”. The UK accounts for 14 per cent of Irish exports and 25 per cent of Irish imports and there is additionally a high volume of services trade between the two countries. What people like Mr Bassett and Graham Gudgin of the think-tank Policy Exchange point out is that trade with Britain as a whole is infinitely more important to Ireland than that with Northern Ireland in particular.

It's all there: the bizarre analysis that a Fine Gael-led government is driven by an ultra-nationalist flank, that Ireland's position on Brexit only suddenly emerged last week, a quote from a man with an ostensible credential but zero expertise on multilateral trade and relations, Ray Bassett, dubious conclusions from trade statistics, blaming Ireland for a British desire to leave the Customs Union, no actual solution offered (she calls for imagination), and later down in the column, a fusing of pro-Brexit accommodation with anti-austerity tropes -- two days after Philip Hammond's budget shows what Brexit budgets are going to look like.

The train has unfortunately already left the station in terms of the access of these wreckers and hucksters to the media, but the least response might be to resolve that general election analysis, if there is a general election, will be scrutinized particularly closely for influence of  opportunistic and delusional agitation from the gallery.