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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 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 Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Media as a weapon of mass deception US and British media are servants of security apparatus
Edward Licas as agent provocateur Hypocrisy of British elite MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Lewis Powell Memo Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy Two Party System as Polyarchy American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism
The importance of controlling the narrative Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality 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 Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manufactured consent What's the Matter with Kansas
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Bullshit as MSM communication method Big Uncle is Watching You
Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" Russian Ukrainian Gas wars Nineteen Eighty-Four British hypocrisy
Groupthink Soft propaganda Fighting Russophobia 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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[Dec 13, 2017] Jared Kushner is wreaking havoc in the Middle East by Moustafa Bayoumi

While Israel is a US ally, violating UN resolutions by Trump is a dangerous and reckless game. Trump as geopolitical cowboy. One day the USA elite might regret their behaviour since 1991.
What is interesting is that the USA foreign policy is practically independent of who is elected as a Present. It has its own independence dynamics and string continuity. In a sense the President is just a figurehead. That said "Kushner is totally out of his depth and playing with fire. The damage done by the shambolic Trump maladministration will take years, if not decades, to repair. "
Notable quotes:
"... The 36-year-old is a Harvard graduate who seems to have a hard time filling in forms correctly . ..."
"... He is also said to have told Michael Flynn last December to call UN security council members to get a resolution condemning Israeli settlements quashed. Flynn called Russia. ..."
"... Days before bin Salman's unprecedented move, Kushner was with the crown prince in Riyadh on an unannounced trip. The men are reported to have stayed up late, planning strategy while swapping stories. We don't know what exactly the two were plotting, but Donald Trump later tweeted his "great confidence" in bin Salman. ..."
"... But the Kushner-bin Salman alliance moves far beyond Riyadh. The Saudis and Americans are now privately pushing a new "peace" deal to various Palestinian and Arab leaders that is more lop-sided toward Israel than ever before. ..."
"... Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian parliamentarian in the Israeli Knesset, explained the basic contours of the deal to the New York Times: no full statehood for Palestinians, only "moral sovereignty." Control over disconnected segments of the occupied territories only. No capital in East Jerusalem. No right of return for Palestinian refugees. ..."
"... But it's not just Israel, either. Yemen is on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster largely because the country is being blockaded by Saudi Arabia. Trump finally spoke out against the Saudi measure this week, but both the state department and the Pentagon are said to have been privately urging Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ease their campaign against Yemen (and Lebanon and Qatar) for some time and to little impact. Why? Because Saudi and Emirati officials believe they "have tacit approval from the White House for their hardline actions, in particular from Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner," journalist Laura Rozen reported . ..."
"... The Kushner-bin Salman alliance has particularly irked secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Kushner reportedly leaves the state department completely out of his Middle Eastern plans. Of special concern to Tillerson, according to Bloomberg News , is Kushner's talks with bin Salman regarding military action by Saudi Arabia against Qatar. The state department is worried of all the unforeseen consequences such a radical course of action would bring, including heightened conflict with Turkey and Russia and perhaps even a military response from Iran or an attack on Israel by Hezbollah ..."
"... What about the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia? That seat's also vacant. And the US ambassador to Jordan, Morocco, Egypt? Vacant, vacant, and vacant. What about assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, a chief strategic post to establish US policy in the region? No one's been nominated. Deputy assistant secretary for press and public diplomacy? Vacant ..."
"... It's partly this vacuum of leadership by Tillerson that has enabled Kushner to forge his powerful alliance with bin Salman, much to the detriment of the region. And in their zeal to isolate Iran, Kushner and bin Salman are leaving a wake of destruction around them. ..."
"... The war in Yemen is only intensifying. Qatar is closer to Iran than ever. A final status deal between Israel and the Palestinians seems all but impossible now. The Lebanese prime minister went back on his resignation. And the Saudi state must be paying the Ritz-Carlton a small fortune to jail key members of the ruling family over allegations of corruption. ..."
"... There's a long history of American politicians deciding they know what's best for the Middle East while buttressing their autocratic allies and at the expense of the region's ordinary people. ..."
"... The US has honestly broken many Palestinians into pieces. Where do you think all those fighter jets, tanks and gun boats come from ..."
"... In 1948 my father, who knew the Middle East well, said of the creation of Israel 'it will never work'. Of course, throwing thousands of people off their land is not the best way to create a peaceful country. And, while the Western guilt about the Holocaust furthered the creation of a homeland for the Jews, the plight of the Palestinians was completely neglected. ..."
"... The Trump administration has certainly increased tensions in the area...significantly. Much of this seems to have to do with challenging Iran's influence in the area. I suspect that is why Saudi Arabia and Trump are in cahoots. Saudi Arabia wants to be the new dominant country in the region and Iran is their main competitor. I expect a new war in the region against Qatar/Iran and Yemen. And we all know where Kushner will place his allegiance. ..."
"... The book Allies for Armageddon by Victoria Clark states that right-wing Israeli political groups exploit the Christian Fundamentalists in American into giving Israel their support and funding, as the latter believe Israel's full control of Jerusalem etc will bring forth the rapture. ..."
"... Good questions. Trump has declared that the department should be reduced significantly. The vacant posts are partly due to that and partly due to the fact that Tillerson has rejected most of the administration's recommendations because of their being political picks. ..."
"... Tillerson in the mean time seems to have barricaded himself behind a very few loyal lieutenants. He has not been able or interested in enabling or supporting the rest of the department ..."
"... Trump constantly ridicules Tillerson, privately and publicly and Tillerson called Trump a moron after a meeting in which Trump expressed his desire to increase our nuclear arsenal 10 times. ..."
"... Until the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital the US could at least pretend to be an honest peace broker in the ME/Palestine issue - they have now dropped even this. The Palestinians have always considered the US to be biased against their interests and pro-Israel and this confirms it, why should they listen to the people who want to achieve a Palestine State by peaceful means when they kicked in the teeth at every twist and turn? The militants have just gained a brigade of new volunteers and elsewhere Daesh/Isis will be rubbing their hands at this propaganda gift. ..."
"... Tillerson and co represent the continuation of the NeoCon doctrine of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Its foreign policy lead by oil and gas interests. Trump really is busy shoring up his constituency base for the future with tax cuts for old money and oligarchs, while the right wing christian brigade which is also seriously loaded (its big business) are of cause delighted with the Jerusalem embassy decision. It also helps an embattled Likud establishment which is under the kosh and faces huge challenges to get reelected. ..."
"... Standard Republican playbook: when things are going badly at home, pick a fight in the middle east. This was timed to distract from Deutsche Bank releasing Trump's financial records to Muller. Expect Trump to escalate as Muller closes in - my guess is he'll bomb Iran, but who knows... ..."
"... There is one benefit from Trump's decision. It is now fully clear that the USA is foursquare behind the Israelis and has always been so. Far from being and "honest broker" for peace they haveaccepted for 40 years any initiative the Israelis have made to ectend theor land area. ..."
"... Large parts of West Jerusalem were occupied by Zionist militias in 1948. Including the most expensive neighborhoods today, Qatamon, Talbiyeh, Baqa. All ethnically cleansed. The rest of the city was occupied by force in 1967. Jerusalem has been an Arab city for centuries, Muslim Jewish and Christian. European settlers have very little to do with it. ..."
"... Apart from all the other reasons for Kushner not having the leading role in the middle east, his financial support to settlers should automatically rule him out of any participation in brokering deals between Palestine and Israel. How can someone who is actively supporting illegal settlements have any semblance of being neutrality? However, in terms of the ethics of the Trump administration, it is simply business as usual. ..."
"... But what underlies all this is waning US and Saudi power in the region. They might burn the place down but they cannot remake it. The Saudis have devastated Yemen, killed thousands of children, and overseen a cholera epidemic. And still they can't defeat the Houthis. Their proxies have been routed in Syria and Iraq. The Qatar blockade has failed. So has the gambit to reshape Lebanon. ..."
"... Kushner is a toady duplicitous operator no doubt, but the whole American Israeli Saudi vision for the region is a nightmare that has no chance of success. ..."
"... Trump's announcement in recognising Jerusalem as Israeli capital shows his cunning strategic genius. It has united the governments of the Muslim Middle East in coming together and made it more unlikely that Saudi Arabia could align with Israel in triggering a wider conflict with Iran without incurring huge public disapproval within the country. ..."
"... The Guardian also ran an overly-reverential article about the Saudi crown prince a while back. It's worrying that they and the Americans are doing all of this with hardly a murmur of disapproval. Where's the UN resolution and sanctions? Where's the sanctions from the EU? America will veto everything at the UN and the EU mostly does what America wants it to do. Shows how useless the major organisations really are. I used to think that the EU was a good counter to American power, but they seem to have joined forces with the US recently, which is worrying when you have an unpredictable American president like Trump. ..."
"... Kushner is totally out of his depth and playing with fire. The damage done by the shambolic Trump maladministration will take years, if not decades, to repair. ..."
"... He wanted to tick off a box on his lunatic list of campaign pledges before Christmas. Consequences schmonsequences. I think he's also a willing tool of the end of times, rapture crazy Christian fundamentalists. ..."
"... I assume the announcement that the US now recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was more to do with Trump attempting to deflect interest away from Mueller now that he, his family and other chums in the administration are coming under financial scrutiny by the inquiry. At a stroke its certainly made Kushner's job in the Middle East much-harder if not impossible and surely makes him a target for every disaffected Palestinian. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

he entire Middle East, from Palestine to Yemen, appears set to burst into flames after this week. The region was already teetering on the edge, but recent events have only made things worse. And while the mayhem should be apparent to any casual observer, what's less obvious is Jared Kushner's role in the chaos.

Kushner is, of course, the US president's senior advisor and son-in-law. The 36-year-old is a Harvard graduate who seems to have a hard time filling in forms correctly .

He repeatedly failed to mention his meetings with foreign officials on his security clearance and neglected to report to US government officials that he was co-director of a foundation that raised money for Israeli settlements, considered illegal under international law. (He is also said to have told Michael Flynn last December to call UN security council members to get a resolution condemning Israeli settlements quashed. Flynn called Russia.)

In his role as the president's special advisor, Kushner seems to have decided he can remake the entire Middle East, and he is wreaking his havoc with his new best friend, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old who burst on to the international scene by jailing many members of his country's ruling elite, including from his own family, on corruption charges.

Days before bin Salman's unprecedented move, Kushner was with the crown prince in Riyadh on an unannounced trip. The men are reported to have stayed up late, planning strategy while swapping stories. We don't know what exactly the two were plotting, but Donald Trump later tweeted his "great confidence" in bin Salman.

But the Kushner-bin Salman alliance moves far beyond Riyadh. The Saudis and Americans are now privately pushing a new "peace" deal to various Palestinian and Arab leaders that is more lop-sided toward Israel than ever before.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian parliamentarian in the Israeli Knesset, explained the basic contours of the deal to the New York Times: no full statehood for Palestinians, only "moral sovereignty." Control over disconnected segments of the occupied territories only. No capital in East Jerusalem. No right of return for Palestinian refugees.

This is, of course, not a deal at all. It's an insult to the Palestinian people. Another Arab official cited in the Times story explained that the proposal came from someone lacking experience but attempting to flatter the family of the American president. In other words, it's as if Mohammed bin Salman is trying to gift Palestine to Jared Kushner, Palestinians be damned.

Next came Donald Trump throwing both caution and international law to the wind by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But it's not just Israel, either. Yemen is on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster largely because the country is being blockaded by Saudi Arabia. Trump finally spoke out against the Saudi measure this week, but both the state department and the Pentagon are said to have been privately urging Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ease their campaign against Yemen (and Lebanon and Qatar) for some time and to little impact. Why? Because Saudi and Emirati officials believe they "have tacit approval from the White House for their hardline actions, in particular from Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner," journalist Laura Rozen reported .

The Kushner-bin Salman alliance has particularly irked secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Kushner reportedly leaves the state department completely out of his Middle Eastern plans. Of special concern to Tillerson, according to Bloomberg News , is Kushner's talks with bin Salman regarding military action by Saudi Arabia against Qatar. The state department is worried of all the unforeseen consequences such a radical course of action would bring, including heightened conflict with Turkey and Russia and perhaps even a military response from Iran or an attack on Israel by Hezbollah.

Here's where state department diplomacy should kick in. The US ambassador to Qatar could relay messages between the feuding parties to find a solution to the stand-off. So what does the ambassador to Qatar have to say about the Kushner-Salman alliance? Nothing, since there still is no confirmed ambassador to Qatar.

What about the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia? That seat's also vacant. And the US ambassador to Jordan, Morocco, Egypt? Vacant, vacant, and vacant. What about assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, a chief strategic post to establish US policy in the region? No one's been nominated. Deputy assistant secretary for press and public diplomacy? Vacant.

It's partly this vacuum of leadership by Tillerson that has enabled Kushner to forge his powerful alliance with bin Salman, much to the detriment of the region. And in their zeal to isolate Iran, Kushner and bin Salman are leaving a wake of destruction around them.

The war in Yemen is only intensifying. Qatar is closer to Iran than ever. A final status deal between Israel and the Palestinians seems all but impossible now. The Lebanese prime minister went back on his resignation. And the Saudi state must be paying the Ritz-Carlton a small fortune to jail key members of the ruling family over allegations of corruption.

There's a long history of American politicians deciding they know what's best for the Middle East while buttressing their autocratic allies and at the expense of the region's ordinary people. (The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has traditionally provided the rationale for America and its allies in the region, and his recent sycophantic portrayal of bin Salman certainly didn't disappoint!)

But the Kushner-bin Salman alliance also represents something else. Both the US and Saudi Arabia are concentrating power into fewer and fewer hands. And with fewer people in the room, who will be around to tell these men that their ideas are so damaging? Who will dare explain to them how they already have failed?

Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of the award-winning books How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America Topics Trump administration Opinion US foreign policy

DirtWorshiper -> curiouswes , 9 Dec 2017 11:39

We've made war all over the world for decades, sponsored coups, propped up dictators all so our own ruling elites can make out like bandits. We are a rogue state and becoming an oligarchy too.
zolotoy -> redux00 , 9 Dec 2017 11:39
If European settlers had very little to do with it, where did all of those Zionist militias in 1948 come from?
BParker -> Addicks123 , 9 Dec 2017 11:39
The US has honestly broken many Palestinians into pieces. Where do you think all those fighter jets, tanks and gun boats come from.
shemarch -> MetellusScipio , 9 Dec 2017 11:39

In 1948 my father, who knew the Middle East well, said of the creation of Israel 'it will never work'. Of course, throwing thousands of people off their land is not the best way to create a peaceful country. And, while the Western guilt about the Holocaust furthered the creation of a homeland for the Jews, the plight of the Palestinians was completely neglected.

The increasing encroachment by Israel's settlements have been making the only creditable solution - the two states -increasingly difficult. Now Trump's declaration over Jerusalem has made the situation completely impossible.

wardpj -> Blubbers , 9 Dec 2017 11:38
I think you need a more cogent "analysis" than that. It doesn't really say anything, does it. There's religion everywhere, so what's specific about the middle East? Start from that question and you may get somewhere.
zolotoy -> MaryLeone Sullivan , 9 Dec 2017 11:38
America sure as hell does support it .
dancer693 , 9 Dec 2017 11:37
The Trump administration has certainly increased tensions in the area...significantly. Much of this seems to have to do with challenging Iran's influence in the area. I suspect that is why Saudi Arabia and Trump are in cahoots. Saudi Arabia wants to be the new dominant country in the region and Iran is their main competitor. I expect a new war in the region against Qatar/Iran and Yemen. And we all know where Kushner will place his allegiance.

One of the interesting things to me about all this is that Kushner is really the major focus right now in the Russia investigation. He has clearly been implicated in crimes for which he will be indicted. And soon. I have a hard time (in addition to the overwhelming everything else) with the fact that the President would give Kushner so much influence in the discussion. He's about to be indicted!!! Why would anyone negotiate with him?

urfanali -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:37
The Zionist settler state helping to spread its illegal settlements across the Palestinians land with the help needed of the US, UK and the House of Saud
MaryLeone Sullivan -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:35
Israel never existed until 1949.
hubbahubba -> umrkgermany , 9 Dec 2017 11:34
The book Allies for Armageddon by Victoria Clark states that right-wing Israeli political groups exploit the Christian Fundamentalists in American into giving Israel their support and funding, as the latter believe Israel's full control of Jerusalem etc will bring forth the rapture.
2020Vision4 , 9 Dec 2017 11:34
Oh man, and all this while Trump runs a distractionary, hedge fund supporting operation to allow tax avoiders to now have access to their off shore cash at a lower tax rate. Where is the infrastructure rebuilding or are Trump supporters blinded even more now by Trumps enlarging butt cheeks blaming Obama and Bush.
Charles Demers -> workshy_freeloader , 9 Dec 2017 11:34
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. - H. L. Mencken
dancer693 -> Kathleen John O'Donnell , 9 Dec 2017 11:30
Good questions. Trump has declared that the department should be reduced significantly. The vacant posts are partly due to that and partly due to the fact that Tillerson has rejected most of the administration's recommendations because of their being political picks.

Tillerson in the mean time seems to have barricaded himself behind a very few loyal lieutenants. He has not been able or interested in enabling or supporting the rest of the department.

Trump constantly ridicules Tillerson, privately and publicly and Tillerson called Trump a moron after a meeting in which Trump expressed his desire to increase our nuclear arsenal 10 times. Finally, Trump's vision of foreign policy is to have it concentrated in the White House instead of the State Department and Trump is totally uninterested in ANY of the State Department's advice or consultation. I guess the answer to your question is "all of the above".

Addicks123 , 9 Dec 2017 11:28
I get the impression that Trump is moving quickly with the Mueller investigation closing its net.

Until the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital the US could at least pretend to be an honest peace broker in the ME/Palestine issue - they have now dropped even this. The Palestinians have always considered the US to be biased against their interests and pro-Israel and this confirms it, why should they listen to the people who want to achieve a Palestine State by peaceful means when they kicked in the teeth at every twist and turn? The militants have just gained a brigade of new volunteers and elsewhere Daesh/Isis will be rubbing their hands at this propaganda gift.

Hopefully Trump won't last much longer - but that means a President Pence and if you watch Trump's speech announcing this he is there in the background nodding. One set of religious nutcases are egging on another lot and that's not going to be good for the Middle East.

Swilkerin , 9 Dec 2017 11:28
Tillerson and co represent the continuation of the NeoCon doctrine of Cheney and Rumsfeld. Its foreign policy lead by oil and gas interests. Trump really is busy shoring up his constituency base for the future with tax cuts for old money and oligarchs, while the right wing christian brigade which is also seriously loaded (its big business) are of cause delighted with the Jerusalem embassy decision. It also helps an embattled Likud establishment which is under the kosh and faces huge challenges to get reelected.
angie11 , 9 Dec 2017 11:25
Trump, Netanyahu, Salman: The true 'axis of evil'. And so it goes...
joiwomcow , 9 Dec 2017 11:25
Standard Republican playbook: when things are going badly at home, pick a fight in the middle east. This was timed to distract from Deutsche Bank releasing Trump's financial records to Muller. Expect Trump to escalate as Muller closes in - my guess is he'll bomb Iran, but who knows...
johnbig , 9 Dec 2017 11:24

There is one benefit from Trump's decision. It is now fully clear that the USA is foursquare behind the Israelis and has always been so. Far from being and "honest broker" for peace they haveaccepted for 40 years any initiative the Israelis have made to ectend theor land area.

Just one question for Israel which all other countries in the world can answer easily: Where are the frontiers of your nation ?

Fabmothz , 9 Dec 2017 11:24
It's OK, the Palestinians have just recognized Washington DC as the capital of Israel.
MichaelGerard1990 -> fredimeyer , 9 Dec 2017 11:24
Jared has been funding illegal settlements. He's aim is to end Palestine.

Norman_Finklesteen 9 Dec 2017 11:22

Last week there were crowds of people in the streets protesting at the corruption within Netenyahu's government, potentially very dangerous in respect to instigating investigations. A distraction was necessary and Trump handed him a loaded one with the Embassy debacle. Of course things are going to escalate, deaths, bombings, threats, retaliation. Now the streets will be filled with people supporting 'strongman' Netenyahu, demanding reprisals and safety measures. Job done. But at what cost?
MetellusScipio -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:20
I'm not saying it should be ignored, not at all. I was simply making the point that the Palestinians will see things very differently, and any solution, if there is one, can only be found in a compromise.
fredimeyer , 9 Dec 2017 11:20
Jared is indeed responsible for what is happening. It was very obvious two years ago that Trump had not the slightest idea of politics in the region. Also Trump's astonishing characteristic of actually listening to people, and being persuaded by whoever has his ear, is unprecedented in the presidency.

Jared is a member of what can only be called a cult, far removed from the mainstream of American jews. Jared's views manifestly place his interpretation of what is good for Israel ahead of what is good for the American people, and even ahead of what is in fact the majority viewpoint among Israelis. There are limits to what an American president can do, and this embassy issue is mostly window dressing.

But what is important is that the international community now step in to offset trump's position and make it clear that Israel's policies are not rewarded

KrisFernie -> lotoole , 9 Dec 2017 11:19
In order to bait Iran? Trump's pleasing the Saudis, for what reason? The answer is to follow the money
AlGilchrist -> MetellusScipio , 9 Dec 2017 11:18
The PLO founding charter only claimed Gaza as Palestinian land. Before Israel recaptured the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan, not the Palestinians.
leanttotheleft , 9 Dec 2017 11:18
This is the Empire in a further excess of dysfunction. The 'benevolent hegemon' of the 'new world order' often talked about in the post Cold War era has morphed into a poker table of over-entitled dick-swingers gambling with other people's money, countries and lives.

And of course Trump and his dubious entourage arrive after several terms of both Republican and Democrat misrule. George W Bush plumbed new depths of cock-eyed middle eastern policy, which often seemed to have been prompted by war criminal Ariel Sharon and Israel. Meanwhile the Democrats mixed with the Wall Street financiers, facilitating the liberalisation of the finance sector, and the culture of debt dependency and asset-stripping - 'vulture capitalism' - which has only grown more ruthless since the financial crash of 2008.

redux00 -> TonyBennWasRight , 9 Dec 2017 11:14
Large parts of West Jerusalem were occupied by Zionist militias in 1948. Including the most expensive neighborhoods today, Qatamon, Talbiyeh, Baqa. All ethnically cleansed. The rest of the city was occupied by force in 1967. Jerusalem has been an Arab city for centuries, Muslim Jewish and Christian. European settlers have very little to do with it.
zolotoy -> logos00 , 9 Dec 2017 11:13
America has always supported illegal Israeli settlements. The current gang is just a bit more honest (because more blatant and crude) about it.
tc2011 , 9 Dec 2017 11:08
Trump's announcement represents nothing less than the theft of the putative Palestinian capital of East Jerusalem. His announcement is illegal under international law and contravenes all previous diplomatic agreements on the subject. What the wider world is finally starting to see is that US conservatives and the Israeli government do not want a peace deal, they want capitulation and to turn the Palestinians into non-people.

Ramus , 9 Dec 2017 11:05

Trump and his people would like a war. They don't really care where. Because the main US export is war stuff..our owners make money from war..any war, anywhere.
redux00 -> GoingUp , 9 Dec 2017 11:01
The days when the US with the Israelis in tow would rule over this region are finished. The one good thing about Trumps Jerusalem debacle is that it makes clear how dead the fiction of the two state solution is. And though it scares the racists and supremacists, we are moving closer and closer to one democratic secular state.
logos00 , 9 Dec 2017 10:56
Apart from all the other reasons for Kushner not having the leading role in the middle east, his financial support to settlers should automatically rule him out of any participation in brokering deals between Palestine and Israel. How can someone who is actively supporting illegal settlements have any semblance of being neutrality? However, in terms of the ethics of the Trump administration, it is simply business as usual.
redux00 , 9 Dec 2017 10:56
But what underlies all this is waning US and Saudi power in the region. They might burn the place down but they cannot remake it. The Saudis have devastated Yemen, killed thousands of children, and overseen a cholera epidemic. And still they can't defeat the Houthis. Their proxies have been routed in Syria and Iraq. The Qatar blockade has failed. So has the gambit to reshape Lebanon.

Kushner is a toady duplicitous operator no doubt, but the whole American Israeli Saudi vision for the region is a nightmare that has no chance of success.

KarlNaylor75 , 9 Dec 2017 10:53
Trump's announcement in recognising Jerusalem as Israeli capital shows his cunning strategic genius. It has united the governments of the Muslim Middle East in coming together and made it more unlikely that Saudi Arabia could align with Israel in triggering a wider conflict with Iran without incurring huge public disapproval within the country.

Trump is advancing the cause of Humanity by means that less appreciative and simple minds cannot fathom. All governments in the Middle East will be far more fearful in not knowing what Trump might do next or why. This is the secret essence of power and diplomacy in keeping others guessing and thus less likely to feel they have his support.

It's all part of a long term master plan whereby Trump could extricate the US from having much of a role in the Greater Middle East. Governments will have to compete before Trump for influence and raise their game and money before he will deal from strength. Trump is playing all the rival forces off to get the best deal and to preserve and enhance peace.

algae64 , 9 Dec 2017 10:53
The Guardian also ran an overly-reverential article about the Saudi crown prince a while back. It's worrying that they and the Americans are doing all of this with hardly a murmur of disapproval. Where's the UN resolution and sanctions? Where's the sanctions from the EU? America will veto everything at the UN and the EU mostly does what America wants it to do. Shows how useless the major organisations really are. I used to think that the EU was a good counter to American power, but they seem to have joined forces with the US recently, which is worrying when you have an unpredictable American president like Trump.
AndPulli , 9 Dec 2017 10:47
Kushner is totally out of his depth and playing with fire. The damage done by the shambolic Trump maladministration will take years, if not decades, to repair. These years will be looked back on as those during which America slid into disaster. Where are Trump's babysitters when you need them? They need to keep an eye on Baby Kushner too.
umrkgermany -> Izzybe , 9 Dec 2017 10:46
He wanted to tick off a box on his lunatic list of campaign pledges before Christmas. Consequences schmonsequences. I think he's also a willing tool of the end of times, rapture crazy Christian fundamentalists.
Robape , 9 Dec 2017 10:41
The USA should be declared a Rogue state. It certainly behaves worse than all other states. Trump needs locking up as well.
Madmacstoo , 9 Dec 2017 10:37
I assume the announcement that the US now recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was more to do with Trump attempting to deflect interest away from Mueller now that he, his family and other chums in the administration are coming under financial scrutiny by the inquiry. At a stroke its certainly made Kushner's job in the Middle East much-harder if not impossible and surely makes him a target for every disaffected Palestinian.

Jared, who needs enemies when you've got a father-in-law like Donald.

Tony Stopyra , 9 Dec 2017 10:36

And with fewer people in the room, who will be around to tell these men that their ideas are so damaging?

This is terrifying when you realise there are those close to Trump who are clearly telling him that this sort of this is not only not damaging, but may have divine sanction... http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jerusalem-donald-trump-israel-capital-decision-reason-why-evangelical-voters-us-fear-a8099321.html

[Dec 13, 2017] All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections. ..."
"... What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel? ..."
"... The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played. ..."
"... In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars. ..."
"... True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated. ..."
"... Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces. ..."
"... Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us". ..."
"... If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing. ..."
"... It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation. ..."
"... The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ... ..."
"... Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community. ..."
"... Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests. ..."
"... Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders. ..."
"... the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official ..."
"... "The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems" ..."
"... It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome? ..."
"... So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's. ..."
"... You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on ..."
"... Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts. ..."
"... If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ..."
"... Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence. ..."
"... Clinton lied under oath ..."
"... The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office... ..."
"... Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive? ..."
"... The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese? ..."
"... The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council. ..."
"... And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics. ..."
"... In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it. ..."
"... All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election. ..."
"... So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere ..."
"... Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference. ..."
"... America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works. ..."
"... The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that ..."
"... Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

polpont , 4 Dec 2017 08:32

Mueller will have to thread very carefully because he is maneuvering on a very politically charged terrain. And one cannot refrain from comparing the current situation with the many free passes the democrats were handed over by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the media which make the US look like a banana republic.

The mind blowing fact that Clinton sat with the Attorney General on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport "to chit-chat" and not to discuss the investigation on Clinton's very wife that was being overseen by the same AG, leaves one flabbergasted.

And the fact that Comey essentially said that Clinton's behaviour, tantamount in his own words to extreme recklessness, did not warrant prosecution was just inconceivable.

Don't forget that Trump has nearly 50 M gun-toting followers on Tweeter and that he would not hesitate to appeal to them were he to feel threatened by what he could conceive as a judicial Coup d'Etat. The respect for the institutions in the USA has never been so low.

ID1456161 -> Canadiman , 4 Dec 2017 08:30

...a judge would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant a trial.

Actually, in the U.S. a grand jury would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant formal charges leading to a trial. There is also the possibility that Mueller has uncovered both Federal and NY State offenses, so charges could be brought against Kushner at either level. Mueller has been sharing information from his investigation with the NY Attorney General's Office. Trump could pardon a federal offense, but has no jurisdiction to pardon charges brought against Kushner by the State of NY.

Anna Bramwell -> etrang , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
I watched RT for 24 months before the US election. They favoured Bernie Saunders strongly before he lost to Hilary. Then they ran hustings for the smaller US parties, eg Greens, and the Libertarians , which could definitely be seen as an interference in the US election, but which as far as I know, was never mentioned in the US. They were anti Hilary but not pro Trump. And indeed, their strong anti capitalist bias would have made such support unlikely.
EduardStreltsovGhost -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What's he lying about? More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections.

Obama and Hillary met hundreds of foreign officials. Were they colluding as well?

pretzelattack -> Atticus_Finch , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel?
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 08:26
The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played.
Krautolivier , 4 Dec 2017 08:21
In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars.
It's all too funny.
zerohoursuni -> damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 08:19
True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated.

Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces.

Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us".

cookcounty , 4 Dec 2017 08:15
I missed Jill Abramson's column about all the meetings the Obama administration held -- quite openly -- with foreign governments during the transition period between his election and his first inauguration.

But since she's been demonstrably and laughably wrong about predicting future political events in the USA (see her entire body of work during the 2016 election campaign), why should she start making sense now?

It's completely possible, of course, that some as-yet-to-be-revealed piece of evidence will prove collusion -- before the election and by candidate Trump -- with the Russians. But the Flynn testimony certainly isn't it. All the heavy breathing and hysteria is simply a sign of how the media, yet again, always gravitates toward the news it wishes were true, rather than what really is true. If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing.

themandibleclaw -> SteveMilesworthy , 4 Dec 2017 08:12
Flynn was charged with far more serious crimes which were all dropped and he was left with a charge that if he spends any time in prison, it will be about 6 months. Now, you could say for him to agree to that, he must have some juicy info - and he probably does - but what that juicy info is is just speculation. And if we are speculating, then maybe what he traded it for was nothing to do with Trump? After all, one of the charges against him was failing to register as a foreign agent on behalf of Turkey.

It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation.

WallyWillage , 4 Dec 2017 08:05
Still no evidence of Russian collusion in Trump campaign BEFORE the election...... whatever happened after being president elect is not impeachable unless it would be after taking office.

The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ...

EduardStreltsovGhost -> CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 08:03

You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression

if that were the case, Clinton, Bush and Obama would be sitting in jail right now.
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 07:58
Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community.

Trumps presidency could have the capability of galvanising a powerful resistance against the 2 party state for 'real change, like affordable healthcare and affordable education for ALL its people. But no its not happening, Trump is attacked on probables and undisclosed sources. A year has passed and nothing has been revealed.

Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests.

Well their not, their only function is, is to spend tax dollars that otherwise would be spent on education, health, infrastructure, things that would 'really' benefit America. Disagree, well go ahead and accuse me of being a conspiracy nut-job, in the meantime China is by peaceful means getting the mining rights in Africa, Australia, deals that matter.

The tax legislation for the few against the many is deflected by the anti-Trump hysteria based on conjecture and not proof.

EduardStreltsovGhost , 4 Dec 2017 07:52
Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders.
RelaxAndChill -> Silgen , 4 Dec 2017 07:46
Crimea was and is Russian. Your mask is slipping, Vlad .

Your ignorance is showing. I have no connection to Russia what so ever. Crimea was legally ceded to Russia over 200 years ago, by the Ottomans to Catherine the Great. Russia has never relinquished control. What the criminal organization the USSR did under Ukrainian expat Khrushchev, is irrelevant. And as Putin said , any agreement about respecting Ukraine's territorial integrity was negated when the USA and the EU fomented and financed a rebellion and revolution.

StillAbstractImp , 4 Dec 2017 07:40
Decelerating Fascism - Is Kushner a Putin operative, too?
mikedow -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 07:35
Australia, Canada, and S. Africa supply the lion's share of gold bullion that London survives on. And the best uranium in the world. All sorts of other precious commodities as well. If you're not toeing the line on US foreign policies religiously, the Yanks will drop you.
themandibleclaw -> Toastface_Killah , 4 Dec 2017 07:34

You are selectively choosing to refer to this one instance, but even here Obama administration were still in charge - so not very legal, was it.

I am "selectively choosing to refer to this one instance" because that's all Flynn has been charged with. Oh, and it is totally legal for a member of the incoming administration to start talks with their foreign counterparts. Here's a quote from an op-ed piece in The Hill from a law professor at Washington University.

the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official .

http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/362813-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-flynn-indictment

backstop -> EdwardFatherby , 4 Dec 2017 07:31
"The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems"

It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome?

BustedBoom , 4 Dec 2017 07:31

He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's.
CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 07:26
You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on

Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts.

Oh, and I have to be supporter of Putin's oligarchy with dreams of great tsars of Russia, if I care about humans survival on this planet and have very bad opinion about suicidal fools playing this stupid games.

ConCaruthers , 4 Dec 2017 07:25
If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
moonsphere -> Hydro , 4 Dec 2017 07:24
Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence.
etrang -> CraftyRabbi , 4 Dec 2017 07:14

Mueller could charge/indict Kushner or Trump Jr under New York state criminal statutes

But not for crimes relating to federal elections or conspiring with Russia.

John Edwin -> OlivesNightie , 4 Dec 2017 07:13
Clinton lied under oath
John Edwin -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 07:11
The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office...
emiliofloris -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 07:08

I am not sure any level of scandal will make much difference to Trump or his supporters. They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact.

So far the level of scandal is below that of Whitewater/Lewinsky, and that was a very low level indeed. What "evidence of wrongdoing" is there? Nothing, that's why they charged Flynn with lying to investigators. It's important to keep in mind that the he did nor lie about actual crimes. Perhaps that's going to change as the investigation proceeds, but so far this is nothing more than a partisan lawfare fishing expedition.

Billsykesdoggy -> reinhardpolley , 4 Dec 2017 06:55
<blockquoteSpecifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.>

So Trump authorized Obama's talks with Macron last week?

Don't think so.

braciole -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:55

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

And your evidence for this is what exactly? As for countries trying to influence elections in other countries, I'm all for it particularly when one of the candidates is murderous, arrogant and stupid.

BTW, in Honduras after supporting a coup against the democratically-elected president because he sought a referendum on allowing presidents to serve two terms, you'd think the United States would interfere when his non-democratically-elected replacement used a "packed" supreme court to change the constitution to allow presidents to serve more than one term to at least stop him stealing an election as he is now doing/has done. But they didn't and that hasn't stopped the United States whining that Evo Morales is being undemocratic by trying to extend the number of terms he can serve.

emiliofloris -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:53

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive?

The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese?

technotherapy , 4 Dec 2017 06:46
The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics.

themandibleclaw -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:44

Can someone please actually tell us what Flynn/Jared/Trump is supposed to have done.

In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it.

moonsphere -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 06:44
These days "US influence" seems to consist of bombing Middle Eastern countries back to the bronze age for reasons that defy easy logic. Anything that reduces that kind of influence would be welcome.
reinhardpolley -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:33
The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948]) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Logan+Act
themandibleclaw , 4 Dec 2017 06:22
All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election.

So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere.

damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference.

But now this Russian debacle, and at last they've woken up, because another country had the temerity to turn the tables on them. And I think if this was Bush or Obama we would never have heard a thing about it. Everybody hates the Dotard, because he's an obese dick with an IQ to match.

Boojay , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Nothing will happen to Trump, It's all bollocks. You've all watched too many Spielberg films, bad guys win, and they win most of the time.
Trump is the real face of America, America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works.
formerathlete -> vacantspace , 4 Dec 2017 06:15

when American presidents were rational, well balanced with progressive views we had.... decent American healthcare? Equality of opportunity? Gun laws that made it safe to walk the streets?

Say who, what an a where now????????? Since when has the US EVER had any of the three things that you mentioned???

If ever, then it was a loooooong time before the pilgrim fathers ever landed.

Hugh Mad -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 06:10

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

That is the bottom line, yes. People view the world through west = good and Russia = bad, while both make economic and political decisions that serve the interests of their people respectively. Ultimately, I think people are scared that the West's monopoly on global influence is slipping, to as you said, a rival.

JonShone -> Hugh Mad , 4 Dec 2017 06:06
You are right that calling Russia the US enemy needs justification, but these threads often deteriorate into arguments of the yes it is/no it isn't variety.

Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat.

It's certain that their ideals and goals run counter to those generally held in the US in many ways. But let's not forget that the US' ideals are often, if not generally, divergent from their interests and US foreign policy since 1945 has been responsible for countless deaths, perhaps more than Russia's.

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

RelaxAndChill , 4 Dec 2017 05:59
All the signs in the Russia probe point to ..

How the liberals and the Democrats don't give a damm about the USA or the world's political scene, just some endless 'sore loser' witch hunt. So much could be achieved by the improving of relations with Russia. Crimea was and is Russian. Let Trump have a go as POTUS and then judge him. He wants to befriend Putin and if done it would help solve Syrian, Nth Korean and other global problems.

variation31 -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 05:50

They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact

Whereas if it's a Democrat in the spotlight, these same dipshits see it as an élitist cover-up and no lack of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact. If anything, lack of evidence is evidence of cover-up which is therefore proof of evidence.

These cynical games they play with veracity and human honesty are a very pure form of evil.

[Dec 10, 2017] #blamePutin continues to be the media s dominant hashtag

Notable quotes:
"... The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. ..."
"... Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant . ..."
"... By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another. ..."
"... I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq. The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember. ..."
"... At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . Amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation. ..."
"... The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore. ..."
"... John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonizing Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day. ..."
"... So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia? If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism? ..."
"... In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave. ..."
"... I do not know the truth about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organizing mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..."
"... Browder is a spook. ..."
"... This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media. ..."
"... In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes ..."
"... I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up. ..."
"... The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy. ..."
"... The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc. Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket.. ..."
"... The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia? ..."
off-guardian.org

Vladimir Putin finally confesses his entire responsibility for everything bad that has ever happened since the beginning of time

The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. Take a look at this gem :

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has accused prominent British businessman Bill Browder of being a "serial killer" – the latest extraordinary attempt by the Kremlin to frame one of its most high-profile public enemies.

But Putin has not been reported anywhere else as making any recent statement about Browder whatever, and the Observer article makes no further mention of Putin's supposed utterance or the circumstances in which it was supposedly made.

As the rest of the article makes clear, the suspicions against Browder were actually voiced by Russian police investigators and not by Putin at all.

The Observer fabricated a direct quote from the Russian president for their propaganda purposes without any regard to basic journalistic standards. They wanted to blame Putin personally for the suspicions of some Russian investigators, so they just invented an imaginary statement from him so they could conveniently do so.

What is really going on here is the classic trope of demonisation propaganda in which the demonised leader is conflated with all officials of their government and with the targeted country itself, so as to simplify and personalise the narrative of the subsequent Two Minutes Hate to be unleashed against them.

When, as in this case, the required substitution of the demonised leader for their country can't be wrung out of the facts even through the most vigorous twisting, a disreputable fake news site like The Guardian/Observer is free to simply make up new, alternative facts that better fit their disinformative agenda. Because facts aren't at all sacred when the official propaganda line demands lies.

In the same article, the documents from Russian investigators naming Browder as a suspect in certain crimes are first "seen as" a frame-up (by the sympathetic chorus of completely anonymous observers yellow journalism can always call on when an unsupported claim needs a spurious bolstering) and then outright labelled as such (see quote above) as if this alleged frame-up is a proven fact. Which it isn't.

No evidence is required down there in the Guardian/Observer journalistic gutter before unsupported claims against Russian officials can be treated as unquestionable pseudo-facts, just as opponents of Putin can commit no crime for the outlet's hate-befuddled hacks.

The above falsifications were brought to the attention of the Observer's so-called Readers Editor – the official at the Guardian/Observer responsible for "independently" defending the outlet's misdeeds against outraged readers – who did nothing. By now the article has rolled off the site's front page, rendering any possible future correction nugatory in any case.

Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant .

A trifecta of fakery in one article! That makes crystal clear what the Guardian meant in this article , published at precisely the same moment as the disinformation cited above, when it said:

"We know what you are doing," Theresa May said of Russia. It's not enough to know. We need to do something about it.

By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another.


michaelk says November 26, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/26/big-issue-who-will-step-in-after-bullies-have-silenced-dissenters

From the 'liberal' Guardian/Observer wing of the rightwing bourgeois press, spot the differences with the article in the Mail on Sunday by Nick Robinson?

michaelk says November 26, 2017
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5117723/Nick-Robinson-Putin-using-fake-news-weaken-West.html

This thing seems to have been cobbled together by a guy called Nick Robinson. The same BBC Nick Robinson that hosts the Today Programme? I dunno, one feels really rather depressed at how low our media has sunk.

michaelk says November 23, 2017
I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq. The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember.

Nothing happened afterwards. There was no tribunal to examine the media's role in that massive international crime against humanity and things actually got worse post Iraq, which the attack on Libya and Syria illustrates.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
Exactly: in my opinion there should be life sentences banning scribblers who printed lies and bloodthirsty kill, kill, kill articles from ever working again in the media. Better still, make them go fight right now in Yemen. Amazing how quickly truth will spread if journalists know they have a good chance of dying if they print lies and falsehoods ..
michaelk says November 23, 2017
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . Amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation.

The Guardian's writers get so much, so wrong, so often it's staggering and nobody gets the boot, except for the people who allude to the incompetence at the heart of the Guardian. They fail dismally on Trump, Brexit and Corbyn and yet carry on as if everything is fine and dandy. Nothing to complain about here, mover along now.

I suppose it's because they are actually media aristocrats living in a world of privilege, and they, as members of the ruling elite, look after one another regardless of how poorly they actually perform. This is typical of an elite that's on the ropes and doomed. They choose to retreat from grubby reality into a parallel world where their own dogmas aren't challenged and they begin to believe their propaganda is real and not an artificial contruct. This is incredibly dangerous for a ruling elite because society becomes brittle and weaker by the day as the ruling dogmas become hollow and ritualized, but without traction in reality and real purpose.

The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore.

All our problems are pathetically and conviniently blamed on the Russians and their Demon King and his vast army of evil Trolls. It's like a political version of the Lord of the Rings.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
Don't expect the Guardian to cover the biggest military build-up (NATO) on Russia's borders since Hitler's 1941 invasion.

John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonizing Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
The Guardian is now owned by Neocon Americans, that is why it is demonising Russia.

Simple as that.

WeatherEye says November 29, 2017
Evidence?
Harry Stotle says November 21, 2017
The Guardian is trying to rescue citizens from 'dreadful dangers that we cannot see, or do not underdstand' – in other words they play a central role in 'the power of nightmares'

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LlA8KutU2to?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

rtj1211 says November 21, 2017
So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia? If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism?

In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave.

I do not know the truth about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organizing mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..

michaelk says November 21, 2017
It's perfectly possible, in fact the norm historically, for people to believe passionately in the existence of invisible threats to their well-being, which, when examined calmly from another era, resemble a form of mass-hysteria or collective madness. For example; the religious faith/dogma that Satan, demons and witches were all around us. An invisible, parallel, world, by the side of our own that really existed and we were 'at war with.' Satan was our adversary, the great trickster and disseminator of 'fake news' opposed to the 'good news' provided by the Gospels.

What's remarkable, disturbing and frightening is how closely our media resemble a religious cult or the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The journalists have taken on a role that's close to that of a priesthood. They function as a 'filtering' layer between us and the world around us. They are, supposedly, uniquely qualified to understand the difference between truth and lies, or what's right and wrong, real news and propaganda. The Guardian actually likes this role. They our the guardians of the truth in a chaotic world.

This reminds one of the role of the clergy. Their role was to stand between ordinary people and the 'complexities' of the Bible and seperate the Truths it containedf from wild and 'fake' interpretations, which could easily become dangerous and undermine the social order and fundamental power relationships.

The big challenge to the role of the Church happened when the printing press allowed the ordinary people to access the information themselves and worst still when the texts were translated into the common language and not just Latin. Suddenly people could access the texts, read and begin to interpret and understand for themselves. It's hard to imagine that pepeople were actually burned alive in England for smuggling the Bible in english translation a few centuries ago. That's how dangerous the State regarded such a 'crime.'

One can compare the translation of the Bible and the challenge to the authority of the Church and the clergy as 'guardians of the truth' to what's happeing today with the rise of the Internet and something like Wikileaks, where texts and infromation are made available uncensored and raw and the role of the traditional 'media church' and the journalist priesthood is challenged.

We're seeing a kind of media counter-reformation. That's why the Guardian turned on Assange so disgracefully and what Wikileaks represented.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
A brilliant historical comparison. They're now on the legal offensive in censoring the internet of course, because in truth the filter system is wholly vulnerable. Alternative media has been operating freely, yet the majority have continued to rely on MSM as if it's their only source of (dis)information, utilising our vast internet age to the pettiness of social media and prank videos. Marx was right: capitalist society alienates people from their own humanity. We're now aliens, deprived of our original being and floating in a vacuum of Darwinist competition and barbarism. And we wonder why climate change is happening?
pimatters says November 27, 2017
Yes, as the guy below says this is a great simile. Wikileaks is like the first English translations of the bible! Fantastic!
pimatters says November 27, 2017
above – not below
tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Apparently we are "living in disorientating times" according to Viner, she goes on to say that "championing the public interest is at the heart of the Guardian's mission".

Really? How is it possible for her to say that when many of the controversial articles which appear in the Guardian are not open for comment any more. They have adopted now a view that THEIR "opinion" should not be challenged, how is that in the public interest?

In the Observer on Sunday a piece also appeared smearing RT entitled:
"MPs defend fees of up to £1,000 an hour to appear on 'Kremlin propaganda' channel"
However they allowed comments which make interesting reading. Many commenter's saw through their ruse and although the most vociferous critics of the Graun have been banished, but even the mild mannered ones which remain appear not the buy into the idea that RT is any different than other media outlets. With many expressing support for the news and op-ed outlet for giving voice to those who the MSM ignore – including former Guardian writers from time to time.

Why Viner's words are so poisonous is that the Graun under her stewardship has become a agitprop outlet offering no balance. In the below linked cringe worthy article there is no mention of RT being under attack in the US and having to register itself and staff as foreign agents. NO DEFENCE OF ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS by the US state is mentioned.

Surely this issue is at the heart of championing public interest?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/mps-kremlin-propaganda-channel-rt#comments

The fact that it's not shows clearly the fake Guardian/Observer claim and their real agenda.

WE ARE DEFINITELY LIVING IN DISORIENTATION TIMES and the Guardian/Observer are leading the charge.

tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Correction: DISORIENTATING TIMES
Peter says November 21, 2017
For the political/media/business elites (I suppose you could call them 'the Establishment') in the US and UK, the main problem with RT seems to be that a lot of people are watching it. I wonder how long it will be before access is cut.

RT is launching a French-language channel next month. We are already being warned by the French MSM about how RT makes up fake news to further Putin's evil propaganda aims (unlike said MSM, we are told).

Basically, elites just don't trust the people (this is certainly a constant in French political life).

Jim says November 21, 2017
It's not just that they don't allow comments on many of their articles, but even on the articles where CiF is enabled, they ban any accounts that disagree with their narrative. The end result is that Guardianistas get the false impression everyone shares their view and that they are in the majority.
The Guardian moderators are like Scientology leaders who banish any outsiders for fear of influencing their cult members.
BigB says November 20, 2017
Everyone knows that Russia-gate is a feat of mass hypnosis, mesmerized from DNC financed lies. The Trump collusion myth is baseless and becoming dangerously hysterical: but conversely, the Clinton collusion scandal is not so easy to allay. Whilst it may turn out to be the greatest story never told: it looks substantive enough to me. HRC colluded with Russian oligarchy to the tune of $145m of "donations" into her slush fund. In return, Rosatom gained control of Uranium One.

A curious adjunct to this corruption: HRC opposed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Given her subsequent rabid Russophobia: you'd have thought that if the Russians (as it has been spun) arrested a brave whistleblowing tax lawyer and murdered him in prison – she would have been quite vocal in her condemnation. No, she wanted to make Russia great again. It's amazing how $145m can focus ones attention away from ones natural instinct.

[Browder and Magnitsky were as corrupt as each other: the story that the Russians took over Browder's hedge fund and implicated them both in a $230m tax fraud and corruption scandal is as fantastical as the "Golden Shower" dossier. However, it seems to me Magnitsky's death was preventable (he died from complications of pancreatitis, for which it seems he was initially refused treatment ) ]

So if we turn the clock back to 2010-2013, it sure looks to me as though we have a Russian collusion scandal: only it's not one the Guardian will ever want to tell. Will it come out when the FBI 's "secret" informant (William D Cambell) testifies to Congress sometime this week? Not in the Guardian, because their precious Hillary Clinton is the real scandal here.

jag37777 says November 20, 2017
Browder is a spook.
susannapanevin says November 20, 2017
Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin .
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media.

In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes.

labrebisgalloise says November 20, 2017
I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up.
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
Hey, MbS is also an "anti-corruption" campaigner! If the media says so it must be true!
Sav says November 20, 2017
Some months ago you saw tweets saying Russophobia had hit ridiculous levels. They hadn't seen anything yet. It's scary how easily people can be brainwashed.

The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy.

A Petherbridge says November 20, 2017
Well said – interesting to know what the Guardian is paid to run these stories funded by this arm of US state propaganda.
bevin says November 20, 2017
The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc. Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket..

This outbreak is reaching the dimensions of the sort of mass hysteria that gave us St Vitus' dance. Oh and the 'sonic' terrorism practised against US diplomats in Havana, in which crickets working for the evil one (who he?) appear to have been responsible for a breach in diplomatic relations. It couldn't have happened to a nicer empire.

Admin says November 21, 2017
The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia?

[Dec 10, 2017] blamePutin continues to be the media's dominant hashtag. Vladimir Putin finally confesses his entire responsibility for everything bad that has ever happened since the beginning of time

Highly recommended!
Dec 10, 2017 | off-guardian.org

by VT

The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. Take a look at this gem :

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has accused prominent British businessman Bill Browder of being a "serial killer" – the latest extraordinary attempt by the Kremlin to frame one of its most high-profile public enemies.

But Putin has not been reported anywhere else as making any recent statement about Browder whatever, and the Observer article makes no further mention of Putin's supposed utterance or the circumstances in which it was supposedly made.

As the rest of the article makes clear, the suspicions against Browder were actually voiced by Russian police investigators and not by Putin at all.

The Observer fabricated a direct quote from the Russian president for their propaganda purposes without any regard to basic journalistic standards. They wanted to blame Putin personally for the suspicions of some Russian investigators, so they just invented an imaginary statement from him so they could conveniently do so.

What is really going on here is the classic trope of demonisation propaganda in which the demonised leader is conflated with all officials of their government and with the targeted country itself, so as to simplify and personalise the narrative of the subsequent Two Minutes Hate to be unleashed against them.

When, as in this case, the required substitution of the demonised leader for their country can't be wrung out of the facts even through the most vigorous twisting, a disreputable fake news site like The Guardian/Observer is free to simply make up new, alternative facts that better fit their disinformative agenda. Because facts aren't at all sacred when the official propaganda line demands lies.

In the same article, the documents from Russian investigators naming Browder as a suspect in certain crimes are first "seen as" a frame-up (by the sympathetic chorus of completely anonymous observers yellow journalism can always call on when an unsupported claim needs a spurious bolstering) and then outright labelled as such (see quote above) as if this alleged frame-up is a proven fact. Which it isn't.

No evidence is required down there in the Guardian/Observer journalistic gutter before unsupported claims against Russian officials can be treated as unquestionable pseudo-facts, just as opponents of Putin can commit no crime for the outlet's hate-befuddled hacks.

The above falsifications were brought to the attention of the Observer's so-called Readers Editor – the official at the Guardian/Observer responsible for "independently" defending the outlet's misdeeds against outraged readers – who did nothing. By now the article has rolled off the site's front page, rendering any possible future correction nugatory in any case.

Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant .

A trifecta of fakery in one article! That makes crystal clear what the Guardian meant in this article , published at precisely the same moment as the disinformation cited above, when it said:

"We know what you are doing," Theresa May said of Russia. It's not enough to know. We need to do something about it.

By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another.


michaelk says November 26, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/26/big-issue-who-will-step-in-after-bullies-have-silenced-dissenters

From the 'liberal' Guardian/Observer wing of the rightwing bourgeois press, spot the differences with the article in the Mail on Sunday by Nick Robinson?

michaelk says November 26, 2017
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5117723/Nick-Robinson-Putin-using-fake-news-weaken-West.html

This thing seems to have been cobbled together by a guy called Nick Robinson. The same BBC Nick Robinson that hosts the Today Programme? I dunno, one feels really rather depressed at how low our media has sunk.

michaelk says November 23, 2017
I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq.

The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember. Nothing happened afterwards. There was no tribunal to examine the media's role in that massive international crime against humanity and things actually got worse post Iraq, which the attack on Libya and Syria illustrates.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
Exactly: in my opinion there should be life sentences banning scribblers who printed lies and bloodthirsty kill, kill, kill articles from ever working again in the media.

Better still, make them go fight right now in Yemen. Amazing how quickly truth will spread if journalists know they have a good chance of dying if they print lies and falsehoods ..

michaelk says November 23, 2017
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation.

The Guardian's writers get so much, so wrong, so often it's staggering and nobody gets the boot, except for the people who allude to the incompetence at the heart of the Guardian. They fail dismally on Trump, Brexit and Corbyn and yet carry on as if everything is fine and dandy. Nothing to complain about here, mover along now.

I suppose it's because they are actually media aristocrats living in a world of privilege, and they, as members of the ruling elite, look after one another regardless of how poorly they actually perform. This is typical of an elite that's on the ropes and doomed. They choose to retreat from grubby reality into a parallel world where their own dogmas aren't challenged and they begin to believe their propaganda is real and not an artificial contruct. This is incredibly dangerous for a ruling elite because society becomes brittle and weaker by the day as the ruling dogmas become hollow and ritualized, but without traction in reality and real purpose.

The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore.

All our problems are pathetically and conviniently blamed on the Russians and their Demon King and his vast army of evil Trolls. It's like a political version of the Lord of the Rings.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
Don't expect the Guardian to cover the biggest military build-up (NATO) on Russia's borders since Hitler's 1941 invasion.

John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonising Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
The Guardian is now owned by Neocon Americans, that is why it is demonising Russia. Simple as that.
WeatherEye says November 29, 2017
Evidence?
Harry Stotle says November 21, 2017
The Guardian is trying to rescue citizens from 'dreadful dangers that we cannot see, or do not understand' – in other words they play a central role in 'the power of nightmares' https://www.youtube.com/embed/LlA8KutU2to
rtj1211 says November 21, 2017
So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia?

If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism?

In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave ..

I do not know the trurh about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organising mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..

michaelk says November 21, 2017
It's perfectly possible, in fact the norm historically, for people to believe passionately in the existence of invisible threats to their well-being, which, when examined calmly from another era, resemble a form of mass-hysteria or collective madness. For example; the religious faith/dogma that Satan, demons and witches were all around us. An invisible, parallel, world, by the side of our own that really existed and we were 'at war with.' Satan was our adversary, the great trickster and disseminator of 'fake news' opposed to the 'good news' provided by the Gospels.

What's remarkable, disturbing and frightening is how closely our media resemble a religious cult or the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The journalists have taken on a role that's close to that of a priesthood. They function as a 'filtering' layer between us and the world around us. They are, supposedly, uniquely qualified to understand the difference between truth and lies, or what's right and wrong, real news and propaganda. The Guardian actually likes this role. They our the guardians of the truth in a chaotic world.

This reminds one of the role of the clergy. Their role was to stand between ordinary people and the 'complexities' of the Bible and separate the Truths it contained from wild and 'fake' interpretations, which could easily become dangerous and undermine the social order and fundamental power relationships.

The big challenge to the role of the Church happened when the printing press allowed the ordinary people to access the information themselves and worst still when the texts were translated into the common language and not just Latin. Suddenly people could access the texts, read and begin to interpret and understand for themselves. It's hard to imagine that people were actually burned alive in England for smuggling the Bible in English translation a few centuries ago. That's how dangerous the State regarded such a 'crime.'

One can compare the translation of the Bible and the challenge to the authority of the Church and the clergy as 'guardians of the truth' to what's happeing today with the rise of the Internet and something like Wikileaks, where texts and infromation are made available uncensored and raw and the role of the traditional 'media church' and the journalist priesthood is challenged.

We're seeing a kind of media counter-reformation. That's why the Guardian turned on Assange so disgracefully and what Wikileaks represented.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
A brilliant historical comparison. They're now on the legal offensive in censoring the internet of course, because in truth the filter system is wholly vulnerable. Alternative media has been operating freely, yet the majority have continued to rely on MSM as if it's their only source of (dis)information, utilizing our vast internet age to the pettiness of social media and prank videos. Marx was right: capitalist society alienates people from their own humanity. We're now aliens, deprived of our original being and floating in a vacuum of Darwinist competition and barbarism. And we wonder why climate change is happening?
tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Apparently we are "living in disorientating times" according to Viner, she goes on to say that "championing the public interest is at the heart of the Guardian's mission".

Really? How is it possible for her to say that when many of the controversial articles which appear in the Guardian are not open for comment any more. They have adopted now a view that THEIR "opinion" should not be challenged, how is that in the public interest?

In the Observer on Sunday a piece also appeared smearing RT entitled: "MPs defend fees of up to £1,000 an hour to appear on 'Kremlin propaganda' channel." However they allowed comments which make interesting reading. Many commenter's saw through their ruse and although the most vociferous critics of the Graun have been banished, but even the mild mannered ones which remain appear not the buy into the idea that RT is any different than other media outlets. With many expressing support for the news and op-ed outlet for giving voice to those who the MSM ignore – including former Guardian writers from time to time.

Why Viner's words are so poisonous is that the Graun under her stewardship has become a agitprop outlet offering no balance. In the below linked cringe worthy article there is no mention of RT being under attack in the US and having to register itself and staff as foreign agents. NO DEFENCE OF ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS by the US state is mentioned.

Surely this issue is at the heart of championing public interest?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/mps-kremlin-propaganda-channel-rt#comments

The fact that it's not shows clearly the fake Guardian/Observer claim and their real agenda.

WE ARE DEFINITELY LIVING IN DISORIENTATION TIMES and the Guardian/Observer are leading the charge.

tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Correction: DISORIENTATING TIMES
Peter says November 21, 2017
For the political/media/business elites (I suppose you could call them 'the Establishment') in the US and UK, the main problem with RT seems to be that a lot of people are watching it. I wonder how long it will be before access is cut. RT is launching a French-language channel next month. We are already being warned by the French MSM about how RT makes up fake news to further Putin's evil propaganda aims (unlike said MSM, we are told). Basically, elites just don't trust the people (this is certainly a constant in French political life).
Jim says November 21, 2017
It's not just that they don't allow comments on many of their articles, but even on the articles where CiF is enabled, they ban any accounts that disagree with their narrative. The end result is that Guardianistas get the false impression everyone shares their view and that they are in the majority. The Guardian moderators are like Scientology leaders who banish any outsiders for fear of influencing their cult members.
BigB says November 20, 2017
Everyone knows that Russia-gate is a feat of mass hypnosis, mesmerized from DNC financed lies. The Trump collusion myth is baseless and becoming dangerously hysterical: but conversely, the Clinton collusion scandal is not so easy to allay. Whilst it may turn out to be the greatest story never told: it looks substantive enough to me. HRC colluded with Russian oligarchy to the tune of $145m of "donations" into her slush fund. In return, Rosatom gained control of Uranium One.

A curious adjunct to this corruption: HRC opposed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Given her subsequent rabid Russophobia: you'd have thought that if the Russians (as it has been spun) arrested a brave whistleblowing tax lawyer and murdered him in prison – she would have been quite vocal in her condemnation. No, she wanted to make Russia great again. It's amazing how $145m can focus ones attention away from ones natural instinct.

[Browder and Magnitsky were as corrupt as each other: the story that the Russians took over Browder's hedge fund and implicated them both in a $230m tax fraud and corruption scandal is as fantastical as the "Golden Shower" dossier. However, it seems to me Magnitsky's death was preventable (he died from complications of pancreatitis, for which it seems he was initially refused treatment ) ]

So if we turn the clock back to 2010-2013, it sure looks to me as though we have a Russian collusion scandal: only it's not one the Guardian will ever want to tell. Will it come out when the FBI 's "secret" informant (William D Cambell) testifies to Congress sometime this week? Not in the Guardian, because their precious Hillary Clinton is the real scandal here.

jag37777 says November 20, 2017
Browder is a spook.
susannapanevin says November 20, 2017
Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin .
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media.

In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes.

labrebisgalloise says November 20, 2017
I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up.
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
Hey, MbS is also an "anti-corruption" campaigner! If the media says so it must be true!
Sav says November 20, 2017
Some months ago you saw tweets saying Russophobia had hit ridiculous levels. They hadn't seen anything yet. It's scary how easily people can be brainwashed.

The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy.

A Petherbridge says November 20, 2017
Well said – interesting to know what the Guardian is paid to run these stories funded by this arm of US state propaganda.
bevin says November 20, 2017
The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc.

Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket..

This outbreak is reaching the dimensions of the sort of mass hysteria that gave us St Vitus' dance. Oh and the 'sonic' terrorism practised against US diplomats in Havana, in which crickets working for the evil one (who he?) appear to have been responsible for a breach in diplomatic relations. It couldn't have happened to a nicer empire.

Admin says November 21, 2017
The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia?

[Dec 05, 2017] It seems to me that the Intelligence Services have colonized the media

This is two years old exchange from the Guardian reader forum. Nothing changed...
Notable quotes:
"... The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, is a good book to read, it documents boasts from the CIA that they controlled western media and at the press of a button could hear the same tune played all over the western world. ..."
"... The people in the 'western' world think their media is 'free', 'unbiased', 'investigated' but in sad reality it is far from any of those things. It is a mega phone for the narrative the govts of the west (primarily US, UK, EU and sadly Australia) want amplified. ..."
"... I am not sure how it works with the MSM. What I have noticed over the years, is that in certain times of war or geopolitical maneuvorings, the BBC and Guardian (and others), but especially those two, seem to have some sort of agreement with the Intelligence Services/Foreign Office to write subtle propaganda or lead with a certain narrative. ..."
"... This means, the producers or editors at the BBC have agreed with the Security services to allow them to control the media at certain times. Likewise, we see the same in the Guardian, especially at certain times. ..."
Feb 09, 2015 | theguardian.com

RussBrown -> stregs101 9 Feb 2015 21:14

21st Century Wire founder was on cross talk recently with others that are trying to call the media out on these things.

>It seems to me that the Intelligence Services have colonised the media. The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, is a good book to read, it documents boasts from the CIA that they controlled western media and at the press of a button could hear the same tune played all over the western world.

Really, it is up to Guardian and BBC journalists and broadcasters to take a long hard look at themselves and ask why am I being made to sell war propaganda? the BBC news 24 channel had someone on trying to talk up a war with Russia last night, as I was watching it I was wondering if the BBC News presenter, an intelligent man, would have enough moral fibre to realize he is being used to sell a warmongering narrative? But he didnt, which is why I can no longer pay that organisation anymore money.

stregs101 -> RussBrown 9 Feb 2015 21:00

I agree.

The people in the 'western' world think their media is 'free', 'unbiased', 'investigated' but in sad reality it is far from any of those things. It is a mega phone for the narrative the govts of the west (primarily US, UK, EU and sadly Australia) want amplified.

Last week there was an article promoting 'full scale war' in relation to arming Kiev. This type of reporting is actually deemed a 'crime against the peace' under Nuremberg.

By upholding the lies and fabrications of US foreign policy, the mainstream media is complicit in war crimes. Without media propaganda, this military agenda under the guise of counter-terrorism would fall flat, collapse like a deck of cards.

21st Century Wire founder was on cross talk recently with others that are trying to call the media out on these things.

RussBrown -> seaspan 9 Feb 2015 19:54

I am not sure how it works with the MSM. What I have noticed over the years, is that in certain times of war or geopolitical maneuvorings, the BBC and Guardian (and others), but especially those two, seem to have some sort of agreement with the Intelligence Services/Foreign Office to write subtle propaganda or lead with a certain narrative.

Take for example the BBC headlines yesterday, top story was 15 people killed in Ukraine and calls to arm Kiev against Russian aggression. Now the this was TOP news story, the BBC have totally ignored reporting Ukrainian civilian massacres (over 5000 have died), until they are selling a narrative they want to persuade everyone with, such as that we need to arm Kiev against Russian aggression.

This means, the producers or editors at the BBC have agreed with the Security services to allow them to control the media at certain times. Likewise, we see the same in the Guardian, especially at certain times.

[Dec 05, 2017] Further sabotage of the Iran deal would not bring success -- only embarrassment

This is two years old article. Not much changed... Comments sound as written yesterday. Check it out !
The key incentive to Iran deal is using Iran as a Trojan horse against Russia in oil market -- the force which helps to keep oil prices low, benefitting the USA and other G7 members and hurting Russia and other oil-producing nations. Iran might also serve as a replacement market for EU goods as Russian market is partially lost. Due to sanctions EU now lost (and probably irrevocably) Russian market for food, and have difficulties in maintaining their share in other sectors (cars, machinery) as Asian tigers come in.
Notable quotes:
"... The waning clout stems from the lobby siding with the revanchist Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Iran strategy since the 2012 US presidential campaign has been to unabashedly side with Republican hawks. AIPAC's alignment with the position effectively caused the group to marginalize itself; the GOP is now the only place where AIPAC can today find lockstep support. The tens of millions AIPAC spent lobbying against the deal were unable to obscure this dynamic. ..."
"... Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took to the floor during the debate and pulled out an old trick from the run-up to the Iraq war: blaming Iran for 9/11 and saying a failure to act would result in a worse attack – is any indication, even Democrats like the pro-Israel hawk Chuck Schumer will find it untenable to sidle up to AIPAC and the Republicans. ..."
"... The problem with the right in the USA is that they offer no alternatives, nothing, nada and zilch they have become the opposition party of opposition. They rely on talking point memes and fear, and it has become the party of extremism and simplicity offering low hanging fruit and red meat this was on perfect display at their anti Iran deal rally, palin, trump, beck and phil robinson who commands ducks apparently. ..."
"... Is it any wonder the Iranians don't trust the US. After the US's spying exploits during the Iraqi WMD inspections, why are you surprised that Iran asks for 24 days notice of inspection (enough time to clear out conventional weapons development but not enough to remove evidence of nuclear weapons development). ..."
"... Most Americans don't know the CIA overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and installed the Shaw. Most Republicans know that most Americans will believe what Fox news tells them. Republicans live in an alternate universe where there is no climate change, mammon is worshiped and wisdom is rejected hatred is accepted negotiation is replaced by perpetual warfare. Now most Americans are tired of stupid leadership and the Republicans are in big trouble. ..."
"... AIPAC - Eventually everything is seen for what is truly is. ..."
"... Israel is opposed because they wish to maintain their nuclear weapons monopoly in the region ..."
"... With the threat you describe from Israel it seems only sensible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons - if my was country (Scotland) was in Iran's place and what you said is true i would only support politicians who promised fast and large scale production of atomic weapons to counter the clear threat to my nation. ..."
"... Netanyahu loves to play the victim, but he is the primary cause that Jews worldwide, but especially in the United States, are rethinking the idea of "Israel." I know very few people who willingly identify with a strident right wing government comprised of rabid nationalists, religious fundamentalists, and a violent, almost apocalyptic settler community. ..."
"... The Israeli electorate has indicated which path it wishes to travel, but that does not obligate Jews throughout the world to support a government whose policies they find odious. ..."
"... As part of this deal the US and allies should guarantee Iran protection against Israeli aggression. Otherwise, considering Israel's threats, Iran is well justified in seeking a nuclear deterrent. ..."
"... AIPAC's defeat shows that their grip on the testicles of congress has been broken. ..."
"... Their primary goal was to keep Iran isolated and economically weak. They knew full well that the Iranians hadn't had a nuclear program since 2003, but Netanhayu needed an existential threat to Israel in order to justify his grip on power. All of this charade has bee at the instigation of and directed by Israel. And they lost They were beaten by that hated schwartze and the liberals that Israel normally counts on for unthinking support. ..."
"... No doubt Netanyahu will raise the level of his anger; he just can't accept that a United States president would do anything on which Israel hadn't stamped its imprimatur. It gets tiresome listening to him. ..."
"... It is this deal that feeds the military industrial complex. We've already heard Kerry give Israel and Saudi Arabia assurances of more weapons. And that $150 billion released to Iran? A healthy portion will be spent for arms..American, Russian, Chinese. Most of the commenters have this completely backwards. This deal means a bonanza for the arms industry. ..."
"... The Iran nuclear agreement accomplishes the US policy goal of preventing the creation of the fissionable material required for an Iranian nuclear weapons program. What the agreement does not do is eliminate Iran as a regional military and economic power, as the Israelis and Saudis -- who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby American politicians and brainwash American TV viewers -- would prefer. ..."
"... Rejection equals war. It's not surprising that the same crowd most stridently demanding rejection of the agreement advocated the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. These homicidal fools never learn, or don't care as long as it's not their lives at risk. ..."
"... And how did the Republicans' foreign policy work out? Reagan created and financed Al Qaeda. Then Bush II invades Iraq with promises the Iraqis will welcome us with flowers (!), the war will be over in a few weeks and pay for itself, and the middle east will have a nascent democracy (Iraq) that will be a grateful US ally. ..."
"... I've seen Iranian statements playing internal politics, but I have never seen any actual Iranian threats. I've seen plenty about Israel assassinating people in other countries, using incendiaries and chemical weapons against civilians in other countries, conducting illegal kidnappings overseas, using terrorism as a weapon of war, developing nuclear weapons illegally, ethnically cleansing illegally occupied territories, that sort of thing. ..."
"... Iran is not a made-up country like Iraq it is as old as Greece. If the Iraq war was sold as pushover and failed miserably then an Iran war would be unthinkable. War can be started in an instant diplomacy take time. UK, France, Germany & EU all agree its an acceptable alternative to war. So as these countries hardly ever agree it is clear the deal is a good one. ..."
"... Rank and file Americans don't even know what the Iran deal is. And can't be bothered to actually find out. They just listen to sound bites from politicians the loudest of whom have been the wildly partisan republicans claiming that it gives Iran a green light to a nuclear weapon. Not to mention those "less safe" polls are completely loaded. Certain buzz words will always produce negative results. If you associate something positive "feeling safe" or "in favor of" anything that Iran signs off on it comes across as indirectly supporting Iran and skews the results of the poll. "Iran" has been so strongly associated with evil and negative all you have to do is insert it into a sentence to make people feel negatively about the entire sentence. In order to get true data on the deal you would have to poll people on the individual clauses the deal. ..."
"... American Jews are facing one of the most interesting choices of recent US history. The Republican Party, which is pissing into a stiff wind of unfavorable demographics, seems to have decided it can even the playing field by peeling Jews away from the Democrats with promises to do whatever Israel wants. So we have the very strange (but quite real) prospect of Jews increasingly throwing in their lot with the party of Christian extremists whose ranks also include violent antiSemites. ..."
"... The American Warmonger Establishment (that now fully entrenched "Military Industrial Complex" against which no more keen observer than President Dwight Eisenhower warned us), is rip-shit over the Iran Agreement. WHAT? We can't Do More War? That will be terrible for further increasing our obscene 1-percent wealth. Let's side with Israeli wingnut Netanyahu, who cynically leverages "an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye" to hold his "Power." ..."
"... AIPAC is a dangerous anti-american organization, and a real and extant threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. Any elected official acting in concert with AIPAC is colluding with a foreign government to harm the U.S. and should be considered treasonous and an enemy of the American people. ..."
Sep 14, 2015 | The Guardian

The waning clout stems from the lobby siding with the revanchist Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Iran strategy since the 2012 US presidential campaign has been to unabashedly side with Republican hawks. AIPAC's alignment with the position effectively caused the group to marginalize itself; the GOP is now the only place where AIPAC can today find lockstep support. The tens of millions AIPAC spent lobbying against the deal were unable to obscure this dynamic.

We may not look back at this as a sea change – some Senate Democrats who held firm against opposition to the deal are working with AIPAC to pass subsequent legislation that contains poison pills designed to kill it – but rather as a rising tide eroding the once sturdy bipartisan pro-Israeli government consensus on Capitol Hill. Some relationships have been frayed; previously stalwart allies of the Israel's interests, such as Vice President Joe Biden, have reportedly said the Iran deal fight soured them on AIPAC.

Even with the boundaries of its abilities on display, however, AIPAC will continue its efforts. "We urge those who have blocked a vote today to reconsider," the group said in a spin-heavy statement casting a pretty objective defeat as victory with the headline, "Bipartisan Senate Majority Rejects Iran Nuclear Deal." The group's allies in the Senate Republican Party have already promised to rehash the procedural vote next week, and its lobbyists are still rallying for support in the House. But the Senate's refusal to halt US support for the deal means that Senate Democrats are unlikely to reconsider, especially after witnessing Thursday's Republican hijinx in the House. These ploys look like little more than efforts to embarrass Obama into needing to cast a veto.

If Republicans' rhetoric leading up to to their flop in the Senate – Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took to the floor during the debate and pulled out an old trick from the run-up to the Iraq war: blaming Iran for 9/11 and saying a failure to act would result in a worse attack – is any indication, even Democrats like the pro-Israel hawk Chuck Schumer will find it untenable to sidle up to AIPAC and the Republicans.

Opponents of the deal want to say the Democrats played politics instead of evaluating the deal honestly. That charge is ironic, to say the least, since most experts agree the nuclear deal is sound and the best agreement diplomacy could achieve. But there were politics at play: rather than siding with Obama, Congressional Democrats lined up against the Republican/Netanyahu alliance. The adamance of AIPAC ended up working against its stated interests.

Groups like AIPAC will go on touting their bipartisan bona fides without considering that their adoption of Netanyahu's own partisanship doomed them to a partisan result. Meanwhile, the ensuing fight, which will no doubt bring more of the legislative chaos we saw this week, won't be a cakewalk, so to speak, but will put the lie to AIPAC's claims it has a bipartisan consensus behind it. Despite their best efforts, Obama won't be the one embarrassed by the scrambling on the horizon.

TiredOldDog 13 Sep 2015 21:47

a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes

I guess this may mean Israel. If it does, how about we compare Assad's Syria, Iran and Israel. How many war crimes per day in the last 4 years and, maybe, some forecasts. Otherwise it's the usual gratuitous use of bad words at Israel. It has a purpose. To denigrate and dehumanize Israel or, at least, Zionism.

ID7612455 13 Sep 2015 18:04

The problem with the right in the USA is that they offer no alternatives, nothing, nada and zilch they have become the opposition party of opposition. They rely on talking point memes and fear, and it has become the party of extremism and simplicity offering low hanging fruit and red meat this was on perfect display at their anti Iran deal rally, palin, trump, beck and phil robinson who commands ducks apparently.

winemaster2 13 Sep 2015 17:01

Put a Brush Mustache on the control freak, greed creed, Nentanhayu the SOB not only looks like but has the same mentality as Hitler and his Nazism crap.

Martin Hutton -> mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 23:50

I wondered when someone was going to bring up that "forgotten" fact. Is it any wonder the Iranians don't trust the US. After the US's spying exploits during the Iraqi WMD inspections, why are you surprised that Iran asks for 24 days notice of inspection (enough time to clear out conventional weapons development but not enough to remove evidence of nuclear weapons development).

mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 20:51

Most Americans don't know the CIA overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and installed the Shaw. Most Republicans know that most Americans will believe what Fox news tells them. Republicans live in an alternate universe where there is no climate change, mammon is worshiped and wisdom is rejected hatred is accepted negotiation is replaced by perpetual warfare. Now most Americans are tired of stupid leadership and the Republicans are in big trouble.

ByThePeople -> Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 20:27

Is pitiful how for months and months, certain individuals blathered on and on and on when it was fairly clear from the get go that this was a done deal and no one was about cater to the war criminal. I suppose it was good for them, sucking every last dime they could out of the AICPA & Co. while they acted like there was 'a chance'. Nope, only chance is that at the end of the day, a politician is a politician and he'll suck you dry as long as you let 'em.

What a pleasure it is to see the United States Congress finally not pimp themselves out completely to a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes. A once off I suppose, but it's one small step for Americans.

ByThePeople 12 Sep 2015 20:15

AIPAC - Eventually everything is seen for what is truly is.

ambushinthenight -> Greg Zeglen 12 Sep 2015 18:18

Seems that it makes a lot of sense to most everyone else in the world, it is now at the point where it really makes no difference whether the U.S. ratifies the deal or not. Israel is opposed because they wish to maintain their nuclear weapons monopoly in the region. Politicians here object for one of two reasons. They are Israeli first and foremost not American or for political expediency and a chance to try undo another of this President's achievements. Been a futile effort so far I'd say.

hello1678 -> BrianGriffin 12 Sep 2015 16:42

With the threat you describe from Israel it seems only sensible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons - if my was country (Scotland) was in Iran's place and what you said is true i would only support politicians who promised fast and large scale production of atomic weapons to counter the clear threat to my nation.

nardone -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 14:12

Netanyahu loves to play the victim, but he is the primary cause that Jews worldwide, but especially in the United States, are rethinking the idea of "Israel." I know very few people who willingly identify with a strident right wing government comprised of rabid nationalists, religious fundamentalists, and a violent, almost apocalyptic settler community.

The Israeli electorate has indicated which path it wishes to travel, but that does not obligate Jews throughout the world to support a government whose policies they find odious.

Greg Zeglen -> Glenn Gang 12 Sep 2015 13:51

good point which is found almost nowhere else...it is still necessary to understand that the whole line of diplomacy regarding the west on the part of Iran has been for generations one of deceit...and people are intensely jealous of what they hold dear - especially safety and liberty with in their country....

EarthyByNature -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 13:45

I do trust your on salary with a decent benefits package with the Israeli government or one of it's slavish US lobbyists. Let's face it, got to be hard work pouring out such hateful drivel.

BrianGriffin -> imipak 12 Sep 2015 12:53

The USA took about six years to build a bomb from scratch. The UK took almost six years to build a bomb. Russia was able to build a bomb in only four years (1945-1949). France took four years to build a bomb. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

The Chinese only took four years. http://www.china.org.cn/english/congress/228244.htm

steelhead 12 Sep 2015 12:48

As part of this deal the US and allies should guarantee Iran protection against Israeli aggression. Otherwise, considering Israel's threats, Iran is well justified in seeking a nuclear deterrent.

BrianGriffin -> HauptmannGurski 12 Sep 2015 12:35

"Europe needs business desperately."

Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 12:32

In other words, once again, Obama out-played and out-thought both the GOP and AIPAC. He was playing multidimensional chess while they were playing checkers. The democrats kept their party discipline while the republicans ran around like a schoolyard full of sugared-up children. This is what happens when you have grownups competing with adolescents. The republican party, to put it very bluntly, can't get it together long enough to whistle 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' in unison.

They lost. Again. And worse than being losers, they're sore, whining, sniveling, blubbering losers. Even when they've been spanked - hard - they swear it's not over and they're gonna get even, just you wait and see! Get over it. They lost - badly - and the simple fact that their party is coming apart at the seams before our very eyes means they're going to be losing a lot more, too.

AIPAC's defeat shows that their grip on the testicles of congress has been broken. All the way around, a glorious victory for Obama, and an ignominious defeat for the republicans. And most especially, Israel. Their primary goal was to keep Iran isolated and economically weak. They knew full well that the Iranians hadn't had a nuclear program since 2003, but Netanhayu needed an existential threat to Israel in order to justify his grip on power. All of this charade has bee at the instigation of and directed by Israel. And they lost They were beaten by that hated schwartze and the liberals that Israel normally counts on for unthinking support.

Their worst loss, however, was losing the support of the American jews. Older, orthodox jews are Israel-firsters. The younger, less observant jews are Americans first. Netanhayu's behavior has driven a wedge between the US and Israel that is only going to deepen over time. And on top of that, Iran is re-entering the community of nations, and soon their economy will dominate the region. Bibi overplayed his hand very, very stupidly, and the real price that Israel will pay for his bungling will unfold over the next few decades.

BrianGriffin -> TiredOldDog 12 Sep 2015 12:18

"The Constitution provides that the president 'shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur'"

http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Treaties.htm

Hardly a done deal. If Obama releases funds to Iran he probably would be committing an impeachable crime under US law. Even many Democrats would vote to impeach Obama for providing billions to a sworn enemy of Israel.

Glenn Gang -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 12:07

"...institutionally Iranclad(sic) HATRED towards the west..." Since you like all-caps so much, try this: "B.S."

The American propel(sic) actually figured out something else---that hardline haters like yourself are desperate to keep the cycle of Islamophobic mistrust and suspicion alive, and blind themselves to the fact that the rest of us have left you behind.

FACT: More than half of the population of Iran today was NOT EVEN BORN when radical students captured the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979.

People like you, Bruce, conveniently ignore the fact that Ahmedinejad and his hardline followers were voted out of power in 2013, and that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei further marginalized them by allowing the election of new President Hassan Rouhani to stand, though he was and is an outspoken reformer advocating rapprochement with the west. While his outward rhetoric still has stern warnings about anticipated treachery by the 'Great Satan', Khamenei has allowed the Vienna agreement to go forward, and shows no sign of interfering with its implementation.

He is an old man, but he is neither stupid nor senile, and has clearly seen the crippling effects the international sanctions have had on his country and his people. Haters like you, Bruce, will insist that he ALWAYS has evil motives, just as Iranian hardliners (like Ahmedinejad) will ALWAYS believe that the U.S. has sinister motives and cannot EVER be trusted to uphold our end of any agreement. You ascribe HATRED in all caps to Iran, the whole country, while not acknowledging your own simmering hatred.

People like you will always find a 'boogeyman,' someone else to blame for your problems, real or imagined. You should get some help.

beenheretoolong 12 Sep 2015 10:57

No doubt Netanyahu will raise the level of his anger; he just can't accept that a United States president would do anything on which Israel hadn't stamped its imprimatur. It gets tiresome listening to him.

geneob 12 Sep 2015 10:12

It is this deal that feeds the military industrial complex. We've already heard Kerry give Israel and Saudi Arabia assurances of more weapons. And that $150 billion released to Iran? A healthy portion will be spent for arms..American, Russian, Chinese. Most of the commenters have this completely backwards. This deal means a bonanza for the arms industry.

Jack Hughes 12 Sep 2015 08:38

The Iran nuclear agreement accomplishes the US policy goal of preventing the creation of the fissionable material required for an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

What the agreement does not do is eliminate Iran as a regional military and economic power, as the Israelis and Saudis -- who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby American politicians and brainwash American TV viewers -- would prefer.

To reject the agreement is to accept the status quo, which is unacceptable, leaving an immediate and unprovoked American-led bombing campaign as the only other option.

Rejection equals war. It's not surprising that the same crowd most stridently demanding rejection of the agreement advocated the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. These homicidal fools never learn, or don't care as long as it's not their lives at risk.

American politicians opposed to the agreement are serving their short-term partisan political interests and, under America's system of legalized bribery, their Israeli and Saudi paymasters -- not America's long-term policy interests.

ID293404 -> Jeremiah2000 12 Sep 2015 05:01

And how did the Republicans' foreign policy work out? Reagan created and financed Al Qaeda. Then Bush II invades Iraq with promises the Iraqis will welcome us with flowers (!), the war will be over in a few weeks and pay for itself, and the middle east will have a nascent democracy (Iraq) that will be a grateful US ally.

He then has pictures taken of himself in a jet pilot's uniform on a US aircraft carrier with a huge sign saying Mission Accomplished. He attacks Afghanistan to capture Osama, lets him get away, and then attacks Iraq instead, which had nothing to do with 9/11 and no ties with Al Qaeda.

So then we have two interminable wars going on, thanks to brilliant Republican foreign policy, and spend gazillions of dollars while creating a mess that may never be straightened out. Never mind all the friends we won in the middle east and the enhanced reputation of our country through torture, the use of mercenaries, and the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Yeah, we really need those bright Republicans running the show over in the Middle East!

HauptmannGurski -> lazman 12 Sep 2015 02:31

That is a very difficult point to understand, just look at this sentence "not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans" ... too much emperor thinking for me. We have this conversation with regard to Putin everywhere now, so we disrespect all 143 million Russians? There's not a lot of disrespect around for Japanese PM Abe and Chinese Xi - does this now mean we respect them and all Japanese and Chinese? Election campaigns create such enormous personality cults that people seem to lose perspective.

On the Iran deal, if the US had dropped out of it it would have caused quite a rift because many countries would have just done what they wanted anyway. The international Atomic Energy Organisation or what it is would have done their inspections. Siemens would have sold medical machines. Countries would grow up as it were. But as cooperation is always better than confrontation it is nice the US have stayed in the agreement that was apparently 10 years in the making. It couldn't have gone on like that. With Europe needing gazillions to finance Greece, Ukraine, and millions of refugees (the next waves will roll on with the next spring and summer from April), Europe needs business desparately. Israel was happy to buy oil through Marc Rich under sanctions, now it's Europe's turn to snatch some business.

imipak -> BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 21:56

Iran lacks weapons-grade uranium and the means to produce it. Iran has made no efforts towards nuclear weapons technology for over a decade. Iran is a signatory of the NPT and is entitled to the rights enshrined therein. If Israel launches a nuclear war against Iran over Iran having a medical reactor (needed to produce isotopes for medicine, isotopes America can barely produce enough of for itself) that poses no security threat to anyone, then Israel will have transgressed so many international laws that if it survives the radioactive fallout (unlikely), it won't survive the political fallout.

It is a crime of the highest order to use weapons of mass destruction (although that didn't stop the Israelis using them against Palestinian civilians) and pre-emtive self-defence is why most believe Bush and Blair should be on trial at the ICJ, or (given the severity of their crimes) Nuremberg.

Israel's right to self-defense is questionable, I'm not sure any such right exists for anyone, but even allowing for it, Israel has no right to wage unprovoked war on another nation on the grounds of a potential threat discovered through divination using tea leaves.

imipak -> Jeremiah2000 11 Sep 2015 21:43

Iran's sponsorship of terrorism is of no concern. Such acts do not determine its competency to handle nuclear material at the 5% level (which you can find naturally). There are only three questions that matter - can Iran produce the 90-95% purity needed to build a bomb (no), can Iran produce such purity clandestinely (no), and can Iran use its nuclear technology to threaten Israel (no).

Israel also supports international terrorism, has used chemical weapons against civilians, has directly indulged in terrorism, actually has nuclear weapons and is paranoid enough that it may use them against other nations without cause.

I respect Israel's right to exist and the intelligence of most Israelis. But I neither respect nor tolerate unreasoned fear nor delusions of Godhood.

imipak -> commish 11 Sep 2015 21:33

I've seen Iranian statements playing internal politics, but I have never seen any actual Iranian threats. I've seen plenty about Israel assassinating people in other countries, using incendiaries and chemical weapons against civilians in other countries, conducting illegal kidnappings overseas, using terrorism as a weapon of war, developing nuclear weapons illegally, ethnically cleansing illegally occupied territories, that sort of thing.

Until such time as Israel implements the Oslo Accords, withdraws to its internationally recognized boundary and provides the International Court of Justice a full accounting of state-enacted and state-sponsored terrorism, it gets no claims on sainthood and gets no free rides.

Iran has its own crimes to answer, but directly threatening Israel in words or deeds has not been one of them within this past decade. Its actual crimes are substantial and cannot be ignored, but it is guilty only of those and not fictional works claimed by psychotic paranoid ultra-nationalists.

imipak -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 21:18

Domestic politics. Of no real consequence, it's just a way of controlling a populace through fear and a never-ending pseudo-war. It's how Iran actually feels that is important.

For the last decade, they've backed off any nuclear weapons research and you can't make a bomb with centrifuges that can only manage 20% enriched uranium. You need something like 90% enrichment, which requires centrifuges many, many times more advanced. It'd be hard to smuggle something like that in and the Iranians lack the skills, technology and science to make them.

Iran's conventional forces are busy fighting ISIS. What they do afterwards is a concern, but Israel has a sizable military presence on the Golan Heights. The most likely outcome is for Iran to install puppet regimes (or directly control) Syria and ISIS' caliphate.

I could see those two regions plus Iraq being fully absorbed into Iran, that would make some sense given the new geopolitical situation. But that would tie up Iran for decades. Which would not be a bad thing and America would be better off encouraging it rather than sabre-rattling.

(These are areas that contribute a lot to global warming and political instability elsewhere. Merging the lot and encouraging nuclear energy will do a lot for the planet. The inherent instability of large empires will reduce mischief-making elsewhere to more acceptable levels - they'll be too busy. It's idle hands that you need to be scared of.)

Israelis worry too much. If they spent less time fretting and more time developing, they'd be impervious to any natural or unnatural threat by now. Their teaching of Roman history needs work, but basically Israel has a combined intellect vastly superior to that of any nearby nation.

That matters. If you throw away fear and focus only on problems, you can stop and even defeat armies and empires vastly greater than your own. History is replete with examples, so is the mythologicized history of the Israeli people. Israel's fear is Israel's only threat.

mostfree 11 Sep 2015 21:10

Warmongers on all sides would had loved another round of fear and hysteria. Those dark military industrial complexes on all sides are dissipating in the face of the high rising light of peace for now . Please let it shine.

bishoppeter4 11 Sep 2015 20:09

The rabid Republicans working for a foreign power against the interest of the United States -- US citizens will know just what to do.

Jeremiah2000 -> Carolyn Walas Libbey 11 Sep 2015 19:21

"Netanyahu has no right to dictate what the US does."

But he has every right to point out how Obama is a weak fool. How's Obama's red line working in Syria? How is his toppling of Qadaffi in Libya working? How about his completely inept dealings with Egypt, throwing support behind the Muslim Brotherhood leaders? The leftists cheer Obama's weakening of American influence abroad. But they don't talk much about its replacement with Russian and Chinese influence. Russian build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Iran's Quds Force leader. Obama and Kerry are sending a strongly worded message.

Susan Dechancey -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 19:05

Incredible to see someone prefer war to diplomacy - guess you are an armchair General not a real one.

Susan Dechancey -> commish 11 Sep 2015 19:04

Except all its neighbours ... not only threatened but entered military conflict and stole land ... murdered Iranian Scientists but apart from that just a kitten

Susan Dechancey -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 19:00

Israel has nukes so why are they afraid ?? Iran will never use nukes against Israel and even Mossad told nuttyyahoo sabre rattling

Susan Dechancey 11 Sep 2015 18:57

Iran is not a made-up country like Iraq it is as old as Greece. If the Iraq war was sold as pushover and failed miserably then an Iran war would be unthinkable. War can be started in an instant diplomacy take time. UK, France, Germany & EU all agree its an acceptable alternative to war. So as these countries hardly ever agree it is clear the deal is a good one.

To be honest the USA can do what it likes now .. UK has set up an embassy - trade missions are landing Tehran from Europe. So if Israel and US congress want war - they will be alone and maybe if US keeps up the Nuttyahoo rhetoric European firms can win contracts to help us pay for the last US regime change Iraq / Isis / Refugees...

lswingly -> commish 11 Sep 2015 16:58

Rank and file Americans don't even know what the Iran deal is. And can't be bothered to actually find out. They just listen to sound bites from politicians the loudest of whom have been the wildly partisan republicans claiming that it gives Iran a green light to a nuclear weapon. Not to mention those "less safe" polls are completely loaded. Certain buzz words will always produce negative results. If you associate something positive "feeling safe" or "in favor of" anything that Iran signs off on it comes across as indirectly supporting Iran and skews the results of the poll. "Iran" has been so strongly associated with evil and negative all you have to do is insert it into a sentence to make people feel negatively about the entire sentence. In order to get true data on the deal you would have to poll people on the individual clauses the deal.

It's no different from how when you run a poll on who's in favor "Obamacare" the results will be majority negative. But if you poll on whether you are in favor of "The Affordable Care Act" most people are in favor of it and if you break it down and poll on the individual planks of "Obamacare" people overwhelming approve of the things that "Obamacare does". The disapproval is based on the fact that Republican's have successfully turned "Obamacare" into a pejorative and has almost no reflection of people feelings on actual policy.

To illustrate how meaningless those poll numbers are a Jewish poll (supposedly the people who have the most to lose if this deal is bad) found that a narrow majority of Jews approve of the deal. You're numbers are essentially meaningless.

The alternative to this plan is essentially war if not now, in the very near future, according to almost all non-partisan policy wonks. Go run a poll on whether we should go to war with Iran and see how that turns out. Last time we destabilized the region we removed a secular dictator who was enemies with Al Queda and created a power vacuum that led to increased religious extremism and the rise of Isis. You want to double down on that strategy?

MadManMark -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 16:34

You need to reread this article. It's exactly this attitude of yours (and AIPAC and Netanyahu) that this deal is not 100% perfect, but then subsequently failed to suggest ANY way to get something better -- other than war, which I'm sorry most people don't want another Republican "preemptive" war -- caused a lot people originally uncertain about this deal (like me) to conclude there may not be a better alternative. Again, read the article: What you think about me, I now think about deal critics like you ("It seems people will endorse anything to justify their political views.)

USfan 11 Sep 2015 15:34

American Jews are facing one of the most interesting choices of recent US history. The Republican Party, which is pissing into a stiff wind of unfavorable demographics, seems to have decided it can even the playing field by peeling Jews away from the Democrats with promises to do whatever Israel wants. So we have the very strange (but quite real) prospect of Jews increasingly throwing in their lot with the party of Christian extremists whose ranks also include violent antiSemites.

Interesting times. We'll see how this plays out. My family is Jewish and I have not been shy in telling them that alliances with the GOP for short-term gains for Israel is not a wise policy. The GOP establishment are not antiSemtic but the base often is, and if Trump's candidacy shows anything it's that the base is in control of the Republicans.

But we'll see.

niyiakinlabu 11 Sep 2015 15:29

Central question: how come nobody talks about Israel's nukes?

hello1678 -> BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 14:02

Iran will not accept being forced into dependence on outside powers. We may dislike their government but they have as much right as anyone else to enrich their own fuel.

JackHep 11 Sep 2015 13:30

Netanyahu is an example of all that is bad about the Israeli political, hence military industrial, establishment. Why Cameron's government allowed him on British soil is beyond belief. Surely the PM's treatment of other "hate preachers" would not have been lost on Netanyahu? Sadly our PM seems to miss the point with Israel.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10692563/David-Cameron-tells-Israelis-about-his-Jewish-ancestors.html

talenttruth 11 Sep 2015 13:12

The American Warmonger Establishment (that now fully entrenched "Military Industrial Complex" against which no more keen observer than President Dwight Eisenhower warned us), is rip-shit over the Iran Agreement. WHAT? We can't Do More War? That will be terrible for further increasing our obscene 1-percent wealth. Let's side with Israeli wingnut Netanyahu, who cynically leverages "an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye" to hold his "Power."

And let's be treasonous against the United States by trying to undermine U.S. Foreign Policy FOR OUR OWN PROFIT. We are LONG overdue for serious jail time for these sociopaths, who already have our country "brainwashed" into 53% of our budget going to the War Profiteers and to pretending to be a 19th century Neo-Colonial Power -- in an Endless State of Eternal War. These people are INSANE. Time to simply say so.

Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:58

At the rally to end the Iran deal in the Capitol on Wednesday, one of the AIPAC worshipping attendees had this to say to Jim Newell of Slate:

""Obama is a black, Jew-hating, jihadist putting America and Israel and the rest of the planet in grave danger," said Bob Kunst of Miami. Kunst-pairing a Hillary Clinton rubber mask with a blue T-shirt reading "INFIDEL"-was holding one sign that accused Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry of "Fulfilling Hitler's Dreams" and another that queried, "DIDN'T WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM 1938?"

His only reassurance was that, when Iran launches its attack on the mainland, it'll be stopped quickly by America's heavily armed citizenry."

That is indicative of the mindset of those opposed to the agreement.

Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:47

AIPAC is a dangerous anti-american organization, and a real and extant threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. Any elected official acting in concert with AIPAC is colluding with a foreign government to harm the U.S. and should be considered treasonous and an enemy of the American people.

tunejunky 11 Sep 2015 12:47

AIPAC, its constituent republicans, and the government of Israel all made the same mistake in a common episode of hubris. by not understanding the American public, war, and without the deference shown from a proxy to its hegemon, Israel's right wing has flown the Israeli cause into a wall. not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans, the Israeli government acted as a spoiled first-born - while to American eyes it was a greedy, ungrateful ward foisted upon barely willing hands. it presumed far too much and is receiving the much deserved rebuke.

impartial12 11 Sep 2015 12:37

This deal is the best thing that happened in the region in a while. We tried war and death. It didn't work out. Why not try this?

[Dec 05, 2017] 2014 was the yeat cold War 2 started in full force

Today we know that the stupid denigration of the Sochi Olympics in "western" propaganda media was part of the plan for the coup in Ukraine. On of distinct features of psychopaths is a lack of 'strategic empathy'. One one commenter noted: "for me personally, discussing and seeking ideas an alternatives to the financial oligarchy hiding underneath the us$ is worth it.. it has nothing to do with Putin, or only in so far as he represents an alternative - something that western countries are not offering.. i "
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. is ill informed about and underestimating Russia. Therein lies the possibility of serious miscalculations. ..."
"... Born in Krym, I came to the US critical of USSR, but was astounded at the viciousness (and lies) of anti-Soviet propaganda. Nothing prepared me for that. After the fall, there seemed to be a short respite - but now it's full speed ahead - see if we can replicate the worst of the Cold War. Simply heart-breaking... how much better the planet would be if the two countries cooperated. ..."
"... for me personally, discussing and seeking ideas an alternatives to the financial oligarchy hiding underneath the us$ is worth it.. it has nothing to do with putin, or only in so far as he represents an alternative - something that western countries are not offering.. i ..."
"... it might not be any different in russia, but the financial demons that are pushing for global domination via the us$ are no friends of mine or of the planet ..."
"... 2015 is likely to be a dangerous year because the Empire is going for broke, as unpleasantly as possible. But the bloodiness of its intentions is now amplified by economic war; and cutthroat oil devaluation may backfire, leaving them to stumble down unpredictable paths; and it is obvious that the ruling class is exposed by its desperation , with a more fragile hold of the reins than they realize. Their confidence is just as puffed up as their hubris. ..."
"... I believe that using a given Olympics as a platform to advertise one's country to the world is utterly futile, because no Olympics are ever even going to come close to the 1936 Summer Olympics, because of how Leni Riefenstahl filmed them in Olympia. Rammstein have kindly selected the highlights of Riefenstahl's brilliant film and used them in the video of their cover of Depeche Mode's Stripped. ..."
"... It should be noted that at the climax of the video – a throng of women gymnasts gleefully and ecstatically swinging their arms in perfect synchrony – the video cuts to a flying American flag taking up the whole screen. This is the only footage that is in the Rammstein video that was not taken from Riefenstahl's film. The message is clear: America has replaced Germany as the seat of fascism. ..."
"... blind worship of anything or anyone capitalist and representing the ruling classes is something to be skeptical and distrustful of. The ruling class is mostly capitalists and populism is a tool for such folks and not typically a core belief. ..."
"... Anyway, I say so far so good. I love Putin for his 2014 actions in Syria or Ukraine, which blocked Western imperial wins and saved many innocent lives. ..."
"... The few Ukie/NATO trolls that habituate themselves here say the same things over and over. Its amazing to see how many ways they can find to say "Putin lover" over and over again in the same paragraph, and literally nothing else. ..."
"... In the end they often achieve their goal because when your shilling for a lie, muddying the waters is as good as a win. ..."
"... It is not a bug, it is a feature - in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya .... ..."
"... Furthermore, the majority don't give a shit about history, other countries, or their history. ..."
"... It's not simply about the uneducated masses, the leaders are uniformly educated at conformist, grade-inflated Ivy League or Ivy League equivalent institutions where anyone, even George Bush Jr., can graduate with a B- average. ..."
"... Obama is disengaged, an affirmative action actor/spokesmodel who'd rather be smoking a joint at his Hawaii beach house. Biden and Bush are similar, but also morons. ..."
"... It is clear to me that 'b' overestimates the numerical strength and political power of the "non-poodle" components of Europe. ..."
"... It is clear to me that Germany in particular is a "poodle", as the saying goes, and in other words German political society is committed to being in alignment with the USA for good and for ill, for better and for worse. ..."
"... I expect him to remain a figurehead, but I expect the militias to continue to assert themselves. We'll see what comes of the prosecutions, that will be a tell. ..."
"... "It is therefore quite possible that Poroshenko is simply seeking to gain time and work on preparing the country for an all-out war, even though it is clear that people on all sides will suffer as a result. Or at the very least that he will be unable to stop the war drums even if he wishes to." ..."
Jan 05, 2015 | moonofalabama.org

The most moving event to me in 2014 was the closing ceremony (vid, best parts of opening start here) of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Today we know that the stupid denigration of the Sochi Olympics in "western" propaganda media was part of the plan for the coup in Ukraine.

That illegal regime change was itself part of a bigger plan to restart a cold war, which will allow the U.S. to assert even more control over Europe, and eventually for regime change in Russia.

I am confident that in 2015 the non-poodle parts of Europe and Russia itself will assert themselves and block and counter the neo-imperial U.S. moves. As my Do Svidanya Sochi piece said:

The Russians will be very proud of these games. They will be grateful to their government and president for having delivered them. The internal and external message is understood: Russia has again found itself and it is stronger than ever.

The U.S. is ill informed about and underestimating Russia. Therein lies the possibility of serious miscalculations.

My hope for 2015 is that any miscalculations will be avoided and that peace will mostly prevail.

My very best wishes to all of you for a happy year 2015.

Posted by b at 12:19 PM | Comments (56)

KMF | Dec 31, 2014 12:50:24 PM | 2

Happy new year to you too.

On what you say: 'Today we know that the stupid denigration of the Sochi Olympics in "western" propaganda media was part of the plan for the coup in Ukraine.' This strikes me as placing too much emphasis on design as opposed to miscalculation, or perhaps, as this blogpost suggests, a lack of 'strategic empathy': http://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/the-need-for-strategic-empathy/

GoraDiva | Dec 31, 2014 1:33:23 PM | 6

Best to you and thanks for running a great blog!

Born in Krym, I came to the US critical of USSR, but was astounded at the viciousness (and lies) of anti-Soviet propaganda. Nothing prepared me for that. After the fall, there seemed to be a short respite - but now it's full speed ahead - see if we can replicate the worst of the Cold War. Simply heart-breaking... how much better the planet would be if the two countries cooperated.

Combining Russian knowledge and creativity with American ingenuity and entrepreneurship... - yes, one can only dream. All we have now is an unstoppable desire to dominate and a complete failure of imagination. But nothing lasts forever... so let's hope for a brighter and more honest future.

Oui | Dec 31, 2014 3:19:45 PM | 7

Great stuff!

Oliver Stone on the narrative USA In Ukraine. Always love those comments, 2,473 and counting. Links to Pepe Escobar's analysis "The new European 'arc of instability,'" which indicates growing turbulence in 2015, as the US cannot tolerate the idea of any rival economic entity.

james | Dec 31, 2014 6:56:35 PM | 17

hey sloth.. for me personally, discussing and seeking ideas an alternatives to the financial oligarchy hiding underneath the us$ is worth it.. it has nothing to do with putin, or only in so far as he represents an alternative - something that western countries are not offering.. i

live in canada and when i see the country being raped by corps that have only as much concern for the environment as our politicians will demand, i get discouraged. these same politicians don't represent me or ordinary canucks, but these same corps wanting to take the resources while giving few jobs in return..

it might not be any different in russia, but the financial demons that are pushing for global domination via the us$ are no friends of mine or of the planet..

they will switch to another whore when the us$ is no more.. this isn't about hero worship.. it's about recognizing how we in the west are being conned and lied to by financial interests who own the press and have nothing to do with my best interests.. no hero worship on my part.

you saying folks put putin on a pedestal is your own wishful thinking bullshit.

okie farmer | Dec 31, 2014 7:05:26 PM | 18

BBC World Service this morning said Moscow's riot police had dispersed Navalny's demonstrators keeping them off the sidewalks etc. I watched a live feed of the demonstration for hours, I counted about 80 demonstrators and about 20 police. Actually the demonstration was in a small plaza and no one was "dispersed". The police, however, were on the sidewalks watching the demonstrators in the plaza, which BBC turned on it's head for propaganda purposes.

Copeland | Dec 31, 2014 8:43:40 PM | 23

2015 is likely to be a dangerous year because the Empire is going for broke, as unpleasantly as possible. But the bloodiness of its intentions is now amplified by economic war; and cutthroat oil devaluation may backfire, leaving them to stumble down unpredictable paths; and it is obvious that the ruling class is exposed by its desperation , with a more fragile hold of the reins than they realize. Their confidence is just as puffed up as their hubris.

I go into the New Year cheering b, our host at this bar. And I feel so much respect for those among us who resist, who constantly refuse to capitulate to the Forces of Darkness; and so I believe the spirit that sustains us will be here in abundance, in 2015: solidarity, imagination and ingenuity, indignation and revolt, love and catharsis, all strength of character to encourage, and yes, an ample measure of good luck.

May we live to see a better year.

Demian | Dec 31, 2014 10:18:13 PM | 26

To address the matter of the Sochi Olympics. I had wondered about what the performances were like, and since I don't have a TV, b's linking to a video of the highlights was the first opportunity I had to see what the Russians had done in an apparent effort to represent Russia as a solid part of Europe. (This is what reports said was the purpose of putting so much effort into these Olympics. Warning: I am not into ballet.)

I believe that using a given Olympics as a platform to advertise one's country to the world is utterly futile, because no Olympics are ever even going to come close to the 1936 Summer Olympics, because of how Leni Riefenstahl filmed them in Olympia. Rammstein have kindly selected the highlights of Riefenstahl's brilliant film and used them in the video of their cover of Depeche Mode's Stripped.

This is some of the best film making I have ever seen. Every single scene in the Rammstein video is mind blowing. Particularly notable are the sequence with the girls swinging their arms in tandem and the women and men diving into water. As far as I know, there is nothing like that elsewhere in cinema. It is a war crime that with cinematography and editing like that, Riefenstahl wasn't permitted by the occupying powers to continue making films.

It should be noted that at the climax of the video – a throng of women gymnasts gleefully and ecstatically swinging their arms in perfect synchrony – the video cuts to a flying American flag taking up the whole screen. This is the only footage that is in the Rammstein video that was not taken from Riefenstahl's film. The message is clear: America has replaced Germany as the seat of fascism.

Compared to Olympia, what the Russians did with the Sochi Olympics is nothing but Kitsch.

jfl | Jan 1, 2015 12:23:07 AM | 27

And in addition to Saker himself and Paul Craig, there is the WHITE PAPER posted by the former and alluded to by the latter : The DOUBLE HELIX: CHINA-RUSSIA. Seems very solid.

And towards the end, the Larchmonter makes some interesting observations on North Korea, and so, obliquely on the 'Lost U.S. Credibility On Cyber Claims'.

fairleft | Jan 1, 2015 6:29:10 AM | 29

slothrop | Dec 31, 2014 6:08:50 PM | 14

I don't see b or this blog in that way, but blind worship of anything or anyone capitalist and representing the ruling classes is something to be skeptical and distrustful of. The ruling class is mostly capitalists and populism is a tool for such folks and not typically a core belief.

But Putin's actions show he _is_ a real Russian nationalist, and he has a real-world, non-imperialist understanding of what Russian nationalism covers and doesn't cover.

Anyway, I say so far so good. I love Putin for his 2014 actions in Syria or Ukraine, which blocked Western imperial wins and saved many innocent lives. I just wish he (and China) had woken up sooner, in 2013, and maybe the rape of Libya could've been prevented. So, Putin is a major actor in world affairs, he's on the anti-imperial side of history, and as far as I can tell he is on the side of all who fight the Western financial borg's world dominance and austerity crusade.

However, the next twenty years is about China and what it decides to do and who it decides ultimately to ally with. Maybe Putin fever can be cured a bit if we imagine him checking his every major move with Xi Jinping. Quiet Xi is the real man going forward. Not as much fun at parties, not as animated facial expressions, not as direct or as artful in expression as Putin, but he (and what he represents) is the real power.

And, if Xi and Putin remain allied, this may really turn out to be the Chinese century. Hope no feelings are hurt but I don't guess it will be known as the Eurasian Century.

That said, the only thing I remember from Sochi are Yu Na and the other beautiful Asian figure skaters.

Happy New Year everyone!

guest77 | Jan 1, 2015 2:37:36 PM | 33

Looks like the US is already playing its games in Cuba.

Here is an event presented in the New York Times: a "sweeping roundup of dissidents":

[A performance artist] was detained at her mother's home hours before the event and released Wednesday afternoon, along with several others.

That's a "sweeping roundup of dissidents" - briefly questioning someone at their mother's home.

Of course the job of the New York Times is to blow things out of proportion. How else to can the NYTimes present the enforcement of mundane laws in Cuba (laws which all countries have) to the American people, who see their police forces daily murder people? The NYTimes has a job to do (as does any propagandist): they have to convince the home population that they are living under the best conditions possible while giving the impression that life anywhere else is a dystopian nightmare. Truth be told - for a significant sector of the US population, as events in NYC and Ferguson have recently shown - the reality is exactly reversed!

Consider too, what she was briefly detained for - seeking to assemble without a permit - and ask yourself: what happens in the United States when people attempt to assemble without a permit in some of the most heavily trafficked areas of the US largest cities? What would occur, should, say, the New Black Panther Party attempted to set up a rally in Times Square unannounced? What happened, indeed, when the Obama Administration had enough of the Occupy Movement? The tear gassing, the pepper spraying, the ejection of people from a park where they had a right to be.

Face the facts. The US allows no public displays of dissent without the approval of the authorities. Yet what is presented in the US as "public order" is, in Cuba, portrayed as some sort of totalitarian repression. This is sheer hypocrisy from those who have an interest in smashing an independent government in Cuba, and convincing the American people that we live in a "free" society.

It sort of says it all that she chose the location of the memorial to the sunken Maine Battleship - the incident that brought the most recent wave of US Imperialism to Cuba.

"She then announced a news conference and public gathering on the Malecσn, ...at the memorial to the Maine, the American battleship that sank in Havana Harbor in 1898."
guest77 | Jan 1, 2015 2:53:39 PM | 34
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Matthew 7:5

There is no statement more appropriate to present to those sitting in the US, smug in their conviction that their country is the righteous one, and that Russia and "evil" Putin are the aggressors.

The fact is, there is little in Russian behavior - at home or internationally - which one can point at negatively in which the United States doesn't out do them by a long stretch. From the military sphere, to the way it treats its smaller partners and neighbors, to the way it provides for its people at home.

May 2015 be the year hypocrisy faces consequences.

nomas | Jan 1, 2015 4:02:32 PM | 37

@ Oui @ 7

Yes that's great stuff. Cant say I enjoy reading the comments but over and over it becomes clear that the pro-US, pro NATO, pro IMF rah rah fools have NOTHING.

The most they can manage is "Putin lover" or "why don't you marry Putin if you love him so much"...etc., some turn it around and say instead "why don't you move to Russia if you hate America so much"..LOL.

The few Ukie/NATO trolls that habituate themselves here say the same things over and over. Its amazing to see how many ways they can find to say "Putin lover" over and over again in the same paragraph, and literally nothing else. When they do attempt to argue the extant facts they merely invert them and mimic the arguments of we anti imperialists, standing reality on its head. These are classic, textbook reactionary rhetorical "styles"...They cant argue facts because any facts they are willing to admit to almost never support their opinions. In the end they often achieve their goal because when your shilling for a lie, muddying the waters is as good as a win. The best way to deal with these trolls and shills ? Don't engage them directly at all, but address their nonsense obliquely and restate the true facts clearly and repeatedly .

Nana2007 | Jan 1, 2015 4:25:30 PM | 38

fairleft@29- Watching the 2008 Chinese Olympics opening ceremony I remember being bowled over by the precision and artistry. I remember thinking we in the US are truly screwed. With Sochi not so much -- kitschy as you would expect. However I think Russia's actions in 2014 were duly impressive. Your post made me think of Putin re Knut Rockne's quote: "One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it."

It 's funny I know next to nothing of Xi Jingping- I'll have to remedy that this year.

Happy new year everybody.

somebody | Jan 1, 2015 4:58:24 PM | 39

slothrop | Dec 31, 2014 6:08:50 PM | 14

I agree, it is not rational. But would you really say causing something like this is Putin's fault?

From the Washington Post

But now several of these units, especially those linked to oligarchs or the far right, are revealing a dark side. In recent months, they have threatened and kidnapped government officials, boasted that they will take power if Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko fails to defeat Russia, and they served as armed muscle in illegal attempts to take over businesses or seize local governments.

In August, members of the Dnepr-1 battalion kidnapped the head of Ukraine's state land fund to prevent him replacing an official deemed inimical to business interests. On Dec. 15, these volunteer units interdicted a humanitarian convoy destined for the Russia-controlled Donbas, where a major emergency is emerging.

On Dec. 23, the Azov brigade announced that it was taking control of order in the eastern port city of Mariupol, without official approval from local or national officials.

Government prosecutors have opened 38 criminal cases against members of the Aidar battalion alone.

A pattern of blatant disregard for the chain of command, lawlessness and racketeering is posing a growing threat to Ukraine's stability at a critical juncture. Concern about volunteer groupings is widely shared in the Poroshenko administration, which reportedly raised the question of dealing with these dangers at a meeting in November of his National Security and Defense Council.

Most alarming, however, is the role of Ukraine's interior minister, Arsen Avakov. Instead of reining in these fighters, conducting background checks on their records and reassigning those who pass muster, he instead has offered them new heavy weapons, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, and given them enhanced brigade status. Amazingly, in September he even named a leader of the neo-Nazi Azov brigade to head the police in the Kiev region.

Equally worrying is the activity of Ihor Kolomoyskyy, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk oblast. Kolomoyskyy, who played a crucial and widely respected role in stabilizing his East Ukrainian region, is now flouting central authority by interdicting aid convoys headed to the Donbas and permitting brigades he finances to engage in activities that contravene the law.

What can be done? Poroshenko clearly wants this problem resolved but has been reluctant or unable to act. For him to succeed will likely require coordination with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who has also been slow to address the threat, possibly because Avakov is one of his key political allies.

Now, we all know that Yatseniuk is Victoria Nuland's guy - so the US support war lordism in Ukraine?

It is not a bug, it is a feature - in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya ....

Demian | Jan 1, 2015 5:33:31 PM | 40

@somebody #39:

haha, here is how the author is described in that op-ed:

Adrian Karatnycky is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where he co-directs the "Ukraine in Europe" initiative.
The author complains about "warlordism" in Ukraine, but it is the "Ukraine in Europe" "initiative" which has produced the warlordism. You really have to wonder how these people can live with themselves and keep on producing such pieces which studiously ignore the obvious.

brian | Jan 1, 2015 5:45:35 PM | 42

Today in Kiev, a torchlight parade honoring Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMZPV1MmrLo

MRW | Jan 1, 2015 8:27:59 PM | 44

GoraDiva | Dec 31, 2014 1:33:23 PM | @6

I couldn't agree with you more, GoraDiva. But you have to understand how badly educated we Americans are. Furthermore, the majority don't give a shit about history, other countries, or their history.

And, literally, no Americans know how well-educated Russians are who went to university under the USSR system; they have no idea of the rigor. None. No one. They think Putin is some KGB agent who studied at the equivalent of a Police Academy, and managed to get lucky and win a few elections, and view him as someone similar to a Brooklyn mafia don. They don't know about Putin's Master's and PhD degrees, or what they were in.

They don't know that Lavrov can run rings around Kerry intellectually, and speaks, what? Five or six languages fluently?

They regurgitate what the former house-painter Sean Hannity thinks of Putin, who regurgitates what he heard growing up on the streets of New York. These guys don't read.

MRW | Jan 1, 2015 11:43:57 PM | 45

slothrop | Dec 31, 2014 6:08:50 PM | @14

I really don't understand why this blog became a living monument to Putin. At times, I think that b's hatred of the US has something to do with the gutless murder of civilian Hamburgers by allied bombers. On the other hand, the Red Army raped and murdered countless thousands of German civilians. And rather unlike the Russians, the American occupation was colossally more favorable to Hamburgers that was to anyone living in the Soviet bloc.
Maybe reading some history will help.

A Serious Case of Mistaken Identity by Benjamin Schwarz, LA Times
http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jun/22/local/me-43656

But the biggy is what Eisenhower did to German POWs just after the war. He killed a million, dumped lye on them, and ground them into the dirt. Story in Saturday Night, 1989. Make sure you scroll down to see the photos. Eisenhower made them live in hole in the ground.
Eisenhower's Death Camps-The Last Dirty Secret of World War Two by historian James Basque
http://www.whale.to/b/bacque1.html

fairleft | Jan 1, 2015 11:53:29 PM | 46

MRW | Jan 1, 2015 8:27:59 PM | 44

It's not simply about the uneducated masses, the leaders are uniformly educated at conformist, grade-inflated Ivy League or Ivy League equivalent institutions where anyone, even George Bush Jr., can graduate with a B- average.

And then the magic of connections and just doing what you're told can push an unqualified, uninterested dolt all the way to the top or near top.

Looking at Obama/Biden, Bush/Cheney, the only one who seemed smart and who knew and cared about what he was doing was the sociopath Cheney.

Obama is disengaged, an affirmative action actor/spokesmodel who'd rather be smoking a joint at his Hawaii beach house. Biden and Bush are similar, but also morons.

A Presidential candidate who is engaged, very smart and well-informed sticks out like a sore thumb and has a hard time earning the trust of the powers that be. Hillary Clinton in 2008 is a good example. (She's done a lot (of horrible things) since then to earn the PTB's trust, though.)

For the reason that being smart, engaged and well-read means you are potentially independent-minded in a sudden crisis. What if, for example, a sudden huge economic/mortgage crisis occurs and the extremely obvious thing to do is help homeowners directly, let the foolish banks who bankrupted themselves suffer the consequences, and pour money into public works and workers' pockets? In such a crisis, the PTB wants a bored, conformist, "don't give a shit" President who'll do exactly what Goldman Sachs tells him to do, not a smart, engaged, well-informed and potentially independent thinker/decider.

So the U.S. will continue to have an intellectual deficit at the top, and Russia will continue to win diplomatic and other battles with the U.S. even in situations where it's significantly 'outweighed'. Brains are too untrustworthy, they make the Wall Street boys nervous.

somebody | Jan 2, 2015 12:02:10 AM | 47

rufus magister | Jan 1, 2015 8:13:33 PM | 43

You have the same problem as b. The world is shades of grey not good and bad.

The "novorussian" side is fighting in the areas where Ukrainian/Russian oligarchs have interests who lost when Yanukovich was ousted. By withdrawing his own Russian nationalist fanatics Putin left the field to them. The non-destruction and shake down of Mariupol is a good case study of what is going on. Kolomoisky (Dnepopetrovsk) is in a take over fight with Akhmetov (Donbass).

There seems to be an agreement between Putin, Poroshenko and the EU (devolution and Donbass remaining part of Ukraine), just Poroshenko has not got the power (the security/military apparatus is in the hands of the Yatseniuk/Avakov/Kolomoisky faction backed by Victoria Nuland) to deal. Poroshenko's statements are devoid of any logic as he tries to cover the divide in his political coalition. At the same time obviously, he is in it for himself. On the other hand there is the issue of the funding of the Novorussian side. A lot of that will be a shake down of the oligarchs, too, and the genie probably has come out of the bottle there, too.

There is something intriguing about the Dniepopetrovsk private civilian and military airport run by Kolomoisky's airline. And there is a gap in the conspiracy theories of the usual Russian linked, Western left media outlets. Indian media is full of it, just google it.

According to reports in the media, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to take off at 1 PM from Frankfurt on his way back to India from Brazil where he had gone for a meeting of the leaders of the BRICS countries. His flight eventually took off at 1:22 PM. Had Modi's flight taken off at 1 PM as the earlier reports had indicated, it would have been in the vicinity of the shooting within six minutes of the Malaysian Airlines flight being shot down. ... What makes the claim that MH 17 was mistaken for an Ukrainian military plane a highly questionable one is that the plane was just 20 miles from the Russian border and the Ukrainian government would not dare provoke Russia by sending military planes to cross over into Russian airspace. It is unlikely that the anyone could have mistaken a plane headed for Russia as an Ukrainian military aircraft. ... Modi's election in May as the Indian Prime Minister caused a huge geopolitical earthquake, and any harm to him will have great ramifications around the world.

Actually, Modi was on his return from Brazil where BRICS had just voted on the founding of a BRICS development bank.

Now, this is a very good conspiracy theory with all the necessary ingredients. How come this has been restricted to India?

fairleft | Jan 2, 2015 12:46:21 AM | 49

Well happy bad new year, the Western media works harder to whitewash fascist/Nazi Bandera. An absolutely brilliant comment by 'Jack' below the AFP puff piece:

This US imperialist propaganda piece must be written by one of the staff comedians! Bandera is Che Guevara! Chocolate king Poroshenko fought on the barricades!

Notice the backhanded support to these n@zis? Our propaganda machine wants you to think that only "Moscow" says Bandera fought on the side of Hitler and the N@zis. Notice how the article tries to justify Bandera's fighting with the n@zis by blaming the 1930s famine -- but not mentioning the famine affected the whole USSR and was made worse by US economic embargo (just like today!)

These are the n@zis on whom our US government of hypocrites spent 5 billion of our tax dollars to bring to power and overthrow an elected government. These n@zis have attacked all media and parties in Ukraine that oppose the US puppet junta.

The people of the east are overwhelmingly Russian speaking working class people, miners and factory workers, who refused their appointed oligarch governors and declared their independence of the junta.

Our US government wants to turn Ukraine into a low wage colony and establish first-strike nuclear missile bases in Ukraine directed against Russia. The restoration of capitalism in Ukraine has brought disaster.

No surprise that some US politicians mingle with N@zis in Louisiana!

brian | Jan 2, 2015 2:08:01 AM | 52

the nonpoodle parts of europe will have to be aware of sedition from its own peoples as with the various Arab springs and Ukraine's Maidan, where locals serve to agitate for a foreign power while talking about 'freedom and democracy'

Mina | Jan 2, 2015 2:25:14 AM | 53

Fascism in Ukraine
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/119309/World/International/Thousands-of-Ukraine-nationalists-march-in-Kiev.aspx

And happy new year to all here!

Ghubar Shabih | Jan 2, 2015 3:20:03 PM | 54

Sergey Lavrov said on 15 Dec 2014: "We have overestimated the independence of the European Union [from the US]." http://itar-tass.com/en/russia/767282 . Lavrov made that comment in contemplation of the trade sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia last summer & autumn including particularly the manner in which the sanctions were discussed and not debated by EU political society.

It is clear to me that 'b' overestimates the numerical strength and political power of the "non-poodle" components of Europe. 'b' makes a bold declaration in his above post that "I am confident that in 2015 the non-poodle parts of Europe and Russia itself will assert themselves and block and counter the neo-imperial U.S. moves."

It is clear to me that Germany in particular is a "poodle", as the saying goes, and in other words German political society is committed to being in alignment with the USA for good and for ill, for better and for worse.

I repeat, the "non-poodle parts of Europe" have no teeth in Europe. You've seen that consistently in recent years, and you've no intelligent basis for supposing you're not going to be seeing it in 2015.

rufus magister | Jan 2, 2015 9:12:58 PM | 56

s'body @ 47 --

I'm sorry that I did not make my intent clear. I've been posting about the dangers posed by the militias and the rivalry btw. Poroshenko and Kolomoisky for a bit (good to see the WaPo has caught up, as you advise in 39 -- NYT is my MSM paper-of-record of choice, so I don't see the Post, thanks). I offered it as evidence of growing discord amongst the junta, not praise for Poroshenko's virtue. I expect him to remain a figurehead, but I expect the militias to continue to assert themselves. We'll see what comes of the prosecutions, that will be a tell.

I see the junta as shades of black -- midnight, charcoal, jet, ebony, etc. The Opposition Bloc is grey.

More grist for the mill -- nice pc. from Fort Russ, Is Poroshenko Preparing for Peace or War?. The whole pc. is worth reading, thorough consideration of Poroshenko's position, but here's the bottom line.

"It is therefore quite possible that Poroshenko is simply seeking to gain time and work on preparing the country for an all-out war, even though it is clear that people on all sides will suffer as a result. Or at the very least that he will be unable to stop the war drums even if he wishes to."

[Dec 05, 2017] AFP Calling Americans A Great People Is Anti-American

In reality Ukraine is run by neoliberals. Still this is an interesting propaganda twist. Actually "antisemitism" bait works perfectly well in most cases.
moonofalabama.org

This, by AFP, is one of the most misleading propaganda efforts I have ever seen.

The headline:

Ukraine run by 'miserable' Jews: rebel chief

80% of the readers will not read more than that headline.

The first paragraph:

Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Ukraine's pro-Russian rebel chief on Monday branded the country's leaders "miserable" Jews in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe.

Of those 20% of the readers who will read the first paragraph only one forth will also read the second one. The "anti-semitic" accusation has thereby been planted in 95% of the readership. Now here is the second paragraph:

Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, claimed that Kiev's pro-Western leaders were "miserable representatives of the great Jewish people".

Saying that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were "miserable representatives of the great American people" would be "anti-American"? What is anti-semitic in calling "the Jewish people" "great"?

The AFP reporter and editor who put that up deserve an Orwellian reward. It is one of the most misleading quotations I have ever seen. Accusing Zakharchenko of anti-semitism when he is actually lauding Jews.

Now I do not agree with Zakharchenko. There is no such thing as "the Jewish people" in the sense of a racial or national determination. There are people of various nationalities and racial heritages who assert that they follow, or their ancestors followed, religious Jewish believes. Some of them may have been or are "great".

But that does not make them "the Jewish people" just like followers of Scientology do not make "the Scientologish people".

Posted by b at 06:51 AM | Comments (76)

jfl | Feb 3, 2015 8:27:41 AM | 4

@1

Saker has a link to the youtube, the audio in Russian with English subtitles. It begins at about 12:30.

@3

When Sarkozy came in AFP really hit the skids. Like the NYTimes and Bush XLIII.

Lysander | Feb 3, 2015 12:02:09 PM | 13
What Zacharchenko did that was unforgivable is to draw attention to the fact that Kiev's current leadership is largely Jewish. From Yats to Petro (Waltzman) Poroshenko To Igor Kolomoiski. No matter how gracefully Zach would put it, it is the content that they hate.

Not saying there is anything wrong with that, but I guess there are some who would rather you not notice.

Lone Wolf | Feb 3, 2015 2:01:47 PM | 20

Right-wing nazi-rag KyivPost has a miserable coverage of same piece. "Agence France-Presse: Russia's guy says Ukraine run by 'miserable Jews'" Zhakharchenko is "Russia's guy," his picture under the headline with a totally unrelated caption, subtitled by the first paragraph of the AFP fake "news" (sic!)"Ukraine's pro-Russian rebel chief on Monday branded the country's leaders "miserable" Jews in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe.", and a link to Yahoo news reproducing the AFP piece in full.

https://tinyurl.com/nes4o9g

Zionazi thieves stole the word "semitic" to mean "Jews," when in fact it comprehends many other languages and peoples. Zhakharchenko's AFP phony "anti-Semitic jibe" would be insulting to all these many peoples.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people

"...Semitic peoples and their languages, in ancient historic times (between the 30th and 20th centuries BC), covered a broad area which encompassed what are today the modern states and regions of Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and the Sinai Peninsula and Malta..."

...The word "Semite" and most uses of the word "Semitic" relate to any people whose native tongue is, or was historically, a member of the associated language family.[35][36] The term "anti-Semite", however, came by a circuitous route to refer most commonly to one hostile or discriminatory towards Jews in particular...[37]

Yet another historical theft by the so-called "chosen" crooks.

[Dec 05, 2017] Ukraine: draft dodgers face jail as Kiev struggles to find new fighter by Shaun Walker

This article is two years old, but still sounds current. The only difference now is that the conflict between Western nationalists and neoliberal central government of President Poroshenko became more acute. Nationalists do not understand that "The Moor has done his duty, Moor can go" and neoliberal government of Poroshenko do not need (and actually is afraid of) them.
Vr13vr: "Even in Kiev they view Western Ukrainians as strangers" Historically Kiev was a Russian speaking city. Western Ukrainians typically were called "zapadentsi".
Notable quotes:
"... Even in Kiev they view Western Ukrainians as strangers. ..."
"... So they didn't have any hate back towards the West Ukrainians. Besides, West Ukraine was sufficiently far from Donbass for Russians there not to feel threatened. ..."
"... So the Western [Ukrainians] hate towards Russians vs. Russian neutral attitude towards Ukrainians has existed for decades. ..."
"... "criminalizes the denial or justification of Russia's aggression against Ukraine" with a fine equivalent to 22 to 44,000 USD for the first offense and up to three years in prison for repeat offenders. ..."
"... But isn't it wrong that the faith of those people will depend on what EU or US will allow them to do rather than on their natural desire? How does it co-exist with all those democratic ideas. ..."
"... They key thing in all of this is to stop being naive. Learn it, remember it. Our media will only care for the "right" journalists and will throw campaigns only for them and there will be rallies only over the death of "right" people, while we won't pay attention to thousands of deaths of the "wrong" people. ..."
"... The US actively encouraged the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, a void filled by right wing nationalists and an act that led directly to the current conflict ..."
"... In turn, the maidan coup d'etat de facto disenfranchised the culturally russian majority in SE-ukr. ..."
"... the NW-ukr neonazi bands fighting in SE-ukr are de facto foreign in SE-ukr, both culturally and geo-politically, and are there to give this majority a lesson. ..."
"... In Zakarpattia Oblast, only 410 out of 1,110 people who received draft notices came to mobilization centers, Oleg Lysenko, a representative of General Staff said recently.(kyiv news) ..."
"... For some reason that isn't quite clear to me, discussion among Western experts has overwhelmingly centered not on the imminent economic apocalypse facing Kiev, but on whether or not the United States should supply it with advanced weapons systems to beat back the Russians. ..."
"... It might be inconvenient to note, but Russia is positively crucial to Ukraine's economy not merely as a source of raw materials and energy but as a destination for industrial production that would otherwise be unable to find willing customers. According to Ukrainian government data, Russia accounted for roughly a quarter of the country's total foreign trade. The equivalent figure from the Russian side? Somewhere between 6 and 7%. Given that reality, Russia's leverage over Ukraine is obviously much greater that Ukraine's leverage over Russia. ..."
"... During the Vietnam War, the draft was a huge issue with many thousands of young men going to Canada, thousand who were in the military receiving less than honorable discharges and still others doing jail time. The war was view as an unjust war by the better educated and those who didn't have to enlist for food and shelter ("three hots and a cot"). ..."
"... The rebellion against the draft in Ukraine tells us that the war against the people in the Eastern area is an unjust war. People don't need a degree in history to understand when they are being use in ways that is not in their interest. We find only the fascist battalion who are hungry for this war. The US and EU should keep out of this internal civil struggle in Ukraine. ..."
Feb 10, 2015 | The Guardian

vr13vr -> jezzam 10 Feb 2015 18:35

The distrust between the West and the rest of Ukraine is not 14 months old. It has always existed. Since the War at the very list. Even in Kiev they view Western Ukrainians as strangers. Western Ukrainians would call everyone a moscovite, and in the East and the South, the Russians were neutral because their lives were much closer to Russia than to all this Ukrainian bullshit. So they didn't have any hate back towards the West Ukrainians. Besides, West Ukraine was sufficiently far from Donbass for Russians there not to feel threatened.

So the Western [Ukrainians] hate towards Russians vs. Russian neutral attitude towards Ukrainians has existed for decades.

Systematic

A new law to likely be approved by the Rada "criminalizes the denial or justification of Russia's aggression against Ukraine" with a fine equivalent to 22 to 44,000 USD for the first offense and up to three years in prison for repeat offenders.

Meanwhile, while the law is not approved,

In February 8 in Mariupol a rally was planned against mobilization. On the eve the adviser of Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said that everyone who comes there will be arrested, "Everyone who comes to the rally tomorrow against mobilization, will be delayed for several hours for identification and after fingerprinting and photographing until released. Let me remind you that I and my fellow lawmaker Boris Filatov has filed a bill to impose criminal liability for public calls for the failure of mobilization "- he wrote on his page on Facebook. As a result, the action did not take place.

http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2015/02/10_a_6407945.shtml

vr13vr -> SallyWa 10 Feb 2015 18:25

With all the hot headed claims of how the Soviet Union just grabbed the piece of land from Poland, Ukraine has a good chance to correct those misdeeds. Give West Ukraine to Poland, Transkarpathia - to Hungary, and the South West - to Romania. That would be restoring historical injustice.

vr13vr -> SallyWa 10 Feb 2015 18:18

But isn't it wrong that the faith of those people will depend on what EU or US will allow them to do rather than on their natural desire? How does it co-exist with all those democratic ideas.

Besides, federalization may or may not protect them. Kiev may or may not adhere to rules in the future, there will be a tax issue, there will be cultural issues as Kiev will try to Ukrainize those areas subtly - you know those programs that are not anti-Russian per se but that increase Ukrainian presence, thus diluting the original population. Remaining under the same roof with Kiev and L'vov isn't really the best solution for Donbass if they want to preserve their independence and identity.

SallyWa -> VladimirM 10 Feb 2015 18:16

They key thing in all of this is to stop being naive. Learn it, remember it. Our media will only care for the "right" journalists and will throw campaigns only for them and there will be rallies only over the death of "right" people, while we won't pay attention to thousands of deaths of the "wrong" people.

theeskimo -> ridibundus 10 Feb 2015 18:02

The US actively encouraged the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, a void filled by right wing nationalists and an act that led directly to the current conflict. Now they want to arm a leadership with no national mandate who have ceded responsibility for prosecuting their war in the east to an ultra nationalist bunch of thugs.

I think it's you who should keep up with what's happening. By the time this is over, Ukraine will be no more.

newsflashUK 10 Feb 2015 18:01

Scraping the barrel for cannon fodder by pro-NATO puppet Poroshenko regime: "The draft officers have been tapping men from 20 to 60 years old and women of 20 to 50 years old with relevant military service experience and training. The age limit for senior officers that could be mobilized is 65 years. Vladyslav Seleznev, spokesman of General Staff, said" (Kyiv news).

theeskimo -> ridibundus 10 Feb 2015 18:02

The US actively encouraged the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Ukraine, a void filled by right wing nationalists and an act that led directly to the current conflict. Now they want to arm a leadership with no national mandate who have ceded responsibility for prosecuting their war in the east to an ultra nationalist bunch of thugs.

I think it's you who should keep up with what's happening. By the time this is over, Ukraine will be no more.

newsflashUK 10 Feb 2015 18:01

Scraping the barrel for cannon fodder by pro-NATO puppet Poroshenko regime: "The draft officers have been tapping men from 20 to 60 years old and women of 20 to 50 years old with relevant military service experience and training. The age limit for senior officers that could be mobilized is 65 years. Vladyslav Seleznev, spokesman of General Staff, said" (Kyiv news).

erpiu 10 Feb 2015 17:59

The focus on Putin and geopolitics forces the actual ukr people out of the picture and blurrs understanding.

The maidan was a genuinely popular NW-ukr rebellion after NW-ukr had lost all recent pre-2014 elections to the culturally Russian majority of voters mainly in SE-ukr.

In turn, the maidan coup d'etat de facto disenfranchised the culturally russian majority in SE-ukr.

the NW-ukr neonazi bands fighting in SE-ukr are de facto foreign in SE-ukr, both culturally and geo-politically, and are there to give this majority a lesson.

USA+EU weapons would only help the punitive "pacification" of SE ukr, the place that was deciding UKR elections until the coup.

The real festering conflict is the incompatibility of the anti-Russian feelings in NW ukr (little else is shared by the various maidan factions) with the cccp/russian heritage of most people in SE ukr... that incompatibility is the main problem that needs to be "solved".

Neither the maidan coup nor yanukovich&the pre-coup electoral dominance of SE ukr voters were ever stable solutions.

newsflashUK 10 Feb 2015 17:57

In Zakarpattia Oblast, only 410 out of 1,110 people who received draft notices came to mobilization centers, Oleg Lysenko, a representative of General Staff said recently.(kyiv news)

SallyWa 10 Feb 2015 17:51

Ukraine's Economy Is Collapsing And The West Doesn't Seem To Care

For some reason that isn't quite clear to me, discussion among Western experts has overwhelmingly centered not on the imminent economic apocalypse facing Kiev, but on whether or not the United States should supply it with advanced weapons systems to beat back the Russians.

It might be inconvenient to note, but Russia is positively crucial to Ukraine's economy not merely as a source of raw materials and energy but as a destination for industrial production that would otherwise be unable to find willing customers. According to Ukrainian government data, Russia accounted for roughly a quarter of the country's total foreign trade. The equivalent figure from the Russian side? Somewhere between 6 and 7%. Given that reality, Russia's leverage over Ukraine is obviously much greater that Ukraine's leverage over Russia.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2015/02/09/ukraines-economy-is-collapsing-and-the-west-doesnt-seem-to-care/

TET68HUE 10 Feb 2015 17:35

During WW 2 Draft dodging was almost unheard of. The war was perceived as "just", a righteous cause. Thus, men correctly saw it as their duty to take up arms against fascism.

During the Vietnam War, the draft was a huge issue with many thousands of young men going to Canada, thousand who were in the military receiving less than honorable discharges and still others doing jail time. The war was view as an unjust war by the better educated and those who didn't have to enlist for food and shelter ("three hots and a cot").

The rebellion against the draft in Ukraine tells us that the war against the people in the Eastern area is an unjust war. People don't need a degree in history to understand when they are being use in ways that is not in their interest. We find only the fascist battalion who are hungry for this war. The US and EU should keep out of this internal civil struggle in Ukraine.

[Dec 05, 2017] Russians are concerned with the possibility of organizing Maidan in their country by Western intelligence and internal neoliberal fifth column

Now they should be twice concerned. But, in general, color revolutions became less effective in xUSSR space as more and more people started to understand the mechanics and financial source of "pro-democracy" (aka pro-Washington) protesters. BTW what a skillful and shameless presstitute is this Shaun Walker
Notable quotes:
"... Just because some Russians are paranoid about US interference, that doesn't mean they are wrong. ..."
"... The patriots are most probably a neurotic sort of reaction to what most Russians now perceive to be an attempt from NSA, CIA..and more in general of the US/EU geo-political strategies (much more of the US, of course, as the EU and Britain simply follow the instructions) to dismantle the present Russian system (the political establishment first and then the ARMY). ..."
"... Contrary to what is happening here in the west (where all media seem to the have joined the club of the one-way-thinking against Russia), some important media of that country do have a chance to criticize Putin and his policies. ..."
"... a minority can express their opinion, as long as they do not attempt to overthrow the parliament, which is an expression of Russian people. ..."
"... If you scrap off the BS from this article they do have a point, because it has been a popular tactic of a certain country to change another countries government *Cough* America *Cough* by organising protests/riots within a target country ..."
"... if that doesnt work they escalate that to fire fights and if that doesn't work they move onto say Downing a aeroplane and very quickly claiming its the other side fault without having any evidence or claim they have WMD's well anything to try to take the moral high ground on the situation even thou they caused the situation usual for selfish, arrogant and greedy reasons. ..."
"... Weren't the Maidan protests anti-democracy since they used violence to remove a democratically elected leader? Just another anti-ruskie hit piece from the Guardian. ..."
"... In the US you only get 2 choices - it may be twice as many as you get with a dictatorship but it's hardly democracy. ..."
"... Also the 'election' of the coup government was unconstitutional under article 111 of the Ukraine's own Constitution (Goggle - check for yourself). This is an undisputed and uncomfortable 'fact' which the US and the EU never mention (never) when drawn on the issue. ..."
"... A more interesting story would have been the similarities between this anti maidan group in Russia and Maidan in Kiev. Both have have their military arm, are dangerous and violent, and both very nationalistic and right wing. Both appear to have strong links to politicians as well. Such an analysis might show that Russian and Ukrainian nationalist groups have more in common than they would like to believe. ..."
"... Oh I see Russia has re-entered the media cross hairs in a timely fashion. I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks. ..."
"... And the US will continue to murder innocent civilians in the Middle East, Northern Africa and wherever else it wants to plant its bloody army boots. And will also continue to use its NGO's and CIA to foment colour revolutions in other countries, as it did in Ukraine ..."
"... Yes. Decisions should be made in Kiev, but why are they being made in Washington then? ..."
"... Potroshenko was elected with a turnout of 46%. Of this he scored say over half, hardly a majority ..."
"... "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom." ..."
"... After witnessing what happened during Maidan, and subsequently to Ukraine, I understand some Russians reluctance to see a similar scenario played out in Russia. That being said, I am also wary of vigilantism. ..."
"... As for the anti-Maidan quotes - of course that was organised. Nuland said so, for crying out loud. Kerry and others were there, Brennan was there. Of course the Western powers were partly involved. And it wasn't peaceful protests, it was violence directed against elected officials, throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen. It culminated in the burning alive of 40+ people in Odessa. ..."
"... There were students from Lviv who said they were given "college credit" for being at Maidan. ..."
"... Putinbot = someone who has a different opinion to you ..."
"... How about the reporting on the indiscriminate slaughter of Eastern Ukrainians by Kiev's government troops and Nazi battalions?? ..."
Jan 16, 2015 | The Guardian

Patriotic group formed to defend Russia against pro-democracy protesters by Shaun Walker

The group, which calls itself anti-Maidan, said on Thursday it would fight any attempts to bring Russians on to the streets to protest against the government. Its name is a reference to the Maidan protests in Kiev last year that eventually led to the toppling of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych.

"All street movements and colour revolutions lead to blood. Women, children and old people suffer first," said Dmitry Sablin, previously a long-standing MP from President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, who recently became a senator in Russia's upper house of parliament.

"It is not acceptable for the minority to force its will upon the majority, as happened in Ukraine," he added. "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom."

jgbg -> RunLukeRun, 16 Jan 2015 06:36

BINGO....well done. You've got Neo Nazi's, US Aid, CIA infiltrators, indiscriminate slaughter and Nazi battalions....all in just 8 sentences. great job

I guess these are exactly the sort of people who will enrich the EU:

Nazis on the march in Kiev this month

Would you like to claim that the Azov and Aidar battalions aren't a bunch of Nazis?

Here's a Guardian article about Azov.

The State Department funding of NGOs in Ukraine "promoting the right kind of democracy" to the tune of $5 billion is a matter of record, courtesy of "Fuck the EU" Nuland.

As for CIA involvement, the director of the CIA has visited Ukraine at least twice in 2014 - once under a false identity. If the head of the equivalent Russian organisation had made similar visits, that would be a problem, no?

TuleCarbonari -> garethgj 16 Jan 2015 06:21

Yes, he should leave Syria to paid mercenaries. Do you really want us to believe you still don't know those fighters in Syria are George Soros' militias? Come on man, go get yourself informed.

jgbg -> Strummered 16 Jan 2015 06:19

You can't campaign for greater democracy, it's dangerous, it's far too democratic.

The USA cannot pay people to campaign in Russia to have the right kind of democracy i.e. someone acceptable to the US government at the helm.

Instead of funding anti-government NGOs in other countries, perhaps the USA should first spend the money fixing the huge inequalities and other problems in their own country.

jgbg -> Glenn J. Hill 16 Jan 2015 06:12

What???? Have you been smoking?? Sorry but your Putin Thugs are NOT funded by my country.

I think he is referring the the NGOs which have spent large sums of money on "promoting democracy" in Georgia and Ukraine. Many of these are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the US State Department. Some have funding from organisations which are in turn, funded by George Soros. These organisations were seen to back the Rose Revolution in Georgia and both revolutions in Ukraine. Georgia ended up with a president who worked as a lawyer in a US firm linked to the right wing of the Republican Party. Ukraine has a prime minister who was brought up in the USA and a president whom a US ambassador to Ukraine described as "our insider" (in a US Embassy cable leaked by Wikileaks).

The funding of similar organisations in Russia (e.g. Soldiers' Mothers) has been exposed since a law was brought in, requiring foreign funded NGOs to register and publish annual accounts.

Just because some Russians are paranoid about US interference, that doesn't mean they are wrong.

Anette Mor -> Hektor Uranga 16 Jan 2015 06:09

He was let out to form a party and take part in Moscow mayor election. He got respectable 20%. But shown no platform other than anti- corruption. There is anti-corruption hysteria in Russia already. People asked for positive agenda. He got none. The party base disintegrated. The court against him was because there was a case filed. I can agree the state might found this timely. But we cannot blaim on Russian state absence of positive position in Navalny him self. He is reactive on current issues but got zero vision. Russia is a merit based society. They look for brilliance in the leader. He is just a different caliber. Can contribute but not lead. His best way is to choose a district and stand for a parliament seat. The state already shown his is welcomed to enter big politics. Just need to stop lookibg to abroad for scripts. The list of names for US sanction was taking from his and his mates lists. After such exposure he lost any groups with many Russians.

Anette Mor -> notoriousANDinfamous 16 Jan 2015 05:50

I do not disregard positive side of democracy or negative side of dictatorship. I just offer a different scale. Put value of every human life above any ideology. The west is full of aggressive radicals from animal activists and greens to extremist gays and atheists. There is a need to downgrade some concepts and upgrade other, so yhe measures are universal. Bombing for democracy is equaly bad as bombing for personal power.

Anette Mor -> gilstra 16 Jan 2015 05:41

This is really not Guardian problem. They got every right to choose anti-Russian rant as the main topic. The problem is the balance. Nobody watching it and the media as a whole distorting the picture. Double standards are not good too. RT to stay permitted in the UK was told to interrupt every person they interview expressing directly opposite view. Might be OK with some theoretical conversation. But how you going to interrupt mother who just most a child by argument in favor of the killer? The regulator said BBC is out of their reach. But guardian should not be. Yet every material is one sided.

Asimpleguest -> romans

International Observer

''The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs''

PeraIlic

"Decisions should be made in Moscow and not in Washington or Brussels," said Nikolai Starikov, a nationalist writer and marginal politician.

Never mind that he's marginal politician. This man really knows how to express himself briefly:

An Interview with Popular Russian Author and Politician Nikolai Starikov

Those defending NATO expansion say that those countries wanted to be part of NATO.

Okay. But Cuba also wanted to house Soviet missiles voluntarily.
If America did not object to Russian missiles in Cuba, would you support Ukraine joining NATO?

That would be a great trust-building measure on their part, and Russia would feel that America is a friend.

imperfetto

This article contains unacceptable, apparently carefully wrapped up, distorsions of what is happening in Russia. A piece of journalism which tell us something about the level of propaganda that most mainstream media in our 'free' west have set up in the attempt to organise yet another coup, this time under the thick walls of the Kremlin. This newspaper seem to pursue this goal, as it shows to have taken sides: stand by NATO and of course the British interests. If this implies misguiding the readers on what is taking place in Russia\Ukraine or elsewhere (Syria for example) well...that's too bad, the answer would be. Goals justify the means...so forget about honesty, fair play and truthfullness. If it needs to be a war (we have decided so, because it is convenient) then... lies are not lies...but clever tools that we are allowed to use in order to destroy our enemy.

The patriots are most probably a neurotic sort of reaction to what most Russians now perceive to be an attempt from NSA, CIA..and more in general of the US/EU geo-political strategies (much more of the US, of course, as the EU and Britain simply follow the instructions) to dismantle the present Russian system (the political establishment first and then the ARMY).

The idea is to create an internal turmoil through some pretexts (gay, feminism, scandals...etc.) in the hope that a growing movement of protesters may finally shake up the 'palace' and foster the conditions for a coupe to take place. Then the right people will occupy the key chairs. Who are these subdued figures to be? They would be corrupted oligarchs, allowing the US to guide, control the Russian public life (haven't we noticed that three important ministers in Kiev are AMERICAN citizens!)

But, from what I understand, Russia is a democratic country. Its leader has been elected by the voters. Contrary to what is happening here in the west (where all media seem to the have joined the club of the one-way-thinking against Russia), some important media of that country do have a chance to criticize Putin and his policies. That's right, in a democratic republic. But, instead, the attempt to enact another Maidan, that is a FASCIST assault to the DUMA, would require a due response.

Thus, perhaps we could without any Patriots of the sort, that may feed the pernicious attention of western media. There should merely be the enforcement of the law:

a minority can express their opinion, as long as they do not attempt to overthrow the parliament, which is an expression of Russian people.

VladimirM

"The 'orange beast' is sharpening its teeth and looking to Russia," said The Surgeon, whose real name is Alexander Zaldostanov.

Actually, he used a Russian word "зверек", not "зверь". The latter can be rendered as "beast" but what he said was closer to "rodent", a small animal. So, using this word he just stressed his contemptious attitude rather than a degree of threat.

Kondratiev

There is at least anecdotal evidence that Maiden protestors were paid - see: http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-and-eu-are-paying-ukrainian-rioters-and-protesters/5369316 .

Bosula

These patriotic groups do seem extreme, but probably less extreme and odd than many of the current Ukrainian crop of politicians. Here is an article from the New York Observer that will get you up to speed....

The New York Observer:The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs

Robert Sandlin -> GreenKnighht

Did you forget the people in charge of the Ukraine then were Ukrainian communists.That many of the deaths were also ethnic Russian-Ukrainians.And the ones making policy in the USSR as a whole,in that period were mostly not ethnic-Russians.The leader was Georgian,his secret police chief and many of their enforcers were Jewish-Soviets.And his closest helpers were also mostly non-ethnic Russians.Recruited from all the important ethnic groups in the USSR,including many Ukrainians.It is a canard of the Wests to blame Russia for the famine that also killed many Russians.I'm sick of hearing the bs from the West over that tragic time trying to stir Russophobia.

seventh

Well, you know a government is seriously in the shit when it has to employ biker gangs to defend it.

Robert Sandlin -> seventh

Really? The government doesn't employ them. Defending the government is the job of the police and military. These civilian volunteers are only helping to show traitors in the pay of Westerners that the common people won't tolerate treason like happened in Ukraine, to strike Russia.Good for them,that should let potential 5th columnists know their bs isn't wanted in Russia.

Bulagen

I watch here in full swing manipulation of public opinion of Europeans, who imagines that they have "democracy" and "freedom of speech". All opinions, alternative General line, aimed at all discredit Russia in the eyes of the population of Europe ruthlessly removed the wording that Putin bots hinder communication "civilized public." And I am even more convinced that all this hysteria about "the problems of democracy in Russia" is nothing more than an attempt to sell Denyen horse (the so-called democratic values) to modern Trojans (Russians).

jezzam -> Bulagen

All the wealthiest, healthiest and happiest societies adhere to "so-called democratic values". They would also greatly benefit the Russian people. Putin opposes these values purely because they would threaten his power.

sashasmirnoff -> jezzam

The "wealthiest, healthiest and happiest societies"? That is description of whom?

I will generalize here - if by those you mean the "West" you are mistaken. The vast majority of it's populace are carrying a huge burden of personal debt - it is the bank that owns their houses and new autos. There is a tiny stratum that indeed is wildly wealthy, frequently referred to as the 1%, but in fact is much less numerous.

The West is generally regarded as being the least healthy society, largely due to horrifying diet, sedentary lifestyle, and considerable stress due to (amongst other things) the aforementioned struggle to not drown in huge personal debt.

I'm not certain as to how you qualify or quantify "happiness", but the West is also experiencing a mental health crisis, manifested in aberrant behaviour, wild consumption of pharmaceuticals to treat or drown out depression, suicide, high rates of incarceration etc. All symptoms of a deeply unhappy and unhealthy society.

One more thing - the supposed wealth and happiness of the West is predicated on the poverty and misery of those the West colonizes and exploits. The last thing on Earth the West would like to see is the extension of "democratic values" to those unfortunates. That would totally ruin the World Order.

Robert Sandlin -> kawarthan

Well the Ukrainians have the corner on Black and Brown shirts.So those colors are already taken.Blue,Red,White,maybe those?

Paultoo -> Robert Sandlin

Looking at the picture of that "patriotic" Russian biker it seems that Ukraine don΄t have the corner on black shirts!

WardwarkOwner

Why do these uprisings/ internal conflicts seem to happen to energy producing countries or those that are on major oil/gas pipeline routes far more often than other countries?

Jackblob -> WardwarkOwner

I don't see any uprising in Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, Mexico, the UAE, Iran, Norway, Qatar, etc.

So what exactly is your point?

Petros -> Sotrep Jackblob

Well there is problem in Sudan Iraq Syria Libya Nigeria . you have conflicts made up by USA to change governments and get raw materials . so ward is right . you just pretending to be blind . in mexico ppl dying pretty much each day from corrupt people .

PullingTheStrings

If you scrap off the BS from this article they do have a point, because it has been a popular tactic of a certain country to change another countries government *Cough* America *Cough* by organising protests/riots within a target country

if that doesnt work they escalate that to fire fights and if that doesn't work they move onto say Downing a aeroplane and very quickly claiming its the other side fault without having any evidence or claim they have WMD's well anything to try to take the moral high ground on the situation even thou they caused the situation usual for selfish, arrogant and greedy reasons.

Jackblob -> PullingTheStrings

For some reason I do not trust you to discern the BS from the truth since your entire comment is an act of deflection.

The truth is most Russians are very poor, more poor than the people of India. This latest economic turmoil will make it even worse. Meanwhile, Putin and a handful of his cronies hold all the wealth. He proved he did not care about his people when he sent the FSB to bomb Moscow apartment buildings to start a war in Chechnya and ultimately to cancel elections.

Now Putin sees the potential for widespread protests and he is preparing to confront any protests with violent vigilante groups like those seen in other repressive countries.

Bob Vavich -> Jackblob

Wow, this is quite an assertion that Russians are poorer than Indians. I have been to India and I have been to Russia and I don't like using anecdotes to make a point. I can tell you that I have never seen as much poverty as in India. I can also tell you that when I drove through the low income neighborhood of Detroit or Houston, I felt like I was in a post apocalyptic world. Burned out and boarded up houses. Loitering and crime ridden streets. I can go on and on about social injustice. Regardless your comments are even more slanted than the assertion you are making about "Pulling the Strings".

Jackblob -> Bob Vavich

I was just as surprised to learn that Indians earn more than Russians. My source for that info comes from PBS's latest broadcast of Frontline entitled "Putin's Way".

Also, I doubt you've visited many small and lesser known cities in Russia. It's as if the Soviet Union had just collapsed and they were forgotten. Worse, actually.

Hamdog

Weren't the Maidan protests anti-democracy since they used violence to remove a democratically elected leader? Just another anti-ruskie hit piece from the Guardian.

We in the West love democracy, assuming you vote for the right person.

In the US you only get 2 choices - it may be twice as many as you get with a dictatorship but it's hardly democracy.

E1ouise -> Hamdog

Yanukovych was voted out of office by the *elected parliment* after he fled to Russia. Why don't you know this yet?

secondiceberg -> E1ouise

Excuse me, he was forced out of the country at gunpoint before the opposition "voted him out" the next day.

Bosula -> secondiceberg

Yes. That is correct. And armed Maidan thugs (Svoboda and Right Sector) stood around the Rada with weapons while the vote taken.

Also the 'election' of the coup government was unconstitutional under article 111 of the Ukraine's own Constitution (Goggle - check for yourself). This is an undisputed and uncomfortable 'fact' which the US and the EU never mention (never) when drawn on the issue.

Sourcrowd

The soviet union didn't go through some kind of denazification akin to Germany after it disintegrated. Russia today looks more and more like Germany after WWI - full of self pity and blaming everyone but themselves for their own failures.

Down2dirt -> Sourcrowd

I would like to hear more about that denazification of Germany and how did that go.

Since the day one the West and the GDR used nazis for their laboratories, clandestine and civil services...State owned museums still refuse to give back artwork to their rightful owners that were robbed during 1930-45.

I don' t condone Putin's and Russia polity (one of the most neoliberal countries), but you appear to be clueless about this particular subject and don' t know what you are talking about.

Bosula -> Sourcrowd

Are you thinking about Ukraine here, maybe?

Bosula

A more interesting story would have been the similarities between this anti maidan group in Russia and Maidan in Kiev.

Both have have their military arm, are dangerous and violent, and both very nationalistic and right wing. Both appear to have strong links to politicians as well.

Such an analysis might show that Russian and Ukrainian nationalist groups have more in common than they would like to believe.

TuleCarbonari -> Bosula

A very important difference is the Russians are defending their elected government. The Ukrainians were hired by the West to promote a coup d'etat against an elected government, this against the will of the majority in Ukraine and only 3 months from general election in the country. The coup was indeed a way of stopping the elections.

Flinryan

Oh I see Russia has re-entered the media cross hairs in a timely fashion. I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks.

MarcelFromage -> Flinryan

I wonder what's going to happen in the coming weeks.

Nothing new - the Russian Federation will continue its illegal occupation of Crimea and continue to bring death and destruction to eastern Ukraine. And generally be a pain for the rest of the international community.

secondiceberg -> MarcelFromage

And the US will continue to murder innocent civilians in the Middle East, Northern Africa and wherever else it wants to plant its bloody army boots. And will also continue to use its NGO's and CIA to foment colour revolutions in other countries, as it did in Ukraine. Kiev had its revolution. Eastern Ukraine is having its revolution. Tit for Tat.

Velska

CIF seems flooded by Putin's sock puppets, i.e. mindless robots who just repeat statements favouring pro-Putinist dictatorship.

To be sure, there's much to hope for in the US democracy, where bribery is legal. I'm not sure whether bribery in Russia is a legal requirement or just a fact of life. But certainly Russia is far from democratic, has actually never been.

Bosula -> Velska

You can take your sock off now and wipe your hands clean.

secondiceberg -> Velska

What kind of democracy is the US when you have a federal agency spying on everything you do and say? Do you think they are just going to sit on what information they think they get?

What will you do when they come knocking at your door, abduct you for some silly comment you made, and then rendition you to another country so that you will not be able to claim any legal rights? Let Russia look after itself in the face of "war-footing" threats from the U.S.

Fight for social justice and freedom in your own country.

cichonio

"All street movements and colour revolutions lead to blood. Women, children and old people suffer first,"

That's why they are ready to use weapons and violence against a foe who hasn't really been seen yet.

Also,

"Decisions should be made in Moscow and not in Washington or Brussels,"

I think decisions about Ukraine should be made in Kiev.

Bosula -> cichonio

Yes. Decisions should be made in Kiev, but why are they being made in Washington then? How much does this compromise Kiev as its agenda is very different from the agenda the US have with Russia. Ukraine is weakened daily with its civil war and the killing its own people, but this conflict benefits the US as further weakens and places Russia in a new cold war type environment.

Why are key government ministries in Ukraine (like Finance) headed by overseas nationals. Utterly bizarre.

secondiceberg -> cichonio

So do I, by the legally elected government that was illegally deposed at gunpoint. Ukraine actually has two presidents. Only one of them is legal and it is not Poroshenko.

Bob Vavich -> cichonio

Yes, if they are taken by all Ukrainians and not a minority. Potroshenko was elected with a turnout of 46%. Of this he scored say over half, hardly a majority. More likely, the right wing Western Galicia came out to vote and the Russian speaking were discouraged. What would one expect when the new government first decree is to eliminate Russian as a second official language. Mind you a language spoken by the majority. Makes you think? Maybe. Probably not.

SHappens

"Personally I am a fan of the civilised, democratic intelligent way of deciding conflicts, but if we need to take up weapons then of course I will be ready," said Yulia Bereznikova, the ultimate fighting champion.

This quite illustrates Russians way of doing. Smart, open to dialogue and patient but dont mess with them for too long. Once on their horses nothing will stop them.

They are ready to fight against the anti Russian sentiment injected from outside citing Ukraine and Navalny-Soros, not against democracy.

"It is not acceptable for the minority to force its will upon the majority, as happened in Ukraine," he added. "Under the slogan of fighting for democracy there is instead total fear, total propaganda, and no freedom."

ploughmanlunch

After witnessing what happened during Maidan, and subsequently to Ukraine, I understand some Russians reluctance to see a similar scenario played out in Russia.
That being said, I am also wary of vigilantism.

FlangeTube

"Pro-democracy" protests? They have democracy. They have an elected leader with a high approval rating. Stop trying twisting language, these people are not "pro-democracy" they are anti-Putin. That, as much as this paper tries to sell the idea, is not the same thing.

Drumming up odd-balls to defend the elected government in Russia is all well and good, but I would think the other 75% (the ones who like Putin, and aren't in biker gangs) should get a say too.

As for the anti-Maidan quotes - of course that was organised. Nuland said so, for crying out loud. Kerry and others were there, Brennan was there. Of course the Western powers were partly involved. And it wasn't peaceful protests, it was violence directed against elected officials, throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen. It culminated in the burning alive of 40+ people in Odessa.

Sergei Konyushenko

Btw, Shaun is always very best at finding the most important issues to raise?

FallenKezef

It's an interesting point, what happened in the Ukraine was an undemocratic coup which was justified after the fact by an election once the previous incumbent was safely exiled.

Had that happened to a pro-western government we'd be crying foul. But because it happened to a pro-Russian government it's ok.

I don't blame Russians for wanting to avoid a repeat in their own country.

Spaceguy1 One

The Crimea referendum "15% for" myth - Human rights investigations

The idea that only 15% of Crimeans voted to join Russia is speeding around the internet after an article was published in Forbes magazine written by Professor Paul Roderick Gregory.

Professor Gregory has, dishonestly, arrived at his 15% figure by taking the minimum figure for Crimea for both turnout and for voters for union, calling them the maximum, and then ignoring Sevastopol. He has also pretended the report is based on the "real results," when it seems to be little more than the imprecise estimates of a small working group who were apparently against the idea of the referendum in the first place.

It appears that Professor Gregory is intent on deceiving his readers about the vote in Crimea and its legitimacy, probably as part of the widespread campaign to deny the people of Crimea their legitimate rights to self-determination and to demonize Russia in the process.

http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2014/05/06/the-crimea-referendum-15-percent-for-myth/

vr13vr

This is not an unexpected result. EU and US governments are going out of way to stir people's opinion in the former Soviet republics. And they also set the precedent of conducting at least two "revolutions" by street violence in Ukraine and a dozen - elsewhere. There are obviously people in Russia who believe the changes have to be by discussion and voting not by street disturbance and stone throwing.

Beckow

Reduced to facts in the article, a group in Russia said that they will come out and protest in the streets if there are anti-government demonstrations. They said that their side also needs to be represented, since the protesters don't represent the majority.

That's all. What is so "undemocratic" about that? Or can only pro-Western people ever demonstrate? In a democracy a biker with a tatoo is equal to an urbane lawyer with Western connections. That's the way democracies should work.

About funding for Maidan protesters "for which there is no evidence". This is an interesting point. There were students from Lviv who said they were given "college credit" for being at Maidan. And how exactly have tens of thousands of mostly young men lived on streets in Kiev with food and clothes (even some weapons) with no support?

Isn't that a bit of circumstantial evidence that "somebody" supported them. I guess in this case we need to see the invoices, is that always the case or just when Russia issues are involved?

rezevici

Very sad news from Russia. If Putin or the government doesn't condemn this project of the "patriots", if he and government doesn't react against announcement of civilian militia's plan to use violence, I'll truly turn to observe Putin as a tsar.

The ethics of Russians will be on display.

Anette Mor -> rezevici

There are specific politicians who rejected participation in normal political process but chosen street riots instead. The door to politics is open, they can form parties and take part in elections. but then there is a need for a clear political and economical platform and patience to win over the votes. These people refuse to do so, They just want street riots. Several years public watch these groups and simply had enough. There is some edgy opposition which attracts minority but they play fair. Nobody against them protecting and demonstrating even when the call for revolutionary means for getting power, like communists or national-socialists. But these who got no program other than violent riots as such are not opposition. They still have an agenda which they cannot openly display. So they attract public by spreading slander and rising tension. Nothing anti-democratic in forming a group of people who confront these actions. They are just another group taking part in very complex process.

PeraIlic

by Shaun Walker: "Maidan in Kiev did not appear just like that. Everyone was paid, everyone was paid to be there, was paid for every stone that was thrown, for every bottle thrown," said Sablin, echoing a frequently repeated Russian claim for which there is no evidence.

There is evidence, but also recognition from US officials. That at least is not a secret anymore.

Is the US training and funding the Ukraine opposition? Nuland herself claimed in December that the US had spent $5 billion since the 1990s on "democratization" programs in Ukraine. On what would she like us to believe the money had been spent?

We know that the US State Department invests heavily -- more than $100 million from 2008-2012 alone -- on international "Internet freedom" activities. This includes heavy State Department funding, for example, to the New Americas Foundation's...

...Commotion Project (sometimes referred to as the "Internet in a Suitcase"). This is an initiative from the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative to build a mobile mesh network that can literally be carried around in a suitcase, to allow activists to continue to communicate even when a government tries to shut down the Internet, as happened in several Arab Spring countries during the recent uprisings.

Indeed, Shaun! On what would you like us to believe so much money had been spent?

RandolphHearst -> PeraIlic,

You antipathy against the author speaks volumes about the contents of his article.

susandbs12 , link

All of this stems from the stupid EU meddling in Ukraine.

We shouldn't get involved in the EUs regime change agenda. Time to leave the EU.

And also time for us to not get involved in any wars.

daffyddw

Thank you, thank you all, you wonderful putin-bots. I haven't enjoyed a thread so much in ages. Bless you all, little brothers.

susandbs12 -> daffyddw

Putinbot = someone who has a different opinion to you.

Presumably you want a totalitarian state where only your views are legitimate.

Grow up and stop being childish and just accept that there are people who hold different views from you, so what?

LaAsotChayim

Pro democracy protests?? Would that be same protests that Kiev had where Neo-nazis burned unarmed police officers alive, or the ones in Syria when terrorists (now formed ISIS) where killing Government troops? Are these the pro-democracy protests (all financed via "US aid" implemented by CIA infiltrators) that the Guardian wants us to care about?

How about the reporting on the indiscriminate slaughter of Eastern Ukrainians by Kiev's government troops and Nazi battalions?? Hey, guardian??!!

Anette Mor -> Strummered

Democracy is overrated. It does not automatically ensure equality for minorities. In Russia with its 100 nationalities and all world religions simple straight forward majority rule does not bring any good.

A safety net is required. Benevolent dictator is one of the forms for such safety net. Putin fits well as he is fair and gained trust from all faith, nationalities and social groups. There are other mechanisms in Russia to ensure equality. Many of them came from USSR including low chamber of Russian parliament called Nationalities chamber. representation there is disproportional to the number of population but reflecting minorities voice - one sit per nation, no matter how big or small.

The system of different national administrative units for large and small and smallest nationalities depending how much of autonomic administration each can afford to manage. People in the West should stop preaching democracy. It is nothing but dictatorship of majority. That is why Middle East lost all its tolerance. Majority rules, minorities are suppressed.

kowalli -> Glenn J. Hill

US has a separate line in the budget to pay for such "democratic" protests

kowalli -> Glenn J. Hill

U.S. Embassy Grants Program. The U.S. Embassy Grants Program announces a competition for Russian non-governmental organizations to carry out specific projects.

http://moscow.usembassy.gov/democracy.html

and this is only one of them, many more in budget.

MartinArvay

pro-democracy protesters?

like ISIL, Right Sector, UΗK?

They are right

[Dec 05, 2017] EU mulls response to Russia's information war

So the current anti RT campaign is not an aberration. It is continuation of long time efforts...
Jan 09, 2015 | https://euobserver.com/foreign/127135

EU Observer: EU mulls response to Russia's information war

The Netherlands is funding a study on how the EU can fight back against Russia's "information war", in one of several counter-propaganda initiatives.

The Dutch-sponsored study was launched in the New Year by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), a Brussels-based foundation.

But little happened until the Netherlands stepped in with the EED grant after a passenger plane, flight MH17, was shot down over east Ukraine killing 193 Dutch nationals and 105 other people.

Evidence indicates Russia-controlled rebels caused the disaster using a Russia-supplied rocket system.

But Russian state media have tried to sow suspicion the Ukrainian air force did it in order to prompt Western intervention in the conflict

Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, and the UK are drafting an informal paper on how EU institutions and Nato can co-ordinate "strategic communications"

Its foreign ministry spokesman, Karlis Eihenbaums, told this website that around 15 EU states back the project and that the news broadcasts should be available in Russia if they can get past its "jamming system".

But Riga is trying to play down expectations of a quick result.

"I don't think we can come to an agreement among the 28 [EU leaders] to come up with a new TV station in Russian. Euronews is already doing news in Russian, so it'll be difficult to get an additional channel", Latvian PM Laimdota Straujuma told press in the Latvian capital on Wednesday (7 January).

Well-funded Russian broadcasters, such as RT, have hired big names, including former CNN anchor Larry King, and air programmes in English, French, German, and Spanish as well as Russian.

Their work is backed up by pseudo-NGOs.

Putting the Dutch grant in perspective, the British think-tank, Chatham House estimates the Russian "NGO" component alone is worth $100 million a year.

Western media have caught Russian media using fake pictures and fake witness accounts of alleged Ukrainian atrocities.

Eihenbaums noted that any EU news channel "must be attractive, but with accurate information it must not be a propaganda organ".

He cited RFE/RFL, a US-funded broadcaster, and the BBC as models because they do both Ukraine-critical and Russia-critical stories.
###

If you can't smell the excrement off that, then get thee to a medic!

Now, considering the piece above, try not to hold back a large guffaw for this one!

[Dec 05, 2017] One-Pager on Latest Developments in Russia (RF Sitrep 20150129)

Jan 31, 2015 | Russia Insider

HOW TO READ THE WESTERN MEDIA.

When they say Kiev forces have re-taken the airport, know that they have lost it.

When they say giving up South Stream was a defeat for Putin, know it was a brilliant counter-move.

When they say Russia is isolated (a stopped clock, here's The Economist in 1999!), know that it is expanding its influence and connections every day.

When they say Russians are turning against Putin, know that the opposite is true. When they speak of nation-building in the new Ukraine, know it's degenerating into armed thuggery (see video).

Know that when they speak of Kyrzbekistan, they're not just stenographers, they're incompetent stenographers.

Take what they say, turn it upside down, and you'll have a better take on reality.

THE MERKEL MYSTERY. I, like many, thought, when the Ukraine crisis began, that German Chancellor Merkel would prove to be key in settling it. This has not proved to be the case at all; in fact she often throws more fuel on the fire. I believe that Gilbert Doctorow may have the answer. In essence, he believes that Berlin dreams the "pre-WWI dream of Mitteleuropa" with cheap, docile workers in Poland, Ukraine and the others forever. Of course, it hasn't worked out very well, but that, he thinks, was the plan. There was no "End of History" after all; a rebirth of history it seems.

[Nov 27, 2017] How a half-educated tech elite delivered us into chaos by John Naughton

This is about neoliberalism, not about the structure of the university education and the amount of social courses required to get an STEM degree. The article is a baloney in this sense. And because neoliberalism defy regulation Google and Facebook were able to built " amazingly sophisticated, computer-driven engines for extracting users' personal information and data trails, refining them for sale to advertisers in high-speed data-trading auctions that are entirely unregulated and opaque to everyone except the companies themselves."
Notable quotes:
"... Put simply, what Google and Facebook have built is a pair of amazingly sophisticated, computer-driven engines for extracting users' personal information and data trails, refining them for sale to advertisers in high-speed data-trading auctions that are entirely unregulated and opaque to everyone except the companies themselves. ..."
"... Democracy in America ..."
"... All of which brings to mind CP Snow's famous Two Cultures lecture, delivered in Cambridge in 1959, in which he lamented the fact that the intellectual life of the whole of western society was scarred by the gap between the opposing cultures of science and engineering on the one hand, and the humanities on the other – with the latter holding the upper hand among contemporary ruling elites. Snow thought that this perverse dominance would deprive Britain of the intellectual capacity to thrive in the postwar world and he clearly longed to reverse it. ..."
"... Lack of education in the humanities is not the reason for misuse of the tech giant's products, as the author so emphatically states. It simply comes down to greed. That human drive to make more, more and more leads them to overlook things for the sake of making more. A class in political science or sociology is not going to change that. ..."
"... Zuckerberg and similar folks are guilty of the same thing that most people are - greed. Monetary greed is just one part. ..."
"... As for education, it's not easy to get an engineering or comp sci degree. But while you are getting hammered in classes that are far more complex than most other things taught on the campus, you do indeed have to take a variety of other non-technical electives outside of your technical major to complete the overall curriculum. ..."
"... This likely has been pointed out already, but the American University system requires all students to take a core of humanities classes regardless of major. SO they actually have been exposed to, most likely, a fair number of Western Civ, History, and Literature courses. Their deficiency I think lays more in the utopian roots of the internet and technology development of the 1990s. They have been strangely naive and ruthless at the same time, and its changing human interactions and society sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. ..."
"... Wow, if there ever was an example of why Trump won, the utter and complete self righteousness of the American liberal, this post is it. Congratulations. ..."
"... If you've every hung out in Silicon Valley with techies you'd know that mild sociopathy is indeed likely part of the problem. ..."
"... Capitalists will do what capitalists do. So ignoring social consequences in the pursuit of money is baked-in. Doesn't matter what your education is. In fact, class has more to do with their blindness than the lack of a liberal arts education. ..."
"... It ties in with what many of the fake-news-complainers are reluctant to discuss: there is an ocean of sociological/economic 'facts' that exist somewhere between 'easily-provable lie' and 'this may be a lie to the elite, but it is a true fact for the unwashed masses'. and in tandem with that: the uneasy questions about censorship that come with *any* attempt at regulating the press. ..."
"... This is too simple. The development of critical thought is the key thing and it isn't monopolized by any discipline. People without any qualifications and without much education can - and do - exercise critical ability. The problem is a cultural one. Consumerism and the pretend world in which people 'think' they can be what they want and live in make believe soaps is the problem. ..."
"... "If you have an issue with tech giants messing around with your personal data, don't give them your personal data." They'll take your personal data, regardless. Because they make money from selling it. ..."
Nov 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

One of the biggest puzzles about our current predicament with fake news and the weaponisation of social media is why the folks who built this technology are so taken aback by what has happened. Exhibit A is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg , whose political education I recently chronicled . But he's not alone. In fact I'd say he is quite representative of many of the biggest movers and shakers in the tech world. We have a burgeoning genre of " OMG, what have we done? " angst coming from former Facebook and Google employees who have begun to realize that the cool stuff they worked on might have had, well, antisocial consequences.

Put simply, what Google and Facebook have built is a pair of amazingly sophisticated, computer-driven engines for extracting users' personal information and data trails, refining them for sale to advertisers in high-speed data-trading auctions that are entirely unregulated and opaque to everyone except the companies themselves.

The purpose of this infrastructure was to enable companies to target people with carefully customised commercial messages and, as far as we know, they are pretty good at that. (Though some advertisers are beginning to wonder if these systems are quite as good as Google and Facebook claim.) And in doing this, Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and co wrote themselves licenses to print money and build insanely profitable companies.

It never seems to have occurred to them that their engines could be used to deliver ideological and political messages

It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters. Hence the obvious question: how could such smart people be so stupid? The cynical answer is they knew about the potential dark side all along and didn't care, because to acknowledge it might have undermined the aforementioned licenses to print money. Which is another way of saying that most tech leaders are sociopaths. Personally I think that's unlikely, although among their number are some very peculiar characters: one thinks, for example, of Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel – Trump's favourite techie; and Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber.

So what else could explain the astonishing naivety of the tech crowd? My hunch is it has something to do with their educational backgrounds. Take the Google co-founders. Sergey Brin studied mathematics and computer science. His partner, Larry Page, studied engineering and computer science. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, where he was studying psychology and computer science, but seems to have been more interested in the latter.

sWhy Facebook is in a hole over data mining | John Naughton

Now mathematics, engineering and computer science are wonderful disciplines – intellectually demanding and fulfilling. And they are economically vital for any advanced society. But mastering them teaches students very little about society or history – or indeed about human nature. As a consequence, the new masters of our universe are people who are essentially only half-educated. They have had no exposure to the humanities or the social sciences, the academic disciplines that aim to provide some understanding of how society works, of history and of the roles that beliefs, philosophies, laws, norms, religion and customs play in the evolution of human culture.

We are now beginning to see the consequences of the dominance of this half-educated elite. As one perceptive observer Bob O'Donnell puts it, "a liberal arts major familiar with works like Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America , John Stuart Mill's On Liberty , or even the work of ancient Greek historians, might have been able to recognise much sooner the potential for the 'tyranny of the majority' or other disconcerting sociological phenomena that are embedded into the very nature of today's social media platforms. While seemingly democratic at a superficial level, a system in which the lack of structure means that all voices carry equal weight, and yet popularity, not experience or intelligence, actually drives influence, is clearly in need of more refinement and thought than it was first given."

All of which brings to mind CP Snow's famous Two Cultures lecture, delivered in Cambridge in 1959, in which he lamented the fact that the intellectual life of the whole of western society was scarred by the gap between the opposing cultures of science and engineering on the one hand, and the humanities on the other – with the latter holding the upper hand among contemporary ruling elites. Snow thought that this perverse dominance would deprive Britain of the intellectual capacity to thrive in the postwar world and he clearly longed to reverse it.

Snow passed away in 1980, but one wonders what he would have made of the new masters of our universe. One hopes that he might see it as a reminder of the old adage: be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.

John Dumaker , 20 Nov 2017 18:26

Lack of education in the humanities is not the reason for misuse of the tech giant's products, as the author so emphatically states. It simply comes down to greed. That human drive to make more, more and more leads them to overlook things for the sake of making more. A class in political science or sociology is not going to change that.
Laney65 -> Dan Campbell , 20 Nov 2017 17:55
Middle and high school in the US need to tackle more philosophy, history and other humanities instead of force feeding kids test material for them to simply memorize. Then, lo and behold, by the time kids get into university, they may already have grasped the basics of human analytical skills. Why wait till further education?
capatriot -> Zenovia Iordache , 20 Nov 2017 17:34
Wtf? All this hue and cry that Facebook has "ruined" democracy ... and I see you've actually bought into it. Holy cow, who knew a few hundred thousand $$ gets Brexit and Trump done while $1 billion in actual adverts cannot elect Clinton?

Goodness, that's some powerful analytica, no? You guys should really hear yourselves ... you sound utterly deranged by this Trump thing!

Rita Ihly -> Declawed , 20 Nov 2017 17:24
If we are all concerned, we can remedy 'the problem'. Chuck Cable, ( I did 7 years ago), get off facebook, twitter and the like. We are all subject to the marketing, the allure of 'like' thinking, etc. Yet we need to 'grow up' mature, and be concerned about this path. Our youth is our hope, but if they are indoctrinated and sucked into the social network mess, I do not see a future or much hope. Yes, it is all about marketing, greed, and ego. Pretty difficult to overcome. Soul searching, integrity, and sincere concern for democracy is crucial.
Hallucinogen , 20 Nov 2017 17:18

It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters. Hence the obvious question: how could such smart people be so stupid?

So stupid? Is the author claiming to have known this in advance of it happening?
Dizzy123 , 20 Nov 2017 17:17
A yes...science. "Once they go up, who cares where they come down, that's not my department, says Werner Von Braun" (Tom Leher) Man kind has always been willing to subjugate it's essential humanity for the elusive goal of "progress". The computer age is no different.
Dizzy123 -> AsboSubject , 20 Nov 2017 17:14
Well, actually , they did. Slaves were not allowed to vote in the UK either. And, one must remember, it was the UK that introduced slavery to North America which was, after all, a British colony ruled by British courts and British jurisprudence at that juncture.
Dan Campbell -> funcrew , 20 Nov 2017 16:27
Anyone who finishes engineering cannot be classified as a dim bulb. It's only understood by those that go through it how difficult it is in comparison to other things. The complexity is hard to explain to anyone outside of it. Most people fail out or quit, literally, and those are the ones that at least gave it a try. I watched many such people go on to the business or other schools and rush a frat and barely study and ace their courses. They said straight up that it wasn't even close.
Dan Campbell , 20 Nov 2017 16:25
Zuckerberg and similar folks are guilty of the same thing that most people are - greed. Monetary greed is just one part. Additionally, there's a ton of ego there to want to do things others haven't done or can't do or aren't doing, but ego is not exclusive to the tech industry. They were negligent in looking the other way while their products were exploited and they hid under freedom of speech, providing a functionality that isn't necessarily tied with or promotes nefarious conduct so they aren't responsible when it does. There's no shortage of this through years - radio, TV, nuclear power, guns, drug paraphernalia, chemicals, photo copiers, MP3 players and file copying services like Napster, on and on. It's not just technical items.

It's all about making money. Twitter is sitting back absolutely loving every Trump tweet, while individually at least some or many of the people there hate the actual tweets themselves or at least think the POTUS should be communicating in a better manner and put this ad hoc approach aside. I don't know of too many that think he's doing good things for the country or world or even his self image and reputation with it and should continue. But for Twitter it promotes their product and service and stock and pay check and bonus and livelihood. So the greed wins out.

As for education, it's not easy to get an engineering or comp sci degree. But while you are getting hammered in classes that are far more complex than most other things taught on the campus, you do indeed have to take a variety of other non-technical electives outside of your technical major to complete the overall curriculum. But there's only so much you can do, only so much time and interest. You can't necessarily expect each and everyone to be incredibly well rounded without at least sacrificing their ability to focus and specialize in their strength and interest. Pretty much every doctor I've met is aloof to some degree. Accountants have trouble thinking outside the strict confines of the accounting box. I know plenty of lawyers who aren't great with technology or computers. And few people in those professions that are also incredibly versed in the things the author mentions. Few have time to be once life and family kicks in.

ChinaDoubter , 20 Nov 2017 16:05
This likely has been pointed out already, but the American University system requires all students to take a core of humanities classes regardless of major. SO they actually have been exposed to, most likely, a fair number of Western Civ, History, and Literature courses. Their deficiency I think lays more in the utopian roots of the internet and technology development of the 1990s. They have been strangely naive and ruthless at the same time, and its changing human interactions and society sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
Dan Campbell -> LuvvleeJubblee , 20 Nov 2017 15:44
He said he was "half educated" not because he finished only half of his comp sci degree (or even psychology) but because he wasn't educated in other subjects that may have given him insight into human behavior and sociology. There may be some truth to that but it seems kind of a stretch since pretty much most people are as he describes; he just seems to be picking on Zuckerberg since he developed something with such huge influence and is now on the hot seat for being at least naive if not deliberately looking the other way while his platform was used in ways he probably didn't envision or want but made them a ton of money. Most people aren't really that educated or versed in the things the author mentions, and that includes many people outside of the tech industry who could never accomplish what Zuckerberg or others have accomplished.
funcrew , 20 Nov 2017 15:26
A 4-year engineering degree already takes 5 years to complete (at least for a dim bulb like myself). We already have to take a bunch of non-technical social science, history, and English "core" classes.
David -> LuvvleeJubblee , 20 Nov 2017 15:23
Way to miss the point. Zuckerberg is poorly educated in understanding human behavior. I could've told these tech yokels exactly what was becoming of their practices.
Declawed -> Tersena , 20 Nov 2017 15:21

It's no coincidence that the people I know who eschew things like Twitter and Facebook are the techy people who can remember the internet in the good ol' days when the maxim was "don't tell anyone anything about anything".

God, I remember that feeling. Still on a modem and proudly watching people excitedly get into the Internet. And then I watched on in utter horror as they give away their real names. I didn't understand why people didn't understand. You can discard a mask - you can't discard your face!
uberkunst -> capatriot , 20 Nov 2017 14:59
And you fail to realize that your existence is not, never has and never will be an island that removes you from the rest of humanity. It is irrelevant to the rest of us if you volunteer to be ignorant of the rest of us, and yet you think that only if everyone else was like you the problem would be solved.

Sorry but, our existence is inherently governed by the fact that we are social animals and part of an Earth based biosphere and politically that requires we show more than smug diffidence. I realise that religions have spent the last 2000 years or so trying to separate us from each other and nature, by pretending we have individual souls far more important than our collective being, but that's not an excuse either.

Declawed , 20 Nov 2017 14:52

"While seemingly democratic at a superficial level, a system in which the lack of structure means that all voices carry equal weight, and yet popularity, not experience or intelligence, actually drives influence, is clearly in need of more refinement and thought than it was first given"

Erm. The inevitable effect of connection-seeking in a low friction environment is called The Singularity and people have been warning about it for at least the last couple of decades now.

Congratulations. You've recognized the Problem. Now, if you really want to look smart, explain why nobody involved wants to implement the Solution...

Zenovia Iordache -> capatriot , 20 Nov 2017 14:43
I have a feeling your poor friends get the Big picture while you dont. Trumps get elected while you are offline. Brexit happens while you are offline cause Cambridge Analytica and Farage .. well they work hard at protecting certain interests. And so on.. is about information wars and power. And their consequences on democracy. And you might not be immediately affected If you are white male and from an OK bakground. If you are privileged and well off maybe even your children will make it in the offline bubble.
But what about the rest?
AsboSubject -> capatriot , 20 Nov 2017 14:28
The UK history on democracy isn't exactly a roll call of enlightened thinking either. The only gains were made by often violent demonstrations by The Chartists and Suffragettes. But at least the UK never banned black people from voting.
AsboSubject -> blandino , 20 Nov 2017 14:19
You are not a nice person. Thinking that people you imagine aren't as intelligent or don't see the world the way you see it deserve dieing from poverty or opioid overdoses is quite unpleasant.
rogerfgay , 20 Nov 2017 13:52
Sure, pick on the engineers. They make more money than you do. But if your half-courage took a leap forward, you'd target the quarter-educated people who are driving this because they control the spending. But then, they're also the people you're asking for a job aren't they?
capatriot -> blandino , 20 Nov 2017 13:41
Wow, if there ever was an example of why Trump won, the utter and complete self righteousness of the American liberal, this post is it. Congratulations.

You never had a "democracy" ... or if you had one, it was in the very dim past and limited to propertied men ... in recent times, you've had a two-party oligarchy managed by military-tech corporations. Oh, those good old days of limited choice and Vietnam, how can we ever go back to those, amirite?

capatriot , 20 Nov 2017 13:32
Gosh, I guess they were not joking when they talked about the "global village" ... and anyone knows a village is full of gossip and half-truths.

I feel like almost every other day i need to point out to my hyperventilating Russia-fearing friends that you all do realize that all of this online-ness is voluntary, right? That a person can have a complete and real existence with no Facebook profile, not Tweet, none of that? I'm one such person, and I work in tech.

tommydog -> pipspeak , 20 Nov 2017 13:27
Are media companies prevented by regulation from reporting "fake news". In any supermarket you'll spot newspapers with headlines to the effect that "My Mother-in-Law is a Space Alien". Now, while I'd guess that is true some of the time, I have a hard time believing that there are really that many space aliens around harassing their earthling inlaws. I'm not aware that that reporting is regulated. Are you saying it is?
blandino , 20 Nov 2017 12:53
The vow claimed by Brin and other Google founders, "Do No Evil," should have been a warning. In a New Yorker piece on tech's influence on the election last summer, a Facebook employee was quoted as saying, "We joke about who we should give the election to." It has recently come out that as Apple, the most traitorous of all the giant tech corporations that are a product of the American educational system (before it was strangled by Republicans like Trump and Betsy DeVos), traitorous because they pay no corporate taxes in the U.S., had an opportunity to choose between making phones and PDAs addictive pleasure machines or responsible news devices. They chose addictive pleasures, because it's obviously more profitable, like McDonald's supersizing its French fries and sugary drinks.

They've created a generation of Americans who will swallow anything that's fed to them ("It must be true. I read it on the Internet."). These are the people who love Trump, who don't understand or care about the Constitution or the Bill of Rights and would probably vote against them in a referendum (which some Republicans have promoted as a new Constitutional Convention). Their minds have become morbidly obese, filled with Angry Birds and empty Twitter posts that leave them unable to comprehend ideas that take more than 140 characters to express.

Such people deserve their fate (poverty, death by opioids), but it's tragic and evil that they are wrecking the planet with climate change denial (which, of course, justifies unregulated pollution), science denial (in which Evangelical Christians commit the child abuse of denying evolution and trying to prohibit its teaching.Such Fake Christians also reject most of Jesus' liberal teachings.)

Here in the SF Bay Area it's hard to avoid knowing some of these techies. They aren't all clueless about social interaction, arrogant, selfish, and contemptuous of other people--only 90% of them. The remainder scratch their heads, smile, cash their paychecks and stock options, and retire to multimillion dollar ranches to write cookbooks and make wine.

So now we have a population of tech geeks who don't know much but think they know everything, who spout "Do No Evil," while doing the ultimate evil--making a world unsafe for democracy but a pleasure palace for the rich, using a technology that is a uniquely American product of an educational system that was once a shining example and is now in shambles to destroy the dream of democracy that America used to champion, but does no longer.

It makes the coming Chinese domination of the world seem like cosmic justice, doesn't it?

McNameeRing , 20 Nov 2017 12:42
More degrees in the humanities is no antidote to or remedy for amoral/harmful tech and those who create and market it. Nor is this a problem of white privilege and lack of inclusiveness -- minorities run after tech goodies with the same glee as everyone else.

Schools and just about everyone are promoting STEM degrees as the way to a good job and prosperity, and I don't foresee anybody creating jobs for philosophers to warn us against new tech developments.

This is one of those dangers that people don't foresee. They only see it when it's happened. Now it has; depending on how bad the fallout, the pushback and regulation will follow. Not sure if it will be sufficient, though. Especially under an Administration with little respect for facts or truth while it pursues the maximum dollar gain from the government before skedaddling.

pipspeak , 20 Nov 2017 12:41
If you've every hung out in Silicon Valley with techies you'd know that mild sociopathy is indeed likely part of the problem. But the argument that it's because their education lacked learning about history or society is a bit silly when you consider the bulk of the population has probably not studied such disciplines beyond high school and some of the greatest engineers who invented or built some of the most important creations in history lacked a degree in the humanities.

What differentiates past engineering eras from present is political and societal will to ensure inventions are used for the good of humanity. In short, a lack of regulation in the face of rampant neo-liberal capitalism that has enthralled the politicians who should be looking out for the public, not themselves and their cronies.

Facebook et al should long ago have been classified as media companies and regulated as such. Start hitting Zuckerburg with billions in fines and/or the threat of regulating him out of business and you'd very quickly see those much vaunted algorithms and engineering prowess spring into action to tackle the fake news and propaganda epidemic.

LuvvleeJubblee -> Arular , 20 Nov 2017 12:40
Ahh, yeah Aruler...thanks for that....I think....!

If you read this article and his former article on the subject(a big if), then you would be able to enlighten us on exactly what Laughton means by such comments as below. I actually completed my degree and so am 'fully educated but still struggle with the logic:-

"the hero's education rendered him incapable of understanding the world into which he was born. For although he was supposed to be majoring in psychology at Harvard, the young Zuckerberg mostly took computer science classes until he started Facebook and dropped out

LibertarianLeaning -> Dylan , 20 Nov 2017 12:39

Your post referenced economics, not social issues.

It seems that once the State expands to the size it is now (~43% of GDP is directly spent by government) then virtually everything becomes political: economics, politics, social.

(ps if i've got this horribly wrong and libertarianism as a word has just been coopted to mean 'minarchist' i apologise)

I suppose it depends on how you define "libertarian". I, and most of the theorists I read, see it as a quite broad label which stretches from anarchism at one (extreme) end, to small-state minarchism at the other.

And yes, I am "right-wing" in terms of economics (though fascism, typically described as a "far-right" movement, is actually quite far-left in terms of economics, which is why I try to avoid debating these matters in terms of left/right. But when people self-describe that way, one doesn't have much choice).

So, yes, I prefer no (or minimal) State involvement in areas of the economy that it is possible to have private suppliers compete against each other. So that includes healthcare (but not all healthcare; the time-critical nature of A&E services means they are not amenable to real competition), education, and various other things most people are used to having provided by their governments.

But the "natural monopolies" (things like roads/railways/pipelines/sewers) can't really be provided by competing suppliers, so it's reasonable that they are owned (but not necessarily run) by the State. So taxes need to be raised to pay for those things.

Unlike most minarchists, though, I see outright, allodial land ownership as unjustifiable (it's a capital good that no one created, and thus no-one can claim rightful ownership). So in that regard also I'm quite left-wing.

ElyFrog , 20 Nov 2017 12:26
Capitalists will do what capitalists do. So ignoring social consequences in the pursuit of money is baked-in. Doesn't matter what your education is. In fact, class has more to do with their blindness than the lack of a liberal arts education.
Arular -> LuvvleeJubblee , 20 Nov 2017 12:15
yeah, but if you read this article (big if) he's calling him 'half-educated' because he has a shoddy background in social systems that has left him ignorant of a vast body of historical knowledge and political theory, not because he didn't finish his degree. maybe you should try reading the article and/or writing comments relevant to it...
TheNuclearOption , 20 Nov 2017 12:12
If it were the Iate 15th century there would be a similar article decrying the printing press and if the 19th, the postage stamp. Newspapers have been targeting a partisan readership long before social media came along and all controlled & managed by humanities graduates. Conrad Black & Boris Johnson hardly exemplars of a solid grounding in humanities leading to informed decision making overcoming self interest.
LuvvleeJubblee , 20 Nov 2017 12:08
In a previous article, Naughton wrote:-

this half-baked education has left him bewildered and rudderless

He is now claiming that Zuckerberg is 'half-educated'. Just because he did not complete his degree?! This surely does not make him half-educated? Does that mean that those who do not have a degree are not educated? This smells a little of scholastic snobbery from our former Cambridge University graduate and Vice President !
Joy Dot -> CharleyTango , 20 Nov 2017 11:57
it's possible. it's also possible you choose to work for dummies... raise your game
WalkAmongUs -> rahs24 , 20 Nov 2017 11:56
What's so appalling is that I don't even think they have the slightest inkling that what you've just posted is the absolute reality of these types.

They are so convinced they're right, and that everything they think must prevail, that they simply ignore democracy and anything else that shows that they're actually completely wrong.

Dylan -> LibertarianLeaning , 20 Nov 2017 11:54
You mean you're not economically right wing? Minimal taxes, less state intervention in the economy (including health), etc? Your post referenced economics, not social issues. Socially we agree on a lot, probably nearly everything to be honest - I'm all for legalising based on harm caused by drugs, less military, anti snooper's charter/surveillance, etc, but I like taxes and I like the NHS, and that is where I think you're right wing and I am left! (ps if i've got this horribly wrong and libertarianism as a word has just been coopted to mean 'minarchist' i apologise)
JumpingSpider -> Joy Dot , 20 Nov 2017 11:53
No, I dislike prejudice wherever I see it. It's destructive and it never helps.
Clytamnestra Selena Dungen -> ViolaNeve , 20 Nov 2017 11:48
....Yes, to a certain extent that can happen via reading, but the biggest check on privilege and self-satisfaction is actually engaging with actual other people who don't share that privilege. And that just isn't happening at Stanford and Harvard....

As someone who grew up both first-world-poor and a nerd i cannot expres in words how much i hate that 'the elite' keeps insisting that *the truth* about life and love and everything can only be found in a mixture of greec classics and trips to india. You are only 'enlightened' if you have the time and money to read those books and make those trips and most importantly: if you come home from all that with the right opinions about detesting money, detesting xenophobia, etc.
they pat themselves on the back any time they listen to what they insist is 'an outsider' but is just someone of a different gender/color parroting back their own believes.

It ties in with what many of the fake-news-complainers are reluctant to discuss: there is an ocean of sociological/economic 'facts' that exist somewhere between 'easily-provable lie' and 'this may be a lie to the elite, but it is a true fact for the unwashed masses'. and in tandem with that: the uneasy questions about censorship that come with *any* attempt at regulating the press.

... ... ...

ID507599 , 20 Nov 2017 11:39
This is too simple. The development of critical thought is the key thing and it isn't monopolized by any discipline. People without any qualifications and without much education can - and do - exercise critical ability. The problem is a cultural one. Consumerism and the pretend world in which people 'think' they can be what they want and live in make believe soaps is the problem.
samuelrgates -> ianhurley17 , 20 Nov 2017 11:39
Right? Wolfowitz was a student of Leo Strauss, Kissinger was a Kantian, Zuckerberg reportedly quotes Virgil in meetings, and Jonah Peretti wrote this piece of Marx-ish critical theory: http://www.datawranglers.com/datawranglers.com/negations/issues/96w/96w_peretti.html

We must reckon with the obviousness that the humanities are in no way an armor against "evil."

ParisHiltonCommune -> Uncle_Paulie , 20 Nov 2017 11:20
"If you have an issue with tech giants messing around with your personal data, don't give them your personal data." They'll take your personal data, regardless. Because they make money from selling it.
ParisHiltonCommune -> Edna Lora , 20 Nov 2017 11:18
"A "liberal arts" education is now a selling point in some schools." Presumably schools from families so wealthy, the children will never have to worry about competing with 6 billion other people for a job someday.

[Nov 24, 2017] The battle between STEM and Humanities is mostly fake. The real problem is neoliberal indoctrination -- the MBA, Master of Business Administration are just tools. Neoliberals are the ones who control everything now

The author concerns are naive and misplaced (although he probably advocated the interests of the group to which he belongs). MBA, Master of Business Administration gradates are indoctrinated neoliberals. This is about neoliberalism, not about the structure of the university education and the amount of social coursers required to get an STEM degree.
Notable quotes:
"... First off, full disclosure: I'm in tech, so I'm an insider. I also absolutely agree that tech has a huge, huge problem with understanding the consequences of our actions. But it's a little bit naοve to act as though taking another year or two of humanities classes would magically prevent tech leaders from making antisocial products. ..."
"... Trump is the quintessential Exceptional American, weaponized. The Trump Organization constructed more than 180 skyscrapers and major properties worldwide within every cesspool of political, military, religious, organized crime, and civil corruption. Trump is the toughest SOB on the planet - and the most experienced. And he's ours. I stand with Trump. ..."
"... "It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters." That was supposed to be reserved for exclusive use of the Democratic Party. ..."
"... The writer clearly does not know much about the US higher education system where engineers and scientists cannot get away without taking humanities courses, unlike the UK. ..."
Nov 24, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

ParisHiltonCommune , 20 Nov 2017 11:08

Power and influence are not just a battle between STEM and Humanities, though. You've missed the MBA, Master of Business Admistration. They are the ones who control everything now.

It may have been the case some decades ago, but now it is Managerialism, in the guise of a whole ideology that has sprung from MBA's, that rules over both the STEM and Humanities workers.

From mid- and large- private companies, to the public sector, they all speak the same language and it is the language of the MBA. Corporate visions of embracing customer focused cost control while empowering our core mission values.

Time for an article on Managerialism, as it is the air we breathe these days.

LibertarianLening -> Dylan , 20 Nov 2017 10:58

Your username rather contradicts the assertions you make about your political orientation..

Well let's have a look at some typical libertarian policies. Recreational drugs decriminalised. The dismantling of the surveillance State. Stop covering for Israel's crimes in the UN. A much-reduced military that was for purely defensive purposes. How're they "right-wing", exactly?

ParisHiltonCommune -> VermontBede , 20 Nov 2017 10:55
My recent example is saying "It's like Quixote tiltiing at windmills" only to find the others, 6 or 7 people all with Firsts in STEM had no idea what I was on about. Also saying "It's far too Heath-Robinson" had the same effect.

It does dismay me how clever many of my colleagues are, but how painfully narrow their knowledge is. They study their subject (and I suspect most of that is just for career development i.e. love of money rather than knowledge) but little else.

Our culture has a bad attitude to wisdom in general. Each generation is taught to disregard the old timers, what can they possibly know about anything?

I guess it's all how the plutocracy like it. Their media can tell us that the Crusades were a defensive war and nobody knows enough to disagree. They can continually role out nonsense about the "good guys and the evil guys" to explain world problems and again, nobody knows anything other than that.

LibertarianLeaning -> Vigil2010 , 20 Nov 2017 10:54

Democracy is a political philosophy. Socialism is an economic theory.

Socialism is not an "economic" theory. Socialism (and I use the term in its original, Marxist sense: State ownership & control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange) has absolutely no economic theory behind it. Nowhere did Marx tell his followers how to run their economies; after they'd won, the Bolsheviks and Maoists were on their own. No wonder millions starved. It's impossible to make rational economic calculations in a socialist commonwealth because there is no price signal mechanism. Hence communist countries' famous gluts and shortages.

At its height, despite the fact its economy was much simpler than any here in the West's, economists of the USSR were setting the prices of more than 5 million items, and even they admitted it would have been impossible without knowing (and copying) the prices that arose in our (relatively) free-market economies.

In fact, they joked that once "the revolution" was complete and communism had taken over the world, they'd be required to have some small country remain free-market capitalist so they could have some clue about what prices should be.

And I have no idea of who concocted the "famous quote".

Lulz. You walked into that one: Alexis de Tocqueville

cguardian -> Travis , 20 Nov 2017 10:52
I can't up-vote this enough. MIT, for example, requires eight semesters of humanities for all undergraduates, regardless of major. If you talk to the faculty in the humanities dept, they'll tell you how much they enjoy teaching there, because they get really intelligent students who can think rigorously. (And also because they're almost all tenured professors -- not underpaid "adjuncts".)

Yes, there are a certain percentage of students who meet the stereotype of being socially awkward and not very interested in thinking about things outside of their science and technology focus, but they're not the majority and are more than balanced by the bulk of the student body who could hold their own in any liberal arts program in the world.

ParisHiltonCommune -> ViolaNeve , 20 Nov 2017 10:45
Great comment!

We live in a plutocracy and we get the tech that the plutocrats want us to have. Drives on diversity aren't working because those non-white-upper-middle-class-males who get the roles, are those who behave exactly the same as the white-upper-middle-class elite. So the changes are literally skin deep.

CharleyTango -> Joy Dot , 20 Nov 2017 10:41
Sadly, most of the women I've encountered at the top of the corporate tree have either been there through nepotism (e.g. MD's daughter or mistress) or been promoted way beyond their level of competence and have compensated for that with drink, drugs or appalling bullying.
The educated, savvy women all seem to baled out long before they reach that level!
ianhurley17 , 20 Nov 2017 10:40
Harvard required class of 1964 freshmen to read the published version "The Two Cultures" the summer before they matriculated. The general knowledge of college friends who were scientists and mathematicians (and went on to become university professors) was at least equal to other friends specializing in social sciences and humanities, because suburban American high schools in wealthy communities provide a good general education up to age 18, not 16 as in British public, comprehensive and grammar schools, and because American university courses require a large fraction of a student's course work lie outside their department of specialization.

Snow wrote about the British system. He deplored the willful scientific ignorance of many members of the British Civil Service of this acquaintance. His comments were not intended for or relevant to the American experience. A bright American student, as these computer tech executives' work histories show they must have been, will have gained familiarity with both "cultures" by the time they started their college courses. Their college experiences will have built upon this familiarity.

In my opinion It is inappropriate to blame the failure to regulate internet speech properly upon the education of American tech leaders. Corbyn and whoever replaces Trump will remedy theunderlying issues because they know unregulated capitalism cannot be trusted to act responsibly.

CharleyTango -> davidc929 , 20 Nov 2017 10:35

But often the customers don't know exactly what they want and constantly want to make changes.

True. "It's just what we asked for, but it's not what we want!", viz. Nimrod. And sometimes a supplier provides a system that they say is perfect for the task required, yet once it's installed it clearly is nothing of the sort. The customer's ex-MD retires to the sun, counting his backhander and giggling hysterically. I've encountered that more than once during my career, too.
ID597727 , 20 Nov 2017 10:31
"A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequila." 
--  Mitch Ratcliffe
Themroc5 , 20 Nov 2017 10:30
So what about those teaching and learning 'digital humanities', is this subject then a contradiction in terms? Surly these divides are redundant as subjects become multi disciplinary in our digital age, each will influence the other in new and interesting ways. There is no uninventing available to us here only the effort in rebalancing in how we value what it is to be human.
Alonso Schneeweiss , 20 Nov 2017 10:25
Oh, my - technology run amuck! So what's the solution? Oh yeah - more government.
ViolaNeve , 20 Nov 2017 10:08

First off, full disclosure: I'm in tech, so I'm an insider. I also absolutely agree that tech has a huge, huge problem with understanding the consequences of our actions. But it's a little bit naοve to act as though taking another year or two of humanities classes would magically prevent tech leaders from making antisocial products.

For one thing, more people in tech have humanities backgrounds than you might think (I do--I'm a software developer and educator with a BA from Stanford and am finishing an MSEE, and I have a fair number of colleagues with similarly mixed educational backgrounds). For another, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook when he was was what, 20? It's foolish to act like you can turn a 20-year-old, *any* 20-year-old, into a wise and thoughtful human who can understand all the consequences of their actions by sticking them in a classroom for another year or two. I certainly was a moron when I was 20. Shockingly, I was also a moron when I was 22. College kids just still have a lot of growing up to do.

Don't get me wrong, I work a lot with high schoolers and university students, and I'm a very big proponent of education. But the thing that makes the biggest difference in knocking adolescent heads is exposing kids to people that aren't like them. Yes, to a certain extent that can happen via reading, but the biggest check on privilege and self-satisfaction is actually engaging with actual other people who don't share that privilege. And that just isn't happening at Stanford and Harvard.

I'm white and the child of college-educated parents; at Stanford I still felt out of place, weird, and poor. I was surrounded by people who went to skiing in Switzerland at Christmas and had boats; it wasn't a world I was familiar with or understood. That effect is only magnified for kids of color or from more marginalized backgrounds, sprinkled lightly across classrooms that are overwhelmingly white and privileged. The idea that a white, middle-class kid -- even a gay female kid like me -- would be right near the bottom of the privilege scale I think tells you just about everything about that university culture that you need to know.

What's happening in tech is part of the sickness of our entire social and economic system; it's a toxic mixture of privilege perpetuating privilege, in terms of race and class and gender and money and access. Tech doesn't create antisocial products by itself. Having a lot of rich white kids sitting around discussing Plato in a classroom might make them more well-rounded on paper, but if you then still funnel them then into a money sea dominated by bro culture and VCs, with no necessity or encouragement to engage with people who live outside that bubble, you're still going to get people who are shocked, shocked!! to learn that their products have negative consequences for the lives of the people on the other side of the screen. Lots of *workers* in tech do partially bridge that gap, in one way or another. But the people at the top, making the decisions, are selected overwhelmingly by being white dudes who fit the "poorly socialized iconoclast" mold that VCs understand and then massively isolated by the enormous *heaps of cash* that investors have thrown at them to make something the investors think will get them the best return on their investment. *No part* of that is good for society writ large, beginning to end, in very large part because investors have no reason to care what happens to anyone else.

Here's an example! At this stage, anyone in tech who doesn't think that they're working on making every worker in the world, *including themselves*, obsolete, is deluding themselves. But most of us *do* know that and keep showing up for work, because we don't know any other way of paying our bills. We know that social and political action is needed, a lot of us are agitating for precisely that, but we can't do it on our own, and we have a pretty realistic idea about what kind of future lies for us and our families if we just decide to walk away from the industry. I'm a little too old to really be a millennial, but this is the rock and the hard place, for people even 3 years younger than I am, who graduated from college just in time for the crash: if you're in tech, you're keeping your head above water, barely. If you're not, you're working constantly with no benefits or security, just so you can live with your parents and form a punchline about avocados.

If you want to check tech, you need *political will.* You have to check the money, because it's never going to check itself. And if you want to make Silicon Valley actually become capable of making the utopian tech it likes to believe it can produce, it also wouldn't hurt to check the *overwhelming* bias in tech hiring and in elite education towards people who are white, privileged, and just like everybody else who's already there.

Peter Cini -> phubar , 20 Nov 2017 10:01
No obligation to vote for the array of muts on the ballot. The last guy I voted for is Nader and he was kicked off the ballot in the 2004v election
Bill Longenecker -> toomuch9 , 20 Nov 2017 10:00
I once met a man in a Texas prison who was incarcerated for programming a banks software to divert small fractions of (rounded off) pennies to his personal account. Those added up fast enough to get noticed.
Uncle Al Schwartz , 20 Nov 2017 10:00
Trump is the quintessential Exceptional American, weaponized. The Trump Organization constructed more than 180 skyscrapers and major properties worldwide within every cesspool of political, military, religious, organized crime, and civil corruption. Trump is the toughest SOB on the planet - and the most experienced. And he's ours. I stand with Trump.
Vigil2010 -> LibertarianLeaning , 20 Nov 2017 09:55
Democracy is a political philosophy. Socialism is an economic theory. The two are not mutually exclusive. And I have no idea of who concocted the "famous quote".
VermontBede , 20 Nov 2017 09:48
When you refer to someone as "Machiavellian" does an engineer understand? In the US there used to be a required college course entitled "The History of Western Civilization". It formed a common bond somewhat like serving in the military.
LibertarianLeaning , 20 Nov 2017 09:43

"a liberal arts major familiar with works like Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, or even the work of ancient Greek historians, might have been able to recognise much sooner the potential for the 'tyranny of the majority' or other disconcerting sociological phenomena that are embedded into the very nature of today's social media platforms..."

Such a person would most have likely held their nose and voted for Trump, knowing the appalling damage Hillary had done during her tenure in the State department.

The usual Graun assumption that it's only ignorance or selfishness that makes people eschew Leftists and their policies.

Sorry. Progressives are actually more ignorant about politics, economics and history, in my experience. I'm not "right-wing" myself but far more of my right-leaning friends are likely to know who de Tocqueville was and what he wrote than my Lefty friends.

And most of them will know this rather famous quote:

"Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

Mirelle , 20 Nov 2017 09:37
Up to a point, Lord Copper.

The old "two cultures debate", which in my student days was conducted between FR Leavis and CP Snow, has not advanced very far. There is certainly something in it, but I suspect that the intellectuals of the sixteenth century, most of whom could be found in monasteries, complained that Gutenberg would never have pressed ahead so carelessly with printing using moveable type if he had had a proper grounding in Rhetoric and in Theology, instead of blacksmithing and goldsmithing...

After all... we went from Gutenberg printing in Strasbourg in 1445 to Martin Luther printing his 95 Theses in 1522...

I think we are seeing a similar democratisation of information today.

We can no more put the genie back in the bottle than could Sir Thomas More. If Zuckerberg, Page and Brin had not invented their money machines, someone else might have done so.

The only political leader who is actively trying to control the genie is Xi Jinping, and he may not be entirely successful in keeping up the Great Firewall of China.

I think we have to ride the wave, and keep in mind that political power itself is a matter of technology, as I am sure Marshal McLuhan would point out.

The Great Dictators of the last century were creatures of the radio and the cinema, which allowed them a one sided conversation with every household and made them bestride the silver screen.

Television replaced radio and cinema and with its more domestic scale it cut the monsters down to size and promoted democracy.

The social media have galvanised authoritarianism at the moment, but the wheels will continue to turn..

HiramsMaxim , 20 Nov 2017 09:34
Old model: People who disagree with me are wrong.

New Model: People who disagree with me are stupid.

Oh, and a column in The Guardian defending Mill's On Liberty ? Priceless.

By the way, the entire premise of the column is flawed. Harvard, like all US colleges, has requirements that students take classes outside their major, including humanities. My tech prowess allowed to me find that out. :)

rahs24 , 20 Nov 2017 09:31
Translation/TL;DR version:
> Trump won despite the amount of shameless fear-mongering and short-selling we in the MSM did for Hillary and Dems.
> Tech companies did not do their part in preventing Trump victory by actively censoring everyone WE disagree with.
> We need OUR (SJW/Humanities/Marxist/LiberalArts) people to MANAGE/WATCHOVER these tech guys.
> Guys like Zucker/Brin/Page are not essentially evil, they are just not educate ENOUGH in SJW/Marxist agenda.
> Guys like Thiel are pure evil.
> WE KNOW BEST, hence, we must be allowed to control and manipulate what people think and how they act.
JayThomas , 20 Nov 2017 09:30

So what else could explain the astonishing naivety of the tech crowd? My hunch is it has something to do with their educational backgrounds. Take the Google co-founders. Sergey Brin studied mathematics and computer science. His partner, Larry Page, studied engineering and computer science. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, where he was studying psychology and computer science, but seems to have been more interested in the latter.

Science should left in the hands of the political elite, who know what's best for the people.

Buck Brogan -> AVBrown , 20 Nov 2017 09:28
People need not be good at math to know when a politician is lying. By the humanities, they know a politician is lying because their lips are moving. lol
Joe Applegate , 20 Nov 2017 09:23
Every click we make, we are being gamed. We know it. And so we are partly to blame.
Art Glick -> griz326 , 20 Nov 2017 09:11
Head transplants? What news have you been watching?
fortysomethingpa , 20 Nov 2017 09:07
Said this before in a reply: Isn't there some responsibility on the part of the Humanities to give a more accurate portrayal of history and society? For example, shouldn't we all be well aware that the success of these tech giants is built on state-funded innovation? Shouldn't we all be less blind to how markets work? A stronger left might provide a clearer vision of how power works, but we have been silencing that hard left for years.
fortysomethingpa -> HardWater , 20 Nov 2017 09:03
Agree. But how about the fact that many educated people do not know that much of the technology and innovation behind this wealth was state-funded and not "sexy" Isn't it the job of the liberal arts - history, sociology, government classes to address the role of the state in innovation? We are blinded by a worshipful attitude toward the market. Without a strong left it seems we have lost sight of reality. Isn't this partially the fault of Humanities departments?
LibertineUSA , 20 Nov 2017 09:03
Normally I don't single out greedy business leaders to take the blame for society's woes. It is the fault of our political leaders for allowing them to damage society in their chase for the almighty dollar (or billions of them)...Libertarians, conservatives and centrist Dems to be exact.

But in this case I think the criticism is spot on since these tech nerds keep on claiming their products will make the country and world a better place. Time to kill the meme that capitalists and business people are bested suited morally to lead the world in the 21st Century.

Joy Dot -> JumpingSpider , 20 Nov 2017 09:02
as men have ignored their own unpleasant prejudice for EVER i have no doubt it'll be easy for you to ignore mine

both are a factor. main obstacle here and now being the appalling behaviour of the low-road lesser half

JayThomas , 20 Nov 2017 08:59

"It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters." That was supposed to be reserved for exclusive use of the Democratic Party.

fortysomethingpa -> Gwyndaf , 20 Nov 2017 08:56
One of the changes (still happening) in literature, psychology, sociology, and philosophy departments is a focus on privilege, "the other", subjugation, the power of elites . . . So studying the humanities may involve a critique - at least a consciousness - of one's privilege. Not familiar with Snow but there is plenty of lit crit and theory to dismantle or at least challenge the canon.
threesheds -> Uncle_Paulie , 20 Nov 2017 08:52
I guess the problem being referred to in this article that there are negative implications for all of us because many people's opinions are shaped by what they read on social media. What all of us read is biased in ways that it is difficult to trace the source of that bias. In "the good old days" at least most people tended to know the biases of the newspapers and TV news that you consumed, but now you can be biased by what your friends share with you on social media, or what google choses to show you in search results but there is no way of knowing the source of those biases. The problem therefore goes far beyond the risks of sharing personal data.
maricaangela -> SardinesForDinner , 20 Nov 2017 08:45
Yes, I agree and I wasn't disparaging the STEM subjects at all or equating them in some way with capitalist interests. Both can have that criticism applied to them - for instance, historians can definitely twist facts and more or less propagandise events. Both are necessary, but I was thinking that both need to have at least a grasp of the influence and range of the other and be better educated to do that.
Alex Newman , 20 Nov 2017 08:44
Ditto bankers, doctors, lawyers and journalists.... The world (and particularly the US) is full of specialists. The author's assertions are naive and half-educated.
griz326 , 20 Nov 2017 08:41
Nonsense! You were just filling your word count with provocative poo.

Every technology has a good side and a bad one - including and especially the medical arts. Consider the recent news regarding successful head transplants and face transplants; where will that takes us when humanitarian uses fail to pay the bills???

Edna Lora -> mollypicon , 20 Nov 2017 08:34
One book does not make the man. The point is many private and public schools focus on STEM to the detriment of humanities. A "liberal arts" education is now a selling point in some schools.
toomuch9 -> gordonashworth , 20 Nov 2017 08:21
Totally understand your point. As a non-tech individual who has been hostile to this massive organization of information and its consequent requirements to alter human thought and social patterns to use systems, it is certainly expected that designers would demand compliance from all parties for their own purposes. Even in the SF Chronicle, i often read quips about programmers disguising coding for their own private use. In SF some loose canon but brilliant guy was asked to redesign the city's computer systems. He had total mental breakdown and was jailed for some sort of bizarre infraction that had something to do with unauthorized personal use. I can't quite remember details. The Chron offered to the public that the City may never know what this guy designed into the systems. Bottom line was the city employees were totally delighted about their new programs and the programmer wouldn't talk. If i remember correctly he was this eccentric, well liked gay guy.
mollypicon , 20 Nov 2017 08:16
Horseshit! I read De Toqueville in high school. There are required humanities courses at good universities. And anyone can read a book on one's own time.
harshlight , 20 Nov 2017 08:16
I agree with your overall assessment of the tech owners. However, blaming their academic discipline is short sighted. I suggest you get to know some math and computer science majors. Many are well versed in the humanities. Not everyone needs a degree in liberal arts to understand the human race.

Perhaps you are referring to the culture of technology that bred a lack of insight into human behavior.

There are also people with degrees in the liberal arts who go into technological fields. I agree with your views on the naοvetι of the tech leaders, but blaming a college degree strikes me as looking for a parallel that doesn't exist.

chingpingmei , 20 Nov 2017 08:02
The writer clearly does not know much about the US higher education system where engineers and scientists cannot get away without taking humanities courses, unlike the UK.
Joseph_Ryan , 20 Nov 2017 08:02
I would say that a deep study of the humanities can impart the kind of pessimism about human nature that animated Madison, Jefferson and the other Framers of the Constitution. Their pessimism, unlike the unrestrained optimism of their counterparts in France, is what enabled this country to be one of the few to survive a revolution without descending into mass murder and tyranny. But given their fundamental pessimism, the founders of this country would probably be surprised that the governmental structure they designed had endured this long.
Uncle_Paulie , 20 Nov 2017 08:00
Many of today's 'tech-elite' are sons of rich, establishment types who only have one interest: making more money. By the time reports leek this appear, they already have a private island and a few billion in the bank. If you have an issue with tech giants messing around with your personal data, don't give them your personal data.
gitsumomma , 20 Nov 2017 07:55
I would like to congratulate the vast majority of the people posting here on producing possibly the most thoughtful and considered set of comments I have read on a Guardian Article.

I will give the Article credit for stimulating the debate but I do think the discussion BTL has been far more interesting than the original.

richardmuu -> Alison Cartwright , 20 Nov 2017 07:48
Alison I agree, but because the number of arts and sciences students is declining, arts and sciences faculty try to isolate integrated studies (often called general studies or, at my university, the core curriculum) from professional studies. They do this to try to save their jobs so it's understandable. The end results are sporadic, half-hearted attempts at integration that don't exactly foster aha moments. Rather they cultivate thinking such as we see in this article.
Mujokan -> worried , 20 Nov 2017 07:46
The original backers of the "wired" world (such as Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly who founded Wired, but one could list dozens of tech legends) were utopian thinkers who were very well versed in history and philosophy. Unfortunately but probably inevitably, the whole thing was corrupted by corporations as it became part of mainstream consumer society.

[Oct 17, 2017] New Russophic troll in Guarlan forums>

cato1836 nik was registered on 7 Aug 2017
~50 daily posts for a single, second rate story Facebook must 'follow the money' to uncover extent of Russian meddling is quite a bit.
Along with others in the same category he can be useful for tracking Russia-related stories in Guardian.
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
A couple of samples of his writing:

In response to Barry Lastname 10 Oct 2017 00:55

Putin is the main enemy of the West. He sees this as a zero sum game that will end in Putin's fall from power if he doesn't destroy us first.

Pretty simple.

View discussion Facebook must 'follow the money' to uncover extent of Russian meddling ,

In response to Principleagentprob 10 Oct 2017 00:39

"And the NSA, GCHQ, CIA does not have trolls apparently despite their massive budgets? "

Name me the place where any Western trolls operate.

We already know about 55 Savushkina St, Piter. And we've traced quite a few things back to various 'bears."

Russia is a relatively closed society, while the West is pretty open, with people like Snowden and Manning often spilling the beans.

Might operate using this stuff called "evidence." Been pretty effective for the last thousand years or so.

View discussion Facebook must 'follow the money' to uncover extent of Russian meddling

[Oct 01, 2017] Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here by Cornel West

Notable quotes:
"... The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness. ..."
"... This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. ..."
"... In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome! ..."
"... The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang ..."
"... The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised. ..."
"... if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial! ..."
"... The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad. ..."
"... Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back. ..."
"... He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did. ..."
"... Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties.

Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one Liza Featherstone By banking on the idea that women would support Hillary Clinton just because she was a female candidate, the movement made a terrible mistake Read more

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Rightwing attacks on Obama – and Trump-inspired racist hatred of him – have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering – be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence.

In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!

Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election Hannah Jane Parkinson The 'alt-right' (aka the far right) ensnared the electorate using false stories on social media. But tech companies seem unwilling to admit there's a problem

In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy – such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence.

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

theomatica -> MSP1984 17 Nov 2016 6:40

To be replaced by a form of capitalism that is constrained by national interests. An ideology that wishes to uses the forces of capitalism within a market limited only by national boundaries which aims for more self sufficiency only importing goods the nation can not itself source.

farga 17 Nov 2016 6:35

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

Really? The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised.

That in recent decades middle ground politicians have strayed from the true faith....and now its time to go back - popular capitalism, small government, low taxes.

if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial!

Social36 -> farga 17 Nov 2016 8:33

Maybe, West should have written that we're now in neoliberal, neofascist era!

ForSparta -> farga 17 Nov 2016 14:24

Well in all fairness, Donald Trump (horse's ass) did say he'd 'pump' money into the middle classes thus abandoning 'trickle down'. His plan/ideology is also to increase corporate tax revenues overall by reducing the level of corporation tax -- the aim being to entice corporations to repatriate wealth currently held overseas. Plus he has proposed an infrastructure spending spree, a fiscal stimulus not a monetary one. When you add in tax cuts the middle classes will feel flushed and it is within that demographic that most businesses and hence jobs are created. I think his short game has every chance of doing what he said it would.

SeeNOevilHearNOevil 17 Nov 2016 6:36

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back.

He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did.

But that lip service is where his progressive views begin and stop. It's the very reason none of his promises never translated into actions and I will argue that he was the biggest and smoothest scam artist to enter the white house who got even though that wholly opposed centre-right policies, to flip and support them vehemently. Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried.

ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 6:37

I agree with some of this, but do we really have to throw around hysterical terms like 'fascist' at every opportunity? It's as bad as when people call the left 'cultural Marxists'.

LithophaneFurcifera -> ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 7:05

True, it's sloganeering that drowns out any nuance, whoever does it. Whenever a political term is coined, you can be assured that its use and meaning will eventually be extended to the point that it becomes less effective at characterising the very groups that it was coined to characterise.

Keep "fascist" for Mussolini and "cultural Marxist" for Adorno, unless and until others show such strong resemblances that the link can't seriously be denied.

I agree about the importance of recognising the suffering of the poor and building alliances beyond, and not primarily defined by, race though.

l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 6:40
Hang about Trump is the embodiment of neo-liberalism. It's neo-liberalism with republican tea party in control. He's not going to smash the system that served him so well, the years he manipulated and cheated, why would he want to change it.
garrylee -> l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 9:38
West's point is that it's beyond Trump's control. The scales have fallen from peoples eyes. They now see the deceit of neo-liberalism. And once they see through the charlatan Trump and the rest of the fascists, they will, hopefully, come to realize the only antidote to neo-liberalism is a planned economy.

Nash25 17 Nov 2016 6:40

This excellent analysis by professor West places the current political situation in a proper historical context.

However, I fear that neo-liberalism may not be quite "dead" as he argues.

Most of the Democratic party's "establishment" politicians, who conspired to sabotage the populist Sanders's campaign, still dominate the party, and they, in turn, are controlled by the giant corporations who fund their campaigns.

Democrat Chuck Schumer is now the Senate minority leader, and he is the loyal servant of the big Wall Street investment banks.

Sanders and Warren are the only two Democratic leaders who are not neo-liberals, and I fear that they will once again be marginalized.

Rank and file Democrats must organize at the local and state level to remove these corrupt neo-liberals from all party leadership positions. This will take many years, and it will be very difficult.


VenetianBlind 17 Nov 2016 6:42

Not sure Neo-Liberalism has ended. All they have done is get rid of the middle man.

macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 6:46

It would seem that there is a great deal of over simplifying going on; some of the articles represent an hysteric response and the vision of sack cloth and ashes prevails among those who could not see that the wheels were coming off the bus. The use of the term 'liberal' has become another buzz word - there are many different forms of liberalism and creating yet another sound byte does little to illuminate anything.

Making appeals to restore what has been lost reflects badly upon the central political parties, with their 30 year long rightward drift and their legacy of sucking up to corporate lobbyists, systems managers, box tickers and consultants. You can't give away sovereign political power to a bunch of right wing quangos who worship private wealth and its accumulation without suffering the consequences. The article makes no contribution (and neither have many of the others of late) to any kind of alternative to either neo-liberalism or the vacuum that has become a question mark with the dark face of the devil behind it.

We are in uncharted waters. The conventional Left was totally discredited by1982 and all we've had since are various forms of modifications of Thatcher's imported American vision. There has been no opposition to this system for over 40 years - so where do we get the idea that democracy has any real meaning? Yes, we can vote for the Greens, or one of the lesser known minority parties, but of course people don't; they tend to go with what is portrayed as the orthodoxy and they've been badly let down by it.

It would be a real breath of fresh air to see articles which offer some kind of analysis that demonstrates tangible options to deal with the multiple crises we are suffering. Perhaps we might start with a consideration that if our political institutions are prone to being haunted by the ghost of the 1930's, the state itself could be seen as part of the problem rather than any solution. Why is it that every other institution is considered to be past its sell by date and we still believe in a phantom of democracy? Discuss.

VenetianBlind -> macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 7:00

I have spent hours trying to see solutions around Neo-Liberalism and find that governments have basically signed away any control over the economy so nothing they can do. There are no solutions.

Maybe that is the starting point. The solution for workers left behind in Neo-Liberal language is they must move. It demands labor mobility. It is not possible to dictate where jobs are created.

I see too much fiddly around the edges, the best start is to say they cannot fix the problem. If they keep making false promises then things will just get dire as.

[Sep 27, 2017] The architect of supply-side economics is now a professor at Columbia University, former University of Chicago economist Robert Mundell is an academic charlatan

Notable quotes:
"... For the architect of the euro, taking macroeconomics away from elected politicians and forcing deregulation were part of the plan ..."
"... The idea that the euro has "failed" is dangerously naive. The euro is doing exactly what its progenitor – and the wealthy 1%-ers who adopted it – predicted and planned for it to do. ..."
Jan 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
RC AKA Darryl, Ron :

Thanks to New Deal democrat, who made me curious about yesterday's "comment section in re Summers' piece." Then thanks to Ron Waller for his comment which closed with: (Good read: "Robert Mundell, evil genius of the euro".)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jun/26/robert-mundell-evil-genius-euro

Robert Mundell, evil genius of the euro

Greg Palast

For the architect of the euro, taking macroeconomics away from elected politicians and forcing deregulation were part of the plan

The idea that the euro has "failed" is dangerously naive. The euro is doing exactly what its progenitor – and the wealthy 1%-ers who adopted it – predicted and planned for it to do.

That progenitor is former University of Chicago economist Robert Mundell. The architect of "supply-side economics" is now a professor at Columbia University, but I knew him through his connection to my Chicago professor, Milton Friedman, back before Mundell's research on currencies and exchange rates had produced the blueprint for European monetary union and a common European currency.

Mundell, then, was more concerned with his bathroom arrangements. Professor Mundell, who has both a Nobel Prize and an ancient villa in Tuscany, told me, incensed:

"They won't even let me have a toilet. They've got rules that tell me I can't have a toilet in this room! Can you imagine?"

As it happens, I can't. But I don't have an Italian villa, so I can't imagine the frustrations of bylaws governing commode placement.

But Mundell, a can-do Canadian-American, intended to do something about it: come up with a weapon that would blow away government rules and labor regulations. (He really hated the union plumbers who charged a bundle to move his throne.)

"It's very hard to fire workers in Europe," he complained. His answer: the euro.

The euro would really do its work when crises hit, Mundell explained. Removing a government's control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession.

"It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians," he said. "[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business."

He cited labor laws, environmental regulations and, of course, taxes. All would be flushed away by the euro. Democracy would not be allowed to interfere with the marketplace – or the plumbing.

As another Nobelist, Paul Krugman, notes, the creation of the eurozone violated the basic economic rule known as "optimum currency area". This was a rule devised by Bob Mundell.

That doesn't bother Mundell. For him, the euro wasn't about turning Europe into a powerful, unified economic unit. It was about Reagan and Thatcher.

"Ronald Reagan would not have been elected president without Mundell's influence," once wrote Jude Wanniski in the Wall Street Journal. The supply-side economics pioneered by Mundell became the theoretical template for Reaganomics – or as George Bush the Elder called it, "voodoo economics": the magical belief in free-market nostrums that also inspired the policies of Mrs Thatcher.

Mundell explained to me that, in fact, the euro is of a piece with Reaganomics:

"Monetary discipline forces fiscal discipline on the politicians as well."

And when crises arise, economically disarmed nations have little to do but wipe away government regulations wholesale, privatize state industries en masse, slash taxes and send the European welfare state down the drain.

Thus, we see that (unelected) Prime Minister Mario Monti is demanding labor law "reform" in Italy to make it easier for employers like Mundell to fire those Tuscan plumbers. Mario Draghi, the (unelected) head of the European Central Bank, is calling for "structural reforms" – a euphemism for worker-crushing schemes. They cite the nebulous theory that this "internal devaluation" of each nation will make them all more competitive.

Monti and Draghi cannot credibly explain how, if every country in the Continent cheapens its workforce, any can gain a competitive advantage.
But they don't have to explain their policies; they just have to let the markets go to work on each nation's bonds. Hence, currency union is class war by other means.

The crisis in Europe and the flames of Greece have produced the warming glow of what the supply-siders' philosopher-king Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction". Schumpeter acolyte and free-market apologist Thomas Friedman flew to Athens to visit the "impromptu shrine" of the burnt-out bank where three people died after it was fire-bombed by anarchist protesters, and used the occasion to deliver a homily on globalization and Greek "irresponsibility".

The flames, the mass unemployment, the fire-sale of national assets, would bring about what Friedman called a "regeneration" of Greece and, ultimately, the entire eurozone. So that Mundell and those others with villas can put their toilets wherever they damn well want to.

Far from failing, the euro, which was Mundell's baby, has succeeded probably beyond its progenitor's wildest dreams.

[Needless to say, I am not a fan of Robert Mundell's.]

Peter K. -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , January 20, 2017 at 07:19 AM

Excellent article!

"It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians," he said. "[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business."

Reminded me of a point made by J.W. Mason:

http://jwmason.org/slackwire/what-does-crowding-out-even-mean/

"..It's quite reasonable to suppose that, thanks to dependence on imported inputs and/or demand for imported consumption goods, output can't rise without higher imports. And a country may well run out of foreign exchange before it runs out of domestic savings, finance or productive capacity. This is the idea behind multiple gap models in development economics, or balance of payments constrained growth. It also seems like the direction orthodoxy is heading in the eurozone, where competitiveness is bidding to replace inflation as the overriding concern of macro policy."

Peter K. -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , January 20, 2017 at 07:30 AM
I wonder how this fits with the national savings rate discussion of Miles Kimball and Brad Setser.

Like would they advise Greece to boost their national savings rate or doesn't it matter since Germany controls monetary policy?

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Peter K.... , January 20, 2017 at 08:58 AM
"I wonder how this fits with the national savings rate discussion of Miles Kimball and Brad Setser."

[Don't know and it sounds like way too much work for me to try to figure out. Savings rate is not a problem for us and it is difficult to see how Greece could realistically increase theirs sufficient to change anything without some other intervention being made first to decrease unemployment and increase output.]

pgl -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , January 20, 2017 at 09:47 AM
It is also too much work for PeterK. If he can't cherry pick it, he don't bother.

But note our net national savings rate has been less than 2% for a long, long time.

[Sep 19, 2017] Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world by Stephen Metcalf

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The word ["neoliberalism"] has become a rhetorical weapon, but it properly names the reigning ideology of our era – one that venerates the logic of the market and strips away the things that make us human. ..."
"... Last summer, researchers at the International Monetary Fund settled a long and bitter debate over "neoliberalism": they admitted it exists. Three senior economists at the IMF, an organisation not known for its incaution, published a paper questioning the benefits of neoliberalism ..."
"... The paper gently called out a "neoliberal agenda" for pushing deregulation on economies around the world, for forcing open national markets to trade and capital, and for demanding that governments shrink themselves via austerity or privatisation. The authors cited statistical evidence for the spread of neoliberal policies since 1980, and their correlation with anaemic growth, boom-and-bust cycles and inequality. ..."
"... In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, it was a way of assigning responsibility for the debacle, not to a political party per se, but to an establishment that had conceded its authority to the market. For the Democrats in the US and Labour in the UK, this concession was depicted as a grotesque betrayal of principle. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, it was said, had abandoned the left's traditional commitments, especially to workers, in favour of a global financial elite and the self-serving policies that enriched them; and in doing so, had enabled a sickening rise in inequality. ..."
"... Peer through the lens of neoliberalism and you see more clearly how the political thinkers most admired by Thatcher and Reagan helped shape the ideal of society as a kind of universal market ..."
"... Of course the goal was to weaken the welfare state and any commitment to full employment, and – always – to cut taxes and deregulate. But "neoliberalism" indicates something more than a standard rightwing wish list. It was a way of reordering social reality, and of rethinking our status as individuals. ..."
"... In short, "neoliberalism" is not simply a name for pro-market policies, or for the compromises with finance capitalism made by failing social democratic parties. It is a name for a premise that, quietly, has come to regulate all we practise and believe: that competition is the only legitimate organising principle for human activity. ..."
"... No sooner had neoliberalism been certified as real, and no sooner had it made clear the universal hypocrisy of the market, than the populists and authoritarians came to power ..."
"... Against the forces of global integration, national identity is being reasserted, and in the crudest possible terms. What could the militant parochialism of Brexit Britain and Trumpist America have to do with neoliberal rationality? ..."
"... It isn't only that the free market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Brexit and Trump. There was, from the beginning, an inevitable relationship between the utopian ideal of the free market and the dystopian present in which we find ourselves; ..."
"... That Hayek is considered the grandfather of neoliberalism – a style of thought that reduces everything to economics – is a little ironic given that he was such a mediocre economist. ..."
"... This last is what makes neoliberalism "neo". It is a crucial modification of the older belief in a free market and a minimal state, known as "classical liberalism". In classical liberalism, merchants simply asked the state to "leave us alone" – to laissez-nous faire. Neoliberalism recognised that the state must be active in the organisation of a market economy. The conditions allowing for a free market must be won politically, and the state must be re-engineered to support the free market on an ongoing basis. ..."
"... Hayek had only his idea to console him; an idea so grand it would one day dissolve the ground beneath the feet of Keynes and every other intellectual. Left to its own devices, the price system functions as a kind of mind. And not just any mind, but an omniscient one: the market computes what individuals cannot grasp. Reaching out to him as an intellectual comrade-in-arms, the American journalist Walter Lippmann wrote to Hayek, saying: "No human mind has ever understood the whole scheme of a society At best a mind can understand its own version of the scheme, something much thinner, which bears to reality some such relation as a silhouette to a man." ..."
"... The only social end is the maintenance of the market itself. In its omniscience, the market constitutes the only legitimate form of knowledge, next to which all other modes of reflection are partial, in both senses of the word: they comprehend only a fragment of a whole and they plead on behalf of a special interest. Individually, our values are personal ones, or mere opinions; collectively, the market converts them into prices, or objective facts. ..."
"... According to the logic of Hayek's Big Idea, these expressions of human subjectivity are meaningless without ratification by the market ..."
"... ociety reconceived as a giant market leads to a public life lost to bickering over mere opinions; until the public turns, finally, in frustration to a strongman as a last resort for solving its otherwise intractable problems. ..."
"... What began as a new form of intellectual authority, rooted in a devoutly apolitical worldview, nudged easily into an ultra-reactionary politics ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The word ["neoliberalism"] has become a rhetorical weapon, but it properly names the reigning ideology of our era – one that venerates the logic of the market and strips away the things that make us human.

Last summer, researchers at the International Monetary Fund settled a long and bitter debate over "neoliberalism": they admitted it exists. Three senior economists at the IMF, an organisation not known for its incaution, published a paper questioning the benefits of neoliberalism . In so doing, they helped put to rest the idea that the word is nothing more than a political slur, or a term without any analytic power. The paper gently called out a "neoliberal agenda" for pushing deregulation on economies around the world, for forcing open national markets to trade and capital, and for demanding that governments shrink themselves via austerity or privatisation. The authors cited statistical evidence for the spread of neoliberal policies since 1980, and their correlation with anaemic growth, boom-and-bust cycles and inequality.

Neoliberalism is an old term, dating back to the 1930s, but it has been revived as a way of describing our current politics – or more precisely, the range of thought allowed by our politics . In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, it was a way of assigning responsibility for the debacle, not to a political party per se, but to an establishment that had conceded its authority to the market. For the Democrats in the US and Labour in the UK, this concession was depicted as a grotesque betrayal of principle. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, it was said, had abandoned the left's traditional commitments, especially to workers, in favour of a global financial elite and the self-serving policies that enriched them; and in doing so, had enabled a sickening rise in inequality.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world – podcast

Over the past few years, as debates have turned uglier, the word has become a rhetorical weapon, a way for anyone left of centre to incriminate those even an inch to their right. (No wonder centrists say it's a meaningless insult: they're the ones most meaningfully insulted by it.) But "neoliberalism" is more than a gratifyingly righteous jibe. It is also, in its way, a pair of eyeglasses.

Peer through the lens of neoliberalism and you see more clearly how the political thinkers most admired by Thatcher and Reagan helped shape the ideal of society as a kind of universal market (and not, for example, a polis, a civil sphere or a kind of family) and of human beings as profit-and-loss calculators (and not bearers of grace, or of inalienable rights and duties). Of course the goal was to weaken the welfare state and any commitment to full employment, and – always – to cut taxes and deregulate. But "neoliberalism" indicates something more than a standard rightwing wish list. It was a way of reordering social reality, and of rethinking our status as individuals.

Still peering through the lens, you see how, no less than the welfare state, the free market is a human invention. You see how pervasively we are now urged to think of ourselves as proprietors of our own talents and initiative, how glibly we are told to compete and adapt. You see the extent to which a language formerly confined to chalkboard simplifications describing commodity markets (competition, perfect information, rational behaviour) has been applied to all of society, until it has invaded the grit of our personal lives, and how the attitude of the salesman has become enmeshed in all modes of self-expression.

In short, "neoliberalism" is not simply a name for pro-market policies, or for the compromises with finance capitalism made by failing social democratic parties. It is a name for a premise that, quietly, has come to regulate all we practise and believe: that competition is the only legitimate organising principle for human activity.

No sooner had neoliberalism been certified as real, and no sooner had it made clear the universal hypocrisy of the market, than the populists and authoritarians came to power. In the US, Hillary Clinton, the neoliberal arch-villain, lost – and to a man who knew just enough to pretend he hated free trade . So are the eyeglasses now useless? Can they do anything to help us understand what is broken about British and American politics? Against the forces of global integration, national identity is being reasserted, and in the crudest possible terms. What could the militant parochialism of Brexit Britain and Trumpist America have to do with neoliberal rationality? What possible connection is there between the president – a freewheeling boob – and the bloodless paragon of efficiency known as the free market?

It isn't only that the free market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Brexit and Trump. There was, from the beginning, an inevitable relationship between the utopian ideal of the free market and the dystopian present in which we find ourselves; between the market as unique discloser of value and guardian of liberty, and our current descent into post-truth and illiberalism.

Moving the stale debate about neoliberalism forward begins, I think, with taking seriously the measure of its cumulative effect on all of us, regardless of affiliation. And this requires returning to its origins, which have nothing to do with Bill or Hillary Clinton. There once was a group of people who did call themselves neoliberals, and did so proudly, and their ambition was a total revolution in thought. The most prominent among them, Friedrich Hayek, did not think he was staking out a position on the political spectrum, or making excuses for the fatuous rich, or tinkering along the edges of microeconomics.

He thought he was solving the problem of modernity: the problem of objective knowledge. For Hayek, the market didn't just facilitate trade in goods and services; it revealed truth. How did his ambition collapse into its opposite – the mind-bending possibility that, thanks to our thoughtless veneration of the free market, truth might be driven from public life altogether?


When the idea occurred to Friedrich Hayek in 1936, he knew, with the conviction of a "sudden illumination", that he had struck upon something new. "How can the combination of fragments of knowledge existing in different minds," he wrote, "bring about results which, if they were to be brought about deliberately, would require a knowledge on the part of the directing mind which no single person can possess?"

This was not a technical point about interest rates or deflationary slumps. This was not a reactionary polemic against collectivism or the welfare state. This was a way of birthing a new world. To his mounting excitement, Hayek understood that the market could be thought of as a kind of mind.

Adam Smith's "invisible hand" had already given us the modern conception of the market: as an autonomous sphere of human activity and therefore, potentially, a valid object of scientific knowledge. But Smith was, until the end of his life, an 18th-century moralist. He thought the market could be justified only in light of individual virtue, and he was anxious that a society governed by nothing but transactional self-interest was no society at all. Neoliberalism is Adam Smith without the anxiety.

That Hayek is considered the grandfather of neoliberalism – a style of thought that reduces everything to economics – is a little ironic given that he was such a mediocre economist. He was just a young, obscure Viennese technocrat when he was recruited to the London School of Economics to compete with, or possibly even dim, the rising star of John Maynard Keynes at Cambridge.

The plan backfired, and Hayek lost out to Keynes in a rout. Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, was greeted as a masterpiece. It dominated the public discussion, especially among young English economists in training, for whom the brilliant, dashing, socially connected Keynes was a beau idιal . By the end of the second world war, many prominent free-marketers had come around to Keynes's way of thinking, conceding that government might play a role in managing a modern economy. The initial excitement over Hayek had dissipated. His peculiar notion that doing nothing could cure an economic depression had been discredited in theory and practice. He later admitted that he wished his work criticising Keynes would simply be forgotten.

... Hayek built into neoliberalism the assumption that the market provides all necessary protection against the one real political danger: totalitarianism. To prevent this, the state need only keep the market free.

This last is what makes neoliberalism "neo". It is a crucial modification of the older belief in a free market and a minimal state, known as "classical liberalism". In classical liberalism, merchants simply asked the state to "leave us alone" – to laissez-nous faire. Neoliberalism recognised that the state must be active in the organisation of a market economy. The conditions allowing for a free market must be won politically, and the state must be re-engineered to support the free market on an ongoing basis.

That isn't all: every aspect of democratic politics, from the choices of voters to the decisions of politicians, must be submitted to a purely economic analysis. The lawmaker is obliged to leave well enough alone – to not distort the natural actions of the marketplace – and so, ideally, the state provides a fixed, neutral, universal legal framework within which market forces operate spontaneously. The conscious direction of government is never preferable to the "automatic mechanism of adjustment" – ie the price system, which is not only efficient but maximises liberty, or the opportunity for men and women to make free choices about their own lives.

As Keynes jetted between London and Washington, creating the postwar order, Hayek sat pouting in Cambridge. He had been sent there during the wartime evacuations; and he complained that he was surrounded by "foreigners" and "no lack of orientals of all kinds" and "Europeans of practically all nationalities, but very few of real intelligence".

Stuck in England, without influence or respect, Hayek had only his idea to console him; an idea so grand it would one day dissolve the ground beneath the feet of Keynes and every other intellectual. Left to its own devices, the price system functions as a kind of mind. And not just any mind, but an omniscient one: the market computes what individuals cannot grasp. Reaching out to him as an intellectual comrade-in-arms, the American journalist Walter Lippmann wrote to Hayek, saying: "No human mind has ever understood the whole scheme of a society At best a mind can understand its own version of the scheme, something much thinner, which bears to reality some such relation as a silhouette to a man."

It is a grand epistemological claim – that the market is a way of knowing, one that radically exceeds the capacity of any individual mind. Such a market is less a human contrivance, to be manipulated like any other, than a force to be studied and placated. Economics ceases to be a technique – as Keynes believed it to be – for achieving desirable social ends, such as growth or stable money. The only social end is the maintenance of the market itself. In its omniscience, the market constitutes the only legitimate form of knowledge, next to which all other modes of reflection are partial, in both senses of the word: they comprehend only a fragment of a whole and they plead on behalf of a special interest. Individually, our values are personal ones, or mere opinions; collectively, the market converts them into prices, or objective facts.

... ... ...

The more Hayek's idea expands, the more reactionary it gets, the more it hides behind its pretence of scientific neutrality – and the more it allows economics to link up with the major intellectual trend of the west since the 17th century. The rise of modern science generated a problem: if the world is universally obedient to natural laws, what does it mean to be human? Is a human being simply an object in the world, like any other? There appears to be no way to assimilate the subjective, interior human experience into nature as science conceives it – as something objective whose rules we discover by observation.

... ... ...

More than anyone, even Hayek himself, it was the great postwar Chicago economist Milton Friedman who helped convert governments and politicians to the power of Hayek's Big Idea. But first he broke with two centuries of precedent and declared that economics is "in principle independent of any particular ethical position or normative judgments" and is "an 'objective' science, in precisely the same sense as any of the physical sciences". Values of the old, mental, normative kind were defective, they were "differences about which men can ultimately only fight". There is the market, in other words, and there is relativism.

Markets may be human facsimiles of natural systems, and like the universe itself, they may be authorless and valueless. But the application of Hayek's Big Idea to every aspect of our lives negates what is most distinctive about us. That is, it assigns what is most human about human beings – our minds and our volition – to algorithms and markets, leaving us to mimic, zombie-like, the shrunken idealisations of economic models. Supersizing Hayek's idea and radically upgrading the price system into a kind of social omniscience means radically downgrading the importance of our individual capacity to reason – our ability to provide and evaluate justifications for our actions and beliefs.

As a result, the public sphere – the space where we offer up reasons, and contest the reasons of others – ceases to be a space for deliberation, and becomes a market in clicks, likes and retweets. The internet is personal preference magnified by algorithm; a pseudo-public space that echoes the voice already inside our head. Rather than a space of debate in which we make our way, as a society, toward consensus, now there is a mutual-affirmation apparatus banally referred to as a "marketplace of ideas". What looks like something public and lucid is only an extension of our own pre-existing opinions, prejudices and beliefs, while the authority of institutions and experts has been displaced by the aggregative logic of big data. When we access the world through a search engine, its results are ranked, as the founder of Google puts it, "recursively" – by an infinity of individual users functioning as a market, continuously and in real time.

... ... ...

According to the logic of Hayek's Big Idea, these expressions of human subjectivity are meaningless without ratification by the market – as Friedman said, they are nothing but relativism, each as good as any other. When the only objective truth is determined by the market, all other values have the status of mere opinions; everything else is relativist hot air. But Friedman's "relativism" is a charge that can be thrown at any claim based on human reason. It is a nonsense insult, as all humanistic pursuits are "relative" in a way the sciences are not. They are relative to the (private) condition of having a mind, and the (public) need to reason and understand even when we can't expect scientific proof. When our debates are no longer resolved by deliberation over reasons, then the whimsies of power will determine the outcome.

This is where the triumph of neoliberalism meets the political nightmare we are living through now. "You had one job," the old joke goes, and Hayek's grand project, as originally conceived in 30s and 40s, was explicitly designed to prevent a backslide into political chaos and fascism. But the Big Idea was always this abomination waiting to happen. It was, from the beginning, pregnant with the thing it was said to protect against. Society reconceived as a giant market leads to a public life lost to bickering over mere opinions; until the public turns, finally, in frustration to a strongman as a last resort for solving its otherwise intractable problems.

... ... ...

What began as a new form of intellectual authority, rooted in a devoutly apolitical worldview, nudged easily into an ultra-reactionary politics. What can't be quantified must not be real, says the economist, and how do you measure the benefits of the core faiths of the enlightenment – namely, critical reasoning, personal autonomy and democratic self-government? When we abandoned, for its embarrassing residue of subjectivity, reason as a form of truth, and made science the sole arbiter of both the real and the true, we created a void that pseudo-science was happy to fill.

... ... ...

[Sep 17, 2017] Inside the rehab saving young men from their internet addiction by Joanna Walters

Jun 16, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

At a cabin in the Washington state woods, the reSTART center helps residents withdraw from technology that has consumed their lives in Redmond, Washington.

By the time Marshall Carpenter's father broke down the barricaded door of his son's apartment and physically ripped him away from his electronic devices, the 25-year-old was in a bad way. He could not bear to live a life that didn't involve hours upon hours of uninterrupted screen time.

"I was playing video games 14 or 15 hours a day, I had Netflix on a loop in the background, and any time there was the tiniest break in any of that, I would be playing a game on my phone or sending lonely texts to ex-girlfriends," Carpenter says.

We are sitting in a small, plain apartment in a nondescript condo complex in Redmond, Washington, on the outskirts of Seattle. Marshall shares the apartment with other men in their 20s, all of whom have recently emerged from a unique internet addiction rehab program called reSTART Life.

"I was basically living on Dr Pepper, which is packed with caffeine and sugar. I would get weak from not eating but I would only notice it when I got so shaky I stopped being able to think and play well," he adds. By then, he'd already had to drop out of university in Michigan and had lost his sports scholarship.

His new friends Charlie and Peter nod sagely. Charlie Bracke, 28, was suicidal and had lost his job when he realized his online gaming was totally out of control. He can't remember a time in his life before he was not playing video games of some kind: he reckons he began when he was about four and was addicted by the age of nine.

Marshall and Charlie at reSTART, an internet addiction center.

Marshall and Charlie at reSTART, with Charlie's dog, Minerva. Photograph: Rafael Soldi for the Guardian

For Peter, 31, who preferred to withhold his last name, the low came when he had been homeless for six months and was living in his car.

"I would stay in church parking lots and put sunshades up on the windows and spend all day in my car on my tablet device," he says.

He was addicted to internet porn, masturbating six to 10 times a day, to the point where he was bleeding but would continue.

When he wasn't doing that, he was so immersed in the fantasy battle game World of Warcraft that in his mind, he was no longer a person sitting at a screen, but an avatar: the bold dwarvish hero Tarokalas, "shooting guns and assassinating the enemy" as he ran through a Tolkien-esque virtual realm.

And when he wasn't doing that, he would read online news reports obsessively and exercise his political opinions and a hair-trigger temper in the comment section of The Economist, projecting himself pseudonymously as a swaggering blogger-cum-troll.

"I was a virgin until I was 29. Then I had sex with a lap dancer at a strip club. That's something I never thought I would do," he says.

After completing the initial $25,000, 45-day residential stage at the main "campus" a few miles away, clients move into the cheaper, off-site secondary phase. Here they get to share a normal apartment, on the condition that they continue with psychotherapy, attend Alcoholics Anonymous-style 12-step meetings, search for work and avoid the internet for a minimum of six months.

Marshall, Charlie and Peter successfully completed the second phase and have graduated from the reSTART program, but they have chosen to stay in the same apartment complex and rent with other recovering gamers as they continue to reboot their lives.

Mostly they carry only flip phones and have to go to the library when they want to check email.

"I'm taking my life in six-month chunks at this stage. So far I haven't relapsed into gaming and I'm feeling optimistic," says Bracke.

An addiction overwhelmingly afflicting men

A climbing wall at the main ReStart campus, deep in the woods.

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A climbing wall at the main reSTART campus, deep in the woods. Photograph: Rafael Soldi for the Guardian

Nine miles east, down a dirt track off a country road that winds through forests, six young men are sitting in a wooden cabin amid a cluster of moss-draped trees – the reSTART campus.

Spring sunshine is flooding through the windows and the only sounds are birds singing and the men cracking their knuckles as they stare at the floor.

They have recently arrived at rehab.

Hilarie Cash, a psychotherapist and the chief clinical officer at reSTART, asks the guys to begin a communication exercise.

Philip, 22, steps into the middle of the group. He's been here for three weeks and is on a year's medical leave from Duke University after getting hooked on Dota 2, the sequel to the fantasy battle game Defense of the Ancients. He asks Adam, who only arrived four days ago and is fidgeting awkwardly, to stand up and face him. (The real names of those currently in the residential program have been withheld.)

Kevin, who has been here for four weeks, coaches them through an exercise known in counseling circles as the "listening cycle", designed to facilitate emotional conversations in relationships.

It's a basic introduction for the new guy.

Fears grow for children addicted to online games

Read more

Philip, who was underweight when he arrived, says to Adam, who is overweight: "I'm worried that you're not eating healthily. I noticed you've been skipping dinner."

Adam is meant to repeat back to Philip what he heard him say the problem is. He mumbles, barely audible, and can't seem to remember what he's just been told.

He's unable to focus, and the air is thick with reluctance and embarrassment.

Stephen, another newbie, is gazing at the ceiling, yawning, sighing, then looking mildly irritated.

Alex, 20, comes to the rescue. He arrived at rehab in January but has popped back to visit the group and explains: "It's so hard at the beginning. Day one here, I was a wreck, and the first two weeks I was backsliding."

His games of choice were The Legend of Zelda, a solo action adventure series, where "instead of being the depressed piece of shit I was in real life" he could exist as a swashbuckling hero.

Adapting to a tech-free world structured around rural communal living and social skills was a nightmare, he says. "I wouldn't join in at first and I got called out for it by the others."

[Sep 16, 2017] Moving Every Half Hour Could Help Limit Effects of Sedentary Lifestyle, Says Study

Highly recommended!
Sep 16, 2017 | slashdot.org
Moving Every Half Hour Could Help Limit Effects of Sedentary Lifestyle, Says Study (theguardian.com) 96 Posted by BeauHD on Monday September 11, 2017 @11:30PM from the criss-cross-applesauce dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian:

Moving your body at least every half an hour could help to limit the harmful effects of desk jobs and other sedentary lifestyles , research has revealed.

The study found that both greater overall time spent inactive in a day, and longer periods of inactivity were linked to an increased risk of death.

Writing in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine , Diaz and colleagues from seven U.S. institutions describe how they kitted out nearly 8,000 individuals aged 45 or over from across the U.S. with activity trackers between 2009 and 2013. Each participant wore the fitness tracker for at least four days during a period of one week, with deaths of participants tracked until September 2015.

The results reveal that, on average, participants were inactive for 12.3 hours of a 16 hour waking day, with each period of inactivity lasting an average of 11.4 minutes. After taking into account a host of factors including age, sex, education, smoking and high blood pressure, the team found that both the overall length of daily inactivity and the length of each bout of sedentary behavior were linked to changes in the risk of death from any cause. The associations held even among participants undertaking moderate to vigorous physical activity. T

hose who were inactive for 13.2 hours a day had a risk of death 2.6 times that of those spending less than 11.5 hours a day inactive, while those whose bouts of inactivity lasted on average 12.4 minutes or more had a risk of death almost twice that of those who were inactive for an average of less than 7.7 minutes at a time.

The team then looked at the interaction between the two measures of inactivity, finding the risk of death was greater for those who had both high overall levels of inactivity (12.5 hours a day or more) and long average bouts of sedentary behavior (10 minutes or more), than for those who had high levels of just one of the measures.

[Sep 11, 2017] Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what is wrenching society apart by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Consumerism fills the social void. But far from curing the disease of isolation, it intensifies social comparison to the point at which, having consumed all else, we start to prey upon ourselves. Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing, and to see that other people have more friends and followers than we do. ..."
"... A recent survey in England suggests that one in four women between 16 and 24 have harmed themselves, and one in eight now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety, depression, phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder affect 26% of women in this age group. This is what a public health crisis looks like. ..."
"... Opioids relieve both physical agony and the distress of separation. Perhaps this explains the link between social isolation and drug addiction. ..."
"... Children who experience emotional neglect, according to some findings, suffer worse mental health consequences than children suffering both emotional neglect and physical abuse: hideous as it is, violence involves attention and contact. Self-harm is often used as an attempt to alleviate distress: another indication that physical pain is not as bad as emotional pain. As the prison system knows only too well, one of the most effective forms of torture is solitary confinement. ..."
"... It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat. It's more surprising to discover the range of physical illnesses it causes or exacerbates. Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people. Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%. This is partly because it enhances production of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is a project that explicitly aims, and has achieved, the undermining and elimination of social networks in favour of market competition ..."
"... In practice, loosening social and legal institutions has reduced social security (in the general sense rather than simply welfare payments) and encouraged the limitation of social interaction to money based activity ..."
"... All powerful institutions have a vested interest in keeping us atomized and individualistic. The gangs at the top don't want competition. They're afraid of us. In particular, they're afraid of men organising into gangs. That's where this very paper comes in ..."
"... The alienation genie was out of the bottle with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and mass migration to cities began and we abandoned living in village communities ..."
"... Neoliberalism expressly encourages 'atomisation'- it is all about reducing human interaction to markets. And so this is just one of the reasons that neoliberalism is such a bunk philosophy. ..."
"... My stab at an answer would first question the notion that we are engaging in anything. That presupposes we are making the choices. Those who set out the options are the ones that make the choices. We are being engaged by the grotesquely privileged and the pathologically greedy in an enterprise that profits them still further. It suits the 1% very well strategically, for obvious reasons, that the 99% don't swap too many ideas with each other. ..."
"... According to Robert Putnam, as societies become more ethnically diverse they lose social capital, contributing to the type of isolation and loneliness which George describes. Doesn't sound as evil as neoliberalism I suppose. ..."
"... multiculturalism is a direct result of Neoliberalism. The market rules and people are secondary. Everything must be done for business owners, and that everything means access to cheap labor. ..."
"... I'd have thought what he really wants to say is that loneliness as a phenomenon in modern Western society arises out of an intent on the part of our political and social elites to divide us all into competing against one another, as individuals and as members of groups, all the better to keep us under control and prevent us from working together to claim our fair share of resources. ..."
"... Has it occurred to you that the collapse in societal values has allowed 'neo-liberalism' to take hold? ..."
"... No. It has been the concentrated propaganda of the "free" press. Rupert Murdoch in particular, but many other well-funded organisations working in the background over 50 years. They are winning. ..."
"... We're fixated on a magical, abstract concept called "the economy". Everything must be done to help "the economy", even if this means adults working through their weekends, neglecting their children, neglecting their elderly parents, eating at their desks, getting diabetes, breaking down from stress, and giving up on a family life. ..."
"... You can make a reasonable case that 'Neoliberalism' expects that every interaction, including between individuals, can be reduced to a financial one. ..."
"... As can be seen from many of the posts, neo-liberalism depends on, and fosters, ignorance, an inability to see things from historical and different perspectives and social and intellectual disciplines. On a sociological level how other societies are arranged throws up interesting comparisons. Scandanavian countries, which have mostly avoided neo-liberalism by and large, are happier, healthier places to live. America and eastern countries arranged around neo-liberal, market driven individualism, are unhappy places, riven with mental and physical health problems and many more social problems of violence, crime and suicide. ..."
"... The people who fosted this this system onto us, are now either very old or dead. We're living in the shadow of their revolutionary transformation of our more equitable post-war society. Hayek, Friedman, Keith Joseph, Thatcher, Greenspan and tangentially but very influentially Ayn Rand. Although a remainder (I love the wit of the term 'Remoaner') , Brexit can be better understood in the context of the death-knell of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Criticism of his hypotheses on this thread (where articualted at all) focus on the existence of solitude and loneliness prior to neo liberalism, which seems to me to be to deliberately miss his point: this was formerly a minor phenomenon, yet is now writ on an incredible scale - and it is a social phenomenon particular to those western economies whose elites have most enthusiastically embraced neo liberalism. ..."
"... We all want is to: (and feel we have the right to) wear the best clothes, have the foreign holidays, own the latest tech and eat the finest foods. At the same time our rights have increased and awareness of our responsibilities have minimized. The execution of common sense and an awareness that everything that goes wrong will always be someone else fault. ..."
"... We are not all special snowflakes, princesses or worthy of special treatment, but we act like self absorbed, entitled individuals. Whether that's entitled to benefits, the front of the queue or bumped into first because its our birthday! ..."
"... Unhealthy social interaction, yes. You can never judge what is natural to humans based on contemporary Britain. Anthropologists repeatedly find that what we think natural is merely a social construct created by the system we are subject to. ..."
"... We are becoming fearful of each other and I believe the insecurity we feel plays a part in this. ..."
"... We have become so disconnected from ourselves and focused on battling to stay afloat. Having experienced periods of severe stress due to lack of money I couldn't even begin to think about how I felt, how happy I was, what I really wanted to do with my life. I just had to pay my landlord, pay the bills and try and put some food on my table so everything else was totally neglected. ..."
"... We need a radical change of political thinking to focus on quality of life rather than obsession with the size of our economy. High levels of immigration of people who don't really integrate into their local communities has fractured our country along with the widening gap between rich and poor. Governments only see people in terms of their "economic value" - hence mothers being driven out to work, children driven into daycare and the elderly driven into care homes. Britain is becoming a soulless place - even our great British comedy is on the decline. ..."
"... Quality of life is far more important than GDP I agree but it is also far more important than inequality. ..."
"... Thatcher was only responsible for "letting it go" in Britain in 1980, but actually it was already racing ahead around the world. ..."
"... Eric Fromm made similar arguments to Monbiot about the psychological impact of modern capitalism (Fear of Freedom and The Sane Society) - although the Freudian element is a tad outdated. However, for all the faults of modern society, I'd rather be unhappy now than in say, Victorian England. Similarly, life in the West is preferable to the obvious alternatives. ..."
"... Whilst it's very important to understand how neoliberalism, the ideology that dare not speak it's name, derailed the general progress in the developed world. It's also necessary to understand that the roots this problem go much further back. Not merely to the start of the industrial revolution, but way beyond that. It actually began with the first civilizations when our societies were taken over by powerful rulers, and they essentially started to farm the people they ruled like cattle. On the one hand they declared themselves protector of their people, whilst ruthlessly exploiting them for their own political gain. I use the livestock farming analogy, because that explains what is going on. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism allows psychopaths to flourish, and it has been argued by Robert Hare that they are disproportionately represented in the highest echelons of society. So people who lack empathy and emotional attachment are probably weilding a significant amount of influence over the way our economy and society is organised. Is it any wonder that they advocate an economic model which is most conducive to their success? Things like job security, rigged markets, unions, and higher taxes on the rich simply get in their way. ..."
"... . Data suggests that inequality has widened massively over the last 30 years ( https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/infographic-income-inequality-uk ) - as has social mobility ( https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/22/social-mobility-data-charts ). Homelessness has risen substantially since 1979. ..."
"... As a director and CEO of an organisation employing several hundred people I became aware that 40% of the staff lived alone and that the workplace was important to them not only for work but also for interacting with their colleagues socially . ..."
"... A thoughtful article. But the rich and powerful will ignore it; their doing very well out of neo liberalism thank you. Meanwhile many of those whose lives are affected by it don't want to know - they're happy with their bigger TV screen. Which of course is what the neoliberals want, 'keep the people happy and in the dark'. An old Roman tactic - when things weren't going too well for citizens and they were grumbling the leaders just extended the 'games'. Evidently it did the trick ..."
"... Sounds like the inevitable logical outcome of a society where the predator sociopathic and their scared prey are all that is allowed. This dynamic dualistic tautology, the slavish terrorised to sleep and bullying narcissistic individual, will always join together to protect their sick worldview by pathologising anything that will threaten their hegemony of power abuse: compassion, sensitivity, moral conscience, altruism and the immediate effects of the ruthless social effacement or punishment of the same ie human suffering. ..."
"... "Alienation, in all areas, has reached unprecedented heights; the social machinery for deluding consciousnesses in the interest of the ruling class has been perfected as never before. The media are loaded with upscale advertising identifying sophistication with speciousness. Television, in constant use, obliterates the concept under the image and permanently feeds a baseless credulity for events and history. Against the will of many students, school doesn't develop the highly cultivated critical capacities that a real sovereignty of the people would require. And so on. ..."
"... There's no question - neoliberalism has been wrenching society apart. It's not as if the prime movers of this ideology were unaware of the likely outcome viz. "there is no such thing as society" (Thatcher). Actually in retrospect the whole zeitgeist from the late 70s emphasised the atomised individual separated from the whole. Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" (1976) may have been influential in creating that climate. ..."
"... I would add that the basic concepts of the Neoliberal New world order are fundamentally Evil, from the control of world population through supporting of strife starvation and war to financial inducements of persons in positions of power. Let us not forget the training of our younger members of our society who have been induced to a slavish love of technology. ..."
"... The kind of personal freedom that you say goes hand in hand with capitalism is an illusion for the majority of people. It holds up the prospect of that kind of freedom, but only a minority get access to it. ..."
"... Problems in society are not solved by having a one hour a week class on "self esteem". In fact self-esteem and self-worth comes from the things you do. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is the bastard child of globalization which in effect is Americanization. The basic premise is the individual is totally reliant on the corporate world state aided by a process of fear inducing mechanisms, pharmacology is one of the tools. No community no creativity no free thinking. Poded sealed and cling filmed a quasi existence. ..."
"... Having grown up during the Thatcher years, I entirely agree that neoliberalism has divided society by promoting individual self-optimisation at the expensive of everyone else. ..."
"... There is no such thing as a free-market society. Your society of 'self-interest' is really a state supported oligarchy. If you really want to live in a society where there is literally no state and a more or less open market try Somalia or a Latin American city run by drug lords - but even then there are hierarchies, state involvement, militias. ..."
"... Furthermore, a society in which people are encouraged to be narrowly selfish is just plain uncivilized. Since when have sociopathy and barbarism been something to aspire to? ..."
"... Why don't we explore some of the benefits?.. Following the long list of some the diseases, loneliness can inflict on individuals, there must be a surge in demand for all sort of medications; anti-depressants must be topping the list. There is a host many other anti-stress treatments available of which Big Pharma must be carving the lion's share. Examine the micro-economic impact immediately following a split or divorce. There is an instant doubling on the demand for accommodation, instant doubling on the demand for electrical and household items among many other products and services. But the icing on the cake and what is really most critical for Neoliberalism must be this: With the morale barometer hitting the bottom, people will be less likely to think of a better future, and therefore, less likely to protest. In fact, there is nothing left worth protecting. ..."
"... Your freedom has been curtailed. Your rights are evaporating in front of your eyes. And Best of all, from the authorities' perspective, there is no relationship to defend and there is no family to protect. If you have a job, you want to keep, you must prove your worthiness every day to 'a company'. ..."
Oct 12, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children's mental health in England reflect a global crisis.

There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same: human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology. Though our wellbeing is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism.

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet. The education system becomes more brutally competitive by the year. Employment is a fight to the near-death with a multitude of other desperate people chasing ever fewer jobs. The modern overseers of the poor ascribe individual blame to economic circumstance. Endless competitions on television feed impossible aspirations as real opportunities contract.

Consumerism fills the social void. But far from curing the disease of isolation, it intensifies social comparison to the point at which, having consumed all else, we start to prey upon ourselves. Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing, and to see that other people have more friends and followers than we do.

As Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett has brilliantly documented, girls and young women routinely alter the photos they post to make themselves look smoother and slimmer. Some phones, using their "beauty" settings, do it for you without asking; now you can become your own thinspiration. Welcome to the post-Hobbesian dystopia: a war of everyone against themselves.

Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing

Is it any wonder, in these lonely inner worlds, in which touching has been replaced by retouching, that young women are drowning in mental distress? A recent survey in England suggests that one in four women between 16 and 24 have harmed themselves, and one in eight now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety, depression, phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder affect 26% of women in this age group. This is what a public health crisis looks like.

If social rupture is not treated as seriously as broken limbs, it is because we cannot see it. But neuroscientists can. A series of fascinating papers suggest that social pain and physical pain are processed by the same neural circuits. This might explain why, in many languages, it is hard to describe the impact of breaking social bonds without the words we use to denote physical pain and injury. In both humans and other social mammals, social contact reduces physical pain. This is why we hug our children when they hurt themselves: affection is a powerful analgesic. Opioids relieve both physical agony and the distress of separation. Perhaps this explains the link between social isolation and drug addiction.

Experiments summarised in the journal Physiology & Behaviour last month suggest that, given a choice of physical pain or isolation, social mammals will choose the former. Capuchin monkeys starved of both food and contact for 22 hours will rejoin their companions before eating. Children who experience emotional neglect, according to some findings, suffer worse mental health consequences than children suffering both emotional neglect and physical abuse: hideous as it is, violence involves attention and contact. Self-harm is often used as an attempt to alleviate distress: another indication that physical pain is not as bad as emotional pain. As the prison system knows only too well, one of the most effective forms of torture is solitary confinement.

It is not hard to see what the evolutionary reasons for social pain might be. Survival among social mammals is greatly enhanced when they are strongly bonded with the rest of the pack. It is the isolated and marginalised animals that are most likely to be picked off by predators, or to starve. Just as physical pain protects us from physical injury, emotional pain protects us from social injury. It drives us to reconnect. But many people find this almost impossible.

It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat. It's more surprising to discover the range of physical illnesses it causes or exacerbates. Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people. Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%. This is partly because it enhances production of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system.

Studies in both animals and humans suggest a reason for comfort eating: isolation reduces impulse control, leading to obesity. As those at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder are the most likely to suffer from loneliness, might this provide one of the explanations for the strong link between low economic status and obesity?

Anyone can see that something far more important than most of the issues we fret about has gone wrong. So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain? Should this question not burn the lips of everyone in public life?

There are some wonderful charities doing what they can to fight this tide, some of which I am going to be working with as part of my loneliness project. But for every person they reach, several others are swept past.

This does not require a policy response. It requires something much bigger: the reappraisal of an entire worldview. Of all the fantasies human beings entertain, the idea that we can go it alone is the most absurd and perhaps the most dangerous. We stand together or we fall apart.

RachelL , 12 Oct 2016 03:57

Well its a bit of a stretch blaming neoliberalism for creating loneliness. Yet it seems to be the fashion today to imagine that the world we live in is new...only created just years ago. And all the suffering that we see now never existed before. Plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness never happened in the past, because everything was bright and shiny and world was good.

Regrettably history teaches us that suffering and deprivation have dogged mankind for centuries, if not tens of thousands of years. That's what we do; survive, persist...endure. Blaming 'neoliberalism' is a bit of cop-out. It's the human condition man, just deal with it.

B26354 , 12 Oct 2016 03:57
Some of the connections here are a bit tenuous, to say the least, including the link to political ideology. Economic liberalism is usually accompanied with social conservatism, and vice versa. Right wing ideologues are more likely to emphasize the values of marriage and family stability, while left wing ones are more likely to favor extremes of personal freedom and reject those traditional structures that used to bind us together.
ID236975 -> B26354 , 12 Oct 2016 04:15
You're a little confused there in your connections between policies, intentions and outcomes. Nevertheless, Neoliberalism is a project that explicitly aims, and has achieved, the undermining and elimination of social networks in favour of market competition.

In practice, loosening social and legal institutions has reduced social security (in the general sense rather than simply welfare payments) and encouraged the limitation of social interaction to money based activity.

As Monbiot has noted, we are indeed lonelier.

DoctorLiberty -> B26354 , 12 Oct 2016 04:18
That holds true when you're talking about demographics/voters.

Economic and social liberalism go hand in hand in the West. No matter who's in power, the establishment pushes both but will do one or the other covertly.

All powerful institutions have a vested interest in keeping us atomized and individualistic. The gangs at the top don't want competition. They're afraid of us. In particular, they're afraid of men organising into gangs. That's where this very paper comes in.

deskandchair , 12 Oct 2016 04:00
The alienation genie was out of the bottle with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and mass migration to cities began and we abandoned living in village communities. Over the ensuing approx 250 years we abandoned geographically close relationships with extended families, especially post WW2. Underlying economic structures both capitalist and marxist dissolved relationships that we as communal primates evolved within. Then accelerate this mess with (anti-) social media the last 20 years along with economic instability and now dissolution of even the nuclear family (which couldn't work in the first place, we never evolved to live with just two parents looking after children) and here we have it: Mass mental illness. Solution? None. Just form the best type of extended community both within and outside of family, be engaged and generours with your community hope for the best.
terraform_drone -> deskandchair , 12 Oct 2016 04:42
Indeed, Industrialisation of our pre-prescribed lifestyle is a huge factor. In particular, our food, it's low quality, it's 24 hour avaliability, it's cardboard box ambivalence, has caused a myriad of health problems. Industrialisation is about profit for those that own the 'production-line' & much less about the needs of the recipient.
afinch , 12 Oct 2016 04:03

It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat.

Yes, although there is some question of which order things go in. A supportive social network is clearly helpful, but it's hardly a simple cause and effect. Levels of different mental health problems appear to differ widely across societies just in Europe, and it isn't particularly the case that more capitalist countries have greater incidence than less capitalist ones.

You could just as well blame atheism. Since the rise of neo-liberalism and drop in church attendance track each other pretty well, and since for all their ills churches did provide a social support group, why not blame that?

ID236975 -> afinch, 12 Oct 2016 04:22
While attending a church is likely to alleviate loneliness, atheism doesn't expressly encourage limiting social interactions and selfishness. And of course, reduced church attendance isn't exactly the same as atheism.

Neoliberalism expressly encourages 'atomisation'- it is all about reducing human interaction to markets. And so this is just one of the reasons that neoliberalism is such a bunk philosophy.

anotherspace , 12 Oct 2016 04:05
So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain?

My stab at an answer would first question the notion that we are engaging in anything. That presupposes we are making the choices. Those who set out the options are the ones that make the choices. We are being engaged by the grotesquely privileged and the pathologically greedy in an enterprise that profits them still further. It suits the 1% very well strategically, for obvious reasons, that the 99% don't swap too many ideas with each other.

notherspace -> TremblingFactHunt , 12 Oct 2016 05:46
We as individuals are offered the 'choice' of consumption as an alternative to the devastating ennui engendered by powerlessness. It's no choice at all of course, because consumption merely enriches the 1% and exacerbates our powerlessness. That was the whole point of my post.

The 'choice' to consume is never collectively exercised as you suggest. Sadly. If it was, 'we' might be able to organise ourselves into doing something about it.

Burstcouch , 12 Oct 2016 04:09
According to Robert Putnam, as societies become more ethnically diverse they lose social capital, contributing to the type of isolation and loneliness which George describes. Doesn't sound as evil as neoliberalism I suppose.
ParisHiltonCommune -> Burstcouch , 12 Oct 2016 07:59
Disagree. Im British but have had more foreign friends than British. The UK middle class tend to be boring insular social status obsessed drones.other nationalities have this too, but far less so
Dave Powell -> Burstcouch , 12 Oct 2016 10:54
Multiculturalism is destroying social cohesion.
ParisHiltonCommune -> Dave Powell , 12 Oct 2016 14:47
Well, yes, but multiculturalism is a direct result of Neoliberalism. The market rules and people are secondary. Everything must be done for business owners, and that everything means access to cheap labor.

Multiculturalism isn't the only thing destroying social cohesion, too. It was being destroyed long before the recent surges of immigrants. It was reported many times in the 1980's in communities made up of only one culture. In many ways, it is being used as the obvious distraction from all the other ways Fundamentalist Free Marketers wreck live for many.

Rozina , 12 Oct 2016 04:09
This post perhaps ranges too widely to the point of being vague and general, and leading Monbiot to make some huge mental leaps, linking loneliness to a range of mental and physical problems without being able to explain, for example, the link between loneliness and obesity and all the steps in-between without risking derailment into a side issue.

I'd have thought what he really wants to say is that loneliness as a phenomenon in modern Western society arises out of an intent on the part of our political and social elites to divide us all into competing against one another, as individuals and as members of groups, all the better to keep us under control and prevent us from working together to claim our fair share of resources.

Go on, George, you can say that, why not?

MSP1984 , 12 Oct 2016 04:18
Are you familiar with the term 'Laughter is the best medicine'? Well, it's true. When you laugh, your brain releases endorphins, yeah? Your stress hormones are reduced and the oxygen supply to your blood is increased, so...

I try to laugh several times a day just because... it makes you feel good! Let's try that, eh? Ohohoo... Hahaha... Just, just... Hahahaha... Come on, trust me.. you'll feel.. HahaHAhaha! O-o-o-o-a-hahahahaa... Share

ID8701745 , 12 Oct 2016 04:19
>Neoliberalism is creating loneliness.

Has it occurred to you that the collapse in societal values has allowed 'neo-liberalism' to take hold?

totaram -> ID8701745 , 12 Oct 2016 05:00
No. It has been the concentrated propaganda of the "free" press. Rupert Murdoch in particular, but many other well-funded organisations working in the background over 50 years. They are winning.
greenwichite , 12 Oct 2016 04:20
We're fixated on a magical, abstract concept called "the economy". Everything must be done to help "the economy", even if this means adults working through their weekends, neglecting their children, neglecting their elderly parents, eating at their desks, getting diabetes, breaking down from stress, and giving up on a family life.

Impertinent managers ban their staff from office relationships, as company policy, because the company is more important than its staff's wellbeing.

Companies hand out "free" phones that allow managers to harrass staff for work out of hours, on the understanding that they will be sidelined if thy don't respond.

And the wellbeing of "the economy" is of course far more important than whether the British people actually want to merge into a European superstate. What they want is irrelevant.

That nasty little scumbag George Osborne was the apotheosis of this ideology, but he was abetted by journalists who report any rise in GDP as "good" - no matter how it was obtained - and any "recession" to be the equivalent of a major natural disaster.

If we go on this way, the people who suffer the most will be the rich, because it will be them swinging from the lamp-posts, or cowering in gated communities that they dare not leave (Venezuela, South Africa). Those riots in London five years ago were a warning. History is littered with them.

DiscoveredJoys -> greenwichite , 12 Oct 2016 05:48
You can make a reasonable case that 'Neoliberalism' expects that every interaction, including between individuals, can be reduced to a financial one. If this results in loneliness then that's certainly a downside - but the upside is that billions have been lifted out of absolute poverty worldwide by 'Neoliberalism'.

Mr Monbiot creates a compelling argument that we should end 'Neoliberalism' but he is very vague about what should replace it other than a 'different worldview'. Destruction is easy, but creation is far harder.

concerned4democracy , 12 Oct 2016 04:28
As a retired teacher it grieves me greatly to see the way our education service has become obsessed by testing and assessment. Sadly the results are used not so much to help children learn and develop, but rather as a club to beat schools and teachers with. Pressurised schools produce pressurised children. Compare and contrast with education in Finland where young people are not formally assessed until they are 17 years old. We now assess toddlers in nursery schools.
SATs in Primary schools had children concentrating on obscure grammatical terms and usage which they will never ever use again. Pointless and counter-productive.
Gradgrind values driving out the joy of learning.
And promoting anxiety and mental health problems.
colddebtmountain , 12 Oct 2016 04:33
It is all the things you describe, Mr Monbiot, and then some. This dystopian hell, when anything that did work is broken and all things that have never worked are lined up for a little tinkering around the edges until the camouflage is good enough to kid people it is something new. It isn't just neoliberal madness that has created this, it is selfish human nature that has made it possible, corporate fascism that has hammered it into shape. and an army of mercenaries who prefer the take home pay to morality. Crime has always paid especially when governments are the crooks exercising the law.

The value of life has long been forgotten as now the only thing that matters is how much you can be screwed for either dead or alive. And yet the Trumps, the Clintons, the Camerons, the Johnsons, the Merkels, the Mays, the news media, the banks, the whole crooked lot of them, all seem to believe there is something worth fighting for in what they have created, when painfully there is not. We need revolution and we need it to be lead by those who still believe all humanity must be humble, sincere, selfless and most of all morally sincere. Freedom, justice, and equality for all, because the alternative is nothing at all.

excathedra , 12 Oct 2016 04:35
Ive long considered neo-liberalism as the cause of many of our problems, particularly the rise in mental health problems, alienation and loneliness.

As can be seen from many of the posts, neo-liberalism depends on, and fosters, ignorance, an inability to see things from historical and different perspectives and social and intellectual disciplines. On a sociological level how other societies are arranged throws up interesting comparisons. Scandanavian countries, which have mostly avoided neo-liberalism by and large, are happier, healthier places to live. America and eastern countries arranged around neo-liberal, market driven individualism, are unhappy places, riven with mental and physical health problems and many more social problems of violence, crime and suicide.

The worst thing is that the evidence shows it doesn't work. Not one of the privatisations in this country have worked. All have been worse than what they've replaced, all have cost more, depleted the treasury and led to massive homelessness, increased mental health problems with the inevitable financial and social costs, costs which are never acknowledged by its adherents.

Put crudely, the more " I'm alright, fuck you " attitude is fostered, the worse societies are. Empires have crashed and burned under similar attitudes.

MereMortal , 12 Oct 2016 04:37
A fantastic article as usual from Mr Monbiot.

The people who fosted this this system onto us, are now either very old or dead. We're living in the shadow of their revolutionary transformation of our more equitable post-war society. Hayek, Friedman, Keith Joseph, Thatcher, Greenspan and tangentially but very influentially Ayn Rand. Although a remainder (I love the wit of the term 'Remoaner') , Brexit can be better understood in the context of the death-knell of neoliberalism.

I never understood how the collapse of world finance, resulted in a right wing resurgence in the UK and the US. The Tea Party in the US made the absurd claim that the failure of global finance was not due to markets being fallible, but because free markets had not been enforced citing Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac as their evidence and of Bill Clinton insisting on more poor and black people being given mortgages.

I have a terrible sense that it will not go quietly, there will be massive global upheavals as governments struggle deal with its collapse.

flyboy101 , 12 Oct 2016 04:39
I have never really agreed with GM - but this article hits the nail on the head.

I think there are a number of aspects to this:

  1. The internet. The being in constant contact, our lives mapped and our thoughts analysed - we can comment on anything (whether informed or total drivel) and we've been fed the lie that our opinion is is right and that it matters) Ive removed fscebook and twitter from my phone, i have never been happier
  2. Rolling 24 hour news. That is obsessed with the now, and consistently squeezes very complex issues into bite sized simple dichotomies. Obsessed with results and critical in turn of everyone who fails to feed the machine
  3. The increasing slicing of work into tighter and slimmer specialisms, with no holistic view of the whole, this forces a box ticking culture. "Ive stamped my stamp, my work is done" this leads to a lack of ownership of the whole. PIP assessments are an almost perfect example of this - a box ticking exercise, designed by someone who'll never have to go through it, with no flexibility to put the answers into a holistic context.
  4. Our education system is designed to pass exams and not prepare for the future or the world of work - the only important aspect being the compilation of next years league tables and the schools standings. This culture is neither healthy no helpful, as students are schooled on exam technique in order to squeeze out the marks - without putting the knowledge into a meaningful and understandable narrative.

Apologies for the long post - I normally limit myself to a trite insulting comment :) but felt more was required in this instance.

Taxiarch -> flyboy101 , 12 Oct 2016 05:42
Overall, I agree with your points. Monbiot here adopts a blunderbuss approach (competitive self-interest and extreme individualism; "brutal" education, employment social security; consumerism, social media and vanity). Criticism of his hypotheses on this thread (where articualted at all) focus on the existence of solitude and loneliness prior to neo liberalism, which seems to me to be to deliberately miss his point: this was formerly a minor phenomenon, yet is now writ on an incredible scale - and it is a social phenomenon particular to those western economies whose elites have most enthusiastically embraced neo liberalism. So, when Monbiot's rhetoric rises:

"So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain?"

the answer is, of course, 'western capitalist elites'.

We stand together or we fall apart.

Hackneyed and unoriginal but still true for all that.

flyboy101 -> Taxiarch , 12 Oct 2016 06:19
I think the answer is only

the answer is, of course, 'western capitalist elites'.

because of the lies that are being sold. We all want is to: (and feel we have the right to) wear the best clothes, have the foreign holidays, own the latest tech and eat the finest foods. At the same time our rights have increased and awareness of our responsibilities have minimized. The execution of common sense and an awareness that everything that goes wrong will always be someone else fault.

We are not all special snowflakes, princesses or worthy of special treatment, but we act like self absorbed, entitled individuals. Whether that's entitled to benefits, the front of the queue or bumped into first because its our birthday!

I share Monbiots pain here. But rather than get a sense of perspective - the answer is often "More public money and counseling"

DGIxjhLBTdhTVh7T , 12 Oct 2016 04:42
George Monbiot has struck a nerve. They are there every day in my small town local park: people, young and old, gender and ethnically diverse, siting on benches for a couple of hours at a time.

Trite as it may seem, this temporary thread of canine affection breaks the taboo of strangers passing by on the other side. Conversations, sometimes stilted, sometimes deeper and more meaningful, ensue as dog walkers become a brief daily healing force in a fractured world of loneliness. It's not much credit in the bank of sociability. But it helps.

Trite as it may seem from the outside, their interaction with the myriad pooches regularly walk

wakeup99 -> DGIxjhLBTdhTVh7T , 12 Oct 2016 04:47
Do a parkrun and you get the same thing. Free and healthy.
ParisHiltonCommune -> SenseCir , 12 Oct 2016 08:47
Unhealthy social interaction, yes. You can never judge what is natural to humans based on contemporary Britain. Anthropologists repeatedly find that what we think natural is merely a social construct created by the system we are subject to.

If you don't work hard, you will be a loser, don't look out of the window day dreaming you lazy slacker. Get productive, Mr Burns millions need you to work like a machine or be replaced by one.

Sandra Hannen Gomez , 12 Oct 2016 04:46
Good article. You΄re absoluately right. And the deeper casue is this: separation from God. If we don΄t fight our way back to God, individually and collectively, things are going to get a lot worse. With God, loneliness doesn΄t exist. I encourage anyone and everyone to start talking to Him today and invite Him into your heart and watch what starts to happen.
wakeup99 -> Sandra Hannen Gomez , 12 Oct 2016 04:52
Religion divides not brings people together. Only when you embrace all humanity and ignore all gods will you find true happiness. The world and the people in it are far more inspiring when you contemplate the lack of any gods. The fact people do amazing things without needing the promise of heaven or the threat of hell - that is truly moving.
TeaThoughts -> Sandra Hannen Gomez , 12 Oct 2016 05:23
I see what you're saying but I read 'love' instead of God. God is too religious which separates and divides ("I'm this religion and my god is better than yours" etc etc). I believe that George is right in many ways in that money is very powerful on it's impact on our behavior (stress, lack etc) and therefore our lives. We are becoming fearful of each other and I believe the insecurity we feel plays a part in this.

We have become so disconnected from ourselves and focused on battling to stay afloat. Having experienced periods of severe stress due to lack of money I couldn't even begin to think about how I felt, how happy I was, what I really wanted to do with my life. I just had to pay my landlord, pay the bills and try and put some food on my table so everything else was totally neglected.

When I moved house to move in with family and wasn't expected to pay rent, though I offered, all that dissatisfaction and undealt with stuff came spilling out and I realised I'd had no time for any real safe care above the very basics and that was not a good place to be. I put myself into therapy for a while and started to look after myself and things started to change. I hope to never go back to that kind of position but things are precarious financially and the field I work in isn't well paid but it makes me very happy which I realise now is more important.

geoffhoppy , 12 Oct 2016 04:47
Neo-liberalism has a lot to answer for in bringing misery to our lives and accelerating the demise of the planet but I find it not guilty on this one. The current trends as to how people perceive themselves (what you've got rather than who you are) and the increasing isolation in our cities started way before the neo-liberals. It is getting worse though and on balance social media is making us more connected but less social. Share
RandomName2016 , 12 Oct 2016 04:48
The way that the left keeps banging on about neoliberalism is half of what makes them such a tough sell electorally. Just about nobody knows what neoliberalism is, and literally nobody self identifies as a neoliberal. So all this moaning and wailing about neoliberalism comes across as a self absorbed, abstract and irrelevant. I expect there is the germ of an idea in there, but until the left can find away to present that idea without the baffling layer of jargon and over-analysis, they're going to remain at a disadvantage to the easy populism of the right.
Astrogenie , 12 Oct 2016 04:49
Interesting article. We have heard so much about the size of our economy but less about our quality of life. The UK quality of life is way below the size of our economy i.e. economy size 6th largest in the world but quality of life 15th. If we were the 10th largest economy but were 10th for quality of life we would be better off than we are now in real terms.

We need a radical change of political thinking to focus on quality of life rather than obsession with the size of our economy. High levels of immigration of people who don't really integrate into their local communities has fractured our country along with the widening gap between rich and poor. Governments only see people in terms of their "economic value" - hence mothers being driven out to work, children driven into daycare and the elderly driven into care homes. Britain is becoming a soulless place - even our great British comedy is on the decline.

wakeup99 -> Astrogenie , 12 Oct 2016 04:56
Quality of life is far more important than GDP I agree but it is also far more important than inequality.
MikkaWanders , 12 Oct 2016 04:49
Interesting. 'It is the isolated and marginalised animals that are most likely to be picked off by predators....' so perhaps the species is developing its own predators to fill a vacated niche.

(Not questioning the comparison to other mammals at all as I think it is valid but you would have to consider the whole rather than cherry pick bits)

johnny991965 , 12 Oct 2016 04:52
Generation snowflake. "I'll do myself in if you take away my tablet and mobile phone for half an hour".
They don't want to go out and meet people anymore. Nightclubs for instance, are closing because the younger generation 'don't see the point' of going out to meet people they would otherwise never meet, because they can meet people on the internet. Leave them to it and the repercussions of it.....
johnny991965 -> grizzly , 12 Oct 2016 05:07
Socialism is dying on its feet in the UK, hence the Tory's 17 point lead at the mo. The lefties are clinging to whatever influence they have to sway the masses instead of the ballot box. Good riddance to them.
David Ireland -> johnny991965 , 13 Oct 2016 12:45
17 point lead? Dying on it's feet? The neo-liberals are showing their disconnect from reality. If anything, neo-liberalism is driving a people to the left in search of a fairer and more equal society.
justask , 12 Oct 2016 04:57
George Moniot's articles are better thought out, researched and written than the vast majority of the usual clickbait opinion pieces found on the Guardian these days. One of the last journalists, rather than liberal arts blogger vying for attention.
Nada89 , 12 Oct 2016 04:57
Neoliberalism's rap sheet is long and dangerous but this toxic philosophy will continue unabated because most people can't join the dots and work out how detrimental it has proven to be for most of us.

It dangles a carrot in order to create certain economic illusions but the simple fact is neoliberal societies become more unequal the longer they persist.

wakeup99 -> Nada89 , 12 Oct 2016 05:05
Neoliberal economies allow people to build huge global businesses very quickly and will continue to give the winners more but they also can guve everyone else more too but just at a slower rate. Socialism on the other hand mires everyone in stagnant poverty. Question is do you want to be absolutely or relatively better off.
totaram -> wakeup99 , 12 Oct 2016 05:19
You have no idea. Do not confuse capitalism with neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is a political ideology based on a mythical version of capitalism that doesn't actually exist, but is a nice way to get the deluded to vote for something that doesn't work in their interest at all.
peterfieldman , 12 Oct 2016 04:57
And things will get worse as society falls apart due to globalisation, uberization, lack of respect for authority, lacks of a fair tax and justice system, crime, immorality, loss of trust of politicians and financial and corporate sectors, uncontrolled immigration bringing with it insecurity and the risk of terrorism and a dumbing down of society with increasing inequality. All this is in a new book " The World at a Crossroads" which deals with the major issues facing the planet.
Nada89 -> wakeup99 , 12 Oct 2016 05:07
What, like endless war, unaffordable property, monstrous university fees, zero hours contracts and a food bank on every corner, and that's before we even get to the explosion in mental distress.
monsieur_flaneur -> thedisclaimer , 12 Oct 2016 05:10
There's nothing spurious or obscure about Neoliberalism. It is simply the political ideology of the rich, which has been our uninterrupted governing ideology since Reagan and Thatcher: Privatisation, deregulation, 'liberalisation' of housing, labour, etc, trickledown / low-tax-on-the-rich economics, de-unionization. You only don't see it if you don't want to see it.
arkley , 12 Oct 2016 05:03
I'm just thinking what is wonderful about societies that are big of social unity. And conformity. Those societies for example where you "belong" to your family. Where teenage girls can be married off to elderly uncles to cement that belonging. Or those societies where the belonging comes through religious centres. Where the ostracism for "deviant" behaviour like being gay or for women not submitting to their husbands can be brutal. And I'm not just talking about muslims here.

Or those societies that are big on patriotism. Yep they are usually good for mental health as the young men are given lessons in how to kill as many other men as possible efficiently.

And then I have to think how our years of "neo-liberal" governments have taken ideas of social liberalisation and enshrined them in law. It may be coincidence but thirty years after Thatcher and Reagan we are far more tolerant of homosexuality and willing to give it space to live, conversely we are far less tolerant of racism and are willing to prosecute racist violence. Feminists may still moan about equality but the position of women in society has never been better, rape inside marriage has (finally) been outlawed, sexual violence generally is no longer condoned except by a few, work opportunities have been widened and the woman's role is no longer just home and family. At least that is the case in "neo-liberal" societies, it isn't necessarily the case in other societies.

So unless you think loneliness is some weird Stockholm Syndrome thing where your sense of belonging comes from your acceptance of a stifling role in a structured soiety, then I think blaming the heightened respect for the individual that liberal societies have for loneliness is way off the mark.

What strikes me about the cases you cite above, George, is not an over-respect for the individual but another example of individuals being shoe-horned into a structure. It strikes me it is not individualism but competition that is causing the unhappiness. Competition to achieve an impossible ideal.

I fear George, that you are not approaching this with a properly open mind dedicated to investigation. I think you have your conclusion and you are going to bend the evidence to fit. That is wrong and I for one will not support that. In recent weeks and months we have had the "woe, woe and thrice woe" writings. Now we need to take a hard look at our findings. We need to take out the biases resulting from greater awareness of mental health and better and fuller diagnosis of mental health issues. We need to balance the bias resulting from the fact we really only have hard data for modern Western societies. And above all we need to scotch any bias resulting from the political worldview of the researchers.

Then the results may have some value.

birney -> arkley , 12 Oct 2016 05:10
It sounded to me that he was telling us of farm labouring and factory fodder stock that if we'd 'known our place' and kept to it ,all would be well because in his ideal society there WILL be or end up having a hierarchy, its inevitable.
EndaFlannel , 12 Oct 2016 05:04
Wasn't all this started by someone who said, "There is no such thing as Society"? The ultimate irony is that the ideology that championed the individual and did so much to dismantle the industrial and social fabric of the Country has resulted in a system which is almost totalitarian in its disregard for its ideological consequences.
wakeup99 -> EndaFlannel , 12 Oct 2016 05:08
Thatcher said it in the sense that society is not abstract it is just other people so when you say society needs to change then people need to change as society is not some independent concept it is an aggregation of all us. The left mis quote this all the time and either they don't get it or they are doing on purpose.
HorseCart -> EndaFlannel , 12 Oct 2016 05:09
No, Neoliberalism has been around since 1938.... Thatcher was only responsible for "letting it go" in Britain in 1980, but actually it was already racing ahead around the world.

Furthermore, it could easily be argued that the Beatles helped create loneliness - what do you think all those girls were screaming for? And also it could be argued that the Beatles were bringing in neoliberalism in the 1960s, via America thanks to Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis etc.. Share

billybagel -> wakeup99 , 12 Oct 2016 05:26
They're doing it on purpose. ""If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." -- Joseph Boebbels
Luke O'Brien , 12 Oct 2016 05:08
Great article, although surely you could've extended the blame to capitalism has a whole?

In what, then, consists the alienation of labor? First, in the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., that it does not belong to his nature, that therefore he does not realize himself in his work, that he denies himself in it, that he does not feel at ease in it, but rather unhappy, that he does not develop any free physical or mental energy, but rather mortifies his flesh and ruins his spirit. The worker, therefore, is only himself when he does not work, and in his work he feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. His labor, therefore, is not voluntary, but forced--forced labor. It is not the gratification of a need, but only a means to gratify needs outside itself. Its alien nature shows itself clearly by the fact that work is shunned like the plague as soon as no physical or other kind of coercion exists.

Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844

JulesBywaterLees , 12 Oct 2016 05:08
We have created a society with both flaws and highlights- and we have unwittingly allowed the economic system to extend into our lives in negative ways.

On of the things being modern brings is movement- we move away from communities, breaking friendships and losing support networks, and the support networks are the ones that allow us to cope with issues, problems and anxiety.

Isolation among the youth is disturbing, it is also un natural, perhaps it is social media, or fear of parents, or the fall in extra school activities or parents simply not having a network of friends because they have had to move for work or housing.

There is some upsides, I talk and get support from different international communities through the social media that can also be so harmful- I chat on xbox games, exchange information on green building forums, arts forums, share on youtube as well as be part of online communities that hold events in the real world.

LordMorganofGlossop , 12 Oct 2016 05:11
Increasingly we seem to need to document our lives on social media to somehow prove we 'exist'. We seem far more narcissistic these days, which tends to create a particular type of unhappiness, or at least desire that can never be fulfilled. Maybe that's the secret of modern consumer-based capitalism. To be happy today, it probably helps to be shallow, or avoid things like Twitter and Facebook!

Eric Fromm made similar arguments to Monbiot about the psychological impact of modern capitalism (Fear of Freedom and The Sane Society) - although the Freudian element is a tad outdated. However, for all the faults of modern society, I'd rather be unhappy now than in say, Victorian England. Similarly, life in the West is preferable to the obvious alternatives.

Interestingly, the ultra conservative Adam Smith Institute yesterday decided to declare themselves 'neoliberal' as some sort of badge of honour:
http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/coming-out-as-neoliberals

eamonmcc , 12 Oct 2016 05:15
Thanks George for commenting in such a public way on the unsayable: consume, consume, consume seems to be the order of the day in our modern world and the points you have highlighted should be part of public policy everywhere.

I'm old enough to remember when we had more time for each other; when mothers could be full-time housewives; when evenings existed (evenings now seem to be spent working or getting home from work). We are undoubtedly more materialistic, which leads to more time spent working, although our modern problems are probably not due to increasing materialism alone.

Regarding divorce and separation, I notice people in my wider circle who are very open to affairs. They seem to lack the self-discipline to concentrate on problems in their marriage and to give their full-time partner a high level of devotion. Terrible problems come up in marriages but if you are completely and unconditionally committed to your partner and your marriage then you can get through the majority of them.

CEMKM , 12 Oct 2016 05:47
Aggressive self interest is turning in on itself. Unfortunately the powerful who have realised their 'Will to Power' are corrupted by their own inflated sense of self and thus blinded. Does this all predict a global violent revolution?
SteB1 -> NeverMindTheBollocks , 12 Oct 2016 06:32

A diatribe against a vague boogieman that is at best an ill-defined catch-all of things this CIFer does not like.

An expected response from someone who persistently justifies neoliberalism through opaque and baseless attacks on those who reveal how it works. Neoliberalism is most definitely real and it has a very definite history.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=376

However, what is most interesting is how nearly all modern politicians who peddle neoliberal doctrine or policy, refuse to use the name, or even to openly state what ideology they are in fact following.

I suppose it is just a complete coincidence that the policy so many governments are now following so closely follow known neoliberal doctrine. But of course the clever and unpleasant strategy of those like yourself is to cry conspiracy theory if this ideology, which dare not speak its name is mentioned.

Your style is tiresome. You make no specific supported criticisms again, and again. You just make false assertions and engage in unpleasant ad homs and attempted character assassination. You do not address the evidence for what George Monbiot states at all.

heian555 , 12 Oct 2016 05:56
An excellent article. One wonders exactly what one needs to say in order to penetrate the reptilian skulls of those who run the system.

As an addition to Mr Monbiot's points, I would like to point out that it is not only competitive self-interest and extreme individualism that drives loneliness. Any system that has strict hierarchies and mechanisms of social inclusion also drives it, because such systems inhibit strongly spontaneous social interaction, in which people simply strike up conversation. Thailand has such a system. Despite her promoting herself as the land of smiles, I have found the people here to be deeply segregated and unfriendly. I have lived here for 17 years. The last time I had a satisfactory face-to-face conversation, one that went beyond saying hello to cashiers at checkout counters or conducting official business, was in 1999. I have survived by convincing myself that I have dialogues with my books; as I delve more deeply into the texts, the authors say something different to me, to which I can then respond in my mind.

SteB1 , 12 Oct 2016 05:56

Epidemics of mental illness are crushing the minds and bodies of millions. It's time to ask where we are heading and why

I want to quote the sub headline, because "It's time to ask where we are heading and why", is the important bit. George's excellent and scathing evidence based criticism of the consequences of neoliberalism is on the nail. However, we need to ask how we got to this stage. Despite it's name neoliberalism doesn't really seem to contain any new ideas, and in some way it's more about Thatcher's beloved return to Victorian values. Most of what George Monbiot highlights encapsulatec Victorian thinking, the sort of workhouse mentality.

Whilst it's very important to understand how neoliberalism, the ideology that dare not speak it's name, derailed the general progress in the developed world. It's also necessary to understand that the roots this problem go much further back. Not merely to the start of the industrial revolution, but way beyond that. It actually began with the first civilizations when our societies were taken over by powerful rulers, and they essentially started to farm the people they ruled like cattle. On the one hand they declared themselves protector of their people, whilst ruthlessly exploiting them for their own political gain. I use the livestock farming analogy, because that explains what is going on.

To domesticate livestock, and to make them pliable and easy to work with the farmer must make himself appear to these herd animals as if they are their protector, the person who cares for them, nourishes and feeds them. They become reliant on their apparent benefactor. Except of course this is a deceitful relationship, because the farmer is just fattening them up to be eaten.

For the powerful to exploit the rest of people in society for their own benefit they had to learn how to conceal what they were really doing, and to wrap it in justifications to bamboozle the people they were exploiting for their own benefit. They did this by altering our language and inserting ideas in our culture which justified their rule, and the positions of the rest of us.

Before state religions, generally what was revered was the Earth, the natural world. It was on a personal level, and not controlled by the powerful. So the powerful needed to remove that personal meaningfulness from people's lives, and said the only thing which was really meaningful, was the religion, which of course they controlled and were usually the head of. Over generations people were indoctrinated in a completely new way of thinking, and a language manipulated so all people could see was the supposed divine right of kings to rule. Through this language people were detached from what was personally meaningful to them, and could only find meaningfulness by pleasing their rulers, and being indoctrinated in their religion.

If you control the language people use, you can control how perceive the world, and can express themselves.

By stripping language of meaningful terms which people can express themselves, and filling it full of dubious concepts such as god, the right of kings completely altered how people saw the world, how they thought. This is why over the ages, and in different forms the powerful have always attempted to have full control of our language through at first religion and their proclamations, and then eventually by them controlling our education system and the media.

The idea of language being used to control how people see the world, and how they think is of course not my idea. George Orwell's Newspeak idea explored in "1984" is very much about this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak

This control of language is well known throughout history. Often conquerors would abolish languages of those they conquered. In the so called New World the colonists eventually tried to control how indigenous people thought by forcibly sending their children to boarding school, to be stripped of their culture, their native language, and to be inculcated in the language and ideas of their colonists. In Britain various attempts were made to banish the Welsh language, the native language of the Britons, before the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans took over.

However, what Orwell did not deal with properly is the origin of language style. To Orwell, and to critics of neoliberalism, the problems can be traced back to the rise of what they criticised. To a sort of mythical golden age. Except all the roots of what is being criticised can be found in the period before the invention of these doctrines. So you have to go right back to the beginning, to understand how it all began.

Neoliberalism would never have been possible without this long control of our language and ideas by the powerful. It prevents us thinking outside the box, about what the problem really is, and how it all began.

clarissa3 -> SteB1 , 12 Oct 2016 06:48
All very well but you are talking about ruthlessness of western elites, mostly British, not all.

It was not like that everywhere. Take Poland for example, and around there..

New research is emerging - and I'd recommend reading of prof Frost from St Andrew's Uni - that lower classes were actually treated with respect by elites there, mainly land owners and aristocracy who more looked after them and employed and cases of such ruthlessness as you describe were unknown of.

So that 'truth' about attitudes to lower classes is not universal!

SteB1 -> Borisundercoat , 12 Oct 2016 06:20

What is "neoliberalism" exactly?

It's spouted by many on here as the root of all evil.

I'd be interested to see how many different definitions I get in response...


The reason I call neoliberalism the ideology which dare not speak it's name is that in public you will rarely hear it mentioned by it's proponents. However, it was a very important part of Thatcherism, Blairism, and so on. What is most definite is that these politicians and others are most definitely following some doctrine. Their ideas about what we must do and how we must do it are arbitrary, but they make it sound as if it's the only way to do things.

If you want to learn more about neoliberalism, read a summary such as the Wikipedia page on it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=376

However, as I hint, the main problem in dealing with neoliberalism is that none of the proponents of this doctrine admit to what ideology they are actually following. Yet very clearly around the world leaders in many countries are clearly singing from the same hymn sheet because the policy they implement is so similar. Something has definitely changed. All the attempts to roll back welfare, benefits, and public services is most definitely new, or they wouldn't be having to reverse policy of the past if nothing had change. But as all these politicians implementing this policy all seem to refuse to explain what doctrine they are following, it makes it difficult to pin down what is happening. Yet we can most definitely say that there is a clear doctrine at work, because why else would so many political leaders around the world be trying to implement such similar policy.

Winstons1 -> TerryMcBurney , 12 Oct 2016 06:24

Neo-liberalism doesn't really exist except in the minds of the far left and perhaps a few academics.

Neoliberalism is a policy model of social studies and economics that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. ... Neoliberal policies aim for a laissez-faire approach to economic development.

I believe the term 'Neo liberalism' was coined by those well known 'Lefties'The Chicago School .
If you don't believe that any of the above has been happening ,it does beg the question as to where you have been for the past decade.

UnderSurveillance , 12 Oct 2016 06:12
The ironies of modern civilization - we have never been more 'connected' to other people on global level and less 'connected' on personal level.

We have never had access to such a wide range of information and opinions, but also for a long time been so divided into conflicting groups, reading and accessing in fact only that which reinforces what we already think.

John Pelan , 12 Oct 2016 06:18
Sir Harry Burns, ex-Chief Medical Officer in Scotland talks very powerfully about the impact of loneliness and isolation on physical and mental health - here is a video of a recent talk by him - http://www.befs.org.uk/calendar/48/164-BEFS-Annual-Lecture
MightyDrunken , 12 Oct 2016 06:22
These issues have been a long time coming, just think of the appeals of the 60's to chill out and love everyone. Globalisation and neo-liberalism has simply made society even more broken.
The way these problems have been ignored and made worse over the last few decades make me think that the solution will only happen after a massive catastrophe and society has to be rebuilt. Unless we make the same mistakes again.
A shame really, you would think intelligence would be useful but it seems not.
ParisHiltonCommune -> MightyDrunken , 12 Oct 2016 07:19
Contemporary Neo-liberalism is a reaction against that ideal of the 60s
DevilMayCareIDont , 12 Oct 2016 06:25
I would argue that it creates a bubble of existence for those who pursue a path of "success" that instead turns to isolation . The amount of people that I have met who have moved to London because to them it represents the main location for everything . I get to see so many walking cliches of people trying to fit in or stand out but also fitting in just the same .

The real disconnect that software is providing us with is truly staggering . I have spoken to people from all over the World who seem to feel more at home being alone and playing a game with strangers . The ones who are most happy are those who seem to be living all aloe and the ones who try and play while a girlfriend or family are present always seemed to be the ones most agitated by them .

We are humans relying on simplistic algorithms that reduce us ,apps like Tinder which turns us into a misogynist at the click of a button .

Facebook which highlights our connections with the other people and assumes that everyone you know or have met is of the same relevance .

We also have Twitter which is the equivalent of screaming at a television when you are drunk or angry .

We have Instagram where people revel in their own isolation and send updates of it . All those products that are instantly updated and yet we are ageing and always feeling like we are grouped together by simple algorithms .

JimGoddard , 12 Oct 2016 06:28
Television has been the main destroyer of social bonds since the 1950s and yet it is only mentioned once and in relation to the number of competitions on it, which completely misses the point. That's when I stopped taking this article seriously.
GeoffP , 12 Oct 2016 06:29
Another shining example of the slow poison of capitalism. Maybe it's time at last to turn off the tap?
jwestoby , 12 Oct 2016 06:30
I actually blame Marx for neoliberalism. He framed society purely in terms economic, and persuaded that ideology is valuable in as much as it is actionable.

For a dialectician he was incredibly short sighted and superficial, not realising he was creating a narrative inimical to personal expression and simple thoughtfulness (although he was warned). To be fair, he can't have appreciated how profoundly he would change the way we concieve societies.

Neoliberalism is simply the dark side of Marxism and subsumes the personal just as comprehensively as communism.

We're picked apart by quantification and live as particulars, suffering the ubiquitous consequences of connectivity alone . . .

Unless, of course, you get out there and meet great people!

ParisHiltonCommune -> jwestoby , 12 Oct 2016 07:16
Marxism arose as a reaction against the harsh capitalism of its day. Of course it is connected. It is ironic how Soviet our lives have become.
zeeeel , 12 Oct 2016 06:30
Neo-liberalism allows psychopaths to flourish, and it has been argued by Robert Hare that they are disproportionately represented in the highest echelons of society. So people who lack empathy and emotional attachment are probably weilding a significant amount of influence over the way our economy and society is organised. Is it any wonder that they advocate an economic model which is most conducive to their success? Things like job security, rigged markets, unions, and higher taxes on the rich simply get in their way.
Drewv , 12 Oct 2016 06:30
That fine illustration by Andrzej Krauze up there is exactly what I see whenever I walk into an upscale mall or any Temple of Consumerism.

You can hear the Temple calling out: "Feel bad, atomized individuals? Have a hole inside? Feel lonely? That's all right: buy some shit you don't need and I guarantee you'll feel better."

And then it says: "So you bought it and you felt better for five minutes, and now you feel bad again? Well, that's not rocket science...you should buy MORE shit you don't need! I mean, it's not rocket science, you should have figured this out on your own."

And then it says: "Still feel bad and you have run out of money? Well, that's okay, just get it on credit, or take out a loan, or mortgage your house. I mean, it's not rocket science. Really, you should have figured this out on your own already...I thought you were a modern, go-get-'em, independent, initiative-seizing citizen of the world?"

And then it says: "Took out too many loans, can't pay the bills and the repossession has begun? Honestly, that's not my problem. You're just a bad little consumer, and a bad little liberal, and everything is your own fault. You go sit in a dark corner now where you don't bother the other shoppers. Honestly, you're just being a burden on other consumers now. I'm not saying you should kill yourself, but I can't say that we would mind either."

And that's how the worms turn at the Temples of Consumerism and Neoliberalism.

havetheyhearts , 12 Oct 2016 06:31
I kept my sanity by not becoming a spineless obedient middle class pleaser of a sociopathic greedy tribe pretending neoliberalism is the future.

The result is a great clarity about the game, and an intact empathy for all beings.

The middle class treated each conscious "outsider" like a lowlife, and now they play the helpless victims of circumstances.

I know why I renounced to my privileges. They sleepwalk into their self created disorder. And yes, I am very angry at those who wasted decades with their social stupidity, those who crawled back after a start of change into their petit bourgeois niche.

I knew that each therapist has to take a stand and that the most choose petty careers. Do not expect much sanity from them for your disorientated kids.
Get insightful yourself and share your leftover love to them. Try honesty and having guts...that might help both of you.

Likewhatever , 12 Oct 2016 06:32
Alternatively, neo-liberalism has enabled us to afford to live alone (entire families were forced to live together for economic reasons), and technology enables us to work remotely, with no need for interaction with other people.

This may make some people feel lonely, but for many others its utopia.

Peter1Barnet , 12 Oct 2016 06:32
Some of the things that characterise Globalisation and Neoliberalism are open borders and free movement. How can that contribute to isolation? That is more likely to be fostered by Protectionism. And there aren't fewer jobs. Employment is at record highs here and in many other countries. There are different jobs, not fewer, and to be sure there are some demographics that have lost out. But overall there are not fewer jobs. That falls for the old "lump of labour" fallacy.
WhigInterpretation , 12 Oct 2016 06:43
The corrosive state of mass television indoctrination sums it up: Apprentice, Big Brother, Dragon's Den. By degrees, the standard keeps lowering. It is no longer unusual for a licence funded TV programme to consist of a group of the mentally deranged competing to be the biggest asshole in the room.

Anomie is a by-product of cultural decline as much as economics.

Pinkie123 -> Stephen Bell , 12 Oct 2016 07:18

What is certain, is that is most ways, life is far better now in the UK than 20, 30 or 40 years ago, by a long way!

That's debatable. Data suggests that inequality has widened massively over the last 30 years ( https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/infographic-income-inequality-uk ) - as has social mobility ( https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/22/social-mobility-data-charts ). Homelessness has risen substantially since 1979.

Our whole culture is more stressful. Jobs are more precarious; employment rights more stacked in favor of the employer; workforces are deunionised; leisure time is on the decrease; rents are unaffordable; a house is no longer a realistic expectation for millions of young people. Overall, citizens are more socially immobile and working harder for poorer real wages than they were in the late 70's.

As for mental health, evidence suggest that mental health problems have been on the increase over recent decades, especially among young people. The proportion of 15/16 year olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed has doubled in the last 30 years, from 1 in 30 to 2 in 30 for boys and 1 in 10 to 2 in ten for girls ( http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/news/increased-levels-anxiety-and-depression-teenage-experience-changes-over-time

Unfortunately, sexual abuse has always been a feature of human societies. However there is no evidence to suggest it was any worse in the past. Then sexual abuse largely took place in institutional settings were at least it could be potentially addressed. Now much of it has migrated to the great neoliberal experiment of the internet, where child exploitation is at endemic levels and completely beyond the control of law enforcement agencies. There are now more women and children being sexually trafficked than there were slaves at the height of the slave trade. Moreover, we should not forget that Jimmy Saville was abusing prolifically right into the noughties.

My parents were both born in 1948. They say it was great. They bought a South London house for next to nothing and never had to worry about getting a job. When they did get a job it was one with rights, a promise of a generous pension, a humane workplace environment, lunch breaks and an ethos of public service. My mum says that the way women are talked about now is worse.

Sounds fine to me. That's not to say everything was great: racism was acceptable (though surely the vile views pumped out onto social media are as bad or worse than anything that existed then), homosexuality was illegal and capital punishment enforced until the 1960's. However, the fact that these things were reformed showed society was moving in the right direction. Now we are going backwards, back to 1930's levels or inequality and a reactionary, small-minded political culture fueled by loneliness, rage and misery.

Pinkie123 -> Stephen Bell , 12 Oct 2016 07:28
And there is little evidence to suggest that anyone has expanded their mind with the internet. A lot of people use it to look at porn, post racist tirades on Facebook, send rape threats, distributes sexual images of partners with their permission, take endless photographs of themselves and whip up support for demagogues. In my view it would much better if people went to a library than lurked in corporate echo chambers pumping out the like of 'why dont theese imagrantz go back home and all those lezbo fems can fuckk off too ha ha megalolz ;). Seriously mind expanding stuff. Share
Pinkie123 -> Pinkie123 , 12 Oct 2016 07:38
Oops ' without their permission...
maldonglass , 12 Oct 2016 06:49
As a director and CEO of an organisation employing several hundred people I became aware that 40% of the staff lived alone and that the workplace was important to them not only for work but also for interacting with their colleagues socially . This was encouraged and the organisation achieved an excellent record in retaining staff at a time when recruitment was difficult. Performance levels were also extremely high . I particulalry remember with gratitude the solidarity of staff when one of our colleagues - a haemophiliac - contracted aids through an infected blood transfusion and died bravely but painfully - the staff all supported him in every way possible through his ordeal and it was a privilege for me to work with such kind and caring people .
oommph -> maldonglass , 12 Oct 2016 07:00
Indeed. Those communities are often undervalued. However, the problem is, as George says, lots of people are excluded from them.

They are also highly self-selecting (e.g. you need certain trains of inclusivity, social adeptness, empathy, communication, education etc to get the job that allows you to join that community).

Certainly I make it a priority in my life. I do create communities. I do make an effort to stand by people who live like me. I can be a leader there.

Sometimes I wish more people would be. It is a sustained, long-term effort. Share

forkintheroad , 12 Oct 2016 06:50
'a war of everyone against themselves' - post-Hobbesian. Genius, George.
sparclear , 12 Oct 2016 06:51
Using a word like 'loneliness' is risky insofar as nuances get lost. It can have thousand meanings, as there are of a word like 'love'.

isolation
grief
loneliness
feeling abandoned
solitude
purposelessness
neglect
depression
&c.

To add to this discussion, we might consider the strongest need and conflict each of us experiences as a teenager, the need to be part of a tribe vs the the conflict inherent in recognising one's uniqueness. In a child's life from about 7 or 8 until adolescence, friends matter the most. Then the young person realises his or her difference from everyone else and has to grasp what this means.

Those of us who enjoyed a reasonably healthy upbringing will get through the peer group / individuation stage with happiness possible either way - alone or in friendship. Our parents and teachers will have fostered a pride in our own talents and our choice of where to socialise will be flexible and non-destructive.

Those of us who at some stage missed that kind of warmth and acceptance in childhood can easily stagnate. Possibly this is the most awkward of personal developmental leaps. The person neither knows nor feels comfortable with themselves, all that faces them is an abyss.
Where creative purpose and strength of spirit are lacking, other humans can instinctively sense it and some recoil from it, hardly knowing what it's about. Vulnerabilities attendant on this state include relationships holding out some kind of ersatz rescue, including those offered by superficial therapists, religions, and drugs, legal and illegal.

Experience taught that apart from the work we might do with someone deeply compassionate helping us where our parents failed, the natural world is a reliable healer. A kind of self-acceptance and individuation is possible away from human bustle. One effect of the seasons and of being outdoors amongst other life forms is to challenge us physically, into present time, where our senses start to work acutely and our observational skills get honed, becoming more vibrant than they could at any educational establishment.

This is one reason we have to look after the Earth, whether it's in a city context or a rural one. Our mental, emotional and physical health is known to be directly affected by it.

Buster123 , 12 Oct 2016 06:55
A thoughtful article. But the rich and powerful will ignore it; their doing very well out of neo liberalism thank you. Meanwhile many of those whose lives are affected by it don't want to know - they're happy with their bigger TV screen. Which of course is what the neoliberals want, 'keep the people happy and in the dark'. An old Roman tactic - when things weren't going too well for citizens and they were grumbling the leaders just extended the 'games'. Evidently it did the trick
worried -> Buster123 , 12 Oct 2016 07:32
The rich and powerful can be just as lonely as you and me. However, some of them will be lonely after having royally forked the rest of us over...and that is another thing
Hallucinogen , 12 Oct 2016 06:59

We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives.

- Fight Club
People need a tribe to feel purpose. We need conflict, it's essential for our species... psychological health improved in New York after 9/11.
ParisHiltonCommune , 12 Oct 2016 07:01
Totally agree with the last sentences. Human civilisation is a team effort. Individual humans cant survive, our language evolved to aid cooperation.

Neo-liberalism is really only an Anglo-American project. Yet we are so indoctrinated in it, It seems natural to us, but not to hardly any other cultures.

As for those "secondary factors. Look to advertising and the loss of real jobs forcing more of us to sell services dependent on fake needs. Share

deirdremcardle , 12 Oct 2016 07:01
Help save the Notting Hill Carnival
http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/teen-disembowelled-years-notting-hill-11982129

It's importance for social cohesion -- yes inspite of the problems , can not be overestimated .Don't let the rich drive it out , people who don't understand ,or care what it's for .The poorer boroughs cannot afford it .K&C have easily 1/2billion in Capital Reserves ,so yes they must continue . Here I can assure you ,one often sees the old and lonely get a hug .If drug gangs are hitting each other or their rich boy customers with violence - that is a different matter . And yes of course if we don't do something to help boys from ethnic minorities ,with education and housing -of course it only becomes more expensive in the long run.

Boris Johnson has idiotically mouthed off about trying to mobilise people to stand outside the Russian Embassy , as if one can mobilise youth by telling them to tidy their bedroom .Because that's all it amounts to - because you have to FEEL protest and dissent . Well here at Carnival - there it is ,protest and dissent . Now listen to it . And of course it will be far easier than getting any response from sticking your tongue out at the Putin monster --
He has his bombs , just as Kensington and Chelsea have their money. (and anyway it's only another Boris diversion ,like building some fucking stupid bridge ,instead of doing anything useful)

Lafcadio1944 , 12 Oct 2016 07:03
"Society" or at least organized society is the enemy of corporate power. The idea of Neoliberal capitalism is to replace civil society with corporate law and rule. The same was true of the less extreme forms of capitalism. Society is the enemy of capital because it put restrictions on it and threatens its power.

When society organizes itself and makes laws to protect society from the harmful effects of capitalism, for example demands on testing drugs to be sure they are safe, this is a big expense to Pfizer, there are many examples - just now in the news banning sugary drinks. If so much as a small group of parents forming a day care co-op decide to ban coca cola from their group that is a loss of profit.

That is really what is going on, loneliness is a big part of human life, everyone feels it sometimes, under Neoliberal capitalism it is simply more exaggerated due to the out and out assault on society itself.

Joan Cant , 12 Oct 2016 07:10
Well the prevailing Global Capitalist world view is still a combination 1. homocentric Cartesian Dualism i.e. seeing humans as most important and sod all other living beings, and seeing humans as separate from all other living beings and other humans and 2. Darwinian "survival of the fittest" seeing everything as a competition and people as "winners and losers, weak or strong with winners and the strong being most important". From these 2 combined views all kinds of "games" arise. The main one being the game of "victim, rescuer, persecutor" (Transactional Analysis). The Guardian engages in this most of the time and although I welcome the truth in this article to some degree, surprisingly, as George is environmentally friendly, it kinda still is talking as if humans are most important and as if those in control (the winners) need to change their world view to save the victims. I think the world view needs to zoom out to a perspective that recognises that everything is interdependent and that the apparent winners and the strong are as much victims of their limited world view as those who are manifesting the effects of it more obviously.
Zombiesfan , 12 Oct 2016 07:14
Here in America, we have reached the point at which police routinely dispatch the mentally ill, while complaining that "we don't have the time for this" (N. Carolina). When a policeman refuses to kill a troubled citizen, he or she can and will be fired from his job (West Virginia). This has become not merely commonplace, but actually a part of the social function of the work of the police -- to remove from society the burden of caring for the mentally ill by killing them. In the state where I live, a state trooper shot dead a mentally ill man who was not only unarmed, but sitting on the toilet in his own home. The resulting "investigation" exculpated the trooper, of course; in fact, young people are constantly told to look up to the police.
ianita1978 -> Zombiesfan , 12 Oct 2016 08:25
Sounds like the inevitable logical outcome of a society where the predator sociopathic and their scared prey are all that is allowed. This dynamic dualistic tautology, the slavish terrorised to sleep and bullying narcissistic individual, will always join together to protect their sick worldview by pathologising anything that will threaten their hegemony of power abuse: compassion, sensitivity, moral conscience, altruism and the immediate effects of the ruthless social effacement or punishment of the same ie human suffering.
Ruby4 , 12 Oct 2016 07:14
The impact of increasing alienation on individual mental health has been known about and discussed for a long time.

When looking at a way forward, the following article is interesting:

"Alienation, in all areas, has reached unprecedented heights; the social machinery for deluding consciousnesses in the interest of the ruling class has been perfected as never before. The media are loaded with upscale advertising identifying sophistication with speciousness. Television, in constant use, obliterates the concept under the image and permanently feeds a baseless credulity for events and history. Against the will of many students, school doesn't develop the highly cultivated critical capacities that a real sovereignty of the people would require. And so on.

The ordinary citizen thus lives in an incredibly deceiving reality. Perhaps this explains the tremendous and persistent gap between the burgeoning of motives to struggle, and the paucity of actual combatants. The contrary would be a miracle. Thus the considerable importance of what I call the struggle for representation: at every moment, in every area, to expose the deception and bring to light, in the simplicity of form which only real theoretical penetration makes possible, the processes in which the false-appearances, real and imagined, originate, and this way, to form the vigilant consciousness, placing our image of reality back on its feet and reopening paths to action."

https://www.marxists.org/archive/seve/lucien_seve.htm

ianita1978 -> Ruby4 , 12 Oct 2016 08:18
For the global epidemic of abusive, effacing homogenisation of human intellectual exchange and violent hyper-sexualisation of all culture, I blame the US Freudian PR guru Edward Bernays and his puritan forebears - alot.
bonhee -> Ruby4 , 12 Oct 2016 09:03
Thanks for proving that Anomie is a far more sensible theory than Dialectical Materialistic claptrap that was used back in the 80s to terrorize the millions of serfs living under the Jack boot of Leninist Iron curtain.
RossJames , 12 Oct 2016 07:15
There's no question - neoliberalism has been wrenching society apart. It's not as if the prime movers of this ideology were unaware of the likely outcome viz. "there is no such thing as society" (Thatcher). Actually in retrospect the whole zeitgeist from the late 70s emphasised the atomised individual separated from the whole. Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" (1976) may have been influential in creating that climate.

Anyway, the wheel has turned thank goodness. We are becoming wiser and understanding that "ecology" doesn't just refer to our relationship with the natural world but also, closer to home, our relationship with each other.

Jayarava Attwood -> RossJames , 12 Oct 2016 07:37
The Communist manifesto makes the same complaint in 1848. The wheel has not turned, it is still grinding down workers after 150 years. We are none the wiser.
Ben Wood -> RossJames , 12 Oct 2016 07:49
"The wheel is turning and you can't slow down,
You can't let go and you can't hold on,
You can't go back and you can't stand still,
If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will."
R Hunter
ianita1978 -> Ben Wood , 12 Oct 2016 08:13
Yep. And far too many good people have chosen to be the grateful dead in order to escape the brutal torture of bullying Predators.
magicspoon3 , 12 Oct 2016 07:30
What is loneliness? I love my own company and I love walking in nature and listening to relaxation music off you tube and reading books from the library. That is all free. When I fancied a change of scene, I volunteered at my local art gallery.

Mental health issues are not all down to loneliness. Indeed, other people can be a massive stress factor, whether it is a narcissistic parent, a bullying spouse or sibling, or an unreasonable boss at work.

I'm on the internet far too much and often feel the need to detox from it and get back to a more natural life, away from technology. The 24/7 news culture and selfie obsessed society is a lot to blame for social disconnect.

The current economic climate is also to blame, if housing and job security are a problem for individuals as money worries are a huge factor of stress. The idea of not having any goal for the future can trigger depressive thoughts.

I have to say, I've been happier since I don't have such unrealistic expectations of what 'success is'. I rarely get that foreign holiday or new wardrobe of clothes and my mobile phone is archaic. The pressure that society puts on us to have all these things- and get in debt for them is not good. The obsession with economic growth at all costs is also stupid, as the numbers don't necessarily mean better wealth, health or happiness.

dr8765 , 12 Oct 2016 07:34
Very fine article, as usual from George, until right at the end he says:

This does not require a policy response.

But it does. It requires abandonment of neoliberalism as the means used to run the world. People talk about the dangers of man made computers usurping their makers but mankind has, it seems, already allowed itself to become enslaved. This has not been achieved by physical dependence upon machines but by intellectual enslavement to an ideology.

John Smythe , 12 Oct 2016 07:35
A very good "Opinion" by George Monbiot one of the best I have seen on this Guardian blog page.

I would add that the basic concepts of the Neoliberal New world order are fundamentally Evil, from the control of world population through supporting of strife starvation and war to financial inducements of persons in positions of power. Let us not forget the training of our younger members of our society who have been induced to a slavish love of technology. Many other areas of human life are also under attack from the Neoliberal, even the very air we breathe, and the earth we stand upon.

Jayarava Attwood , 12 Oct 2016 07:36
The Amish have understood for 300 years that technology could have a negative effect on society and decided to limit its effects. I greatly admire their approach. Neal Stephenson's recent novel Seveneves coined the term Amistics for the practice of assessing and limiting the impact of tech. We need a Minister for Amistics in the government. Wired magazine did two features on the Amish use of telephones which are quite insightful.

The Amish Get Wired. The Amish ? 6.1.1993
look Who's talking . 1.1.1999

If we go back to 1848, we also find Marx and Engels, in the Communist Manifesto, complaining about the way that the first free-market capitalism (the original liberalism) was destroying communities and families by forcing workers to move to where the factories were being built, and by forcing women and children into (very) low paid work. 150 years later, after many generations of this, combined with the destruction of work in the North, the result is widespread mental illness. But a few people are really rich now, so that's all right, eh?

Social media is ersatz community. It's like eating grass: filling, but not nourishing.

ICYMI I had some thoughts a couple of days ago on how to deal with the mental health epidemic .

maplegirl , 12 Oct 2016 07:38
Young people are greatly harmed by not being able to see a clear path forward in the world. For most people, our basic needs are a secure job, somewhere secure and affordable to live, and a decent social environment in terms of public services and facilities. Unfortunately, all these things are sliding further out of reach for young people in the UK, and they know this. Many already live with insecure housing where their family could have to move at a month or two's notice.

Our whole economic system needs to be built around providing these basic securities for people. Neoliberalism = insecure jobs, insecure housing and poor public services, because these are the end result of its extreme free market ideology.

dynamicfrog , 12 Oct 2016 07:44
I agree with this 100%. Social isolation makes us unhappy. We have a false sense of what makes us unhappy - that success or wealth will enlighten or liberate us. What makes us happy is social connection. Good friendships, good relationships, being part of community that you contribute to. Go to some of the poorest countries in the world and you may meet happy people there, tell them about life in rich countries, and say that some people there are unhappy. They won't believe you. We do need to change our worldview, because misery is a real problem in many countries.
SavannahLaMar , 12 Oct 2016 07:47
It is tempting to see the world before Thatcherism, which is what most English writers mean when they talk about neo-liberalism, as an idyll, but it simply wasn't.

The great difficulty with capitalism is that while it is in many ways an amoral doctrine, it goes hand in hand with personal freedom. Socialism is moral in its concern for the poorest, but then it places limits on personal freedom and choice. That's the price people pay for the emphasis on community, rather than the individual.

Close communities can be a bar on personal freedom and have little tolerance for people who deviate from the norm. In doing that, they can entrench loneliness.

This happened, and to some extent is still happening, in the working class communities which we typically describe as 'being destroyed by Thatcher'. It's happening in close-knit Muslim communities now.

I'm not attempting to vindicate Thatcherism, I'm just saying there's a pay-off with any model of society. George Monbiot's concerns are actually part of a long tradition - Oliver Goldsmith's Deserted Village (1770) chimes with his thinking, as does DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover.

proteusblu -> SavannahLaMar , 12 Oct 2016 08:04
The kind of personal freedom that you say goes hand in hand with capitalism is an illusion for the majority of people. It holds up the prospect of that kind of freedom, but only a minority get access to it. For most, it is necessary to submit yourself to a form of being yoked, in terms of the daily grind which places limits on what you can then do, as the latter depends hugely on money. The idea that most people are "free" to buy the house they want, private education, etc., not to mention whether they can afford the many other things they are told will make them happy, is a very bad joke. Hunter-gatherers have more real freedom than we do. Share
Stephen Bell -> SavannahLaMar , 12 Oct 2016 09:07
Well said. One person's loneliness is another's peace and quiet.
stumpedup_32 -> Firstact , 12 Oct 2016 08:12
According to Wiki: 'Neoliberalism refers primarily to the 20th century resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism. These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.'
queequeg7 , 12 Oct 2016 07:54
We grow into fear - the stress of exams and their certain meanings; the lower wages, longer hours, and fewer rights at work; the certainty of debt with ever greater mortgages; the terror of benefit cuts combined with rent increases.

If we're forever afraid, we'll cling to whatever life raft presents.

It's a demeaning way to live, but it serves the Market better than having a free, reasonably paid, secure workforce, broadly educated and properly housed, with rights.

CrazyGuy , 12 Oct 2016 07:54
Insightful analysis... George quite rightly pinpoints the isolating effects of modern society and technology and the impact on the quality of our relationships. The obvious question is how can we offset these trends and does the government care enough to do anything about them?

It strikes me that one of the major problems is that [young] people have been left to their own devices in terms of their consumption of messages from Social and Mass online Media - analogous to leaving your kids in front of a video in lieu of a parental care or a babysitter. In traditional society - the messages provided by Society were filtered by family contact and real peer interaction - and a clear picture of the limited value of the media was propogated by teachers and clerics. Now young and older people alike are left to make their own judgments and we cannot be surprised when they extract negative messages around body image, wealth and social expectations and social and sexual norms from these channels. It's inevitable that this will create a boundary free landscape where insecurity, self-loathing and ultimately mental illness will prosper.

I'm not a traditionalist in any way but there has to be a role for teachers and parents in mediating these messages and presenting the context for analysing what is being said in a healthy way. I think this kind of Personal Esteem and Life Skills education should be part of the core curriculum in all schools. Our continued focus on basic academic skills just does not prepare young people for the real world of judgementalism, superficiality and cliques and if anything dealing with these issues are core life skills.

We can't reverse the fact that media and modern society is changing but we can prepare people for the impact which it can have on their lives.

school10 -> CrazyGuy , 12 Oct 2016 08:04
A politician's answer. X is a problem. Someone else, in your comment it will be teachers that have to sort it out. Problems in society are not solved by having a one hour a week class on "self esteem". In fact self-esteem and self-worth comes from the things you do. Taking kids away from their academic/cultural studies reduces this. This is a problem in society. What can society as a whole do to solve it and what are YOU prepared to contribute.
David Ireland -> CrazyGuy , 12 Oct 2016 09:28
Rather difficult to do when their parents are Thatchers children and buy into the whole celebrity, you are what you own lifestyle too....and teachers are far too busy filling out all the paperwork that shows they've met their targets to find time to teach a person centred course on self-esteem to a class of 30 teenagers.
Ian Harris , 12 Oct 2016 07:54
I think we should just continue to be selfish and self-serving, sneering and despising anyone less fortunate than ourselves, look up to and try to emulate the shallow, vacuous lifestyle of the non-entity celebrity, consume the Earth's natural resources whilst poisoning the planet and the people, destroy any non-contributing indigenous peoples and finally set off all our nuclear arsenals in a smug-faced global firework display to demonstrate our high level of intelligence and humanity. Surely, that's what we all want? Who cares? So let's just carry on with business as usual!
BetaRayBill , 12 Oct 2016 08:01
Neoliberalism is the bastard child of globalization which in effect is Americanization. The basic premise is the individual is totally reliant on the corporate world state aided by a process of fear inducing mechanisms, pharmacology is one of the tools. No community no creativity no free thinking. Poded sealed and cling filmed a quasi existence.
Bluecloud , 12 Oct 2016 08:01 Contributor
Having grown up during the Thatcher years, I entirely agree that neoliberalism has divided society by promoting individual self-optimisation at the expensive of everyone else.

What's the solution? Well if neoliberalism is the root cause, we need a systematic change, which is a problem considering there is no alternative right now. We can however, get active in rebuilding communities and I am encouraged by George Monbiot's work here.

My approach is to get out and join organizations working toward system change. 350.org is a good example. Get involved.

SemenC , 12 Oct 2016 08:09
we live in a narcissistic and ego driven world that dehumanises everyone. we have an individual and collective crisis of the soul. it is our false perception of ourselves that creates a disconnection from who we really are that causes loneliness.
rolloverlove -> SemenC , 12 Oct 2016 11:33
I agree. This article explains why it is a perfectly normal reaction to the world we are currently living in. It goes as far as to suggest that if you do not feel depressed at the state of our world there's something wrong with you ;-)
http://upliftconnect.com/mutiny-of-the-soul/
HaveYouFedTheFish , 12 Oct 2016 08:10
Surely there is a more straightforward possible explanation for increasing incidence of "unhapiness"?

Quite simply, a century of gradually increasing general living standards in the West have lifted the masses up Maslows higiene hierarchy of needs, to where the masses now have largely only the unfulfilled self esteem needs that used to be the preserve of a small, middle class minority (rather than the unfulfilled survival, security and social needs of previous generations)

If so - this is good. This is progress. We just need to get them up another rung to self fulfillment (the current concern of the flourishing upper middle classes).

avid Ireland -> HaveYouFedTheFish , 12 Oct 2016 08:59
Maslow's hierarchy of needs was not about material goods. One could be poor and still fulfill all his criteria and be fully realised. You have missed the point entirely.
HaveYouFedTheFish -> David Ireland , 12 Oct 2016 09:25
Error.... Who mentioned material goods? I think you have not so much "missed the point" as "made your own one up" .

And while agreed that you could, in theory, be poor and meet all of your needs (in fact the very point of the analysis is that money, of itself, isn't what people "need") the reality of the structure of a western capitalist society means that a certain level of affluence is almost certainly a prerequisite for meeting most of those needs simply because food and shelter at the bottom end and, say, education and training at the top end of self fulfillment all have to be purchased. Share

HaveYouFedTheFish -> David Ireland , 12 Oct 2016 09:40
Also note that just because a majority of people are now so far up the hierarchy does in no way negate an argument that corporations haven't also noticed this and target advertising appropriately to exploit it (and maybe we need to talk about that)

It just means that it's lazy thinking to presume we are in some way "sliding backwards" socially, rather than needing to just keep pushing through this adversity through to the summit.

I have to admit it does really stick in my craw a bit hearing millenials moan about how they may never get to *own* a really *nice* house while their grandparents are still alive who didn't even get the right to finish school and had to share a bed with their siblings.

Pinkie123 -> Loatheallpoliticians , 12 Oct 2016 08:25
There is no such thing as a free-market society. Your society of 'self-interest' is really a state supported oligarchy. If you really want to live in a society where there is literally no state and a more or less open market try Somalia or a Latin American city run by drug lords - but even then there are hierarchies, state involvement, militias.

What you are arguing for is a system (for that is what it is) that demands everyone compete with one another. It is not free, or liberal, or democratic, or libertarian. It is designed to oppress, control, exploit and degrade human beings. This kind of corporatism in which everyone is supposed to serve the God of the market is, ironically, quite Stalinist. Furthermore, a society in which people are encouraged to be narrowly selfish is just plain uncivilized. Since when have sociopathy and barbarism been something to aspire to?

LevNikolayevich , 12 Oct 2016 08:17
George, you are right, of course. The burning question, however, is not 'Is our current social set-up making us ill' (it certainly is), but 'Is there a healthier alternative?' What form of society would make us less ill? Socialism and egalatarianism, wherever they are tried, tend to lead to their own set of mental-illness-inducing problems, chiefly to do with thwarted opportunity, inability to thrive, and constraints on individual freedom. The sharing, caring society is no more the answer than the brutally individualistic one. You may argue that what is needed is a balance between the two, but that is broadly what we have already. It ain't perfect, but it's a lot better than any of the alternatives.
David Ireland -> LevNikolayevich , 12 Oct 2016 08:50
We certainly do NOT at present have a balance between the two societies...Have you not read the article? Corporations and big business have far too much power and control over our lives and our Gov't. The gov't does not legislate for a real living minimum wage and expects the taxpayer to fund corporations low wage businesses. The Minimum wage and benefit payments are sucked in to ever increasing basic living costs leaving nothing for the human soul aside from more work to keep body and soul together, and all the while the underlying message being pumped at us is that we are failures if we do not have wealth and all the accoutrements that go with it....How does that create a healthy society?
Saul Till , 12 Oct 2016 08:25
Neoliberalism. A simple word but it does a great deal of work for people like Monbiot.

The simple statistical data on quality of life differences between generations is absolutely nowhere to be found in this article, nor are self-reported findings on whether people today are happier, just as happy or less happy than people thirty years ago. In reality quality of life and happiness indices have generally been increasing ever since they were introduced.
It's more difficult to know if things like suicide, depression and mental illness are actually increasing or whether it's more to do with the fact that the number of people who are prepared to report them is increasing: at least some of the rise in their numbers will be down to greater awareness of said mental illness, government campaigns and a decline in associated social stigma.

Either way, what evidence there is here isn't even sufficient to establish that we are going through some vast mental health crisis in the first place, never mind that said crisis is inextricably bound up with 'neoliberalism'.

Furthermore, I'm inherently suspicious of articles that manage to connect every modern ill to the author's own political bugbear, especially if they cherry-pick statistical findings to support their point. I'd be just as, if not more, suspicious if it was a conservative author trying to link the same ills to the decline in Christianity or similar. In fact, this article reminds me very much of the sweeping claims made by right-wingers about the allegedly destructive effects of secularism/atheism/homosexuality/video games/South Park/The Great British Bake Off/etc...

If you're an author and you have a pet theory, and upon researching an article you believe you see a pattern in the evidence that points towards further confirmation of that theory, then you should step back and think about whether said pattern is just a bit too psychologically convenient and ideologically simple to be true. This is why people like Steven Pinker - properly rigorous, scientifically versed writer-researchers - do the work they do in systematically sifting through the sociological and historical data: because your mind is often actively trying to convince you to believe that neoliberalism causes suicide and depression, or, if you're a similarly intellectually lazy right-winger, homosexuality leads to gang violence and the flooding of(bafflingly, overwhelmingly heterosexual) parts of America.

I see no sign that Monbiot is interested in testing his belief in his central claim and as a result this article is essentially worthless except as an example of a certain kind of political rhetoric.

Rapport , 12 Oct 2016 08:38

social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat .... Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people.

Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day:

it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%

Why don't we explore some of the benefits?.. Following the long list of some the diseases, loneliness can inflict on individuals, there must be a surge in demand for all sort of medications; anti-depressants must be topping the list. There is a host many other anti-stress treatments available of which Big Pharma must be carving the lion's share. Examine the micro-economic impact immediately following a split or divorce. There is an instant doubling on the demand for accommodation, instant doubling on the demand for electrical and household items among many other products and services. But the icing on the cake and what is really most critical for Neoliberalism must be this: With the morale barometer hitting the bottom, people will be less likely to think of a better future, and therefore, less likely to protest. In fact, there is nothing left worth protecting.

Your freedom has been curtailed. Your rights are evaporating in front of your eyes. And Best of all, from the authorities' perspective, there is no relationship to defend and there is no family to protect. If you have a job, you want to keep, you must prove your worthiness every day to 'a company'.

[Sep 02, 2017] The Politics Of Desperation

Notable quotes:
"... Some will remember Walker's famous dispatch from the sharp end of the battlefield in Ukraine, in which he and his sidekick, Roland Oliphant, personally witnessed a Russian military convoy crossing into Ukraine, presumably bound for mischief in the Donbas and never got a picture. You just have to take their word for it. As I also mentioned before, Walker has his cellphone handy to snap a piccie if Aeroflot puts too much dill on his inflight meal. It's pretty hard to imagine he and his pal were on a daring mission to prove Russian military complicity in the resistance of Eastern Ukraine, and didn't bring along a single piece of equipment capable of taking a photograph. ..."
Aug 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Those who are regular readers here know what I think of Shaun Walker, the British Austin Powers lookalike and blabbermouth-at-large who scribes Russophobic nonsense for The Guardian , The Independent and whoever else will pay him. Naturally, since he sometimes actually lives in Moscow and writes about Russia a lot – all of it reliably sarcastic and mocking of the backward and bewildered Russian peasantry – and knows how to say "Sheremetyevo", he is regularly touted as a 'Russia expert' by the western media who feature his caustic denunciations of the Evil Empire and its wicked Emperor, Vladimir Putin.

Some will remember Walker's famous dispatch from the sharp end of the battlefield in Ukraine, in which he and his sidekick, Roland Oliphant, personally witnessed a Russian military convoy crossing into Ukraine, presumably bound for mischief in the Donbas and never got a picture. You just have to take their word for it. As I also mentioned before, Walker has his cellphone handy to snap a piccie if Aeroflot puts too much dill on his inflight meal. It's pretty hard to imagine he and his pal were on a daring mission to prove Russian military complicity in the resistance of Eastern Ukraine, and didn't bring along a single piece of equipment capable of taking a photograph.

All that notwithstanding, this is not really about Shaun Walker. He merely provided the catalyst for this post. I was reading an article awhile ago which quoted him, although of course I cannot find it now. This was around the time Russia kicked out some 600 or so employees of the United States Embassy to the Russian Federation in Moscow. Although it was too big a deal to ignore it altogether, the USA downplayed it by insisting almost none of them would be Americans, that the people let go would be almost entirely Russian 'local hires', and that the Embassy was rather looking forward to the folksy experience of teamwork and camaraderie which would see the Ambassador driving the mail truck and various diplomats sweeping the floors and taking out the trash. As if.

Anyway, for some time now Shaun Walker has been possessed of the belief that he has noticed something overlooked by the rest of the snoopy world; that back when Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the USA – ostensibly for Russian meddling in the American election and making Hillary lose – that would have been the time for Putin to drop the political-expulsion hammer of retaliation. But he didn't. Basically, there was no overt reaction whatever. Despite the fact that at the same time, the US government seized two Russian 'compounds'; property owned by Russia in the United States and used for diplomatic purposes.

Although Russia protested at the time – the properties were bought by the Soviet government, during the Cold War , at market prices and with US government approval and are therefore the legal property of the Soviet Union's inheritors – that the behavior was a de facto and de jure violation of international law, Russia did not react in kind.

A-HA!! says Walker. The reason for this apparent passivity is that Moscow was 'desperate' to see the return of these compounds – particularly the Maryland one, which is on Chesapeake Bay and which the Kremlin uses to covertly communicate with its submarines at sea. Please, don't laugh; I'm serious. Oh, Walker himself has never publicly aired the submarine theory, to the best of my knowledge, although he has helped via uncritical repetition to push the theory that Russia uses its diplomatic properties in the USA for 'spying'.

The cavalier confiscation of property without offering any proof at all that it is/was being used for nefarious purposes is typical of modern Washington administrations, for whom the law is useful only when it serves their purposes. But that's not really what got my attention. No, I was more interested in the over-use of the 'desperate' meme to characterize Russia; everywhere you look, Russia or Putin – or both – is 'desperate' about this or that. To hear the west tell it, through its stable of journalists, Russia has its back to the wall, as the forces of righteousness and retribution remorselessly advance. Is that the way it is, do you think?

I'll tell you up front – I don't. What I think is that the 'desperate' label belongs to Washington, as Russia tears its playhouse down, room by room, around the world.

In Syria. Remember Aleppo, which was lovingly shaped by western journalists as the Alamo of Syria, the last-ditch stand of all that was decent against the malevolent double-whammy of the merciless butcher Assad and hordes of Russian bombers indiscriminately blasting the shit out of everything? You don't hear much about Aleppo now, although you certainly would if it remained a shooting-gallery for the Syrian Arab Army. But in fact, since hostilities ceased with the SAA's taking of the city, more than 600,000 Syrians have moved back to their homes in Aleppo , according to the International Organization for Migration and as reported by fearless independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone.

Washington did everything it could, short of a preemptive strike, to stop the combined forces of Russia and the democratically-elected Syrian government from re-taking Aleppo, from frantic babbling for a cease-fire at every SAA advance to the absurd childish exhortations of wholly-owned State Department propaganda outlet Bana Albed to start World War Three rather than let Assad and Russia triumph. I'm not making that up; she (or her typist) actually tweeted, "Dear world, it's better to start 3rd world war instead of letting Russia and assad commit (hashtag) HolocaustAleppo" . Clearly, a girl after Phil Breedlove's own heart, and if you don't mind my saying so, quite an adult encapsulation from somebody who later could only parrot "Save the children of Syria" no matter what her interviewers asked her, and who can plainly not speak English .

In Ukraine. When Washington directly intervened in Ukraine's Maidan protests – which up to that time had been a somewhat desultory performance by a small crowd mostly comprised of students, but which quickly morphed under State Department direction into a muscular PR vehicle with paid-for crowds – it was all going to go like clockwork. The regime-change operation had been refined and bored and stroked through several successful operations, and it was child's play to knock over Yanukovych even though he had capitulated to all the protesters' demands except that he step down immediately, granting opposition figures significant government representation. But Washington's naive idealizations of how it would make a prosperous western-style market democracy of Ukraine ignored a few important things – such as that cutting it off from Russia also cut it off from more than half of its export market, and that its oligarchy remained entirely in place except for Yanukovych. The aforementioned non-Yanukovych oligarchy merrily continued stealing most of the GDP, since it is not a major concern of oligarchs who is in charge. Even if it were, the leader soon was one of their own .

These days, all you hear is how corruption is threatening the rebirth of Ukraine as a western acquisition, and quite a few of the western cheerleaders have grown exasperated with Ukraine's lack of progress toward 'western standards'. Even Nolan Peterson, former US Special Forces pilot and full-time Russophobe, who formerly spoke of Ukraine in the rhapsodic tones normally reserved for Mom's cooking and American Values, is annoyed . Floundering ever closer to failed-statehood, Ukraine has become the tar-baby the west doesn't want any more, but cannot let go of. Snatching Ukraine away from the Eurasian Union really hurt Russia, didn't it? In fact, there is every possibility it will one day – under a different government – be associated once more with Russia, although it will be a sadder and wiser country by that time. Who has it cost more to try the Ukrainian-remodeling project – Russia, or the west?

At home, in America. The silly effort to sell the story that Russian state hackers stole the election for Trump is falling apart, as former intelligence professionals point out that the data transfer rate of the stolen data which was taken from the DNC server was far too high to have occurred over the internet . Instead, they argue, it was much more likely to have been tapped off directly with a thumb drive (USB stick) or some such similar device. Washington's counter to this has so far been that the FSB could have access to much faster networks. I suppose they might, but why would they go to so much trouble to steal data on the Democrats, and then leave their own fingerprints all over it?

That doesn't mean the Democrats – and those for whom Russian hacking is a convenient story to be used for fomenting fear of Russia and an inability to think straight – are going to just give up, of course. No, indeed. They doubled down a long time ago and are now quadrupling down, or something. The latest frantic – yes, 'desperate' – dodge is the very convenient emergence of a Ukrainian 'malware expert' whose hacking tools were stolen by the Russian state to carry out their underhanded undertakings. He has been arrested, and is going to turn 'state's evidence' to clear his name. Absurd. 'Guccifer' the recently-famous hacker who was supposedly responsible for penetrating Clinton's server, identified as a Romanian; Romania is an EU country. That wasn't the 'Russia' flag Hillary and the Democrats were looking for, and hokey behavioral studies which suggested Guccifer was telling the truth were tossed out – he was obviously a liar. But now 'Profexer' (no word if that is his Christian name or his patronymic) has appeared and looks ready to blow the whistle on Russian hacking. Giving up is for weaklings.

We were discussing, in the later comments to the previous post, who it was who said that no Empire has lasted longer than 300 years, considering the USA celebrated its bicentennial in 1976. Although I was unable to find any reference which spelled that out – the introduction to "Legacy of Ashes", a book on the CIA, contains a quote which says no Republic has lasted more than 300 years – my search did turn up this quote, attributed to Alexander Tytler, in 1787.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

If it were possible to substitute "confusion and ignorance due to being bullshitted six ways from Sunday on the true state of affairs by journalists who owe their loyalty to the political machine" for "complacency", I'd say that's just about the stage we're seeing right now.

Not much of a step from there to bondage, is it? Better get to the head of the line early; otherwise the Nerf shackles will be all gone.

[Jul 05, 2017] I thought nothing in Russia could shock me. Then I went to a television broadcast

Neoliberal guardian presstitute in all glory... It's a real Orwellian hate hour. Those presstitutes do love Saudi monarchy, though
But with is interesting that the tone of comments recently changes and composition of audience changed too. the number of hateful comments about Russia is astounding, and suggest some manipulation of public opinion. It is plausible that some or most comments are produced by government agencies or with the help of volunteers. It is difficult to see which comments are genuine and which are generated.
Jul 05, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
greenmanilishi ladyjanegrey , 30 Jun 2017 13:23 msm ,

Guardian,Telegraph,BBC,CNN,CBS,NBC ... all the letters of the alphabet have no intention of questioning US claims of authority to invade, attack, destroy nations who they decide are to be destroyed.... Iraq, Libya, Syria etc.etc.

Bush Cameron,Obama,Clinton, ΄we came , we saw, he died, ha, ha, ha΄ .....

I never heard Putin say anything like that..... push back against US war mongering and UK EU support or indifference to 25 years of destruction and mayhem... not Russian tv

Kiselev -> senya, 30 Jun 2017 13:22

That why USA have 11 peaceful aircraft carriers..Because of Russia that barely have one..

GeoffP Zepp , 30 Jun 2017 13:09

Bah: that's crap. WikiLeaks is still producing relevant stuff on the DNC and HRC as it goes along, and on the military-industrial complex in general. There's nothing wrong with that - and those that think it's 'corrupted' merely because it kicked over a beloved seizure horse really need to seriously re-examine their biases. As for this:

Their main motivation seems to be that acknowledging that Putin is a vicious dictator who interfered in US election denigrates Wikileaks.

??? Who in the hell thinks that? In short: citation needed. Badly.

doskey , 30 Jun 2017 13:07
I'm sorry as much as I would like to jump on the bandwagon (and there's much wrong in Russia), but isn't this article speaking for exactly what the police accused the writer accused of - journalism?

If he indeed came on a tourist visa and does investigative work, that is in a shady area, whatever the country. If I come to the U.S. and speak to groups as the Resistance, Black Lives Matter and democratic party leaders, I'd hardly classify as a tourist, no?

lochinverboy , 30 Jun 2017 11:23
Given the truly odious regimes we do business with and never criticise, it is telling that we never hear anything positive about Russia. Nor did we when it was part of the Communist USSR. It can't be an orchestrated US led campaign of destabilisation to allow the West access to those huge oil and gas resources!!!
footbollocks Guardianangell , 30 Jun 2017 10:42
>>"Ah, yes I remember Russia invading several countries in the last, lets say 15 years. Damn, we should keep a close eye on them."
Your reply appears to be alluding to several recent US led attacks on Arab regimes. Accordingly, in so far as it engages my observation that Putin's Russia approaches a fascist dictatorship that is a threat to countries on its borders, to the EU and to liberal democracy, you suggests one of four things:
(a) The US likewise approaches a fascist dictatorship
(b) The US poses a similar threat to the EU
(c) The US poses a similar threat to liberal democracy
(d) The US poses a similar threat to the countries on Russia's borders.
Plainly, however, all of (a) to (d) are false.
I conclude that the evident pleasure you take in what seems to you to be a clever comment is smug and delusional.
Martyn Richard Jones , 30 Jun 2017 10:37

These days Russia woos like a gangster, not a lover.

That's not the impression I get, at all. I find them to be relatively restrained, thoughtful and civil. Especially given the expansionist antics that NATO has got up to over the years.

It's easy to point the finger at Moscow, a habit that is over a century old. If the west had taken Thatcher's advice over the handling of the USSR, none of this would have probably come to pass.

dorotea petesire , 30 Jun 2017 10:25
It all really boils down to what kind of facts he was after. To, me, his whole piece sounds pretty much like hate-mongering, and yes it also can be classified as propaganda. So, the dude went to Russia pretty much with an agenda of collecting facts fitting with his already planned and pre-commissioned book, and then is so much 'surprised' when the trip is classified as professional work , not tourism. And when they asked him to sign paperwork confirming that he was travelling as a pro - he called it 'fake'. Wonderful way of presenting things that rivals the tv show he is so much disgusted with. Btw, if you want to enjoy real Orwellian hate-hour - just travel to US and turn on CNN , or any other mass media tv channel.
andrewboston , 30 Jun 2017 10:23
kleptocratic clique
-- just like Trump and May
Nazi weren't a different, long extinct species, they're alive and well as Rethugricans and Torys, today, mostly.
The UK Empire and the USA Empire are among the greatest evil the world has seen.... and they need enemies to maintain war profits.
Paul4701 , 30 Jun 2017 10:19
Interesting article, but let's be honest. It has become long clear that non-Western nations can not be viewed with Western social and political goggles. Putin might not meet many of the check boxes that symbolize Western (Democratic Values), neither does the US when we take a good close look or any of the other Western countries.
Point being: hate mongering by Russian TV is being seen as scary yet most Russian view Western Media as Hate-Mongers against Russia.
Tell me: Who is right here?
Yessen Bulumbayev chris rhode , 30 Jun 2017 10:03
Nice democracy you are having - population brainwashed by corrupted, aligned with warmongering foreign policy -->
Gwydion Madawc Williams , 30 Jun 2017 09:52
Yet another article that fails to face up to the West's abysmal failure in Russia in the 1990s. Then, they thought the West was friendly to the new non-Communist Russia. A Russia that had given up its Colonial Empire than any nation in the West managed.

The Yeltsin years saw a rise in the death rate, a shrinking of the economy and vast amounts of public property pass into the hands of crooks. This happened thanks to crackpot New Right schemes that issued shares as individual property of the company workers. Outside of New Right fairy tails, it was absolutely predictable that almost all of them would be sold for immediate cash profit. And not unexpected that it was crooks who scooped the big prizes.

Setting up genuine collectives in which you can't sell your share for cash might have worked. Anathema to the New Right, even though such schemes work and there need not be anything leftist about them.

So, years of miserable failure under Yeltsin. A recovery under Putin, whom polls show to be one of the most popular Russians ever. Though coming second to Stalin, and Western 'experts' should be wondering why instead of sneering at it from what they suppose to be a position of superior wisdom.

A 'wisdom' coming mostly from the widespread influence of Trotskyists and former Trotskyists. That this view has wholly failed to work in the real world does not put them off. (See https://gwydionwilliams.com/history-and-philosophy/why-trotksys-politics-achieved-nothing-solid /)

Protestors say that this was all wrong. That the majority who still back Putin are not allowed to do this, for unexplained reasons.

General Russian intolerance for the tiny minority nostalgic for the years of Russia's decline and humiliation is regrettable. But hardly unexpected. Do you think Britons would be any more tolerant had they been though something similar? You need only look at Northern Ireland and the dominant DUP to get the answer.

Or UKIP, which surged until the Tories took over many of its policies.

Yessen Bulumbayev jadamsj , 30 Jun 2017 09:47
Don't be lazy, read the report of UN inspection group report about gas attacks in 2013, which freely available online, before making whose baseless accusations. Or just watch the video http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22424188 Carla Del Ponte ex-leading member of a UN commission of inquiry saying that rebels used sarin.
Dregsy , 30 Jun 2017 09:46
Sorry, were you there on a work visa or a holiday visa? And what was the work visa for? It sounds to me like you've been pulled up and let off lightly for doing something you know better than to do. -->
wartypig , 30 Jun 2017 09:44
The new Russia is a reflexion of western policy, the more the west interfere tne more nationalistic and oppressive they will become. It seems Mr Putin may have detractors and yes he is becoming ever more authoritarian but he still has popular support as far as I'm aware.

This is a issue that the Russian people will resolve in their own time in their own unique manner, interference simply closes ranks. There seems to be a concerted effort to demonize Russia by the western press yet the west allies its self with far more oppressive regimes, it is a glaring double standard, this alone makes me question the validity of all anti Russian articles.

Mr Putin has a habit of serving radioactive tea to his fellow citizens so if invited to dinner I would insist on a food taster, that alone wouldn't stop me going if invited, not that our secret services are beyond such nefarious activitys.

Perdito , 30 Jun 2017 09:40
Doesn't sound much different from an average episode of Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer. Mr Roxburgh should watch more TV.

As for 'teenage supporters of Alexei Navalny', here is a view from a Russian on this latest western-sponsored hero of resistance to Putin:

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/signifying-navalny/?highlight=Navalny

The fact is that four out of five Russians like the status quo, don't like being falsely accused of 'invading' Ukraine or 'stealing' Crimea, don't like Poland facilitating NATO aggression, don't like being denounced (by neocons, already) for doing the dirty work of cleaning out ISIS in Syria.

In general they don't like foreigners lecturing them on how to become more like the Europe or America which have so often tried to conquer and plunder them- unsuccessfully. They still remember what neoliberal economics did to the country after communism packed up.

They want to be Russians, and sometimes they express that preference somewhat crudely. They think it takes a strongman to hold the place together, be he Nevsky, Ivan, Peter the Great, Suvorov, Stolypin or Stalin. They judge the latest iteration of the strongman figure rather less dictatorial and punitive than his predecessors.

Since the RF is slowly and fitfully becoming more capitalist and more Christian, why not stop riling it and concentrate on the world's really bad actors- instead of portraying Putin as a modern Blofeld, because the military industrial complex needs more arms orders?

lordtruth , 30 Jun 2017 09:29
Here is someone who is basically a journalist who travels to Russia and gets a job thus breaking the laws about tourism and work that exist everywhere in the world particularly in Britian see Brexit problems He is arrested and given a small fine whats his problem?
His function as a tourist/spy journalist is to write an article attacking every aspect of Russia ,its people and government.
What is behind all this insane talk about the Russians the Russians?
Its quite simple really. America has ways believed that its destiny is to rule and control the world.
Its main enemy has always been the British which is why it supported Germany in WW1 AND The Nazis in WW2 confidently expecting Britiain to be invaded and defeated (there was no way that had America could have helped Britain if this had happened at such a late stage.
After WW2 there was Russia to contend with.Of course there was no real threat but the cold war kept the US defence industry going and gave Americans good jobs
With the collapse of the Soviet Union the full greed of America was unleashed which has resulted in an appallingly broken nation with two thirds of Americans living in appalling conditions while the rich get richer every day. In this situation there is only one thing to be done ..bring on the big Russian Bear. Nothing makes poor people forget their misery like being frightened and having someone to hate. Its true Russia also has750 nuclear missiles ready to fire at the west and that does irritate Americans but its nothing compared to America
America is trying to humiliate Russia by destroying Russias only ally in the Middle east Syria and has used the western media to use every trick to demonise Assad
Will America actually destroy the world as a result of all this? Possibly if not probably
Meanwhile the best advice is stop reading articles attacking Russia Support Putin and Assad and if you cant ,go on holiday and wait for the nuclear cloud coming soon to a town like yours....
TrueTeller , 30 Jun 2017 09:21
Let me understand something. You go to Russia and called the Russian government a kleptocracy and the police as thuggish then expect to be treated with respect and with love. Come to New York with that nonsense and you may well end up in our local hospital if you're lucky. -->
Ieuan RoeMaporix , 30 Jun 2017 09:00
RoeMaporix asked: "Does anyone over here actually like Putin?"

No doubt I'll get labelled a 'Putinbot', but I reckon there could be worse people in charge of Russia. Alas Yeltsin and his entourage encouraged the Russian mafia (oligarchs) so much that Putin had a hell of a job to try and clear up the mess he left.

It amuses me that the mafia trusted him so much that they installed him, and then he turned on them (moral: never trust a cop). Unfortunately to make any inroads into the gangster state he took over, he had to act like a gangster himself, but you only have to look at his enemies to see that out of a very bad choice, he was probably the best.

Ordinary Russians seem to like/approve of him, and that is all that matters for me, he reflects their values (unpopular as they may be in the 'liberal' west.)

He also strikes me as a very clever man who goes his own way (which are virtues I respect) who also surrounds himself with very clever advisors.

Jared Hall ngonyama , 30 Jun 2017 08:37
There's no evidence of that. Even CNN producers are saying it's bullshit now.

CNN Senior Producer Admits "Russia Story All Bullsh*t" -->

Yarkob Bauhaus , 30 Jun 2017 08:36
Yes, coupled with the pre-crime in Syria it really does sound like the drumbeat for war is starting..oh and for an excellent set of responses to the first "chemical attack" ignore the massively biased and under researched hogwash from the OPCW and check out Theodor Postol's papers, and also Sy Hersh' excellent piece in Die Welt this week..No, I won't provide links. If people are really interested in finding out the truth, a little self-reliance is necessary these days..

You're welcome

Brenda Micheletti , 30 Jun 2017 08:04
Eventually, they let me off with a small fine

You have not been in a British Cell, by the sound of it.
Navalny was posting from his cell on the internet.
Here they take your glasses away so that you cannot see.

We had enough of so much sugar pushed down our throats.
Propaganda unlimited.

Arapas , 30 Jun 2017 07:54
Tourists should walk round Red Square and go to the Bolshoi, not interview politicians or visit environmental disaster zones, or meet teenage supporters of Putin

I know of people who got barred from entering the UK, and even worse barred from entering the US because of their religion.
It is a fact that troublemakers are not welcome in any country, except Iraq and Libya.

[Jul 02, 2017] Quite interesting Guardian piece encouraging to hate Russia and Putin while droning on about Hate Week in Orwell

Notable quotes:
"... "The use of fraudulent or forged documents should be-there's absolutely zero tolerance from us on this. If we find people submitting documents that are forged or fraudulent or they haven't disclosed full facts to us , we will not only refuse their application, they then risk a ban of 10 years from the UK if they make a subsequent application," Mackie said. ..."
Jul 02, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Pavlo Svolochenko ,

June 30, 2017 at 8:19 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/30/russia-putin-protests-police-arrests-tv-show?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.com

Dumb Guardian article or dumbest Guardian article?

marknesop , June 30, 2017 at 8:37 pm
There you go – he's received the ultimate shock; time to go home to the Pearl of Empire and spend his dotage rambling the moors in his wellies, or watching the sea thrash the Cornish coast, or something. Time to leave Russia, in any event; he's been studying it for 45 years, and this is the best he can come up with, while he plainly does not understand it. Why does he spend his time there, if everyone is a thug and a hate leader – why, in the name of God, does he spend time in a country where people live who have never heard of George Orwell?

By the bye, if you enter the UK on a visitor's visa and then work as a journalist, you might be looking at a 10-year ban on a subsequent re-application , you parrot-faced wazzock.

"The use of fraudulent or forged documents should be-there's absolutely zero tolerance from us on this. If we find people submitting documents that are forged or fraudulent or they haven't disclosed full facts to us , we will not only refuse their application, they then risk a ban of 10 years from the UK if they make a subsequent application," Mackie said.

Pavlo Svolochenko , July 1, 2017 at 3:32 am
If he didn't pad it out with invective, the article would be one or two paragraphs at most.

The undeleted comments are the real hoot – the average guardian reader appears to be a human being who failed the Turing test.

Cortes , July 1, 2017 at 6:23 am
I wonder how the comment by "timiengels" of a day ago evaded the cull:

"Quite interesting a piece encouraging to hate Russia and Putin while droning on about 'Hate Week' in Orwell."

Reply

[Jun 24, 2017] Proliferation of psychopaths might be connected with two factors: less wars and more lax laws due to deregulation

Jun 24, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com
muscleguy , 10 Oct 2011 12:22

@wondernick

i think my main concern with evolutionary psychology is by rationalising these behaviours as being the result of long term trends there is no way of explaining substantial changes in behaviour over time. and we know, despite the daily mails best efforts, that british culture (for example) is less aggressive and sexist than it was 50 years ago, 100 years ago etc. although there's still a long ways to go...

Some of that is likely to be genetic. Really aggressive people tend to get weeded out of civilised societies either by committing crime and then either being executed or jailed. The other route of course is to go to war, and not come back.

Other influences are that as society becomes less aggressive and more law abiding more children know their fathers and live with them. We know that boys in particular raised without their fathers tend to be more aggressive than those raised by them.

As for less sexism I think rather paradoxically that we can blame the wars for that, the industrial ones at least when women were needed to keep the country running so the men could go off and fight. Of course when they came back there was a shortage of men so some women were needed to go on working. This increased in the second and even though the Fifties were supposedly an era of housewives this was only part of the story. The interesting thing is how it was kept going afterwards when there 'enough' men again. I suspect that the white heat of technology was to blame here, the increasing complexity of industry, technology, university expansion etc meant our societies simply needed the intelligence, knowledge, dexterity etc of women, so not only did the men learn to value them by working alongside them but they had the economic independence to demand less sexism.

You are right to be skeptical of evolutionary psych that considers only Western people but not all of it does and that tendency should not be used to damn the entire field. As Trivers points out not just our primate relatives but creatures like scrub jays have been shown to employ deceit. We know at what stage our infants are able to deploy it, Trivers points out that the more intelligent we are the more likely we are to lie. So therefore it is not unreasonable to think it is somehow hardwired in us. Whether that means there are genes for deceit there may well be neural circuits for it, tied into things like mirror neurons that give us theory of mind.

Also while it is true that we are not slaves to all of our evolution laden tendencies it does not follow that we are entirely free of all of them. For eg while it is possible to stare oneself to death in the face of food, not many have managed to take the much shorter route to death of voluntarily refusing to drink. We have biochemical pathways to enable us to endure periods when food is scarce or absent or we are stupid enough to try Dr Atkins's diet. We can scavenge water from our food and stave off thirst that way but we cannot stave off thirst itself. The body has only limited ways of generating water. Burning carbs or fat will give you some but by far not enough for more than about 3 days max.

SamJo , 10 Oct 2011 12:07

Genes were responsible, somehow, for you fighting the whirlwind to save your sister, but probably not your less related cousin, and certainly not the stranger from down the road.

This is only one reason for altruism. Among social animals, altruism is probably much more to do with evolutionary game theory: we generally cooperate with everyone, but defect on anyone who has previously defected on us - a tit-for-tat strategy, which is beneficial for the individual (or for its genes) and can lead to robust global cooperation.

[Jun 24, 2017] Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers – review

Notable quotes:
"... What I Don't Know About Animals ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
Konrad Lorenz and Desmond Morris , or anthropologists such as Lionel Tiger . They linked studies of animal behaviour to the idea of Darwinian evolutionary principles to tell readers just how very like the beasts we were in our sex lives, our workplaces and our recreational behaviours. We were advised to look at chimps and other primates and derive understanding of ourselves from their apparently culture-free activities and traits. Underneath all our fancy culture and language, we were simply naked apes enacting primitive territorial imperatives.

The reading public lapped it up as both a neat, satisfying narrative, and as an excuse for all manner of not-so-civilised behaviours for which we no longer had to take personal and moral blame. We go to war – well, so do baboons; it's in our genes, we can try to overcome it, but in the end as in the beginning we're all just animals. By 1976 we didn't even have to blame the animal in ourselves: Richard Dawkins gave us the selfish gene, whose sole reason for existence was to reproduce itself. And we, that is the body and brain of you and me, were nothing but vehicles for these genes which compelled us to optimise their chances of replicating. Talk to the gene, the conscience isn't listening.

Much of this was based on algebraic theories of altruism developed by WD Hamilton , who shifted the mechanism of evolution from making groups fitter to survive to a new insistence on individual inclusive fitness. This was via kin selection, which drills down deeper than the inter-relatedness of individual organisms, to the separate alleles (of which genes are made) in every organism: these preferentially promote only those vehicles which contain alleles most closely related to themselves. Genes were responsible, somehow, for you fighting the whirlwind to save your sister, but probably not your less related cousin, and certainly not the stranger from down the road.

Some people were not crazy about this view of the human race. Genes doing algebra didn't suit a more macrocosmic idea of a fallible but responsible humanity.

Robert Trivers was the man who produced the unifying theory of kin selection and altruism. Now, decades on, he has arrived at a big, new universal theory, also essentially based on the arithmetic of gene selection. Deceit is useful where telling the (unpleasant) truth would hamper your progress. Progress towards what? Trivers would say your fitness, which is defined as raising the chances of replicating your genes into the next generation.

Your genes, apparently, would agree with him; but they would, wouldn't they? That is if they were capable of agreeing. I want to hang on to the fact that the building blocks of ourselves do not want or intend anything. Chemicals aren't conscious, although by amazing chance they can combine to make a conscious organism.

Once self-conscious humans begin to do science, and with the benefit of language, start to describe the nature of the chemicals that make them what they are, but having to use regular language if they want a large audience (maths is a much better language, but fewer people can read it), they cannot help but slide into the notion of intention. Dawkins's selfish gene gained an absurd life of its own because most people don't speak arithmetic.

The biological mechanism by which we conceal inconvenient truths from ourselves and others is shown, says Trivers, in functional MRI scans of blood flow associated with neural activity in the brain: "It is estimated that fully ten seconds before consciousness of intent, the neural signals begin that will later give rise to the consciousness and then the behaviour itself." Freud, who always believed that neurology would discover a physical basis for the unconscious, would be delighted, though according to Trivers, psychoanalysis is nothing more than a money-grabbing hoax. Yet there remains a void between brain chemicals doing what they do and the emergence of the sense we all have of possessing a mind.

Trivers's theories of deceit and self-deceit are based on multiple gleanings from experimental psychology. A trial with rats shows this, another with students suggests that. The actual experiments are referenced, rather minimally, in page-related endnotes, but Trivers's writing is full of halting phraseology as he slips from findings in the lab or questionnaire to the generality of human social behaviour.

He suggests from relatedness theory that fathers should show a "slight genetic bias towards their daughters", but "no one knows if this is true". General assertions about human behaviour are peppered with such phrases as "One is tempted to imagine ", "in mice at least ", "work still in its infancy ", "first speculations ", "Whether any of my speculations are true I have no idea ". And, really, if he doesn't, I certainly don't.

Once he has laid out his evidence, our biologically determined deceit behaviour is ready to account for just about everything Trivers doesn't like about the world, such as the false justifications for the invasion of Iraq, the self-deceiving use, by the US and UK, of 9/11 to declare war on oil-rich countries and on to torture, religion and stock-market trading. It so happens that Trivers and I dislike much the same things but, though I daresay knowledge is generally better than lack of it, I'm not convinced of the benefits of offering us the excuse of having been manipulated by our genes for our repeatedly scurrilous behaviour.

While the first part of the book explains the theory, and the second part discusses how deceit was responsible for all the political and social injustices both he and I perceive in the world, there is a third element woven through both. An actual individual life, that of Trivers himself, emerges, like a gene in the organism, offered perhaps as a consciously self-deprecating example of what evolutionary pressure to deceive can do to a person. Somehow, though, it comes across as back-handed boasting.

The man whom Trivers calls "I" is a compulsive thief who can't go into a room without coming away with a trophy. He talks of his "'inadvertent' touching of women", which occurs exclusively with his left (unconscious) hand. Apropos chimps turning their backs to hide an erection from a dominant male, he explains that he finds it very hard "in the presence of a woman with whom I am close, to receive a phone call from another woman with whom I may have, or only wish to have, a relationship, without turning my back to pursue the conversation".

He understands the male/female gender split by recollecting "trying to poison the minds of my three daughters against their mother". He nearly killed his girlfriend and nephew by driving the nephew's "cool car" too fast on a precipitous road, when he noticed her interest in the younger man. And after pages and pages on biological selection, evolutionary pressure and the dangerous deception that is religion, it not only turns out that he prays regularly, but he gives a short lecture on the proper way to say the "Lord's Prayer" (emphasise "thy"). I wasn't surprised to discover that he is on prescription antidepressants, as well as using ganja and cocaine.

There will be Iron Johns who read this book and cheer, and although he explains that each sex (abhorring the word "gender", which he calls a euphemism) contains both male and female genes, my male genes are just too wimpy to find any charm in Trivers's display of self-disclosure – machismo and pet peeves – dressed up as an important new evolutionary understanding of humanity.

Jenny Diski's What I Don't Know About Animals is published by Virago.

frustratedartist , 11 Oct 2011 03:20

@greaterzog

Oh dear- could you then...disentangle your own behaviour from your 'human nature".

In general- Yes. Human behaviour changes rapidly and depends on culture and individual choices. Human nature changes very very slowly, in 'evolutionary time'. Too slowly for it to be observed.

On the level of the individual -- No. I can't disentangle my personal choices from my inherited tendencies. To what extent does my behaviour (or my character)reflect my genes or upbringing, to what extent is it my own free will? Nature, Nurture, or Nietzsche?, as Stephen Fry would say. I can't say- except that I believe that we all have free will and are therefore in most cases responsible for our actions.

As for 'my' human nature, that is a meaningless phrase. Human nature I would define as the (evolved) psychological traits humans have in common .

greatherzog , 10 Oct 2011 15:57

In his article Pinker gives (I think) quite a convincing explanation of how human behaviour can be changing for the better, while human nature (perforce) remains the same.

Oh dear- could you then-with the help of Pinker's pseudo-scientific, deterministic, eurocentric tosh and/or Dawkins overly simplistic, to the point of idiocy take on genes and evolution- disentangle your own behaviour from your 'human nature.' I am really curious.

[Jun 18, 2017] Judges are always called activist when they fail to interpret the Constitution according to someones liking.

Jun 18, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com
Janet Re Johnson Telfennol , 18 Jun 2017 13:23

Judges are always called "activist" when they fail to interpret the Constitution according to someone's liking. Keep in mind that the judges you're referring to come from both parties and all over the country.

"...a manufactured rumour of collusion for which no evidence has emerged>"

We're only in the first few months.

You surely know that investigations take months to years. And what's your alternative? Stop now & call the whole thing off? I'll bet it is.

[Jun 08, 2017] The Democrats' Davos ideology won't win back the midwest by Thomas Frank

Notable quotes:
"... The Glass Stegal repeal was passed under Clinton not Reagan. ..."
"... Yep, the Dems would do well to drop the Russia/FBI swung the election thing and the all Red State inhabitants are poorly educated idiots mentality and concentrate on developing some policies that appeal to the majority of people. ..."
"... There's a bit of bait 'n switch here. All this Davos/Deregulation/NeoLiberal whatever is a product of Republican -- right wing -- thinking. It first gained serious traction during the Reagan administration. The Democrats merely drifted into the vacuum formed by the Republican party lurching from Right/Center to Hard Right. Since then any drifting back has been subject to extreme criticism as 'socialism', 'communism' and the like. Now we're in the rather weird situation that the party of neoliberal economics is pushing the line that the Democrats are the party of entrenched money and they are the Party of the People. It beggars belief, especially when journalists take it up and run with it instead of calling the the BS that it is. ..."
"... I am so glad that the Russians are responsible for electing Trump. It would be awful to think that it was because Democrats had a really, really bad candidate in Hillary Clinton. It just could not be -- she was, after all -- the MOST QUALIFIED PERSON EVER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT, as we were instructed endlessly by Obama. Voters thought otherwise and their support for Trump was mainly to keep Hillary out, not to have a billionaire lunatic elected. But it would not matter since they all serve their master class bankers and war-makers. ..."
"... Republicans starting with Reagan made refusing to enforce financial laws they did not like a policy. It was continued under Bush43/Cheney on speed. Regulator of mortgage brokers refused to let state AGs (including Maine) move against fraudsters and refused to act himself. Chris Cox ignored the risky complex financial products that tanked our economy. ..."
"... Was Clinton an idiot to allow Rubin and Summers any where near financial market policy YES. Was Obama a bigger fool for bringing Summers into his admin- absolutely since he had already displayed financial incompetence at Harvard, YES. ..."
Jun 04, 2017 | profile.theguardian.com

Bogdanich -> lymans , 27 Apr 2017 16:06

The Glass Stegal repeal was passed under Clinton not Reagan.

Reagan did the Savings & Loan deregulation which led to the S&L bailout under G.W. Bush during which they prosecuted over 1,000 bank executives and got convictions including five sitting senators with four forced resignations.

After Clinton did the deregulation that led to the financial crisis and Obama prosecuted zero, let me say that again, zero, bank executives and provided $9 trillion in bailout liquidity.

Bogdanich , 27 Apr 2017 16:02
They can offer the illusion with the proper candidate but with the same congressmen and senators that currently hold the seats none of the substance.
Etienne LeCompte , 27 Apr 2017 15:15
Take Amtrak between Chicago and Washington DC and witness wreckage of heartland industry along a corridor 800 miles long. People still live there, forgotten. Bernie Sanders is not finished. Listen to him; and put yourself up for election locally, on a Park District board; or a Township position; as an Election Judge or for County or State office. And listen to your neighbors, who are suffering. Then do something about it. When I ran for State Representative, the Democratic Party sent me a highlighted map instead of a check for my campaign. The map showed "70% Republican" voting registration in my State Representative district. No Party cash for my campaign was forthcoming. The only way to change this Gerrymandering is to be on-hand in the State House following the next decennial census in 2020. It will be "too late" to do anything -- again -- unless "we" change the Party; and the Party changes the re-districting scam. Bernie Sanders is right about pitching in to re-shape and re-form the Democratic Party. The Party, as constructed, is passι... and as hollowed-out as the miles and miles of decrepit buildings with thousands of gaping, broken windows that lie between Chicago and DC. Go see the devastation for yourself. Then get serious about answers.
namjodh , 27 Apr 2017 14:05
Yep, the Dems would do well to drop the Russia/FBI swung the election thing and the all Red State inhabitants are poorly educated idiots mentality and concentrate on developing some policies that appeal to the majority of people.

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but Identity Politics has FAILED. The Dems are not going to cobble together some sort of Ruling Coalition out of Transgendered people and urban people of color. That's an insane strategy of hoping you will win national elections by appealing to 25% or less of the population of whom only half that number actually vote if you are lucky.

I'm not saying abandon those struggles. Under a just system those struggles will continue and prevail - the Constitution guarantees that unless you get dishonest justices on the Supreme Court - which seems more likely the more national elections you blow. Democrats need to stop worrying about narrow single issues like that and focus on developing a BROAD national strategy to appeal to the Majority of Americans.

So says the guy from Punjab who is NOT a poorly educated white person and who has voted Democrat since 1980.

martinusher , 27 Apr 2017 13:09
There's a bit of bait 'n switch here. All this Davos/Deregulation/NeoLiberal whatever is a product of Republican -- right wing -- thinking. It first gained serious traction during the Reagan administration. The Democrats merely drifted into the vacuum formed by the Republican party lurching from Right/Center to Hard Right. Since then any drifting back has been subject to extreme criticism as 'socialism', 'communism' and the like. Now we're in the rather weird situation that the party of neoliberal economics is pushing the line that the Democrats are the party of entrenched money and they are the Party of the People. It beggars belief, especially when journalists take it up and run with it instead of calling the the BS that it is.

The problem with the Rust Belt states is that they keep on electing Republican state governments. These fail to deliver on anything useful for working people -- they're more interested in entrenching their power by tweaking the elections -- but then people turn to the Federal government as if this is some kind of savior capable of turning around their fortunes overnight.

Anyway, don't take my word for it. Just keep electing those regressive state legislators (and keep drinking that tainted water....).

--
Claudius hureharehure , 27 Apr 2017 13:02
Great comment on the article, but I think even you have been kind in your criticism of it. I can only hope that the writer started out with the intention of saying that while the GOP and their rich and big business political patrons are responsible for the impoverishment of those in the article, the Democrats have missed out on messaging and on more specific policies that addresses those wrongs committed against a voting block they can own. Instead the entire piece is written as though the Democrats have earned the scorn and anger of these voters. One can argue the Democrats have failed to focus more on the plight of these voters, but they are NOT the cause of these voters' plight; and there is nothing in this piece to make that distinction or about the irony of why these same voters flock to a political party primarily responsible for what has happened to them. In fact consider this below from the article:

"Mention how the Democrats betrayed working people over the years, however, and the radio station's board immediately lights up with enthusiastic callers. "

Yes, that is right! The political anomaly that Trump is can be be explained by the successful exploitation of the improvised classes by media outlets that voice these voters' anger to acquire a capture audience and then lay the blame for what has happened to them on immigrants & liberals. You never hear anything on those outlets about the unholy triad of the GOP political class, big business and media outlets in their orbit. I don't need to drive through these flyover states to know they are hurting; and I don't need to sit down with them to know they are real human beings with a great deal in common with me or to know that despite their general decency they are full of misplaced anger and resentment.

CivilDiscussion , 27 Apr 2017 13:21
I am so glad that the Russians are responsible for electing Trump. It would be awful to think that it was because Democrats had a really, really bad candidate in Hillary Clinton. It just could not be -- she was, after all -- the MOST QUALIFIED PERSON EVER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT, as we were instructed endlessly by Obama. Voters thought otherwise and their support for Trump was mainly to keep Hillary out, not to have a billionaire lunatic elected. But it would not matter since they all serve their master class bankers and war-makers.
kmtominey1923 , 27 Apr 2017 13:01
Interesting he choices of examples for how liberals let the mid west down. Republican president Reagan deregulated S&Ls with predictable awful results. Republicans under Clinton (they controlled the Senate and house ) when Glass Steagsll was repealed. Republic Phil Gramm also rescinded the AntiBucket Shop Law which loosed the disaster of the naked CDS,

Republicans starting with Reagan made refusing to enforce financial laws they did not like a policy. It was continued under Bush43/Cheney on speed. Regulator of mortgage brokers refused to let state AGs (including Maine) move against fraudsters and refused to act himself. Chris Cox ignored the risky complex financial products that tanked our economy.

It was Republican Sen. Phil Gramm who said in hearings on CSPAN that these instruments of financial mass destruction (Warren Buffet's words) were too complicated to understand and therefore should not be regulated.

Republicans wanted to free up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy subprime even NINJA loans and made it so.

Was Clinton an idiot to allow Rubin and Summers any where near financial market policy YES. Was Obama a bigger fool for bringing Summers into his admin- absolutely since he had already displayed financial incompetence at Harvard, YES.

But, it is republicans who either drove the bad financial ideas or controlled them. Republicans who support IRS rules and their laws that promote off shoring jobs and stashing cash untaxed off shore.

Eisenhower, Goldwater, Ford, Bush41 - even Nixon - would not know these people.

zolotoy Atomic Girl , 27 Apr 2017 12:16
Oh, and as for the rest of the party and its defeats: A quick look at the numbers show that Democrats keep losing not because voters are switching to the Republican brand, but because they no longer bother to vote for Democrats who are just going to shiv them in the back with Republican economic policies.
JayThomas , 27 Apr 2017 12:16

Will they stand up to the money power?

You mean the people who pay $400,000 for a speech?

zolotoy Atomic Girl , 27 Apr 2017 12:15

But now liberals and the Democratic Party are to get the lion's share of the blame for everything?

As I've said on numerous occasions in the past: The reason Trump beat Hillary is the same reason Obama beat her in the 2008 primaries: Voters knew her and what she stood for -- and so were willing to take a chance on the other candidate.
joAnn chartier zolotoy , 27 Apr 2017 12:55
Thank you for the Abramson reminder -- as a retired journalist I know the importance of providing clear and accurate information to the general public. While Abramson and Frank and others are writing Opinion in the Guard and elsewhere, too many people do not understand positioning and propaganda. Media must make money to stay in business and often it is opinion writers/tv hosts etc that generate interest and coin to keep the words rolling and the money coming in.

It is especially ironic as wages are cut, jobs disappear, cost of living rises so fewer people can afford to subscribe or pay for actual news and information. Not to mention the political idiocy of reducing school funding so that the electorate knows nothing of history or how politics works.

Trump wants to take us back to Ronnie Reagan and Maggie Thatcher years that left us with trillion dollar deficits and decimation of the middle class that is now on the downward slide to actual poverty...

MightyBuccaneer , 27 Apr 2017 12:07
The People should really start to regularly book politicians for 400k speeches after they leave office.

The People should create an army of lobbyists that constantly meet and mingle with politicians in Washington to make their wishes known.

The People should up their campaign and Superpac spending.

The People should create a newspaper devoted to there interests that can rival the NYT and the WaPo.

Then, and only then, will there be populism, from any party.

Annabel1968 Jabr , 27 Apr 2017 12:05
No, it is a crap comment. From the neo-liberal 'pseudo science' that economics supposedly is (almost forgot to use the word neo-liberal, a must these days to make your point) , to the greed and the rapacity of the "one percenters".

Such a simple problem isn't it? Let's just go back in time rather than find more creative and up-to-date solution for the problems there are. Globalisation isn't going to go away, the world is too small a place. Globalisation has created problems for people, but many more people have benefitted from it.

Atomic Girl , 27 Apr 2017 11:33
"The wreckage that you see every day as you tour this part of the country is the utterly predictable fruit of the Democratic party's neoliberal turn. Every time our liberal leaders signed off on some lousy trade deal, figuring that working-class people had "nowhere else to go," they were making what happened last November a little more likely. "
---

As someone who's middle aged, I am getting sick and tired of this historical revisionist nonsense that all the country's woes and economic climate can be mostly pinned on the liberals and that somehow, it's something that they did wrong that is the reason why they "lost" constituents in the Midwest. Someone can peddle this nonsense over and over again with the smug belief that everyone on on the internet is too young to know whether what he's saying is true. But there are some of us "old folks" who are also on the internet and as an old folk, I have no issues calling out this article out for the nonsense that it is.

Everything that is going on now in terms of jobs can be 100% attributable to Reaganomics--period, end of. It's nothing to do with liberals. It's 100% to do with the devastating rippling effect that his neoliberal policies has had on the country since the 1980s, only made 100x worse by Republican pols who have been further carrying out his neoliberalist agenda to full effect for the past several decades.

It was under Reagan that the country began experiencing mass layoffs (euphemistically called "downsizing"). It was under Reagan that corporations began slashing benefits, cutting wages and closing up shop to ship thousands of jobs overseas. It was under Reagan that the middle class American dream died--aka, the expectation that if got a diploma, you could start working for a company full time straight out of college, work for decades with decent benefits and perks, save up enough money to buy a house and retire with a generous pension. Gone. All gone.

Remember the "Buy American" grassroots campaign? That started in the 1980s, precisely because under Reagan, the country had relied increasingly on imported goods at the expense of domestic manufacturing. Here's an actual article from 1989 that shows you that the roots of everything going on now started decades ago. It's actually a defeatist article telling people to *stop* wasting their time to get everyone to "Buy American" because it had become virtually impossible to buy American-made goods.

"Not Easy to 'Buy American'"
https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1243&dat=19891227&id=Bm8PAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HYcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2971,6271486

As for the idea that there's always been a staunchly"Democratic" following in the Midwest that has been "lost" because of something that the party is doing wrong and that this caused them to turn to populism? False. It may have been true a very long time ago that this constituency has been staunchly Democratic and not amenable to populism, but not recently. It has voted on populist platforms before. Remember "welfare queens?" Remember "Willie Horton?" Willie Horton, the black bogeyman, was the "bad hombres" of today.

In addition, this constituency has been increasingly voting against its best interests for decades since Reagan was voted into office. Why? Because demagogues like Rush Limbaugh and the large number of puppets at Rupert Murdoch's vast media empire have been selling them a bill of goods since the 1990s that the reason why they're becoming poorer is that liberals are giving all their "white" hard-earned money to shiftless, lazy blacks and immigrants and losing out to them because of affirmative action. In the famous words of South Park, "THEY TOOK R JERBS" and "IT'S ALL DUH LIBRUHL'S FAULTS!!"

This constituency has developed such a deep-seated hatred and loathing for liberals because of the demagogues at FOX or news radio that even when Michael Moore directly spoke to their plight in Roger and Me, they derided him as a typical Communist-loving, anti-Capitalist pinko. Because, you see, according to FOX demagogues, calling out rich corporate fatcats who also happen to be white is attacking white people, a form of class warfare and anti-Capitalist.

Given all that, for someone to try to paint a picture that this constituency would otherwise be embracing liberalism if not for the Democratic Party adopting an "ideology" is laughable. They were never going to win because anything short of ranting, "They took r jerbs" and "Damned brown people on welfare and illegals stealing taking all our money" was going to cost them the election.

Bottom line, the Midwest was never the liberals' or Democratic Party's constituency to lose, and Reagan is behind all of the economic devastation that the region is experiencing. Anyone else trying to say otherwise is just using spin and historical revisionism.

zolotoy Joel Marcuson , 27 Apr 2017 11:28
That's exactly what America needs -- another neocon/neolib, just like Macron! As if Obama and the Clintons hadn't been neocon/neolib enough! Reply Share
fan143 , 27 Apr 2017 11:28
Frank is right that the white working class in the Midwestern states have been the swing votes for presidential elections since the Reagan election of 1984, when the white Democratic South became more fully the white Republican South. But he is wrong in not recognizing that the Democratic Party has three major constituents and it needs all of them to win elections and to do the progressive things while in office that would help people like those in the Midwest. Democrats need the votes of the white working class, but also of race/ethnic minorities, and the "new class" professionals and others. The problem is that these groups have been fighting with each other since the 1960s, continually undermining the chances for Democrats to win. In the period of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, students and professionals joined with race and ethnic minorities to challenge the influence of the unionists, big city mayors, and white working class in the Democratic Party, which is what gave us Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushes. Through this period, predictably, more white working class people either stopped voting or moved to the Republican Party. In the 2016 election, with the Bernie Sanders influence, students and professionals began to attack the influence of race and ethnic minorities (and women?) in the Democratic Party, ostensibly in support of the white working class over "identity politics," with the result that we got Trump. Globalization is a difficult and complex issue, but the reality is that since the 1970s the U.S. economy has not been able to prosper, nor the working class jobs that it requires, by selling things only in the U.S. We have to be in global markets and integrated with other economies around the world and that requires trade deals that balance our interests against those of other countries. This has generated winners and losers in the economy, and it will continue to do so. While it may not be possible to bring back the same kinds of jobs that pay a middle class wage for those with not much education, it should be possible to create new jobs that pay a middle class wage and to invest in education and skill development, infrastructure, and a welfare state that sustains people through periods of disruption and transformation. The Republican Party and the New Right that took it over are fighting to the death to undermine what is left of the social safety net to force people to take whatever jobs are available at exploitative wages, and they have been successful exploiting anti-government sentiment by using racial animosity and more recently anti-immigrant hysteria. The right has been successful because those on the left who should support the Democratic Party and then fight for more progressive policies within it just keep fighting each other and in the last election delivered Trump by voting third party (along with gutting of the Voting Rights Act, voter suppression, Russian influences that helped Sanders and vilified Hillary Clinton, the rogue FBI, Citizens United, and so on). The only option for the left in a two party system is to support the Democratic Party. Staying home or voting third party is a vote for your worst enemy. France is experiencing the same thing, with the left candidate refusing to support the more centrist candidate against Le Pen. We all need to learn how to form coalitions and to keep our focus on winning elections, not winning ideological battles.
zolotoy ehmaybe , 27 Apr 2017 11:26
Umm, the real goals of labor unions have been beach houses and new SUVs for labor leadership. Unions have been adept at screwing over their memberships since at least the 1970s -- no wonder they keep supporting anti-union Dims.
MonotonousLanguor Jared Hall , 27 Apr 2017 10:51
Maddow has to defend the Corporate Democratic Establishment any way she can. Maddow to my knowledge has never mentioned:

Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, has confirmed that it hired the consultancy of Tony Podesta, the elder brother of John Podesta who chaired Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, for lobbying its interests in the United States.

The two Russian banks spent more than $700,000 in 2016 on Washington lobbyists as they sought to end the U.S. sanctions, according to Senate lobbying disclosure forms and documents filed with the Department of Justice. The Podesta Group charged Sberbank $20,000 per month, plus expenses, on a contract from March through September 2016.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-09/russias-largest-bank-confirms-hiring-podesta-group-lobby-ending-sanctions

[Jun 08, 2017] US legal imperialism

Jun 08, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com
, johnbig , 17 Nov 2016 09:56
At the very time when American legal imperialism is gaining in strength and imposing its rules and its dues on our companies, this decline in public justice is an aberration.

This is a very important point and follows the US imposing fines on many foreign (to the US) banks for infringing boycotts decided purely by the USA. At this moment the full treaty with Iran is not being applied because firms outside the US are frightened to engage with Iran under a threat of retribution by the USA. One of the reasons for this state of affairs is the use of the Dollar as a reserve currency. It is time that the importance of other currencies was recognised in international trade I am thinking of the Euro and the Chinese Yuan.

[Jun 08, 2017] The Qatar spat exposes Britains game of thrones in the Gulf by Paul Mason

Notable quotes:
"... Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf monarchies, organised in the so called Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) , have a long history of backing the spread of Sunni Islamist ideology outside the region. Not just in Britain, but, for example, even in places such as rural Nigeria, where I've seen Gulf oil money used to incentivise Christians to convert, fuelling the religious conflict there. ..."
"... Saudi Arabia is meanwhile prosecuting a war on Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, using more than £3bn worth of British kit sold to it since the bombing campaign began. In return, it has lavished gifts on Theresa May's ministers: Philip Hammond got a watch worth £1,950 when he visited in 2015 . In turn, Tory advisers are picking up lucrative consultancy work with the Saudi government. ..."
"... However, Salman has also escalated the Yemen war and escalated tensions with Iran – most notably by executing a prominent Shia cleric and 46 other opponents last year. ..."
Jun 05, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

This clash between Britain's allies in the so-called war on terror matters. If Corbyn is prime minister on Friday, there will be a break with the appeasement of jihadi-funding autocrats

Great. Just what we need. Our self-styled key ally in the so-called war on terror – Saudi Arabia – just closed the airspace, land and sea borders with our other ally, Qatar , accusing it of supporting Isis. What's that about?

Well, like almost everything in the region, it is about the strategic duplicity of the West, exacerbated by the childlike idiocy of the US president. Does it matter for Brits – other than those stuck at airports in the Gulf, or policy wonks obsessed with Middle Eastern conflicts?

It matters on every street in Britain.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf monarchies, organised in the so called Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) , have a long history of backing the spread of Sunni Islamist ideology outside the region. Not just in Britain, but, for example, even in places such as rural Nigeria, where I've seen Gulf oil money used to incentivise Christians to convert, fuelling the religious conflict there.

But the Qataris have always punched above their weight in regional affairs, and displayed a more intelligent grasp on the strategic, demographic and cultural changes sweeping the Arab world.

It was the Qataris who set up Al Jazeera, as a counterweight to the reactionary state media across the middle east, and to challenge the US media's right to set the global narrative about the Islamic world.

Qatar supported the short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt and still supports and shelters the leaders of the Hamas government in Gaza . In Syria, Qatar spent up to $3bn (£2.3bn) in the first two years of the civil war bankrolling the rebels – allegedly including the al-Qaida-linked group al-Nusra Front.

The Saudis, too, bankrolled Islamist rebels , and both sides claim never to have bankrolled Isis. So what is really at stake?

The issue torturing the Saudi monarchy is Iran. Obama made peace with Iran in 2015, in the face of Saudi and Israeli opposition. Qatar is diplomatically closer to Iran. It has also supported (outside Qatar) the spread of political Islam – that is, of parties prepared to operate within nominally democratic institutions.

The Saudis' strategic aim, by contrast, is to end the peace deal with Iran and to stifle the emergence of political Islam full stop.

Last month, Donald Trump took himself to Riyadh to - participate in a sword dance and glad hand the Saudi royals. And that is where the trouble escalated.

Qatar's ruler had been reported by his own state media as warning against the escalating confrontation with Iran: "Iran represents a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored and it is unwise to face up against it," said a TV tickertape quoting the Emir.

When these comments caused outrage in Riyadh , the Qataris withdrew them, claiming they had been "hacked" .

But Trump's visit poured ethanol on to the simmering conflict. Few observers see today's move as anything other than the Saudis acting with state department backing. One Iranian official tweeted the spat was "the prelimary result of the sword dance".

Saudi Arabia is meanwhile prosecuting a war on Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, using more than £3bn worth of British kit sold to it since the bombing campaign began. In return, it has lavished gifts on Theresa May's ministers: Philip Hammond got a watch worth £1,950 when he visited in 2015 . In turn, Tory advisers are picking up lucrative consultancy work with the Saudi government.

The problem remains Saudi culpability – past and present – for funding islamist terrorism. After September 11, the Saudi monarchy did begin to crack down on islamist terrorism domestically, criminalising terrorist finance. But, as a US cable released by Wikileaks shows , even as late as 2009, that "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide".

Since the coronation of King Salman in January 2015, there has been a programme of economic modernisation and political reforms the monarchy has tried to sell as liberalisation.

However, Salman has also escalated the Yemen war and escalated tensions with Iran – most notably by executing a prominent Shia cleric and 46 other opponents last year.

In Britain, when the Lib Dems in the Coalition supported airstrikes against Isis, the price they extracted was for Cameron to launch an inquiry into foreign funding of terrorism. Eighteen months on, it remains suppressed . As with the infamous Serious Fraud Office investigation into corruption at BAE , it is being buried because it would expose the past misdemeanours of the the Saudis.

We do not know why Britain has suddenly become the target for a jihadi terror surge: five foiled attempts and three gruesomely successful ones in 70 days.

One possible explanation is that, with the increased tempo of fighting in Mosul and towards Raqqa, it is becoming clear to the thousands of jihadi fantasists sitting in bedrooms across Europe, that their "caliphate" will soon be over.

If so, the question arises: a) what will replace it on the ground and b) how to deal with the survivors as they fan out to do damage here?

In both cases, it is vital that the Gulf monarchies funding the Syrian resistance are on board with the solution. And, as of today, two of the key players are waging economic war and a bitter rhetorical fight with each other.

As for the wider world, it is Iran that emerges as the tactical victor in today's spat. Trump flew to Riyadh and the result was air transport chaos across the Gulf. Iran had an election and the moderates won.

But there is good news. If Jeremy Corbyn is prime minister on Friday, Britain's game of thrones in the Gulf will end. The foreign policy he outlined at Chatham House represents a complete break with the appeasement of terror-funding Saudi autocrats. The strategic defence review he has promised would unlikely keep funding the Royal Navy base in Bahrain.

Britain cannot solve the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. But it can stop making it worse. Last December, Boris Johnson inadvertently had a go. He named the Yemen conflict as a proxy war; accusing both the Saudis and Iran of "puppeteering". He was quickly slapped down.

Only a Labour government will stop appeasing the Saudi monarchy and reset the relationship to match Britain's strategic interest – not the interest of Britain's arms dealers and PR consultants.

[Jun 04, 2017] beccabunny09

Jun 04, 2017 | profile.theguardian.com
TheCubanGentlemen , 27 Apr 2017 10:42 Sorry Mr. Cuban but Barney has a point. Sympathy for criminals? How about a system that extracts wealth by taking family members that have made a mistake hostage. Private prisons are incredibly corrupt. They pay their guards $7 an hour, barely train them and then throw them into a hellhole of starved and abused prisoners, prisoners who's families are charged $2-5 a MINUTE to talk to them! Prisoners who are charged for laundry, for new underwear, for sanitary napkins, for extra food anything they can, they charge them for, all to meet a higher quarterly profit. If they work, prisoners get only .25 an hour! Menawhile, the items they make get a proud MADE IN AMERICA sticker and sold at a premium netting the company MORE money. This is a direct threat to DEMOCRACY! Why not contract our work to prisons with no liability and infinitesimal wages to lower costs. Gee, doesn't that sounds like a threat to low skilled workers?! Everything matters because EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED!!! -- , iamwhiskerbiscuit Ramus , 27 Apr 2017 09:35
Very little differences between neoncons and neoliberals these days. They're both in Goldman Saacs corner, they both support war even when they claim otherwise during their election... Both laugh at the idea of emulating countries that offer free Healthcare, free college, higher minimum wage and lower cost of living. Bush tax policy = Obama tax policy. Bush stance on war = Obama stance on war. Whats the difference? Abortion and gun rights. That's pretty much all thats different. Pro militarist, world police, globalists who favor a regressive tax system. Don't like it? Don't vote... You have no say in this debate.
, Hmpstdhth , 27 Apr 2017 09:17
Yes, the Democratic Party are essentially corporate shills who talk pretty to the poor and oppressed and then serve their corporate masters. But that isn't why people voted against them. That would be assuming some sort of political sophistication among the masses. It is rather, IMHO, the corporate owned media in the form of AM radio, cable and local news outlets, and most local newspapers who either report on nothing that might change the status quo or are actual propaganda outlets for the ultra right. The fact that Fox news and right wing radio is the background music of mid America, should not be discounted. And secondly, the seizure of nearly all of the church pulpits by the 'religious' right. People vote the way their pastor tells them to vote. This isn't rocket science. When there is a coup, the first order of business has always been to seize the radio and TV stations. Bernie who ?

--

, Monesque , 27 Apr 2017 09:09
In a close election, there is something of everything. But this concept that the election turned on these displaced workers is hilarious. In truth, we've been talking about things like this since the 70s or before. Why now? Because now, a wave of xenophobia and racism swept the world and that was the wave Trump rode to office. Many of his so-called displaced workers overlap with those groups. Add the religious evangelicals. That's how Trump won... take away the evangelicals, take away the racists, take away the xenophobes, take away the screaming about the Mexican this, the Muslims that, the Syrians, the pandering to far-right groups who in the past were considered the underbelly of the country..and Trump doesn't have a chance. This is a man with Mike Pence as vice president. This is a man who brings people like Steve Bannon into the administration. That's how he won and that's how he remains popular with his base. The rest is an illusion
, iamwhiskerbiscuit , 27 Apr 2017 09:00
What happens to those good old days when a job could support an entire family? Reagan happened. Massive tax cuts for the wealthy, building up our military 10 times as big as the next largest military, deregulating banks and brokerage... Then Clinton continued to deregulate further. Then Bush brought about more tax cuts for the rich and Obama kept his tax policy on place. In 68, a minimum wage worker with 3 kids fell 500 dollars above the poverty line. (5,000 in today's money). Today, a minimum wage worker with 3 kids falls 10,000 below the poverty line. And the neocon/neoliberal answer to that is women must work, single people need roommates and the wealthy need tax relief. What a load of crap.
, Ramus , 27 Apr 2017 08:57
The Democratic Party is still owned and operated by the Wall Street, fossil fuel and war interests. The fact that the DNC installed Tom Perez, who is not inspired by the idea of health care as a human right, is telling. The DNC is the enemy of lower-middle class working (or non-working) people. The DNC nominated the candidate least likely to win over Trump. The Democrats need to send their bank/war/oil candidates to the Republicans. We need a whole new truly progressive party..but since our governement has been sold to the highest bidder, it make take some unpleasantness in the streets to achieve power over the special interests. And EVERYONE must vote EVERY TIME.
, soundofthesuburbs , 27 Apr 2017 08:55
The problem is US elites, who are only exceptional in their stupidity.

"Income inequality is not killing capitalism in the United States, but rent-seekers like the banking and the health-care sectors just might" Nobel-winning economist Angus Deaton

The exceptionally stupid US elite are going for the easy money and destroying their nation.

Its elites are always rigging stuff in their favour and forgetting the reality they have hidden.

There is a huge difference between wealth creation and wealth extraction, but today we have no idea of even the concept of wealth extraction.

Well, one of our 21st Century Nobel prize winning economists, Angus Deaton, has just remembered the problem.

The Classical Economists of the 19th Century were only too aware of the two sides of capitalism, the productive side where wealth creation takes place and the parasitic side where wealth extraction takes place.

The US was a key player in developing neoclassical economics and it's what we use today.

It looks after the interests of the old money, idle rich rentiers.

The distinction between "earned" income (wealth creation) and "unearned" income (wealth extraction) disappears and the once separate areas of "capital" and "land" are conflated. The old money, idle rich rentiers are now just productive members of society and not parasites riding on the back of other people's hard work.

It happens at the end of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, but doesn't blow up until the 21st century when the exceptionally stupid US elite have forgotten what they have done.

Monetary theory has been regressing for the last one hundred years.

Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory

" banks make their profits by taking in deposits and lending the funds out at a higher rate of interest" Paul Krugman, 2015.

One of today's Nobel Prize winning economists spouting today's nonsense.

Progress in monetary theory has been in the reverse direction, leading to many of today's problems.

There was massive debt and money creation in the US leading up to the 2008 bust:

http://www.whichwayhome.com/skin/frontend/default/wwgcomcatalogarticles/images/articles/whichwayhomes/US-money-supply.jpg

The fools forgot the reality they hid.

Get back to the Classical Economists to learn how you tax "unearned" income to provide subsidized housing, healthcare, education and other services to provide a low cost economy whose workforce isn't priced out of the global market place.

When you understand money you can see in the money supply when Wall Street is getting really stupid and about to blow up the economy.

, BarneyDee , 27 Apr 2017 08:45
Throughout history, the "people" were ruled by the powerful even if the powerful were idiots, thieves, rapists and murderers. Times have changed. People don't accept that anymore. But if Democrats have made a blanket error it was in assuming that everyone sees the world as they do, and in assuming that everyone is a rational being committed to the ideals of a republic. Clearly that is not the case. And the "people" want leaders, not pals. They want security. Democrats need a person who combines the guile of a Machiavelli with the smarts of an Obama and the steel fist of a Cromwell. Thing is, under such conditions, it's doubtful if the "people" are governable anymore, in the sense of making decisions based on reality as opposed to a combination of superstition, myth, and misinformation. Oh, and vanity is an important factor: ask Susan Sarandon and her proxy vote for Trump--she voted for Stein.
, marshwren Martyn Richard Jones , 27 Apr 2017 08:20
It was the DLC ("Democrats Led by Clintons") that brought the DP to its current condition of self-satisfied atrophy and irrelevance by embracing Davos "meritocracy" and neo-liberal economics combined with neo-conservative foreign policy for the past 30 years. They sealed their fate by turning the Party (DNC, DSCC, DCCC, DGA, most state committees) into stale and pale imitations of Reagan's GOP; and Party 'leaders' are far too comfortable with their own sense of entitlement to power and wealth to understand either the fallacies of their tunnel vision, or the consequences (like electing Trump and keeping the GOP in control of Congress and most states) of their blinkered myopia.
The only hope for the DP is to let the genuine 'progressives' (aka the socialist/green 'left') take over management of the political apparatus because what passes for 'liberalism' these days is no longer an electoral/policy option, at least as far as the electorate is concerned. And all the early indications are that the from the DNC down the Party establishment is more concerned about stamping out the Bernie Bro and Ho heresies than defeating Republicans.
, greenwichite , 27 Apr 2017 06:44
Our politicians have been brainwashed by neoliberal economists.

These economists produce models that factor-in all the upsides to globalisation, but fail to model any of the crippling, expensive-to-treat consequences of shutting down entire towns in places like Michigan or Lancashire.

They assume people live frictionless lives; that when the European ship-building industry moves to Poland, riveters in Portsmouth can just up-sticks and move to Gdansk with no problem. They encourage a narrative that implies such an English riveter are lazy if he fails to seize this opportunity.

(Let's drop a few economists in Gdansk with £100 in their pockets, and see how their families do.)

Economics is a corrupt pseudo-science that gives a pseudo-scientific justification for the greed and rapacity of One Percenters. Its methodological flaws are glaring. It's time economists went back to the social science faculty, where they belong.

[Jun 04, 2017] 'Give them a pill': Putin accuses US of hysteria over election hacking inquiry by Alec Luhn

Notable quotes:
"... Russian officials meeting with members of Trump's team during the campaign and transition, Putin declared they had just shared "general words about building relations" and that allegations of collusion were "some kind of hysteria, and you guys just can't stop". ..."
Jun 02, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
Vladimir Putin: allegations of Russian interference in the US is 'hysteria'
Vladimir Putin

Russian president calls allegations of interference in US presidential election 'useless and harmful chatter' at St Petersburg economic forum Share on Facebook Close

Vladimir Putin has said the US needs to stop the "useless and harmful chatter" about Russian interference in the presidential election, arguing that - Donald Trump 's electoral strategy was entirely responsible for his victory.

Speaking at the St Petersburg economic forum, Putin claimed there was no concrete evidence for US intelligence agencies' allegations of Russian hacking , and said cyber specialists "can make anything up and blame anyone".

The Russian president added that this "attempt to solve internal political issues using instruments of foreign policy" was damaging international relations.

"The problem is not here, the problem is within American politics. Trump's team was more effective in the electoral campaign," Putin told the event's moderator, the US television presenter Megyn Kelly.

"In all honesty, I myself sometimes thought that the guy was going too far, but it turned out he was right: he found an approach to those groups of the population and those groups of voters he counted on, and they came and voted for him," Putin said.

Hillary Clinton's campaign team was blaming the Russians rather than admitting its own mistakes, he said.

"It's easier to say we are not guilty, the Russians are guilty It reminds me of antisemitism: the Jews are guilty of everything," Putin said at the end of his comments, which drew titters from the audience.

"If the information about the Democratic party favouring Clinton was true, is it really important who leaked it?" he asked, echoing his previous statements on Russian hacking.

... ... ...

-- Russian officials meeting with members of Trump's team during the campaign and transition, Putin declared they had just shared "general words about building relations" and that allegations of collusion were "some kind of hysteria, and you guys just can't stop".

"Do we need to give you a pill? Does anyone have a pill? Give them a pill, really, honestly. It's surprising," he said, raising a laugh even out of the impassive Indian PM, Narendra Modi, who was seated next to him.

Austria's chancellor, Christian Kern, and Moldova's president, Igor Dodon, also took part in the discussion.

Besides praising Trump's electoral campaign, Putin refused to condemn the US president's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord , making light of the issue and questioning whether the countries of the world were really "in a position to halt climate change".

"Somehow we here aren't feeling that the temperature is really rising, but we should be thankful to President Trump. There was snow in Moscow today; [in St Petersburg], it's rainy and cold – now we can blame all this on him and American imperialism," Putin joked.

Putin told Kelly, in English, "Don't worry, be happy," assuring her that the agreement would take effect in 2021, so there was still "plenty of time to reach an agreement".

It wasn't clear what he was referring to in this comment, since the accord took effect in November 2016.

One area where Putin was critical of Trump's policy was regarding the US president's demand that Nato members raise their military spending to 2% of GDP.

"If they aren't planning to attack anyone, then why increase spending? That of course worries us," Putin said.