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In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment

Reporters without conscience: once a nominally left of centre liberal publication became firmly embedded part of the Foreign Office, MI6 and the US Department of State

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak US and British media are servants of security apparatus Do the foreign state influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier
NeoMcCartyism Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Hypocrisy of British elite Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Media as a weapon of mass deception Putin-did-it fiasco Edward Lucas as agent provocateur American Exceptionalism
The importance of controlling the narrative Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Lewis Powell Memo Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Color revolutions Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manufactured consent The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Bullshit as MSM communication method Big Uncle is Watching You
Groupthink Soft propaganda Fighting Russophobia Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

  • Lapdog is easy role, watchdog is hard.
  • Lapdogs are lazy but get fed, watchdogs stand out in the cold, and get kicked.
  • Lapdogs get rich, watchdogs remain poor.
  • Lapdogs eat shit, and watchdogs kick ass.
  • Lapdogs need many masters, watchdogs are their own master.
  • Lapdogs are part of the problem, watchdogs are part of the solution.

@RIP, lapdogs are dismissed even by the asses they kissed, while history remembers watchdogs for the asses they kicked.

Backbutton

10 October 2014 3:46pm

When Gerald Celente branded the American media “presstitutes,” he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.

by Paul Craig Roberts, June 4, 2013,

A lot of our problems come from the unwillingness of honest people to call out the liars, cranks, wh*res and hacks.

A Brief Theory of Very Serious People — Crooked Timber

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Guardian as a neoliberal propaganda mouthpeace


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[Sep 16, 2018] The Guardian is a blatant example of the turnaround from "reasonably reliable" to "paid shill"

Notable quotes:
"... Another example is the Danish newspaper "Information" founded during WWII, as very leftist it has today morphed, in the dark, into a center right neo- liberal rag, full of no- news and idiotic scribbles by irrelevant formerly known peoples talent-less sons and daughters. ..."
"... Wel thanks b, for telling the truth and letting me start my Sunday moderately depressed, I guess news that Washington D.C had been swallowed by a giant sink-hole, would cheer me partly up. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Den Lille Abe , Sep 16, 2018 12:47:49 AM | 49 ">link

Thank you b, for yet another good article!

Your article made me reflect the situation in general. While it is good the The White Frauds have been called out as an Empire front and as Western propaganda psy-op, I do thing the real Enemy is the MSM. These crimes by our governments, the White Frauds, Isil, ect,ect, would not be possible without the control of the MSM. But I am completely at a loss how to fight them, or just diminish their influence.

The Guardian s a blatant example, and its turnaround from "reasonable reliable" to "paid shill" was clumsily and obviously executed. Looking at the UK for real news , there is only the blogoshere left, all opposition has been subverted. And it is not only in the UK.

Another example is the Danish newspaper "Information" founded during WWII, as very leftist it has today morphed, in the dark, into a center right neo- liberal rag, full of no- news and idiotic scribbles by irrelevant formerly known peoples talent-less sons and daughters.

The situation in Sweden is even more depressing (it is!) the newspapers here are on level with the Sun and the Daily Heil.

Wel thanks b, for telling the truth and letting me start my Sunday moderately depressed, I guess news that Washington D.C had been swallowed by a giant sink-hole, would cheer me partly up.

[Sep 15, 2018] BBC is skanky state propaganda

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The myth of BBC being some standard for news reporting died with the advent of the availability of international and independent news in Western countries ..."
"... Ironic when the BBC has been ceaselessly pushing fake news for at least 15 years, with disastrous results. (Iraq; Libya; what caused the deficit and who should be forced to pay it down; Russia/Syria false flags; Corbyn A/S.) ..."
"... I find it impossible to watch BBC News, primarily because most of the editorial staff and senior correspondents seem to be working for MI5/6 and are more interested in disseminating Geo-political propaganda than upholding their journalistic responsibilities as defined in the BBC charter. ..."
"... The book is obviously part of a propaganda campaign. It seems hugely fortuitous that Mark Urban should have had "hours" of interviews with Skripal before the poisoning incident. ..."
"... Isn't it much more likely that the Urban "interviews" would have happened after the event? But Urban can't say that because that would lead to demands from other journalists or news bodies to have access to Skripal. ..."
"... I'm open to alternative hypotheses but right now I think the most likely explanation for Urban's pre-poisoning contact with Sergei Skripal is that, at the time, it was assumed the Orbis dossier would be a key component of the successful takedown of Trump and Urban was putting together a mutually flattering account by interviewing the main players. ..."
"... With regard to your tongue-in-cheek point. Urban could have interviewed Skripal anytime after Trump was gone, unless he believed Skripal might be unavailable (for some reason). The fact he interviewed Skripal before does indicate foresight. If Urban really did interview Skripal before the event then he would be wiser to pull the book and burn every copy in existence (as well as all his notes). ..."
"... Urban pretends to research a book exposing Russia and part of his research is to interview Skripal. His objective is to find dirt on Putin in order to swing the war in Syria in favour of USUKIS bombing Assad to smithereens, bayonets bums etc. ..."
"... Interestingly Mark Urbans' book on Sergei Skripal was available to purchase on Amazon in July. I added it to my Amazon wishlist on 28/7/18. I've just looked at my wishlist and was rather surprised to find it is no longer available. It has been pulled. ..."
"... Can't help thinking that the answer to all this lies in Estonia. Sergei went to Estonia in June 2016, Pablo was in Estonia, the Estonians passed on sigint about Trump-Russian collusion in the summer of 2016. A Guardian article of 13 April 2017 said: ..."
"... No doubt in my mind that the Skripal affair is a planned operation carried out by US/UK intelligence. What has actually taken place is still to be determined, but the propaganda operation itself is clear. ..."
"... I know about Ireland, and I agree, it was NOT a nerve agent. That said, I don't believe anyone was 'attacked', including the Skripals. ..."
"... All foreign correspondents of major newspapers too work with MI6. Nobody who is close to them has any kind of doubt about this. ..."
"... I despise everyone who says that free markets are the solution for the problems of the third world. What they mean is mass starvation and an enormous population cull. There are international "foundations" that pay academics and politicians large amounts of money to spout this obscene line. One of them is called the John Templeton Foundation. They have had their fangs in to British universities for a long time. ..."
"... When the Tories talk about 'free markets', they are talking about markets free from democracy. ..."
Aug 30, 2018 | craigmurray.org.uk

Dave , August 28, 2018 at 17:41

BBC is skanky state propaganda. The myth of BBC being some standard for news reporting died with the advent of the availability of international and independent news in Western countries. The main thing that BBC used to have which propped up the illusion of it being a respectable news source is that there was no competition or alternative to compare its narratives against. Since that time is over, so is BBC's masquerading as an impartial or accurate news source.

Xavi , August 28, 2018 at 18:40

Agree, Dave. That's what's informing the push to rubbish dissenting sites as fake news and eventually have them removed.

Ironic when the BBC has been ceaselessly pushing fake news for at least 15 years, with disastrous results. (Iraq; Libya; what caused the deficit and who should be forced to pay it down; Russia/Syria false flags; Corbyn A/S.)

Ken Kenn , August 28, 2018 at 21:49

Well I was convinced of fake BBC news during 9/11 and not for the reasons of building 7 coming down too early but the fact that the female journalist was facing a camera standing in front of a glass window and there was no reflection of her or the camera person from the glass. Not even a faint shadow.

That's when I knew the BBC were employing vampires and have been ever since.

Green Screen technology I discovered later. All the On the spot reporters are at it apparently. Or repeating Reuters or PA.

Deb O'Nair , August 28, 2018 at 00:52

I find it impossible to watch BBC News, primarily because most of the editorial staff and senior correspondents seem to be working for MI5/6 and are more interested in disseminating Geo-political propaganda than upholding their journalistic responsibilities as defined in the BBC charter. People should not only boycott the BBC but refuse to pay the license fee on the grounds that it's a compulsory political subscription.

frankywiggles , August 28, 2018 at 09:48

Careful, Craig

BBC world affairs editor 'fed up' with complaints directed at the corporation's news output

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/aug/28/bbc-news-is-not-biased-in-brexit-reporting-says-john-simpson

D_Majestic , August 28, 2018 at 14:35

Of course BBC News is not biased. Most of the time it is not even factual.

Brendan , August 28, 2018 at 10:34

Dear Mark,
In a BBC article on 4 July 2018, you wrote: "I have not felt ready until now to acknowledge explicitly that we had met, but do now that the book is nearing completion."

Could you please explain that comment? I do not see why your acknowledgement of your meetings with Sergei Skripal should be delayed until your book is nearing completion.

If you felt that it was right to reveal those meetings in July, then why was it not right to do so in March, soon after the poisoning occurred? What difference would it have made if you had done so four months earlier?

I cannot think of any negative consequences of an earlier acknowledgement of the meetings. In fact, disclosures of any possible conflict of interest are generally considered to be desirable in journalism, regardless of whether the conflict of interest is real.

ADHD , August 28, 2018 at 11:00

The book is obviously part of a propaganda campaign. It seems hugely fortuitous that Mark Urban should have had "hours" of interviews with Skripal before the poisoning incident.

Isn't it much more likely that the Urban "interviews" would have happened after the event? But Urban can't say that because that would lead to demands from other journalists or news bodies to have access to Skripal.

And that can't happen because either Skripal would be asked about what happened on the day of the poisoning, or can't be guaranteed to stick to the script, or is no longer alive. And that leads to a suspicion that whatever Skripal is supposed to have said in his interviews with Urban has really just been made up by the British security services.

Kay , August 28, 2018 at 14:42

I'm open to alternative hypotheses but right now I think the most likely explanation for Urban's pre-poisoning contact with Sergei Skripal is that, at the time, it was assumed the Orbis dossier would be a key component of the successful takedown of Trump and Urban was putting together a mutually flattering account by interviewing the main players.

Tongue in cheek, it'd be worth asking Urban if his decision to cover the Skripal poisoning in his new book was made before or after the Skripals were actually poisoned.

ADHD , August 28, 2018 at 15:59

The consensus seems to be that it was an anti-Russia book, but that doesn't conflict with what you say (there is overlap, your view is just more specific). But, I just find it hard to believe that Urban and the conspirators would waste their time "counting their chickens ". Not least because such a book would form a handy list of traitors (together with confessions) if Trump were to prevail and it fell into the right hands. This is "101 – How to Organise a Revolution" (secrecy / don't put anything in writing); surely British security services know that?

With regard to your tongue-in-cheek point. Urban could have interviewed Skripal anytime after Trump was gone, unless he believed Skripal might be unavailable (for some reason). The fact he interviewed Skripal before does indicate foresight. If Urban really did interview Skripal before the event then he would be wiser to pull the book and burn every copy in existence (as well as all his notes).

Regardless, it looks like the master of the universe are losing their ability to create reality.

Brendan , August 28, 2018 at 10:37

Last month, Mark Urban was promoting the reports that the Russian assassins had been identified from CCTV footage:

"There are now subjects of interest in the police Salisbury investigation. ( ) analytic and cyber techniques are now being exploited against the Salisbury suspects by people with a wealth of experience in complex investigations."
https://twitter.com/MarkUrban01/status/1020366761848385536

That story originated with a report by PA, which Security Minister Ben Wallace called "ill informed and wild speculation". https://mobile.twitter.com/BWallaceMP/status/1019906962786484225

Or as Craig Murray put it, "Unnamed source close to unnamed British police officers tells unnamed Press Association journalist Britain knows the unnamed Russian agents ".
https://twitter.com/CraigMurrayOrg/status/1019854966327005184

Even Urban's colleagues had to admit that "The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the story."
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44883803

Still, that didn't stop Mark Urban from reporting the story almost as fact.

Tom , August 28, 2018 at 10:38

The BBC relies on it's interpretation of the Act because it is held for the purposes of 'journalism, art or literature.' but this relies on a usually unrelated precedent and the opinions of a number of Judges which contradict this view. I'm in the process of challenging this with ICO but don't expect anything will change until another supreme court ruling:

https://medium.com/@tomcoady/bbc-foi-exemption-for-the-purposes-of-art-journalism-or-literature-c39e4fa3e36

Ian Fantom , August 28, 2018 at 10:41

I've put in a Freedom of Information request regarding meetings with Skripal other than any that were for the purpose of BBC news journalism. (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mark_urbans_non_journalistic_mee )

Made By Dom , August 28, 2018 at 11:04

Can I play Devil's Advocate ?

I can see the value in asking writers, journalists and artists to pose exactly the same questions as Eccles' original letter but I'm not convinced about Craig's email.

A quick google shows me that a man named Mark Urban has written a book on the Skripals. Isn't it likely that Urban was keeping the interviews to himself in order to keep his book alive?

It wouldn't surprise me if Urban cares far more about his writing career than his job at the BBC. I'm sure most journalists would rather be authors. He's written a number of books on war and military intelligence. If his sources have nothing to do with the BBC then why should he answer to an on line mob?

craig Post author , August 28, 2018 at 11:18

" Isn't it likely that Urban was keeping the interviews to himself in order to keep his book alive?"
No, entirely unlikely. a chance to plug his forthcoming book and his Skripal contacts to a massive worldwide televion audience was eschewed.
The book is now about the Skripal attack. Presumably that was not the original subject he was researching, as it hadn't happened yet. The book will just be a rehash of the "noble defector – Putin revenge" line and none of the questions I asked about the genesis of his involvement will be answered in it.

SA , August 28, 2018 at 11:29

"Presumably that was not the original subject he was researching, as it hadn't happened yet." Or it was prescience ie that it was part of the planning for the incident?

Chris Hemmings , August 28, 2018 at 14:41

@BBC, Summer 2017, in an executive office:
"Hey Mark, why don't you go down to have a chat with this guy in Salisbury. I have a hunch that a story might be going to happen involving him, you know, as an ex-Soviet spy. Spend time with him, get to know him, be able to write in depth about him. Say it's for a book ."

giyane , August 28, 2018 at 11:46

Urban is never one-sided in his BBC reports on the Middle East. I would rather have him as Foreign Secretary than a bumbling idiot like Hubris Johnson or a Tory racketeer Hunt, because however clunky the formula of BBC balance Urban is at least pretending to be governed by normal rules. After Thatcher went anyone with half a brain left the Conservative party, leaving dolts like Johnson and nasties like May and Cameron to pick up the pieces after Blair and Brown.

There's money to be made from Russian billionaires and tory shit will follow the money like flies on d**t**d.

Urban pretends to research a book exposing Russia and part of his research is to interview Skripal. His objective is to find dirt on Putin in order to swing the war in Syria in favour of USUKIS bombing Assad to smithereens, bayonets bums etc.

Tory shit Hubris Johnson finds this political research floating around the Foreign Office and decides to twist it into Russia murders Skripal by Novichok. Unfortunately Johnson is already known to be a liar and gravy-trainer Tory and nobody believes him at all. Mrs May , realising that Johnson, Fox, Rees-Mogg and Hunt are completely bonkers, does Chequers her own way.

ZigZag Wanderer , August 28, 2018 at 12:26

Interestingly Mark Urbans' book on Sergei Skripal was available to purchase on Amazon in July. I added it to my Amazon wishlist on 28/7/18. I've just looked at my wishlist and was rather surprised to find it is no longer available. It has been pulled.

From memory the books description said that Mark had interviewed Skripal 'extensively' during 2017 and also mentioned the 'new' spying war now happening between Britain and Russia.

A quick search revealed a new version of the book ( with an altered title ) will be available in early October .. details here. https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/mark-urban/the-skripal-files

Oh dear . panic stations !

Sharp Ears , August 28, 2018 at 11:16

Salisbury poisoning: Skripals 'were under Russian surveillance'
Mark Urban Diplomatic and defence editor, Newsnight

4 July 2018

'My meetings with Sergei Skripal

I met Sergei on a few occasions last summer and found him to be a private character who did not, even under the circumstances then prevailing, wish to draw attention to himself.

He agreed to see me as a writer of history books rather than as a news journalist, since I was researching one on the post-Cold War espionage battle between Russia and the West.

Information gained in these interviews was fed into my Newsnight coverage during the early days after the poisoning. I have not felt ready until now to acknowledge explicitly that we had met, but do now that the book is nearing completion.

As a man, Sergei is proud of his achievements, both before and after joining his country's intelligence service.

He has a deadpan wit and is remarkably stoical given the reverses he's suffered in his life; from his imprisonment following conviction in 2006 on charges of spying for Britain, to the loss of his wife Liudmila to cancer in 2012, and the untimely death of his son Alexander (or Sasha) last summer.'

...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44717835

Agent Green , August 28, 2018 at 12:27

Laughable given that the whole world and virtually all heads of State were under US surveillance by the NSA – at least until Edward Snowden made all his revelations.

KEVIN GLENNIE , August 28, 2018 at 11:18

I have pasted and copied your Email regarding the above with a few slight alterations, it will be interesting to see the response I receive if any being just a concerned citizen of the U.

Niki Henry , August 28, 2018 at 11:21

Is this not a matter for the Police? (Even if you're not too sure if they'd do anything about it) These would be files that are to do with an attempted murder case. And definitely not Journalism if the story is fabricated.

Paul Baker , August 28, 2018 at 11:28

It feels as if you are moving in the right direction in linking Sergei to Steele. I'm intrigued by the very early media references to Sergei wanting to return home to see his elderly mother for perhaps the last time. He had apparently written to Putin making his request but again according to newspapers hadn't received a reply.

I would suggest Julia was bringing the answer via her own secret services contacts, her boyfriend and his mother, apparently Senior in the Russian Intelligence Agency. Perhaps a sentimental man Sergei was aware his mother couldn't travel so the plea to Putin was his best bet.

Such a request must have disturbed MI6 if Sergei had anything at all to do with the Steele dossier because inevitably if he returned to Russia he'd be debriefed by his old colleagues. But how can you rely on a mercenary double agent? If he decided he might want to stay in Russia with his family that might well have been attractive, away from the lonely existence in a Salisbury cul de sac with only spies for company. But the Steele dossier has great potential to turn sour on the British.

It's author was a Senior spy and Head of the Russian Desk for some years. It is – perhaps you'd agree? – inconceivable that he didn't require permission to prepare it, especially as much of it was based on his experience as a spy in Russia. Yet it's equally inconceivable that the Agency bosses didn't know the identity of the commissioners or the use to which it would be put in the US election – to boost Clinton's bid. If she'd won everything would have been fine but as it is any discussion of foreign interference in that election would have to include MI6 leading the list (they probably didn't tell any politician?) To have Sergei supporting and highlighting that embarrassment would be problematic for US-UK relations. Of course Sergei may have had other nuggets to expose as well as Steele.

Soon after Julia's arrival the pair fell ill. They both survived but are now locked away, presumably for life and never able to explain their side of the story.

It was a bodged job with a poor cover story from the start and could only be carried because of D Notices and media complicity. Is his mother still alive? Would he still like to see her before she dies? Would Russia allow it? Would MI6 allow it? I think that's 3 yeses and a resounding No.

Sharp Ears , August 28, 2018 at 11:39

Following the deaths of 55 Palestinians on the Gaza 'border' and the wounding of thousands, in this video, Urban asks the questions but the Israeli government spokesman, David Keyes, is allowed to spout all the usual propaganda against Hamas.

Gaza deaths: Who's to blame? – BBC Newsnight
Published on 15 May 2018
Subscribe 256K
Fresh protests against Israel are expected in the Palestinian territories, a day after Israeli troops killed 58 people in the Gaza Strip.
David Keyes is the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mark Urban asked him whether it was appropriate for the US to open their embassy on the 70th anniversary of Israel's creation, a day that is hugely controversial for the Palestinian people.

Newsnight is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.
Website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsnight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1dec5XO53k

Mr Keyes' pronounced American accent was heard. The Occupation was not mentioned. A Palestinian voice was not heard.

This is another of his videos. On the same subject and on the opening of the Israeli Embassy in Jerusalem. This time, Jonathan Conricus spoke for the IDF.

Israel says. Same old. Same old. BBC. ZBC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WdqoPKKkD8

Charles Bostock , August 28, 2018 at 15:58

"Urban asks the questions but the Israeli government spokesman, David Keyes, is allowed to spout all the usual propaganda against Hamas."

Yes indeed : Urban asked the questions and allowed the interviewee to answer. Perhaps you would have preferred him to interrupt the interviewee continually 'a la Today programme, or to have shouted at him similarly to the way I understand some people shout at customers inside or outside supermarkets?

Peter , August 28, 2018 at 11:39

This may or may not be relevant regarding Russia, chemical weapons and BBC/MSM bovine effluent:

"US Poised to Hit Syria Harder: The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement on Aug. 25 stating that the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham militants had brought eight containers of chlorine to Idlib in order to stage a false-flag attack with the help of UK intelligence agencies. A group of Tahrir al-Sham fighters trained to handle chemical warfare agents by the UK private military company Olive arrived in the suburbs of the city of Jisr ash-Shugur, Idlib, 20 km. from the Turkish border."

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/27/us-poised-to-hit-syria-harder.html

Jeremn , August 28, 2018 at 11:42

Can't help thinking that the answer to all this lies in Estonia. Sergei went to Estonia in June 2016, Pablo was in Estonia, the Estonians passed on sigint about Trump-Russian collusion in the summer of 2016. A Guardian article of 13 April 2017 said:

"Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump's inner circle and Russians, sources said. The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland."

Perhaps not the Dossier, as such, but some material on collusion?

Paul Greenwood , August 28, 2018 at 12:00

John Paul Jones also fought for the Russians and was a Rear-Admiral. He was buried in Paris 1792 and disinterred 1905 and relocated to USA

wonky , August 29, 2018 at 10:29

..then he met Jimmy Page in the 1960s and the rest is history..

Agent Green , August 28, 2018 at 12:11

No doubt in my mind that the Skripal affair is a planned operation carried out by US/UK intelligence. What has actually taken place is still to be determined, but the propaganda operation itself is clear.

Paul Carrom , August 28, 2018 at 12:12

Definitely done by the UK.

Doodlebug , August 28, 2018 at 14:53

What did the UK have against Dawn and Charlie? (Please don't say you subscribe to all that bottle-finding bullshit).

mark golding , August 28, 2018 at 17:40

Catch my last post Doodlebug, sadly MI6 diabolical elements can be traced back to Ireland in the 70's early 80's assassinations theRealTerror (theRealElvis) understands.

Doodlebug , August 28, 2018 at 18:06

I know about Ireland, and I agree, it was NOT a nerve agent. That said, I don't believe anyone was 'attacked', including the Skripals.

Jo , August 29, 2018 at 11:59

Being used as practice and to establish more "evidence"

N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:24

Often it's been open. There was the BBC monitoring station at Caversham Park. The BBC's Foreign Broadcast Information Service split the world into two parts with the CIA.

All foreign correspondents of major newspapers too work with MI6. Nobody who is close to them has any kind of doubt about this.

N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:20

Theresa May says a no deal Brexit "wouldn't be the end of the world".

  1. This is not a negotiating strategy. This is not a pantomime where one giant on the stage can wink to his supporters (using the British media) without his opponent (EU27) noticing.
  2. The subconscious doesn't work well with negation. Whatever you do, please DON'T imagine an elephant at this time.
  3. I would love to know what the preparations are at Trinity College, Cambridge, for food shortages. They own the port of Felixstowe, which handles more than 40% of Britain's containerised trade. They also own a 50% stake in a portfolio of Tesco stores. Soon food distribution will be what everyone is talking about. I am never going to stop making the point that the god of the Tory party is Thomas Malthus.
N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:38

Oh dear.. Theresa May in Africa:

" As a Prime Minister who believes both in free markets and in nations and businesses acting in line with well-established rules and principles of conduct, I want to demonstrate to young Africans that their brightest future lies in a free and thriving private sector. "

I despise everyone who says that free markets are the solution for the problems of the third world. What they mean is mass starvation and an enormous population cull. There are international "foundations" that pay academics and politicians large amounts of money to spout this obscene line. One of them is called the John Templeton Foundation. They have had their fangs in to British universities for a long time.

They are keen on Prince Philip, the guy who said he wanted to come back as a virus so he could kill a large part of the population. Never trust anyone who has received a Templeton scholarship or prize or who has anything to do with these people or with the message that free markets and the private sector are the key to "development"

Nuno Strybes , August 28, 2018 at 12:43

When the Tories talk about 'free markets', they are talking about markets free from democracy.

May's rhetoric is laughable .basically all her speeches read : 'the sky is green, the snow is black etc etc' -- totally detached from reality and a spent political force, as their recent membership numbers showed, with more revenues from legacies left in wills than from actual living members.

Ros Thorpe , August 28, 2018 at 12:30

I agree with the Skripal relatives that Sergei is dead. He hasn't been seen or heard of and would have called his mother. Mind boggling deception at all levels and I struggle to believe any of it.

N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:47

Sergei Skripal could be in US custody, either in the US itself or in a US facility somewhere.

If he is dead, then the rehospitalisation of Charlie Rowley may be to assist with the narrative. "Once you've had a drop of Novvy Chockk, you may recover but you can fall down ill at any time, and here's an Expert with a serious voice to confirm it."

Nuno Strybes , August 28, 2018 at 12:38

I follow this blog closely, particularly in relation to the Skripal case, but this is my first comment. I just watched Sky News piece on 'super recognisers' and couldn't help but wonder why, in an age of powerful facial recognition technology, the police and security services seem to have drawn such a blank. The surveillance state in the UK is known to be one of the most advanced in the world but when it comes to this highly important geopolitical crisis our technological infrastructure seems to be redundant to the point where 'human eyes' are deemed to be more accurate than the most powerful supercomputers available. Psychologically, all humans have an inherent facial recognition ability from a very young age, but the idea that some police officers have this ability developed to such an extent that they supercede computer recognition is, i feel, laughable. To me this announcement through the ever subservient Sky News reeks of desperation on the part of the ;official story'. Are we about to be shown suspects who, although facial recognition technology fails to identify them, a 'super recogniser' can testify that it actually is person A or person B and we are all supposed to accept that? Seems either a damning indictment of the judicial process, or a damning indictment of the £££££'s of taxpayers money that is spent on places like GCHQ etc whose technology is now apparently no better than a highly perceptive human brain. Give me a break !

Trowbridge H. Ford , August 28, 2018 at 13:08

Why no interest in how the Coopers died in Egypt? We will soon be told by HMG that the Russians somehow dd it too., thanks to Urban's research?

giyane , August 28, 2018 at 13:49

People do die Trowbridge. I know you haven't, but you have the motivation of outliving your persecutors. With Muckin about with Isis gone and covert operations isn't social work Kissinger looking as though he's on daily blood transfusions, you have rejected Trump for some reason. But Trump has undone much of John McCain's worst mischief in one year. If McCain was an example of a politician, we don't need politicians.

Trowbridge H. Ford , August 28, 2018 at 14:16

Give me an example, other than the Coopers. of a healthy couple one day that is found dying the next day like the Skripals.

And while i tried on another site to be generous about McCain. he got Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr. to scare the Soviets for prevailing in the Vietnam War so much about what NATO was up to in the fallout from shooting Swedish PM Olof Palme that Moscow gave up the competition for fear that it would blow up the world, helping bring on the crappy one we have.

McCain was a continuing Cold Warrior who we don't need since we still have Trump who is just trying to do it another way.

Trowbridge H. Ford , August 28, 2018 at 15:03

Oh, I forget that couple in Amesbury. Looks like the Porton Down Plague is spread overseas.

Posting on this site in like playing bridge online – the cards are stacked against you.

Doodlebug , August 28, 2018 at 15:26

"Give me an example, other than the Coopers. of a healthy couple one day that is found dying the next day like the Skripals."

Will a 17 year old and his step-father do?

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6918378/brit-lad-17-in-a-coma-on-family-holiday-in-spain-may-have-been-poisoned-by-cockroach-pesticide/

They both survived, but one or other (quite possibly both) would have died without medical intervention.

[Sep 14, 2018] English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte s Bought Journalists Suppressed

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... My guess is that this book is just too dangerous to allow it to become part of the debate on "fake news" and "Russiagate." Of course now the CIA doesn't even have to exclusively – "own"- journalists as fronts when ex-CIA heads are being hired outright by MSM as pundits. I just wish someone with access would post an English language PDF version online. It would be a real contribution to free thought and free speech to do so. ..."
"... Western elites realize what they could have, what they could do and what they could get away with, but only if they reinvent the political system Hitler created. If they defeat every enemy abroad who might stop them, next they'll do to their own people what the Nazis did to those they didn't want alive ..."
"... Journos have long been pliant enablers for Intel agencies. It's strange how Dr. Ulfkotte's revelations have been taken as some signifier of further Western moral decay/decadence. ..."
"... The real story here, which the media pretends not to notice, is that if Intelligence services and corporations did not finance newspapers they would cease to exist. The old business model whereby newspapers covered their costs by selling advertising and paid circulation is finished. Under that model there were, to an extent, incentives for the publisher to preserve a modicum of credibility in order to keep readership, as well as reasons to publish sensational stories to beat competition. ..."
"... The days that Ulfkotte recalled were times when it took lots of money and careful preparation to put spooks into the newsroom, nowadays the papers are only too happy to publish the CIA's PR and very grateful if the government pays their journalists' salaries. ..."
"... To understand how journalism is bought, go analyze the output of the Uk's Daily Telegraph. They literally sell space to lobbyists and for several years outraged BTL comment would tear the articles to shreds. The whole UK Press prostitutes itself whenever there is a US war on i.e. all the time. It really is about time the CIA were unmasked – they do not serve our interests, they serve only their own . ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | off-guardian.org

intergenerationaltrauma says February 11, 2018

The rather obvious suppression of the English version of what was a "best seller" in Germany suggests that the Western system of thought manipulation and consent manufacture sees itself as weaker and more vulnerable than one might at first imagine.

We can see from a year+ of "Russiagate" that Western media is a clown-show, much of so called "alternative media" included.

My guess is that this book is just too dangerous to allow it to become part of the debate on "fake news" and "Russiagate." Of course now the CIA doesn't even have to exclusively – "own"- journalists as fronts when ex-CIA heads are being hired outright by MSM as pundits. I just wish someone with access would post an English language PDF version online. It would be a real contribution to free thought and free speech to do so.

Google Talpiot Program says January 30, 2018
Just like "200 years together" by Solzhenitsyn which was never officially published in English despite Andrei having authored many works which were big sellers. Just an example of other private business and corporations are often fully responsible for pro-establishment censorship.
Harry Stotle says January 15, 2018
The treatment of the book aroused suspicion because of its content – ie supine news outlets forever dancing to the tune of western military imperatives.

Ongoing support for illegal wars tell us that the MSM has hardly been at the forefront of informing readers why war criminals like Hilary and Obama keep getting away with it. In fact Obama, just like Kissinger was awarded a peace prize – so obviously something has gone very wrong somewhere.

It may be, although it seems unlikely that the mis-handling of an important theme like this is simply due to oversight by the publisher (as Matt claims) but neither is it beyond the realms of possibility that somebody has had a word with someone in the publishing world, perhaps because they are not overly keen on the fact Udo Ulfkotte has deviated from the media's mono-narrative about why it is necessary for the US to destabilise countries and kill so many of their citizens.

Lets face it – it would be harder for the pattern to be maintained if the MSM was not so afraid of telling the truth, or at least be more willing to hold to account politicians as the consequences of their disastrous policies unfold for all to see.

Maybe you want to have a go at answering the obvious question begged by such self evident truths – why are the MSM usually lying?

Marcus says January 20, 2018
The book was never published in English. It was advertised, and then withdrawn. That is suppression...
Michael McNulty says January 14, 2018
Somebody said banning books is the modern form of book burning, and like Heinrich Heine said two centuries ago, "Where they burn books, in the end, they start burning people."

Western elites realize what they could have, what they could do and what they could get away with, but only if they reinvent the political system Hitler created. If they defeat every enemy abroad who might stop them, next they'll do to their own people what the Nazis did to those they didn't want alive. If enough water sources are lost to fracking, and enough food sources lost through poisoned seas and forest fires, many people will go to their camps as refuge but few will survive them. This ecological destruction is for future population reduction.

In the US they use newspeak to say what the Nazis described with more honesty. Their master race became the indispensable nation, their world domination became full spectrum dominance, and Totalerkrieg became the global war on terror. There will be others.

jones says January 12, 2018
Farzad Basoft anyone ? Journos have long been pliant enablers for Intel agencies. It's strange how Dr. Ulfkotte's revelations have been taken as some signifier of further Western moral decay/decadence.
summitflyer says January 15, 2018
Maybe I am taking what you wrote out of context but I don't find it strange at all .It is just that someone, Udo, on the inside has become a whistle blower , and confirmed what most suspected .The establishment can't have that.

See John Swinton on the independence of the press at http://constitution.org/pub/swinton_press.htm

Connect says January 12, 2018
As the economy growth has this so-called invisible hand, journalism also has an 'invisible pen'. One of the questions that need an answer: how come feminists are so anti-Putin and anti-Russia? Easy to connect to dots?
bevin says January 11, 2018
The real story here, which the media pretends not to notice, is that if Intelligence services and corporations did not finance newspapers they would cease to exist. The old business model whereby newspapers covered their costs by selling advertising and paid circulation is finished. Under that model there were, to an extent, incentives for the publisher to preserve a modicum of credibility in order to keep readership, as well as reasons to publish sensational stories to beat competition.

Those days are gone: none of the newspapers make financial profits, they now exist because they have patrons. They always did, of course, but now they have nothing else- the advertisers have left and circulation is diminishing rapidly.

The days that Ulfkotte recalled were times when it took lots of money and careful preparation to put spooks into the newsroom, nowadays the papers are only too happy to publish the CIA's PR and very grateful if the government pays their journalists' salaries.

As to competition that is restricted to publishers competing to demonstrate their loyalty to the government and their ingenuity in candy coating its propaganda.

Anyone doubt that Luke Harding will be in the running for a Pulitzer? Or perhaps even the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Serge Lubomudrov says January 11, 2018
For those whose German is not good enough (like me, unfortunately), but know Russian, there's a Russian translation: https://www.litres.ru/udo-ulfkotte/prodazhnye-zhurnalisty-lubaya-pravda-za-vashi-dengi/
vexarb says January 9, 2018
For what it's worth, I skimmed through this very long link by Matt, and could find no mention of poison gas -- certainly no denunciation -- just horrific conventional arms : Der Spiegel 1984: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13508659.html

Also for what it's worth, the German publisher's blurb which I got Google to translate above, says there is much more to the book than old Soddem: the author names names and points to organizations.

Now, without any evidence, based only on my faulty memory and highly biased interpretation of events strung together on a timeline, here is my conspiracy story about a very nice country called Iraq and a very nasty Iraqi called Saddam who came to a very nasty end at the hands of his much more nasty friends, who first gave him a boost and then put in the boot.

George Cornell says January 9, 2018
That is more than plausible. Unfortunately. Hard not to sympathize with the Iraqis and feel shame for what has been done in the name of the US and UK. Rotten to the core, and sanctimonious to boot.
rtj1211 says January 9, 2018
To understand how journalism is bought, go analyze the output of the Uk's Daily Telegraph. They literally sell space to lobbyists and for several years outraged BTL comment would tear the articles to shreds. The whole UK Press prostitutes itself whenever there is a US war on i.e. all the time. It really is about time the CIA were unmasked – they do not serve our interests, they serve only their own .
Carrie says January 9, 2018
The Guardian sells space to lobbyists too. Not ad space – article space. It's literally hiring itself out to whomever wants to buy the right to publish an article under its name.
Brian Steere says January 8, 2018
Well one things stands out in bold and that is the fear that such a revelation is associated with. 'Broad spectrum dominance' of a central intelligent agency is a reversal of the wholeness of being expressing through all its parts.

Fake intelligence is basically made up to serve a believed goal. The terrorism of fear generates the goal of a self-protection that sells true relationship to 'save itself'.

This goes deep into what we take to be our mind. The mind that thinks it is in control by controlling what it thinks.

If I can observe this in myself at will, is it any surprise I can see it in our world?

What is the fear that most deeply motivates or drives the human agenda?
I do not ask this of our superficial thinking, but of a core self-honesty that cannot be 'killed' but only covered over with a thinking-complex.

And is it insane or unreal to be moved by love?

We are creatures of choice and beneath all masking, we are also the creator of choice.
But the true creative is not framed into a choosing between, but feeling one call as the movement of it.

When the 'intelligence' of a masking narrative no longer serves, be the willingness for what you no longer claim to have, and open to being moved from within.

candideschmyles says January 8, 2018
I am so tired of the simmering fury that lives inside me. This bubbling cauldron brim full of egregious truths, images and accounts accumulated over nearly 40 years of looking behind the headlines. I disagree that the usurpation of journalists and media organisations is in any way a recent phenomena. It certainly predates my emergent mind. And even the most lauded of anti-establishment hacks and film makers self-censored to some degree. True, the blatant in your face propaganda and thought control agenda has accelerated, but it was always there. I do not believe Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Pilger and their like could have done much more than they have, that is to guide us in a direction counter to the official narrative. And to insinuate they are gatekeepers, when our heads never stretch above the parapet, is really just a reflection of our own frustration that despite their work the only change remains for the worse.
Yet I fear worse is to come. Our safe bitching in glorious anonymity has been all that we have had as solace to the angst that pervades us, the other 1%. But the the thumbscrew is tightening. We may be as little as months away from any dissent being entirely removed from the internet by AI algorithms. I have already been receiving warnings on several sites anyone here would call legitimate that have had their security certificates removed and the statement that the site may contain malicious code etc. How prepared are we for blackout?
Serge Lubomudrov says January 8, 2018
The publisher even removed the 2 year old news announcement about the book! Though the twit is still there. Probably, overlooked.

https://twitter.com/saumacus/status/950468330086858757

summitflyer says January 8, 2018
A foundation should be set up in remembrance of Udo and sponsored by all true journalists and truth seekers. Maybe some day there will be a Udo Ulfkotte award to the bravest journalist of the year .Wouldn't that be something .Udo's work would not have been in vain . That would throw a monkey wrench into orgs like the Guardian and their ilk .Just dreaming out loud maybe , but with good intentions.
Alun Thomas says January 8, 2018
Original German version can be found here: http://gen.lib.rus.ec/book/index.php?md5=ABA05365ABE35FD446D6F83B149A32A2
Unfortunately no english version, but other controversial texts have sometimes been crowd-translated, maybe something like this may happen
Chris G says January 8, 2018
Thank you Alun for the link to the German edition, which I have managed to download (naughty me!) I think the suggestion of retranslating important sections and dressing these in some commentary for (presumably legitimate) publication on e.g. Off-G would be a good idea. I'm quite fluent in German and would be glad to help.
Mods: do you see any legal pitfalls?
Admin says January 8, 2018
That depends on who holds the rights to the English language version and the original and whether they would want to take issue. If it's Ulfkotte's family they may be happy to see his work get some sort of airing in English. If it's his publishers we can imagine they will see things differently – as indeed would whoever it is that seems to want the book buried.
Martin Read says January 8, 2018
Tried to get to that site and was told that I couldn't via my Virgin provider because of a High Court order. Somebody moved a bit quickly.
Carrie says January 8, 2018
Me too! My Broadband provider is blocking access due to a High Court injunction.

@ChrisG & @Alun Thomas – can you guys still get there? It might be a country or region thing.

Alun Thomas says January 8, 2018
I heard it is blocked in many western countries, as the site is well known for its disregard for copyright. Fortunately not the case where I am (NZ). If you're technically inclined, a VPN or anonymising application may help, although a VPN that 'exits' in a western area won't get you any further ahead.
George Cornell says January 8, 2018
I had no problem, but provider in Canada
Arrby says January 11, 2018
One hopes. I also hold out hope for F. William Engdahl's "Geheimakte NGOs." Here's a Dissident Voice article in which Engdahl discusses the role of NGOs in aiding and abetting the US regime change program:

https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/07/the-us-empire-the-cia-and-the-ngos/

I also recommend, highly, Stephen Gowans's article about social networking in the service of the US regime change program:

"Overthrow Inc.: Peter Ackerman's quest to do what the CIA used to do, and make it seem progressive" by Stephen Gowans
https://gowans.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/overthrow-inc-peter-ackerman%E2%80%99s-quest-to-do-what-the-cia-used-to-so-and-make-it-seem-progressive/

Frank says January 8, 2018
Yes, it has also been interesting to note that in 2015 the Guardian published a review of Richard Sakwa's book 'Frontline Ukraine' in which the author was critical of both NATO and the EU, in fomenting this crisis. The 2014 'coup' which was carried out in February 2014 was, according to the independent geopolitical publication, Strator, 'the most blatant in history.' The appraisal which was carried out by Guardian journalist Jonathon Steele was generally favourably disposed to Sakwa's record of events; however, Mr Steele now rarely publishes anything in the Guardian. Read into this what you like.

As to Sakwa's latest book,'' Russia Against the Rest'', – nothing, not a peep, it doesn't exist, it never existed, it never will exist. It would appear to be the case that the Guardian is now fully integrated into the military/surveillance/media-propaganda apparatus. The liberal gatekeeper as to what is and what isn't acceptable. Its function is pure to serve the interests of the powerful, in much the same way as the church did in the middle ages. The media doesn't just serve the interests power it is also part of the same structure of dominance, albeit the liberal wing of the ruling coalition.

During the British war against the Boers in South Africa, at the turn of the 19/20 century, the then Manchester Guardian took a brave and critical stand against the UK government. This lead to its offices in Manchester being attacked by jingoistic mobs, as was the home of the then editor C.P.Scott, whose family needed police protection. In those days 'Facts were Sacred', unlike the present where opposing views are increasingly ignored or suppressed.

Hugh O'Neill says January 8, 2018
Having just watched the documentary film tribute to I.F. Stone, "All Governments Lie", I was struck by the fact that no-one mentioned Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone journalist (who outed General McChrystal, but whose Mercedes went mysteriously out of control, hit a tree and exploded, throwing the engine 200 yards clear of the wreck ). Here was a film about control and self-censorship, yet no-one even breathed the acronyms C.I.A. or FBI. Matt Taibbi referred to a silent coup, but none dared to mention the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK. These doyens of Truth included the thoroughly dodgy Noam Chomsky. Finally, the Spartacus website suggests that the saintly I.F. Stone was in the pay of the CIA. Other terms unspoken were CIA Operation Mockingbird or Operation Northwoods. There was a clip of 9/11, but zero attempt to join up all the dots.
RIP Udo Ulfkotte. CIA long ago developed a dart to induce all the signs of a heart attack, so one is naturally somewhat suspicious. Lies and assassinations are two sides of the same coin.
Harry Stotle says January 8, 2018
The only thing harder to find than Udo Ulfkotte's book is a Guardian review of it.

I daresay any mention of this book, BTL, would immediately be moderated (i.e censored) followed by a yellow or red card for the cheeky commentator.
The level of pretence on this forum has now reached epic proportions, and seems to cuts both ways, ie. commentators pretending that there are not several subjects which are virtually impossible to discuss in any depth (such as media censorship), and moderators pretending that 'community standards' is not simply a crude device to control conversational discourse, especially when a commentators point of view stray beyond narrow, Guardian approved borders.

Books, such as 'Bought Journalists' (which expose the corruption at the heart of western media) are especially inconvenient for the risible 'fake news' agenda currently being rammed down the readerships throat – some of these people at the Guardian have either absolutely no insight, or no shame.

Harry Stotle says January 8, 2018
This piece put me in mind of Daniele Gansers seminal book, 'NATOs secret armies' Of course Off-G picked up on it but I can't find any commentary from the Guardian
https://off-guardian.org/2015/07/17/natos-secret-armies-gladio-in-western-europe/

Ulfkotte and Ganser in their ways are both telling a similar story – NATO, i.e an arm of the US military industrial complex are mass murderers and sufficiently intimidating to have most western journalists singing from the same hymn sheet.

Since the Guardian follows the party line it is only possible to send coded or cryptic messages (BTL) should commentators wish to deviate from the approved narrative.
For example, I was 'pre-moderated' for having doubts about the veracity of the so called 'Parsons Green tube bomb', especially the nature of the injuries inflicted on a young model who looked like she was suffering from toothache.
https://www.thenational.ae/image/policy:1.628812:1505494262/wo16-web-parsons-green.JPG?f=16Χ9&w=1024&$p$f$w=e135eda

My guess is NATO's secret army are still in full swing but there is no chance the Guardian will pick up on it – they're too busy whipping up antipathy towards Iran.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/05/west-ignores-iranian-people-power-peril#comments

George Cornell says January 8, 2018
Been there, done that. What ordinarily happens if the submission is proper and cannot be censored on the basis of impropriety or foulmouthedness or any other good reason, but exposes a Guardian sacred cow in an embarrassing light, is that it is said to be off topic. Now this is really unaccountable, and truly subjective.

The community in community standards is "them" and has close ties to the 1%, if I hazard a guess.

[Sep 12, 2018] UK ruling elite looks evil and stupid: Skriplas affair as a new Zinoviev letter forgery

UK neoliberal press like Guardian looks evil and stupid as well...
Sep 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc , Sep 12, 2018 5:33:25 PM | link

... hilariously, UK security minister Wallace asserted the Novichok was assuredly in a perfume bottle, got into the country because of poor baggage checks, had the capability "to kill or injure hundreds and hundreds of people", but was not a health risk to persons on the plane or public transit used by the suspects. ????

TJ , Sep 12, 2018 6:10:54 PM | link

@jayc 28

...yes, HMG is a source of continuing amusement, assuming they don't get us all killed in a Global Thermonuclear war.

Tom , Sep 12, 2018 8:28:39 PM | link
Article over at the Stalker Zone on the forged letter that brought down the first UK Labour government of Ramsey McDonald in 1924.

"The frank forgery that is the "Zinoviev's letter" came to London from the Riga department of the Secret Intelligence Service of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of Britain (or SIS, nowadays better known as MI-6) with an assurance that the authenticity of the document "does not raise doubts" (the most ancient form of "highly likely") The Labour government was doomed. Rectifying the situation in such a short period of time before elections didn't seem to be possible."

Mark Twain's truism still holds today, "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." And the media is little different except for sites like this. Thanks B and keep up the good fight. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Vladimir Kornilov: The Prequel to the Skripal Affair – Britain Investigates the "Great Forgery"

[Sep 10, 2018] Should Assad subsequently fall - and that is the actual aim of intervention - then Syria will become another anarchic wasteland ruled over by fundamentalist warlords.

Notable quotes:
"... We know the proceeds will go unmentioned into offshore havens and the London property market. Britain would derive no geopolitical benefit as a whole. The benefits would accrue only to a kleptocracy who think they have a right to use our country as a loan shark's leg-breaker. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Vermithrax , 13 Apr 2018 15:39

Freedland recently put this argument on Newsnight.

It is flawed to the point of dishonesty.

He talks of removing assets as if the process was being conducted under laboratory conditions. There are ten nations enmeshed in a warzone with numerous factions under no one's control. It is magical thinking that cannot be achieved and will only result in rapid, uncontrolled escalation. The idea that there will be no collateral damage is laughable and I regret to suggest that it is deliberately misleading.

Moreover, in engaging Assad when he is on the brink of victory, the Syrian Civil War will be extended. The Syrian people will then pay the price.

Should Assad subsequently fall - and that is the actual aim of intervention - then Syria will become another anarchic wasteland ruled over by fundamentalist warlords. The spiral of migration will be renewed bringing loons wrapped in the dispossessed to our own streets. Worse, the militants next stop will be Lebanon and then Israel will be directly involved. Freedland advocates acting against Assad without even attempting to predict the consequences. At the very least I would expect the usual misdirection 'of course this time we must have a plan for rebuilding Syria', secure in the knowledge that by that time there will be another crisis and Syria can be left in entropy.

No good can come from military intervention. The satisfaction of commentators that the right thing has been done is an irrelevance. The right thing is always just public relations. Every bit of ruthless geopolitics has to have a casus belli to make the killing all righteous and unavoidable. It has always been thus. For resources to be expended on this kind of scale there has to be a rock solid bit of bankable realpolitik. In this case its the struggle for regional hegemony between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Syria can either be part of a supply chain selling Sunni gas/oil to Europe or Shi'a gas/oil to Europe. This is about killing Syrians for the glory of Saudi Arabia. You can see why there has to be a casus belli because thats not something that can be sold. We know the proceeds will go unmentioned into offshore havens and the London property market. Britain would derive no geopolitical benefit as a whole. The benefits would accrue only to a kleptocracy who think they have a right to use our country as a loan shark's leg-breaker.

It is therefore my contention that Freedland is promoting an immoral act that will have serious consequences without offering any serious improvement in the situation. This is arguably the most dangerous situation since the Cuban Missile crisis and an analysis that advocates pouring oil on the flames is either ridiculously stupid or calculatedly duplicitous.

thousandautumns -> balancedman , 13 Apr 2018 15:39
"Up to" 13,000 "opponents" killed over five years during a period of war. I'm assuming that number of "opponents" includes a large number of out and out terrorists who have thrown the country into chaos.
Brianto , 13 Apr 2018 15:39
What is Porton Down manufacturing?
oldeborr , 13 Apr 2018 15:38
The UK and France bares a heavy responsibility for the current situation in Syria. The cavalier attitude that the ConDems took to international law during the Arab spring encouraged the Saudi s and their proxies to distablise the recognised Govt. Assad is no paragon of virtue, but prior to the insurgency steps were in place to make the country a better place for its citizens, and whilst its true political dissent was not allowed, people could live their lives and go about their business in safety.

[Sep 07, 2018] The Russian minority in the Baltics live under 'apartheid' states OffGuardian by Admin

off-guardian.org
Max Parry

An 'Immortal Regiment' march celebrating Victory Day in Riga, Latvia.

It has been nearly three decades since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Despite Russia's reemergence on the world stage as a respected power after market-oriented 'reforms' destroyed its economy for the duration of the nineties, the breakup of the USSR is an event regarded by an increasing amount of Russians as a catastrophic tragedy rather than a triumph of 'freedom and democracy.'

In recent years, there have been numerous polls showing that more than half of Russians not only regret the collapse of the Soviet Union but would even prefer for its return . However, the nostalgia only comes as a surprise to those who have forgotten that not long before the failed August Coup that led to its demise, the first and only referendum in its history was held in March of 1991 which polled citizens if they wished to preserve the Soviet system.

The results were more than three quarters of the population in the entire socialist federation (including Russia) voting a resounding yes with a turnout of 80% in the participating republics. In Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan the outcome was more than 90% voting for renewal. Even the country with the lowest amount of support, the Ukraine, was still 70% in favor. While the measure was officially banned in six republics -- Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and the three Baltic states -- despite being unrecognized by their local governments the vote was still organized and the outcomes were all over 90%.

Ironically, the union dissolved five months later under the pretext of establishing 'democracy' in Eastern Europe just as it ignored the very wishes of Soviet citizens. After more than 25 years of suffering at the hands of economic and trade liberalization, gutting of state subsidies and mass privatization of the former state-run industry, is it any wonder that Russians are yearning for a return to socialism?

The consequences of the disintegration are still felt in the relations with the United States today. It planted the seeds for the carefully arranged revival of the Cold War that was hiding in plain sight until it surfaced with 'color revolutions', proxy wars and dubious spy poisonings. One source of the strained relations between the West and Russia has been the Baltic states, which burgeoned following their integration into the European Union and enrollment in NATO membership in 2004 during its enlargement. NATO continues its provocations with massive war games bordering Kaliningrad, while Moscow is painted as the aggressor even though the U.S. defense spending increase this year alone surpasses Russia's entire military budget.

The antagonism between Latvia, Estonia and(to a lesser degree) Lithuania with Moscow stems partly from from the cessation of the USSR itself. The conclusion of the Cold War resulted in more than 25 million Russians instantly discovering themselves living abroad in foreign countries. For seventy years, fifteen nations had been fully integrated while Russians migrated and lived within the other republics. The Soviet collapse immediately reignited national conflicts, from the Caucasus to the Baltics. While the majority of the ethnic Russian diaspora live in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, nearly 1 million reside in the post-Soviet Baltics and since 1991 they have been subjected to a campaign of forced assimilation, discrimination and exclusion.

The Baltic republics made nationalism their official state policy while moving away from Russia's sphere of influence into a closer relationship with the West. Boris Yeltsin's subservience to Washington eclipsed any concern for the fate of captive Russians as the Soviet Bloc was herded into the EU, but his administration did quarrel with the new Baltic authorities and accused them of creating an anti-Russian 'apartheid.'

As geopolitical tensions have increased under his successor, Vladimir V. Putin, who has embarrassed Western imperialism in the international arena, so has Moscow's disapproval of the treatment of its minority held hostage in the Baltic Rim. Is a comparison to South Africa warranted? Even if the similarities are only partial, the three states show evidence of deep ethnocracy.

While less than 10% of Lithuania is ethnically Russian, in Latvia and Estonia the number is much higher at a quarter of their entire populations. The three governments have passed laws promoting their official languages and restored citizenship requirements that existed up until 1940, demanding that their Russian minorities apply or risk losing basic rights and guarantees. Russia has interpreted these measures as a form of slow-motion ethnic cleansing intended to coerce Russians to immigrate elsewhere.

When the three states first became independent, in an act of systematic discrimination they distributed non-citizen 'alien' passports to ethnic Russians and excluded them from obtaining citizenship automatically, even if they had lived and worked in a Baltic state for their entire life. In fact, citizenship was not immediately granted to anyone whose ancestry arrived after 1940, a policy that specifically targeted ethnic Russians who without naturalization are left stateless.

For example, when Estonia first declared its independence more than 30% of its population (or every third person) did not have citizenship of the country of residence. This inscribed ethnic division into their society and although many Russians have become naturalized over the last two decades, there are still more than 80,000 in Estonia without determined status who are mostly former Soviet citizens and their descendants. In Latvia, segregation runs even deeper where more than 250,000 Russians (15% of the population) remain stateless. Even when they do become citizens, the parliaments have attempted to pass laws banning non-EU immigrants (predominantly Russians) from possessing voting rights on several occasions. Polls also show the prejudice within their societies, with many Balts indicating they would prefer their Russian-speaking neighbors to repatriate.

Meanwhile, the Russian population has expressed concern about the reemergence of neo-Nazism. The authorities have nurtured holocaust denial, such as the Latvian government objecting to an UNESCO Holocaust exhibition of the Salaspils concentration camp on the basis it would 'tarnish the country's image.' No kidding.

Children held in Salaspils concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Latvia during WWII.

One criteria for the naturalization exams is based on language where in order to become citizens Russians must become fluent in Latvian and Estonian, even though they are such a large minority that in larger cities they often constitute 50% of the population and Russian may be the most spoken language. Simultaneously, any attempt to make Russian a second official language have been struck down. It is a deliberate effort to assimilate the Russian-speaking minority and erase remnants of Soviet culture.

In order to obtain basic entitlements, Russians have to pass the tough naturalization tests which many fail several times (especially the elderly), facing fines and risking losing their employment in the process. The tests are notoriously difficult as Latvian and Estonian languages bear little resemblance to Slavic Russian and are much closer to Finnish.

Apart from ethnicity, 40% of Latvia as a whole identifies as Russian-speaking and have been accustomed to schooling in their native tongue where they already have low career prospects and income rates. Rather than inclusion, they have been mandated to adopt the Baltic languages. Beginning in 2019, the Russian language education options in Latvia will be discontinued altogether in higher education at colleges and universities as well as many secondary schools, which has sparked demonstrations in protest .

Russian-speakers protesting Latvia's language reform laws

It should be made clear that what ethnic Russians experience in the Baltics has its own particularities that make it significantly different from the institutionalized racism and violently enforced segregation that existed in South Africa (or what many believe is applicable to the Palestinians under Israeli occupation). The word apartheid itself originates from the Afrikaans word for 'separateness' (or apart-hood), but an exact comparison is not the real issue. There are many overlapping characteristics that make an analogy arguable.

For instance, the use of an ID system denoting ethnicity and alien status with the inability of Russians to participate in the democratic process or politics. Their reduced standing contributes to a society where ethnic groups often do not intermingle and are concentrated in particular areas with Russians mostly residing in urban cities. Yet even Israel recognized Arabic as a second official language (until 2018), while none of three Baltic states do so for Russian. When referendums have been held on whether to adopt Russian as a second language, the non-citizen communities are excluded from voting, ensuring its inability to pass.

The exams also coerce Russians to accept a nationalist and historically revisionist account of the last century where the Soviet Union is said to have "occupied" the Baltics. A history lesson is needed to understand how this is untrue and based on pure Nazi mythology. During the Romanov dynasty, the Baltic states had been part of the Russian Empire but became independent for the first time in centuries following the February Revolution in 1917.

Along with Belarus and Finland, the Bolsheviks were unable to regain the three republics during the Russian Civil War. During the 1930s, the three nations were officially sovereign states but under their own brutal nationalist regimes. The Soviet liberation of the Baltics can hardly be seen as a 'forceful incorporation' considering what they replaced were not democracies themselves and they were absorbed in order to block Hitlerite expansionism.

Since the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe, the Baltic states have waged a campaign of diminishing and obscuring the Holocaust into a 'double genocide' of equal proportions , conflating the Nazis and the Soviets as twin evils. Western 'democracies' have helped obfuscate the truth about the widely misunderstood Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the treaty of non-belligerence between Germany and the USSR. The 1939 non-aggression pact has been painted as a 'secret alliance' between the Nazis and the Soviets, disregarding that France and Great Britain had done the same with the Germans the previous year with the Munich Agreement.

Only the Soviets are said to have 'conspired' with Hitler, just as when the West fought the Germans it was for 'liberal values' but when the USSR did so it was for competing 'dominion' over Europe. In order to mask their own fascist sympathies, the West has falsified the historical reasons for the accord. In reality, there were measures incorporating the Baltic states into the USSR as part of a mutual defense and assistance against German imperialism and their 'master plan' for the East.

The truth is that the ruling class in the West feared the spread of communism much more than fascism, and actually viewed the rise of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe as an opportunity to crush the Soviet Union. Leading up to WWII, not only was it Western capital investment which financed the rapid buildup of Germany's armed forces, but the U.S., Britain and France did everything within their power to encourage Hitler's aggression toward the USSR. More than once they collectively refused to sign any mutual security alliance with Moscow while appeasing Hitler's expansionism in Czechoslovakia, with the British in particular guilty of sabotaging negotiations to isolate the Soviets and pit them into a war against Germany.

Stalin was well aware the Nazis planned to expand the Lebensraum further East, but the Soviets were in the midst of a rapid industrialization process that accomplished in a single decade what took the British more than a century. They needed time to guarantee they could defeat an offensive by the Wehrmacht, the most powerful and developed military force in the world at the time. It provided an additional year and ten months of further buildup of Soviet armaments  --  if not for this move, it is possible the Germans would never have been stopped twenty kilometers short of Moscow and turned the outcome of the war in their favor. The real reason the pact infuriated the West was because it obligated them into having to fight the Germans, something the imperial powers had hoped to avoid altogether.

More disturbingly, the Baltic governments have drawn from the traditions of the far right by whitewashing the local nationalists that sided with Germany during their invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 which broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The Nazi collaborators have been restored and normalized as 'freedom fighters' who fought solely for Baltic independence.

The Estonian parliament has even adopted resolutions honoring the Estonian Legion and 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian) without any such equivalent measure for the more than 30,000 Estonians who courageously fought in the Red Army.

To most Russians, it is an absolute insult to the 27 million Soviets who died defeating the Nazis, including the Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians who did so as well. Today, if they wish to become citizens they must swear an oath of allegiance to this rewriting of history which has been made a precondition for obtaining citizenship. The three states also do not recognize the May 9th Victory Day as a holiday, forcing the Russian minority to celebrate it informally.

20th Estonian SS Division

The rehabilitation of the local nationalists who fought alongside the Germans has been done under the false premise that the collaboration was a purely strategic alliance. The Soviets are portrayed as equal to or worse than Nazi Germany, a false equivalency between fascism and communism that is a ubiquitous trait among ultra-rightists today. Tens of thousands of Latvians and Estonians volunteered and were conscripted into legions of the SS which participated in the Holocaust, as did Lithuanians in the Nazi-created Territorial Defense Force and their Security Police.

They did not simply coordinate on the battlefield with the Germans, but directly participated in the methodical slaughter of Jews, Roma and others because they shared their racism. In Lithuania, for example, quislings welcomed the Wehrmacht as liberators and for the next three years under Nazi occupation helped murder 200,000 Jews, nearly 95% of the country's Jewish population, a total which exceeded every other European country in terms of percentage of extermination. It is certain that the only thing that prevented Lithuania's Jews from extinction was the heroism and sacrifice of the Red Army.

Latvians greeting the Red Army after the liberation of Riga

During the Cold War, the US and NATO sought to whitewash certain Nazi war criminals when it suited its strategic interests against the Soviets. This went beyond the Germans themselves, whether it was recruiting their spies for espionage, atomic scientists in Operation Paperclip , or making Hans Speidel the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Central Europe.

The Nuremberg Trials had ruled the entire Waffen SS as an organization to be guilty of war crimes during the holocaust, but the US chose to make a distinction between the 15th and 19th SS divisions in Latvia (Latvian Legion) and 20th division in Estonia from the German divisions of the SS. In 1950, the US Displaced Persons Commission determined:

The Baltic Waffen SS Units are to be considered as separate and distinct in purpose, ideology, activities, and qualifications for membership from the German SS, and therefore the Commission holds them not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States under Section 13 of the Displaced Persons Act, as amended."

While the displaced persons laws let Jewish refugees into the United States, it also provided cover for the reserved spaces for thousands of Nazi collaborators in an open-door policy providing them safe harbor. Following the end of WWII, many of the former members of the Baltic SS units became anti-Soviet partisans known as the Forest Brothers who carried on a guerilla campaign against the Soviets with the assistance of the CIA and MI6 until it was defeated in mid-50s. Unfortunately, Nikita Khruschev then made one of a series of colossal mistakes by permitting the exiled Baltic nationals to return as part of the de-Stalinisation thaw.

Latvian Legion

The idea that regiments of the Schutzstaffel were fighting purely for Estonian and Latvian independence is a horrifying fabrication in defiance of the overwhelming evidence documented by holocaust historians. The West has exploited this sanitizing of history that reappeared following the reinstatement of free enterprise in eastern Europe which has proliferated the far right in the EU as a whole. Why? It serves their cynical immediate interests in undermining Moscow. The same manipulations are occurring in the Cold War's sequel. Last year, NATO even produced a short film and a-historical reenactment entitled Forest Brothers: Fight for the Baltics , glorifying the anti-Soviet partisans as part of its propaganda effort against Russia.

Any crimes that were committed by the Soviet NKVD during the war are dwarfed by the tens of thousands of Jews and Roma which were exterminated on an industrial level by the Nazis and their co-conspirators using the race theory  --  there is no comparison. Not to mention that the reintroduction of the free market to Eastern Europe killed more people than any period in Soviet history, reducing life expectancy by a decade and undoing seventy years worth of progress. We only ever hear of the faults of socialism and the inflated numbers of losses of life attributed to its failure, never the daily crimes of capitalism or the tens of millions lost in the wars it produces.

he Soviet brand of socialism was far from perfect, but nevertheless a model for what humanity can achieve in the face of tremendous adversity without being shackled by the contradictions of capitalism  --  an industrial society with relative equality in education, wealth, employment and basic necessities. Now that Western capitalism is once again collapsing, it is making friends with nationalists to revise its ugly history and the Russian minority in the Baltics are suffering the consequence. It will continue to apportion blame on the up-and-coming power in Moscow, no longer the quasi-colony of the Yeltsin era, for its soon-to-be expiration. Let us hope it does not start another World War in the midst of it  --  for all our sake.

Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His work has appeared in publications such as The Greanville Post, Global Research, CounterPunch and more. Read him on Medium . Max may be reached at maxrparry@live.com

20 Comments

Thomas Prentice says September 7, 2018

I did not know about the vote in 1991. Thank you for exposing yet another example of US meddling in elections, i.e. not recognizing the results and essentially forcing a coup via Yeltsin. The war crimes of the US and Israel are beyond comprehension. Loading...
Francis Lee says September 7, 2018
Yes, the Baltics, like the western Ukraine, rolled out the red carpet to the German invaders in 1941. The Nazi genocide was outsourced from Waffen SS and Einsatzgruppen to Baltic Nazis since the numbers involved were too big to handle for the Germans alone.

The Arajs Kommando death squad (also: Sonderkommando Arajs), was led by local SS and collaborators Viktors Arājs, Franz Stahlecker and Robert Stieglitz and a unit of Latvian Auxiliary Police (Lettische Hilfspolizei) which was subordinated to the German Sicherheitsdienst (a special security branch of the German SS). It was a notorious killing unit during the Holocaust. Stahlecker instructed Arajs to set up a commando unit that obtained an official name Latvian Auxiliary Security Police or Arājs Kommando.

The following day on July 2 1941 Arajs learned from Stahlecker during a conference that the Arajs commando had to unleash a pogrom that looked spontaneous and these pogrom-like disorders were to break out before German occupation authorities had been properly established. The Einsatzkommando a sub-group of the SS death squads, belonging to the larger Einsatzgruppen) influenced mobs of former members of Pērkonkrusts (Latvian ultra-nationalists and other extreme right-wing groups) began mass arrests, pillaging and murders of Jews in Riga, which led to death of between 300 to 400 Jews.

Killings continued under the supervision of SS Brigadeführer Walter Stahlecker and ended when more 2,700 Jews had been murdered. The activities of the Einsatzkommando were constrained after the full establishment of the German occupation authority, after which the SS made use of select units of native recruits. German General Wilhelm Ullersperger and Voldemar Weiss, a well known, Latvian nationalist, appealed to the population via a radio address to attack "internal enemies".

During the next few months, activities of the Latvian Auxiliary Security Police was primarily focused on killing Jews, Communists and Red Army stragglers in Latvia as well as in neighbouring Belorussia. The group alone murdered almost half of Latvia's Jewish population, about 26,000 Jews, mainly in November and December 1941. The creation of the Arajs Kommando was "one of the most significant inventions of the early Holocaust", that marked a transition from German organised pogroms to systematic killing of Jews by local volunteers (former army officers, policemen, students, Aizargi).

This helped resolve a chronic problem with German personnel shortages, and provided the Germans with relief from the psychological stress of routinely murdering civilians. By the autumn of 1941, the SS deployed Latvian 'Police Battalions' to Leningrad, where they were consolidated as Latvian Second SS Volunteer Brigade.

In 1943, this brigade, which would later become the Latvian Nineteenth SS Volunteer Division, was consolidated with the Latvian Fifteen SS Volunteer Division to become the Latvian Legion. Although formally the Latvian Legion (Schutzmannschaft or Schuma) was a volunteer Waffen-SS military formation; it was voluntary only by name, because approximately 80-85% of personnel were conscripted into the legion.

Yes lovely people these Batlics. They are now among the poorest countries in Europe and are suffering massive demographic problems as anyone who can, leaves. As my old mother used to say. "God pays debts without money..
"

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mark says September 7, 2018
People of Russian heritage are denied passports, the right to vote, and any official employment, amongst other forms of discrimination and persecution.
These are sh***y little Nazi countries, with their big annual SS parades. They desecrate war memorials and the graves of Russian soldiers who died liberating the Baltic countries in the war. Many Baltic politicians are US dual citizens, neocons parachuted in after 1991 by the State Department. They are ideologically driven and lose no opportunity to vent their spleen against Russia. They are constantly foolishly provocative towards a neighbour that could be a valuable economic partner. We see the same pattern in Ukraine. The US pulled off a stunt where 10,000 US troops in 1,000 tanks and vehicles drove up and down the Latvian border just a few yards from Russian territory, through communities of predominantly Russian heritage.
Part of this hostility to Russia is probably contrived by the political class to cover up their abject failures since independence. Their economies were looted and hollowed out by western finance capital over the past few decades. They were previously highly developed parts of the Soviet Union with industries like machinery, vehicles and shipbuilding. That is now ancient history. The economy has collapsed, and 25% of the population of Latvia has emigrated, scratching a living doing menial jobs or working as prostitutes in the EU, the only future those countries have. Riga was a natural transit hub for Russia, but faced with official visceral hatred from that quarter, the Russians expanded and developed their own port facilities in the Baltic. Riga has been left as a ghost town. That is why Nordstream has been developed, to replace unreliable partners in neighbouring countries who are always ready to cut off their noses to spite their face and please their US neocon masters. Their loss – they could have made billions from energy transit fees. It's the same story with sanctions, for which the Baltic states were enthusiastic cheerleaders. Russia's counter sanctions against agricultural imports have hit them hard. In the course of events, these countries and Russia would be economic partners for their mutual benefit.
As NATO members, these countries believe they can be as foolishly provocative and offensive to Russia as they wish, like the obnoxious kid in the school playground who spits in somebody's face and runs and hides behind his big brother. Small countries like this can cause a disaster, like Serbia and WW1. They are now failed states, like Ukraine. They are just pawns in a neocon game against Russia. They have no future. Loading...
kevin morris says September 7, 2018
'The Baltic republics made nationalism their official state policy while moving away from Russia's sphere of influence into a closer relationship with the West.'

I strongly supported the Soviet Union and likewise I support the CIS, but this article, frankly, is so partial that it misrepresents the reasons why the Baltic States behaved as they did following the Nazi invasion of 1941 and following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

There is no mention of Staln's takeover of the Baltic States in 1940. It is clear that Stalin needed those states as a buffer against Germany, but that said, it is fully understandable that many Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians would see the Nazis as liberators and would resent their countries' reabsorption into the Soviet Union in 1944, followed by settlement by Russian nationals including members of the Soviet state apparatus including the KGB. Of course, we may all deplore collaboration with Nazi race policies, especially in Lithuania, but to ignore factors such as Russia's takeover of the Baltic states ignores a major factor at the heart of those countries' treatment of Russians to this day.

The author explains Stalin's wish to forestall the inevitable war with Nazism because the Soviet Union was involved in industrialisation. This is true, but the article ignores the purges that had led to the Red Army being so ineffectual in its war with Finland that Hitler believed that Barbarossa would be a pushover. When one considers that when the Baltic States became part of the Soviet Union, this will have included the apparatus of state terror that Stalin had been visiting upon the rest of the Soviet Union for several years. Contrary to the above whitewashed view of history, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians had strong grounds for resenting the presence of Russians in their erstwhile independent nations.

I deplore the Baltic States' treatment of ethnic Russians since they gained their independence in September 1991, but ignoring the follies of their Soviet past will do nothing to alleviate their plight.

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manfromatlan says September 7, 2018
I appreciate the historical background, but the treatment of Ukrainians, Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians by Stalin might explain their actions in WWII; doesn't excuse them, sorry. Loading...
bevin says September 7, 2018
"erstwhile independent nations."
To be clear these former provinces-highly favoured provinces- in the Russian Empire had been 'independent' since 1921.And thanks in part too to the Bolshevik doctrine that the Czarist Empire was a 'prison house of peoples.'
No doubt many in the Baltic states resented the invasion of the Red Army but it was only a small minority which celebrated by killing Jews and enrolling in the siege of Leningrad.
In more modern terms there is no reason why these three states, and Ukraine, could not thrive independently without setting themselves up as bases for provocations against Russia and convenient locations for US torture chambers.
The people of Ireland suffered far more under the British Empire than the Balts did under St Petersburg but that did not lead to more than a handful of Irishmen, if that many, in the Second World War joining the SS. Loading...
Big B says September 7, 2018
This article takes no account of the threat posed to our allies in NATO, Eastern Europe, and to the security of the world due to the rising tensions of recent years. Now, more than ever, in the wake of Salisbury attack, we need to stress to our European counterparts in the governments of the Baltic States, that we wish to work with them to maximise the power of collective sanctions against violations of international law – whether by Russia or anyone else. I think we should make clear that our UK commitment to such collective action will not be diminished by Brexit. Similarly, now more than ever, it is vital that the UK and all other NATO members make it clear to all our allies in the Baltic States, and elsewhere, that we want to protect peace and security on the borders, without ramping up tensions unnecessarily, and that such a commitment is not conditional on their levels of defence spending.

Tory defence spending cuts have put Britain's security at risk.. I think the next Labour government should commit to boost our military obligations, above the benchmark of 2% GDP, in line with the last Labour government's commitment to NATO.

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FS says September 7, 2018
Who are you and what have you done with Big B? Loading...
vexarb says September 7, 2018
This is the second parody posted by BigB. A parody so skilful, such inane stringing together of non-sequiturs to an insane c,nclusion, it might have come from the very lips of blessed Theresa of Westminster. Loading...
Big B says September 7, 2018
Very close, Vex: St Jeremy of Islington North. Most of it is verbatim, with some reworded conjunctions. The source text is from Hansard 26/03/18. The last para is a reword taken from quote in John Pilger's excellent article about Labour's non-existent foreign policy which would likely be imperialistic. Or the vague platitude of a return to 'Robin Cook ethical diplomacy' of starting three wars in two years and selling Hawk aircraft to Mugabe.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/06/the-rise-of-britains-new-politics/

It struck me recently when I point out the actual words that JC says, I take the flak. To prove a point (if only to myself) I posted his own (disguised) words to see how people would react. The source text for yesterday was his reply to Treason May, when she announced the two counterfeit suspects for the fabricated Novijoke crime against the intelligence.

It is my supposition that very few know the full context of what is said, relying on media soundbites instead. The media pick a single phrase – such as only saying "evidence points strongly" – and contrast with Bojo's "weaselly words" to construct an entirely inauthentic narrative. It is a pseudo-oppressor/oppressed narrative that creates a false sense of pity and invokes an invented victim mentality (we all know how Brit's love an underdog!).

Anyway, I surmised his words were weaselly, though not in the context of the received culture machine narrative but in themselves, taken in their given context (in Parliament and later in Hansard). They amount to a servile connivance with power (a power that provides the testimony and meaning to the hollow phonemes).

I could have just said that, but I decided to post the slightly disguised text to make a point. Point made.

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mog says September 7, 2018
we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. Loading...
manfromatlan says September 7, 2018
I thought I recognized those words from JC. In fact, I tweeted it! Big disappointment then https://twitter.com/manfromatlan/status/1033028635651788800 Loading...
JudyJ says September 7, 2018
Karen Pierce's utterances could come across as masterful parody but unfortunately she's deadly (literally and metaphorically) serious. Loading...
Frankly Speaking says September 7, 2018
Do they pay you per comment or per word? Loading...
Big B says September 7, 2018
Both! And I get a double for replying to replies! Loading...
curri says September 7, 2018
Soviet "Communism" was de facto never more than a branch of Anglo-American bourgeois progressivism. A geopolitical rivalry developed between the two factions after the defeat of Germany. Note that Western capitalists built the Soviet industrial base in the 1920s and 1930s, so it was obvious they were not seen as a threat then:
http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-ConspiracyTheory&NWO/+Doc-ConspiracyTheory-FalseEnemies/TheWestFinancedSoviets.htm
( )
American technical leadership began to replace German leadership in rebuilding the Soviet Union.

"Of the agreements in force in mid-1929, 27 were with German companies, 15 were with United States firms and the remaining ones were primarily with British and French firms. In the last six months of 1929, the number of technical agreements with U.S. firms jumped to more than 40." (Sutton, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development, 1917-1930, pp. 346-347).
The new program was announced, however, only "after a sequence of construction and technical-assistance contracts with Western companies had been let. The Freyn-Gipromez technical agreement for design and construction of giant metallurgical plants is economically and technically the most important." (Ibid., p. 347).

EXTENT OF AID "ALMOST UNBELIEVABLE"
During the early thirties, the amount and type of "aid and comfort" to the Soviet Union was almost unbelievable. In 1930 the Ford Motor Company established the Russian motor car industry by constructing a factory "capable of turning out 140,000 cars a year." By the end of the decade the factory, at Gorki, was one of the largest in the world. Ford also provided training for the Russians in assembling automobiles "plus patent licenses, technical assistance, and advice," and "an inventory of spare parts." (Keller, East Minus West Equals Zero, pp. 208-209, 215-216). Americans also built, in the Soviet Union, the largest iron and steel works in the world; patterned after the city of Gary, Indiana. The huge steel complex, built at Maginitogorsk, was constructed by a Cleveland firm. (Ibid., pp. 209-210).

LARGEST TRACTOR FACTORY IN THE WORLD
The largest tractor factory in the world was another American contribution to Soviet technology.

"Tractors were a necessity to modernize Soviet agriculture. A Detroit engineer designed and constructed a tractor factory without parallel in any other country. The assembly works were 2,000 feet long and 650 feet wide, covering an area of thirty acres. Twenty-one American football fields would fit into just one building, with locker rooms for the players. The tractors produced were copies of the American Caterpillar Company, but there were no arrangements made for payment for use of the patent. Russia merely bought one sample and copied it. The factory was so designed that production could be adopted almost overnight to the production of another less innocuous commodity – tanks." (Ibid., p. 213).
( )

Russia today is clearly not seen as a partner of Western neoliberalism/progressivism. Therefore, Putin (along with Trump) has become the new Hitler.

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vexarb says September 7, 2018
Curri, thank you for presenting that healthy corrective to my previous one-sided view; up till now I had read only of US aid to Nazi Germany. Loading...
bevin says September 7, 2018
To put these observations into context it must be understood that the Soviet government-obsessed with a crude mechanistic theory of economic development and desperately trying to reproduce all of the 'stages' of economic progress into a succession of Five Year Plans- bled the peasantry and working class dry in order to pay for what Curri calls a partnership. The industrialists, largely Anglo Saxon, who jump started Russian industry after the catastrophes of war and civil war extorted a heavy price, in hard currency, for their 'aid.'
The notion that the Soviet Union, even under Stalin, was accepted as a partner by the west is historically illiterate. The record is clear. And clarified further by the continuity in Foreign Policy which was (and is) the Cold War. Loading...
candideschmyles says September 7, 2018
200,000 Jews in Lithuania alone! And they give all this fuss over Corbyns reluctance to conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism.
I knew there was prejudice in these northern Baltic states but this piece has shocked me. I now understand the self deprecating remarks made to me recently by a supermarket cashier over her being a Russian speaking Lithuanian. Next time I see her I will make a point of offering her my solidarity.
I meet many of these northerners in my work. Now I have some of this background I can ask pertinent questions. Loading...
bevin says September 7, 2018
It would be a mistake to discover the cause for this discrimination in popular prejudice. The actual reason lies in the determination of the ruling class to maintain fascist-collaborationist successor politicians in power.
These politicians, many of whom had origins in expatriate communities in the west, after fleeing their homelands in the baggage of the Wehrmacht and SS, have been finding it very difficult to survive after leading their countries into economic disaster mitigated only by the welcome boost that NATO bases bring to countries in which unemployment rates are at levels not seen since the 1930s.
Like their predecessors they have turned to racism and fascism to prop themselves up.
What is true of the Baltic states is even truer of Ukraine, where Russian speakers constitute a persecuted majority, and where the Speaker of the Rada is on record, this past week, as being inspired by the Fuhrer who he sees as the greatest democrat of the C20th.
As racism and fascism spread westwards into Austria, Germany and elsewhere the complacence of western 'liberals' in cosseting and subsidising the sources of infection is largely to blame. It is of course history repeating itself: the fascism of eastern europe in the 1930s was also sponsored and armed by the 'democracies' of the west. And for the same reason: to keep Russia at bay.

[Sep 07, 2018] Guardian continues to push Woodward book linking it to NYT anonymous op-ed

Whoever it was, this "gutless" person seems pretty craven, opportunistic neocon of McCain flavor. Most neocons are chickenhawks. And there are plenty of neocons in Trump administration.
It might well be that anonymous "resistance" op-ed in NYT is CIA operation to promote Woodward's book ( Woodward is definitely connected to CIA from the time of Nixon impeachment)
Notable quotes:
"... You are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions ..."
Sep 07, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

During an interview with Fox and Friends, conducted onstage prior to Trump's rally and set to air on Friday, the president called the paper's decision to publish the column "very unfair".

"When somebody writes and you can't discredit because you have no idea who they are," Trump said. "It may not be a Republican, it may not be a conservative, it may be a deep state person that's been there a long time.

It's a very unfair thing, but it's very unfair to our country and to the millions of people that voted really for us."

Since the editorial was published, the highest-ranking officials in Trump's administration have come forth to publicly deny any involvement. Those distancing themselves from the column have included the vice-president, Mike Pence, and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, along with much of Trump's cabinet. The first lady, Melania Trump, also condemned the author and called on the individual to come forward.

"You are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions," she wrote.

The editorial was published as the White House was contending with yet another firestorm.

A book authored by the famed journalist Bob Woodward , poised for release next week, chronicles the chaos and dysfunction within the Trump administration.

Excerpts released on Tuesday provided an unflattering portrait of the president, who was described by aides in disparaging terms that included being likened to a schoolchild.

[Sep 07, 2018] Harding book is an indirect proof the UK government did it

Sep 07, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Originally from: Skripal Case Luke Harding's latest work of fiction OffGuardian

uke Harding likes writing books about things that he wasn't really involved in and doesn't really understand. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, that covers pretty much everything. His book about Snowden, for example, was beautifully taken down by Julian Assange – a person who was actually there.

He's priming the traumatised public for another of his works, this time about Sergei Skripal. This one will probably be out by Christmas, unless he can find someone else's work to plagiarise , in which case he might get it done sooner.

It will have a snide and not especially clever title, perhaps a sort of pun – something like "A Poison by Any Other Name: How Russian assassins contaminated the heart of rural England" . It will relate, in jarring sub-sub-le Carre prose, a story of Russian malfeasance and evil beyond imagining, whilst depicting the whole cast as bumbling caricatures, always held up for ridicule by the author and his smug readership.

There's an extract in The Guardian today. It's not listed as one, but trust me, it will be in the book. It's title, as predicted above, is sort of a pun (and will probably be a chapter heading):

Planes, trains and fake names: the trail left by Skripal suspects

You see? Like that film? I don't really get it either but until someone else comes up with something clever he can copy, Luke is left to his own rather meagre devices.

It starts off surprisingly strong, waiting three whole sentences before lurching violently into totally unsupported conjecture:

The two men were dressed inconspicuously in jeans, fleece jackets and trainers as they boarded the flight from Moscow to Gatwick. Their names, according to their Russian passports, were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. Both were around 40 years old. Neither looked suspicious.

This is, as far as we know so far, true.

The plane trundled down the icy runway. In Moscow the temperatures had fallen below -10C, not unusual for early March. In Britain it had been snowing.

and so is this. In fact, in googling "Moscow weather March 2018" Harding has displayed an uncharacteristically thorough approach to research that was rarely (if ever) evidenced in his previous works.

They had also packed a bottle of what appeared to be the Nina Ricci perfume Premier Jour. The box it came in was prettily decorated with flowers, it listed ingredients including alcohol and it bore the words "Made in France".

This is where truth ends and guesses take over: there is no evidence, at all, that these two men had anything to do with the "perfume bottle" allegedly found by Charlie Rowley on June 27th and allegedly containing a powerful nerve agent. There is (as far as we know) no fingerprint or DNA evidence on the bottle, nobody saw them with the bottle, and there's no released CCTV footage of them holding or carrying the bottle. Saying "it's in their backpack" is meaningless without any evidence to back it up.

According to the Metropolitan police, the bottle in fact contained novichok, a lethal nerve agent developed in the late Soviet Union. The bottle had been specially made to be leakproof and had a customised applicator.

Note he doesn't feel the need to examine, question or even verify the words of the Metropolitan Police. This is a recurring theme in Harding's works – there are people who tell the truth (US) and people who lie (RUSSIANS). Evidence is a complication you can live without.

Moscow's notorious poisons factory run by the KGB made similar devices throughout the cold war.

Did they? Because he doesn't show any evidence this is true. One thing you can be sure of, if there had ever been even a whisper about a "modified perfume bottle" in any Soviet archive or from any "whistleblower currently living in the United States", it would be on the front page in big black letters.

Petrov and Boshirov were aliases, detectives believe. Both men are suspected to be career officers with the GRU, Russia's powerful and highly secretive military intelligence service.

Note use of the word "believe", it makes regular appearances alongside it's buddies: "suspect" and "probably".

And yes, they "believe" they are aliases because IF they were assassins then obviously they used aliases. There's no evidence taken from their (currently totally theoretical) visa applications that point to forgery, nobody at the time questioned their passports. As of today, we have been given no reason to think they were aliases, except reasoning backwards from assumed guilt which isn't how deduction works.

In fact, there's more than enough reason to assume they aren't aliases – Firstly, they passed the visa check, secondly their passports were never questioned, thirdly they've used them before (see below), and finally just WHY would a Russian spy-come-assassin use a fake Russian name and a fake Russian passport? That's ridiculous.

The officers' assignment was covert. They were coming to Britain not as tourists but as assassins.

[citation needed]

Their target was Sergei Skripal, a former GRU officer who spied for British intelligence, got caught and was freed in a spy exchange in 2010. They were heading for his home in provincial Salisbury.

Luke doesn't feel the need to dig down into the nitty gritty here – motive is a trifle, to be added in the footnotes or made up on the spur of the moment when asked at a book signing. I'm a bit more fussy than that – I feel the need to ask "Why did they release him in 2010 and then try to kill him in 2018?" If they had wanted to kill him, why not just do it when he was in prison in Russia between 2006 and 2010? If they wanted to kill him why do it just weeks before the World Cup? What could they possibly have to gain?

Luke doesn't know, and neither do I.

Their Aeroflot flight SU2588 touched down at 3pm on Friday 2 March. They were recorded on CCTV going through passport control, Boshirov with dark hair and a goatee beard, Petrov unshaven and wearing a blue gingham shirt. Both were carrying satchels slung casually over the shoulder.

This is all true, and completely unnecessary. It's what we in the industry call "filler" or "padding". Totally meaningless and useless words that do nothing but take up space. Without it, a lot of Luke's books would only be about 700 words long.

According to police, the pair had visited the UK before.

Way to bury the lead there, Luke.

This is actually quite important isn't it? I mean, when did they visit the UK before? Did they visit Salisbury then too? Did they have any contact with Sergei Skripal? Were they travelling under the same names? Were these visits linked with other intelligence work? Were they just holidays? What kind of assassins would use the SAME FAKE IDS ON TWO DIFFERENT OCCASIONS?

These are all very important questions, but Luke doesn't ask them. Because Luke is a modern journalist, and they don't interrogate the claims of the state, just report them. To Guardian reporters a question mark is just that funny squiggle next to the shift key.

From Gatwick they caught the train to London Victoria station and then the tube to east London, where they checked in to the City Stay hotel in Bow. It was a low-profile choice of accommodation. The red-brick Victorian building is next to a branch of Barclays bank, a busy train line and a wall daubed with graffiti. Across the road is a car pound and a Texaco garage.

This just more filler. Totally meaningless packaging material. The prose equivalent of All-Bran.

On hostile territory, Boshirov and Petrov operated in the manner of classic intelligence operatives.

In this instance "the manner of classic intelligence operatives" means, flying direct to London from Moscow, using Russian names and Russian passports (which you've used before), checking into a hotel with a CCTV camera on the front door, going straight to the hometown of an ex-double agent, leaving a Russian poison his front door even though he's already gone out, dumping your unused poison in a charity bin on the high street, going back to your hotel, smearing poison around that too even though you already dumped it, and then flying directly back to Moscow without even waiting to see if the plan worked and the target is dead.

This, in Luke's head, is ace intelligence work.

On the day of the hit, according to detectives, the pair made a similar journey, taking the 8.05am train from Waterloo to Salisbury and arriving at 11.48am.

Yes, they arrived at 11.48, making it absolutely pointless to put poison on the Skripal's door, as they had already gone out.

The perfume bottle was probably concealed in a light grey backpack carried by Petrov.

It was "probably concealed" in that backpack because, as I said above, there's no evidence either of those men ever knew the perfume bottle existed. You never see it in their possession.

Oh, and the backpack would have to contain TWO bottles of perfume – because the police aren't sure the bottle Rowley found 3 months later was the same bottle, and Rowley reported it was unopened and wrapped in cellophane. Perhaps Luke should have read the details of the case instead of trolling IMDB looking for movie titles with "plane" in them or googling "insouciant" to see if he was using it right.

From Salisbury station the two men set off on foot. It was a short walk of about a mile to Skripal's semi-detached home in Christie Miller Road.

which doesn't matter, because the Skripals weren't there. They left at 9.15 and there is no evidence they ever returned.

At Skripal's house the Russians smeared or sprayed novichok on to the front door handle, police say.

which doesn't matter, because the Skripals weren't there. They left at 9.15 and there is no evidence they ever returned.

It doesn't matter if Borishov and Petrov re-tiled the bathroom with novichok grouting or hid novichok in the battery compartment of Sergei's TV remote or replaced all his lightbulbs with novichok bombs that explode when you use the clapper .according to everything we've been told so far Sergei and Julia were literally never in that house again.

Luke seems to write a lot about this case, considering he is barely acquainted with the most basic facts of it.

The moment went unobserved

True. There is not a single piece of footage, photograph or eyewitness placing these men within a hundred feet of the Skripals, or their house. The "moment went unobserved" is an incredibly dishonest way of phrasing this, "the moment is entirely theoretical" is rather fairer. Or, if you want to be honest "it's possible none of this happened".

At some point on their walk back they must have tossed away the bottle, which at this point was too dangerous to try to smuggle back through customs.

It's all falling into place perfectly isn't it?

At some point the two men, who we never see holding or carrying the bottle, must have thrown it away because three months later someone else found it.

They took it through customs once but couldn't a second time, because reasons.

Also one of them was smiling a sort of "I just poisoned somebody" smile:

At 1.05pm the men were recorded in Fisherton Street on their way back to the station. They appeared more relaxed, Petrov grinning even.

Those evil bastards.

By the time Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found collapsed on a park bench in the centre of Salisbury later that afternoon, the poisoners were gone.

No Luke: By the time Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found collapsed on a park bench in the centre of Salisbury later that afternoon, the ALLEGED poisoners were gone.

Alleged is an important word for example, there is a marked difference between being an ALLEGED plagiarist, and being a plagiarist .

The visitors were captured on CCTV one more time, at Heathrow airport. It was 7.28pm and both men were going through security, Petrov first, wheeling a small black case. In his right hand was a shiny red object, his Russian passport. Police believe the passport was genuine, his name not. In other words, that it was a sophisticated espionage operation carried out by a state or state entities.

You see? Nobody thought the passport was fake, which means it was a really good fake . So the Russian state must have been in on it. This is known as an unfalsifiable hypothesis. If the passport did look fake, that would be evidence that the men were spies and therefore the Russian state was in on it.

Harding has created a narrative where there is literally no development that could ever challenge his conclusions.

Seemingly, the GRU plan – executed two weeks before Russia's presidential election – had worked perfectly.

This is an example of the cum hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy – two things happen at the same time, therefore they happen for the same reason. It's a maneuver we at OffG refer to as "the Harding", where you state two separate assertions or facts one after the other in such a way as to imply a relationship, without ever making a solid statement. I'll give you an example:

Luke Harding was born in 1968, mere weeks before the brutal assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Harding is suggesting some sort of connection between the election and the poisoning. He can't STATE it, because then he has to explain his reasoning – and there isn't any. Putin, and Russia as a whole, had nothing to gain from poisoning an ex-spy they had released nearly a decade earlier, especially on the eve of a Presidential election and mere weeks before the World Cup. There's no argument to be made, so he doesn't attempt to make one, he just makes a snide and baseless insinuation.

In his defense, Luke might genuinely believe it, cum hoc ergo propter hoc is a favorite amongst paranoid personalities , of which Luke is definitely a prime example .

Vladimir Putin, the man whom a public inquiry found in 2016 had "probably" signed off on the operation to kill Litvinenko. The UK security services say a "body of evidence" points to the GRU.

"Probably" is also a big word. For example, there's a marked difference between "probably being a plagiarist" and "being a plagiarist" .

It seems clear that Moscow continues to view Britain as a playground for undercover operations and is relatively insouciant about the consequences, diplomatic and political. The Skripal attack may have misfired. But the message, mingling contempt and arrogance, is there for all to see: we can smite our enemies whenever and wherever we want, and there is nothing you can do about it.

This is the second time Luke has used the word "insouciant" in two days, which means that word of the day calendar was a probably sound investment, but he forgot to flip it over this morning.

Other than that, this final paragraph is nothing but paranoia.

The Russians were TRYING to make it obvious, to send a message. But were also lazy and arrogant. And yet also left no solid evidence because they are experts at espionage. They had no motive except being mean, and couldn't even be bothered to make sure they did it right. They want us all to know they did it, but will never admit it.

The actual truth of the situation can be summed up in a few bullet points. Currently:

There is no evidence these men were using forged documents. There is no evidence these men were travelling under aliases or assumed names. There is no evidence these men ever had any contact with Sergei Skripal's house. There is no evidence these men ever had any contact with Sergei Skripal or his daughter. There is no evidence these men were Russian intelligence assets or had any military training. There is no evidence these men ever possessed or had any contact with the perfume bottle found by Charlie Rowley on June 27th. They have visited the UK before, not on intelligence business (as far as we know). Their movements don't align with the timeline of Skripal's illness.

The entire narrative is created around half a dozen screen caps of two (allegedly) Russian men, not behaving in any way illegally or even suspiciously. All the rest is fiction, created by a hack to service an agenda. This isn't one of those "You couldn't make it up" stories, it's not that incredible. It's just insulting and stupid.

You could make it up, and he did.

[Sep 07, 2018] Guardian cheerleading of the NYT "resistance" op-ed by Richard Wolffe

What is interesting is that Wolffe links the op-ed and publishing Bob Woodward's latest book: "Woodward has cornered the panicked Trump rats into screeching about all the ways they prevented World War Three , or a massive trade war, by ignoring the ranting boss or snatching papers off his desk."
Notable quotes:
"... Nothing proved, unnamed sources, claims about this, claims about that. Until someone is prepared to step forward and reveal themselves this is a non story. Still, it gives the Trump haters comfort. ..."
"... Personally, I am not surprised or impressed by this White House insider's account. Nothing he or she has said should be a real revelation to anyone who has cast a critical eye on the Trump presidency. And whoever it is, this person is so enamored with tax cuts, deregulation, ramping up military spending and the usual Republican horse shit that he or she does not seem prepared to risk further discrediting the administration by identifying him/herself and resigning publicly. ..."
Sep 07, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The madness is pouring out of the White House now, for all to see Richard Wolffe

... ... ...

If you really believe your boss is a threat to the constitution which you've taken an oath to protect, perhaps you should consider quitting or going public. As in: going on Capitol Hill to hold a press conference to urge impeachment.

In this regard, and only in this regard, our anonymous whistleblower has handed the crazy boss a degree of righteous indignation.

"If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist," tweeted the madman in the attic, "the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!"

Donald, we feel your pain, albeit briefly. Your internal enemies are indeed gutless, and if you feel better putting that in ALL CAPS, that's fine. Let it out.

But that bit about turning people over to you for national security reasons is kind of the point here. If you'll allow us to summarize the GUTLESS person's arguments: you are fundamentally a threat to democracy and national security yourself. You are indeed, as your lawyers have pointed out repeatedly, your own worst witness.

This much we know from this week's other bombshell in the shape of Bob Woodward's latest book. Woodward has cornered the panicked Trump rats into screeching about all the ways they prevented World War Three , or a massive trade war, by ignoring the ranting boss or snatching papers off his desk.

... ... ...

Mr or Ms GUTLESS describes Trump's decisions as "half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless", while chief of staff John Kelly says Trump is "an idiot" living in a place called "Crazytown". This revelation led to the priceless statement from Kelly where he had to deny calling the president an idiot.

Somewhere in Texas, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson is swirling a glass of bourbon muttering that he lost his job for calling Trump a moron.

Second, Trump's staffers are enabling the very horrors they claim to hate, while grandiosely pretending to be doing the opposite.

Mr or Ms GUTLESS says there were "early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th amendment" in what he imagines is a clear sign they can distinguish reality from reality TV.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Trump cabinet: please know that you will not be accepted into the next edition of Profiles in Courage for your early whispers. If you truly believe the president is incapacitated, you should perhaps consider raising your voice to at least conversational level, if you're not inclined to bellow from the mountaintops. Library rules are inoperative at this point.

Given the weight of evidence, even the most diehard Trump defenders are now conceding the obvious, by signing up to the GUTLESS gang's self-promotion. Brit Hume, a Fox News veteran, let the cat out of the bag when he tweeted that it was a "good thing" they were restraining Trump "from his most reckless impulses".

This is how the pirate ship Trump eventually sinks to the ocean's floor. You can fool some of Fox News's viewers all of the time, and you can fool all of them some of the time.

But no fool wants to drown with the captain we all know is plain crazy.

Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist

MoonlightTiger -> MoonlightTiger , 6 Sep 2018 10:02

It's someone high up that makes policy decisions, brags about everything they have done to help America despite Cheetos interfering. Why now? Pence wants it known that he is running the government not useless trump whom has passed nothing. Pence will come out as the author when Don is removed from office. Which could be nearing since this OPED is likely to expose him. Maybe he planned it that way.

Brutus is close now.

Carl123 -> MuttPretty , 6 Sep 2018 10:00

What's most remarkable to me is how closely the Michael Wolff's White House, Omarosa's White House, Bob Woodward's Whitehouse, and Anonymous Staffer's White House reflect each other.

Clearly a massive conspiracy. And one which Trump is helpfully participating in by constantly saying and doing stuff which accords with the pictures they're all painting.

MuttPretty , 6 Sep 2018 09:58
What's most remarkable to me is how closely the Michael Wolff's White House, Omarosa's White House, Bob Woodward's Whitehouse, and Anonymous Staffer's White House reflect each other. All these sources come together to display a rather coherent image of a chaotic White House led by a man who's not bright enough to realize he's in over his head.
Alun Jones , 6 Sep 2018 09:53
The New York Times attack piece was anonymous. It is therefore completely unverifiable and could have been written by anyone, including any of the politically biased NYT editorial team, or by Bob Woodward to publicize his new book. It's junk news.
OrangeLagoon -> JozzaBoy , 6 Sep 2018 09:49
I'm firmly convinced that when it's all said and done we'll be able to represent his presidency as an MMO boss fight. This is the bit where everyone concentrates fire on the glowy spot until the enrage mechanic kicks in. In fact it looks like the mad flailing has started and now everyone will try not to stand in the AoE as they DPS him down.
moranet , 6 Sep 2018 09:43
Mussolini was in power for twenty years before his functionaries deposed him to keep the regime intact while removing its newly-a-liability head. Mussolini was the legal (if abhorrent) premier of a coalition government in a liberal-democratic (both words with a pinch of salt) regime for his first two years, until winning a parliamentary majority of his own; indeed, after the leader of the Socialist Party was killed by his supporters, his coalition partners almost pulled out of government: that's not a totalitarian dictatorship, but what was then called "pre-fascism", and today we'd call it an 'illiberal democracy'. The dictatorship was informal (result of a supportive majority) until the constitional reform of 1928 - five years into his government.

Thinking that all will turn out fine because American democracy is under strain but generally intact, is a dangerous complacency. All interwar autocrats went through a transition of first governing under the old constitution, slowly undermining opposition, then installing a new organic law. Perhaps all will turn out well in the US, and Trump will leave office with the old 'rules of the game' untouched - but that can't be assumed, and we won't know until after he is gone.

Carl123 -> Finisterre , 6 Sep 2018 09:40

Pepperoni Pizza is absolutely correct. We DON'T know his staff are going behind his back - we have this anonymous bollocks as the totality of our evidence.

Truckloads of "anonymous bollocks" reported by credible, highly respected journalists with excellent reasons to protect their sources.

"Anonymous" bollocks" which syncs perfectly with events and pronouncements by the president himself - including numerous firings of so many of the "best people" he hired.

"Anonymous bollocks" confirmed in evidence/testimony presented publicly and under oath in court.

Otherwise, great point.

JozzaBoy , 6 Sep 2018 09:40
this is desperate stuff. Is this the thing that is finally going to bring down Trump?

The media cycle wrt Trump;

1. Trump is Crazy
2. Trump is Hitler
3. Trump is Losing
4. Go To Line 1.

babyboomer63 , 6 Sep 2018 09:38
Nothing proved, unnamed sources, claims about this, claims about that. Until someone is prepared to step forward and reveal themselves this is a non story. Still, it gives the Trump haters comfort.
imperious -> BLACKCAT66 , 6 Sep 2018 09:36
There is a segment of this country that is willfully ignorant because a con man told them to be. We really need to ignore this shrinking number of fuck-nuts and just out vote them.
We live in a democracy. If you choose to use facebook as your only source of news about the world, it is not because a con man told you to, it is because you are just too plain stupid to go looking elsewhere.
Cascais99 , 6 Sep 2018 09:36
I'm surprised that no one has compared the author of the anonymous article in the New York Times with "Deep Throat", who anonymously met Bernstein and Woodward in an underground parking garage in Washington to spill the beans about Watergate. Deep Throat turned out to be Mark Felt, a high-ranking official in the FBI who kept working against Nixon under cover and whose name was revealed only a few years ago.
FeliciorAugusto , 6 Sep 2018 09:31
Personally, I am not surprised or impressed by this White House insider's account. Nothing he or she has said should be a real revelation to anyone who has cast a critical eye on the Trump presidency. And whoever it is, this person is so enamored with tax cuts, deregulation, ramping up military spending and the usual Republican horse shit that he or she does not seem prepared to risk further discrediting the administration by identifying him/herself and resigning publicly.

Screw whoever it is, they are obviously no hero to the American people.

James Steel , 6 Sep 2018 09:31
Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo have denied writing the op-ed -- but that's exacta guilty person would say :)

[Sep 07, 2018] "Fake it till you make it" is the slogan they clutch tight to their heart the consequences however are far far reaching. My only hope is that should any of them leave here - they will get found out in a week.

Sep 07, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Red1729 -> mattblack81 , 6 Sep 2018 09:16

Nice post and well put.
I am currently sitting in an office where 30% are blaggers of the highest order. They talk and kiss ass - but ultimately - deep down - know they cannot do they do not know the job. The responsibiltiy they have will make you shudder. I have told friends and they are visibly shaken that this can happen. But I think it is the way of the world at the moment. They dare not argue with me for full knowledge they will be sent packing, they already have been but on "minor" non work related items.

"Fake it til you make it" is the slogan they clutch tight to their heart the consequences however are far far reaching. My only hope is that should any of them leave here - they will get found out in a week.

Yes the likes of Trump are a reflection of just that.

The mad thing is - I now am of the belief that I could do that job ie President of the US. That is madness.

MonsieurPumpernickel -> teppictoo , 6 Sep 2018 09:16

to foil the wishes of the elected members of government.

No. Just one member. And that one member isn't a supreme leader. You need to look elsewhere for those types of leaders - they're usually standing next to Trump while he fawns over them.

Personally I'm grateful for a bureaucracy that frustrates bad ideas - wherever they come
from. That's part of their role.

HiramsMaxim -> SolentBound , 6 Sep 2018 09:16
"If the author of the Op-Ed piece is telling the truth,"

Ay, there's the rub. But, still no existential threat.

HiramsMaxim -> aussieinjapan , 6 Sep 2018 09:15
Yes, I do read The Guardian, and I never watch Fox (cut the cable years ago)
Gojettgo , 6 Sep 2018 09:15
Everything, with the exception of Steve Bannon in Michael Wolf's book, has been anonymous. These people write things, attribute them to, say, John Kelly, then Kelly says I NEVER SAID THAT and we're left to believe whom?

If there is genuine resistance inside the White House to Trump- If it is at all like anybody says- then I would imagine that a genuine top level appointee would go on camera, throw themselves on their sword, and speak to the American people. Until such a time I question what is Woodward's agenda? Do I trust Omarosa? Is Michael Wolf credible? What are their goals? I'm not blind but I want to see more than anonymous. And until then... I don't believe it.

Daniel Ferris -> bonhiver , 6 Sep 2018 09:15
When the crowd screams, just join them. It's tremendous fun!
MoonlightTiger , 6 Sep 2018 09:15
Its Pence and trump can't fire him
imperious -> Nialler , 6 Sep 2018 09:15
I'm not going to attempt to defend Trump.

I agree, I'd hate to defend him either, but you can't help thinking he has a point by calling this person gutless. Either stand up in public and say it or, if s/he really is working in the background to save us from Trump's excesses, then surely you're better off (and the country as a whole) staying there and not alerting him?

CaptainHogwash , 6 Sep 2018 09:14
In any functioning household the adults would have sent Trump to his (preferably padded) room
KevinFinn -> Nepochtitelnikov , 6 Sep 2018 09:14
"Maybe electing a big stupid toddler as president was a bad idea after all you guys"

Still better than the alternative!!

Take a look at how the donations to the Clinton Foundation have dried up since they no longer have any influence to peddle.

AbFalsoQuodLibet -> John Edwin , 6 Sep 2018 09:13
It's the New York Times, and no, they certainly haven't been against Trump since his election.

Their lead White House correspondent, Maggie Haberman, still writes extremely understanding pieces of Trump. And she's been covering the man for almost 15 years, so one would think she had the measure of the man long ago.

More importantly, the NYT threw the election for Trump by first exonerating Trump of any Russian collusion - which was false - and by covering the last-minute Comey statements on the Clinton emails in the worst negative light possible for the Democratic candidate. The NYT turned out to be wrong, but the damage was done.

The NYT even tried to put new faces on their opinion staff with close connections to actual American neo-Nazis (!) and only failed when old tweets came to light.

I'm not quite sure what the NYT is playing at - I guess it's easy to play the devil's advocate in artsy-fartsy, liberal New York - but they most certainly have not been against Trump from January 2017 at all.

charlieblue -> John Edwin , 6 Sep 2018 09:13
Does that tinfoil hat pinch?

Trump is not a freedom fighter, he is not your Great White Messiah, he's not an advocate for blue collar American citizens. Trump is a stupid, vulgar, greedy old fat racist who conned his way into the White House. There has been a lot of talk in all mediums about his unsuitability for the office, and his obvious ties to the Kremlin, but there has been no organized effort to remove him from office, no matter what you might have read on Qanon.

Daniel Ferris -> bonhiver , 6 Sep 2018 09:13
His deregulation tendencies clinch it. No one could deregulate like Hitler!
Sixp__ -> teppictoo , 6 Sep 2018 09:12
Garbage.

Treason is defined as "The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies".

Mueller should be considering indicting Trump for treason.

cacaMBa -> ctdahle , 6 Sep 2018 09:12
You think the entire population is incapable of thinking about serious issues because there's some tittle-tattle on twitter? When did that happen? No-one would work because there's always fluffy kittens on YouTube.
Pushk1n , 6 Sep 2018 09:12
Its Probably Donald himself, he has form on spoofing , pretending to be someone else.

The giveaway is the bit where it says a lot of good stuff has been done.

It could also be Giuliano creating a myth that Donald is such a muddle head he could not possibly have conspired with anyone about anything .

PaulBowyer -> Graeme48 , 6 Sep 2018 09:12
But not when Russia (who back Assad) retaliated.

And Putin has the nuts on Trump.

[Sep 07, 2018] Who wrote NYT "resistance" op-ed?

"We all know Putin wrote the op-ed and the NYT claimed it's a senior Trump official because they think that's true," Ben Shapiro tweeted.
Sep 07, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

SteveofCaley , 6 Sep 2018 09:29

Right, then. Solved it. Easy puzzle, really. Mods, you can close the comments now.

Clues: Republican? Check. Strongly motivated by morality? Check. Unlimited White House access? Check.

It's written by the Ghost of Abraham Lincoln, last moral Republican President.

(Carter wasn't a Republican. Eisenhower, only by accident. )

[Sep 07, 2018] Trump did not, in his 8th decade, suddenly develop a desire to serve the American people at his own expense. He is in the White House doing exactly what he has always done, he is pursuing whatever makes him happiest in the moment with no regard to consequences, morality or even common sense.

Sep 07, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
charlieblue , 6 Sep 2018 09:20
Fascinating to see the tinfoil hat brigade turn out in such numbers to rant and rave about the "Deep State!" and poor, honest Donald Trump as a freedom fighter who is daily sacrificing himself for the good people of America.

Why do bullies always pretend to be victims?

As with science, human nature can usually boiled down to the most likely answer, the simple observable truth. Such as; Donald Trump's entire life is a story of greed, vulgarity and self promotion to the exclusion of all else. He did not, in his 8th decade, suddenly develop a desire to serve the American people at his own expense. He is in the White House doing exactly what he has always done, he is pursuing whatever makes him happiest in the moment with no regard to consequences, morality or even common sense.

[Sep 06, 2018] "Every nation gets the government it deserves."

Sep 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

unicone , 6 Sep 2018 07:04

"Every nation gets the government it deserves."

Joseph de Maistre, Letter 76, on the topic of Russia's new constitutional laws (27 August 1811)

[Sep 06, 2018] Sounds like a palace coup to me: first, news of the forthcoming Woodward book (and excepts); then-coincidentally-today's "anonymous" and 'Gutless' article in the Times

NYT practices digital lynching...
Sep 06, 2018 | theguardian.com

Michronics42, 6 Sep 2018 06:46

Sounds like a palace coup to me: first, news of the forthcoming Woodward book (and excepts); then-coincidentally-today's "anonymous" and 'Gutless' article in the Times.

As far as I'm concerned, this entire hellish administration is sheer "madness" and a very clear indication that this country is in its agonizing twilight.

Each and every senior official in this administration is an enabler of this "shithole" human being and current president, so there is no such thing as bravery here, just covering one's tail if a coup were to occur.

Not once, as has been mentioned here and elsewhere, has this 'Gutless' wonder decried the immorality of family separation, employing white racists as policy makers, shredding the social safety net for millions of this nation's most vulnerable; an outlandish Pentagon budget and etcetera.

What is solidly on display in this unfolding miasma is a firmly entrenched kleptocracy, enabled and supported by U.S. corporations and the death of democracy.

TheChillZone , 6 Sep 2018 06:36
The Woodward book seems to me just more kiss and tell stories of the Michael Wolff ilk (remember him?). The juiciest quotes - Trump being called an idiot by Kelly - is denied by Kelly himself and most of the others are ex-employees.

A better - more objective - book would get past the unconventional, apparent chaos of the Whitehouse and perhaps investigate whether Trumps methods have or will bear fruit.

That perhaps, as David Lynch said, traditional politicians can't take the country or the world forward - they can't get things done anymore because they are afraid of political consequences or media backlash. Trump and his ego doesn't seem to care about that - is that a good thing or a bad thing? Trump has turned everything on it's head and liberals find themselves allying with establishment politicians and business groups. It is a fascinating period of political change and time - and better journalism - will eventually judge Trump more objectively.

SolentBound -> uncleike , 6 Sep 2018 08:26
"The point of the op-ed is to continue to build popular support for removal of Trump by confirming the more detailed account of Woodward."

It was submitted to the Times before info on Woodward's book came out.

TezB -> HippoMan , 6 Sep 2018 08:22

'Pence... not a dangerous, mentally ill megalomaniac'

Pence is more dangerous – make that outright terrifying – than Trump. Yes. Trump is a senile vulgarian oaf – but he doesn't really believe in anything and is motivated only by his greed and pathological need for self-aggrandizement. He's mentally incompetent in a very obvious way, which renders him laughably inept at trying to bring his more odious policy objectives to fruition (in fact, inept at everything, pretty much).

Pence is far more sinister, because he's a dementedly fanatical believer in a fundamentalist and authoritarian mutation of religion – a crazed zealot. While sometimes able to imitate the superficial demeanour of a person of sound mind, he is in truth utterly deranged.

While Trump lies and denies obvious specific facts almost as a reflex, he doesn't really sustain his warped world view consistently or with conviction that lasts longer than it takes to play his next round of golf.

Pence vehemently espouses a whole alternative reality based upon his religious fantasies, and believes he has a mission to impose his delusional ideas in a punitive and repressive manner on his country's entire population, permanently. He may have the cunning to be chillingly effective at realising his most ghastly ambitions.

Trump represents a temporary aberration; a collective brain fart. Pence could be the instigator of a new dark age for the USA

Meerkatz , 6 Sep 2018 08:17
Having seen this type of character assassination visited on Bill and Hillary Clinton, character assassination before any reported crimes have been proven against them or for that matter any sexual misdemeanors as president are proven, what exactly is going on here?

I totally disagree with this type of thing even if the person is someone I don't understand much. The world has come to a dangerous place where digital lynching without reference to law seems to be the prevailing modus operandi.

Jessp , 6 Sep 2018 08:13
A little word of warning. Be careful what you wish for. If Don can be removed prior to the next election, (and I don't believe that would happen), then Mike Pence takes the reins. He has just as many crazy notions as his current boss, but is an experienced politician who knows the ins and outs of Congress. He may get more of the programme through than little Don can. And that would not be good.
BritinNormandy -> NameIcallme , 6 Sep 2018 08:12
He's done it before. Lots of times. Example: one of his posts back in April: "Trump is a genius. Nobody can take him down, the man is a fighter, you punch him and he'll punch you back 10 times harder. The FBI, Democrats and MSM have tried to take him down since he decided to run for president, yet he's standing tall and with a 50% approval rating."

There's no point in engaging in discussion with folks like that ...

malibudebumbum , 6 Sep 2018 08:09
Welcome to postmodernist politics folks. It will continue to degenerate until, in despair, people turn toward an orderly system of politics; the Chinese system, the Russian system or even a coherent religious system. Counsellors will be on hand for those who feel hurt or upset by the return to authoritarianism -- they will be able to get great treatment in re-education centres. Just a matter of time before our current system just crumbles from within.
sl0thp0pe -> littlepump , 6 Sep 2018 08:08
Yeah they're sucking it direct from Ayn Rand's teat. Bunch of sociopaths. And I think most political scientists are well aware that citizens united was the death of American democracy as a representative political system. The illusion of functionality has collapsed under the weight of corruption. Trump is really just a symptom of that. A giant orange enema of the state.
ID3866144 -> stuart255 , 6 Sep 2018 07:51
LOL. The west is about to collapse. There is no more money to finance the Ponzy Scheme of the everlasting growth you seem to think is natural. while everyone is distracted in this dualistic BS, the planet is slowly shutting down her ressources.

The Russia after years of sanctions have developed an economy that make them less dependant on other countries. So They will probably less affected by what is coming.

Unless you live in you own bubble, maybe you noticed that Occidental countries have become empty shells...gutted from their skills at making stuff. It is all virtual production now...all banking stuff, numbers insurance...most skilled stuff are either in Germany or in Asia...what is going on?

stuart255 -> HippoMan , 6 Sep 2018 07:47
Trump is a megalomaniac I agree, but he is not dangerous and is not mentally ill. Mental illness is a real thing and you shouldn't casually trivialize it in this way.

Finally anyone who runs for office as President of the USA is by very definition a pretty extreme megalomaniac. So you have two points that are not real and/or could be considered erroneous discrimination and one point that is a prerequisite for any POTUS candidate.

Looking for a reason to impeach him is a ridiculous back to front thing to do and is itself proof that any impeachment will fail. To impeach someone you must first start with a very obvious reason.

It's simply not possible to impeach a president because you don't like their politics or their personality. This whole searching for a reason to impeach is itself evidence that any impeachment is politically motivated and the very optics of this serve only to strengthen Trump's own political support in direct opposition.

Trump is President because the DNC was captured by very stupid and deeply corrupt people.

[Sep 06, 2018] Use of rather uncommon "lodestart" trace can be a false flag operation similar to Russian traces in DNC hack

I think people attributing the letter to Pence are confused as for which side the rogue CIA operatives are on :-)
Sep 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

j. von Hettlingen , 6 Sep 2018 07:16

Many say Mike Pence could have been the one behind the op-ed, because the unidentified author singled out the late John McCain as "a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue." The word isn't that commonly used. But Pence has used the word with some regularity. Yet the word could have been a ploy to divert attention from the real author, who claimed to support many of the GOP policies – "effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more."
No doubt the current crisis works for Pence: "Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president." Of course he and the GOP didn't want to "precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until -- one way or another -- it's over." But they don't want Trump to finish his term and hope that he'll soon be gone.
Finisterre -> Carl123 , 6 Sep 2018 06:53
Pepperoni Pizza is absolutely correct. We DON'T know his staff are going behind his back - we have this anonymous bollocks as the totality of our evidence.

This op-ed is going to absolutely confirm, in the eyes of Trump supporters, all his whines about being thwarted by the Deep State. It's going to increase his support among the crazies, and it's also useful for the Republicans who want to ditch him in favour of Mike Pence.

The whole thing stinks to high heaven and for the Democrats or the 'resistance' to see it as some kind of bonus is insane. Even if you take it at face value it's a disgusting piece of authoritarian, we-know-best hypocrisy. If you look at its actual effects, the net result is not likely to benefit the forces of sanity in any way.

The media's complacency about all of this, and their failure to actually report on the Republican trajectory and the bigger picture, is criminal. Instead we get YET ANOTHER bit of 'oh look the wheels are just about to come off the bus!', and all the while the Republicans are gerrymandering and purging voter rolls like crazt before the midterms, and of course refusing to change their unaccountable electronic voting machines and - did you read THIS one in the news? - blocking a bill which would have audited the election results.

Tl;dr: The US, and by extension the planet via environmental destruction and possibly war on top, is utterly fucked.

CharlieApples -> solarights , 6 Sep 2018 06:48
I think you've confused whose side the CIA are on :-)

[Sep 06, 2018] What is wrong with you American people ? Why such level of jingoism and fake national security concerns is possible ?

Notable quotes:
"... Mr anonymous also concedes that the administration has done some good things .. like .. a robust military. Now call me old fashioned, but having a military with twice(three times .. four times) the capability of the rest of the world put together and spending enough yearly to run the whole of Africa .. probably India too, just on a means of killing .. and this even before the US military became .. robust?.. ..."
Sep 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Blenheim , 6 Sep 2018 06:10

Mr anonymous also concedes that the administration has done some good things .. like .. a robust military. Now call me old fashioned, but having a military with twice(three times .. four times) the capability of the rest of the world put together and spending enough yearly to run the whole of Africa .. probably India too, just on a means of killing .. and this even before the US military became .. robust?..

What is wrong with you people .. national security?.. Laughable .. when is your security ever, ever, ever threatened! And yet people starve, people don't have clean water to drink ..
Perhaps were the US to help lift the basic burdens of millions who have bugger all, then there wouldn't be so many suposed 'enemies'. I do believe film maker Michael Moore has voiced this very same thing .. but then, what purpose all those shiny new expensive killing machines?..
Something is seriously wrong in America .. and it ain't just Trump!

CosmoCrawley , 6 Sep 2018 05:56
This is a very poor op-ed piece. Simply calling the President "a crazy loon " isn't political analysis, or at least not the sort of political analysis I would be willing to pay for. Nor do I think the thesis that certain members of the administration are busy trying to shore up their reputations in the face of a sinking presidency holds water. Firstly, unless the current investigations provide incontrovertible evidence that the President was engaged in criminal activity I don't think there is any change that he will be impeached. Secondly, if you wanted to protect your reputation surely the thing to do would be to resign and maintain a dignified silence while you are writing your memoirs. Or if you really were part of a secret clique protecting the American constitution against a reckless President you would keep quiet and get on with your important business. It seems to me that this anonymous piece was either a clumsy attempt to further damage the President or a sophisticated attempt to galvanise his support base by "proving" that the President is being undermined by unelected traitors. Or something else completely might be going on. That's why I would like to read a thoughtful opinion piece by an informed observer.
StGeorge , 6 Sep 2018 05:51
Sounds like there's a treasonous public servant there, doing their best to subvert the will of the people. And of course loudly supported by the squealing hard left guardian mob. Looking at the type of far left fascists crawling‭ out of the woodwork, I would say Trump is provoking utter derangement in all the right people.
Densher -> kent_rules , 6 Sep 2018 05:45
"the corrupt metropolitan elites have swindled them again"
-Who appointed these 'corrupt metropolitan elites' if it was not Trump himself? Who are these people-Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin- quite apart from Jeff Sessions and the now disgraced Michael Flynn? Trump appointed them, they weren't forced on him by the "corrupt metropolitan elites". Is Trump to be given a free pass for his own mistakes?
Throwawaythekey , 6 Sep 2018 05:44
What many commentators here seem to fail to recognise, because of their political bias I suppose, is that there is a ground swell of dissatisfaction with the political consensus that has seen the working class and lower middle class disenfranchised or at least their perceived interests ignored. As a result, populist ideologies, as espoused by Steven Bannon, and others, and exemplified by leaders like Donald Trump have thrown away the rule book with all its aims to support the extremely wealthy and have reached out to those that want jobs before green policies, law and order before gender diversity programs and so on.
I doubt that many of the readers here will receive the message but we are witnessing a revolution that I see as significant as the rise of the sans-culottes in the early part of the French Revolution. That didn't end well for the sans-culottes or their aims but we can hardly blame them for trying. Today the retrenched car worker in the US can hardly be blamed for being unhappy that the CEO of a car company receives a huge pay rise and bail outs from the government and similar stories in other areas.
Vive la revolution.
Stone Jones , 6 Sep 2018 05:43
Some of this stuff is clearly nonsense. Example: the insider claimed Trump is an admirer of dictators:

"In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And yet the forthcoming Bob Woodward book claims Trump told his defence secretary he wanted to kill Assad:

Donald Trump ordered his defence secretary to assassinate Syria's president Bashar al-Assad and "kill the f****** lot of them" in the leader's regime, in the wake of a chemical attack against civilians, according to a new book.

Defence secretary James Mattis is said to have told the president during a phone call he would "get right on it" before hanging up the phone and instead telling an aide: "We're not going to do any of that. We're going to be much more measured." In the wake of the chemical attack in April 2017, the president's national security team developed options that included the more conventional airstrike that Mr Trump eventually ordered.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The anti-Trump lot can't have it both ways. He can't be a fan of dictators but also want to kill them! It's clear there is lying or exaggeration on both sides. The people out to impeach Trump (or sell books!) will lie too.

[Sep 06, 2018] Is there is anything to admire in Trump record?

Sep 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

pretzelattack -> Densher , 6 Sep 2018 05:38

he reversed the war in afghanistan? drones? did he prosecute bankers? does he favor increasing offshore drilling? now it looks like he's renegotiating clinton's nafta and pushing for some version of obama's trade treaties. trump is the invading python, and the democrats and establishment republicans are the alligators; whichever wins, the small furry animals get eaten. i just hope they don't start world war 3 while they're settling things--trump looks to be doubling down on obama's syria policy too, and support of the current ukrainian government.
Bazster -> ImMovedToAdd , 6 Sep 2018 05:33
'Fraid so. Every new generation of neocons regurgitates the same discredited lies from the previous generation, and suckers believe them all over again. Even the title "neocon" or "neoliberal" is a lie: there's nothing new about them.
Densher -> simonsaint , 6 Sep 2018 05:25
Trump was not only openly attacked during the nomination process, the Republican Party nominee who was selected to fight Obama in 2012 -Mitt Romney- delivered a savage attack in which he described Trump as a con-man and a chronic liar -yet the same people who could, there and then have told Trump to get lost backed him. Trump has been attacked from the start and every time and all of the time said to his attackers: so what? I dare you to remove me from the nomination, I dare you to remove me from the Office of President. This is a man who is challenging the governance of the US in a manner no other President has done before, and so far, he is still winning. That is the scary part.
Freedom4UK2019 -> Jessie Welsh , 6 Sep 2018 05:24
Well of course you could list other benefits in addition to some I listed like. "transform the economy, get people back in work.

Peace on the Korean peninsula, end of US involvement in SYRIA etc...

" You could get a nice big house like Obama got. Or $500K for doing speeches for Russian companies like Bill Clinton did.

RichWoods -> raindancer68 , 6 Sep 2018 05:24
Trump is threatening Deep State corruption by placing his own family members in positions of power and profiting from charging the nation for his and his staff's repeated use of Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago? That's a bizarre way of draining the swamp.
ID6314850 -> raindancer68 , 6 Sep 2018 05:19
The US political system has many flaws, not least that the President can be elected on an apparent electoral college landslide while losing the popular vote. But then again no country's political system is perfect, human nature being what it is.
However, Trump is clearly not up to the job. Not by intellect, understanding of world affairs, honesty, temperament, respect for the law, nor constitution. The list goes on frankly.
The system has gone bad. Trump hasn't "drained the swamp", he's made it far deeper. That said, "the system" such as it is should work in the hands of honest men and women of integrity. The trouble is they're few and far between in the GOP as it wilfully ignores issues in which they would be clamouring for a Democrat president to be impeached.
I sincerely hope the GOP get a thrashing in the mid-terms which may, just may, give them pause for thought. A Democrat Congress might also actually hold Trump to account. The only danger there is that he lashes out with even less self control.
Dangerous times.

[Sep 06, 2018] What better way of stirring up the base ahead of the mid-terms than talk of undemocratic factions within the administration and fifth columnists to be rooted out for the cause.

Sep 06, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

charlieblue -> Johnstu9876 6 Sep 2018 09:08

I assumed it was an effort at creating some sort of record of resistance. Does anybody really believe Paul Ryan is retiring from the 3rd most powerful position in the US Government to "spend more time with family"? The rats are fleeing a sinking ship. Even if Trump serves out a full four years, anybody too closely tied to this stupid shit-storm of an Administration will be tarred in public eyes. But, American voters are notoriously forgetful, and getting out before the ship goes down will probably work.
charlieblue -> John Edwin , 6 Sep 2018 09:00
Funny shit. "the mole" wrote an Op/Ed piece, that contains no information of a sensitive nature. S/he wrote of their own personal observations working in the White House. There is nothing illegal in that.

I get that you might not have any functional understanding of US law, but it is deeply disturbing that the President of the United States is calling for the arrest of a citizen exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Jonathan Bailey , 6 Sep 2018 08:54
The op-ed piece being anonymous makes me wonder if Mr Trump himself put someone up to do it. What better way of stirring up the base ahead of the mid-terms than talk of undemocratic factions within the administration and fifth columnists to be rooted out for the cause. It also offers the president another cudgel against the press that will appeal to his core constituencies.

Even if Mr Trump isn't capable of coming up with such a scheme, there are certainly those around him who are.

crossedseven , 6 Sep 2018 08:27
The statements in the opinion piece are horribly anti-pluralist anti-democratic in themselves. The writer's nationalist appeal to 'American' unity at the end is based on everyone uniting around US Republican principles of neo-liberalism, inequality and militarism. S/he would use a false unity against Trump to impose the worst kind of conservative fundamentalism and eliminate anything more progressive from the political spectrum.

Maybe this is mainstream neo-liberal thinking but it's the end of a plural, democratic state. There would be no more room to discuss inequality, climate change, race or gender discrimination or new welfare provisions. Just an offer of false unity around hard neoliberal principles. I guess it's a very similar game to Brexit, which is a choice between life-threatening asset striping of the UK or May's 'hard right soft Brexit' super Thatcherism.

[Sep 06, 2018] Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo deny writing explosive op-ed attacking Trump by Ben Jacobs

Sep 06, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The op-ed represents a shocking critique of Trump and is without precedent in modern American history. Former CIA Director John Brennan , who has sparred fiercely with the president, called the op-ed "active insubordination born out of loyalty to the country, not to Donald Trump".

"This is not sustainable to have an executive branch where individuals are not following the orders of the chief executive," Brennan told NBC's "Today" show. "I do think things will get worse before they get better. I don't know how Donald Trump is going to react to this. A wounded lion is a very dangerous animal, and I think Donald Trump is wounded."

In it, the anonymous author describes Trump as amoral, "anti-trade and anti-democratic" and prone to making "half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions".

The writer claims aides had explored the possibility of removing Trump from office via the 25th amendment , a complex constitutional mechanism to allow for the replacement of a president who is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office", but had decided against it.

[Sep 06, 2018] I am outraged at describing Trump's administration as a "pirate ship"!

The op-ed pretty is nauseating because it tells us why they do it: Because conservatives got their tax cuts, deregulation and all the other conservative politics that gamble with people's lives. It's disgusting.
Sep 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
Paul Jordan , 6 Sep 2018 07:45
I am outraged at describing Trump's administration as a "pirate ship"! Pirate ships were in reality the most egalitarian institutions that existed in the 17th century. Their articles laid out that both the captain and quartermaster (who divided the spoils) served at the pleasure of their crew, and that the entire crew had rights to a fair portion of the proceeds.

On a real pirate ship, Captain Trump would have lost his job long ago and been abandoned on some tiny island with a single shot in his pistol.

[Aug 28, 2018] Just move on. The Guardian is not a relevant news outlet.

Aug 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

Deschutes , says: Next New Comment August 28, 2018 at 12:22 pm GMT

@Digital Samizdat

I stopped reading the Guardian full stop 4-5 years ago, back when they launched their "Russia is evildoer!!" shrill campaign of propaganda -- also about the time the Ukraine civil war got into gear. Never looked back, the Guardian is a steaming pile of US/NATO/Atlantic Council bullshit.

I'll never understand why so many fixate on it, such as the Off-guardian.org bloggers who've devoted an entire blog for years on end to criticising Guardian journos, 'comment is free', comment mods, etc. All fine and good, but why?

With so many other better news sources is there a need? No, there isn't. Just move on. The Guardian is not a relevant news outlet. I mean, why keep going there to read pro-Israeli/pro-US government articles which make you angry? Doesn't make any sense.

[Aug 24, 2018] Blast from the past: BBC WDM scam destroyed the credibility of the corporation

Aug 24, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL August 24, 2018 at 9:53 am

Spotted this via al Beeb s'Allah piece

Groaning Man: BBC's long struggle to present the facts without fear or favour
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/aug/18/-sp-bbc-report-facts-impartial
BBC in conflict with New Labour

According to Richard Sambrook, who was the BBC's director of news from 2001, trouble between the BBC and New Labour brewed when Britain intervened in Kosovo in 1999: Alastair Campbell, then Blair's press secretary, accused the media of being too much in thrall to Slobodan Milosevic's "lie machine". After 9/11, the stakes became much, much higher .

The crux came at 6.07am on 29 May 2003, when Andrew Gilligan reported on the Today programme that, according to a source, the joint intelligence committee report on Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons capability had been "sexed up" by the government with a claim that such weapons could be activated within 45 minutes of an order. That there had been any deception was fiercely denied by the government and it was amid the ensuing maelstrom that the story's source, Dr David Kelly, took his own life. Lord Hutton's controversial and contested report into the death of the Ministry of Defence weapons expert was deeply critical of the BBC and precipitated the resignation of both the director general, Dyke, and the chairman, Gavyn Davies. That simultaneous toppling of the twin titans of the BBC was an unprecedentedly traumatic event in the history of the corporation. It was made all the more bitter by the fact that the struggle was fratricidal: Dyke's appointment as DG had been controversial because he had been a donor to New Labour .

Sambrook continued: "I suppose in a sense what I'm saying is that Kelly was a kind of mini-Edward Snowden story. He was saying that actually this intelligence has been completely misused, and many people inside the tent knew it and were uncomfortable about it

"If Edward Snowden had contacted Panorama or Newsnight could they have done what the Guardian did? No. No, they couldn't," he said.

"They might have been able to do a piece at a meta level, a headline level, but they could not have done what the Guardian did with Snowden. I find it uncomfortable to say that, but it's the truth. So what does that tell you about the BBC? It tells you that in the end there is a limit to its independence – some would call that public accountability. It is a wonderful news organisation. It does fantastic journalism every day. But there is a limit to it. And I think in the end that was part of a miscalculation in the Kelly story. We thought we were genuinely independent. And we weren't."

But how far is the BBC willing to take its journalism up against the establishment – and the government, which in the end seals the BBC's fate? Other journalists I spoke to within the BBC were much less sanguine. "The BBC is at its highest levels concerned with not offending the establishment, not making enemies in important places. Its core purpose – independent and impartial journalism – clashes with its survival instincts, and that goes back to the beginning," said one senior journalist.

'Senior people at the BBC see themselves part of the establishment'

Another took an even bleaker view. "Newsgathering – covering the stuff that is happening in the world – we do that brilliantly. The BBC newsgathering operation is genuinely a wonder to perceive. But digging out original stories? No, sorry. Nor has it ever done. When push comes to shove, senior people at the BBC consider themselves part of the establishment."..

The employee called such managers, as well the departments in charge of editorial policy and compliance, "journalism deterrent squads" who were strangling the efforts of colleagues "like Japanese knotweed". Journalists are afraid of not being backed up by the BBC, added the employee, when the pressure is on – and compared the corporation's approach with the much more bullish, confident and "cheeky, risk-taking" stance of Channel 4 News. "The BBC always buckles, always folds. You feel that as a journalist, they will abandon you; if you take a risky story to them it's as if you are actively trying to get them into trouble. There is an institutionalised anxiety and mistrust."

Peston said: "There is a risk-averse culture that means when the BBC wants people who can break stories it has to look to recruit from outside. When the BBC is training young journalists, it starts by telling them about the regulatory restraints: it starts with the rules and says: 'Don't you dare break them'."
####

Plenty more at the link.

The simple fact is that s/he who holds the purse strings, holds the power – regardless of how often or how rarely it is used. It casts a long shadow. And that's even before you look at the size and scale of such organizations. Self-censorship? Certainly. Admitting it publicly? Never.

MARK CHAPMAN August 24, 2018 at 6:40 pm

There was no danger that I would mistake the BBC for an impartial and unbiased investigative news source. However, Channel 4 with its 'cheeky, risk-taking stance' is no better, as 'cheeky risk-taking' in British journalism still means backing establishment positions when it comes to foreign policy. They might contribute to the odd cabinet minister's sacking, but I could give a toss about Britain's internal politics, and it is only its foreign-policy machinations I care about . And those are pretty much unvarying – Uncle Sam, boffo. Putin, evil.

[Aug 14, 2018] Did Omarosa break the law by secretly recording Trump and Kelly?

She violated NDA. This is a crime.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
s this a security risk?

Moss also told the Guardian that Manigault Newman's use of a recording device presented counterintelligence risks. "All it takes is one foreign agency hacking [the recording device], and setting it to passive record mode," said Moss. The result would mean all conversations, not just those Manigault Newman chose to record, would be "accessible to foreign entities".

This concern was shared by Kayyem. "There might be the perception, particularly by our enemies, that the entire White House might be compromised, and that's kind of scary," she said, adding: "The audience isn't just us and Omarosa and Trump. It's the Chinese and the Russians."

Is recording in the Situation Room a crime?

Moss said, however, that just because the conversation occurred in the Situation Room, which is actually a secured series of connected rooms, there is "no real obvious criminal liability". All staffers entering the area must lock away their cell phones and other insecure electronic devices. But he noted the violation would likely be enough to deny Manigault Newman a security clearance if she ever wishes to work for the federal government in the future.

What has the White House said?

"The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room shows a blatant disregard for our national security," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. She added: "Then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee."

[Aug 11, 2018] Neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interest

Notable quotes:
"... "While much of neoliberalism's rhetorical power comes from the assertion that "there is no alternative," the simple fact is that the world is full of alternatives. Indeed, even the so-called free marketers in Australia can see alternatives." ..."
"... It's dogma is nothing but empty lies held up as flawed truth's and full of scoundrels who profit from its concomitant pain. ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

SwingingVoter, 3 Jun 2018 19:43

"neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interests"

Its almost impossible to talk about a mining economy and a "free market" in the same sentence, Richard. a mining economy is is synonymous with corruption, Dutch disease and political grabs for cash etc. In the height of the 2009 GFC announced by kev07, unskilled labourers in the pilbara were still earning $100/hr. Real estate prices for 3 bed shacks in karratha were starting at $1million plus. The blue collar dominated pilbara area was overwhelmed with greed fed by left politicians hiding behind socialist ideals. The reality was that left wing economists recognized the "dutch disease" problem and their solution was to flood the area with greedy blue collar workers who were blowing their enormous salaries on prostitutes, alcohol and gambling in the hope that profits from the mining boom would be flushed into other parts of the economy.

The solution? partially transition Australia's economy to an innovation driven economy because innovation is linked to learning which is linked to stronger self esteem and self efficacy in the community. an innovation driven econmy is the better way of promting social development in the community and an innovation driven economy is the most effective way for politicians to transition to the benefits of a "free market" driven economy.... the reality is that transitioning to an innovation would require smacking the socialists over the back of the head in the hope that aspiring socialists will respect the ideas and intellectual property of others as opposed to continue to assimilate intellectual property in the name of employment generation and the common good

I dont fear the potential rise of neoliberalism, although i understand that spruiking a free market whilst talking about mining is ridiculous.
I fear the individuals who are have been talking about mining, and targeting/victimising the non politically active conservatives for more than 2 decades in the name of socialism

sierrasierra, 3 Jun 2018 19:21
"While much of neoliberalism's rhetorical power comes from the assertion that "there is no alternative," the simple fact is that the world is full of alternatives. Indeed, even the so-called free marketers in Australia can see alternatives."

Excellent article Richard, you have captured the ideology and its dogma quite specularly.

It's dogma is nothing but empty lies held up as flawed truth's and full of scoundrels who profit from its concomitant pain.

Examples from today's headlines and a few from last week:

[Aug 10, 2018] Russia blasts new US sanctions as 'theatre of the absurd'

Aug 10, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Russian officials reacted with outrage and markets slumped on Thursday morning following the announcement of tough new US sanctions over Russia's alleged use of a nerve agent in the Salisbury attack.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the sanctions were "absolutely unlawful and don't conform to international law", as politicians vowed to respond with countermeasures, which could include bans on the exports of rockets or resources for manufacturing.

"The theatre of the absurd continues," tweeted Dmitry Polyanskiy, first deputy permanent representative of Russia to the UN. "No proofs, no clues, no logic, no presumption of innocence, just highly-likelies. Only one rule: blame everything on Russia, no matter how absurd and fake it is. Let us welcome the United Sanctions of America!"

One senior Russian MP called the US a "police state".

A member of the Duma's foreign affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, said Russia could block exports of RD-180 rocket engines to the US as a potential countermeasure, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The United States announced on Wednesday that it would impose restrictions on the export of sensitive technology to Russia because of its use of a nerve agent in the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

The State Department said the new sanctions would come into effect on 22 August and would be followed by much more sweeping measures, such as suspending diplomatic relations and revoking Aeroflot landing rights, if Russia did not take "remedial" action within 90 days.

Moscow is not expected to agree to the response required by US legislation, which includes opening up Russian scientific and security facilities to international inspections to assess whether it is producing chemical and biological weapons in violation of international law.

"Certainly it is really up to Russia to make that decision, whether they meet this criteria," a senior administration official said. "The second round of sanctions are in general more draconian than the first round."

Another senior state department official said the US received in March "persuasive information" from the UK that Russia was behind the attack. It made its own determination last weekend and was now acting on the basis of "objective facts" and "legal requirements".

Russian markets took the news poorly. Stocks in Aeroflot, the country's national carrier, fell by 12% in trading before lunchtime on Thursday over concerns that its direct flights between Russia and the US could be halted entirely.

Russia's currency, the rouble, fell to below 66 to the US dollar, a 4% slide from Wednesday morning that began with the leak of a separate draft sanctions bill that could see Russia named a state sponsor of terror.

The US has already expelled 60 suspected Russian spies as part of a global response to the March attack in Salisbury against Sergei Skripal , a former colonel in Russian military intelligence, and his daughter, Yulia , in which a rare and potent Russian-made nerve agent, novichok, was found to have been used.

[Aug 08, 2018] US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.

Aug 08, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

DancehallStyle -> AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 20:02

US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.
DancehallStyle -> AnthonyFlack , 6 Aug 2018 19:57
IT tech and even intricate clothing are too fiddly for automata.

Americans view is if other countries like China make too much money and will overtake them then they will take it all back.

They did that with Japan. They also destroyed Soviet's economy.

ID4355982 , 6 Aug 2018 19:52
trump has wrecked environmental policy, trade policy and domestic social policy....the upshots will be: 1- a much more toxic environment & much higher level of respiratory disease and cancerous related ailments; overall poorer health & health care for the average citizen 2- higher prices for imported goods, lower level of trade exports, fewer US based jobs and more off-shoring of US jobs 3- a substantial increase in the homeless population in the urban areas of this country; increased rates of poverty for the poor, lower economic prosperity for the lower and lower middle class income brackets; wage stagnation for the middle & upper middle income brackets; less advanced education & lower worker productivity and innovation to name just a few of the impacts created by this idiot....in simple in English, Trump and his so-called initiatives are shafting this country in almost every way possible
Ilya Grushevskiy -> RepaTea , 6 Aug 2018 19:17
What part of international law is not just pissed on toiler paper strewn over the floors of a urinal? Which post WWII president respected this law?

None.

International law, since WWII failed. It failed in '47 when no referendum was held in Palestine - against Chapter 1, Article 1 paragraph 2 of the UN Charter. It failed in Crimea, when the results of such a referendum was spat on by the previous war criminal to sit in the Oval Office. It fails now as sanctions are used unilaterally - being equivalent to the use of force in result, they should be

But then let's not stop at after the war. The US is the only country to nuke civilians. 6/7 US four star generals at the time said the action had no strategic or tactical purpose whatsoever.

The US is what ISIS dreams to be, the sooner it falls into obscurity the better.

Brian Black -> bobthebuilder2017 , 6 Aug 2018 19:13
Pure nonsense. The Great Depression began on October 29, 1929. FDR was inaugurated on March 4, 1933 nearly 4 years after it began. Hoover had actually only been in office for just over 6 months before Black Tuesday. GDP began growing and unemployment began falling in 1933 shortly after FDR took office. The Depression officially came to an end in 1939 when GDP returned to pre-Depression levels.
Ilya Grushevskiy , 6 Aug 2018 19:09
There is no long term US growth. There is a debt default after people realize the fact that the top of the whole US government is incompetent. That it has chained itself to such astronomic liabilities for useless wars (as the Empire has not succeeded in world hegemony), is even sadder. It coould have spent the $5tn of Iraq and Afghanistan on building shit, but instead it bombed shit.

Trump doesn't matter for US long run - in 5-10 years time the country will be only found in history books.

gmiklashek950 , 6 Aug 2018 17:59
Remember Kruschev's (sp?) last words on leaving office, and I'm paraphrasing: "Don't worry about America, they'll spend themselves to death (just like we have)". Continued economic growth is a wet dream of Wall Street origin. We are massively overpopulated and rapidly using up earth's natural resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate. We must begin to reduce our growth, not keep increasing it. Population density stress is killing us now and only increasing every day along with the 220,000 new mouths to feed that we are turning out into a world that has no room for 28,000,000 homeless migrants already. Just how crazy are we really. If this article is to be believed, we are nuts. E.F. Schumacher is rolling in his grave! Stress R Us
AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 16:56
Trump/the US is attempting to renegotiate globalisation.

It is time for the rest of the western world to follow suit.

Levente Tanka -> plakias , 6 Aug 2018 16:34
The contribution of a president to the national debt depends a bit on how you calculate it. You could simply look at rhe dates of inauguration or go a step further and look at the fiscal years. For the latter see :

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

In absolute terms Obama is indeed at the top of the list, percentagewise his predecessor played a larger part. No matter how you look at it or what the causes were, under Bush and Obama the U.S. debt seems to have spiralled out of of control and Trump is doing bugger all to stop that trend.

[Aug 08, 2018] Obama added some $12.8 Trillion Dollars to the debt.

Aug 08, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RepaTea -> plakias , 6 Aug 2018 14:56

Why quote figures without context?

Obama came to power January 2008.

Financial crisis hit 2007/8

So he gets the blame for the cost?

Conservative estimate is it added some $12.8 Trillion Dollars to the debt.

Now please grow up and compare apples with apples and be honest about the context....

plakias -> RepaTea , 6 Aug 2018 14:49
On January 20, 2009, when he was sworn in, the debt was $10.626 trillion. On January 20, 2017, when he left, it was $19.947 trillion. Most people would calculate Obama added $9 trillion to the debt, more than any other president. But then Tom Eleven isn't "Most people".

[Aug 06, 2018] There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.

Aug 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

GKB507 , 6 Aug 2018 23:01

At very least, a leader should be able to tell right from wrong... and sadly, too often in this world, "nice guys finish last".
"There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain."
Plato

[Jul 23, 2018] Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe

Not only "An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities", it crushes the will to resist presenting psychopathic dictate in forms that make it difficult. Such as performance reviews waterboarding or putting individual in the way too complex and self-contradictory Web of regulations.
Notable quotes:
"... An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities. ..."
"... Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other. ..."
"... Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults. ..."
"... Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system. ..."
"... The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities.

Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be superficial, but since this applies to most human interaction nowadays, this won't really be noticed.

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist on psychopathy today.

This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes. Nevertheless, the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation.

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other.

Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults.

More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one.

Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system.

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom. Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us.


tocq1 , 7 Aug 2014 22:21

Panic attacks, anxiety attacks, nervous breakdowns, depression, suicidal thoughts alienation, cancers, withdrawal are all symptoms of the de-humanizing aspects of a market-driven life. In its worst forms it manifests periodically in mass shootings at strangers. So what do people do to cope? Drugs, pain killers, shrinks, alcohol, potato chips and soda. They then develop obesity, diabetes and heart diseases and cancers. How to save a human species terminally intoxicated with technology and enslaved by the market while the inner spirit is running empty may not be possible given the advanced nature of the disease.
Gary Walker -> NotForTurning , 7 Aug 2014 19:59
...what?
You fail to really acknowledge that time and again we've failed to exercise constrain within the capitalist models. The the meritorious are often inadequately rewarded - when any person in work cannot afford to home and feed themselves and their family then a reasonable balance has not been struck - in that sense at no time in history has capitalism functioned adequately.
To suggest that socialism is anti-human is to ignore how and why as a species we formed societies at all, we come together precisely because there is a mutual benefit in so doing; to help another is to help oneself - the model itself fails to operate in practice for the same reason that capitalism does - the greed of the power holder.

You reserve your sharpest barbs for socialism, but at least within the socialist agenda there is a commitment to the protection of the citizen, whoever they are, even the 'unmerited' as you describe them - a capitalist's paraphrase for 'those that create no value'.

The socialist at least recognises that whilst the parent may be 'unmerited' their dependants should be entitled to receive equality of opportunity and protection from the 'law-of-the-jungle' i.e., the greed of others.

The ability to generate wealth, simply by already having wealth and therefore being able to thrive off the labour of others carries little merit as far as I can tell and does indeed create the soul-crushing command-and-control empires of the capitalism that millions around the world experience daily.

zii000 , 7 Aug 2014 18:25
Neoliberalism is indeed a huge self-serving con and ironically the Thatcher/Regan doctrine which set out to break the status quo and free the economy from the old elitist guard has had exactly the opposite effect.
camllin , 7 Aug 2014 17:58
Capitalism cannot differentiate between honest competition and cheating. Since humans will cheat to win, capitalism has become survival of the worst not the best.
TheBBG , 7 Aug 2014 17:51
The bottom line is the basic human condition prizes food, shelter, sex, and then goes directly to greed in most modern societies. It was not always that way, and is not that way in ever fewer societies. As it is, greed makes the world go around.

In capitalistic societies greed has been fed by business and commerce; in communist societies it has been "some pigs are more equal then others"; and in dictatorships or true monarchies (or the Australian Liberal Party) there is the born to rule mentality where there are rulers and serfs.

Jon Allan , 7 Aug 2014 17:44
Nobody ever seems to address the paradox of the notion of an absolute free market: that within a free market, those who can have the freedom to exploit do exploit, thereby thus eliminating the freedom of the exploited, which thence paradoxically negates the absoluteness of the free market. No absolute freedom truly exist in a free market.

As such, the free market is pipe dream - a con - to eliminate regulations and create economic freedoms only where they benefit the elite. The free market does not exist, is impossible, and therefore should cease to be held as the harbinger of a progressive socio economic reality.

If we are to accept the Christian assumption that we, humans, are all self-serving and acquisitive, then we must, therefore, negate the possibility of an absolutely "free" market, since exploitation is a naturally occurring byproduct of weak-strong interactions. Exploitation negates freedom, and therefore, it must be our reality, as it is in all peoples' best interests, to accept directly democratic regulations as the keystone to any market.

Colin Bennett , 7 Aug 2014 17:06
It sounds very like the Marxist critique of capital. And similarly, points to real problems, but doesn't seek evidence for why such a sick situation not only persists, but is so popular - except by denigrating 'the masses'.

Surely what is particular about our time, about industrialisation generally, is the fragmenting of long term social structures, and orientation around the individual alone. It seems to me the problem of our times is redeveloping social structures which balance the individual and the socials selves, as all not merely stable but thriving happy creative societies, have always done.

pinkrobbo -> Jim Greer , 7 Aug 2014 16:06
Their propaganda is the same- an obsessive hatred of the state in any form, a semi-religious belief in the power of the individual operating in the free-market to solve humanity's ills.

Granted, they aren't social libertarians, but then, in the US, libertarians don't seem to be either.

makingtime -> YoungPete , 7 Aug 2014 13:28

Pretty typical that the assumption is the Marx "nailed it" and any dissenters are just "scared".


I'm scared by it too, as I said, it's a sensible fear of change. The question remains. What if Marx's analysis, just the analysis, is broadly correct? What if markets really are the road to ruination of our planet, morality and collective welfare in roughly the way that he explained?

It's not a trivial question, and clearly the current economic orthodoxy has failed to explain some recent little problems we've been having, while Marx explains how these problems are structurally embedded and only to be expected. It is intellectual cowardice to compulsively avoid this, in my view. Better minds than ours have struggled with it.

So beware of the fallacious argument from authority - 'You are stupid while I am axiomatically very clever, because I say so, hence I must be correct and you must shut it.' It goes nowhere useful, though we are all prone to employing it.

But it is not 'sixth form' thinking, surely, to consider these problems as being worth thinking about in a modern context. It is a plain fact that Stalinism didn't work as planned. We know it, but it doesn't make the problems it was intended to solve disappear to say so.

If you believe human nature can be changed by enforcing your interpretation of Marx's road to human freedom (a quasi-religious goal) you condemn millions to starvation, slaughter, gulags, misery etc.


Please read what I actually wrote about that. I'm not remotely quasi-religious, nor do I seek to enforce anything. My intention is only to expose a particularly damaging mythology. The extent of my crimes is persuasion as a prelude to consensual change before necessity really bites us all.

Markets conjure up the exact forms of misery you describe. Totalitarians of the right are highly undesirable too. I am against totalitarians, as are you, but an admirer of Marx's work. Do I fit into your simplistic categories? Does anyone? The freedoms we are permitted serve the market before they serve people. Markets are a social construct, as is capital, that we can choose to modify or squash. A child starving in a slum for lack of competitiveness, for its inability to serve the interests of capital, is less abstract perhaps.

Richard McDonough , 7 Aug 2014 13:20
Clintons are neoliberalss and about to be embraced by the neocons in foreign policy.
Reagan lives in a pan suit.
Serpentsarecreeps , 7 Aug 2014 12:15
The thing about selfishness and a brutal form of dog eat dog capitalism.

You see, it is a truth axiomatic that we human beings, as all living beings, are fundamentally selfish. We have to be in order to survive, and excel, and advance and perpetuate.

It is not theory but hard biology. You breathe for yourself, eat for yourself, love for yourself, have a family for yourself and so on. People are most affected and hurt if something happens to something or someone who means something to them personally. This is why concepts such as religion and nationality have worked so well, and will continue to even if they evolve in different ways, for they tap into a person's conception of theirself. Of their identity, of their self-definition. People tend to feel worse if something bad happens to someone they know than to a stranger; people tend to feel less bad when something happens to a cockroach than to a dog, simply because we relate better to dogs than to insects...So even our compassion is selfish after a fashion.

Capitalism and Socialism are two ends of the the same human spectrum of innate and hardwired selfishness. One stresses on the individual and the other on the larger group. It's always going to be hard to find the right balance because when you vest excessive power in any selfish ideology, it will begin to eat into the other type of selfishness..

The world revolves around competing selfishnesses...

yourmiddleclassfarce , 7 Aug 2014 11:46
The global economy is based upon wasting lives and material resources.

Designer landfill is no longer an option and neo-liberalism, which places importance of the invention called money over that of people (which is a dehumanising process), was never an option.

It is time for the neo-liberal fake politicians (that is 99.99% of them) to take up politics.

It really is, as ever since it is only another word for change, time for revolution.

Serpentsarecreeps , 7 Aug 2014 11:34
Excellent article by one of my favourite writers on this site! :)
steverandomno -> richterscalemadness , 7 Aug 2014 11:32

By extension, moving away from a system the shuns those who 'fail' people would be emotionally better off, and with the removal of the constant assessment and individualistic competition, people may feel better able to relate to one another. This would imply that healthy communities would be more likely to flourish, as people would be less likely to ignore those on lower income or of 'lower status'.

Move to what system? What system would achieve this?

Whether you agree or not, it is pretty clear what was being said.

Of course it's clear. George and his followers dislike market based systems. It couldn't be clearer. Even when the subject has little to do with the market, George and his followers always blame it for everything that is wrong with this world. That's pretty much the whole point of this article.

What's never clear is what alternative George and his followers propose that wouldn't result in all of the same flaws that accompany market driven systems. How can they be so sure some of those problems won't be worse? They always seem a bit sketchy, which is remarkable given the furor with which they relentlessly critique the market. We are told of alternatives concepts painted in the broadest of brushes, rich with abstract intangible idealism, but lacking in any pragmatism. We are invited to consider the whole exercise simply as academically self-indulgent navel gazing by the priviledged overeducated minority that comprise much of the Guardian's readership. It's quite disappointing. This article correctly details much of the discontent in the world. But this isn't a revelation. Where are the concrete ideas that can actualy be implemented now?
frontalcortexes at least makes a stab at something a bit more practicle than a 17 paragraph esoteric essay citing ancient Greek.

LastNameOnTheShelf , 7 Aug 2014 11:27
One of the worst thing is that the winners in the market race are showered with things which are fundamentally valueless and far in excess of what they could consume if they weren't, while bare necessities are withheld from the losers.
fractals -> Guardiansofwhatnow , 7 Aug 2014 11:12
of course, the nature of 'the market' means that all of our ipads and television sets will be obsolete within a year or 2.

[Jul 23, 2018] Sick of this market-driven world You should be George Monbiot Opinion The Guardian

Notable quotes:
"... The workplace has been overwhelmed by a mad, Kafkaesque infrastructure of assessments, monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned, whose purpose is to reward the winners and punish the losers ..."
"... The same forces afflict those who can't find work. They must now contend, alongside the other humiliations of unemployment, with a whole new level of snooping and monitoring. All this, Verhaeghe points out, is fundamental to the neoliberal model, which everywhere insists on comparison, evaluation and quantification. We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

I was prompted to write it by a remarkable book, just published in English, by a Belgian professor of psychoanalysis, Paul Verhaeghe. What About Me? The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society is one of those books that, by making connections between apparently distinct phenomena, permits sudden new insights into what is happening to us and why.

We are social animals, Verhaeghe argues, and our identities are shaped by the norms and values we absorb from other people. Every society defines and shapes its own normality – and its own abnormality – according to dominant narratives, and seeks either to make people comply or to exclude them if they don't.

Today the dominant narrative is that of market fundamentalism, widely known in Europe as neoliberalism. The story it tells is that the market can resolve almost all social, economic and political problems. The less the state regulates and taxes us, the better off we will be. Public services should be privatised, public spending should be cut, and business should be freed from social control. In countries such as the UK and the US, this story has shaped our norms and values for around 35 years: since Thatcher and Reagan came to power. It is rapidly colonising the rest of the world.

Verhaeghe points out that neoliberalism draws on the ancient Greek idea that our ethics are innate (and governed by a state of nature it calls the market) and on the Christian idea that humankind is inherently selfish and acquisitive. Rather than seeking to suppress these characteristics, neoliberalism celebrates them: it claims that unrestricted competition, driven by self-interest, leads to innovation and economic growth, enhancing the welfare of all.

At the heart of this story is the notion of merit. Untrammelled competition rewards people who have talent, work hard, and innovate. It breaks down hierarchies and creates a world of opportunity and mobility.

The reality is rather different. Even at the beginning of the process, when markets are first deregulated, we do not start with equal opportunities. Some people are a long way down the track before the starting gun is fired. This is how the Russian oligarchs managed to acquire such wealth when the Soviet Union broke up. They weren't, on the whole, the most talented, hardworking or innovative people, but those with the fewest scruples, the most thugs, and the best contacts – often in the KGB.

Even when outcomes are based on talent and hard work, they don't stay that way for long. Once the first generation of liberated entrepreneurs has made its money, the initial meritocracy is replaced by a new elite, which insulates its children from competition by inheritance and the best education money can buy. Where market fundamentalism has been most fiercely applied – in countries like the US and UK – social mobility has greatly declined .

If neoliberalism was anything other than a self-serving con, whose gurus and thinktanks were financed from the beginning by some of the world's richest people (the US multimillionaires Coors, Olin, Scaife, Pew and others), its apostles would have demanded, as a precondition for a society based on merit, that no one should start life with the unfair advantage of inherited wealth or economically determined education. But they never believed in their own doctrine. Enterprise, as a result, quickly gave way to rent.

All this is ignored, and success or failure in the market economy are ascribed solely to the efforts of the individual. The rich are the new righteous; the poor are the new deviants, who have failed both economically and morally and are now classified as social parasites.

The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has delivered atomisation and loneliness.

The workplace has been overwhelmed by a mad, Kafkaesque infrastructure of assessments, monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned, whose purpose is to reward the winners and punish the losers . It destroys autonomy, enterprise, innovation and loyalty, and breeds frustration, envy and fear. Through a magnificent paradox, it has led to the revival of a grand old Soviet tradition known in Russian as tufta . It means falsification of statistics to meet the diktats of unaccountable power.

The same forces afflict those who can't find work. They must now contend, alongside the other humiliations of unemployment, with a whole new level of snooping and monitoring. All this, Verhaeghe points out, is fundamental to the neoliberal model, which everywhere insists on comparison, evaluation and quantification. We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy.

These shifts have been accompanied, Verhaeghe writes, by a spectacular rise in certain psychiatric conditions: self-harm, eating disorders, depression and personality disorders.

Of the personality disorders, the most common are performance anxiety and social phobia: both of which reflect a fear of other people, who are perceived as both evaluators and competitors – the only roles for society that market fundamentalism admits. Depression and loneliness plague us.

The infantilising diktats of the workplace destroy our self-respect. Those who end up at the bottom of the pile are assailed by guilt and shame. The self-attribution fallacy cuts both ways: just as we congratulate ourselves for our success, we blame ourselves for our failure, even if we have little to do with it .

So, if you don't fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.

[Jul 23, 2018] Neoliberalism glorifies inequality

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. ..."
"... We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances. ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it's unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.

[Jul 23, 2018] Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom by Deborah Orr

Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

he International Monetary Fund has admitted that some of the decisions it made in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis were wrong, and that the €130bn first bailout of Greece was "bungled". Well, yes. If it hadn't been a mistake, then it would have been the only bailout and everyone in Greece would have lived happily ever after.

Actually, the IMF hasn't quite admitted that it messed things up. It has said instead that it went along with its partners in "the Troika" – the European Commission and the European Central Bank – when it shouldn't have. The EC and the ECB, says the IMF, put the interests of the eurozone before the interests of Greece. The EC and the ECB, in turn, clutch their pearls and splutter with horror that they could be accused of something so petty as self-preservation.

The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask.

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. They know the crash was a debt-bubble that burst. What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return; even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely. The thing is this: the crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State. Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralised and faceless, to be efficient and responsive. I agree. The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further – some setting about the task with greater relish than others. Now the task, supposedly, is to get the free market up and running again.

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people – people who expect to be well paid themselves, having been brought up believing in material aspiration, as consumers need to be.

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"? The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda. But how can the privatisation of societal welfare possibly happen when unemployment is already high, working people are turning to food banks to survive and the debt industry, far from being sorry that it brought the global economy to its knees, is snapping up bargains in the form of busted high-street businesses to establish shops with nothing to sell but high-interest debt? Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer unsustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?

Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments.

And further, those who invest in these companies, and insist that taxes should be low to encourage private profit and shareholder value, then lend governments the money they need to create these populations of sophisticated producers and consumers, berating them for their profligacy as they do so. It's all utterly, completely, crazy.

The other day a health minister, Anna Soubry , suggested that female GPs who worked part-time so that they could bring up families were putting the NHS under strain. The compartmentalised thinking is quite breathtaking. What on earth does she imagine? That it would be better for the economy if they all left school at 16? On the contrary, the more people who are earning good money while working part-time – thus having the leisure to consume – the better. No doubt these female GPs are sustaining both the pharmaceutical industry and the arts and media, both sectors that Britain does well in.

As for their prioritising of family life over career – that's just another of the myriad ways in which Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic. Its prophets and its disciples will happily – ecstatically – tell you that there's nothing more important than family, unless you're a family doctor spending some of your time caring for your own. You couldn't make these characters up. It is certainly true that women with children find it more easy to find part-time employment in the public sector. But that's a prima facie example of how unresponsive the private sector is to human and societal need, not – as it is so often presented – evidence that the public sector is congenitally disabled.

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce. Soubry and her ilk, above all else, forget that people have multiple roles, as consumers, as producers, as citizens and as family members. All of those things have to be nurtured and invested in to make a market.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised.

Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. And even as the results of their folly become ever more plain to see, they are grudging in their admittance of the slightest blame, bickering with their allies instead of waking up, smelling the coffee and realising that far too much of it is sold through Starbucks.

[Jul 20, 2018] 'Make them pariahs': how shaming Trump aides became a resistance tactic by Sam Wolfson

Hat tip to caucus99percent.com
Notable quotes:
"... @snoopydawg ..."
"... @gulfgal98 ..."
"... The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce. ..."
Jul 11, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

After another week saw leading Republicans accosted in public places, many on the left are arguing that harassment is legitimate

The day after Sarah Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, Maxine Waters, the representative for the California 43rd who has become a leader of the anti-Trump resistance within Congress, addressed a rally in Los Angeles. Up until that point, national Democratic leaders had mostly urged respectful protest in response to the Trump administration.

"Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up," she said to cheers from the crowd. "And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome any more, anywhere."

In the days that followed, other leading Democrats, among them Nancy Pelosi and David Axelrod, distanced themselves from the comments and called for civility. Trump personally attacked Waters, calling her an "extraordinarily low IQ person". But Waters gave voice, and perhaps legitimacy, to what has become a prominent form of activism since Trump took office: accosting members of his team in public places.

Over the weekend, Steve Bannon was called "a piece of trash" by a heckler at a bookstore; a bartender gave Stephen Miller the middle finger, apparently causing Miller to throw away $80 of sushi he'd just bought in disgust; and Mitch McConnell was chased out of a restaurant in Kentucky by protesters, who followed him to this car yelling "turtle head" and "we know where you live".

These follow similar encounters for other members of Trump's top team. The homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, was confronted by protesters chanting "shame" while she ate at a Mexican restaurant. Last week, Scott Pruitt was accosted by Kristin Mink while he was eating lunch. Mink, a teacher, held her two-year-old child as she asked him to resign "before your scandals push you out". Days later, Pruitt did resign, and although he was probably asked to do so by Trump, in his letter he cited "the unrelenting attacks on me" as his reason for leaving.

After each case, the merits of such an approach have been debated – many have called for civility or argued that protesters leave themselves open to attack if they pursue Trump-like techniques. There has been some consensus that encounters like Mink's, which are eloquent and non-aggressive, are more acceptable than when protesters chant personal attacks or use threatening language

... ... ...

Submitted by edg on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 2:08pm
If you stand with Markos ... @Wink

... you don't stand with most of C99 and most of progressive society. He is wrong, on this and many other things. Where was his (and your) outrage when Obama was droning American citizens, destroying Libya and creating Europe's current refugee crisis, and helping Saudi Arabia wreak havoc on Houthi civilians? How many pies did he throw then? How many Obama administration officials did he publicly shame?

Submitted by snoopydawg on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 1:37pm Would that have gone for shaming members of Obama's @Wink

administration too? He did many of the same things that Trump is doing to immigrants. He deported more of them then any president including 56% of them who hadn't committed any crimes. How about shaming them for his drone policies, killing 3 Americans without due process, bombing wedding parties and then the people who came to their rescue? Or the many, many other things he and his admin members did that were absolutely heinous?

Should we have done that to the people in the Bush administration too or how far back should we have been shaming people who worked in a president's administration?

Maybe we should be shaming the democrats who have been voting with the republicans to pass Trump's legislation, cabinet picks and justices? Where would it stop?


Submitted by thanatokephaloides on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 5:49pm

where it stops @snoopydawg

Maybe we should be shaming the democrats who have been voting with the republicans to pass Trump's legislation, cabinet picks and justices? Where would it stop?

Where it should -- with the non-voluntarily-complicit.

Submitted by Amanda Matthews on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 9:50pm When political life is reduced to @Wink

the publicly harassing, embarrssing, and running off the oposition then we're really fucked. Or do you seriousy think those tactics won't be repaid in kind?

on public shaming.
#7
Especially in public restaurants.
There is no better way to protest this admin than to shame them in a public place, confront them while they attempt to swallow a bite of pork chop.

up 0 users have voted. --

I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa Submitted by gulfgal98 on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:00pm Critical thinking skills seem to be non-existent over there.

Again, Markos and his staff refuse to discuss policy from a positive perspective. Instead, they focus their readers on the outrage de jour and tribalism. The entire purpose of that site is a massive propaganda push designed to keep us divided. And the narrative they keep pushing are not only divisive, but extremely dangerous.

I rarely go there any more, mostly because I would like to keep as many of my remaining brain cells intact. But when I have visited that place, it is a very frightening place to see how Markos (post purge) has herded the remaining members into a small corral, all of them nodding in agreement with whatever gruel Markos and his front pagers are serving up. Submitted by snoopydawg on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 6:29pm Daily Kos should change its name to @gulfgal98

The Daily Tabloid. Or The Daily Gossip because of some of the topics covered there. The new McCarthyism will destroy this country even more:

BAR Book Forum: Jeremy Kuzmarov's and John Marciano's "The Russians are Coming, Again"
"The American people have been constantly manipulated and made to fear the Russian threat when it is the United States that has been the aggressive power."

In this series, we ask acclaimed authors to answer five questions about their book. This week's featured authors are Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano . Kuzmarov is Jay P. Walker Assistant Professor of American History, University of Tulsa. Marciano is Professor Emeritus at SUNY Cortland. Their book is The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce.

Roberto Sirvent: How can your book help BAR readers understand the current political and social climate?

Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano: Our book provides a historical perspective on contemporary affairs by showing how the Russo-phobia that has been prevalent in our political discourse over the last four to five years has deep and long historical roots, and has often been used by government leaders to turn public attention away from domestic inequalities by channeling societal resources towards the military sector. During the early Cold War, a period of labor militancy and momentum for the expansion of the New Deal was destroyed by McCarthyism and the Cold War.The Korean War brought on huge military budgets that have never left us and an expansion of the U.S. overseas military base network. These policies were underlain by exaggerated views about the Soviet Union which were stoked by political elites, who had worked for companies that reaped enormous profit from the permanent warfare state. The same forces are behind the renewed efforts to demonize Russian President Vladimir Putin and exaggerate the Russian threat, with serious adverse consequences for society that have already been evident. The consequences include a revitalization of the arms race, waging of proxy wars, and a further poisoning of the domestic political culture through the reinvigoration of a McCarthyist discourse and tactics.

"During the early Cold War, a period of labor militancy and momentum for the expansion of the New Deal was destroyed by McCarthyism and the Cold War."

More: https://www.blackagendareport.com/bar-book-forum-jeremy-kuzmarovs-and-john-marcianos-russians-are-coming-again up

[Jul 18, 2018] That information was no more the private property of the DNC and Clinton Campaign than a plan to rob a bank belongs to the robbers. Isn't that so, Mr. Mueller?

Jul 18, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

ill-gotten goods are undeserving of protection of law. The DNC and Podesta had no legitimate expectation of privacy in their combinations to defraud the public and steal elections.

It's been imputed that the Russians did this to damage the reputation of Hillary Clinton. To take the alleged damage to reputation angle to its conclusion, truth is an entirely sufficient defense to any charge of libel. What was revealed by an alleged hack was the truth, something that is entirely lacking in the rest of this affair.

As for the alleged theft and public release of email, ill-gotten goods are undeserving of protection of law. The DNC and Podesta had no legitimate expectation of privacy in their combinations to defraud the public and steal elections.

The Russian GRU is accused of revealing that the people who run the DNC and Clinton campaign committee colluded with each other to steal the nomination. The allegedly hacked emails show what they really did and thought during the fraudulent nomination of Hillary Clinton. It might be argued, that whomever revealed the truth actually did a public service for the American people. An odd sort of "act of war," that.

Finally, individual officials and military officers have a limited immunity and are not normally indicted by foreign states for intelligence activities such as electronic surveillance and hacking across borders. That is where the element of harm comes in. The only real precedent for this is the Rainbow Warrior case. In 1985, French intelligence officers blew up and sank a Greenpeace ship by that name anchored in Auckland, NZ harbour, killing a passenger, a Dutch photographer. A UN arbitrator held in that case the French agents were not immune under customary international law to prosecution in a New Zealand court and could be individually tried and jailed, but only because of the death of the victim as part of "a criminal act of violence against property in New Zealand . . . done without regard for innocent civilians." Greenpeace was additionally awarded damages in the UK under international Maritime Law because the vessel was a British-flagged ship.

Also bear in mind, the US and UK both provide immunity to their own intelligence officers and law enforcement officers for hacking and related computer crimes committed against foreign powers. The UK takes that a step further and exempts police officers for domestic hacking:

See, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/15/intelligence-officers-ha...

This is a dangerous precedent, and the likely result is to ignite retaliation and further exacerbate U.S.-Russian tensions. The entire staffs of the NSA, GCHQ and GRU could be similarly "prosecuted," but what will that accomplish? Even if every word of the indictment is fact, the indictment itself violates the norms of international law and this latest "Russiagate" escalation by Mueller seems intended to ratchet up the New Cold War.

That is why "Russiagate" is a legal sham, in my opinion. Even if the alleged Russian hack of the DNC email actually happened as claimed, and even if the hack was with bad intent, there was no real crime or harm in the release of that information. That information was no more the private property of the DNC and Clinton Campaign than a plan to rob a bank belongs to the robbers. Isn't that so, Mr. Mueller?

[Jul 09, 2018] A reare case of honesty from The Guardian

Jul 09, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel , Jul 8, 2018 3:35:44 PM | 57

Exciting new product intro from Max Blumenthal: Maddow's Tears™, a new formula that produces soothing, cooling moisture in politically convenient circumstances.
Daniel , Jul 8, 2018 4:25:49 PM | 58
Interesting case of honesty from The Guardian:

"I am at a loss to see what motive the Kremlin might have to commit murders on foreign soil during the buildup, let alone the enactment, of a sporting event that is of mammoth chauvinist significance to Russia."

"The most obvious motive for these attacks would surely be from someone out to embarrass the Russian president, Vladimir Putin – someone from his enemies, rather than from his friends or employees. But once again we have no clue."

[Jul 09, 2018] Presstitutes from BBC report lies again

Jul 09, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel , Jul 8, 2018 2:07:03 PM | 53

LOL. I see BBC is today reporting:

"Almost all the Syrians who fled to the border with Jordan from an army offensive have now returned to their homes, a top UN official says."

Just days ago they reported that "The offensive in Syria's south-west had earlier forced more than 320,000 people to flee," and were bleating that Jordan should open their border and let them all in.

Today "Anders Pedersen, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Jordan, said that "around 150 to 200 people (are) right now at the border".

320,000 became <200 in a matter of days. LOL

So, once again we see that the civilians were fleeing the fighting, NOT the Syrian government. And once the SAR regains control of an area, almost everyone returns.

Well, at least BBC online did sort of admit it.

[Jul 08, 2018] Syria - OPCW Issues First Report Of Chemical Weapon Attack in Douma

From comment of chet380, Jul 7, 2018 7:03:08 PM (19): "Notwithstanding the counter-evidence and the strong counter-arguments, the decision by the OPCW to include references to 'chlorinated chemical compounds' guaranteed that the 'attack' scenario would continue to be advanced.Is it possible that the UK, US and/or France put pressure on the OPCW to make the inclusion so they would not have to admit they were wrong and that they were fooled? The fraud of the White Helmets should have been exposed by the OPCW inspection, but this interim report will give them continued life."
Notable quotes:
"... Interestingly the MI6 outlet in Coventry, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR), does not confirm a 'gas' incident. ..."
"... The "Sarin" organophosphate use the 'rebels' claimed is thereby debunked. No degradation products of such chemicals were found. The "various chlorinated organic chemicals" are unsurprising. Chlorine is widely used for water purification and cleaning and "chlorinated organic chemicals" will be found in any household. ..."
"... The preliminary OPCW report says nothing about the concentrations in which these substances were found. Without knowing the concentrations, which may may be extremely low, one can not come to further conclusion. The report includes none of the witness statements the fact finding mission took. In various TV reports the medical personal of the one hospital involved in the stunt said that none of their patients were affected by chlorine or chemical weapons. ..."
"... After the 'rebels' claimed the 'chemical attack' and published their staged videos of stacked bodies U.S. President Trump tweeted that he would retaliate for the strike. Politically he could not pull back from that even when Secretary of Defense Mattis voiced his doubts about the 'rebel' claims. Trump attacked Syria with a series of cruise missiles most of which were shot down by the Syrian air defense. A civil chemical laboratory was destroyed during the attack but no one was hurt. ..."
"... They cannot admit everything was staged. And the report is not at all clear, so anyone can give it the desired spin. ..."
"... They didn't find anything relevant. See Appendix 3 of the report. There's no mention of traces of chlorine which I would find hard to believe anyway, they refer to chloride Cl- as in NaCl (table salt) or organic chlorides, of which they do name at least one. ..."
"... The Guardian employs Olivia Solon, a digital journalist (whose specialty is in writing about and recommending particular IT consumer hardware or software products) based in California, with no knowledge or access to knowledge about Syria, its politics or history, to write an article defending the White Helmets and defame the investigative journalists Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley. That practice seems to be par for the course for The Guardian and other print and online newspapers. ..."
"... And yes, the corporate MSM is definitely profit-driven. When "news" was separate from "entertainment," there was some free press possible, but once they were combined, any imaginary wall between sponsors and newscasters was removed. ..."
"... Here in the US, CBS was founded by William Paley, who had been in charge of radio propaganda for the US Army Office of Psychological Warfare. CBS was owned by Westinghouse, which became the world's largest military contractor during WW II. ..."
"... Neither CBS and NBC ever generated even 5% of their parent companies revenues. The real profits were in consumer products and war. And so, not just their news, but all of their programming promoted world views that encouraged consumption and war. ..."
"... Almost all reporters covering international news are working for the various government and private intelligence agencies/think tanks and many domestic reporters as well. ..."
"... This has been the case for over 50 years if not a century. Many of the critical reports are likely written by the agencies/think tanks. Many CIA interns work at MSM for example and reporters are recruited as early as college if not high school through thr corporate government education system. ..."
"... Regarding comments of journalists, the problem may not always be with them. There have been countless discussions on the influence of intelligence agencies. Most people would choose to do the right thing when given the choice. However, if the choices are following orders or "suicide by nailgun", most people would choose to live another day. ..."
"... The British-created Anglo-American funded black propaganda organisation, the so-called White Helmets were the primary source for the claims of Sarin use by the SAG in Douma. In as just world, the White Helmets as proven liars would now become international pariahs. That they will still be hailed as heroes in the West and western MSM so just how sick the West and western MSM really are. Perhaps now that the OPCW is free to cast blame for "chemical weapons incidents", they should name and shame the United Kingdom for its black propaganda. ..."
"... Well, we all knew a false flag op was pending. So here it is. Also Trump is a POS. ..."
"... When the White Helmets and the rebels staged the 'Douma' chemical attack they were probably expecting that Douma would not be liberated and that no serious inspection would take place to debunk the 'fake' attack. That was bad luck for them. Contrary to the other chemical "attacks" locations, an inspection on location has taken place early enough and the masks may be falling. ..."
"... There are critically important information here from Vanessa Beelley False Flag Fail: How Syrian Civilians Derailed White Helmet 'Chemical' Stunt in Eastern Ghouta that Bernhardt has not mentioned. ..."
"... The White Helmets specifically stated that the protesters had ruined their chemical attack and ruined their communications with the UN, and that the Americans would not come to their assistance because of it. This incident explains important aspects of the false flag: ..."
"... 1) So close to impending defeat, the terrorists were really desperate to induce the Americans to save them, and really believed they would do so; ..."
"... the conflicting signals given out by the MI6 proxies SOHR I would read as a damage limitation act specifically in response to the civilian protest; ..."
"... It would appear that MI6 feared news of this protest would be spread, so that they needed to protect their proxies. ..."
"... Unfortunately, despite this information being published by Vanessa Beeley, I haven't seen any other mention of it. The protesters endangered their lives by this protest, at least one of them [or another hostage? - this is not clear] was shot dead for it, and all of them were sentenced to death. They deserve due publicity for it and it is really important to an understanding of the incident as a whole. ..."
"... Bernhardt, I am afraid I don't share your apparent confidence in this OPCW report. It is far too little and lopsided after months of investigation, and appears to be designed to test the waters for a decision confirming that chlorine was used as a weapon, and to coordinate with the MSM to prepare the ground for such a decision. In that case, the MSM reaction to the report is highly consistent with such an objective. ..."
"... Why did the the report make no caveats about the chlorine compounds, why did they include no data about concentrations, why did they emphasise the chain of custody of the (probably trivial) chrorine compound samples (and only those samples), why no information on witness testimony, why no mention of the witness testimony in the Hague, why mention (totally irrelevant) testimony of alleged witnesses in Turkey and biological samples taken in Turkey for which no plausible chain of custody exists? ..."
"... This report is a scandal, an outrage. This report itself is a false flag, it is designed to appease those observers who know the incident was a false flag by using carefully ambiguous wording, while preparing the ground for a full-blown 99% dishonest and 100% misleading report condemning the Syrian government. ..."
"... For Trump self inflicted ego wound somebody will pay. ..."
"... If the OPCW can no longer be trusted; then what? The U.S. has done an admirable job of destroying trust between countries. ..."
"... Nice article, however I tend to disagree partially on the last part, the US administration and the alleged rebels are two faces of the same coins, rebels are funded by the administration from various sources and they acr in response to commands from it, see the southern command operations where this approach of command was openly divulged by various reports and accounts. The reason for the Administration to get into Syria was to further weaken the middle eastern countries for a specific and obvious reason, and each strike and wall destroyed goes into this direction..the bigger picture explains it all.. ..."
"... So, as expected, this latest OPCW report will have no effect on the establishment narrative. The good guys vs bad guys scenario is the only approved version, and with no alternative versions being offered in the MSM, it is the one that the most people will believe. ..."
"... I suspect some of the stupidest staged events are just experiments to monitor how many people will simply buy anything. ..."
Jul 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Syria - OPCW Issues First Report Of 'Chemical Weapon Attack' in Douma

On April 7 2018 Syrian 'rebels' claimed that the Syrian government used chlorine gas and Sarin in an attack on the besieged Douma suburb near the Syrian capital Damascus. They published a series of videos which showed the dead bodies of mainly women and children.

During the night the incident allegedly happened Douma was hit with artillery and air strikes in retaliation for earlier deadly attacks by some 'rebels' splinter groups on Damascus city. Jaish al-Islam, the main 'rebel' group in Douma, had already agreed to leave towards Idleb governorate.

The claim of the 'chemical attack' was made shortly after U.S. President Trump had announced that he wanted U.S. troops to leave Syria. It was designed to "pull him back in" which it indeed did.

Moon of Alabama published several pieces on the issue:

It seemed obvious from the very first claims of the 'gas attack' that it did not happen at all. The Syrian government had no motive to use any chemical weapon or an irritant like chlorine in Douma. It had already won. The incident was obviously staged, like others before it, to drag the U.S. into a new attack on Syria.

Even a prominent opposition outlet said that no 'chemical attack' had taken place. As noted on April 9:

Interestingly the MI6 outlet in Coventry, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR), does not confirm a 'gas' incident. In its version of events some 40 people died after their shelter collapsed:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights issued a higher death toll, saying at least 80 people were killed in Douma, including around 40 who died from suffocation. But it said the suffocations were the result of shelters collapsing on people inside them.

Main stream media, which have quoted SOHR for years, now ignore it and report of a 'chemical attack' as if it were a proven reality.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) send a Fact Finding Mission (FFM) to Douma and investigated the incident. Today it published an interim report and some technical results:

OPCW designated labs conducted analysis of prioritised samples. The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is on-going. The FFM team will continue its work to draw final conclusions.

The "Sarin" organophosphate use the 'rebels' claimed is thereby debunked. No degradation products of such chemicals were found. The "various chlorinated organic chemicals" are unsurprising. Chlorine is widely used for water purification and cleaning and "chlorinated organic chemicals" will be found in any household.

In the technical notes of the OPCW report note that one of its laboratory found "dichloroacetic acid", "trichloroacetic acid", "chloral hydrate", "trichlorophenol" and "chlorphenol" in some of the samples its fact finding mission took at the claimed incident sites. These are all substances that are no surprise in any upbuild environment and especially within any home. Dichloroacetic acid" is for example "a trace product of the chlorination of drinking water". Chloral hydrate is likewise "a minor side-product of the chlorination of water when organic residues such as humic acids are present". The other substances are also not uncommon and of various household uses.

The other OPCW laboratory found only "No CWC-scheduled chemicals" and "2,4,6-trinitrotoluene" residues in the samples. Trinitrotoluene, also known as TNT, is an explosive widely used in military ammunition. The second laboratory does not report the chlorinated organic chemicals the other laboratory found.

The preliminary OPCW report says nothing about the concentrations in which these substances were found. Without knowing the concentrations, which may may be extremely low, one can not come to further conclusion. The report includes none of the witness statements the fact finding mission took. In various TV reports the medical personal of the one hospital involved in the stunt said that none of their patients were affected by chlorine or chemical weapons.

After the 'rebels' claimed the 'chemical attack' and published their staged videos of stacked bodies U.S. President Trump tweeted that he would retaliate for the strike. Politically he could not pull back from that even when Secretary of Defense Mattis voiced his doubts about the 'rebel' claims. Trump attacked Syria with a series of cruise missiles most of which were shot down by the Syrian air defense. A civil chemical laboratory was destroyed during the attack but no one was hurt.

The now published preliminary OPCW report reinforces the doubts about the 'rebel' claims. There was no 'chemical attack' in Douma. The incident was staged.

One hopes that Trump has learned from this episode and will in future refrain from violent threats over incidents for which no plausible and vetted evidence is provided.

Posted by b on July 6, 2018 at 03:23 PM | Permalink

Comments


Zanon , Jul 6, 2018 3:57:54 PM | 1

Remember the propaganda in the western media and among politicians, they lied and lied, and people like us here were right in our doubts.

Western media again act as warcriminal psyop agent, not to mention a useful idiot for the terrorists!

Ort , Jul 6, 2018 4:03:05 PM | 2
Thanks for this report, even though in my case you're "preaching to the choir".

I wish I could share your closing optimism: "One hopes that Trump has learned from this episode and will in future refrain from violent threats over incidents for which no plausible and vetted evidence is provided."

Hope springs eternal. But even though I'm not rabidly anti-Trump, I think he will remain unwilling to refrain, or is incapable of refraining, from impulsively responding with bluster, bombast, and chauvinistic bumptiousness when his buttons are pushed, regardless of the validity of the stimulus.

Trump, whose narcissism is second to no one's, is devoid of the introspective humility contemplated by the axiom "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me"; his ego will not process the possibility that he can ever be fooled.

Alas! Trump is definitely a "Threaten first and ask questions later" kind of guy.

psychohistorian , Jul 6, 2018 4:13:31 PM | 3
Thanks for the report b. I was surfing the net as I prepared a meal and saw that the BBC is pushing this hard.

The BBC is even writing about the April chemical weapon scam as being added proof.....sad

The elite keep trying to start a war with anyone to keep the focus off their failure as the "leaders of the free world" BS. When are the elite going to realize their temper tantrums aren't working?

I hope they don't get their shooting war and I hope their economic war provides their final undoing.....think of the waste of human and other resources over the past 70 years.....let alone the centuries that the private finance/property scam has been going on.

Yag , Jul 6, 2018 4:24:04 PM | 4
And liquid chlorine (household bleach) combined with another common household chemical used around the world will release chlorine gas.
Pnyx , Jul 6, 2018 4:38:34 PM | 5
Still, Ard-Tagesschau says the following (originally in German): "In the battles for the Syrian rebel stronghold Duma, chlorine gas was apparently used in April. The OPCW found traces of this in gas cylinder residues."

Sure enough I agree with you B, but for the MSM the OPCW report reads different.

They cannot admit everything was staged. And the report is not at all clear, so anyone can give it the desired spin.

b , Jul 6, 2018 5:04:07 PM | 6
"The OPCW found traces of this in gas cylinder residues." Claiming that the OPCW found "traces of chlorine" is like claiming one found "traces of oxygen" or "traces of hydrogen" when one found water (H2O).

The occurrence of a basic element in a compound is not a "trace" of the basic element. That's chemistry 001. Journalists nowadays seem to lack most basics of higher education.

Hmpf , Jul 6, 2018 5:14:09 PM | 7
@5 Pynx

They didn't find anything relevant. See Appendix 3 of the report. There's no mention of traces of chlorine which I would find hard to believe anyway, they refer to chloride Cl- as in NaCl (table salt) or organic chlorides, of which they do name at least one.

What to expect from the 'Tagesschau' - same old, same old. They're making stuff up again, almost certainly out of willful ignorance and bias.

@6 b
I figure it's even worse than that. They're not even asking the most basic question: Am I a competent person?
My guess is a great many of these folks avoid asking that question on purpose.

Jen , Jul 6, 2018 6:06:36 PM | 8
Pnyx @ 5, B @ 6, Hmpf @ 7:

It would seem that a common (and deliberate) ploy used by the MSM these days is to use journalists with no particular knowledge, experience or insight in an area to write articles that need that knowledge or experience.

The Guardian employs Olivia Solon, a digital journalist (whose specialty is in writing about and recommending particular IT consumer hardware or software products) based in California, with no knowledge or access to knowledge about Syria, its politics or history, to write an article defending the White Helmets and defame the investigative journalists Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley. That practice seems to be par for the course for The Guardian and other print and online newspapers.

Plus The Guardian and others rely on dubious sources like Bellingcat and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, whose credentials are laughable at best, as "experts" in their chosen areas of reporting.

All the Western MSM are now entirely driven by the pursuit of sales revenue and profit and are now no different from outlets peddling entertainment. No surprise really when news media outlets are now owned by the same individuals or corporations that own film studios, TV stations, online media and TV channels, book and comics publishers, and games publishers.

Daniel , Jul 6, 2018 6:35:53 PM | 9
Jen @8. Great point on the strategy of using "journalists" with no background in the topic they're tasked to 'report."

And yes, the corporate MSM is definitely profit-driven. When "news" was separate from "entertainment," there was some free press possible, but once they were combined, any imaginary wall between sponsors and newscasters was removed.

Still, considering who owns the MSM, I'd say their main purpose is not to sell commercials, but to sell the most profitable "products" of their owners.

Here in the US, CBS was founded by William Paley, who had been in charge of radio propaganda for the US Army Office of Psychological Warfare. CBS was owned by Westinghouse, which became the world's largest military contractor during WW II.

NBC was owned by GE, which was also one of the largest military contractors in the world.

Neither CBS and NBC ever generated even 5% of their parent companies revenues. The real profits were in consumer products and war. And so, not just their news, but all of their programming promoted world views that encouraged consumption and war.

Pft , Jul 6, 2018 6:56:32 PM | 10

Almost all reporters covering international news are working for the various government and private intelligence agencies/think tanks and many domestic reporters as well.

This has been the case for over 50 years if not a century. Many of the critical reports are likely written by the agencies/think tanks. Many CIA interns work at MSM for example and reporters are recruited as early as college if not high school through thr corporate government education system.

Everyone likes to supplement their income and many are convinced its their patriotic duty to disseminate propaganda. For some its a chance to join the elite class, even at a low level. Obviously getting the 6-8 corporate entities that own 80% of the media to go along is not difficult especially as those who go rogue will be punished by members of the business roundtable responsible for most advertising , which would of course dry up as punishment

Now monitoring the internet and social media with big data analytics allows almost Total Information Awareness. They can see in real time whats working and to what extent and what is not. They can then fill holes or modify the story as needed. They know they dont need to get 100% believability. This is why they have not shut down dissenting comments. They are useful, for now.

I suspect some of the stupidest staged events are just experiments to monitor how many people will simply buy anything. At some point they will feel confident enough to simulate an alien invasion of beings capable of taking human form. This will necessitate martial law which thw fearful will gladly accept, and a global governement led by the countries with the largest space force. Funny how the US still needs Russian Rockets to launch satellites so its Space Force has a way to go yet. I guess I wont be around for the fun since time is not a friend of old men

Ian , Jul 6, 2018 7:01:03 PM | 11

Regarding comments of journalists, the problem may not always be with them. There have been countless discussions on the influence of intelligence agencies. Most people would choose to do the right thing when given the choice. However, if the choices are following orders or "suicide by nailgun", most people would choose to live another day.

Timothy Hagios , Jul 6, 2018 7:05:17 PM | 12
Pft @ 10

Speaking of experiments to monitor how many people will believe anything, some good claims from the MSM come to mind: 40% of North Koreans are on crystal meth, the Russians killed the last clown in Aleppo, and the Breatharians (people who purportedly survive on only air and sunlight).

james , Jul 6, 2018 7:06:44 PM | 13
thanks b... unfortunately, i tend to see it much like what @8 jen says... these folks are unsure about their next pay check and are happy to write with a chatham house /scl / cambridge analytica slant knowing what is expected of them.. they ask no questions and are unwilling to articulate the false flags that have shaped all this discussion of opcw and chemical attacks in syria.. in this respect i also agree with @5 pnyx... they are unwilling or unable to raise these questions for fear of dismissal.. more and more people recognize what a poor state the msm is in today.. that is my hope anyway..
ben , Jul 6, 2018 7:47:04 PM | 14
b said:"One hopes that Trump has learned from this episode and will in future refrain from violent threats over incidents for which no plausible and vetted evidence is provided."

Unfortunately, probably no one here in the land of theater, will ever hear about this report. As to DJT, he'll do whatever it takes to enhance his appearance with the morons. His learning curve only bends toward his own enhancement. To him and his minions, truth doesn't matter...

Mark2 , Jul 6, 2018 8:19:28 PM | 15
There's unlikely to be any real investigative journalism regarding opcw reports, considering the papers in uk are owned by mega millionaires who profit from war and the Middle East land grab.oil ect. Plus the owners featured largely in the off shore tax haven leaks- relavent here not so much regarding tax, but what that hidden money is invested in, Gun running, slave labour, buying rebels? It's a small world, media moguls own it.
bevin , Jul 6, 2018 8:33:50 PM | 16
Try these Mark2

https://skwawkbox.org/2018/07/07/bbcs-outright-fake-news-tonight-on-douma-chlorine-attack/
https://skwawkbox.org/2018/07/07/video-bbc-news-joins-fake-news-scandal-over-opcws-douma-chlorine-report/

Ghost Ship , Jul 6, 2018 8:43:25 PM | 17
The British-created Anglo-American funded black propaganda organisation, the so-called White Helmets were the primary source for the claims of Sarin use by the SAG in Douma. In as just world, the White Helmets as proven liars would now become international pariahs. That they will still be hailed as heroes in the West and western MSM so just how sick the West and western MSM really are. Perhaps now that the OPCW is free to cast blame for "chemical weapons incidents", they should name and shame the United Kingdom for its black propaganda.
Mark2 , Jul 6, 2018 8:55:31 PM | 18
Thanks Bevin @ 16
I do follow that site, but had'nt looked recently. Really Good, no doubt your aware of 'the canary ' good article on this subject! Both sites I recommend to one and all.
fast freddy , Jul 6, 2018 9:01:43 PM | 19
Well, we all knew a false flag op was pending. So here it is. Also Trump is a POS.
Daniel , Jul 6, 2018 9:24:19 PM | 20
Thanks, bevin for the links to yet another site I'll be trying to find the time to visit. :-)

Both of those articles lay out the BBC BS succinctly and clearly.

Virgile , Jul 6, 2018 10:12:59 PM | 21

When the White Helmets and the rebels staged the 'Douma' chemical attack they were probably expecting that Douma would not be liberated and that no serious inspection would take place to debunk the 'fake' attack. That was bad luck for them. Contrary to the other chemical "attacks" locations, an inspection on location has taken place early enough and the masks may be falling.

james , Jul 6, 2018 10:40:08 PM | 22
@21 virgile... exactly.... all the money the usa/uk have sunk into the white helmets and etc - and very little to nothing to show for it..
chet380 , Jul 6, 2018 10:59:46 PM | 23
@3 Psychohistorian --

Your early call that the MSM would go with the chlorine findings to support the attack is proving true across the board -- there is not a chance that an admission of having been mistaken is going to happen.

adamski , Jul 7, 2018 12:19:58 AM | 24
Chloral Hydrate...?! This was an old school sedative medication. Seems appropriate somehow.
V , Jul 7, 2018 12:36:26 AM | 25
Finally, straight shooting from the OPCW. About time...
Red Ryder , Jul 7, 2018 1:20:06 AM | 26
It is Highly Likely that all the gas attacks were staged as false flags. Exceedingly Likely.
fairleft , Jul 7, 2018 1:37:18 AM | 27
james @13 I think it's clearly true, not just a hope, that fewer and fewer people take the media seriously. Those who still watch mainstream and cable 'news' programs are a pretty small minority, and the MSNBC/FOX side of that is probably acknowledged even by most of its consumers, as 'my side' comfort food rather than 'news' as we used to understand it.

The media's lock-step Western-Empire perspective _is_ frightening, but we also need to remember recent election results that have gone against the empire's wishes. Just a couple days ago in Mexico, for example. Real alternative and real (whether socialist, left, right, or libertarian) populist media is having an impact, I think, and we may be able to turn things around in the West before the next world wars start.

BM , Jul 7, 2018 2:00:06 AM | 28

There are critically important information here from Vanessa Beelley False Flag Fail: How Syrian Civilians Derailed White Helmet 'Chemical' Stunt in Eastern Ghouta that Bernhardt has not mentioned.

Vanessa Beeley interviewed at least two witnesses who - seeing that the government forces were about to liberate Hamouriya village in Douma from the terrorists under whose control they had suffered for 6 years and thereby feeling empowered - on 6th March at 3pm decided to publicly protest against the terrorists by marching through Hamouriya carrying Syrian national flags. They were met by members of the White Helmets and the terrorists, who blamed them explicitly for ruining their chemical weapons false flag.

Critically importantly, the White Helmets had already released news for the claimed false flag that morning and the night before, and they had already collected 30 dead bodies from all over Douma and brought them to the hospital, and had already started filming.

The protest critically negated the propaganda message of the false flag chemical attack - if the Syrian Army had really been dropping chemical weapons on Hamouriya the night before with intent to kill civilian women and children, why would the civilians immediately afterwards start marching through the city carrying Syrian national flags, and having raised the flag at key points in the city? It makes the whole flase flag [even more] implausible. The White Helmets then wrapped one hostage in a Syrian flag and shot him dead as a warning. Fortunately the two witnesses interviewed (and hopefully most of the protesters) were able to escape soon afterwards with the help of the nearby Syrian Army.

The White Helmets specifically stated that the protesters had ruined their chemical attack and ruined their communications with the UN, and that the Americans would not come to their assistance because of it. This incident explains important aspects of the false flag:

1) So close to impending defeat, the terrorists were really desperate to induce the Americans to save them, and really believed they would do so;

2) Having already announced the false flag the previous night and having collected so many dead bodies in preparation, the existence of the protest creates a credibility problem for the terrorists and White Helmets, to which they seem to have responded with various conflicting signals;

3) In particular, the conflicting signals given out by the MI6 proxies SOHR I would read as a damage limitation act specifically in response to the civilian protest;

4) It would appear that MI6 feared news of this protest would be spread, so that they needed to protect their proxies.

Unfortunately, despite this information being published by Vanessa Beeley, I haven't seen any other mention of it. The protesters endangered their lives by this protest, at least one of them [or another hostage? - this is not clear] was shot dead for it, and all of them were sentenced to death. They deserve due publicity for it and it is really important to an understanding of the incident as a whole.

Bernhardt, I hope you will update the article above to include some of Vanessa Beeley's reporting on this incident.

BM , Jul 7, 2018 2:20:22 AM | 29
Bernhardt, I am afraid I don't share your apparent confidence in this OPCW report. It is far too little and lopsided after months of investigation, and appears to be designed to test the waters for a decision confirming that chlorine was used as a weapon, and to coordinate with the MSM to prepare the ground for such a decision. In that case, the MSM reaction to the report is highly consistent with such an objective.

Why did the the report make no caveats about the chlorine compounds, why did they include no data about concentrations, why did they emphasise the chain of custody of the (probably trivial) chrorine compound samples (and only those samples), why no information on witness testimony, why no mention of the witness testimony in the Hague, why mention (totally irrelevant) testimony of alleged witnesses in Turkey and biological samples taken in Turkey for which no plausible chain of custody exists?

Posted by: V | Jul 7, 2018 12:36:26 AM | 25
Finally, straight shooting from the OPCW.
About time...

This report is a scandal, an outrage. This report itself is a false flag, it is designed to appease those observers who know the incident was a false flag by using carefully ambiguous wording, while preparing the ground for a full-blown 99% dishonest and 100% misleading report condemning the Syrian government.

The correct response to this report is very loud and active and persistent protest against it.

The Russians should make very strongly worded complaints and criticisms about it both at the OPCW and at the UN (maybe they have, I wouldn't know).

V , Jul 7, 2018 2:31:49 AM | 30
BM | Jul 7, 2018 2:20:22 AM | 29

You may be correct; we'll see...

Kalen , Jul 7, 2018 3:09:25 AM | 31
For Trump self inflicted ego wound somebody will pay.
V , Jul 7, 2018 7:09:29 AM | 35
Mark2 | Jul 7, 2018 6:29:06 AM | 34

So, following your logic (which I mostly agree); what value/good are elections?
None, near as I can tell.
Time for something new?
But then I digress; what to do about false flag chemo attacks?

If the OPCW can no longer be trusted; then what? The U.S. has done an admirable job of destroying trust between countries.

dfnslblty , Jul 7, 2018 9:25:39 AM | 39
ΏHas anyone here read Peter Ford's piece on OPCW? I believe it fits somewhere in the discussion. Unfortunate this choir is so small. Keep writing and Protest Loudly!
Mike , Jul 7, 2018 9:29:28 AM | 40
Hi
Nice article, however I tend to disagree partially on the last part, the US administration and the alleged rebels are two faces of the same coins, rebels are funded by the administration from various sources and they acr in response to commands from it, see the southern command operations where this approach of command was openly divulged by various reports and accounts. The reason for the Administration to get into Syria was to further weaken the middle eastern countries for a specific and obvious reason, and each strike and wall destroyed goes into this direction..the bigger picture explains it all..
Mike , Jul 7, 2018 9:35:41 AM | 41
... to clarify , every "regime" that threatens Israel openly is to be brought down ... Libya, Iraq,, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Iran , Egypt's Nasser and the list goes on..
bevin , Jul 7, 2018 10:22:39 AM | 42
More on the BBC and this story:
https://skwawkbox.org/2018/07/07/bbc-forced-to-correct-douma-gas-story-after-skwawkbox-exposes-fake-news/

And Craig Murray too:

"Yesterday the OPCW reported that, contrary to US and UK assertions in the UN security council, there was no nerve agent attack on jihadist-held Douma by the Syrian government, precisely as Robert Fisk was execrated by the entire media establishment for pointing out. The OPCW did find some traces of chlorine compounds, but chlorine is a very commonly used element and you have traces of it all over your house.

The US wants your chicken chlorinated. The OPCW said it was "Not clear" if the chlorine was weaponised, and it is plain to me from a career in diplomacy that the almost incidental mention is a diplomatic sop to the UK, US and France, which are important members of the OPCW.

"Trump's reaction to yet more lying claims by the UK government funded White Helmets and Syrian Observatory, a reaction of missile strikes on alleged Syrian facilities producing the non-existent nerve agent, was foolish. May's leap for British participation was unwise, and the usual queue of Blairites who stood up as always in Parliament to support any bombing action, stand yet again exposed as evil tools of the military industrial complex.

"Hillary Clinton, true to form, wanted more aggressive military action than was undertaken by Trump. Hillary has been itching to destroy Syria as she destroyed Libya. Libya was very much Hillary's war and – almost unreported by the mainstream media – NATO bombers carried out almost 14,000 bombing sorties on Libya and devastated entire cities...."

If you put Murray, MoA, The Skwawkbox, Strategic Culture, Dissident Voice and a few of the better aggregators together you've got a better Daily Newspaper than The Guardian or Le Monde ever was, far better.

By the way, unless I'm mistaken (it wouldn't be a first!) Ghandi was asked what he thought about Western Civilisation when he replied that "It would be a good idea". It still is an idea worth looking into. It would look just like socialism.

james , Jul 7, 2018 10:50:35 AM | 43
@27 fairleft.. i hope you are correct on that..

@28 BM... i think it was daniel who left that link here at moa a few days ago.. i read it..

@29 BM.. i tend to agree with you, but see @6 b for more clarity...

@32 pft... it is my observation that the msm in the usa is so usa centric, they know shit about canada, or the rest of the world.. i could be wrong, but that is my general view on what ''americans'' consume for news in the usa.. the indoctrination is heavy.. i would like to think people like @33 V are the norm, but i mostly think people are tuned out of the news - excluding the older generation - above 60 or 70 especially - who still consume the shit via the tv..

@41 mike.. in other words, the usa foreign policy is built around looking after israel.. most here at moa would agree with that.. will the usa ever get it's head out of israels ass? one can hope, lol..

craig murrays post from today that bevin quotes @42.. good comments bevin!

et Al , Jul 7, 2018 10:53:24 AM | 44
Motherboard.com: Japan Just Executed the Leaders of an LSD-Fueled Doomsday Science Cult
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/gy3xex/what-is-aum-shinrikyo-sarin-attack

####

This one was real, but even the Aum Shinrikyo sect showed all those years ago how how difficult it is to pull off an effective chemical weapons attack, requiring an enclosed space like the metro system. But that's never the point. Instilling mass fear and panic, not to mention being 'news friendly' is what makes such attacks, sponsored proxy false-flag or not, so enduringly popular . To borrow a well known ad phrase ' Once you pop, you can't stop '

Noirette , Jul 7, 2018 11:00:54 AM | 45
Journalists nowadays seem to lack most basics of higher education. b.

Yes + they have zero comprehension of basic numbers. Amazing. (Nobody wants to read my exs..) Nowadays, they are not supposed to have any knowledge whatsoever; they have become scribal hacks, merely write, film, show, expose, what they are told or do haphazard copy-pasta.

They are bought servants, nah compradors, and their presence is completely useless (A.I. and some guidance, input from above by 7 -say- very smart ppl would do the job faster and cheaper, for the whole W world) they are actors whose function is to pretend that a 'fourth estate' is necessary to uncover facts, inform the populace, air dissenting points of view, have debates, and so on Lies.

(comes to mind, book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udo_Ulfkotte)

Aware they are past their sell-date, one can smell the desperation. The reaction is to become more subservient, toe the line, preserve what can be, become more in-groupy and shaft colleagues who might stray away from the prescribed hyper-rigid guide-lines. Collectively, they have fantastic potential power and means of control (network savvy, present at the switches, etc.) but they are so dumbed down and terrified of status and monetary loss they are like deer caught in the headlights, to stay on track they secretly pray at dawn, conjure the fates, or whatever. The mansion with pool, the ginormous mortgage, Junior, etc. in the US. In France, the monetary aspect is less vital; being excluded from the movers and shakers, the in-ppl, the heady, sexy, wonderful Parisian life.. no.. no.. help

Part of how a 'post-truth' environment comes about. The other driver is the underlying aim, i.e. the imposition of one narrative over another, the Rovian creation of realities which can only be managed by wielding power violent enough to make the 'other - the people - the adversary' accept and bow down to the proffered narrative, and never object, call out the lies. Using this template requires careful calculations which, it appears, have gone off kilter in the US.

Maybe one should consider that there were never any Chem-WMD attacks in Syria at all (pace Seymour Hersh, heh, but that is a personal beef of mine..) - there are always limited hangout ppl who try to cobble up one narrative with another and make a living out o that.

Curtis , Jul 7, 2018 11:10:52 AM | 46
So far, I'm seeing BBC (as above), al Jazeera, ABC, Reuters, Qatar Tribune twisting the report to say it was a Chlorine attack. PressTV, RT, and Sputnik News say the report clears SAA.
Rob , Jul 7, 2018 1:36:25 PM | 50
And then there's this: https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/07/06/world/europe/06reuters-syria-crisis-chemicalweapons.html
and this: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/25/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-attack-douma.html
both from the New York Times.

The latter is an absurd "virtual crime scene" in which crack reporters claim to prove that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on their own people.

So, as expected, this latest OPCW report will have no effect on the establishment narrative. The good guys vs bad guys scenario is the only approved version, and with no alternative versions being offered in the MSM, it is the one that the most people will believe.

Mark2 , Jul 7, 2018 2:24:33 PM | 55
Den Kelley Abe @ 53

O k see if I can help, kind of kill or cure! The shock to us all may be to much ! There is no squirrel ! They made it up, yes I know it's kind of tuff !we all looked for a squirrel they distracted us. There was no people poisoned by Russians in Salisbury, Amesbury the chlorine attack in Syria yes made up.What the tv and papers said was a lie, to program us all like a laptop !!!

Whilst we were out squirrel huntin, they got through half of world 3 we never noticed. They formed a dictatorship. Sold all your urban buildings services and council houses to one an other. And devalued us all by about 60% But i'l go easy for now. Couse from there on things went down hill !!! Warm regards

Patrick Armstrong , Jul 7, 2018 7:14:13 PM | 61
By the way, I read somewhere recently that Chlorine rapidly degrades Sarin and therefore no one would use them together. But I can't find the reference now. Can anybody help?
fast freddy , Jul 7, 2018 8:12:38 PM | 62
47. hrc = Bloodthirsty killer; sociopath coming out the gate. Likewise. POS. Trump was not a mass murderer until a couple months in. Didn't take him long to join the club.
Guerrero , Jul 7, 2018 8:43:14 PM | 63
Posted by: Jen | 8Pnyx @ 5, B @ 6, Hmpf @ 7:
It would seem that a common (and deliberate) ploy used by the MSM these days is to use journalists with no particular knowledge, experience or insight in an area to write articles that need that knowledge or experience.

I wonder if these "news reporters" were not selected based upon their "sex appeal" to a superior?

Posted by: Pft | @10

I suspect some of the stupidest staged events are just experiments to monitor how many people will simply buy anything.

I agree. These zany false flag events might be designed to map the approach to an asymptote .

(In analytic geometry, an asymptote (/ˈζsɪmptoʊt/) of a curve is a line such that the distance between
the curve and the line approaches zero as one or both of the x or y coordinates tends to infinite stupidity)

[Jun 26, 2018] Graham Phillips, an Englishman and journalist made an interesting podcast about Shaun Walker demolishing Walker's claims that Russians were singing Nazi songs in a nightclub.

Jun 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The World Cup proceeds as if carried along by an unstoppable force, pouring very positive concrete into foundations somewhere, giving ordinary people another vision of a country that has always fascinated me.

Graham Phillips, an Englishman and journalist, who joined with the Donbass people in their resistance to the coup in Ukraine made an interesting podcast echoing b.'s piece about Shaun Walker, my particular enemy. He quietly demolishes Walker's claims that Russians were singing Nazi songs in a nightclub.

All in all there is a feeling of tensions subsiding a little, a feeling that one can carry on a bit with one's life. The only thing I have learned is to enjoy such moments even if stuff like Yemen is agonizing. Agonizing but not existential as Syria is. But is that not just a bit cynical?

Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 24, 2018 6:05:53 PM | 25

[Jun 21, 2018] The Media is a complete weapon for propaganda. The "writers" are propagandists. There never is a report on Russia from the Western media that does not vilify or demonize Russia or Russians in some way.

Jun 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel | Jun 20, 2018 11:53:53 PM | 34

When I saw that Shawn Walker Tweet, and the mostly brilliant take-down responses, I hoped b would mention it. I can think of no one better suited to address this particularly putrid propaganda. Bravo! And to the (almost) universally excellent barfly commentariat.

BBC created a whole genre of Russian World Cup scare mongering. One they did was on the deadly threat of "Russian Football Hooligans." RT did an excellent 4 minute job of combining journalism with humor to expose that bit of 100% Fake News.

They also expanded it into a full set-piece. Here's the trailer:

Red Ryder , Jun 20, 2018 11:57:21 PM | 35

The Media is a complete weapon for propaganda. The "writers" are propagandists. There never is a report on Russia from the Western media that does not vilify or demonize Russia or Russians in some way.

The World Cup is experienced by hundreds of thousands of tourists in Russia. They are going to be the truth-tellers.
The event, like Sochi Winter Olympics will stand for itself. It will be splendid.

And the lies will die.

Never expect the truth from the Media.

Always expect the Russian people to be extraordinary. They have demonstrated it for a century.

[Jun 21, 2018] No one believes the bloody presstitutes anymore!

Notable quotes:
"... Fact is that the Guardian and the Telegraph are full of anti-Russian propaganda. There is no piece in them about Russia or Putin that does not include snide and fear mongering or repeats long refuted claims about this or that incident for which Russia is claimed to be responsible. The military industrial complex gave order to condemn Russia and the "western" main stream media follow through. ..."
"... But don't pity them. They made their choice, and are well rewarded for their services. With respect, I would rather despise them. ..."
"... And Shaun is trying to sneak out: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/20/police-england-fans-russia-nazi-salute-world-cup ..."
"... I can't prove Shaun Walker and Luke Harding are MI5 operatives but I feel it in my gut. ..."
"... Shawn Wanker personally witnessed Russian AFVs invading Ukraine when he was 1) too far away from the border to see them 2) had amazingly forgotten to bring his smart phone so he could take a geolocated photo. So his credibility is low. As in lower than snake shit. ..."
"... What a tangled web the west has woven for itself through its deceits. How these presstitutes had to work through the night, and sweat the details, to try to patch the holes in the sinking ship - while those who were part of the truth of discovering the reality of Russia slept soundly, and probably with a great beer buzz, and the ring of real people in their ears. ..."
Jun 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Guardian's Moscow Bureau Chief joined in and also retweets the Walker claim spreading it further and further:

Andrew Roth @Andrew__Roth - 14:37 UTC - 19 Jun 2018

Andrew Roth Retweeted Shaun Walker
Absurd the responses to this incident that multiple correspondents saw. And their point is that it was an outlier in what sounded like a fine night at the football. Context is all here, should they ignore it instead?

If two British scribes say they heard something, which each describes differently, then it must be true. "Evidence? We don't report with evidence. Trust us."

This morning a Russian blogger posted some evidence (machine translated from Russian):

Borisenko @amdn_blog - 7:58 UTC - 20 Jun 2018

Remember yesterday there was a lot of talk about the English journalist who wrote about the alleged Russians who sang Nazi songs in a bar in Volgograd? They found them. But they were not Russian, but... British. Actually, for that, it's e... Lo must be beaten. This is Volgograd! Stalingrad!

The attached a video shows three drunk British blokes in an 'Irish' pub where the menu is written in Cyrillic letters and World Cup flags hang from the ceiling. The blokes sing a line about putting someone to Auschwitz, give the Hitler salute and shout "Sieg Heil!" The pub where the video was taken seems to be a different one than the Harat's Walker and Luhn visited. But the point was made.

Fact is that the Guardian and the Telegraph are full of anti-Russian propaganda. There is no piece in them about Russia or Putin that does not include snide and fear mongering or repeats long refuted claims about this or that incident for which Russia is claimed to be responsible. The military industrial complex gave order to condemn Russia and the "western" main stream media follow through.

Both of the scribes quoted English fans who lament about the false picture they had when they arrived in Russia. Might that have something to do with the constant stream of russophobe trash the British media provides? Should a British correspondent in Russia take some time to reflect upon that?

But the two scribes go off to have lots of beer to then send spurious, late-night, anti-Russian claims to their 100,000 followers without providing any evidence. Then they lament about being called out for that.

They are mediocre propagandists who's words no one trusts or believes. One must truly pity these guys.

Posted by b on June 20, 2018 at 04:14 PM | Permalink

FHTEX | Jun 20, 2018 7:20:21 PM | 11

Pity these guys? Not really. Remember, they are not journalists. They are propagandist, hired mouthpieces. They say what they are scripted to say by their corporate bosses, it doesn't matter how absurd, the point is to just hammer and hammer and hammer away and mold public opinion via brute force. The old Soviet Union had more subtle liars.

But don't pity them. They made their choice, and are well rewarded for their services. With respect, I would rather despise them.

Vitor Vieira , Jun 20, 2018 7:43:08 PM | 16

And Shaun is trying to sneak out: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/jun/20/police-england-fans-russia-nazi-salute-world-cup
PhilK , Jun 20, 2018 8:00:26 PM | 17
RT's coverage of the Nazis:

England fans give Nazi salutes, sing Hitler song in World Cup city invaded during WWII (VIDEO)

Lochearn , Jun 20, 2018 8:11:39 PM | 19
I can't prove Shaun Walker and Luke Harding are MI5 operatives but I feel it in my gut. I got banned from the Guardian for contrasting Walker's article on the supposedly insanely loud, strident music in hotels at the Sochi Olympics with a real journalist who said the music was quiet and varied between classical and soft pop.

Most people are reading the sports journalists, thankfully, and watching them...

Mischi , Jun 20, 2018 8:17:25 PM | 20
@Peter 2 - I was going to write the same thing about Shaun Walker. He tried to start a war singlehandedly. I am amazed he still has a job!
PhilK , Jun 20, 2018 8:54:03 PM | 21
@20 I am amazed he still has a job!

Trying to start a war IS his job.

Bart Hansen , Jun 20, 2018 9:04:03 PM | 22
Every day the NYT has one or two op-ed pieces critical of Putin/Russia. Today it was by Alexey Kovalev, and titled "The World Cup Is Fun. Except for the Russians Being Tortured." I'm still waiting for a mention that the host team scored 8 goals in their two matches.
Patrick Armstrong , Jun 20, 2018 9:12:16 PM | 24
Shawn Wanker personally witnessed Russian AFVs invading Ukraine when he was 1) too far away from the border to see them 2) had amazingly forgotten to bring his smart phone so he could take a geolocated photo. So his credibility is low. As in lower than snake shit.
Den Lille Abe , Jun 20, 2018 9:34:59 PM | 25
Aaaaaaaaaand in the meantime, people around the world are are amazed at the beautiful stadiums, the fantastic atmosphere, the great welcome from local people who ar suddenly "invaded", they wonder at the well functioning machine behind it all, the wonder at the tight security and safety of spectators and sport stars.

Congratulations Russia and Russian people, well done! You are doing this exceptionally well. The World Cup, will be billions of dollars worth in positive reviews.

Great to see that Brit fans laid a wreath at the memorial. Shows May and Johnson are not connected to the public,

Jen , Jun 20, 2018 11:04:49 PM | 31
Seeing that the homophobia and racism claims are not sticking well in their relentless anti-Russian narrative, the MSM has dug up the case of the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov who is currently on hunger strike while in jail in Labytnangi, in northern Siberia, for planning to carry out terrorist acts on public infrastructure and a statue in Crimea and to set fire to government office buildings in Simferopol in 2014, and is flaying it for all it's worth.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/ukrainian-film-director-on-hunger-strike-in-a-russian-prison-casts-dark-cloud-over-world-cup-20180620-p4zmmr.html
Grieved , Jun 20, 2018 11:28:38 PM | 32
The sports writers are the truth, while the established anchors are the party line. It was never any different.

We forget the upside. We forget how much energy it takes to keep a lie believable. We forget how the west has to strain against incredulity itself in order to counter the random and unschooled manifestations of the truth.

What a tangled web the west has woven for itself through its deceits. How these presstitutes had to work through the night, and sweat the details, to try to patch the holes in the sinking ship - while those who were part of the truth of discovering the reality of Russia slept soundly, and probably with a great beer buzz, and the ring of real people in their ears.

We have to do something, but we don't have to do everything, in order to counter the lies of the liars. The universe itself - the very nature of reality - abhors untruth, and causes the truth to show the shallowness of lies on countless, unscripted occasions.

And these occasions are usually a party. A celebration by ordinary people, joining in common understanding.

What the rulers most fear.

Because all it takes is a small consensus of 10-15 percent of any population and you have an activist force. They know this. Minions like the presstitutes mentioned here probably don't understand this in words, but in their bowels they know.

[Jun 06, 2018] Neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interests systematically cutting spending on their enemies and giving money to their friends

Highly recommended!
Neoliberals are a flavor of Trotskyites and they will reach any depths to hang on to power.
Notable quotes:
"... Just as conservative Christian theology provides an excuse for sexism and homophobia, neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interests – systematically cutting spending on their enemies and giving money to their friends. ..."
"... Nothing short of a grass roots campaign (such as that waged by GetUp!) will get rid for us of these modern let-them-eat-cake parasites who consider their divine duty to lord over us. ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
meticulousdoc , 3 Jun 2018 16:16

Just as conservative Christian theology provides an excuse for sexism and homophobia, neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interests – systematically cutting spending on their enemies and giving money to their friends.

And when the conservative "Christians" form a neoliberal government, the results are toxic for all, except themselves and their coterie.

Nothing short of a grass roots campaign (such as that waged by GetUp!) will get rid for us of these modern let-them-eat-cake parasites who consider their divine duty to lord over us.

An excellent article, we need more of them.

[Jun 06, 2018] Neoliberal Economics has a lot of similarities with Theology

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Carlosthepossum -> innercity leftie , 3 Jun 2018 19:10

Economics has a lot of similarities with Theology.
People can believe whatever interpretation fits with their own indoctrination.
The difference being there is a truth to economics that seems to be invisible to most people, major economists included.
Your post highlights some of the stark realities that people just refuse to accept for some inexplicable reason.
Maybe the better economic managers will come to the rescue or maybe there will be a collective awakening when in a moment of clarity we start to realise how badly we have been conned.

[Jun 06, 2018] What is the "optimum" level of inequality in the society?

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Janeee -> Jas636 , 3 Jun 2018 21:52

There are many societies that tolerate a certain degree of economic inequality, but still provide decent living conditions, services and infrastructure for most citizens. The notion that we either have extreme inequality or extreme poverty is empirically and morally empty.

[Jun 06, 2018] Where are the rational limits of libertarian vision?

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Friarbird , 3 Jun 2018 21:42

Further down the thread, 'Weakaspiss' makes a pertinent observation; " government has forgotten they govern for all, and have a primary duty for those who are least able to prosper."

In fact, they've "forgotten" nothing.
Instead, they've fallen for the self-serving blandishments of Libertarian dogma.
Where have I learned of these ?
By reading the posts of GA's resident Libertarians.
The sub-texts of which are wonderfully instructive.

1. Nothing is more important than the individual.
2. And as an individual and a Libertarian, I am infinitely superior to you.
3. Plus I resent paying taxes, which are outright theft.
4. Since I believe, utterly without basis in reality, that taxes levied on hard-working, wonderful freedom-loving ME, sustain the likes of lazy, parasitical YOU.
5. Meanwhile, govt, if it cannot be destroyed, must always be demonised and underfunded. And so-called 'programs of public benefit' for the parasites--like Medicare, or the ABC-- must be sold outright to the private sector.
6. No I don't want to debate about it, if there's a chance I'll lose the argument.
My ego demands I win every time..
7. Certainly not with losers of lower social status, who were 'educated' in a union-run public school.
8. And don't even come near me, losers. Yuk ! You're probably not even white !
9. Because I socialise only within my own tribe, thank you very much.
10. Besides, you're probably living off my taxes.
11. Did I mention taxes somewhere ?
12. Taxes are theft.

Our conservatives have "forgotten" NOTHING.
Instead, they've fallen for a sociopathic ideology which tells them their least attractive impulses are positively praiseworthy.
Hence the nasty, ego-driven tone of current political life.
Injected directly into the bloodstream of our body politic by a Lying Rodent.
Its philosophy may be simply stated

Does your policy shit all over people you never cared for anyway ?
THEN DO IT.

[Jun 06, 2018] PossumBilly

Jun 06, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

3 Jun 2018 23:25

This message is clear and concise. It is however never going to be heard beyond the 'Guardian'.

The MSM are hardly going to publish this article, nor are they going to reference it, why should they? It goes against everything they have been fighting for and the tin ear of their readership are unwilling to change teir views.

The only thing that they understand is money and the concentration of wealth. This misonception as Dennis So far this has been handed to them on a plate, the taxation system has enabled them to manipulate an multiply their earnings. So much of money the has nothing to do with adding value to this countries economy but is speculative in nature based on financial and overseas instruments.

No is the time for our government to take the lead and start as the Victorian ALP have done and invest in people and jobs on the back of strategic investment. It is a fallacy that governments don't create jobs they, through their policies do just that.

Friends of mine who make a living out of dealing both in stock and wealth creating schemes have no loyalty to this country, they are self motivated and libertarian in persuasion. "Government should get out of the way!" This is nothing short of scandalous.

Unless we stand up for our rights and a civil society that provides adequate provision for fair and balanced policy making,xwe will continue until we will see an implosion. History is littered with examples of revolution based on the kind of inequality we are seeing happen in this country. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

jclucas , 3 Jun 2018 23:25
It is indeed important to make the distinction between the ideology of neoliberalism - the ideology of private enterprise is good, and public spending is bad - and the operational system of crony capitalism - the game of mates played by government and the special interests.

And it is certainly equally important to call out the monumental hypocrisy involved in the government's application of the ideology's set of rules to the powerless and public and the government's application of corrupt practice rules to the special interests.

The system is destroying the egalitarian character of Australia and fanning the flames of nativist authoritarianism here.

But what's even more dangerous is the fundamental dishonesty that the system necessitates, and the alienating influence it has - on top of the growing economic inequality.

The system has destroyed the economic and environmental viability and sustainability of the planet on which human civilization depends.

What is becoming increasingly clear to more and more of the public is that - simple put- the system cannot be allowed to go on as it has been proceeding because it threatens the future of civilization on earth.

Change is imperative now. However, how that will unfold is unclear, as well as, the toll the destruc5turing system will take.

What is clear is that a great restructuring must happen - and soon.

Aldeano , 3 Jun 2018 23:20
The neo liberals are intent on defacing Australia. Their pusstulant tentacles stretch into our classrooms forcing our kids to believe in their god. They tell us that white millionaire farmers deserve refugee status and all the benefits bestowed on poor persecuted minorities. They tell us that the disgustingly rich deserve tax relief. Their's is a world where their children are entitled to safe electoral sets. But they can be defeated and sent to misery. We did it in the Same Sex Marriage fiasco and we can do it to their more insidious behaviours. Write to your local member. Barrage them with emails. Write to their propaganda Letters to the Editor. Donate to GetUp. Keep on keeping on.
Alan Ritchie -> Paul Felix , 3 Jun 2018 23:02
Neoliberalism, the dogma was was sourced from Milton Freidman's Monetarism economic theory. When it morphed into the 'Greed is Good' credo is unclear.
Guess you have to call the disease something, so Neoliberalism it is.
familygardener , 3 Jun 2018 20:37
So anyway.

Is capitalism stuffed?
There is much debate at the moment about which Party has the best economic plan going forward. The Coalition maintains that the best way is by giving large tax breaks to business.
This is currently being called 'Pre GST theory or old style trickle down economics'.
Lenore Taylor writes:
"The investment bank once chaired by Malcolm Turnbull has backed the view that much of the benefit from the Coalition's company tax cuts could flow to offshore investors, as the prime minister insisted his plan was the best way to ensure continued economic growth".
"The domestic benefits would be far bigger if companies used the tax cut to grow their business, but according to Goldman Sachs "survey evidence suggests that companies are less likely to voluntarily lower the dividend payment ratio", in other words, the real-world impact was likely to be closer to the scenario where 60% of the benefit flowed offshore"

https://theaimn.com/day-to-day-politics-is-capitalism-stuffed/

[Jun 06, 2018] "Neoliberalism will literally be the death of democracy." In fact, that was the plan.

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Friarbird -> 64newc , 3 Jun 2018 17:56

"Neoliberalism will literally be the death of democracy."

In fact, that's the plan.
Openly alluded to by the IPA's Gary Johns;

".... a cardinal tenet of libertarianism is to keep democracy in its place, to regard it as an activity of limited application. Government's role is to depoliticise much of life, to make it less amenable to public dispute....."

From Margo Kingston's 'Not happy, John !' (2005).
Get on to the 'Catallaxy' site.
You'll soon find out what Libertarian sociopaths think of democracy.

Scryboy -> spharks , 3 Jun 2018 17:55
I actually think many people go along with neoliberalism because they perceive it will turn out well for them. It's the every man for himself Darwinian approach to life, but the LNP reflects that view most closely. It's the one where everyone is a welfare scrounger, but if for some reason you end up needing welfare, you deserve it because of all the tax you paid, even though you've been minimising your tax for decades.
64newc , 3 Jun 2018 17:44
Neoliberalism will literally be the death of democracy.

[Jun 06, 2018] The other great con is convincing the public that voting for anyone but the two major parties is "wasting your vote".

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Purge, 3 Jun 2018 17:46

The other great con is convincing the public that voting for anyone but the two major parties is "wasting your vote". This political duopoly means only those interests are ever represented and that has also led to Australia's systematic decline. Yes it's true that the majors hold majority in parliament but we've already seen that voting below the line can work- Labour had to take notes from the Greens last time they held power. Despite how hopeless it all seems we do still have the power to affect change as long as we- all of us- stop swallowing the lies.
BobsWorth2 , 3 Jun 2018 17:35
The current two party system is like a coin. On one side we have the head of Malcolm Turnbull and on the other Bill Shorten. When it comes to the toss up the corporations and wealthy get to call heads.
BelindaJonas -> Tom Dalyell , 3 Jun 2018 17:30
There is perhaps more honour amongst thieves? Hard to imagine there being less.
B.J.

[Jun 06, 2018] When a country - a majority vote - knowingly, maliciously - and repeatedly - vote for an ideology of hate, exclusion and greed then what do you expect

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Gekkko , 3 Jun 2018 19:22

When a country - a majority vote - knowingly, maliciously - and repeatedly - vote for an ideology of hate, exclusion and greed then what do you expect.

What did the majority vote not get in 2013 when they elected the Abbott Regime?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN-hbWVXsyE

What red flags did they miss in that clip?

What did the majority vote actually not understand about the budget of 2014? This budget devastated this country and particularly Australian youth.

When a government turned on its own citizens - A nation of *LIFTERS (1%) and LEANERS (99%) * ( Hockey May 13, 2014) When Abbott very nearly withdrew all government aid to any Australian under 30yo http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-29/tony-abbotts-razor-gang-considered-welfare-ban-for-under-30s/9352888?pfmredir=sm

The LNP IPA have a strategy of pillage and plunder - the transfer of public wealth to the <1% richest and big corporations. They have provided the regulatory context and the ethics and morality that has allowed Australian business, big and small across the board to normalise wage-theft, the non payment of super, unpaid internships and the sort of behaviour commonly seen through the Banking RC.

What does the majority vote not see?

The neoliberal did not con us all - but it is clear that the majority vote is. A vote that has yet to account to all Australians for wrecking this country. A vote that supported the most corrupt government Australia has ever had. Don't think for a moment that that can go without a reckoning.

If you were even peripherally aware of history, you'd know that people subjected to lifelong exploitation, forced into a precarious existence or buried under annually compounding debts will, eventually, wheel guillotines into the town square and start taking names.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/25/see-you-in-the-town-square-peter-dutton-and-pauline-hanson

[Jun 06, 2018] It's apparent that elections can be won by throwing enough resources into well aimed propaganda

Slightly edited Guardian comment...
How many voters even have any idea of what "neoliberalism" is? I would be thinking not many, especially as the Murdoch press don't even use the term in their publications. They might feel the effects , but without any conceptualisation of its underpinning ideas and ideology be less likely to be able to identify policy which reflects neoliberal values. And I'm sure the powers that be like it that way.
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Alan Ritchie , 3 Jun 2018 21:58

For that last 40 years some variant of neoliberalism has been the predominant dogma. Unfortunately once we moved on from hunter gatherer to an agriculture supported society we lost the connections to each other that existed at the tribal level. That sense of community does not flourish in our eight thousand year experiment with city based civilisation. It seems to only do so during times of disruption and war.

Personally my experience of living in a socially cohesive society was the 30 year period leading up to the reinfestation of the neoliberal curse that started in the 80's with Reagan and Thatcher.

So neoliberalism is the norm, socialism requires more work. We can't take it for granted that society will naturally gravitate towards egalitarianism.

Turnbull and his LNP cohort can openly mock the population with impunity safe in the knowledge that a small but powerful and rich minority, joined by group think and supported by exclusive membership institutions, schools, corporations, have a shared goal of controlling the monetary, economic system and government.

It's apparent that elections can be won by throwing enough resources into well aimed propaganda, (cue Murdoch). Cambridge Analytica was brutally effective at the last elections in the US and UK. Anyone who believes a similar scam won't be tried in Australia is being naive.
So people will still vote against their long term interests and we will likely still get another dose of self inflicted neoliberalism at the next election.

1MadUncle , 3 Jun 2018 21:51
The real problem will be that no where near enough voters will read this article or pieces like it. The Murdoch press for example would never publish it and the content won't be seriously discussed on morning TV. The ABC wouldn't dare mention a word of it.

I don't think it is all doom and gloom. I have 12 grandchildren, some now teenagers. They and their kind are smarter than we give them credit for and they won't put up with the crap we have bequeathed them. They don't get information from main stream media and although their social media contains an enormous amount of rubbish, embedded are real grievances about their lot in life. Soon they will vote. Goodbye and good riddance to the conservatives.

PDGFD1 -> sarkany , 3 Jun 2018 21:39

It is actually just a pan-national oligarchy, where legislatures and media are compromised into acceptance of destructive and unethical policies by Big Money.

Worthy of repetition since I'm not able to give you more than one 'uptick'.

In this instance, I very much suspect it will be the staggering load put on the natural environment that will spin the current "Eternal Empires" "down the sinkhole of history".
Sadly for everyone and everything else.

nogapsallowed , 3 Jun 2018 21:26
Neoliberalism wins by manipulating public distraction. The so-called reality shows of mainstream media are the furthest flight imaginable from lived experience, and even the serious news outlets succumb to the Peyton Place of Barnaby's baby and a disappeared Melania Trump. All of which makes a considered analysis such as the one republished here such a notable exception.
BlackAbbott -> familygardener , 3 Jun 2018 21:22
That man has the real meaning of neoliberalism. Neoliberal way is not incompatible with unions, wages, social services or governments that protect their citizens.


His way there should be no division and no angst of politics. Maybe that's where the problem is/ His way is not the way of modern politics and greed. Being rich does not mean being greedy. But that is what modern neoliberam with its free markets mantra have come to be seen as.

My Grandfather and Great Grandfather, would see this man as being correct with a very good attitude. He would see Wall St and many financial businesses as greedy and managed by bullies and tyrants.

[Jun 06, 2018] And everyone knows that the "trickle down" effect does not work but don't let this truth stand in the way of the neoliberals stampeding to the trough

Yep, this is a new form of crony capitalism.
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

shirleytemple -> incompatible , 3 Jun 2018 18:03

And everyone knows that the "trickle down" effect does not work but don't let this truth stand in the way of the neoliberals stampeding to the trough.
incompatible , 3 Jun 2018 17:56
Since the 1980s, free markets have been promoted as the best way to generate wealth (which may be true) and the best way to help everyone in society since there will be more wealth to go around. That has turned out not to work so well, since the wealth doesn't "trickle down", but instead concentrates in fewer and fewer hands.
NickThiwerspoon , 3 Jun 2018 17:54
An excellent analysis. Neo-liberalism is a mechanism which transfers money from the poor to the rich. Far from "trickle down" it is in fact "siphon up".
BelindaJonas -> Colin Connelly , 3 Jun 2018 17:29
Therein lies the crux - to some folk (most, I would hesitate) money is a means of survival.
To others, (those obsessed with it) it's the source of power. Ergo, of course you can have too much money, since it is physically impossible to spend it. But at the same time, you cannot, if so compelled, have too much power.
Put simply, it is unadulterated GREED. An addiction, if you like.
And for that, there is no cure.
B.J.
morgey -> The Hope , 3 Jun 2018 18:02
'Aspiring to become rich' is the most vapid of all aspirations.
francis nongham , 3 Jun 2018 18:00
Privatization is one method of stealing the people's assessts and giving it to the wealthy through ownership of shares. The Lieberals talk of mum & dad investors yet 98% of Australian shares are owned by the wealthiest 1%
Rob Robinson , 3 Jun 2018 17:59
There are so many who believe they will benifit from these ideologies , that they reinforce those who promote them . They simply don't realise they are not part of the equation , and any benifit gained by them is simply incidental. The target recipients have always been the Corporate bodies and those with their finger in the pie . Not once , to my recollection, has the Australian people , in general terms , benifited from the sale of public companies , banks or infrastructure .
ramAustralia , 3 Jun 2018 17:56
Brilliant article, hits the nail on the head! Australia really did go "off the tracks" with the regime of John "Mugabe" Howard with a system of patronage, corruption, and systemic bribery which gave us a third world government. Like other "mineral resource rich, failed states" the nation's wealth has been mostly stolen.

[Jun 06, 2018] Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse Page 3 of 10 Discussion The Guardian

Jun 06, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

BlackAbbott -> ID2778880 , 27 Apr 2018 04:31

It's not about money. Ultimately, it's not even about the financial system.


But it is about money and about the financial system.
Neo-liberals see things as a dollar value only nothing else is of value. The fact that Macro economics is a social science is discarded and Micro-economics covers all that is of value. The financial system is critical because it is based on lies publicly. This is one of the reasons that power may indeed be defining. But the reason behind it is the lies of finance. The key ones being tax does not fund government and banks create instant money when they give a loan. The repayments cancel the money creation they do not get collected and put out as new loans. Like wise when the federal government spends it also creates new money and drains ot away by tax which destroys it. The federal government cannot save for a rainy day. Another financial one that needs dumping is the lie that a surplus is good. It is not. So yes finance is critical Power is a symptom of the lies. Not the cause.
As soon as they reality is accepted the whole driving force of neo-liberalism falls to bits. It is exposed. Its reason to sell assets vanishes (federally) The passing of costs to the states shows as political crap.
ID2778880 -> BlackAbbott , 27 Apr 2018 04:16
It's not about money. Ultimately, it's not even about the financial system. The real showdown will start with the fight over energy and resources.

Tightening energy and resource supply, associated with environmental degradation to obtain those resources and a still increasing world population will be the death of neo-liberalism. But in my view, it is unlikely to be replaced by Communism.

Laurence Bury , 27 Apr 2018 04:20
We would have to look back to before the OPEC oil shocks of the early 1970s and the emergence of the Asian Tigers to see a different model of capitalism dependent on the West having a competitive industrial base with mass employment therein.
Hence, it is Varoufakis who is an old skool, radical chic of precisely this era and the sub-concept of neoliberalism is only of use to neo-Marxists like himself. Perhaps he can go and govern class relations (or foment their conflict) in apparently thriving Australian industry however?
MuzzaC -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 04:11

I believe fraud and corruption caused the great depression.

But this is a part of the myth of the free market. If a market is truly free, those with enough money will always be able to influence the market for their own benefit. As soon as this happens the market fails in its chief function of efficiently allocating scarce resources. That's why there are regulators and anti-monopoly legislation, etc. etc. We pay billions each year to keep capitalism from eating itself.

Self-serving behaviour is only corruption if it is illegal, otherwise it's called business. It is regulation that makes it illegal, which is why we need strong, democratic control.

So saying that the GD was caused by corruption is the same as saying that free-market capitalism got out of control of democratic regulation. Same thing, different name.

AdelaideRose , 27 Apr 2018 04:10
The end of neoliberalism can't come soon enough for me. People and communities have been destroyed for the benefit of a few who don't care about anything other than their own wealth and power. Time to give the power to the people.
curiouswes -> Powerspike , 27 Apr 2018 03:24

THIS is "neo-liberalism"

not to me; I think you have a conglomerate of ideas and policies, some of which I'd categorize as neoliberal, but things like "extreme individualism" have nothing to do with neo liberalism per se.

I think if you give too much power to the state, you'll wind up with authoritarianism. maybe that doesn't concern you, maybe it does. I believe in the concept of labor unions. However I also believe in freedom. It may not be in our long term interest to give up freedom for the sake of a better economic prospect today.

HauntedTupperware , 27 Apr 2018 03:18
It's not going to happen Van. Unfortunately, this is a globally integrated system, which dwarfs the power of national politics and national economies, with maybe the exception of the US, and look what's going on in the US. Donald Trump is the president. I mean, what does that say about the United States, that they've elected a leader like Trump? How does the saying go, "Cometh the hour, cometh the man?" I guess they must have a death wish, unfortunately, they're going to take mos of the world's population with them. I'm not necessarily a pessimist, but I think a rational analysis leads to the conclusion, that we're doomed.
vanbadham -> discuz , 27 Apr 2018 03:13
The neoliberals in the West - unlike, disgustingly, those in South America - won hegemony because they did as Gramsci and Dutschke advised the left; they made "a long march through the institutions". Journalists, histoIran's, philosophers and academics were as necessary to the movement as economists and politicians. It was what enabled them to win elections. As the man said - "from the prophets, deserts come."
woddles -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 03:13
So, no point?
Marxism was a suggested response to rampant capitalism where only the very few at the top benefited from the toil of all others.
I would have thought it was obvious. Or maybe you don't understand Marxism?
TWOBOBS -> AndyPe , 27 Apr 2018 03:10
I would suggest you're not on the bottom of the pile either, if you are reading the Guardian and commenting on a computer or an iPhone. The reality is, capitalism has seen the halving of world poverty levels over the last 30 years, and poverty continues to fall. Are there serious problems with inequality in the west, and the world generally? Yes. Capitalism needs to evolve. Better tax regimes and systems for wealth redistribution are needed. Communism is not the answer.
nogapsallowed , 27 Apr 2018 03:01
Every political party is a "collective" of sorts. But as far as I can scan the wasteland of Australian politics, I can't find any that is shining a path towards "freedom and enjoyment."

We need to reconceive politics just as we must the banks, churches and other terminally infected institutions of our time.

Ramsterbigboy -> Kinxil , 27 Apr 2018 02:58
"but let's stop being full anti elite, neo liberalism allowed several, unfortunately not all, of us, to feel a bit special."

That is not Van's or the Guardian's way.

Van how many "people hate it"? have you counted them by any chance?

Powerspike , 27 Apr 2018 02:52
Neo liberal practices i.e. their 1% stranglehold on the economy, their ideology of winner take all, etc are incompatible with a modern nation state, with civilised values, and with a harmonious society.
They are destroying the state and society.
BlackAbbott -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 02:52

Unfortunately many don't care about truth.


And that is the reason we have neo-liberalism. The truth is not seen.
Awabakali , 27 Apr 2018 02:51
The simplest and most apposite critique of unbridled Capitalism is that is ideologically bound to the notion that consuming is good, increased production and use of finite resources is good, cheap labour is good, tax is bad, and sharing is bad...and that if Capitalism continues apace in its present form it will lead to the total pollution of the earth, the disappearance of all wild animals and plants, the end of bees and pollination, the rise of rampant diseases uncontrolled by drugs that are not affordable to the world's poor, and the eventual extinction of humans. Capitalism is not only dangerous, it is myopically spectacularly insane. Psychology demonstrates that humans have 3 classic responses to a crisis:

1.Denial
2.Fantasy
3.Acceptance of reality and action


1980's Denial phase: "It is exaggerated by mad greenies and ain't happening."

1990's Fantasy phase: "Recycling and prayer will fix it all."

2018 Reality and Action phase: "We are in deep shit....literally...and we need radical immediate action by governments, corporations, educational institutions and individuals to save the planet and us. Want your great grandkids to be alive in 2080? Then get out there shouting....TODAY!!!!!

Kinxil , 27 Apr 2018 02:49
"People hate it". That kind of sentence which make you consider closing the tab. Your point is sensible, neoliberalism has generated lot of bothering issues, but if it didn't exist, I wouldn't have an affordable car and computer, and I wouldn't have a giant amount of choice for goods to consider. It's time it ends, or rather rethink itself, but let's stop being full anti elite, neo liberalism allowed several, unfortunately not all, of us, to feel a bit special.
TWOBOBS -> jungney , 27 Apr 2018 02:38

No-one group or class is but collective action will create a far brighter and healthier future than the current regime of every woman for herself.

There is nothing stopping people now getting together into cooperatives/collectives/communes to start businesses, buy homes, job share.

[Jun 06, 2018] Is fascism a logical next stage of the collapse of neoliberalism, like hapened in Waimar before?

Jun 06, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

quintal -> Alpo88 , 3 Jun 2018 15:56

Hi Alpo

Fascism is the word that most interests me when looking a the present trajectory in Australia

We're not there yet

And there's no one on the government benches who's a new Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini

But the next generation ..............

They make me uncomfortable. Some of the younger and as yet unheralded apparatchiks on the conservative fringe worry me. They're smart. Know the advertising and selling the message strategies. Have money and are well connected to the barons/oligarchs who pull the strings and they're ambitious.

Paradoxically a collapse of the Liberal Party will help them. In spite of it all we need a fiscally conservative, slightly socially conservative political movement in Australia but the drift to extremism is quite pronounced and profoundly worrying, especially in a time where climate change poses existential questions about our future.

This next election will not be a cakewalk. It'll be as bitterly fought as any in a generation and the consequences of a loss will be, for progressive forces, catastrophic.

cheers

Alpo88 , 3 Jun 2018 14:58
"Although people with low expectations are easier to con, fomenting cynicism about democracy comes at a long-term cost. Indeed, as the current crop of politicians is beginning to discover, people with low expectations feel they have nothing to lose."..... Yes, but that's part of the Devilish Plan: Why do you think that the Neoliberals and Conservatives spend so much time nurturing their relationship with both Police and the Army?.... They want to be sure that if their Neoliberal-Conservative project goes truly belly up, they will be the ones holding the guns.

Yes, it's sinister.... it's dangerous.... it's a time bomb, and we can only defuse it with the help of a majority of Australians waking up, standing up and Democratically vote against Fascism.

[Jun 06, 2018] Neoliberal mantra: Blessed are the job creators

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Anomander64 -> Davesnothereman , 3 Jun 2018 16:44

Shhhh... whatever you do, don't ever let them hear you criticising the "job creators" or there will be trouble.

You know we can't touch the corporations - they are sacrosanct because they are the supposed "job creators" - this one title gives them carte blanche to act however they like, to make spurious claims about economies faltering, businesses going offshore and unemployment. They also donate heavily to the political parties.

Repeat after me:
"Blessed are the job creators"
"Blessed are the job creators"
"Blessed are the job creators"
"For THEY shall inherit the wealth"

[Jun 06, 2018] The divisive societal aspects of free market fundamentalism

Jun 06, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

AsDusty, 3 Jun 2018 17:43

Half the population prefers a politics that is racist and unethical, that demonises the poor and idolises the rich, that eschews community and embraces amoral individuality. These people don't care about the economic inconsistencies of neo-liberalism, they are far more attracted to the divisive societal aspects of free market fundamentalism.

[Jun 06, 2018] Stigmatization of poor as the way to justify and increase inequality

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

ellaquint , 3 Jun 2018 19:35

Like Joe Hockey, Rinehart saw the problem of inequality as having more to do with the character of the poor than with the rules of the game:

They don't "see" it this way. They just say they see it this way to perpetuate that inequality. They know that their wealth depends on the labour of the other 95-99%.

To keep us all working and voting for their lackeys, they make promises of wealth if you are a persistent hard worker, never mentioning that the entire game depends on only a tiny minority ever reaching the top. No, the real people holding them back are those who don't work hard. Who don't contribute to the game. They're the ones to blame for why you're not levelling up. The true scapegoats.

It's one giant con and they know it.

[Jun 06, 2018] Victim blaming is a classic neo-con tactic, they seek to deflect from the impact of their heartless policies by demonising the victims, from the unemployed and those stuck in the welfare cycle to refugees trapped in offshore detention, indefinitely .

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

reinhardpolley , 3 Jun 2018 17:18

Victim blaming is a classic neo-con tactic, they seek to deflect from the impact of their heartless policies by demonising the victims, from the unemployed and those stuck in the welfare cycle to refugees trapped in offshore detention, indefinitely . We've all seen how appalling their commentary can get, from Abbott and Hockey's "lifters and leaners" to Gina Mineheart's "two dollars a day" & "spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising" they show just how out touch they are. They honestly believe that people can lift themselves out of poverty if only they "spent more time working", ignoring the fact that many are working two jobs just to stay ahead.
Seems that on planet RWNJ there are more than 24 hours in a day..
OrwelHasNothingOnLNP -> w roberts , 3 Jun 2018 17:00
Half the population need welfare to survive.
1% have 90% of all the toys in the sandpit and won't share. They feel that they are entitled to all the toys.

[Jun 06, 2018] Neoliberalism idealises competition against each other to ensure the rights of the few, by suppressing our capacity to take responsibility together through cooperation and collaboration with each other.

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

maven501 , 3 Jun 2018 22:54

This piece is well worth the reading particularly in light of the trashing of society's values we see played out in Trump's America. However, the writer's definition of "ideology " as a "system of ideas and ideals" even though it accords with the OED's, fails to take into account the current pernicious influence of the ideologue who distorts "ideology" into the "rationalisation of a suppression" as Joseph Dunne noted in his book, " Back to the Rough Ground" .

This is the most apt description of the modus operandi of today's neoliberalists - the justifying of their project to maximise wealth accumulation in their own self-interest by promoting the propaganda that we are powerless cogs in the machine of the economy , slaves to the whim of the omnipotent market, rather than active agents who wish to contribute to a flourishing society .

Neoliberalism idealises competition against each other to ensure the rights of the few, by suppressing our capacity to take responsibility together through cooperation and collaboration with each other.

This classic divide and conquer tactic will prevail only as long as we permit it.

Time to take a stand and be counted.

[Jun 06, 2018] The neoliberal mantra that "markets are always right" is just rubbish.

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

DickTyger , 27 Apr 2018 00:27

I'm a conservative and I have an good economics degree. I have to say though that I don't understand neoliberalism at all.

As a example, when I was doing economics it was made very clear to me that natural monopolies (such as electricity and water) cannot be made into a competitive market (rather like trying to put lipstick on a pig). Similarly oligopolies introduce opportunities for price manipulation (e.g. the banks). The neoliberal mantra that "markets are always right" is just rubbish. Markets work well only when certain criteria are met.

Secondly, the right of workers to collectively bargain is fundamental to a well functioning market economy. Labour is one of the inputs to production and the workers have a right to a proper return on their labour. Individual workers have no real bargaining power and can only act collectively through unions.

Finally, the related casualisation of the workforce is a disaster for workers and the long-term interests of the economy. The stagnation of wages (and inflation) is one of the products of this strong trend to casualisation (my blood boils when I hear of examples of wage theft affecting vulnerable workers).

Income inequality is a product of a capitalist system. However, when the distribution of wealth becomes very badly skewed (such as in the USA) then the political system starts to break down. Trump was a beneficiary of this flawed income distribution. All Hillary Clinton was promising was "more of the same". In short, Bernie Sanders was right.

Walter Schadel, in his book, The Great Leveler (see below), points to the role of income inequality in driving revolutions and disruptions. There are lessons in this book for our current crop of politicians both on the left and the right.

https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10921.html

[Jun 06, 2018] Privatization as a "big con"

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Beekeeper49 , 3 Jun 2018 19:32

Wow! Richard Denniss says it like it is, neatly summing up "the big con".

I believe Australia is being sold from under our feet. The big asset-strip is on. Why are we not benefiting from the mining boom? The answer lies in the way Rinehart companies and others like hers have been permitted to use Singapore or other low-taxing countries to minimise taxes. That these large companies should have the gall to demand large tax cuts as well is preposterous.

When headlines indulge in fear-mongering about China, why is angst directed at Dastyari for taking a relatively small donation, whilst at the same time the Australian government has approved a joint purchase of large swathes of the Australian outback by Rinehart and Chinese interests? Have we already forgotten the Darwin port deal? Why were Robb, Bishop and the Liberal Party allowed to benefit from deals or large donations from "Chinese interests"? Yet Bob Carr is being slammed for trying over many years to develop a more harmonious relationship with China?

Australians have told federal and state governments that they hate privatisation. Not content with selling off profitable businesses such as Medibank Private, the Liberal/National Party federal government is privatising its services. Detention centres and prisons acted as a stalking-horse for the creeping privatisation of jobs. Politicians assume most voters don't notice or care when government jobs in those sectors are privatised, but other government departments are following suit.

By permitting the Future Fund and superannuation funds to invest in tax havens, the federal government has opened the door to a growing trend. If my super fund uses the Cayman Island tax haven, it is easier to justify everyone else from the PM down to evade Australian taxes as well. More insidiously, tax havens make it easier to cheat creditors in bankruptcy cases, launder dirty money, break trade sanctions and much more. We aren't even aware of how these may be playing out behind closed doors in our name. The problem with allowing Rinehart to use Singapore or Turnbull to use the Cayman Island is that other companies and individuals will increasingly Do so, and in the end, everyone is doing it. And when will we take note of cryptocurrencies and how they can act like tax havens?

Our participation in wars not of our own making is also having dire results. Think of all the money spent and lives of servicemen destroyed by serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Imagine if that money had instead been invested wisely in defence capabilities. And yet there we are, interfering in the South China Sea, trying to provoke China at Trump's behest, and it is not clear whether the Phillipines wants us there now anyway. And all the while, the cost of our participation in war games is crippling our ability to acquire defence assets, making us more reliant on the US.

The banking enquiry has only scratched the surface of how voters are being ripped off with impunity. There are growing demands that the superannuation industry, in particular retail funds, be subject to greater transparency and regulation. Yet Turnbull, Cash and colleagues prefer to direct their scorn at industry funds, simply because they are controlled by workers, via their unions.

We can sense "the big con" is all around us. We can almost smell it, so pungent is the air of exploitation, corruption and fraud. Hopefully Denniss will join others in focussing us more clearly on how we are being cheated of our birthright.

[Jun 06, 2018] Inverted totalitarism described by a Guardia commenter

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Bearmuchly, 3 Jun 2018 16:37

Despite the huge changes in communication in the last several decades and the ever increasing levels of education in our society, politics have failed to engage the vast majority and that cohort of the cynical, the alienated, the disinterested, the lazy, the simply care less continues to grow.

In the last decade the only cause that evoked passion and engaged a larger number, finally forcing our elected members to act was same sex marriage .....a crescendo that took years to generate.

With the complicity of our media and the decline of that part of education that teaches analysis, social psychology and political philosophy (let alone teaches about basic political structures and mechanisms) our level of disengagement from the political process appears to be at an all time high. The performance of our legislators has become increasingly unaccountable and purely self interested .... we have re-created the "political class" of pre-war times where alienation was based on a lack of education and awareness and a sense of inferiority and powerlessness DESPITE our vastly improved communication, access to information and educational standards (not to mention affluence).

Basically, we have "dumbed down" to the extent where passion and ideology in politics is now the preserve of fewer and fewer. In a democracy this trend is of massive concern and a threat to its sustainability.... it also completely suits those that are focused on concentrating power and wealth... the more that don't give a toss the less likely you are to be encumbered by limitations, social considerations, ethics and morality.

Until we re-engage far larger numbers into the political process, raise the levels of awareness of political thought and choices, stop dumbing down and re-inject some broader passion and participation into our political processes then vested interests will continue to dominate.....and democracy will become increasingly undemocratic !

[Jun 06, 2018] The magic of Neoliberalism is to transform acts that should be illegal into legal ones

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Alpo88 -> DesignConstruct , 3 Jun 2018 17:20

A "legal system of tax evasion", written like that, in quotes, is obviously a metaphor with an intended sarcasm. Clearly, logically, if a taxation system is legal, by using it you are not "evading" taxes, which is an illegal act.... Anyway, everybody seems to have understood my intention but you. Well, now you also know.

The magic of Neoliberalism is to transform acts that should be illegal into legal ones. In fact they do so explicitly as their argument for reducing taxation is exactly that of getting rid or decreasing the problem of illegal tax evasion.... so they say. Their problem is that we have no evidence that tax evasion decreases under Neoliberalism on top of the legal tax minimisation already provided. The only thing that happens under Neoliberalism is that the Tax Office tends to be under-resourced and everybody likes to conveniently look somewhere else.

DesignConstruct -> Alpo88 , 3 Jun 2018 16:52
A "legal system of tax evasion" is a non sequitur, what they have done is create a set of tax laws that enable more opportunities for tax avoidance by the well off, and Kerry very correctly took advantage of it. If you can, get a copy of the Senate hearing - it's gold.
Splatgadget -> NME765 , 3 Jun 2018 16:51
Agreed, but I'll raise you Kleptocracy.

[Jun 06, 2018] Neoliberals? Never thought they can dominate the US government

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

BarkerT , 3 Jun 2018 17:51

I knew this government contained idiots, ne'er do wells, compulsive liars, misfits, childish imbeciles, ego maniacs, sociopaths, psychopaths, bigots, rorters, drunks, fascists, intransigents, ideologs, religious nutters, dullards, dunces, dickheads, shonks, spivs, lairs, carpetbaggers, rent seekers, lobbyists, conmen, urgers, scammers, ratbags and people unable to get work in any other field of endeavour....but Neoliberals?

Well, I never!

[Jun 06, 2018] Friarbird

Jun 06, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

3 Jun 2018 20:42

Coded language:
or,
how we bade farewell to publicly-owned electricity.

Part 1

The perceptions of George Orwell seem as valid now as then
Since he dealt with sly deceptions of tyrannical men
So 'Orwellian language', though imprinted on a page
Now has impacts universal, which resound in every age
And in ours, language functions like a fingerprint-free glove
To absolve of guilt the guilty as, imposed from up above,
Has come theft of public assets, for the benefit of those
To whom money by the truckload only ever upward flows.

By subversion of our usage may such larceny be won
And I speak as a Victorian, so know how it is done.
It begins when greedy forces, with a nose for seeking rent
Need to seize and reshape language to conceal true intent
So collusion is essential, 'twixt such forces and the man
Who will slake their gross desires. He's a poll-i-tish-i-an
It is he who'll grasp the nettle, perform tasks of Hercules
Telling punters it is raining, while upon their backs he pees

Yet his task is mitigated. Because, what should hove in sight,
But the money-driven think-tanks of the predatory Right
Which have spent long hours fixated by their loathing of the State
So won't even wipe their bottoms, unless at an outsourced rate.
Now the think-tanks wunderkinden turn to '1984'
Where they find therein a tactic once employed in days of yore
It's to pick out words and phrases from contemporary use
Then submit their basic meanings to an arse-about abuse

Yet an overarching irony attends this tour de force
Since there's precedents in stating that a cart is now a horse.
For who bastardised a language, drawing from their bag of tricks ?
It was Stalin and Vyshinsky, back in 1936
O the horror ! O the shamefullness ! That, Sons Of Liberty
Must resort to basing tactics on the Kremlin's tyranny !
It's a classic situation when rent-seeking runs amuck
But there's easy money looming, so who gives a flying f**k ?

So consumers are persuaded, via mantra-laden talk
That they come before big shareholders in London or New York
Thus, a host of euphemisms sugar-coat the bitter pill
To the melodies seductive of a loudly-ringing till
Hark to incantantions joyous and of outcomes bound to please !
'Competition', 'lower prices', 'market-based efficiencies'!
(Though their very warmth and fuzziness will reinforce the fact
They've dragooned the highest language to describe the lowest act.)

Part 2 to follow........

[Jun 06, 2018] Marx was keenly aware of capitalism's ability to innovate and adapt. But he also knew that capitalist expansion was not eternally sustainable.

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Helicalgroove -> RangerX , 3 Jun 2018 17:03

"Karl Marx exposed the peculiar dynamics of capitalism, or what he called "the bourgeois mode of production." He foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction. He knew that reigning ideologies -- think neoliberalism -- were created to serve the interests of the elites and in particular the economic elites, since "the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production" and "the ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships the relationships which make one class the ruling one." He saw that there would come a day when capitalism would exhaust its potential and collapse. He did not know when that day would come. Marx, as Meghnad Desai wrote, was "an astronomer of history, not an astrologer." Marx was keenly aware of capitalism's ability to innovate and adapt. But he also knew that capitalist expansion was not eternally sustainable. And as we witness the denouement of capitalism and the disintegration of globalism, Karl Marx is vindicated as capitalism's most prescient and important critic."

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/karl-marx-was-right-2 /

[Jun 06, 2018] Nationalism is a decision-making tool as it always poses a question; what is good for this country ?

This is not true: this question "what is good for the country" very soon mutates to "what is good for nationalists"
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

DesignConstruct -> quintal , 3 Jun 2018 17:39

We need a Nationalist government, which will automatically see itself as the mortal enemy of the primary Internationalist (there used to be a song about that) force in the world today, and which affects us greatly in terms of resource exploitation: Globalisation, or what we used to call 'multi national corporations' or 'international capital'.

Nationalism is a decision-making tool as it always poses a question; what is good for this country ?

DesignConstruct -> Alpo88 , 3 Jun 2018 17:24
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/we-need-real-leadership-and-real-democracy-from-our-politicians/news-story/f37a3a3951aa78df86892c71166fdbb5

When/if he mentions de-Globalisation, an Aus-Indonesian defence alliance, citizen initiated referenda, and a Constitutional ban on donations and parties , then people may listen, however he cannot be accused of being too imaginative or bright. He is however advocating authoritarianism not fascism.

quintal -> DesignConstruct , 3 Jun 2018 17:16
Hi DC

I halfway agree

We're not there yet

But .......

Fascism doesn't require a state sanctioned religion or suppression of religion

That said the Catholicism/fundamentalist Christian bent of the present cabinet and the demonisation of any green beliefs is uncomfortably close to what you describe

And the nexus between big business and govern, the destruction of public institutions, the reduction in the capacity of media to report truth and the vitriolic attacks on opponenents are straws in an ill wind

Cheets

Alpo88 -> DesignConstruct , 3 Jun 2018 17:11
You are right, it's not "fascismmmmmmmmmmmmmm".... it's Fascism. Which brings back to my memory what Tom Elliott (the son of Liberal Party former president John Elliott) wrote in the Herald Sun on 6 February 2015: "It's time we temporarily suspended the democratic process and installed a benign dictatorship to make tough but necessary decisions."

[Jun 05, 2018] Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse Van Badham Opinion The Guardian

Jun 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

For 40 years, the ideology popularly known as "neoliberalism" has dominated political decision-making in the English-speaking west.

People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history".

ss="rich-link"> Australia needs tough cop to fight wage theft, Sally McManus says Read more

It wasn't, as even he admitted later . And given some of the events of the contemporary political moment, it's possible to conclude from auguries like smoke rising from a garbage fire and patterns of political blood upon the floor that history may be hastening neoliberalism towards an end that its advocates did not forecast.

Three years ago, I remarked that comedian Russell Brand may have stumbled onto a stirring spirit of the times when his "capitalism sucks" contemplations drew stadium-sized crowds. Beyond Brand – politically and materially – the crowds have only been growing.

Is the political zeitgeist an old spectre up for some new haunting? Or are the times more like a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "the combination of inequality and low wage growth is fuelling discontent. Time to sing a new song."

In days gone past, they used to slice open an animal's belly and study the shape of its spilled entrails to find out. But we could just keep an eye on the news.

Here are my seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse:

1. Girl crushes on Sally McManus

The first sign appears with the noise of thunder – personalised in the form of ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, and the trade union movement revival. No Australian of my own generation or younger would likely possess any cultural memory of a trade union leader as hero – let alone one whose packed-to-the-rafters appearance at Melbourne's Town Hall last week brought with it chants and pennants, t-shirts and cheers a column of selfie-hunters. "We want to see an end to neoliberalism!" she roared to wild applause in the barnstorming style that's drawing similar crowds across the country. You had to feel sorry for conservative commentator Janet Albrechtsen, who rode in to defend business-as-usual in a column entitled "I have to admit a slight girl-crush on ACTU boss Sally McManus". "She's really not my type," McManus retorted . Burnnnn.

Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus)

She's really not my type. pic.twitter.com/7aA1T6hab5

April 17, 2018
2. Yanis Varoufakis praises the Communist Manifesto

The second bears a great sword – and that's the dashing former finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis. As a scion of very modern political pedigree, he's an extraordinary (brilliant) choice to pen the new introduction to a re-released Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto . A revolutionary provocation considered so incendiary it was banned on its 1848 publication, the book only achieved distribution when its entry into court documents as evidence of sedition legally enabled it to be printed again. Varoufakis's praise of it in his introduction is no less provocative; he sees the book as a work of prediction. "We cannot end this idiocy individually," he writes of our present capitalist iteration, "because no market can ever emerge that will provide an antidote to this stupidity. Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment."

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3. Paul Keating's rejection

It was a year ago that a third sign first appeared, when the dark horse of Australian prime ministers, Paul Keating, made public an on-balance rejection of neoliberal economics. Although Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser instigated Australia's first neoliberal policies, it was Keating's architecture of privatisation and deregulation as a Labor treasurer and prime minister that's most well remembered. Now, "we have a comatose world economy held together by debt and central bank money," Keating has said, "Liberal economics has run into a dead end and has had no answer to the contemporary malaise." What does the disavowal mean? In terms of his Labor heir Bill Shorten's growing appetite for redistributive taxation and close relationship to the union movement, it means "if Bill Shorten becomes PM, the rule of engagement between labour and capital will be rewritten," according to The Australian this week. Can't wait!

4. Hipsters picket trendy cafe

The fourth sign comes as the death of a certain kind of pale passivity and acceptance of the status quo among the young. But much as Kendall Jenner got the mood so wrong when she tried to retail Pepsi through the form of a mock riot last year, this week the kids in Melbourne got the times very, very right. On Tuesday, a flash mob of young people descended on no less than hipper-than-hip Northcote coffee palace, Barry, demanding the instant redress of alleged unfair dismissal and wage theft from staff pay packets. Not so long ago, it was the Melbourne fashion for young people to sit at cafes and joke about how exploited at work they were. The evolution to shouty pickets and cafe shut downs indicate in a period of record low wage growth, the laughs have worn quite thin.

5. The reds are back under the beds

There's always a bit of judgment and vengeance inherent to the factional shenanigans of Australia's Liberal party, but its refreshed vocabulary warrants inclusion as the fifth sign. Michael Sukkar, the member for Deakin, has been recorded in a dazzling rant declaring war on a "socialist" incursion into a party whose leader is a former merchant banker who pledged to rule for "freedom, the individual and the market" the very day he was anointed. Sukkar's insistence is wonderful complement to the performance art monologues of former Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop on Sky, where she weekly decries socialism is to blame for everything from alcoholism to energy prices. The reds may not be under the beds quite yet, but if Sukkar's convinced some commie pinkos are already gatecrashing cocktail events with the blue-tie set, they're certainly on his mind.

6. Tony Abbott becomes a fan of nationalising assets

Or maybe's Sukkar's right about the socialists termiting his beloved Liberal party. How else to explain the earthquake-like paradigm shift represented by the sixth sign? Since when do neoliberal conservatives argue for the renationalisation of infrastructure, as is the push of Tony Abbott's gang to nationalise the coal-fired Liddell power station? It may be a cynical stunt to take an unscientific stand against climate action, but seizing the means of production remains seizing the means of production, um, comrade. "You know, nationalising assets is what the Liberal party was founded to stop governments doing," said Turnbull, even as he hid in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains to weather – strange coincidence – yet another Newspoll loss.

ss="rich-link"> Yanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out Read more 7. Blue-collar billionaires

In the established canon, the final sign, the seventh, installs new saints on to golden altars before praying supplicants. And I'd suggest some circumspection before the incense is lit and venerations begin. A clear electoral yearning for a sincere leadership of politics beyond the neoliberal frame has encouraged lying populists on the right, like the "blue-collar billionaire" opportunistic falsity of Trump. For a left regaining momentum, there's also danger; seizing at instant, available heroes propels into leadership politicians who are polarising and imperfect for the task.

The pressing need is not to pray for intercession; Varoufakis's call is right – "collective, democratic political action" is the genuine alternative, and it's broader democratic investment in the institutions of parties, movements, academies and media that always builds the world to come. That is, after all, what the neoliberals did. And look – just look – how far they got.

• Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist


sierrasierra , 27 Apr 2018 05:50

Neoliberalism so far and it's a rather interesting read if you follow global politics, yes countries like people have ' charts' and Australia's is realtively tame:

http://astrologyforaquarius.com/sky-watch-and-a-global-events-forecast/mars-cycle-january-29-2017-january-2-2019 /

ID2778880 -> DickTyger , 27 Apr 2018 05:48
This is absolutely true. Unintended consequences will always arise if the dim-witted tamper with complex systems they do not understand.

Brexit is a classic case. It has blown up in the faces of its proponents and the rather more level-headed among them are desperately trying to contain the spreading damage.

GraemeHarrison -> Weakaspiss , 27 Apr 2018 05:46
Ably assisted by Rupert's >75% control of print media... with his 'Get Bill' campaigns (first Hayden, later Shorten) with 'Get Juliar' in between! The masses are swayed by big media, enough to deliver the 1-3% needed to gain a parliamentary majority!
uhurhi , 27 Apr 2018 05:43
"new introduction to a re-released Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto.
Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment."

Might be true. But frightening that people should naively still think that democracy is to be found in the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariate' [ ie those who know what's good for you even if you don't like it ] of the Communist Manefesto after the revelations of what that leads to in the Gulag Arichipeligo , Mao's China , Pol Pot , Kim John - un . How quickly the world forgets. - you might just as well advocate Mein Kampf it's the same thing in the end !

curiouswes -> Jamie Richardson , 27 Apr 2018 05:42
I don't think socialism can work without giving up too much freedom. Once you are in the Leviathan's clutches, it is difficult to break free. In the USA, we have a great system. I call it socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. It works great, but it only works great for 1% of the people.
Starwars102 -> Awabakali , 27 Apr 2018 05:40
https://mises.org/wire/real-relationship-between-capitalism-and-environment
This idea of Capitalism fundamentally and completely undermining the environment is a myth. You realise that the worst possible environmental degradation today occurs in extremely poor countries which have neither the economic base, nor the surplus money to care for the environment. Compound this with terrible legal systems in many of those countries and you get the economic degradation you have today.
GraemeHarrison -> Powerspike , 27 Apr 2018 05:36
The fact that multinationals are happy to take Australian minerals from the land, make money selling products to Australians, yet pay nil tax in Australia tells you everything you need to know about how much they care for our 'state and society'.
daily_phil , 27 Apr 2018 05:35
Does present day neo-liberalism actually qualify as a political movement?

Vested interests and the dollar seem to have all the power. Lies and deception are so common the truth is seen as the enemy. The voting public are merely fools for manipulation. Nah, neo-liberalism is not government, it is something far nastier, and clearly not what the public vote for, presuming a vote actually counts for anything anymore.

RedmondM -> charleyb23 , 27 Apr 2018 05:33
And while we are discussing totalitarian thugs how many died at the hands of Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, Peron, Marcos and others of the right?

The death toll of just Mao far exceeds the combined death toll of the the others you mentioned.

GraemeHarrison -> vanbadham , 27 Apr 2018 05:33
Plus, unlimited funding for elections has cemented capitalism's ability to 'buy' all the elections, and hold-captive all the regulators it needs. Without the Citizens United decision from right wing SCOTUS judges, US elections would be far more representative. Only in capitalism can one believe that "money equals free speech". No such provision is in the US constitution, so it is only these Bush-appointed judges who have determined that money can rule the people. Even more stupid are the countries that have followed the USA down this slippery slope. If you can fund politicians to undermine the ATO and ASIC, why not also allow corporations to just pay bribes to judges to get decisions they would like?
MuzzaC -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 05:33
Thanks curiouswes. Nice to engage in a polite discussion for a change.

I think you are right, in that all revolutions are susceptible to falling to their own methods. Any mechanism for revolution legitimises the same mechanism for counter-revolution. This is why violent revolution leads to militarism and authoritarianism. I don't think anyone welcoming Lenin at the Finland Station did so because they wanted to live in a police state. By the same token, I don't think that Socialism is inherently linked to giving the state authoritarian power. In fact Socialism and democracy are perfectly compatible, because democracy (one citizen one vote) is the counterweight to capitalism (one dollar one vote).

As for globalism, it's the natural mode of capitalism and has been for centuries. Colonial expansion and capitalism became synonymous with things like the Dutch East India Company. Neoliberalism wants global reach for capital, but not for the regulators. They want keep their tax-haven cake and eat it too. Typically, what they want is less about a free market and more about freedom to game the market.

GraemeHarrison -> Confucion , 27 Apr 2018 05:27

Democracy paralyses

No, the current malaise is not 'due' to democracy, but despite it. America has unlimited political funding by capitalism to sway elections to their desires. Australia is in almost the same position, due to weak political funding reporting, and nil limits on what 'non-party' entities can spend on elections, or in the case of Rudd's removal, how just $45m in advertising by the MCA managed to remove a sitting PM, because the handful of MCA members did not want a resource tax. Our democracy has slipped into being a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy).
Robert Davie , 27 Apr 2018 04:54
Neoliberalism has inflicted a great deal of damage on western economies through the off-shoring of industries and jobs by the wealthy elites who were aided by the donor addicted political class. As a result, western democracies have weakened themselves in the eyes of the world community who now see us as examples of dysfunctional economies and governing methods. Who can blame them when the leading champion of the rules based order is so smitten with debt it must withdraw into itself under the threat of debt default.

The way forward for us is not to look back at what is lost but too look at developing new manufacturing industries and in particular, high technology manufacturing involving vehicles, batteries, solar panels, biotechnology and other related areas.

KCJ1951 , 27 Apr 2018 04:41
What is always revealing about Vanessa and her obsession with neoliberalism, is her intellectual dishonesty wrapped in a smattering of populist half-truths while ignoring any fact that might get in the way of the emotional narrative.
How successful were the largely populist socialist governments in latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and, of course, the socialist paradise of Venezuela?
We don't have to go back 40 years Vanessa. A quick peek east across the Pacific to the last decade of failed populist socialist ideology in South America tells enough.
PS: Delighted to see that you are back to full health after the 2 months of "absolute hell" that you went through during the SSM postal survey - Q&A.
Peter Krall , 27 Apr 2018 04:40
Neoliberalism, capitalism even, may well be dying. But the spectre of socialism is dead. What you hear when kicking the cupboard is just the squeaking of the door, not the spectre supposedly rumoring inside.

Worse, socialism did not just disappear but considerable fractions degenerated into all kinds of zombies: you have the aggressive dreamers, who confound anecdotes about repair-cafes or school meals with economic modeling and won't accept any response but flattery (yes, the 'senior' economic commentator is an example). You have the fascists supporting Assad because he administrates the legacy of his Hitler-admiring father and people like the Eichmann-assistant Alois Brunner, and a lot of them identify as 'anti-imperialist left-wingers'. You have the naive nation-state nostalgics who believe the value of work can be increased by blocking immigration, ignoring that the assembly of a car for the German market can be done in the Netherlands or Slovakia just as well as in the UK.

To be sure: I know that persons like Varoufakis (or Badham) are neither fascists nor morons. I wished it were these people who shaped the society after the downfall of laissez-faire capitalism. But I fail to believe it. I believe that the end of laissez-faire capitalism will coincide with the rise of fascism. Thus, I propose to extend capitalism's life expectancy be shifting tax burdens from income and profit to wealth and to create a favorable environment for tech-addicted turbo-capitalism.

[Jun 05, 2018] Tim Winton on class and neoliberalism 'We're not citizens but economic players' Books The Guardian

Notable quotes:
"... • The Boy Behind the Curtain is published by Penguin Books and is available now ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

he first page of Tim Winton's new essay collection, The Boy Behind the Curtain , sets a disturbing scene. A 13-year-old boy stands at the window of a suburban street, behind a terylene curtain, training a rifle on passersby.

"He was a fraught little thing," says Winton of that boy – the boy he used to be. "I feel related to him but I'm no longer completely him, thank god."

The passage opens a surprisingly intimate essay about the role of guns in Australian life, setting the tone for a collection being billed as Winton's most personal yet.

In spite of his inclination for solitude, Winton has spent much of his life in the spotlight. His first novel, An Open Swimmer, catapulted him into the public eye when it won the Vogel literary award in 1981, but it was his 1991 novel, Cloudstreet, that cemented his place in Australian letters. Winton has won the Miles Franklin award four times and been shortlisted twice for the Booker. His books have been adapted for film, TV and even opera .

ss="rich-link"> Island Home by Tim Winton review – a love song to Australia and a cry to save it Read more

The contradictions of having such a high-profile career while working in a quintessentially solitary artform are not lost on him. "I spend all day in a room with people who don't exist, and I'm not thinking about any public – but once the thing's done it goes out there and it has a public life over which I have no, or very little, control," he says.

On one reading, the boy with the rifle lurking out of sight, watching the world go by, could be a metaphor for the life of a reclusive writer. But Winton is quick to distinguish himself from such a reading. "I wouldn't like to see myself as somebody who was just cruelly observing the world behind the terylene curtain of art."

For Winton, the perceived lives of other writers always seemed completely unrelated to his own experience. "I grew up with a kind of modernist romantic idea of the writer as some kind of high priest, someone who saw themselves as separate and better, which I now find a bit repellent," he says. "I think that was something that was sold to us at school and certainly at university that writers were somehow aloof from the ordinary business of life; they didn't have to abide by the same rules as other people. The worse their behaviour off the page, the more we were supposed to cheer them on. Once I woke up to that idea as a teenager, I think I consciously resisted it."

Winton's own background was characterised by a working class sensibility and evangelical religion. His parents converted to the Church of Christ when he was a small boy, the circumstances and his experiences of which form the basis of a number of the previously unpublished essays in The Boy Behind the Curtain. As a result, when he finally did start writing, it was with a particularly industrious work ethic.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tim Winton: 'There wasn't a lot of romance in my view of what writing was about.' Photograph: Hank Kordas

"I approached it like I was a tradesperson," he says. "It didn't necessarily involve FM radio played very loudly on a worksite; it didn't always require plumbers' crack or a hard hat and there was certainly no catcalling, but for the rest of it I went a different route. There wasn't a lot of romance in my view of what writing was about."

ss="rich-link"> A fish called Tim Winton: scientists name new species after novelist Read more

Yet it was finding words, what Winton calls "the enormous luxury of language", that took him from being a 13-year-old boy who watched strangers through the eye of a rifle – a boy who was "obviously insecure and feeling threatened and probably not quite one with the world" – to a well-adjusted adult.

The "emotional infancy of men" has a lot to answer for, he says, suggesting that it's something society would do well to pay more attention to in its early stages. "The lumpiness and surly silence of boys is not something we're sufficiently interested in. They're not sufficiently attractive to us until they become victims or dangerous brutes and bullies."

ass="inline-garnett-quote inline-icon ">

I think it's a mistake to think someone who doesn't say much doesn't have strong feelings

Tim Winton

Conflicted masculinity is recurring theme throughout Winton's fiction, and his characters often suffer as a result of their inability to articulate their feelings. "I think it's a mistake to think someone who doesn't say much doesn't have strong feelings," he says. "I think we stifle people's expression or we ignore people's signals of wanting to express things at our peril."

The distinct tenor of Winton's prose, a lyricism which manages to turn even the Australian vernacular into a kind of rough poetry, lends itself to the intimacy of the personal essay. The Boy Behind the Curtain contains a number of vignettes that reflect the imagery and landscape that characterises his fiction: hot bitumen roads through the desert; the churning ocean.

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/287428716&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false

But there is also a clear political streak to Winton's nonfiction, and the inclusion of a number of more direct essays in this collection mean it's difficult to collapse the work under the category of memoir. Stones for Bread, for example, calls for a return to empathy and humanity in Australia's approach to asylum seekers. The Battle for Ningaloo Reef is a clear-eyed account of the activism that prevented a major commercial development from destroying a stretch of the Western Australian coastline. And Using the C-Word concerns that other dirty word that Winton believes we are avoiding: class.

"I think there are people talking about class but they're having to do that against the flow," Winton says. "We're living in a dispensation that is endlessly reinforcing the idea that we are not citizens but economic players. And under that dispensation it's in nobody's interest, especially those in power, to encourage or foster the idea that there's any class difference."

The market doesn't care about people, Winton argues, and neither is there any genius in it. "There's no invisible hand," he says. "And if there is one, it's scratching its arse."

It's clear to Winton that neoliberalism is failing, but not without casualties, two of which are very close to his heart: the arts and the environment.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Cover image for The Boy Behind The Curtain by Tim Winton. Photograph: Penguin

"People in the arts are basically paying the price for this new regime where we pay no tax and where we get less public service and more privatised service," he says. "The arts are last on, first off in people's minds and I think that's not just sad, it's corrosive. They're just seen as fluff, as fripperies, as indulgence, as add-ons and luxury. And I don't think the arts are luxury; I think they're fundamental to civilisation. It's just that under our current dispensation, civilisation is not the point; civilisation is something that commerce has to negotiate and traduce if necessary."

Winton is one of a number of high-profile critics of the Productivity Commission's proposals to allow the parallel importation of books , and a signatory to petitions opposing funding cuts to the Australia Council . But he has also been a grassroots activist in the area of marine conservation for over 15 years.

"I don't know if I'm an activist writer or just a writer who has an activist life on the side," he says.

ass="inline-garnett-quote inline-icon ">

I don't know if I'm an activist writer or just a writer who has an activist life on the side

Tim Winton

Years of lobbying by conservation groups and the general public contributed to the Labor government announcement in 2012 of 42 marine reserves in Australian waters , including over the entire Coral Sea. The Abbott government, however, implemented a review which, in September this year, recommended significantly scaling back those reservations . It was, says Winton, an act of cowardice.

"The Abbott review was basically all about applying inertia to imminent progress," Winton says. "We've gone from world leaders [in conservation] to being too frightened to lead."

When asked what role writing fiction plays in his activist work, Winton says it comes back to the idea of "keeping people's imaginations awake".

"Imagination is the fundamental virtue of civilisation. If people can't imagine then they can't live an ethical life."

• The Boy Behind the Curtain is published by Penguin Books and is available now

[May 21, 2018] There's no real Left in the UK anymore, either. The Blairites are still a force with the Labour party. Even the old Left newspapers - The Guardian, The Observer - are just neocon and neoliberal mouthpeces

May 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bevin Kacon | May 20, 2018 1:50:01 PM | 12

There's no real Left in the UK anymore, either. The Blairites are still a force with the Labour party and that party is known as The Red Tories - especially in Scotland - for the obvious reason!

Even the old Left newspapers - The Guardian, The Observer - are no longer such, as has been evidenced of late. I no longer read the UK press - Private Eye is my 'paper' reading - and would not trust one word broadcast by the BBC and, I am sorry to say, Channel 4.

bevin , May 20, 2018 3:04:03 PM | 16
The Guardian and The Observer have never been socialist papers. They were liberal, just like the democrats in the United States were liberal. And liberals, who are the advance guard of capitalism, can hardly be called 'of the left'.
The only opponents of capitalism and imperialism are socialists or nationalists, of a kind rarely seen outside the third world periphery of the system since 1917.
Anyone who sees the fascists and crooks surrounding Trump as being opponents of anything except the human race is almost as daft as someone who sees the Democrats as part of the left.
But the real prize for idiocy goes to those sad souls who see the FBI, CIA, MI6 and their clones as anything but- deepest apologies here to the Mafia and their ilk- criminal gangs, of the worst kind.

[May 18, 2018] The UK s obsession with the Russian bogeyman doesn t stack up by Mary Dejevsky

Notable quotes:
"... Now, it is hard to know what to make of all this, other than to point out that he was speaking to fellow security chiefs. Maybe, among themselves, they find it more morale-boosting to demonise an old enemy than to take on adversaries that have emerged more recently, are more complicated and against which they have so far perhaps had less success. ..."
"... the conclusion has to be that Russia is considered a "safe", useful, and almost eternal enemy by the UK's powers-that-be. Some of us may hope for something better, but it seems a long way away. ..."
May 14, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The UK's obsession with the Russian bogeyman doesn't stack up Mary Dejevsky The head of MI5 has joined the security establishment's anti-Putin onslaught. But his organization agrees that Moscow is not the greatest threat

Today's speech by the head of MI5 , Andrew Parker, has been presented as a first – the first time the head of the UK's domestic intelligence service has delivered a speech abroad, specifically at a conference of security heads in Berlin. But this is the only respect in which it is a first. It might as accurately be described as the latest in a series of public utterances by UK intelligence chiefs and top brass, which began last autumn and continued with the head of GCHQ addressing a cybersecurity conference in Manchester last month.

"MI5 chief: Kremlin is 'chief protagonist' in campaign to undermine west" Read more

In part, this reflects a deliberate decision by the intelligence services and the government that they should be more open about what they do, with a view to gaining greater public understanding – and expanding recruitment at a time when they face competition for tech-savvy graduates from richer and less restrictive employers. But this season of intelligence and military speeches has also facilitated the communication of an apparently co-ordinated message. As a country, the UK now sees Russia as its prime adversary.

The poisoning of Sergei Skripal , the former Russian spy, and his daughter in Salisbury took the UK's official anti-Russia stance to new heights. And its diplomatic success in persuading so many other countries to expel Russian diplomats in protest – the biggest ever "collective expulsion of security agents", we were told – seems to have emboldened London to view itself as the potential leader of an international anti-Russia front, as the Guardian recently reported .

The invective produced by Parker today – and heavily sold to the media – was, in its way, extraordinary. In tone, it was quite different from the cold war register, which was formal and, well, cold. This attack was populist, direct, and far outside the diplomatic register. Here is just a sample.

The Kremlin was engaging in "deliberate, targeted, malign activity intended to undermine our free, open and democratic societies". The west had to "shine a light through the fog of lies, half-truths and obfuscation that pours out of their propaganda machine". Russia, he said caustically, had as one of its "central and entirely admirable aims to build Russian greatness on the world stage". But it had repeatedly chosen "to pursue that aim through aggressive and pernicious actions by its military and intelligence services". In so doing, it risked becoming "a more isolated pariah".

So long as the UK refuses consular access to Yulia Skripal, Russia can – with some justification – ask just who has a monopoly on a fog of lies.'

Now, it is hard to know what to make of all this, other than to point out that he was speaking to fellow security chiefs. Maybe, among themselves, they find it more morale-boosting to demonise an old enemy than to take on adversaries that have emerged more recently, are more complicated and against which they have so far perhaps had less success. There is a sense too, for the UK at least, that relations with Russia have been so bad for so long that magnifying the supposed Russia threat is a cost-free enterprise in diplomatic terms.

It might also be worth considering whether there are budgetary and Brexit angles. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US and the UK, in particular, scaled back their government-backed research on Russia and lost a great deal of expertise, which they are now trying to rebuild. That means they have to make a case for more taxpayers' money, and scare tactics are one way to do that. For the UK, there may also be the fear that it will find the European Union less inclined to keep London in the intelligence loop, and – at a time when the US is looking a far less reliable ally – it might make sense to play up the Russian bogeyman, not least as Vladimir Putin begins his fourth term in office. Nothing like starting as you intend to go on.

Yet it is still difficult to see the sense in this. Russia has become inured to UK scolding of this kind, and treats it with contempt – as its social media response to Parker's speech shows. What is more, so long as the UK maintains its silence on the Skripals' fate and refuses consular access to Yulia Skripal, Russia can – with some justification, I would argue – ask just who has a monopoly on a "fog of lies".

Nor will the tone necessarily chime well with official views of Russia in Germany and France, which are not necessarily less tough in practice, but certainly more nuanced, and better informed. The UK seems intent – despite recent legislation about dubious money in London – in keeping its diplomatic and business relations with Russia in separate boxes. Germany, for one, does not have that luxury.

The conclusion has to be that Russia is considered a 'safe', useful, and almost eternal enemy by the UK's powers-that-be

The UK's rhetorical onslaught on Russia is even more puzzling when you examine the security services' own priorities. "Is terrorism the biggest threat facing the UK?" visitors to the MI5 website are asked in a pop-up called "fact or fiction". Click no, and this is the response: "The biggest threat we currently face comes from international terrorist groups and individuals inspired by them. Terrorist organisations in Northern Ireland also continue to pose a serious threat."

Now it is true that the threat from terrorism and Islamic State was also broached by Parker in his speech, but this was not the section spun in advance to the media; it was not the aspect MI5 wanted above all to be noticed. So the conclusion has to be that Russia is considered a "safe", useful, and almost eternal enemy by the UK's powers-that-be. Some of us may hope for something better, but it seems a long way away.

• Mary Dejevsky is a former foreign correspondent in Moscow

[May 18, 2018] Guardian fake news. UK media tries to keep Skripal poisoning hoax alive (Video)

May 18, 2018 | theduran.com

Alex Christoforou with Alexander Mercouris discuss a recent Guardian post that claims 100 police have received psychological help after Salisbury attack.

Fake news, trying to create false connections between police psychological issues and a rather dubious UK poisoning false flag. Via The Guardian

Almost 100 Wiltshire police officers and staff have sought psychological support after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the Guardian can reveal.

Among those who have asked for help were officers who initially responded to the collapse of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, and those who were at or close to the various investigation sites in subsequent days and weeks.

Some reported feeling disorientated and anxious while others were concerned about the possible long-term health effects on the public.

While the Skripal poisoning story has faded from much of the mainstream media news cycle, as it was increasingly exposed as a complete hoax and embarrassment for the May government, the Guardian appears to be trying to resurrect "the Russians did" Novichok narrative.


Rick Oliver • 3 hours ago ,

It is about time your stupid leader and her clown were put on the stage to explain to all the world why they chose to defame the integrity of Russia in such an unbelievable set of circumstances that only children under the age of ten would not understand !! How can any Nation since this demonic happening , ever trust this self - centred Bozo from ever making a sensible judgement for the future of mankind !

louis robert • 13 hours ago ,

What a shameful staging! At the very least, try and respect children!... Keep them away from all that nonsense, Ms May!

Andrι De Koning • an hour ago ,

UK has lost it completely and the Guardian has fallen prey to the CIA Mockingbird Operation (infiltration and manipulation of media). Used to be a good paper under Alan Rushbridger and protection of Snowden, Assange etc. Now it has lost it altogether with useless editorial board. The woman in charge must have something in common with Nikki Haley: incapable of nuance and irrationally convinced of her being right (without research lots of claims about Assad, Putin etc.).

Wesa F. Andrι De Koning • 35 minutes ago ,

When ever I read such nonsense it always brings a smile as I think of what Clint Eastwood said in his summing up of Politicians and not in General.

[May 04, 2018] Media Use Disinformation To Accuse Russia Of Spreading Such by b

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation. ..."
"... Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma. ..."
"... The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation. ..."
"... Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them. ..."
"... No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered. ..."
"... Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation. ..."
"... The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote." ..."
"... Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?" ..."
"... Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth. ..."
"... 1984, anyone? ..."
"... The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. ..."
"... Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right. ..."
"... Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. ..."
"... One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; ..."
"... while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned. ..."
"... Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation. ..."
"... Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™. ..."
"... Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar. ..."
"... And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus. ..."
"... Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school. ..."
"... In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting. ..."
May 04, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Grauniad is slipping deeper into the disinformation business: Revealed: UK's push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance is the headline of a page one piece which reveals exactly nothing. There is no secret lifted and no one was discomforted by a questioning journalist.

Like other such pieces it uses disinformation to accuse Russia of spreading such.

The main 'revelation' is stenographed from a British government official. Some quotes from the usual anti-Russian propagandists were added. Dubious or false 'western' government claims are held up as truth. That Russia does not endorse them is proof for Russian mischievousness and its 'disinformation'.

The opener:

The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin's aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria.
...
"The foreign secretary regards Russia's response to Douma and Salisbury as a turning point and thinks there is international support to do more," a Whitehall official said. "The areas the UK are most likely to pursue are countering Russian disinformation and finding a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons."

There is a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons. It is the Chemical Weapon Convention and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It was the British government which at first rejected the use of these instruments during the Skripal incident:

Early involvement of the OPCW, as demanded by Russia, was resisted by the British government. Only on March 14, ten days after the incident happened and two days after Prime Minister Theresa may had made accusations against Russia, did the British government invite the OPCW. Only on March 19, 15 days after the incident happen did the OPCW technical team arrive and took blood samples.

Now back to the Guardian disinformation:

In making its case to foreign ministries, the UK is arguing that Russian denials over Salisbury and Douma reveal a state uninterested in cooperating to reach a common understanding of the truth , but instead using both episodes to try systematically to divide western electorates and sow doubt.

A 'common understanding of the truth' is an interesting term. What is the truth? Whatever the British government claims? It accused Russia of the Skripal incident a mere eight days after it happened. Now, two month later, it admits that it does not know who poisoned the Skripals:

Police and intelligence agencies have failed so far to identify the individual or individuals who carried out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the UK's national security adviser has disclosed.

Do the Brits know where the alleged Novichok poison came from? Unless they produced it themselves they likely have no idea. The Czech Republic just admitted that it made small doses of a Novichok nerve agent for testing purposes. Others did too.

Back to the Guardian :

British politicians are not alone in claiming Russia's record of mendacity is not a personal trait of Putin's, but a government-wide strategy that makes traditional diplomacy ineffective.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, famously came off one lengthy phone call with Putin – she had more than 40 in a year – to say he lived in a different world.

No, Merkel never said that. An Obama administration flunky planted that in the New York Times :

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. "In another world," she said.

When that claim was made in March 2014 we were immediately suspicious of it:

This does not sound like typically Merkel but rather strange for her. I doubt that she said that the way the "people briefed on the call" told it to the Times stenographer. It is rather an attempt to discredit Merkel and to make it more difficult for her to find a solution with Russia outside of U.S. control.

A day later the German government denied (ger) that Merkel ever said such (my translation):

The chancellery is unhappy about the report in the New York Times. Merkel by no means meant to express that Putin behaved irrational. In fact she told Obama that Putin has a different perspective about the Crimea [than Obama has].

A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation.

That disinformation, spread by the Obama administration but immediately exposed as false, is now held up as proof by Patrick Wintour, the Diplomatic editor of the Guardian , that Russia uses disinformation and that Putin is a naughty man.

The British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson wants journalists to enter the UK reserve forces to help with the creation of propaganda:

He said army recruitment should be about "looking to different people who maybe think, as a journalist: 'What are my skills in terms of how are they relevant to the armed forces?'

Patrick Wintour seems to be a qualified candidate.

Or maybe he should join the NATO for Information Warfare the Atlantic Council wants to create to further disinform about those damned Russkies:

What we need now is a cross-border defense alliance against disinformation -- call it Communications NATO. Such an alliance is, in fact, nearly as important as its military counterpart.

Like the Guardian piece above writer of the NATO propaganda lobby Atlantic Council makes claims of Russian disinformation that do not hold up to the slightest test:

By pinning the Novichok nerve agent on Sweden or the Czech Republic, or blaming the UK for the nerve gas attack in Syria, the Kremlin sows confusion among our populations and makes us lose trust in our institutions.

Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma.

The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation.

The bigger aim behind all these activities, demanding a myriad of new organizations to propagandize against Russia, is to introduce a strict control over information within 'western' societies.

Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.

That scheme will be used against anyone who deviates from the ordered norm. You dislike that pipeline in your backyard? You must be falling for Russian trolls or maybe you yourself are an agent of a foreign power. Social Security? The Russians like that. It is a disinformation thing. You better forget about it.


c1ue , May 4, 2018 2:27:27 PM | 1

Excellent article, in an ongoing run of great journalism.
I am curious - have you read this? https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/
It purports to be a book by an American military man intimately familiar with the covert ops portion of the US government. The internal Kafka-esque dynamics described certainly feel true.
Mike Maloney , May 4, 2018 2:44:12 PM | 3
One of the reasons newspapers are getting worse is the economics. They aren't really viable anymore. Their future is as some form of government sanctioned oligopoly. Two national papers -- a "left" and a "right" -- and then a handful of regional papers. All spouting the same neoliberal, neoconservative chicanery.
CD Waller , May 4, 2018 2:57:20 PM | 4
Genuine journalist Matt Taibbi warned of this sort of branding of disparate views as enemy a month ago. He was also correct. Evil and insidious. The enemy of a free society.
chet380 , May 4, 2018 2:58:22 PM | 5
Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:02:57 PM | 6
The later history of the 20th century will one day be read as the triumph and normalization of the Nazi state through liberal democratic capitalism.
Laguerre , May 4, 2018 3:07:19 PM | 7
I agree that it's difficult to see how the drive to renew the Cold War is going to be stopped. I presume that, with the exception of certain NeoCon circles, there isn't a desire for Hot War. Certainly not in the British sources you quote. Britain wouldn't want Hot War with Russia. It's all a question of going to the limit for internal consumption. Do a 1984, in order to keep the population in-line.
james , May 4, 2018 3:11:05 PM | 8
thanks b... i can't understand how any intelligent thinking person would read the guardian, let alone something like the huff post, and etc. etc... why? the propaganda money that pays for the white helmets, certainly goes to these outlets as well..

the uk have gone completely nuts! i guess it comes with reading the guardian, although, in fairness, all british media seems very skewed - sky news, bbc, and etc. etc.

it does appear as though Patrick Wintour is on Gavin Williamson's propaganda bandwagon/payroll already... in reading the comments and articles at craig murrays site, i have become more familiar with just how crazy things are in the uk.. his latest article freedom no more sums it up well... throw the uk msm in the trash can... it is for all intensive purposes, done..

mk , May 4, 2018 3:31:41 PM | 9
Meanwhile, OPCW chief Uzumcu seems to have been pranked again, this time by his own staff (this is how I interpret it):

He claimed that the amount of Novichok found was about 100 g and therefore more than research laboratories would produce, i.e. this was weaponized Novichok.

http://www.startribune.com/large-dose-of-nerve-agent-was-used-in-spy-s-poisoning-watchdog-says/481687061/

However, the story is being retracted right now because OPCW staff says it was only 100 mg .

Uzumcu looks like a fool.

b , May 4, 2018 3:49:03 PM | 10
The Russian embassy in the UK must be reading MoA. It just now tweeted this press release: Embassy press officer comments on the Guardian article concerning a new British anti-Russian strategy
Q: What is our reaction to the Guardian article on a "comprehensive strategy" to "deepen the alliance against Russia" to be pursued by the UK Government at international forums?

A: Judging by the publication, the main current challenge for Whitehall is to preserve the anti-Russian coalition that the Conservatives tried to build after the Salisbury incident. This task is challenging indeed. The "fusion doctrine" promoted by the national security apparatus has led to the Western bloc taking hasty decisions that, as life has shown, were not based on any facts.

No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered.

Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation.

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 3:52:31 PM | 11
Hmmm... My reply to c1ue went sideways it seems. Yes, The late Mr. Prouty's book's the real deal and the website hosting his very rare book is a rare gem itself. Click the JFK at page top left to be transported to that sites archive of writings about his murder. The very important essay by Prouty's there too.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:53:30 PM | 12
The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote."

This one detail tells us so much about how propaganda works, and about how it can be defeated. Successful propaganda both depends upon and seeks to accelerate the erasure of historical memory. This is because its truths are always changing to suit the immediate needs of the state. None of its truths can be understood historically. b makes the connection between the documented but forgotten past "truth" of Merkel's quote and its present reincarnation in the Guardian, and this is really all he *needs* to do. What b points out is something quite simple; yet the ability to do this very simple thing is becoming increasingly rare and its exercise increasingly difficult to achieve. It is for me the virtue that makes b's analysis uniquely indispensable.

Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?"

Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth.

Jose Garcia , May 4, 2018 3:56:03 PM | 13
1984, anyone?
john wilson , May 4, 2018 4:03:04 PM | 14
The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. This implies that the Skripals both closed the door together and then went off on their day spreading the stuff everywhere, yet no one else was contaminated (apart from the fantasy policeman).

Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right.

ken , May 4, 2018 4:03:13 PM | 15
The problem is,,, most know it's all BS but find it 'easier' to believe or at most ignore, as then there is no responsibility to 'do something'. Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. (Yes,,, I'm a PCR reader) :))
karlof1 , May 4, 2018 4:05:15 PM | 16
b @10--

Did you catch the Lavrov interview I linked to on previous Yemen thread? As you might imagine, the verbiage used is quite similar. One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; and that while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned.

I won't omit linking to Craig Murray's conclusion :

"I cannot sufficiently express my outrage that Leeds City Council feels it is right to ban a meeting with very distinguished speakers, because it is questioning the government and establishment line on Syria. Freedom of speech really is dead."

Ort , May 4, 2018 4:22:35 PM | 17
Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.
_______________________________________

Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™.

This isn't a new insight, but it's worth repeating. It struck me anew while I was listening to a couple of UK "journalists" hectoring OPCW Representative Shulgin, and directing scurrilous and provocative innuendo disguised as "questions" to Mr. Shulgin and the Syrian witnesses testifying during his presentation.

It flashed upon me that there is no longer a reasonable expectation that the Perpetual Big Liars must eventually abandon, much less confess, their heinous mendacity. Just as B points out, there are no countervailing facts, evidence, rebuttals, theories, or explanations that can't be countered with further iterations of Big Lies, however offensively incredible and absurd.

Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar.

And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus.

Even as the Big Liars reach a point of diminishing returns, they respond with more of the same. I wish I were more confident that this reprehensible practice will eventually fail due to the excess of malignant hubris; I'm not holding my breath.

Passer by , May 4, 2018 4:24:44 PM | 18

Is Putin capitulating? Pro US Alexei Kudrin could join new government to negotiate "end of sanctions" with the West.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin will be brought back to "mend fences with the West" in order to revive Russia's economy. Kudrin has repeatedly said that unless Russia makes her political system more democratic and ends its confrontation with Europe and the United States, she will not be able to achieve economic growth. Russia's fifth-columnists were exalted: "If Kudrin joined the administration or government, it would indicate that they have agreed on a certain agenda of change, including in foreign policy, because without change in foreign policy, reforms are simply impossible in Russia," said Yevgeny Gontmakher . . . who works with a civil society organization set up by Mr. Kudrin. "It would be a powerful message, because Kudrin is the only one in the top echelons with whom they will talk in the west and towards whom there is a certain trust."

Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school.

It would mark Putin's de facto collapse as a leader. We shall know very soon. Either way, if anyone wondered what the approach to Russia would be from Bolton and Pompeo, we now know: they will play very hard ball with Putin, regardless of what he does (or doesn't do), and with carefree readiness to risk an eventual snap.

https://archive.is/1Ynms#selection-1641.0-1641.66

Formerly T-Bear , May 4, 2018 4:57:25 PM | 21
@ 20 Laguerre

Certainly looks like @ 18 is a fine example of what b is presenting.

A good way to extract one's self from the propaganda is to refuse using whatever meme the disinformation uses, e.g. that Sergei Skripal was a double agent -- that is not a known, only a convenient suggestion.

Military intelligence is far better described as military information needed for some project or mission. Not surreptitious cloak and dagger spying. This is not to say Sergei Scripal was a British spy for which he was convicted, stripped of rank and career and exiled through a spy swap. To continue using Sergei Scripal was a double agent only repeats and verifies the disinformation meme and all the framing that goes with it. Find some alternative to what MSM produces that does not embed truthiness to their efforts.

Peter Schmidt , May 4, 2018 5:08:52 PM | 23
In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting.
Emily Dickinson , May 4, 2018 5:09:00 PM | 24
@Michael Weddington 19

I realize it's from one of the biggest propaganda organs in the world... take this New York Times report of the OPCW's retraction with a 100 grams -- 100mg? -- of salt:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/world/europe/opcw-skripal-attack.html

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 5:12:57 PM | 25
Passer by @18--

This same narrative was put forth in 2016 and is just as false now as then. As I posted on Yemen thread earlier, Putin on 5 May is likely to announce the formation of a Stavka.

Kudrin is a neoliberal and as such is an enemy of humanity and will never again be allowed to hold a position of power within Russia's government. Let him emigrate to the West like his fellow parasites and teach junk economics at some likeminded university.

jalp , May 4, 2018 5:30:35 PM | 26
Anyone seen this reported elsewhere? https://www.rt.com/news/425810-white-helmets-us-funding-freeze/

[May 03, 2018] The Skripal Case and Bombing Syria Six Things We Learned About Modern Britain

Brits reinvented McCarthyism...
May 03, 2018 | sputniknews.com

... ... ...

1. The presumption of innocence doesn't apply to NeoCon targets.

The Skripal and Douma Incidents Are Parts of One Plan to Bring Russia Down – Chemist Innocent until proven guilty? Not if you're in the line of fire of the Endless War Lobby, comrade. Russia was accused of trying to poison the Skripals before a proper criminal investigation had even begun. The Syrian government was blamed for a chemical weapons attack, before we had independently verification that a chemical weapons attack had even taken place. The 'Official Narrative' on both cases has unravelled spectacularly. No 'smoking gun' evidence of either Russian involvement in the Skripal case or of the Douma CW attack has been produced. On the contrary, witnesses testified last week at The Hague that the Douma attack didn't happen.

But we're expected not to notice -- as the news cycle -- conveniently for the accusers- moves on to other stories.

2. Rupert Murdoch's Times newspaper plays an utterly pernicious role in British public life.

It was the Times which demanded action from Theresa May against Russia. It was the Times which has demanded (repeatedly, and again after the Skripal incident) that Ofcom acted against Russian media in the UK, such as RT. It was the Times, which accuses Russian media of peddling 'fake news', which reported Sergei Skripal as dead on its 12th March front page .

It was The Times which, on 14th March, falsely reported that 'almost 40' people had needed treatment in Salisbury, prompting Dr Stephen Davies, Comsultant in Emergency Medicine to write to the paper stating 'May I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning.'

​It was The Times, which on the day the US/UK and France launched illegal attacks on Syria in response to the unverified chemical weapons attack at Douma, carried a front page attack on British academics who dare to challenge the War Party line on Syria. It was The Times which smeared other critics of western foreign policy as 'Russian trolls', including a peace campaigner from Finland who had been battling cancer.

​John Wight has called the Times, the in-house organ of the neocon Henry Jackson Society. Its days as Britain's respected newspaper of record have certainly long gone.

3. Britain is only what is called a 'Democracy'.

Labour Leader Under Fire From Party MPs for Stance on Skripal Poisoning

Just think back to that Parliamentary debate on 14th March. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was attacked from his own side, for his cautious approach towards the government's unproven claims about the Skripal case. To add insult to injury a number of Labour MPs then signed Early Day Motion 1071 - which stated 'This House unequivocally accepts the Russian state's culpability for the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal'. Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith showed her support for Theresa May by saying 'We very much accept what the Prime Minister said.'

Corbyn, coming under enormous Establishment pressure did buckle, saying the Russian authorities 'needed to be held to account', even though later he still quite rightly insisted that 'absolute evidence' was needed.

READ MORE: UK Shouldn't 'Rush Ahead of Evidence' in Skripal Investigation -- Jeremy Corbyn

In bombing Syria on 14th April, Theresa May not only refused to recall Parliament, she also ignored public opinion which showed only 20% in favour of air strikes. In a genuine democracy that would have ruled out action. But May treated public opinion with utter contempt. That wonderful passage from 'The Comments of Moung Ka' by the Edwardian comic writer Saki springs readily to mind.

'The people of Britain are what is called a Democracy' said Moung Ka. 'A Democracy?' questioned Moung Thwa. What is that?'

'A Democracy' broke in Moung Shooglay eagerly, 'is a community that governs itself according to its own wishes and interests by electing accredited representatives who enact its laws and supervise and control their administration. It's aim and object is government of the community in the interests of the community'.

'Then', said Moung Thwa, turning to his neighbour, 'If the people of Britain are a Democracy-'

'I never said they were a Democracy', interrupted Moung Ka placidly.

'Surely we both heard you!', exclaimed Moung Thwa.

'Not correctly, said Moung Ka; 'I said they are what is called a Democracy'.

4. The 'free press' doesn't act as you'd expect a 'free press' to act.

The striking thing about the Skripal case and Syria bombings from a journalist's point of view has been the uniformity of the media coverage.

Right-wing papers like the Telegraph and liberal ones like The Guardian have taken exactly the same stance ie anti-Russian and anti-Syrian government. Whether its because of DSMA-Notices (see 6, below), or not, there's been no proper questioning of the UK government's claims about Salisbury -- and not much on Syria either. Investigative journalism? What's that?

The mainstream media is actually less diverse in its opinions now (on the things that really matter) than at the time of the Iraq war where publications like the New Statesman (now a 'centrist' Blairite organ), spoke out strongly against intervention. If you want a different perspective on Skripals and Syria you have had to tune in to Russian media, such as Sputnik and RT, and that of course is threatened by the NeoCon Thought Police, who want everyone to be singing from the same pro-war hymn sheet.

5. The role of the security services in the promotion of 'official narratives' is very important.

Every time a wheel has come off the Skripal narrative, we've been fed information to bolster it from 'official sources'. After the head of Porton Down said that the laboratory there was unable to confirm that the nerve agent allegedly used to poison the Skripals came from Russia, the line was pushed that 'intelligence-led assessments' pointed to Russian guilt. Could we see these 'assessments'? Of course not! We just have to believe that they're there. Then as the 'nerve handle placed on the door' theory began to gain a head of steam we were told that 'British Intelligence' had 'evidence' that Russia had been testing the nerve agent on door handles prior to 3rd March. Could we see this 'evidence'? No, of course not.

Alex Thomson of C4 News reported on 12th March that a 'D-Notice' had issued by the UK authorities to stop the media from fully identifying Sergei Skripal's MI6 handler who lived nearby.

​Were other DSMA-Notices issued too regarding the reporting of Salisbury? If it was so clear that Russia did it, why would they bother?

6. The British public aren't mugs (or sheep).

​Despite all the propaganda, all the hysterical headlines, all the blatantly biased coverage, the British haven't bought it. Literally or metaphorically. Inside the Tent gatekeepers have relentlessly attacked those brave individuals who have questioned the official narratives, but its these

individuals- smeared as 'crackpots' and 'conspiracy theorists' who the public are turning to for their analysis. Compare the number of retweets the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray gets when he publishes on the Skripal case, with those who try and denigrate him. My own Twitter following has increased by several thousands since early March. Citizen Halo got a big boost in followers after she was smeared by The Times. After the lies told about Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya people no longer tamely accept what the NeoCon Establishment tells us. We're at an 'Emperor's New Clothes' moment in British politics where more and more people have found the courage to say out loud 'The Emperor has no clothes!'. The elite have been lying to us and they know that we know they've been lying. The question is: what are we going to do about it?

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter

Support his AntiStalker Legal Fund (vs. a Times journalist)

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

[Apr 29, 2018] The Guardian has become tabloid.

Apr 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 22, 2018 12:29:41 PM | 7

The Carla Ortiz and Jimmy Dore exchange is fascinating. Each in her/his own way is superb. The Guardian has become boulevard press = tabloid. Nearly every day before and even after the US election Mrs. Clinton gloated on the front page. Bernie Sanders was no where to be seen nearly until the election. Now the Guardian is priming its readers for the stomach-churning royal wedding coming up. No, no more Guardian for me. And they have the gall to ask for money to turn out articles praising the White Helemts. No! Curtis , Apr 22, 2018 12:32:23 PM | 8

Anonymous 4
BBC took on Vannessa Beeley recently, too. Will NYT and WaPo be next? The anti-Russia agenda continues along with the anti-truth-in-Syria agenda.

AriusAmerican 5
During the Bush II fiasco, there were anti-war protests. The protests disappeared after Obama took office. And he was given a Nobel Peace Prize for talking about peace. But everyone went along with Obama's wars. No protests. And that's how they like it. They want support and tend to get it from the MSM and party lackeys. And if they don't get support, the one thing they don't want are massive protests, calls to congress, etc. As long as there's little to no resistance their war agenda continues.

Curtis , Apr 22, 2018 12:49:24 PM | 9
PS
The HuffPoUK article tears into Beeley but at the bottom has a Russian submission to the Security Council of a report she did of the White Helmets. That report negates the article/story! HuffPoUK claims this is part two of a series and that part three will "look at evidence presented against the White Helmets." That should be interesting.

Anonymous2 | Apr 22, 2018 1:50:23 PM | 12

Curtis

"The anti-Russia agenda continues along with the anti-truth-in-Syria agenda."

I dont get it why these journalists are against finding out what happend (since we dont know that yet)? Most of these morons have no idea about the conflict at all, and all of a sudden start writing like they are veteran journalists and have profound knowledge about Syria.

Why is there such a hatred? Is it brainwashing?


[Apr 29, 2018] Immigration and identity politics

Apr 29, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 05:41

If you are saying that their expertise lies elsewhere, that is surely self-evident?
Crazymoomin , 24 Apr 2018 05:37

Working-class white people may claim to be against identity politics, but they actually crave identity politics.

I think they probably see it more of a "if you can't beat them, join them" scenario. They see the way the wind is blowing and decide if they want representation, they have to play the game, even if they don't really like the rules.

Ron Jackson -> <