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The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment, 2017

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[Dec 30, 2017] On Luke Harding interview, give the guy who exposed him some credit if you have Twitter

Dec 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Dec 28, 2017 2:49:47 PM | 1

Finally an opportunity comes to offer B and MoA commenters a nice little Christmas present, courtesy of ZeroHedge who have in the past reposted some of B's articles on their site.

True, ZH reposted this priceless gift from Caitlin Johnstone's own site but she seems to have given her permission for the reposting.

Why priceless? - well who doesn't want to see the ever smug Luke Harding and his idiotic and baseless arguments about Russian intrigue and inteference in US and European politics taken down in a well-deserved thrashing by Aaron Mate?

Priceless to read the transcript and priceless to watch.

What Happens When A Russiagate Skeptic Debates A Professional Russiagater

Anonynmous , Dec 29, 2017 6:16:02 AM | 34
Jen / 1

Luke Harding gets exposed for the fraud he really is and in such a way then!
If b has time I think he should make a post just about that interview/harding because he seems to fool alot of people with these claims he is making.

Anonynmous , Dec 29, 2017 11:03:36 AM | 46
Re: On Luke Harding interview, give the guy who exposed him some credit if you have Twitter,
https://twitter.com/aaronjmate

Its is people like him, b etc that makes the big work these days researching and exposing the corruption of this world.

Tony_0pmoc , Dec 29, 2017 12:31:06 PM | 50
Anonymous @ 46

I did watch the Luke Harding interview, largely as a result of Caitlin Johnstone, who I have enormous respect for. However, I do not do Twitter. Incidentally, Julian Assange of all people, brilliantly exposed Luke Harding (and the Guardian) in 2015. You can smell the sense of betrayal.

http://www.newsweek.com/assange-how-guardian-milked-edward-snowdens-story-323480

[Dec 29, 2017] Luke Harding on Trump, Russia, and 'Collusion' The Nation

So nations participates in the witch hunt, because they do not like Trump. Nice... The level of degradation of the remnants of US left is simply incredible.
And they cite "intelligence community conclusion" (a group of hacks personally selected by Brennan for hactchet job which, as we now know, included Peter Strzok)
And then Harding talks about Watergate he might be right: it might well be that CIA setup Nixon to remove him from the office. See Watergate Was A Setup - Business Insider, Why the CIA targeted Nixon for removal from office in 1972 - Watergate - The Education Forum and Did you know that Richard Nixon was set up in Watergate Yahoo Answers
Notable quotes:
"... Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win ..."
"... Couple that with the intelligence community's conclusions about Russia's active-measures campaign, and the fact that, as both a candidate and as president, Trump has consistently staked out positions that perfectly align with Moscow's, and it's clear that this is all far from a partisan "witch hunt." ..."
"... I think this is a huge story. Without wanting to come across as hyperbolic, I think it's bigger than Watergate because this isn't one set of Americans doing dirty tricks to another set of Americans, as was the case back in the '70s. This is one set of Americans basically contracting with a powerful foreign power to help it cripple an opponent, Hillary Clinton. The stakes are much larger. ..."
Dec 11, 2017 | www.thenation.com

[Dec 29, 2017] Luke Harding : the hack who came in from the cold by BlackCatte

Notable quotes:
"... Well, they didn't renew his accreditation, which is the same thing. They pretended it was because he didn't have the right paperwork for an extended visa and offered him a short extension so his kids could finish up at school. But Luke knew it was actually a Soviet-style expulsion. Because Luke can always see the real game when most of us just can't. ..."
"... He demanded to know if President Medvedev had been told – personally – that Luke was going home. The person in the press department he was speaking to just sort of looked at him and didn't say anything. Luke was pretty sure he worked for the FSB. So he went home, got on the lecture circuit and wrote a book all about his terrible experiences in Vladimir Putin's neo-Stalinist hell. ..."
"... Is Luke Harding: "the reporter Russia hated" an "enemy of Putin" a borderline psychotic paranoiac, whose narcissistic delusions have been deliberately encouraged and exploited by an intelligentsia that will use any old crap it can find to further its agenda a bit of a tosser ..."
"... Luke Harding is indeed a piss-poor journalist. He is one of the reasons I gave up on the Grauniad after 20 years; and I persuaded my siblings to look farther afield for real news. Such an irrational man, unless of course you assume that he is not a hack but a low-level CIA stooge. ..."
"... Being serious for a change, one has to ask: if Luke Harding is so lousy as a journalist, and The Guardian had to pay some compensation to The eXile for plagiarising Mark Ames and another guy's work, why didn't the paper send Harding back to journalism school to do an ethics course, as The Independent had to do with Johann Hari when he was caught plagiarising other work? Or why didn't The Guardian get rid of Harding? ..."
"... Is LDH with The Guardian for the same reason that American news media like The New York Times and The Washington Post among others always had someone in their offices who couldn't spell or write to save their own lives, much less others' lives, but who rose up the ranks quickly nevertheless – because they were really working for the CIA? ..."
"... In terms of honesty and journalistic integrity when it comes to geopolitics, he is simply the worst journalist I've ever had the misfortune to read. When the whole Ukraine thing started and the Guardian thought all their readers were insular and stupid, they had our hero writing a whole slew of anti-Russia articles .alongside opening their comments section. Bad "mistake" on their part. ..."
"... Luke saw Russian tanks cross the border into Ukraine despite being 26 miles from the border crossing with a Russian aid convoy ..."
"... Actually it was that other bastion of serous journalism Shaun Walker who saw the invisible invasion. Luke would be too scared of getting zapped by mind rays to get that close to a Russian tank. ..."
Sep 09, 2015 | off-guardian.org

Luke Daniel Harding (born 1968) studied English at University College, Oxford. While there he edited the student newspaper Cherwell . He worked for The Sunday Correspondent , the Evening Argus in Brighton and then the Daily Mail before joining The Guardian in 1996. He was the Guardian's Russia correspondent from 2007-11.

Aside from his more publicly known achievements, it's worth noting Harding was accused of plagiarism by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine of the eXile for publishing an article under his own name that lifted large passages almost verbatim from their work. The Guardian allegedly redacted portions of Harding's article in response to these accusations.

According to his own testimony , Luke Harding is the guy who realised he was in the siloviki cross hairs one day when, during his stay in Moscow as the Guardian's bureau chief, he came home and found one of his bedroom windows open.

A less situationally-aware person would have made the fatal mistake of thinking one of his kids or his wife had done it, or he'd done it himself and just forgotten, or that his landlord had popped in to air the rooms (a bit of a tendency in Russia apparently). But Luke was sure none of his family had opened the window. So it had to have been the FSB.

You see, Luke isn't confined as we are by the constraints of petty mundanity. That was why it had been so clear to him, even without any evidence , that the FSB had murdered Litvinenko. And that was why Luke took one look at that open window and realised the entire Russian intelligence machine was out to get him .

The dark symbolism of the open window in the children's bedroom was not hard to decipher: take care, or your kids might just fall out. The men – I assume it was men – had vanished like ghosts.

And that was only the start of the vicious campaign that was to follow. Tapes were left in his cassette deck, when he knew he hadn't put them there. An alarm clock went off when he knew he hadn't set it. Luke was filled with " a feeling of horror, alarm, incredulity, bafflement and a kind of cold rational rage."

Things developed rapidly. Luke went to visit a woman called Olga who warned him to take care, because he was "an enemy of Putin." He was sure someone had hacked his email account. Whenever he said the name "Berezovsky" his phone line would go dead, so he started using the word "banana" instead. A person from the Russian president's office called and asked for his mobile number. Unable to imagine a single good reason why a Russian government official would need a cell phone number for the Guardian's Russia bureau chief, he refused.

That wily Putin wasn't going to catch him that easily. The game of cat and mouse had begun.

A middle-aged woman with a bad haircut knocked at his door at 7am, and walked away when he opened it. Had she just gone to the wrong door? Of course not, it was the FSB taunting him. At the airport on his way back to London a man with a Russian accent (in Moscow!) tapped him on the back and told him there was something wrong with his jacket. Noticing the man was wearing a leather coat, which meant he must be from the KGB, Luke immediately rushed to the gents and took off all his clothes to find the "bugging device" the man had planted on him. He didn't find one, but that didn't mean it wasn't there.

When the Russian government launched its prosecution of Berezovsky for fraud, someone from the FSB phoned Luke and asked him to come in and make a statement about the interview he'd conducted with the man a short time before. They also advised him to bring a lawyer, which seemed sinister to Luke. A man called Kuzmin interviewed him for 55 minutes. Luke got quite thirsty, but wouldn't drink the fizzy water he was offered, because he was pretty sure it had been tampered with. Surprisingly Kuzmin didn't interrogate him as expected, but Luke decided this was because the FSB were trying to intimidate him. They probably didn't need to do an interrogation, thought Luke, since they'd been breaking in to his flat almost every day for like – ever , switching on his alarm clock and probably also bugging his phone.

After the western-backed Georgian invasion of South Ossetia Luke was amazed to note there was widespread antagonism toward western journalists in Moscow. And the FSB just would not leave him alone. Worried by this "campaign of brutishness" he decided to keep a log of the dreadful things they were doing. Reading this we find not only did they continue to regularly open his windows, they once turned off his central heating, made phantom ringing sounds happen in the middle of the night (Luke couldn't find where they were coming from), deleted a screen saver from his computer and left a book by his bed about getting better orgasms.

All this would have broken a lesser man. But Luke didn't break. Maybe that's why in the end, they knew they'd have to expel him like in the old Soviet days. Which is what they did. Well, they didn't renew his accreditation, which is the same thing. They pretended it was because he didn't have the right paperwork for an extended visa and offered him a short extension so his kids could finish up at school. But Luke knew it was actually a Soviet-style expulsion. Because Luke can always see the real game when most of us just can't.

He demanded to know if President Medvedev had been told – personally – that Luke was going home. The person in the press department he was speaking to just sort of looked at him and didn't say anything. Luke was pretty sure he worked for the FSB. So he went home, got on the lecture circuit and wrote a book all about his terrible experiences in Vladimir Putin's neo-Stalinist hell. But just when he thought all his espionage problems were over, they started up again when he began his book about Edward Snowden.

This time it was the NSA, GCHQ and a host of other western agencies stalking him. The PTB obviously realised that Luke's book would be much much more of a threat to national security than even Snowden himself, and did everything they could to try to stop him writing it. They followed him around (he knew they were agents because they had iPhones) and even used spy technology to remote-delete sentences from his computer – while he was typing them. Especially when he was writing mean things about the NSA. But after he typed "I don't mind you reading my manuscript but I'd be grateful if you don't delete it", they realised they'd met their match and stopped.

He wasn't sure if the culprits were NSA, GCHQ or a Russian hacker, but one thing it definitely wasn't was a glitchy keyboard.

I mean that would just be stupid.

NOTE: In case any of our readers are (understandably) inclined to think we must be making this up or exaggerating, we encourage them to read about it here and here in Luke's own words. You'll find we have merely summarised them.

Yes, he really does believe everything attributed to him in this article. He really does think the FSB were opening his windows. And he really did run to the public toilet and take all his clothes off because a man tapped him on the back in an airport.

We also recommend you take in this opinion piece by Julian Assange, and this one by a Brit ex-pat in Moscow.

After that feel free to complete the following questionnaire:

Is Luke Harding: "the reporter Russia hated" an "enemy of Putin" a borderline psychotic paranoiac, whose narcissistic delusions have been deliberately encouraged and exploited by an intelligentsia that will use any old crap it can find to further its agenda a bit of a tosser

Comments

PaulC says December 28, 2017

Luke Harding is indeed a piss-poor journalist. He is one of the reasons I gave up on the Grauniad after 20 years; and I persuaded my siblings to look farther afield for real news. Such an irrational man, unless of course you assume that he is not a hack but a low-level CIA stooge.
London Grad says December 28, 2017
The force once again fails to materialise for Luke as TheRealNews Aaron Maté sends him scurrying back to his conspiracy theories safespace during this brutal interview on Luke's latest fictional release titled "Collusion".

http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20761:Debate:-Where%27s-the-%27Collusion#pop1

Even the Soros-Worshipper cargo cultists running the Guardian must surely realise by now that Luke's becoming a liability.

https://twitter.com/jeremyscahill/status/945324064494714881

Alfred Nassim says October 9, 2016
Luke Harding's article on Grozny and Chechnya is a classic of the sour grapes variety. "The once war-torn country has been transformed, but change has come at a price" https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/22/russia To the best of my knowledge, Chechnya is still enjoying its peace and prosperity – totally unsupportable.
Flinx says August 13, 2016
You have to remember that without old Luke we'd not have as much fun reading pages like this!!! That's likely the only positive outcome of what he writes but a very important one.

In this 'insane asylum' light relief coupled with 'some decent perspectives' is a god send. For those that like this page / the humour you might like this site: http://ckm3.blogspot.co.uk/

Francis says September 11, 2015
So, the time has come. Surrounded by the KGB (they no longer exist Ed) Surrounded by the KGB (they no longer exist!! Ed) i, Luke Harding pen this my last will and testament. For though the end has come, (Hurrah! Ed) my enemies made one final mistake, by thinking they could take me alive. They left me the Book, the noble karma sutra

No Walter Mitty I, I carry no arsenic pills about me for such a mournful deed as this. No, I, a writer, a cavalier of the epistolary kind, shall use The Book they left me on my bedside table, the noble Kama sutra. And now, gently removing the cellophane – to my children I bequeath my writing talent, to Pussy Minor disturbance (here he seems to be attempting to outwit the KGB Ed.) my gift for self promotion, and to my wife, Phoebe, my greatest possession, my reputation. And now, gently removing the cellophane, (you see, phoebe, your bootless cries at bedtime fell not on deaf ears, I will use it once, as I promised) and turning the page, I see the very position with which to foil my enemies (who must almost be upon me, for I heard the catflap flap) – "Chicken Butter pasanda, also known as the headless chicken". (How ironic, Ed.) Like the chicken, my head also shall be hidden from view. Here goes! England, though I never knew you (very true, Ed) perhaps you will vouchsafe me a place among the poets? Here goes again! Butter? Tick. Dilate? Tick. Bloody hell, I never realised I had such a big head! Push! Push! They shall not catch me alive!

Like a candle in the wind .oooff! I really shouldn't have had extra beans. England, I do it for thee! But hold, what's this I see? Tracks? Caterpillar tracks? Tank tracks?!! My god! Wait till Shaun sees these, it's the biggest scoop of all time! And it's mine! I must stop this foolshness now. KGB, be damned! Maybe they'll now take me back at the Daily Mail. I must remove my head from my .

(at this point, the recording ends Ed. he will be missed Ed the world will be a sadder place Ed there will be less laughter in the world without him. Phew. Got it. Ed)

Jen says September 10, 2015
Being serious for a change, one has to ask: if Luke Harding is so lousy as a journalist, and The Guardian had to pay some compensation to The eXile for plagiarising Mark Ames and another guy's work, why didn't the paper send Harding back to journalism school to do an ethics course, as The Independent had to do with Johann Hari when he was caught plagiarising other work? Or why didn't The Guardian get rid of Harding?

Is LDH with The Guardian for the same reason that American news media like The New York Times and The Washington Post among others always had someone in their offices who couldn't spell or write to save their own lives, much less others' lives, but who rose up the ranks quickly nevertheless – because they were really working for the CIA?

Steven Lacey says September 10, 2015
Can you please do Lucas and the horrible Neo Con Weiss. Brilliant !
Eric_B says September 10, 2015
Luke wrote:

I ventured out the next morning. My laptop was in the unlocked safe. (It didn't contain any secrets; merely a work in progress.) A tall American immediately accosted me. He suggested we go sightseeing. He said his name was Chris. "Chris" had a short, military-style haircut, new trainers, neatly pressed khaki shorts, and a sleek steel-grey T-shirt. He clearly spent time in the gym. Tourist or spook? I thought spook.

I decided to go along with Chris's proposal: why didn't we spend a couple of hours visiting Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue? Chris wanted to take my photo, buy me a beer, go for dinner. I declined the beer and dinner, later texting my wife: "The CIA sent someone to check me out. Their techniques as clumsy as Russians." She replied: "Really? WTF?"

WTF indeed. Dude, Chris just fancied you.

Moscow Exile says September 10, 2015
Shortly before I was banned from Komment Macht Frei, Mr. Harding popped up in the CiF column in which I had just made a comment ridiculing his "journalism" to state that he believed that I am probably a member of the FSB.
Mark Chapman (@MarkCha40189515) says September 9, 2015
Luke Harding is not a journalist; he is the perennial centrefold in an imaginary magazine called "Smug Prick". There is an irreconcilable gap between the Luke Harding he sees in the mirror and the chowderhead we all know and mock. The Guardian keeps him on because it does not give a tin weasel why you read, just as long as you read. It does not care if you do so with gritted teeth, murmuring obscenities.
Bryan Hemming says September 9, 2015
Luke Harding, even tapping his name onto my keyboard makes me think he is watching over my shoulder. Get away! Luke! Get away!
Dipset says September 9, 2015
In terms of honesty and journalistic integrity when it comes to geopolitics, he is simply the worst journalist I've ever had the misfortune to read. When the whole Ukraine thing started and the Guardian thought all their readers were insular and stupid, they had our hero writing a whole slew of anti-Russia articles .alongside opening their comments section. Bad "mistake" on their part.

It did not take long for readers to start pointing out the hilarious lies, half truths and smears in Mr Harding's articles.

How did he/they respond ?

Not only did he start moderating comments himself, he (and Shaun Walker) had readers banned for highlighting the "inconsistency" in their reporting. Ha! Good luck with that.

It was quite pitiful to see him yesterday on the Grauniad's 'Troll Factory' story maoaning, whining and blaming the readers for not beliveing his "truthful" reporting on Russia haha.

It's going to be fascinating to see how he and his pals report the upcoming battle in Syria between Russia/Syria/Iran/China VS America/ISIS/Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Fun times

Eric_B says September 9, 2015
yes indeed, hilarious article on the Guardian about how people who dare to dispute their propaganda are either Russian or brainwashed.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/sep/08/russia-troll-army-red-web-any-questions

Way to go Guardian, vilify your regular readership. That should really sort out your revenue problems.

shatnersrug says April 7, 2016
Surely it's obvious to all that Luke Harding is an establishment stooge isn't it? He might even be MI5 (not 6 – he's not smart enough)
Jim Scott says December 24, 2017
Just started reviewing Harding's past articles and agree he is clearly a stooge but I can't decide whether he is Curly Larry or Mo.
Nino says September 9, 2015
"The dark symbolism of the open window in the children's bedroom was not hard to decipher: take care, or your kids might just fall out. The men – I assume it was men – had vanished like ghosts."

That there is just pure gold, it was written as a serious piece but even if it wasn't it would still be brilliant piece of comedy and sarcasm, but the fact that it's unintentionally funny and not a sarcasm is what makes it one of the greatest arrangements of words ever. Man sees an open window and "deciphers" that it was secret agents who opened it for the whole purpose of leaving him a "message" and then "vanished like ghosts". A whole script from an open window. Perhaps next time they will make an offer he can't refuse? Brilliant sketch, someone mentioned Inspector Clouseau in the comments but I have to say that Clouseau has nothing on this level of deduction skills, self importance and delusions of grandeur, or delusions in general. I read that thing many times now and its still hilarious as first time "The dark symbolism of the open window .."

There is a video of Carl Sagan where he explains how not to do science and logic and uses clouds on Venus as an example how to get a grand and completely wrong conclusion out of nothing, now know as The Venutian Dinosaur Fallacy:

"I can't see a thing on the surface of Venus. Why not? Because it's covered with a dense layer of clouds. Well, what are clouds made of? Water, of course. Therefore, Venus must have an awful lot of water on it. Therefore, the surface must be wet. Well, if the surface is wet, it's probably a swamp. If there's a swamp, there's ferns. If there's ferns, maybe there's even dinosaurs. -Observation: we can't see a thing on Venus. Conclusion: dinosaurs."

I think that Harding perhaps gave us even better example.

Eric_B says September 10, 2015
Who knows what the terrifying window openers might do on a subsequent visit? Perhaps give Luke and Phoebe an air freshener or even a pot pourri?
Rob Baggott says September 9, 2015
Luke saw Russian tanks cross the border into Ukraine despite being 26 miles from the border crossing with a Russian aid convoy. Despite there being a 5000 foot elevation between where he actually was to where the border crossing was.Despite there being EU monitors at the border crossing who did not see any tanks.When I pointed this out to Luke,as a comment on his Guardian article,the article comments section disappeared and the placement of Russian tanks at the border changed to a different border crossing.All of my previous comments were purged,any other comments were moderated meaning an effectual ban and Luke carried on as if nothing had happened.Something did happen,he stopped saying he personally saw Russian tanks because he had been busted.In my opinion he is paid handsomely to post,anything,negative against Russia and sometimes he just makes shit up when his wife needs a new kitchen appliance.He is obviously a tosser to boot.
BlackCatte says September 9, 2015
Actually it was that other bastion of serous journalism Shaun Walker who saw the invisible invasion. Luke would be too scared of getting zapped by mind rays to get that close to a Russian tank.
Eric_B says September 9, 2015
Yeah that was good old shaun. shaun also saw a Russian vehicle somewhere in ukraine with peacekeeping symbols from Chechnya. there was actually a photo of that one. unfortunately it was impossible to verify where and when the photo was taken and no other such vehicle with those markings has ever been seen before or since in ukraine. the woman who supposedly took the photo had a long history of photographing Russia vehicles in Chechnya.
Francis says September 10, 2015
Nice to see we're developing a decent comments section as well, keep it up .
astabada says September 23, 2015
Luke did take pictures of the Russian tanks entering Ukraine, but the FSB promptly deleted any footage.
Jennifer Hor says September 10, 2015
Luke wouldn't even have taken any photos of the Russian tanks. He would have thought the tanks were sent after him and he would taken off like a rabbit. Even if the tanks were going in the other direction.

BTW Luke's wife Phoebe Taplin (also a journalist) wrote a series of books about walking in Moscow at different times of the year according to season and exploring the city's parks and open spaces on foot while they were stationed there. Folks, make of that what you will.

"Moscow walks. Spring" by Phoebe Taplin goes on sale
http://themoscownews.com/ournews/20120503/189687562.html

Moscow Exile says September 11, 2015
Mrs. Harding's articles in the now defunct "Moscow News" were always an interesting and informative read, I thought.
Katherine Da Silva (@KathyDaSilva2) says September 9, 2015
I think he has survived as a journalist which is in a way commendable. However, he irritated Glenn Greenwald, when he interviewed him because Glenn could see the details Luke was interested in writing about were literally going to be the material for a book, and I think Glenn had not finished his own at that point! So a bit exploitive to say the least. It's an irony that the Snowden film produced/directed by Oliver Stone is going to be based on Luke's version not Glenn, guess who gains financially for example.
BlackCatte says September 9, 2015
Personally I'm not sure Luke has ever been anything definable as a journalist – but he definitely has survived.
Yonatan says September 9, 2015
Tricky – a mix of 3 and 4 might do it.

On the other hand, you have to give him credit for foresight – moving from the Daily Mail to the Guardian before it was fashionable. Maybe his talents alone explain the lack of substantive difference between these two organs of State.

Rhisiart Gwilym says September 9, 2015
E L Wisty used to shout "Get away, silly old government!" down his loo, because he knew they were bugging it.
Jen says September 9, 2015
If I didn't know that Luke Harding was a journalist, I'd have thought he was a comedian in the tradition of Peter Sellers overdoing Inspector Clouseau in too many Pink Panther sequels.
Eric_B says September 9, 2015
Mr Harding is a huge threat to the ruthless Russian government due to his fearless journalism, but rather than off him with some polonium tea or crumpets they decided to leave a sex manual by his bed.

Was the idea that Mr Harding would die from over exertion?

yalensis says September 10, 2015
When KGB left the orgasm manual, that was Putin's way of voting #4: "Tosser".
Jennifer Hor says September 10, 2015
Even the sudden appearance of the Kama Sutra in English by the bedside table would have aroused LDH's suspicions. What, he would have wondered, were the terrifying secrets encoded in the manual?
Brad Benson says September 10, 2015
Maybe his wife left the book because she was tired of walking through parks in Moscow by herself.

[Dec 28, 2017] The Harding book contains nothing but conjecture and shaky circumstantial evidence built upon a "dossier" filled with verifiable lies from an operative that was hired by the Clintons

Dec 28, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Amazon Customer , November 29, 2017

If there is a smoking gun that proves that Trump is beholden to Russia, I want to know about it. Having slogged through this book, though, I can tell you that the smoking gun is not here. That is disappointing, because the cover of the book implies that proof of collusion will be provided. Instead, the book provides a series of "it seemed as if something more was going on" types of speculations. It also restates everything you already know about the alleged scandal.

Some readers will be happy with this book -- primarily those who are already certain that Trump is controlled by Russia, despite the lack of evidence to that effect. If you are a liberal looking for confirmation bias, this book will make you nod knowingly.

Other readers should note that this book accepts the controversial "Russian dossier" about Trump on face value, even though the dossier has been debunked by Newsweek, Bob Woodward, and others, while the New York Times (embarrassed by initially treating the dossier as legitimate) has called it "unsubstantiated." This book's perspective on the dossier is to the left of even the New York Times. At one point, the book references the publication Mother Jones as a mainstream news source -- that says everything you need to know about the author's political slant.

This book provides no insight into Donald Trump himself. If you want to learn something about how Trump's mind works, try Scott Adams' excellent book, Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter .

Good source of confirmation bias, bad source of new information

azon.com/gp/customer-reviews/ROHSECZT4AORE/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525562516">

By Amazon Customer on December 16, 2017
This book is very deceptive! beware of confirmation bias!

I just got through reading this and I have to say if you are looking for a book with nothing but conjecture and shaky circumstantial evidence built upon a "dossier" filled with VERIFIABLE lies from an operative that was hired by the Clintons, then this will be a delight to read! This book will do nothing but reinforce your confirmation bias!

[Dec 28, 2017] The New Zealand flagship National Radio channel interview with plagiarist Luke Harding

Notable quotes:
"... The irony of the NZ interviewer calling RT a Kremlin propaganda outlet while she works for a state run broadcaster and promotes Harding's rubbish book is stunning. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Thominus , Dec 27, 2017 2:52:00 AM | 81

@Ike , Dec 27, 2017 3:39:17 AM | 82

The New Zealand flagship National Radio channel recently played an interview of the above mentioned plagiarist Luke Harding https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018624819 It is interesting to compare the free ride he is given by the interviewer, Kim Hill, noticeably anti-Russian, and the far more intelligent approach from Aaron Mate of the Real News.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1731&v=9Ikf1uZli4g

The irony of the NZ interviewer calling RT a Kremlin propaganda outlet while she works for a state run broadcaster and promotes Harding's rubbish book is stunning.

[Dec 28, 2017] Harding is a prime example of the Russiagate supporters in MSM A real bottom feeder

Notable quotes:
"... Well done interview Aaron. I want to see Trump go down, but we do need to have proof. That is called justice. He may have colluded to get dirt on Hilary, just like Hilary getting dirt on Obama and Trump as well but the outcome of our recent presidential election was the fault of the DNC itself. If PROOF comes out on Trumps wrong doing, then that is when you write a book about it. Not a book on trying to build a ridiculous connecting of the dots of similar situations. Yes, looking at past history is important but to make a fabricated scenario is irresponsible journalism. Until we have solid proof of actual tampering then we should do it the right way. I agree that Israel had more collusion and tampering with Trump yet this writer ignores that. Thank you Aaron for asking the real-questions. Much respect to you. Peace. ..."
"... Bravo Aaron! This interview made me even happier I was able to scrounge up a few bucks to throw your guys way recently. Harding seems a raging establishment shill, with his connections and past (journalist based in Russia, big opposition fan, Oxford educated, Guardian) I would be shocked if he isn't at the least friendly with Mi5/6. ..."
"... I see Russiagate as a reverse Birther - Obama might be a US citizen but he grew up in Indonesia so lets give him shit for it - All of Wall street has been taking Russian money for years, but if ur President? - so now they can slowly dig up innuendo and possibly evidence of dodgy transactions all the while minimizing Wikileaks and the systemic corruption it revealed - I think its mainly a containment strategy while keeping Trump isolated and its working well but for people paying attention we are seeing the system at work and what its capacities are, how much empty propaganda can be pushed even after something like the Iraq war. Also part of a pattern with past outlier presidencies where there is a concerted push to restrict them to one term and in this case amplified by embedded Clinton allies. ..."
"... Wait. Did he say Steele was involved in the Ukraine Coup? :)) ..."
"... A kitten trying to climb out of a wood chipper. This was not easy to watch. It bordered on abuse. The assault on this conspiracy opportunist parasite was a fine example of real investigative journalism. By publishing this nonsense and then agreeing to go on an interview about it in public, he subjects himself to the most brutal humiliation. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Sini Koncar , 4 days ago

How can this guy write a whole book about the "collusion" and not give a single clear proof in the interview. He is a prime example of the Russiagate supporters. Good Job Aaron!

RVGODZILLA , 4 days ago (edited)

That was the best interview I've watched in awhile about this trumprussia stuff // Aaron mate you did a stellar fckn job bro! Cheers!

MI55ION , 4 days ago

Aaron is boss in this interview... damn I've watched 5 mins so far and this "author" has shown himself already to be a complete tool. The only opportunist I see here is him cashing in on this anti Russian craze that only serve the interests of Intel agencies and the Democratic party insiders.

eglaham , 4 days ago

Thanks for keeping this joker honest, Aaron!

Peace Beuponyou , 4 days ago

Well done interview Aaron. I want to see Trump go down, but we do need to have proof. That is called justice. He may have colluded to get dirt on Hilary, just like Hilary getting dirt on Obama and Trump as well but the outcome of our recent presidential election was the fault of the DNC itself. If PROOF comes out on Trumps wrong doing, then that is when you write a book about it. Not a book on trying to build a ridiculous connecting of the dots of similar situations. Yes, looking at past history is important but to make a fabricated scenario is irresponsible journalism. Until we have solid proof of actual tampering then we should do it the right way. I agree that Israel had more collusion and tampering with Trump yet this writer ignores that. Thank you Aaron for asking the real-questions. Much respect to you. Peace.

M V , 4 days ago

Aaron Maté, you are gold. This so-called journalist was condescending and highly unprofessional throughout the interview to point where he most likely cut the line because he couldn't handle being interviewed by a real journalist and seeker of truth. His failure to directly answer Aaron's questions regarding evidence of collusion show his inability to be factual and impartial. The 'evidence' the author presents seems circumstantial at best and unconvincing. Thank you, the Real News Network. Your high standard of journalism is always appreciated by your loyal viewers.

Sergio Rico , 4 days ago

Good job Aaron for doing actual journalism and not simply taking statements with no evidence for granted

beelovedfuzz , 4 days ago

I love you, Aaron. You and the Real New are one of the few who actually challenges this ridiculous narrative. Trump is a horrible man but so is the rest of the US plutocracy. Making him out as some sort of special sort of evil is pathetic. He wasn't hired because of the Russians. He was hired because Americans cannot seem to understand that the changes they want from the economic system here in this country will not happen if they exclusively use voting as their change mechanism. Especially if they keep voting in the two fake opposition parties for all positions. Also, Mr. Harding, we don't need to read your book. We've been hearing this garbage through the mainstream media for over the last year. You are not providing anything new or any actual proof.

manti core , 4 days ago

That is just a brilliant destruction of the Russia hysteria. Harding just fell apart. Well done!

magicpony9 , 3 days ago (edited)

Aaron: "What evidence is there of this?" Luke: "I was a Moscow correspondent for four years!" Aaron: "What evidence is there of this?" Luke: "Trump is nice to Putin and rude to other world leaders!" Aaron: "What evidence is there of this?" Luke: "What do you think Russian spy agencies do all day if not spy? Huh?"

Luke O'Brien , 4 days ago (edited)

I despise Trump, but where the fuck is Harding's evidence for collusion? He responds to direct questions with, "weeell..." and goes onto talking about obscure meetings with musical producers or vague connections with Russian business men. Or, worse still, reminding us how awful Putin is (what does that prove in regards to collusion?). And how dare he claim that he's living in the "empirical world," when he can't substantiate his headline - collision. Stunningly, he even suggests later on that skeptical people can't appreciate Putin! Cash-in, little more. Good job, Aaron.

tom robbins , 4 days ago

Storyteller told on himself

rollofnickles , 4 days ago

Luke is full of shit as he pushes hacking of the 2016 election. William Edward Binney[3] is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA)[4] turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency. He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration, and later criticized the NSA's data collection policies during the Barack Obama administration. In 2016, he said the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election was false. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Binney_(U.S._intelligence_official) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv0-Lnv0d0k https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoeJeWfoSpQ

Niding , 4 days ago

Aarons calm, but critical, questioning/demand for evidence is very refreshing. It has to be very uncomfortable for a guest that is acustomed to mainstream neo-libs/con journalists.

Marta K. , 4 days ago

I just ❤️ that look on Aaron's face at 11:47 ! Like "dude, you can't be serious... are you serious?"

Kristen Saunders , 3 days ago

Great interview! Awesome push back with facts! This should be done EVERYTIME!

Cartoonishly Inept , 4 days ago

So this guy's whole body of evidence can be summarized as because Russia engages in espionage then that proves the collusion? Great interview Aaron, he wasn't expecting you to call out his bullshit, thought he didn't seemed at all phased by it. 10:30 "I'm a story teller." I think that sums this guy up pretty nicely.

441rider , 4 days ago

Funny he lost his cool so fast and went into teacher mode, LOL! Good job interviewer this is how "stories" get vetted no matter how favorable they are to you position. :o)

MI55ION , 4 days ago

Shit just got real... one of the finest interviews I've seen in a while. Bravo Aaron, bravo! ));

frosty buckets , 4 days ago

This is why I watch real news network. They are willing to debate the issues

Michael Maxfield , 4 days ago

Watching this interview was like a breath of fresh air. You NEVER see a "journalist" challenge their guests on network TV (probably because guests are pre-screened to fit the prevailing orthodoxy). If we just had an army of Aarons doing the news, I think the world would be in a lot better shape.

Richard Gere , 4 days ago

Good job, Aaron, thank you. It's not the first time I've been impressed by your objective questioning and reasoning that may offend a guest but leads to the truth. Good, unbiased journalism seems very rare these days

Paul Randall , 4 days ago

Bravo Aaron! This interview made me even happier I was able to scrounge up a few bucks to throw your guys way recently. Harding seems a raging establishment shill, with his connections and past (journalist based in Russia, big opposition fan, Oxford educated, Guardian) I would be shocked if he isn't at the least friendly with Mi5/6.

And I wouldn't be surprised if he had done work for them, which means he effectively still works for them (you never leave the intelligence club, you keep getting fat wads of cash on occasion while understanding that very bad things will happen if you turn on them). Again and again, he presented arguments which were whole cloth bullshit, either 'facts' that were proven untrue (like the bare-faced lie about Russian interference in the French elections) with laughable ease by Aaron, or threw a word salad of tales of nefarious Russia being nefarious to somehow 'prove' something completely unrelated, that Russia got Trump elected with a bunch of random, laughably tiny, obtuse efforts (a couple of ads on FB, some supposed Twitter trolls, RT, Pokeman f-ing Go (!) ) which are all that has been openly claimed.

And there is NO REAL EVIDENCE for that crap either, just the word of the always trustworthy spooks (a hand selected group from 3 agencies, btw) and some heavily leaned on establishment toadies in Silicon Valley. This book (I am guessing here- no, I have not nor will I waste my time reading it) appears to be a disgusting cash grab on the level of 'What Happened?', selling self-serving vacuous BS to credulous morons looking to feel better about the epic failure of their disgusting, characterless idol. Also will undoubtedly be a big hit with the McCain wing of right wing nuts, who have been itching for the fun of a REAL WAR (oh boy oh boy oh boy! mass tank clashes in Poland! carrier battle groups attacking Vladivostok!!!) with the always evil Reds... errr, Russians.

Disinformation trolls like this guy are willing to put in their two cents toward making that happen. How the fuck they look themselves in the mirror, especially if the have young people they care about, baffles me. But considering the Oxford background and government connections, his kids sure as hell won't be digging a trench frantically in ESTONIA (which I also have heard of, btw, you pompous, pompous puke). THANK YOU REAL NEWS! MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE!! :)

Baal Baphomet , 4 days ago

this is another nothing burger by a member of the UK MSM this time who should know better - Citing Chris Steele as a source for info is a complete joke - this guy needs to go back to Journo school .

Michael , 4 days ago

What a great debate by Aaron. Slapped that jackass so many times & revealed how deceptive & outright false his position is. He has no evidence & is so condescending/arrogant despite the baselessness of his position.

Lissen Tome , 4 days ago

I'm not even a trump fan and dude there is no collusion this guy's a shill

Noss Cern , 4 days ago

I find blinking isn't usually a good sign - I do think Trump has had Russian money, some of it laundered, through his properties for decades and Russians probably have enough to place pressure on him in the same way Hillary could be compromised by Uranium One, he might have considerable debts owing. However Trump like Tillerson/Exxon and many others just want to get into Russia and start doing deals.

They are over this Brezinzski like need to crush Russia for all time that the deep state has got lined up.

I see Russiagate as a reverse Birther - Obama might be a US citizen but he grew up in Indonesia so lets give him shit for it - All of Wall street has been taking Russian money for years, but if ur President? - so now they can slowly dig up innuendo and possibly evidence of dodgy transactions all the while minimizing Wikileaks and the systemic corruption it revealed - I think its mainly a containment strategy while keeping Trump isolated and its working well but for people paying attention we are seeing the system at work and what its capacities are, how much empty propaganda can be pushed even after something like the Iraq war. Also part of a pattern with past outlier presidencies where there is a concerted push to restrict them to one term and in this case amplified by embedded Clinton allies.

arcanaco , 4 days ago (edited)

Wait. Did he say Steele was involved in the Ukraine Coup? :))

Paddy Flaco , 3 days ago

A kitten trying to climb out of a wood chipper. This was not easy to watch. It bordered on abuse. The assault on this conspiracy opportunist parasite was a fine example of real investigative journalism. By publishing this nonsense and then agreeing to go on an interview about it in public, he subjects himself to the most brutal humiliation.

miclewis55 , 4 days ago (edited)

Luke is part of the UK metropolitan liberal elite. Still in shock that HRC was rejected by the US voters . Still in shock that UK deplorables voted for Brexit . His monumental arrogance is such that he believes we were too stupid to understand the issues and therefore were 'guided' by Russian propaganda. Aaron exposes Lukes lack of evidence perfectly.

Anticapitalist X , 4 days ago

Kudos to Aaron Mate and the Real News for asking Harding serious questions; the upshot is that this Harding character did not have shit to prove that Russia meddled with the US election. Good job Aaron Mate and the Real News.

John Mina , 4 days ago

Well done Aaron. This guy is a liar, plain and simple.

[Dec 28, 2017] I think many British journalists work for the British secret service, and they were recruited at university and slotted into journalist employment

Notable quotes:
"... Tisdall's weekly spiel about the Evil Empire and its Dark Lord made many CiFers comment that he must report regularly to Chatham House, London, at weekends for briefings, after which he'd knock out some good, blood-curdling copy about Russia in order to please his masters. ..."
"... As a matter of fact, I think many British "journalists" – Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment to do their business of propagandizing. ..."
Sep 15, 2012 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile says: September 15, 2012 at 11:58 am

Something went wrong there!

Here's Tisdall on Russia:

And on and on

Tisdall's weekly spiel about the Evil Empire and its Dark Lord made many CiFers comment that he must report regularly to Chatham House, London, at weekends for briefings, after which he'd knock out some good, blood-curdling copy about Russia in order to please his masters.

I don't think that's far from the truth actually. As a matter of fact, I think many British "journalists" – Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment to do their business of propagandizing. That might explain why Harding is such a god awful journalist that has had on occasion to take recourse to a spot of cut and paste plagiarism.

Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment to do their business of propagandizing. That might explain why Harding is such a god awful journalist that has had on occasion to take recourse to a spot of cut and paste plagiarism.

[Dec 28, 2017] Collusion Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win

The book contains nothing but conjecture and shaky circumstantial evidence built upon a "dossier" filled with verifiable lies from an operative that was hired by the Clintons
I think many British "journalists" – Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment. But at the same time he is so pathetic that this would be embarrassment for MI6 to cooperate with such bottom feeders.
Notable quotes:
"... Luke Harding has found it, finally! The real, complete, final proof of COLLUSION between Donald Trump and the Russian government! Secret NSA intercepts, perhaps? Deep dark banking secrets? Sorry, folks. It's just Donald, Jr's email exchange with private lawyer and occasional Kremlin emissary Natalia Veselnitskaya. These emails have been picked through by every media organization in the world by now (why? Because Don Jr. made them public, all three of them), and they have all come up short. But for Harding, these emails finally gives us "proof of collusion." And it took him 249 pages just to get to this point, after spinning every looney-tunes conspiracy theory and crackpot allegation ever aired against Donald Trump. ..."
"... I call this the wouda-couda shouda school of pseudo-journalism, a crock pot spiced with insinuation and allusion. At one point, Harding even wants us to believe that Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana Zelnichova might have been a Czech spy! ..."
"... DNC CORRUPTION and GASLIGHTING with the Steele dossier being bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton herself. The knowledge that Hillary's emails were not stolen by Russian hackers but by DNCs failure to secure their systems and not click on phishing emails ..."
"... This seems like yet another attempt to divert blame from the guilty. Maybe Imran Awan should be asked, I bet he and his family have some interesting stories to tell about what was really happening at the DNC. This book is laughable, at best. None of the speculation within has been verified and has overall been disproven ..."
"... I am perplexed that Harding's account doesn't appear to coincide with Steele's under-oath court testimony. Was he lying to the courts or to this author? Can this book be used against Steele in the various libel lawsuits he is defending? ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Kenneth Timmerman on December 22, 2017

A shoddy piece of work

Luke Harding has found it, finally! The real, complete, final proof of COLLUSION between Donald Trump and the Russian government! Secret NSA intercepts, perhaps? Deep dark banking secrets? Sorry, folks. It's just Donald, Jr's email exchange with private lawyer and occasional Kremlin emissary Natalia Veselnitskaya. These emails have been picked through by every media organization in the world by now (why? Because Don Jr. made them public, all three of them), and they have all come up short. But for Harding, these emails finally gives us "proof of collusion." And it took him 249 pages just to get to this point, after spinning every looney-tunes conspiracy theory and crackpot allegation ever aired against Donald Trump.

I call this the wouda-couda shouda school of pseudo-journalism, a crock pot spiced with insinuation and allusion. At one point, Harding even wants us to believe that Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana Zelnichova might have been a Czech spy! [p219]. As someone who has spent the past thirty-five years as a war correspondent and investigative journalist, I find it a bit disappointing to think that this is the best the Left has to offer. A more shoddy piece of work I have rarely seen.

Dawna Donaldson on November 27, 2017
DNC CORRUPTION and GASLIGHTING with the Steele dossier being bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton herself. The knowledge that Hillary's emails were not stolen by Russian hackers but by DNCs failure to secure their systems and not click on phishing emails.

This seems like yet another attempt to divert blame from the guilty. Maybe Imran Awan should be asked, I bet he and his family have some interesting stories to tell about what was really happening at the DNC. This book is laughable, at best. None of the speculation within has been verified and has overall been disproven.

Beverly Smith on November 16, 2017
Confusing

I am perplexed that Harding's account doesn't appear to coincide with Steele's under-oath court testimony. Was he lying to the courts or to this author? Can this book be used against Steele in the various libel lawsuits he is defending?

[Dec 28, 2017] Luke Harding is not a complete lunatic. He is just an intelligence asset who is paid to propagate all this nonsense

The book contains nothing but conjecture and shaky circumstantial evidence built upon a "dossier" filled with verifiable lies from an operative that was hired by the Clintons
I think many British "journalists" – Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment. But at the same time he is so pathetic that this would be embarrassment for MI6 to cooperate with such bottom feeders.
Notable quotes:
"... Luke is just a fucking story teller, and thats it! Making money off of a book, in the middle of mass hysteria and group think! Great business move. I think ill write a book and call it "Got Him, Donald Trump will Eventually Go Down"! ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Greg McKenzie , 4 days ago

The Problem With Espionage The purpose of espionage is to keep your opponent at a disadvantage by cultivating an alternate reality in their mind that is different from the facts. Whatever the government or agency they work for an agent wants to distort your impressions of them and their own personal capabilities. All agents want you to believe that they don't have the capabilities, contacts, or powers that they actually do posses. By the same token secret agents want you to believe that they DO have capabilities, contacts, or powers that they, in fact, do NOT have. When deception is such an integral part of the game you are playing it makes sense to assume that you know less than you think you do. That's what actual journalism is about -- particularly when dealing with spies and espionage. In this video Aaron Mate' is acting like a real journalist. Luke Harding is not. "Real News" is getting the story right. Thank you! We need more real journalism.

Zorro in Hell , 4 days ago

Luke is just a fucking story teller, and thats it! Making money off of a book, in the middle of mass hysteria and group think! Great business move. I think ill write a book and call it "Got Him, Donald Trump will Eventually Go Down"!

jones1351 , 4 days ago

Imho, this guy's full of shit. Not quite ready for a 'Reynolds Wrap' hat, but seeing smoke where there's mist. Takes me back to when there were definitely WMD's in Iraq. To TRN's credit, they did give him a hearing. Which is more than the MSM gives to say, Chomsky or Hedges.

Bryan Wallace , 1 day ago (edited)

He speaks Russian and has lived in Russia -- so I guess that settles it. LOL Maybe somebody ought to ask Sarah Palin about it, since you can actually see Russia from parts of Alaska. And the French intelligence report is inconclusive but if you get more context from reading his book, you will see that it may be inconclusive but is actually conclusive. (It's complicated.) And of course, he's lived in Berlin and he knows people there, so that proves the German elections were hacked too. And only the most hidebound skeptic could fail to see the smiley face connection. If you read his book you'll find out all this great context and facts that prove the Russians did it. It's too bad he couldn't provide any of that for us in this interview. (This whole thing has a sort of dog-ate-my-homework feel to it.)

bboucharde , 4 days ago

Luke, Now you should investigate the collusion between Russia and the Clinton Foundation---and the direct transfer of Russian funds to Bill Clinton.

Jared Greathouse , 4 days ago

The main question NOBODY'S been able to answer me is that "What policies has Trump enacted, political, economic, military or otherwise, that benefits the interests of the Russian state?" As far as I can tell, Trump is either indifferent to the interests of the state of Russia, or is hostile, directly or indirectly, to them.

dylan , 3 days ago

"I'm a storyteller."

Tochukwu Azubike , 4 days ago (edited)

I tried really hard to follow this story as credible without prejudice and it was just a bunch of babble without any evidence whatsoever.. this is just a re-print and re-title of the Steel dossier updated with MSNBC and CNN reportage

Consuelo Concepcion , 4 days ago

This entire collusion scheme is occurring because the Democrats can't admit that Hillary ran a horrible campaign and she's a murderer and a war criminal. I'm glad Mate is putting a fire under Harding's arse and trying to make him accountable for these specious speculations. I'm not a fan of either Putin or Trump, but this whole "scandal" has been little more than a massive distraction. I've speculated that the entire election was a CIA psychological operation to influence foreign policy to appease certain elements of the Deep State.

Raymoan Ford , 4 days ago

Aaron Mate should have read the book before interviewing the author about the book. LOL.

Dan Howard , 4 days ago

Great interview! Harding was getting uncomfortable.

HongPong , 1 day ago

this interview is a good example of how TheRealNews is careful at what they cover -- and how far a British accent can help to inflate fuzzy claims!

Animal Farm , 4 days ago (edited)

I dislike Trump as much as the next man but when the Guardian publishes this BS it will only bolster Trump when the lies dissolve over time and the facts eventually come out. Sadly you might have never heard of Dr Udo Ulfkotte and his exposure that the CIA has an army of journalists on its payroll, especially in Europe. So why are you not questioning the integrity of this individual in more detail. These are the type of CIA and MI6 stooges that Tony Blair used to promote the illegal war against Iraq. When this CIA stooge says, 08:25 "I think that Russia played a role in last year's election is a matter of fact. This is only what US intelligence agencies believe" he must be assuming the majority of the US population are just ignorant fools. The US Intelligence agencies also believed Iraq had WMDs and the British Intelligence believed Saddam was sourcing nuclear material from Africa. This deceitful idiot Harding still pushes the idea the MI6 published Trump-Putin Dossier when it has been shown it was paid for by the DNC. So would you believe any intelligence agency whose motive is a push for war? And the best way to achieve this goal and have the misinformed population back the corrupted corporate government would be to promote this BS from this sleazy CIA puppet. If you get a chance, have a look at some other YouTube videos of the BS this CIA journalist produces: "The KGB left a sex manual after breaking into my home" or "Putin is Building an Empire" or the ever popular "Putin May Secretly Be One Of The World's Richest Men". Then may I suggest you look at any story on Russia by the truth-tellers, the whistleblowers that have actually been prosecuted for telling the truth in this fascist system: William Binney, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, or Ray McGovern. So there will always be some imbeciles that believe this fabrication just as there were some that believed the New York Times and the Washington Post about the Bush-Blair Iraq War rhetoric when the oligarchs' real intentions were so clearly stated by General Wesley Clark in his admission of "7 countries in 5 years". I am interested to know if TRN approached Harding or Harding was offered up to TRN as a CIA stooge to spew their propaganda. It is sad to see the Guardian employ such a hack; sure they are now a mouthpiece for the Empire but they have done some good work over the years. It is clear that Harding writes to influence the apathetic and the stupid; he conflates innuendo and supposition with fact in his attempt to distort perception and for the imbecile with no intellectual honesty; this is very effective. I find it frustrating that TRN attempts to expose this garbage when the oligarchs' MSM would lap it up. You would never hear the BBC or Maddow questioning this MI6-CIA stooge like Aaron Maté did. Aaron has done a competent job; not an effective job like one would expect from Paul Jay at questioning this farce but sadly, this is the best TRN has to offer. There will always be a number of scared and pathetic individuals within the population that will always be incapable of differentiating between fact and fantasy or between truth and lies. These are the Useful Idiots of Empire and they have been used to justify and instigate Imperial aggression since the beginning of time.

Camcolito , 2 days ago

My God this guest is full of it.

J Scott Bryant , 1 day ago

What a joke-- rambling, deflecting, with no evidence presented in almost 20 minutes!

Pete Smith , 3 days ago

Host - So basically your proof of collusion = Putin is bad? Book author - No...but...yes...but...no...but...(logs off in a strop)

Pete Smith , 3 days ago

Host - So basically your proof of collusion = Putin is bad? Book author - No...but...yes...but...no...but...(logs off in a strop)

John Snow , 19 hours ago

Harding is an ordinary opportunist, useful idiot and evil man.

M.K. Styllinski , 17 hours ago (edited)

Maté wiped the floor with Harding. It's also interesting that Harding appeared to confuse Russian espionage with what is essentially Mossad-driven sexpionage when he mentioned the "swallows." He seems woefully ill-informed when it comes to dual nationality, Russian-Jewish mafia ties with Israel and Anglo-American foreign policy. This is also why Trump has been encircled with Russian corporate interests to a certain degree - they are connected to Russian-Israeli underworld objectives. Hence, the real conspiracy here is via Israeli intelligence working through its traditional syanim in both Russia and the United States.

Klub Svetnikov , 4 days ago

This lunatic Harding is trying to sell USA and CIA as pillars of truth, democracy and integrity, playing positive role in international affairs. How stupid and sold can a writer get?!

Jon Stephen , 3 days ago

Good job Aaron! Luke Harding is bathing in the kool aid.

Michael , 2 days ago

Can you imagine if the so-called journalists on MSM interviewed like Aaron. Think corporate MSNBC here, Chris Hayes, and Rachel Maddow.

Paul Jackson , 4 days ago

Good work again Aaron. Luke Harding and Marcy Wheeler would be such a cute couple, maybe populating the West with a new race of sycophants.

minkusmaz , 3 days ago

I love how this guy keeps harping the point that Mate should have read his entire book. This is so sad to watch, our media should be as critical as this, and this shows how far they are from that.

Ahmed Mansour , 2 days ago

Aaron was enjoying this a bit too much 😂😂👌🏽👌🏽. Great work

John Johnson , 1 day ago

Interviewer: "Your book is called Collusion. What evidence do you present for an act of collusion?" Author: "Well, you see, Russians are bad and they do bad things, and you have to see a pattern of bad things, and Trump is bad, so <waves hands> you know, context." Interviewer: "I didn't hear any actual evidence there" Author: "Did you read my book? Because I say stuff in there that suggests that my title is true. Also, go to Russia and ask Russians, because you can trust them about what they have to say about the US election. Don't listen to me, listen to them." At this point I'm wondering if the author read his own book...

Aaron Childers , 1 day ago

That guy had become unhinged by the end of the interview. This is the same behavior I've seen from Russia-gaters when every talking point they bring up gets immediately debunked. I'm surprised he didn't start ranting xenophobic nonsense about how the interviewer was also a Russian agent. I've seen this conversation play out this way so many times over the past year that the fact we're still talking about this is asinine.

scuddymud2 , 4 days ago

This is Journalism. You need to answer the questions with hard evidence, facts, links and ties. Names, Dates, Times these have to add up. Donate to The Real News!!

M Rede , 1 day ago

Brave Luke "kind of" Harding.

Charles Robertson , 4 days ago

Seems Luke wasn't expecting a grilling from an outlet like the real news. He's probably not used to a left-leaning American news outlet that tolerates dissenting opinions on the Russia narrative. A sad reflection on what the atmosphere must be like at the Guardian. Thanks again Aaron.

fearhungerpride , 4 days ago (edited)

This is a great exchange between a believer of Russiagate and a sceptic. Both guys did a great job pushing their arguments. Shame you don't see this on the msm. They're too busy pushing their editorial lines instead of being challenged.

Chill Bill , 4 days ago

Impressive dissection of this guy's factless assertions and parroted MSM hollow-headedness, Aaron.

David Ramsay Steele , 4 days ago

"Collusion" is to the left what birtherism was to the right.

Nick Mando , 4 days ago

What is easier? Russia pulling off collusion OR Russia convincing idiots that they pulled off collusion. I think that both have the same effect on delegitimizing our electoral process, one is just a lot easier.

Nick Mando , 4 days ago

ALSO if the kgb is so good and so well trained at this then why is it so obvious? The perfect crime is one that your enemy thinks you committed yet has no proof of, because spoiler, you didn't commit it.

Loyd Frontham , 4 days ago

Thank you, Aaron, for being one of the few reasonable voices in news today.

ThaddeusCorn , 4 days ago

Great job. Good guest and the interviewer didn't just let the guest go unquestioned.

Ramiiam , 4 days ago

Aaron Mate is your best journalist, among the new TRN crowd. You could do with more of him, less of people like the Noors.

Invisible Man , 18 hours ago

I loved Real News for years...but lately ur guys content exposing the blind Russiaphobia has been award winning caliber.

ZantherY , 4 days ago (edited)

Thank you Aaron for being a JOURNALIST unlike the guy trying to well a book, why not every body ids entitle to profit from a nation which from here seem to be populated by MORONS! The Guardian lost its way back in 2001 by toeing the official White House Line, it asked very little questions, it was very thick on speculation (a bit like this moron)!

Anthony George , 4 days ago

A "story-teller". Yep.

szymborska , 2 days ago

Aaron 1 - Other Guy - 0

Jonathan Mintram , 4 days ago

Well done Aaron. Your focus on evidence and proof was perfect. That guy makes me feel embarrassed to be British.

Busterpeek21 , 2 days ago

One of the best interviews I've seen in awhile! I put it up there with Jimmy Dore's recent interview with Jill Stein.

Doginu , 4 days ago

It sounds like your Butt hurt about getting thrown out of Russia..This guy is a Repeater, not a Reporter!

Karl Malone , 3 days ago

Bravo Aaron

craig robb , 4 days ago

nice job aaron, the dude was about5 seconds away from calling you a puppet of putin lol

Jen V , 1 day ago

This "author" or hack journalist is absolutely ignorant. Clearly he hates Russia and Puti. And is just fine to create lies and stories. This was a great interview by Aaron! Excellent job asking valid, intelligent questions and holding his feet (and fables) to the fire. People creating and spreading this type of propaganda should all be held to the standards Aaron just held this doofus to! When asked real questions, for proof of their statements of fact and confronted with opposing information, you just get stuttering and the same old line of Putin is bad so therefore my lies must be true! No proof yet people r still writing books and profiting from spreading a very dangerous type of propaganda!

wleao13 , 4 days ago

Luke 'alex jones' Harding what joke. he claim be a reporter

oldscorpion13 , 3 days ago

This is hilarious. Everytime TRN interviews anyone about the Russian case, they - the interviewee - ends up being flustered, frustrated. I am waiting for that obscenities laden outburst one of these interviews

TheSpiritOfTheTimes , 4 days ago

Very good Aaron! Finally someone's called out the fabulilt Harding, arguably the worst Anglophone reporter from Russia, and there's stiff competition.

The Solo Activist , 4 days ago

Refreshing!

truthcrusades , 4 days ago

I'm getting fed up with this shit. Trump just sent lethal weapons to Ukraine. This guy and his administration have done nothing but escalate tensions with Russia since he took office. Sanctions, banning RT, Syria strike, buzzing Russian jets, the latest Ukraine BS, that Obama refused to do because it would escalate tensions. I wish this guy was Putin's puppet, but he is more likely to give us a nuclear exchange with Russia.

Farero Lobos , 9 hours ago

10:29 Please, I beg you, Luke the fluke, decide if you are a journalist or a story teller.

Angel Tibbs , 1 day ago

"Saddam has WMDs!" - same agencies.

Doginu , 4 days ago

It was the USSR until 1991, then the US Oligarchs pillages the New formed Russia.I don't even think that Psychics would have fathomed Trump ever running for President 35+ years later... Idiot....

Ian Nixon , 3 days ago

Trump is crocked in my opinion, but who cares about my opinion--NO ONE. So why don't we just wait for the evidence to come forward after the investigation. If he is guilty of something then we will know. Clearly Mueller and his team is NOT going to put evidence out in the public if indeed they do have something at this time. So everyone is just speculating, BUT that does not mean the investigation should be over because SOME people feel there is nothing there. That just does not make sense to me. Let the investigation conclude just like they wanted it to conclude when Bill Clinton. By the way, he should read the book (not skim it) and then get quotes to ask. The author is right to call out the interviewer for not reading his book, but wants to talk about---the BOOK! Really?

Other Voices, Other Choices , 4 days ago

Just what is the proof that Trump is Putin's puppet? Is it the NATO troops moving ever eastward in Europe, holding war games on Russia's borders? Is it the extra billions earmarked for nuclear war preparations? Or perhaps the US troops and bases illegally placed in Russia's ally Syria? One has to be an idiot to believe this Russiagate nonsense.

Trevor R.N. , 2 days ago (edited)

Luke Harding is so full of shite, I'm surprised it's not oozing out of his pores. He says nothing new in this interview he just rehashes the narrative. Intentionality? Luke is obviously not used to being questioned on his storytelling.

Koot Orand , 4 days ago

This fella seems to be more interested in advertising his book than answering the questions. These Guardian article writers may as well write for Daily Express or The Sun or any other gutter press

RichardTheThird , 2 days ago

I wonder if Luke Harding thought that doing this interview would sell a few copies of his book. If so, he will be disappointed - he doesn't seem to be very knowledgeable, to say the least.

Luther Rhein , 3 days ago

this guy is pissed of with Putin, and thinks he knows everything just because he is a rich boy from Oxbridge elite, yet this wanker has not a single fact supported with solid evidence. That sums up the state of liberal fascists. Oh God!

Pete D. , 4 days ago (edited)

Harding never voiced any proof or real evidence of collusion. Speculation, speculation, speculation and inference. I'm so tired of this. And yes, Putin's not a nice guy.

zwergie256 , 20 hours ago

Omg, how embarrassing. ;))

Josh Lockie , 2 days ago

This guy is deep state and super bad at it lol

j bloggs , 17 hours ago

Great interview. Shows up Harding for what he is, an establishment shill.

GreySide , 23 hours ago (edited)

The guy said go to Russia, meet Navalny (a man with less than 1% support)..lol. go to any country on earth and meet the opposition and see if they will have anything positive to say about the running government.. they are opposition for a reason... smh

EveyMash , 4 days ago

Luke Harding is a conspiracy theorist.

bookashkin , 3 days ago (edited)

They say where there's smoke, there's fire. Sometimes there's fire without smoke. Like Luke Harding's pants.

Raph Tjoeb , 2 days ago

Jesus christ, did this Guardian guy take a fall flat on his face. Reality hit you 'ol fella.

shamanahaboolist , 4 days ago

Gerrymandering and the "Democrats" election fraud against Sanders was the cause of Trump's victory more than anything else.

Julius Galacki , 1 day ago

I heard a really, disappointing softball interview on KCRW (NPR affiliate in LA) with this same author where he was presenting correlations as causation and making the same broad generalizations with nary a challenge from Warren Olney (who could be an excellent interviewer) , but rather exclamations of approval. Aaron Mate on the other hand does a fabulous job of showing the Emperor has no clothes. So, big big kudos to him for leaving this fraud in a stumbling, stuttering pout of ineffective arguments. This author is at best making a buck jumping on the Russian hysteria bandwagon, and at worst is part of a concerted propaganda effort by those who would benefit from a new Cold War. One can oppose Trump for not only his vulgarity but more importantly he does, policy-wise. Unfortunately, many of those policies are the same or just a bit more radical than many of the politicians whose style is less overly vulgar and divisive.

Andrew Zibuck , 7 hours ago

At the end Harding implies that definitive proof of collusion would be Trump and Putin in a sauna. That would actually only be proof both men like a good steam.

kerpital , 1 day ago

If you remove "kind of" "sort of" "I think that" "I mean" "Uh" from that man's vocabulary, there's nothing left.

frosty buckets , 4 days ago

Russia is a paper tiger .. Let's focus on deescalation and saving humanity from over consumption and climate change .. Russia will follow.

War Dynamics , 12 hours ago

Aaron Mate not having any of this guys BS. Great interview.

bookashkin , 3 days ago

Luke: There are only two honorable ways to respond to the charge of lack of proof for your bold claims. 1. Point to proof 2. Admit there is no proof. Only a pathetic weasel with zero intellectual integrity would take another course. After this interview I don't even believe you know any Russian beyond "can I have the check please" Oh, and Hillary Clinton is a deranged mad woman. Who else would laugh like a hyena about being accessory to Qaddafi's gruesome murder?

Michael Maxfield , 4 days ago

I think Mr. Harding completely missed Sergey Nalobin's tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

Hollywood Art Chick , 1 day ago

Mate' is nobody's fool. This is what an interview should be, not a beaming love-fest between "journalist" and guest. It's wonderful to see a strong journalist who's informed and not rubber-stamping BS to crawl up the ass of someone with connections. You go, Aaron!!! Much respect to RT.

deliciousmorton , 16 hours ago

Luke Harding is all over the place.

Peace and Love , 4 days ago

Aaron. Probably the best journalistic interview that I have ever seen. Anyone watching this will realise this collusion stuff is nonsense. And yes, i despise Trump and Putin's corruption.

adammontana9 , 16 hours ago

"The people who promote the "Russian influence" nonsense are political operatives or hacks. Take for example Luke Harding of the Guardian who just published a book titled Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. He was taken apart in a Real News interview (vid) about the book. The interviewer pointed out that there is absolutely no evidence in the book to support its claims. When asked for any proof for his assertion Harding defensively says that he is just "storytelling" - in other words: its fiction. Harding earlier wrote a book about Edward Snowden which was a similar sham. Julian Assange called it "a hack job in the purest sense of the term". Harding is also known as plagiarizer. When he worked in Moscow he copied stories and passages from the now defunct Exile, run by Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames. The Guardian had to publish an apology." https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/27/from-snowden-russia-gate-cia-and-media.html

Simon and Gar Farkell , 1 day ago (edited)

This Real News host could teach "mainstream media" how to ask hard questions.

mrtriffid , 1 day ago

Thank you, Aaron, for convincingly exposing a shill for the Imperialist agenda and committed cheerleader for the "deep state." Harding could do nothing more, in the face of demands for evidence, than splutter endlessly on irrelevancies and assertions that the Russians don't like us (gee, I wonder why not?!?!?). Excellent job Aaron: you are a credit to true journalism.

ParrhesiaJoe , 1 day ago

Fantastic interview. All interviews should be like this :)

leboulenoire , 1 day ago

Great to see a REAL journalist make an absolute FOOL of this story teller. Wonder why you don't see this sort of debate on the corporate media.

Gabriel Olsen , 4 hours ago

This is the best video on the Russiagate conspiracy theory I have seen all year. I wish people would remember that there is equal evidence that the US kills journalists; when you hear people say that about other countries they're clearly propagandists.

Bim Star , 1 day ago

Nailed it.

Punk Rock Kick , 3 days ago

That was awkward viewing.....but you can see why people like me in England went from buying the guardian everyday to being dismayed to see the publication have such a skewed agenda on politics that I now avoid clicking on their online articles. Basically the media here is "London thinks this, so you should too"

HorstQueck , 2 days ago

Harding is a stumbling joker, but he's right when he says that he is a storyteller..

Kathy Smith , 1 day ago

Your sign off with a plug for the propagandist book, despite his abrupt fleeing of your interview, was very civilised. Great job, I enjoyed the squirm and deflecting done by Luke. I think he was well grilled by the time he left.

Ghassan Karwchan , 16 hours ago

OMG. He totally trashed him, with politeness and class

jjbeerj , 1 day ago (edited)

17:09 "Did they do this with Donald Trump? We don't know". Interview over.

Matthew Hamann , 1 day ago

This is one of the best owns I've ever seen. Well done Aaron Mate, I now hold you in high esteem. Chorus of applause on this side of the interwebs.

Paul Shippam , 16 hours ago

Well done for not reading the whole book Aaron. I hope you didn't pay for it either. Great interview.

Avalaon Adulwulf , 20 hours ago

It should be acrime for so called Journalists to be allowed to propagate this abaloute disgraceful nonsense. The guy is talking about 1987 - a single time Trump visited Russia during the 80's. Next time he wsa there was about 5 years ago for miss universe contest. Yet this is evidence or him being a Russian puppet. Total nonsense! No, this is communists realizing Trump is a sledgehammer to their narrative. They are looking at political wilderness across the west if Trump can do what he wants to do so in desperation they attempt to drag out anything they can to keep their bs narrative going even going back almost 30 years...

jerseygrl5 , 15 hours ago

Well, that's one book I won't be adding to my "Need to read" list.

tim measures , 4 days ago

thank Aaron mate this guy is just a fiction writer

Joel Rodriguez , 16 hours ago

Oh please, that is the best that guy had, read my book? The notion that russia influenced voters is absurd.

Auguste Comte , 4 days ago (edited)

Just to be clear: Russia hacked both DNC and Macron emails, and released them, mixed with false information, in a disinformation campaign. The DNC emails became source of conspiracy on facebook. Macron emails were never allowed to be published in any form.

joe564357 , 1 day ago

"Do you have any evidence that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election or colluded with Trump?" "I can see Russia from my house!!!!"

joe564357 , 1 day ago

"I'm a journalist and a storyteller." Storyteller, yeah. Journalist, no.

his202 class , 4 days ago

When subjected to some skepticism, Harding's assertions collapse into vague "because the intel agencies told us" nonsense. Hats off to Aaron for knocking down the Russia hysteria once again.

Nick Mando , 4 days ago

It is like Project Veritas only on an international level. Disinformation 101. Also the author clearly has a personal vendetta against Russia.

AP CreativesLDN , 4 days ago (edited)

This man is Luke Harding he is owned by the British Conservative Friends of Israel. The biggest lobbyist in Britain. Nice try... Next!

godkingofspace , 4 days ago

Pretty embarrassing interview with this British guy... When he gives that snarky "oh too bad you didnt read the book.." line i really wanted to hear the interveiwer say "Oh its really too bad you didnt think to memorize one fact about the subject your being interveiwed about..."

Chris Ramsbottom Isherwood , 1 day ago

Check Mate!

teronnie richardson , 4 days ago

I see y'all trying to discredit him

Julie Rowan-Zoch , 1 day ago

Great work, Aaron. Thank you.

Mari Ma Cheri , 3 days ago

How Aaron kept a straight face, I don't know. He looked like he was going to laugh a time or two because of the absurdity of this Luke guy.

Drago Varsas , 1 day ago

What bollocks. The guardian has become less than toilet paper lately anyway.

Libby Arndt , 6 hours ago

Now he leans on whether Aaron has read the whole book or not. I know I won't read it, as the man as not said a convincing word in the entire interview.

izamugginzweebopalaba , 14 hours ago (edited)

Russiagate is a conspiracy theory. Let's be frank. It presupposes it's conclusion and finds circumstantial and hearsay evidence to support it. "Collusion-rejectionist" Mate points this out time and time again (not only to this guy) and this guy says 'go talk to people; the russians do things this way; everybody knows; you are a fringe character for not agreeing' - it just doesn't hold water. No doubt Trump has shady deals with Russians among others. The idea that such a buffoon been cultivated since the mid-80s by the KGB as a Manchurian Candidate wouldn't make for a plausible pop spy thriller plot - maybe a good satire of one, however.

lapsus5 , 1 day ago

I hope this fucker's factless conspiracy theory stops people from buying his shitty book.

crushsatan , 4 days ago

sounds like this guy just wrote his book off of watching the news.

maskedavenger777 , 4 days ago (edited)

Oh as if we don't have kleptocracy here in the States. And the assassination of Seth Richards is no where comparable to Putin's hits?

TheOldGods , 1 day ago

Omg this guy is unreal! Good job Aaron and thank you Real News for exposing frauds like this poophead

Se Lu , 4 days ago

Isn't it the authors job to sell his book rather than demand that the interviewer must have read it from cover to cover to question him?

Jen V , 1 day ago

OMG is Purim a former KGB agent? I had no clue😂😂 why did Putin quit the KGB? I bet he won't address that or tell the truth there, right?

Hello, Jerk! , 1 day ago

"Have you heard of Estonia?"

sinisa majetic , 4 days ago

Omg this was fun. Btw, we can all agree that Pyutin made Luke to wrote that idiotic book just to toss a doubt how he did not collude with Tryump, because there's no limit of his cunningness.

danmcc22 , 3 days ago

Luke's stories, just like the whole collusion theme, is a nothing burger left out of the fridge too long. So now it stinks and needs to be thrown in the garbage where it belongs.

allgoo19 , 3 days ago

He probably published the book half cooked just for the best timing of the sale. Maybe they need a better guests? This doesn't prove anything that Trump is clear of the allegation.. Far from it. Probe will continue.

Noosejunkie , 4 days ago

Crappiest interview ever. You don't read the book and then you spout your pre-conceived notions of the its subject matter. Cherry on top, with a pro-Trump bias.

nicolas grey , 4 days ago

He obviously didn't bother to read the book , why bother to interview the guy ? They are talking past each other , if he had read the book they could have had a descent debate . This is as bad a Fox News segment . Terrible .

Geoff Whyte , 3 days ago

Absolutely nothing in 28 mins to justify writing a book with evidently a faceless title.

red fury91 , 4 days ago

This clown only response is to stammer and stutter until the regurgitated corporate propaganda eventually spews out of his mouth with very very little confidence lol

Farero Lobos , 8 hours ago (edited)

21:11 Deripaska sits at the right hand of Putin?! Please, I beg you pardon.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48Kk7kobMQY

G. , 13 hours ago (edited)

This conspiracist has not listened to Putin speak. If he had, he would not be painting such a one-dimensional, comic book character of him. Can we please move on from such naively simplistic analyses of global power structures? Any leader unable to manage Intelligence is at the mercy of a Deep State -- as we have learned time and again in the US. Before cheerleading for World War, start by watching some of the hours and hours of footage showing Putin engaging deeply with citizens and world leaders. Try critiquing that. Maybe learn some history.

jacqueline thomson , 1 day ago

In watching the video interview it is obvious this 'Journalist' has his own Personal Agenda regarding Putin and wants to get Putin any which way he can even if it means lying to the America People. He is no true journalist. Great Interviewer!

ano nymous , 3 days ago

Great interview. The stories this guy keeps making up because of lack of evidence is jaw-dropping.

freespeech_zone , 4 days ago (edited)

The more I hear "experts" push this stupid Russia-phobic conspiracy theory the less I believe it...This is why I like the Real news and you're worth supporting. You haven't fallen for the mainstream narrative... There are many legitimise things to criticise Trump on. The Trump-Russia conspiracy theory is NOT one of them.

Patricia Leary , 4 days ago (edited)

Opposition Research on oligarch Hillary and Don Jr goes to find out what they've got. That's it? We already know that the DNC emails were an inside job and subsequent DNC coverup to blame Russia. We KNOW that (see VIPs report on consortium.) Stop blaming Russia! Luke Harding is a delusional red-baiting Russophobe. Were I the Guardian, I would sack him! He's an embarrassment! Don't buy his book!

Andi Amador , 4 days ago

Hillary's rush to threaten military action toward Russia over leaked/hacked DNC e-mails, which simply exposed some of their corruption during the Democratic primary process, likely did more to further harm her chances in the general election than any memes or any efforts by anybody else. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz_dZ2SlPgw

Yuri muckraker , 4 days ago

aaron mate! thank you for putting this Guardian hack into account! brilliant stuff! once more the Real News is exceeding my expectations, this was superb journalism and holding the media gatekeepers an extension of the establishment into account.

No Way , 4 days ago

Luke kinda had his mind made up prior to setting up this interview. Russian collusion? IDK, but let's just see what turns up. Mueller's already indicted some people. The issue with the Russia investigation is the excitement over it on both sides. Everyone needs to just lay back and let it happen regardless of how you feel. Close your eyes and think of England, and maybe something comes out of it. I would rather we were investigating how we got into Iraq and the abuses that happened after we invaded, but no one should be opposed to an investigation where people have already been indicted. Media pushing the war with Russia narrative are being silly, but the same with media saying we shouldn't investigate anything about this. ON the left we also shouldn't expect too much to come from this. Great if we can use this investigation to get Trump out of office for something; if not, useful political theater if the Dems would just recognize the importance of that.

HighFieldLux , 2 days ago

Aaron is hot!

Peter Lermann , 4 days ago

How fair to give him a platform. Will you invite Alex Jones next? How about some flat earthers? ahh right, it's only ok when it's mainstream conspiracy theory, sorry, totally forgot

DootDoot , 4 days ago (edited)

Aaron challenges Russia assertion : Guy goes onto tell some story how he lived there and he just knows "Believe him" Because he lived in Russia for 4 years... ??????????? Goes to assert further... Aaron responds.. "proof" Response to that "Well the history from the 1970's.... " PROOOOOF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Look. I am fine with the fact that Russia might have interfered with the election. JUST GIVE ME SOME FUCKING PROOF. Until then? Fuck off... There are real problems to deal with.

Robert , 4 days ago

LOL I loved Mate's performance in this interview. He totally flipped the script on this crackpot realist. He felt like a dissenting person feels on MSM, if they ever bother to have one on.

Jode Ville , 4 days ago

The collusion is with Israel.

John Mastroligulano , 1 day ago (edited)

Telling how this "person" being interviewed spouts of a word like empirical when it comes to an accusation with no supporting evidence so to him if you are accused of something that in itself is empirical evidence?=horse shit propagandist no offense to horses. He first won't accept there is no proof but when asked what the proof is he starts talking about his personal feelings as if they are proof(superiority complex).

ozwhistles , 4 days ago (edited)

So? The "real" news is now doing book-promos? Shame on you - this is unmitigated garbage. (edit: after watching the whole article, I'm still not satisfied. The problem with a public "hatchet-job" is you give oxygen to your "victim" and get seen with a hatchet in your hand. That does not look good. And in your victim's dying breaths, he will plant a curse on you via those who saw you with the hatchet. Sun Tzu warns us to not give your enemy no-way-out .. your forces are no match to those fighting for their very lives. It is abundantly clear from the actual evidence that the 2016 election was willfully lost by Hillary Clinton, not won by Trump. This is a result of Clinton being high in the cluster-B spectrum -she gets sexual pleasure from torture and ugly death [Qaddafi] - whereas, Trump is lower on the spectrum: not a sociopath/psychopath, but clearly a narcissist bordering on malignant. And I pause to add that probably ALL global leaders are on the cluster-B spectrum of personality disorder. The thing you have to know about cluster-B in this context, is that those within the cluster-B are outside of normal social influence, such as "honey-traps" etc, because they lack the compassion link to empathy - i.e. they do not respond to the tools which work on healthy humans and tend to only respond to their own "world-view" in which the entire universe is composed of themselves. Next: I tried to influence the US election by donating to Sanders - so who is investigating the Australian "collusion" .. gimme a break - we all wanted Sanders. Clinton gave us the choice of a sociopath against a narcissist - and we chose the narcissist. And there he is doing the work he was made to do - to destroy the entire world-order so we can, at least, start over. With Clinton - we all knew - it was lights-out for all of us. At least with trump, the game is still in play. The lesser of evils. SO stop giving gas to the commercial-distractionists - they are remnants of the lights-out brigade who are eating, drinking, and being merry, because tomorrow, they intend to die .. the self-condemned. And none of them asked me, or any of the others who would like to see life continue. The whole thing disgusts me - dust your feet and leave the show - the finale is not worth sticking around for.)

MsTree1 , 4 days ago (edited)

PS: NSA is currently monitoring, downloading and repeatedly viewing some of our children for "security reason" ... Youth who are legally earning a living in the US as porn stars on the net in order to eat, get an education pay student loan debt and survive in a nation which gives little F about providing the true security realized via the the provision of privacy, organic food from local heritage seed, pure potable H2O, clean air, access to free Integrated Medicine, free and equal education and a comfortable roof over their heads, NOT based on how much potential they have to move money for the corporatist-elite or the ethnicity of their forefathers. How low will, WE stoop? @TheRealNews Pathetic

Tony Smith , 3 days ago

Not Israeli collusion then?

Mr. Agnew , 4 days ago

That guy wants a war with Russia

Mr. Agnew , 4 days ago

The funny thing is usa/russia tied havent gotten better at all but are even worse than obamas time

Yarrski , 3 days ago

the little liar got HAD

Platewarp , 18 hours ago

Hillary lost because most Americans despise her not because of Russian hackers.

Dan , 4 days ago

Aaron Mate that was absolutely BRILLIANT!!! You picked his bullshit story apart. Another journalist making money on Russiagate. I can't believe I called him a journalist. Bill Binney has already solved the hacking issue....lets move on. Awesome interview. Keep up the great work...I bow to you.

Zedwoman , 11 hours ago

Luke Harding is pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

G shawponee , 1 day ago

I've never heard of the interviewer needing to read the book before interviewing the author? Isn't it the author's "job" to plug his own book and inform the viewers of its contents? It's really obvious that Harding had nothing to counter with- it was awkward to watch as his Russian gate conspiracy fell to shit. Great job Mate!

Ahmad Reza Haj Saeedi , 4 days ago

Good journalism by Aaron. Thanks!

Robin Jagoda , 1 day ago

Ugh. Another opportunistic "journalist" trying to capitalize on Russia panic (PUTIN!). Great interview. You gave him plenty of time and room to make his case, and he just couldn't seem to defend his position.

Aniket Ghosh , 3 days ago

"Look, I'm a storyteller!"

Bryan Hemming , 18 hours ago

The Guardian was once a respectable news outlet. It both saddens and angers me that journalists such as Luke Harding and Shaun Walker, neither of whom seem to have any real grasp on the subjects they cover, are touted by The Guardian as leading experts on Putin and Russia. Almost as embarrassing as anger-making.

Bob Cicisly , 4 days ago

;)). :)) ;)):))

Ian Brown , 1 day ago (edited)

Sadly typical of what the Guardian has become. This reminds me why I can't read it anymore, just too much bullshit and innuendo sold off as fact. Good work, Aaron.

Cygnus X-321 , 3 days ago

Aaron: "Are you inferring that because two Russians used a smiley face that's proof that Manafort's associate was a tool of the Russian government?" 20:23 . HaHaHa!!! I don't miss Louis CK anymore. This is the goddamn funniest shit ever!

Cygnus X-321 , 3 days ago (edited)

Donald Trump just authorized the sale of sophisticated weapons to Ukraine. This ensures that fighting will intensify on Russia's border. We can thank Russia conspiracy theorists like Rachel Maddow, Marcy Wheeler and Luke Harding for providing a media environment that enabled/pushed Trump to move in this direction. Mission accomplished, propagandists! World War 3 in 2018?

fkujakedmyname , 4 days ago (edited)

the only collusion i saw in 2016 was rothschild zionazis, saudi arabia, isis, israhell,Fox msnbc cnn trump, and clinton against bernie sanders and the people

wilson lawson , 3 days ago (edited)

''Kind of, sort of....air quotes...sort of...'' If Trump colluded with anyone it was Netanyahu and other ultra nationalist Zionists inside Washington and Tel Aviv. It certainly is not in the interests of America to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And who is Gerard Kushner batting for? America...or Israel?

wilson lawson , 3 days ago (edited)

I just discovered theRealNews recently and they're certainly not a fake news echo chamber... impressive.

David Hanks , 1 day ago

"Not sure if that was intentional or not ..." hahaha owned

danny j , 4 days ago

This Harding hack is a perfect example of why The Guardian - a once proudly liberal publication - has become another neoliberal propaganda rag. He also wrote articles cheering ISIL in Syria, literally comparing them to the Republican Brigade who went to Spain to fight against the Franco Fascists in Spain in the 1930s.

Shan Ri Ha , 4 days ago

This guy is a goose.

Shan Ri Ha , 4 days ago

No, "you don't have to just take a look", this is more BULLSHIT for book sales. No way Russia colluded in the election, no hacking either. This Russia story was thought up by Podesta back in 2015. Peace

hoodiewoman louisiana , 4 days ago

He's playing "5 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon." So profound.

hoodiewoman louisiana , 4 days ago

"I'm a writer & I once lived in Russia so I have to be right!" AND he says, "I'm a storyteller." Well, that's the problem. Storytelling is also a synonym for lying.

Neil Mason , 4 days ago

This guy lives in a fairy tale land! STFU!

Philip Hall , 1 hour ago

Good job

Peter Smith , 1 hour ago

Aaron, Brilliant journalism. Well done sir that was a masterclass that should be studied in every journalism school across the globe.

lcrooks69 , 1 hour ago

wow. luke harding is a complete and utter moron. never thought a brit could make a british accent synonymous with stupidity.

Alexis Porter , 2 hours ago

That so-called journalist was so obviously bereft of facts and wore his blatant biases proudly. That kind of crap might play well on MSM shows, but doesn't work very well with a well-informed and neutral interviewer. Well done. "Collusion"? Maybe "My Cold War Fantasy World" would have been a better title for his book.

mysterbee06 , 3 hours ago

Excellent interviewer, disappointing interviewee. Harding's red herrings, guilt by association, appeals to "context," and repeated well-poisoning do not constitute *evidence*.

Kniteknite23A , 3 hours ago (edited)

@ 23:27 What is this "essentially a lie, kind of untrue" ? lol and "Now We know that...made... allegedly from kind of His activities..."and how does this schmuck expect to sell any books advertising it like this, unless His target group is 17-24 year old niblits.I almost forgot 30 is the new 20. Keep on talking and eventually Your mouth will come out with stuff. Silly~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NS7Gkv4NNA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP0sqRMzkwo bonus~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJVROcKFnBQ

Abhishek Agarwal , 3 hours ago

It is because of these journalists is why I believe journalism is no longer a professional of finding and presenting the truth. It's more of floating around a narrative to serve the interests of their masters

MISTERASMODEUS , 4 hours ago

Brilliant and adversarial, yet respectful. Difficult combination to defeat.

hoochymama , 5 hours ago

Subscribed. Amazing job by the interviewer.

Angel O , 6 hours ago

Subscribed!

Evan Schulz , 6 hours ago

MI6 not sending their best.

Bob Boldt , 8 hours ago

The disturbing thing about this interview is Luke Harding not only is unable to respond to Aaron's request for evidence but he doesn't even seem to understand that his conclusions are based on surmise and implications gleamed from irrelevant material. I have to assume Harding has had some education in the journalistic rules of evidence, at least enough to land a prestigious job with the Guardian. And yet he is not only unable to submit forensic evidence of collusion between Trump and Putin but he doesn't seem to understand what would be required to actually identify that evidence to make his case. I have to assume the book only relies on inference and innuendo to establish its case: Putin is a bad man who will resort to anything to achieve his ends, hence he is guilty of resorting to any means to influence a Trump victory. This kind of "evidence" only goes to motivation and says nothing about ability or opportunity. (two of the three linchpins of circumstantial evidence. Of course this kind of shoddy thinking is nearly endemic today among not only journalists and pundits, who ought to know better, but also among the general public (most of my friends in particular). This epidemic is so vast and persistent that I am afraid it will only be staunched by a thermonuclear war. "We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." George Orwell

Toni Feldstein Chicago Luxury Real Estate , 10 hours ago

Clearly no compelling, unbiased evidence yet.

DeNeice Kenehan , 10 hours ago

Maybe Aaro Mate can read the rest of the book when he stops laughing.

Nan Bread , 10 hours ago

This guy is Mr Word Salad, Aaron really twists his balls in the best possible way. What a pathetic shill, you can tell this idiot works for the Guardian. "Where is the evidence of collusion?" "Putin is bad." "Yes but where is the evidence?" "Estonia, France, my friends died, Putin is bad." "Where's the evidence?" "Putin is bad." Idiot.

Allan Ewart , 11 hours ago

https://medium.com/@Scifiscreen/presscoin-the-voice-of-sanity-in-a-world-of-chaos-71176010477f

John Barker , 11 hours ago

The interviewee is lost in his fantasy world, and patronizing at that.

Johnny Maudlin , 11 hours ago

It's ironic that Mate presents himself (by virtue of the association implied with Real News) as somehow different from the (again implied) not-so-real news and then pursues a pretty familiar "gotcha" approach to this interview. Mate appears more interested in proving himself correct with his skepticism rather than at all curious about the author's point of view as it applies to his work. This is more of the Same News I think. Or at least the same games that talking heads favour. Mate, in addition, seems very amused with himself. That's hardly productive to anyone interested in learning something about the author or the author's premise.

Stars Die , 13 hours ago

Wow, this guy really doesn't have much. Surprised he wrote a book out of this stuff.

mitrovdan , 13 hours ago

17:58 , BINGO...Maté strikes.

Alex Bakaev , 13 hours ago (edited)

I love how Aaron is making this guy squirm with simple, logical questions. Taking the guest's own advice, he should venture out into the reality world out of his book's bubble. The icing on the cake is when the guest starts (around 8 minute mark) flailing his arms like a monkey in a zoo, to the delight of children observing the animal.

sugarhigh4242 , 14 hours ago

No offense to my Estonian friends, but Harding using them as an example of the broader hacking trend seems bullshitty to me. I don't think any leftists skeptical of the Russiagate narrative would say that Russia doesn't hack, or Russia doesn't attempt to influence foreign elections. But if you're going to say that Russia has the capacity to do it in the USA, showing they did it in France or Germany would be a decent analog, Estonia (formerly occupied by the USSR and in Russia's sphere of geopolitical influence) is not. Am I missing something?

Soft Insubordination , 15 hours ago

I had no idea "rejectionist" was a real term. I'm going to continue to live in a world where it's not a real term.

Charles W R , 16 hours ago

Folks, this is a garbage production, no better than S Bannon or S Miller products. Trash this video.

Charles W R , 16 hours ago

It is NOT about Donald Trump. It is about USA and the foundational principles of our democracy. IF there is even a small chance that the formation of our government is influenced by the forces from a hostile nation, this IS the problem. Go to hell Aaron Mate. Idiot Aaron, go to Russia and meet and the HR activists and see what the country is truly like before you interview, mofo idiot Aaron Mate

Charles W R , 16 hours ago

TRNN and Aaron Mate, this is Alt-Right channel.

adammontana9 , 16 hours ago

Great job Aaron

steven bones , 16 hours ago

bullshit beyound belief.

Ardavon Yazdi , 16 hours ago

Even if Putin directly helped trump get elected using his own personal computer, these ppl are gonna fuck up proving it up tripping all over themselves with adolescent anticipation and opportunism

peterboy sonicat , 17 hours ago

Sounds like the Brits are stirring the pot, bringing the Russian 'axis of evil' back into the mix. Think.. Did we ever have US sovereignty? What really happened back in 1775? Maybe the US is just the military arm of the UK and is still hell bent on achieving global domination after all. And the US has been annexed by them all along. Why else is this Brit demanding that the Russians are still a cold war enemy when Trump obviously has nothing against them? I'm having serious questions as to the strategic alliance and geopolitical relationship we have with Britain because of this guy's views. That being said, there may well have been collusion by the Russians to help Trump get into office. But that alone, still doesn't prove Russia the 'axis of evil' or anything near to being our enemy. It's about global domination. The NWO remember? The Brits/Rothschild banking cartel have been hell bent for it for centuries. Russia? Not so much.

John Kelleher , 17 hours ago

Mr. Harding is definitely having a hard time finding any collusion and he wrote the book on it!? Instead of addressing our unfair, closed and black box elections we waste time on a guy who can't seem to form a coherent sentence!?

Fred Munoz , 18 hours ago (edited)

Although there may have been collusion, Russia did not help Trump win. Hillary's record helped Trump win. After learning of her speech to Wall st., it made it impossible for me to vote for her. How dare she tell them one story and tell us what she thinks we want to hear.

Denis Lee , 18 hours ago

Wow Aaron Mate. Great interview.

Frank , 18 hours ago

great interview Aaron, i also am very skeptical of the whole "Russia did it" meme. great job asking for proof, i didnt hear any either, color me not impressed with the interviewee or his hypothesis,

banjo234 , 19 hours ago

Harding's persona could not be more like Tony Blair if he was trying to do an impersonation. Trust him like you'd trust a rat in your underpants.

Andrew Ahonen , 19 hours ago

The first Cold War was a tragedy. This new one is a Farce.

Pique Dame , 20 hours ago

Manafort was a recommendation of Roger Stone, friend of Trump. Manafort and Stone had companies together since the eighties. Harding doesn't know what he is talking about.

Tellthetruth n/a , 23 hours ago

Wow, a real journalist. MSM would have covered this conspiracy theory as absolute truth. No questions asked, which is why nobody trusts them. Harding has nothing but speculation and an obvious bias. I wonder who paid him to write the book.

Nikolai Szép , 23 hours ago

what a laughable muppet!

nikita novikov , 1 day ago

That's is some grade A interviewing. Never seen an argument so thoroughly dismantled.

Jim James , 1 day ago

This guy (Harding) can't make a point.

DM R , 1 day ago

Ooh this Harding dude was squirming in his shoes. At the end, very sweatie, voice is cracking. It's impressive how he's able to lie for so long but he stayed consistent with his questioning

DM R , 1 day ago

This Harding guy is a silly man. Grow up and get some integrity and speak the truth

damenji , 1 day ago

Harding do you still believe in Santa Claus, show us the evidence you tool!

Kevin Schmidt , 1 day ago

Given Harding's long chain of illogical arguments in this interview, I suspect his four year stint in Russia was heavily influenced by Russian vodka, from which he has yet to recover.

Najat Madry , 1 day ago

proper journalism

texshelters , 1 day ago

That included a lot of criticism of Russia and Putin for a supposed Russian controlled new out let. Again, there is no direct evidence of collusion and no evidence that Russia cost Clinton the election

PJ Authur , 1 day ago

I can see both sides. I want the evidence, but can see strong links...

Syncopator , 1 day ago (edited)

The guy's got nothing. I'd love to see some real proof but this guy is equivocating at every turn. Re: the "France hacks" he says it was "inconclusive" but due to a laundry list of unrelated other examples of Russians possibly doing some nefarious stuff he's willing to accept it as a fact. That is not what I would call "empirical." "Muckraking" would be a better term...

John Keown , 1 day ago

this poor conspiracy author was depthcharged by this artfull and rather demeaning interviewer. it demonstrates the need to be able to back claims unless they are presented as theories. I have not read this book but apparently claims were made as"common knowledge" that could not be supported by "empiracle data". this also points out why no massive claims have been announced by Mueller's team. all conclusions must be backed by solid data. I believe one would be naive to conclude anything from this interview except that claims made in this book are not supported by accepteddata -- yet.

poofendorf , 1 day ago

By "collusion" he means smiley faces.

Lee Lull , 1 day ago

Much like the circular arguments put forth by the pro Hillary anti Stein people. No matter how much you request the EVIDENCE they keep repeating suspicion, someone said, everyone knows....and CANNOT produce any evidence....and do not understand how that type of response is acutely reminiscent of Joe McCarthy waving of the paper with those names...one never gots to see.

BlackTalkRadio , 1 day ago

On the allegation of Russian meddling in the French election, if I remember correctly, it was not Putin who cut a campaign video ad for one of the candidates, I remember correctly, it was Obama who cut a campaign ad for the French Candidate who won.

Kay Donnelly , 1 day ago

He doesn't prove collusion . Lol

lapsus5 , 1 day ago

This was a great interview. Thank you.

guttural truth , 1 day ago (edited)

Aaron, you fucking badass. Really top notch interview, brilliantly done.

R.V. Scheide Jr. , 1 day ago

Should have just said you're a speed reader, Aaron.

R.V. Scheide Jr. , 1 day ago

Is he a journalist or a story teller? Those can be two different things.

R.V. Scheide Jr. , 1 day ago

Nice job Aaron, not caving to the Russophobic Guardian writer.

Terry P , 1 day ago

The reason mainstream media focuses on Russia is because of ratings but it is a huge nothing burger. No proof no real connections and all the "smoking guns" turned out to be cigarette lighters and the lamestream never retracts it or anything just goes on like all is well. Good to see some journalistic integrity. The author was making a leap from "He's a repressive dictator ao he must be guilty" with no evidence at all.

garyweglarz , 1 day ago (edited)

Excellent interview Aaron. Crushed it. Your guest has 28 minutes to make at least one salient point and he is unable to do that. Wow! However, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the next Russiagate shill to consent to an interview with you though Aaron. Just saying! :) :) PS - Oh, darn, I forgot and gave you the secret code of two Emoji smilies! Drats!

Matt Styles , 1 day ago (edited)

*slow clap*

Sear Tactical , 1 day ago (edited)

Luke Harding talks like he presumes all the rest of us just fell off the turnip truck 10 minutes ago. Uh... yeah dude... we DO know the history of the KGB and FSB, and yeah dude, we know about "honey pots" and that KGB and _______________________ (fill in Intel agency of your choice____) did them too... for... oh... lets see... a few centuries anyway. So what are you trying to sell? You constantly keep using past circumstance as "proof" when it is no such thing. You would get thrown out of a court for that... and ANYONE capable of critical thinking knows, all you are selling is "LOGICAL FALLACIES". Hey... I don't dispute that you will surely sell copies of your book to low information Kool Aid drinkers (You going to cite THAT as proof that your book is "true" now as well?)

MarStoryTime , 1 day ago

Of course he just left the conversation at the end. A complete fraud.

AttnJack , 1 day ago

That was painful and hilarious!

Song Mozart , 1 day ago

Is there any empirical evidence of Trump/Putin collusion in this fairy tale? Lol Why does Luke insist we read this without providing real, objective evidence? He expects us to just take his and his "sources'" word for it?

AD T , 1 day ago

Harding is so full of BS... good to see him being massacred. Good job!

mrtriffid , 1 day ago

Re-watching this interview, I'm absolutely astounded by the vacuity and ridiculous attempts on the part of Harding to misdirect the conversation at the same time that he tries to prop up his own credibility. This is literally a primer in the 'art' of Imperialist/careerist 'journalism.'

Nhoj737 , 1 day ago

Why H.R.C. 'lost'? "And it's deadly. Doubtless, Crosscheck delivered Michigan to Trump who supposedly "won" the state by 10,700 votes. The Secretary of State's office proudly told me that they were "very aggressive" in removing listed voters before the 2016 election. Kobach, who created the lists for his fellow GOP officials, tagged a whopping 417,147 in Michigan as potential double voters." http://www.gregpalast.com/trump-picks-al-capone-vote-rigging-investigate-federal-voter-fraud/

Song Mozart , 1 day ago

"Did they (Putin and Russia) do this with Donald Trump? We don't know."

Nhoj737 , 1 day ago

"it's opportunistic it's very often 04:45 pretty low-budget the kind of hacking 04:47 operation to hack the Democratic Party 04:49 was done by two separate groups of kind 04:52 of Kremlin hackers probably not owning 04:54 kind of huge sums of money and and so 04:58 some of it is kind of improvisational 05:00 the most important thing is that you you 05:02 have people with access which in this . . . " Wikileaks hacked the Democratic Party?

Greg Van , 1 day ago

The author who's own research is clearly dubious was chomping at the possibility of the host not reading the book. This man is made of straw.

Sleepy Alligator , 1 day ago

The lengths they go to take attention off of the content of the leaks.

godisgood603 , 1 day ago

Just outed himself, he has absolutely nothing, NADA, what a complete money grabbing douchbag. A TOTAL FAKE

Green Energy , 1 day ago

Luke Harding is a tool

Green Energy , 1 day ago

Oregon's Democrats vote for and support attacks on our civil liberties, love the emergence of censorship in social media and the press, vote for the criminalization of protest, vote for the militarization of police and the unconstitutional massive expansion of the surveillance state. Democrats Hate All Life on Mother Earth. Love torture. Love Killing millions of brown folk overseas. Democrats are steamy piles of Horse Manure. Republicans & Democrats are criminal organizations and are EVIL and war for profit groups; they do the bidding of foreign dictators before they listen to the American People. http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

Green Energy , 1 day ago

Hi NRDC; I have made many monetary contributions to your organization. You are evoking the fear of Trump in this year end fund drive. Fighting against Trump is a democratic stance. Democrats cheated Bernie Sanders and gave us Trump; both parties are corrupt and enemies of all life on earth. Your organization is used for politics chiefly. I will find organizations to donate to that are for the people, not war and corruption and not run by selected leaders picked for their political powers and hate of common man and that actually love Mother earth. Politics is 100% lies and that makes you guys liars and cheats just like the democrats. Oregon Green Energy

Paulo Machado , 1 day ago

Hahahahah. One would expect a journalist/writer, who earns a living writing articles, to be a bit more, ahem, articulate. What a fool!

Song Mozart , 1 day ago

Harding, show us the evidence. If you had any real, objective evidence, you would all want to share it. You have shared NOTHING. None of you Russia-gaters share anything other than circumstantial. Nobody who is "skeptical," or who uses logic and critical thinking skills has ever said Russia and Putin weren't shady and oppressive, but that is not the argument.

Song Mozart , 1 day ago

You have to believe in fairy tales. Harding would have earned an F in my class.

Lloyd Succes , 1 day ago

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Glad that Aaron took Luke to task.

Danny White , 1 day ago

Ah- when something you claim to be true is actually inconclusive, it becomes "contextual". Got it.

00Billy , 1 day ago

crushing book sales in 30mins.

Ken Javor , 1 day ago (edited)

Why on Earth isn't Mueller investigating radical democrats for embezzling taxpayer money for the Climate Change hoax? Maybe Mueller needs to be investigated for fraud and collusion with North Korea and Iran.

Natural Theist , 1 day ago

Excellent job of interviewing! Actually asked important questions, unlike the way mainstream media simply parrots propaganda.

John Pagoto , 1 day ago

Nice job of keeping this insane relentlessly endless narrative of Russian's changing the election in any meaningful way. This is McCarthyism the modern day Maddowism. It's all mainstream wants to talk about. Meanwhile in real life: 1) The majority of the population doesn't have $500 in the bank to cover emergencies. 2) The War Machine continues to ramp up to epic levels 3) The USA continues to employ their regime change diplomacy 4) The Life Expediency in the USA is going down. Opiod's largely to blame 5) The USA is not even in the top ten among providing Quality Healthcare 6) The USA is Number ONE in passing on the HIGHEST COST Healthcare I could go, on it's exhausting....

Grant Jarvis , 1 day ago

Breath of fresh air. A journalist actually questions his interviewee.

Raphael Bernard , 2 days ago (edited)

This man is delusional there is no evidence of any collusion why is RealNews interviewing this hack...watch Aaron Mate show this hack up. The Guardian is a right wing rag now don't follow it end any association with them. Aaron Mate well done.

Buddy Lee , 2 days ago

The DNC/Hillary corruption was revealed in the emails and they have successfully distracted the public with a the dangerous fabrication of Russia collusion when the conversation should be about the corruption of the democratic process. There are too many complicit media and politicians so willing to go along with it but thankfully most Americans are awake to the scheme.

Ad year3 , 2 days ago

In order to read the book I would have to buy the book, get it? An author should be able to articulate their main arguments in an interview. The emoticons colluding was disturbing though.

Alien Robot , 2 days ago (edited)

If you ask for actual facts of collusion you are a 'collusion rejectionist'. Hillarious. Harding is a 'collusion conspiracy theorist'. Harding throws in the murder of Litvinenko as if this, in any way, relates to the US election. It doesn't. Yes, Russian, US and Israeli Intelligence kill people regularly for political reasons. Do I need to give Luke Harding a history lesson? The smiley face emoticon issue, which Harding tried to swerve away from, shows the level of journalistic quality Harding delivers. Harding deals in smear, supposition and innuendo to sell books. The misleading cover and title show his journalistic credibility. He actually raised as evidence of collusion, that Trump wasn't rude to Putin in interviews. Is he serious? What a hack writer. As a side note, the CIA wrote the book in interfering in other country's elections and governments. This indignation is a joke. If this is true they finally got some of their own back. See how it feels?

John Smith , 2 days ago (edited)

For the record, this is what these people sound like on Tucker Carlson, too. Tucker had Adam Schiff on and subjected him to real questions rather than the head-nodding interviews Schiff is used to. Needless to say, Schiff hasn't been on Tucker Carlson's show since. Pretty soon they'll start calling people skeptical of the evidence provided thus far "collusion deniers".

John Smith , 2 days ago

Noted right-wing hack Jeremy Scahill has it exactly right. This guy Harding is just an opportunist who knows what the audience wants. And he knows that 99% of the people who cite the book will never read beyond the cover; in fact, he's counting on it. Expect the rest of his little book tour to look like this: CNN, NPR, BBC, The Young Turks, The David Pakman Show (tee hee), Huff Po etc etc

psychanaut , 2 days ago

*You really should have read the book though. You could have seen that coming a mile away. Why give him the out? Read the book before you attempt to trap someone with it. You should still marry me though.

psychanaut , 2 days ago

whoever this Aarons guy is: 1/ you should be my husband 2/wonderful interviewing process

Nimo Ali , 2 days ago

Harding threw all the red herrings he could find! Just because the man has a British accent doesnt make him above scrutiny. Remember Louise Mensch? This was the sum (or scam) of all fears: the Cold War , "repressive regime, "opposition crackdown" ,Soviet KGB, throw in bits of Russian words.This was funny & painful at the same time. I nearly fell off my chair when Aaron said "emoticons", that part was kinda surreal.Talk to my friends! Go to Russia! I lived in Russia! I talked to the opposition! I speak Russian! I thought he was gonna add: my best friends are Russian! My wife is Russian!Niding is right Luke wasnt prepapred at all.Was it me or was Luke perspiring because he was struggling? Why was he throwing air quotes? Thanks Aaron!

Lola Lee , 2 days ago

Brutal interview and painful to watch. I never believed in the Trump/Russia collusion fake narrative. It doesn't exist. It was made up (FBI insurance policy) against Trump.

Terrence Alford , 2 days ago

Great job Aaron to hold this author's feet to the fire and discredit his conclusions of Trump/Russian collusion. I hate Trump and would love to see him kicked out of office, but this Russia-gate conspiracy theory so far has no legs and this author is a posture kid for this nonsense.

David Thompson , 2 days ago (edited)

The author repeatedly returns to his talking points when challenged for evidence to support his assertions. This is how ALL INTERVIEWS SHOULD BE CONDUCTED. And the claim that the interviewer had to read the whole book to rightly ask for evidence to support assertions is utterly ridiculous.

Ae Rein , 2 days ago

Inspiring work Aaron. Luke had to be thinking "Bugger off, asking for facts"-LOL

William Huston , 2 days ago

OMG! GREAT JOB!! by Aaron Maté, holding this guy's feet to the fire.

Vicki Kennedy , 2 days ago

Delusional, he has no evidence just hearsay. Just another Bolshevik

Juan Hdez. Vigueras , 2 days ago

This is a very biased interview. Mueller will tell the last word on Russia meddling Trump campaign. But you can not question the content of a book you had not read in advance as this young man does. I have followed the issue from the beginning in CNN and other media and I have read the book Collusion, which is worth reading, very informative about. So this debate lead me think this "journalist" may be paid by FSB/Putin.

nicolas grey , 2 days ago

I would say if you are going to critique the Christian idea of God it's essential you read the bible if you are going to do it in any meaningful way . I take it you also have not read the book . This is like debate climate denailists, it's the same tatic , they take some data and misrepresent it to prove an ideological point . What I don't understand is why . And that goes to my first point , why even bother debate it at all ? You say he offered no proof , but he was just defending matte attachs , which if you look into it, are not that credible either . If he thought he was going to debunk all the claims made in the book, he should of read it, as he just looks stupid . But if you have not read it either, it's easy to agree with him, as it's not a genuine debate .

Goberto Angela , 2 days ago

Another Libtard bites the dust, grand claims of collusion without the necessary proof. Going all the way back the 80' and 90' to justify hearsay. This libtard should be put in jail for defamation and slander for not have enough proof for those claims.

lxathos , 2 days ago

hehe.........

paganmaestro , 2 days ago

Luke's book is already discounted, being peddled for barely half of its list price. The man is a fraud with an anti-Putin vendetta he's trying to settle.

Act1veSp1n , 2 days ago

Luke uses CIA operation, opposition Navalny as a legitimate source....facepalm.

Bobby Cesspool , 2 days ago

His entire argument is a gish gallop fallacy......... They're throwing dozens of accusations at Trump, all of them individually weak arguments. If thier were actual fire, they wouldn't need all of the smoke & mirrors.

Act1veSp1n , 2 days ago

Russian KGB sent me here :)

Bobby Cesspool , 2 days ago

Well done.

Robert Kettering , 2 days ago

Dem Party media collusion.

roman brandle , 2 days ago

It seems (opinion = fact ) in the UK , just walk around and ask ordinary Russians what they think . The tactical guilt trip as a defensive tool , when you can't answer question . This is another propagandist colluding with we're not sure who? , believe me anyway , how dare you not believe me .

sheezle3 , 3 days ago

Good job, Aaron, thanks

S.E.L. 25 , 3 days ago (edited)

Wow!!! That's the best news interview I saw in ages... calmly, respectfully but surely exposing that joke of a journalist for what he is: a fraud. Tnx Aaron!!! Keep on truckin'...

madrussian1000 , 3 days ago

Great job,Aaron! What a sleazeball this Luke character is, jee wiz!

Andre De Angelis , 3 days ago

How did this clown manage to actually write a whole book based on zero evidence?

Kokoro Wish , 3 days ago (edited)

Russia seem to have gotten almost nothing out of this Presidency. If there was something transactional going on then Russian intelligence if far more incompetent than people are being led to believe.

Joanne Leon , 3 days ago

This is how every Russiagate interview should be conducted! Bravo.

Clint Warren , 3 days ago

This is painful to watch.

Joe shawn , 3 days ago

His answer to the very first Question explains everything, is the collusion ? we have to go way back to 1987. (I thought this was during the campaign) (IGNORE THE NOISE IN THE MEDIA) if you look at it, clinton payed many millions from KGB officers to get info on trump during the campaign.

Dave Klebt , 3 days ago

or it could just be a business trip to attract a successful real estate developer to invest in their country.

DanEMO592 , 3 days ago

This needs way more views. This is amazing

dylan , 3 days ago (edited)

Aaron did such a stellar job reigning this man's charade in 10:55

Thomastine , 3 days ago

"Uh, yes yes, I understand that, but let me dither on a bit more, offering non-evidence and avoiding your questions."

g00nther , 3 days ago

What a complete fraud this guy is. This is the book version of the "Steele Dossier", just a bunch of crap telling people what they want to hear to make a quick buck. Bottom feeders.

Martin Jančar , 3 days ago

i am thinking about writing a book about that collusion :-D doesn't seem much of an effort :-D what a BS :-)

0tube0user , 3 days ago

Why are we listening? Why did you interview an englishman of questionable character and background about a case that is in investigation and has not found a single connection. This book foremost is for profit and attention for the writer's benefit. Can he produce a single documents to back his statements? My guess is no. Everything he says is hearsay and fiction. The very first question asked is redirected... always when a question is redirected you can bet it's all garbage. He's just another babbling backward British pompous bozo looking to under mind and influence US citizens of our elected president. Brits by nature are globalist. The small island has for century plagued the world with globalist ideals of using people all over the world to enrich themselves. NEVER believe a Brit unless they are speaking ills of their own country which basically has 2 classes, rich and poor.

Denver Attaway , 3 days ago (edited)

Great work Aaron. Its great to see an interview that challenges the guest to rationally explain the basis of proof for this nonsense red herring issue. Harding could not do it without clear suppositions and assumptions - no proof. The Guardian - my how its prestige has fallen.....and that guy wrote the book on the collusion and could not justify his case. That is why his feed cut out - frustration he does not encounter thru corporate media softball.

Ilfart 218 , 3 days ago

Yeah don't trust evidence. Listen to "people" they'll tell ya something shifty is going on. This damn fool is all too common.

Zina J , 3 days ago

It is far too early to write off the investigation into Russian activities in the 2016 election or dismiss how long Russian operatives will cultivate a subject (POTUS Trump). They often do not know how or where the people they cultivate will eventually end up, but they do know that they have a hook in them, for future use. It's how they've done business for decades.

Sendan , 3 days ago

It was funny how the color of his face steadily changes:) OH NET NET did I put a smile face

MrDiogenes OfElmhurst , 3 days ago (edited)

Good job nailing him, however, " Putin is not a nice person" - what kind of BS is that? Not a nice person, comparing to whom? The Russians seem to like him just fine and that's the only thing that matters.

Steve Ennever , 3 days ago

Bravo Aaron. Bravo.

artcenterjo , 3 days ago

good on you Aaron Mate!

Frodo Ring , 3 days ago (edited)

Why he loses volume in the most critical parts of the video. He says """:the level of russians at the moment @#$%@#&$%@%#^$$&@^#""""" at minute 8:05

Hagbard Celine , 3 days ago

really i cringe listening to that guy - that's how that whole bullshit story implodes when not all parties follow some scripts. thanks aaron - well done. merry xmas @ all.

TheRedsRus , 3 days ago

@14.44 he talks about steele and trusted http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-24/wife-fusion-gps-founder-admits-her-husband-was-behind-fake-russiagate-story

Leo Jansen , 3 days ago

Luke Harding talks a lot of Nonsense and which kind of secret meetings? What the Hell? He just making Money with his Book and the truth doesn´t interst him whatsover!

TheJagjr4450 , 3 days ago

ONE SINGLE PIECE OF EVIDENCE... is all we ask... ONE POSITIVE PIECE.

TheJagjr4450 , 3 days ago (edited)

HARDING has no SHAME... the fact that he can blather this moronic nonsense without laughing is mind blowing. Aaron just wants to laugh out loud so many times... Harding loves to offer salacious antidotes regarding how evil Putin is, however there is ABSOLUTELY ZERO EVIDENCE!

TheJagjr4450 , 3 days ago (edited)

**IF THIS IS AN ACT OF WAR WE MUST HAVE EVIDENCE!** DID HARDING - "the reporter" (used loosely) contact the DNC in order to find out whether they allowed the FBI to inspect or examine the servers. This is PURE PROPAGANDA... Trump's phone calls have been monitored according to retired NSA whistle blowers since 2005. If there was any conversation it would have been leaked there is absolutely NO evidence what so ever of collusion. The FBI has no evidence and STEELE has testified in court that other than Carter Page's trip to Moscow the Dossier is ENTIRELY UNVERIFIED. When the entire thing is shown to have been a hoax will this idiot retract his drivel. PREET BAHARA -Hillary donor - is the US atty who allowed the Russian Lawyer into the country.

Tony Smith , 3 days ago

Guardian have always been estb. Clinton spent $10mn on opponent research w Russian collusion

hohaia rangi , 3 days ago

As soon as he started talking about Russian hacking of DNC he lost credibility. That claim has never been proven.

HighFieldLux , 3 days ago

10:30 "I'm a storyteller." Welp.

[Dec 28, 2017] Aaron interview is a case study of how to deal with the author of a shitty book

Notable quotes:
"... Russian collusion/ interference = FAKE NEWS; Israeli collusion/ interference = BINGO. Every Politician in the whole damn world knows this fact but nobody has the balls to say it, and ''Hello Jerusalem'' Wake up sheeple!!! ..."
"... I don't think that guy knows what the word "evidence" means. ..."
"... You know what's hilarious? This guy didn't even do the basic research required to know the kind of interview he was getting into. ..."
"... Thank you Aaron, you are now the most respected and honest journalist left in North America! Your professionalism and demeanor exemplify class and honesty, which so diametrically compared to Mr. Harding's lackings thereof, it illuminated how ridiculous and speculative this whole collusion fiction has become. ..."
"... This Luke is either a Shill trying to make a profit by selling to Trump haters or the worst journalist in the world, He has lotsa of innuendo but no hard proof. No evidence of tape that TRump agrees to Quid pro quo with Putin, No documents of a deal, nothing that could convict a spie, just innuendo. "Putin is a bad guy and hates America" That is all he has. ..."
"... I bet this clown sees Russian agents under his bed at night. ..."
"... This guy is better off appearing on Rachel Maddow show. he would get 0 push back from her ..."
"... Nowadays the facts and evidence are not part of the news .. it is enough giving a good speech and choose the correct words and you can even convince the people that the earth is flat ... the same is happening with the Russia gate, think tanks will continue with this no sense until the people give up and start believing in the Russia gate ..."
"... How many times & ways & years of Luke Harding being proven a fraudulent opportunist does it take for serious media platforms to simply stop paying him any attention?? ..."
"... the guardian, crap reporting innuendo and vague and propaganda ..."
"... Well done Aaron! This was a rare opportunity to dismantle a genuine, probably unwilling cog of corporate subversion and hysteria fueled by money chasing. Morons like this "storyteller" help harmful misunderstandings deepen. Wars and untold misery are started with stories like his. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Lear King of Albion , 3 days ago (edited)

This moronic Brit wrote an entire book? Beginning with a visit to trump tower by a soviet era diplomat who made a factual statement about how lovely Trump Tower is? It is a beautiful tower, and had I seen the Donald on the streets of NYC, I would have said the same thing. After a year of no implication.of collusion, we are left with delusion collusion. If the moron wants to make a great case, how about researching the names of tenants of projects to which Trump sold the right to his name? Or the Odessan taxi drivers who sometimes drove past Trump Tower? After 7 minutes, I wondered how the interviewer had any patience for the moron, except to get his worthless and lazy slime argument into the record. Click. The interviewer had patience.

freydenker , 3 days ago

Best joke: "I am not a storyteller" at around 10.00 : ]]]

Timothy Musson , 3 days ago (edited)

Another guy who, when asked for evidence to back up his assertions, answers with a non-specific hand-wave :'( Nice interview, Aaron - you asked him questions he didn't like, but you did it politely.

Luke, on the other hand, comes across as rude and petty... not a great way to present a viewpoint. BTW, I think it's great that TheRealNews interviews people with various opinions, and isn't afraid to ask them "hard" questions.

Jason Parker , 3 days ago

Russian collusion/ interference = FAKE NEWS; Israeli collusion/ interference = BINGO. Every Politician in the whole damn world knows this fact but nobody has the balls to say it, and ''Hello Jerusalem'' Wake up sheeple!!!

Michael Leone , 3 days ago

I don't think that guy knows what the word "evidence" means. He probably shouldn't use it methinks...

proudhon100 , 3 days ago

Now Jill Stein is being caught up in the witch hunt. Everyone's to blame for the election loss . . . except Hillary!

Ross Kolaric , 3 days ago

Just rubbish. Name the book collusion and sell lots of copies. Come on, get real.

Microsoft Word Technical Support , 3 days ago

You know what's hilarious? This guy didn't even do the basic research required to know the kind of interview he was getting into.

omlezna , 3 days ago

Thank you Aaron, you are now the most respected and honest journalist left in North America! Your professionalism and demeanor exemplify class and honesty, which so diametrically compared to Mr. Harding's lackings thereof, it illuminated how ridiculous and speculative this whole collusion fiction has become. e.g. Green Party Jill Stein's guilt for being at the same table that Putin sat at for mere minutes long enough to be included in a photo, now smeared by the press as a Russian asset. I never saw Aaron raise his hands and ape and gesticulate for added performance. Ultimately, when no evidence was ever presented (as there is none to be found), this hilariously unfunny supposed-journalist, moreover fiction author, invented the new term collusion-rejectionist, and promptly grabbed his mouse to click disconnect and terminate his utter embarassment so expertly elucidated in this interview. Thank You, Happy Holidays and best of luck in 2018 Aaron!

earthie48 Johnson , 4 days ago

Bullcrap! Hillary Clinton and her Cronies, secured Trumps win, by how they cheated Bernie during the 2016 Primary! Trump did not need Russia's, whatever you think they did, Hillary secured the win for Trump because of her DIRTY POLITICS, against the Democratic Base! Hillary and her thugs keep this up, they will secure the Republican Control in Washington, and quite honestly, its what they want! Because I firmly believe that the Clinton's and all whom support them ARE undercover Republicans, out to, and HAVE, destroyed the Democratic Party!

Citizens.Against.Corruption USA , 4 days ago

Hillary Clinton...COLLUSION!

tink2090 , 4 days ago

Having watched this interview, I feel the need to write the phrase: 'what a nutter.'

ValhalaFiveSix , 4 days ago

This Luke is either a Shill trying to make a profit by selling to Trump haters or the worst journalist in the world, He has lotsa of innuendo but no hard proof. No evidence of tape that TRump agrees to Quid pro quo with Putin, No documents of a deal, nothing that could convict a spie, just innuendo. "Putin is a bad guy and hates America" That is all he has.

MsTree1 , 4 days ago

This man is quite hilarious in that even if Putin did hack the election all this storyteller relates is predicated on the fact that, WE THE PEOPLE are entirely idiotic in in the US. 'Tis quite condescending @TheRealNews

Swinglow Alabama , 4 days ago

Remember some Tony Blair. Loud and big mouth and a big nought in the end.

Antman4656 , 4 days ago (edited)

LUKE= So I think there is proof from my point of view but I don't have any. Only a feeling and theories that can't be proven. No Evidence but Russia is bad. All oligarchs and billionaires work with each other to make more money. Of course Putin and Trump had meetings. So does Jeff Besos and the CIA.

Laura Cortez , 4 days ago

So basically he is saying that we should believe that Russia hacked elections in USA, France and Germany just because Putin is Baaaaad. 

drumsnbass , 4 days ago

I bet this clown sees Russian agents under his bed at night.

uche007us , 4 days ago

This guy is better off appearing on Rachel Maddow show. he would get 0 push back from her

tdr , 4 days ago

Good God I couldn't watch this silly yellow teeth Brit imperialist from the first few seconds. His accent is insufferable.

L G , 4 days ago

That's quite a title for a book that contains no evidence!

Laura Cortez , 4 days ago

Nowadays the facts and evidence are not part of the news .. it is enough giving a good speech and choose the correct words and you can even convince the people that the earth is flat ... the same is happening with the Russia gate, think tanks will continue with this no sense until the people give up and start believing in the Russia gate

Jared Greathouse , 4 days ago

One question: What kind of nation is modern day Russia? TOTALLY separate question: Did they conduct some insidious assault on American elections (as though corporations don't do this already)? These are totally unrelated issues. The human rights situation in Russia may be- and is- awful. But we can imagine an extremely murderous nation internally that doesn't happen to be much of a threat externally

Darwin Holmstrom , 4 days ago

Someone's trying to sell a book by giving it a hyperbolic title .

Jraymiami , 4 days ago

Omg these so called "journalists" opportunists are everywhere!!! Bravo Aaron Mate!

Canuck516 , 4 days ago

I guess to be hired by the Guardian, "opportunism" is a must-have!

DootDoot , 4 days ago

27:13 Sums up the entire book... And where the Author got his factless opinion.... How can a writer have such a clear comprehension problem?

Alan Mclemore , 4 days ago

Sez Corporatist Hack: "...The Russian media were portraying Hillary as some sort of warmonger madwoman." Hello: That's EXACTLY what she is. She said one of her first acts as President would be to declare a no-fly zone in Syria, which Gen. Dunford, testifying before Congress, said would require going to war with Russia.

But Clinton is a front for the neocon wing of the MIC, and they have been lusting for a new "Cold" War on the obvious grounds that it would increase the already appalling amount of US and world resources they suck up. The war corporations are so driven for profit that a little thing like the possibility of WWIII is of no concern to them. So they tell themselves the story that the Russians would back down and go home; the US would then be able to overthrow Assad so the oil companies could get their damned pipeline across southern Syria; and the Russians, angry at the loss of face, would ramp up their defense spending, which of course would require the US to ramp up theirs even more.

Neat plan for never-ending profits, brought to you by Hillary Clinton and the Warmongers. The problem is that Russia does not fear the US, and knows that it has the raw power to win a conflict in Syria if it wants to respond that strongly (look up "Zircon" hyper-sonic missile, which they have thousands of and against which US aircraft carriers have no defense). And Russia, being legally invited by the legally-elected President of Syria, and knowing the US to be acting illegally, might just decide to respond if the US attacks its planes.

And if they send a carrier to the bottom of the Gulf to stop American fighters from interfering with their legal activities in Syria, then President Clinton would have been faced with a choice: Go nuclear or go home. Which do you think she would have done? It's a damn good thing Trump won, detestable as he is. We are not at war with Russia, and that at least is ahead of where we very likely would have been if the Shill had slimed her way into power.

Dan Harris , 4 days ago

The interviewer totally owned that asshole. Awesome journalistic interview.

R Speechley , 4 days ago

Harding is a joke, he just talks nonsense

Alan Mclemore , 4 days ago

Sez Corporatist Hack: "I'm a story teller." No doubt about it, because he's told a bunch of stories on this video. The Guardian is worthless corporatist trash, and Luke Harding is a lying propagandist. I wonder who else KOFF*CIA*AHEM is paying his salary?

ZantherY , 4 days ago

It sounds as if someone has a book to flog! He should had stuck to CNN or Democracy Now, reporters there aren't likely to ASK anything intelligent!!

Joy Wilder , 4 days ago

How many times & ways & years of Luke Harding being proven a fraudulent opportunist does it take for serious media platforms to simply stop paying him any attention??

mic mccoy , 4 days ago

Luke Harding got his ass handed to him!!!!!!! Can't believe his book is a best seller as it states nothing provable.

mic mccoy , 4 days ago

This guy Luke Harding calls himself a journalist???? He is trying to sell a book based on no evidence.

mic mccoy , 4 days ago

This guy Luke Harding is a puppet of Main-Stream Media. What a joke!!!!!!

scheminsiman , 4 days ago

Aaron batting out the park these regular talking points so easily, It looked like Harding has never had pushback on this. Twas interesting seeing him on the backfoot.

marsmotion , 4 days ago

the guardian, crap reporting innuendo and vague and propaganda....what an ass. thanks aaron, for keeping his feet to the fire and not letting him get away with lying. very satisfying to see these a holes not get away with it for once.

Rick O'Brien , 4 days ago

Wow imagine governments having people killed. Outrageous! Can you say drone strikes? This guy Harding in not a serious person. Good job Aaron!

0 1 , 4 days ago (edited)

Everything this guy sites happens all the time with many countries involved. So the question is, why isolate one country? This another case of creating a narrative, and then looking for non existent facts to back up said narrative. Sounds zealous. I cannot finish watching this. Good job Aaron.

hypo krites , 4 days ago (edited)

Tough interview, while he has a point the book should have been read thoroughly, it was a shame he used that as a point to avoid answering the hard question, "where is the proof?". It was interesting to hear about "Trump's ties to Russia", I think it was a shame the author felt it was acceptable to defer to his mistrust (warranted) and bad feelings towards Putin/Russian power structure in order to seemingly (from my point of view) justify the position.

This interview goes to show how difficult REAL journalism is, and how REAL scholarship is very valuable. While the author has a lot of interesting points, on this issue, I only see this probe/issue as a political wedge used to disenfranchise the presiding elected president, and the best thing about this whole process is a clear illustration about how bankrupt and politically corrupt DC is.

The confidence game DC is pushing needs to be brought down a few levels, and some power needs to go back to the people. We all have our own part to play, and being a victim, I feel is a waste of time, except as a means of holding people accountable.

smoke and mirrors. The evidence is so over-whelming that if anything was going to be prosecuted the trial would already be completed.

old fan , 4 days ago

This is getting a lot more complicated than it needs to be. The buzzphrase that most Americans respond to (like Pavlov's dogs) is "Russia meddled in our election!" U.S. elections have always been "meddled" with. It's enough to say Trump, Kushner & their ilk made a lot of lucrative financial deals with Russia that turn out to be 1) conflicts of interest for ANY elected official and 2) abuse of (presidential) power. Isn't that enough?

ameighable , 4 days ago

I know that this person is trying to sell a book, but I see the investigation wrapping up. It would be pretty hard to carry on for another year. After all, Mueller has said it has completed all the WH interviews - and the ones at the top of an investigation are always the last ones questioned. Furthermore, in the first three week of November alone, 4,289 sealed cases have appeared in federal dockets throughout the nation - including the territories. There are probably more now. No one knows how many are Muellers, but the 4 unsealed cases are part of the initial group of filings. My prediction - nothing on Trump and Hillary goes to prison finally.

Marko Kraguljac , 4 days ago (edited)

Well done Aaron! This was a rare opportunity to dismantle a genuine, probably unwilling cog of corporate subversion and hysteria fueled by money chasing. Morons like this "storyteller" help harmful misunderstandings deepen. Wars and untold misery are started with stories like his.

rvaclavek , 4 days ago (edited)

If you live in the empirical world, you just believe the hearsay of the elites. DNC and Podesta hacks were empirically done with an external drive.

fahrout4 , 4 days ago

So, the Russians are running around the globe hacking elections?

Meta Vinci , 4 days ago

Seriously, RNN? Why do you give this puppets book play. Good for you Erin for questioning him. He's on the wrong side of this. There are so many connections among Obama FBI, DOJ, State Dept, Clinton and DNC to Fusion GPS that you're have to be a complete moron not to want to investigate THAT collusion to swing and election. They ere spying on trump and associates all last year. If there was collusion the leaky DC swamp would have spilled the beans.With regard to this collusion with Russia, Trump seems pretty clean. The NSA should know exactly who hacked the DNC servers the collect every oversees packet transfer. Given they have not come forward with that evidence I am more inclined to believe it was a leak, especially given Former NSA cryptographer and IC pro Bill Binney pretty much proved it was a leak when he showed the transfer rates were only achievable at a local port. Not over the Internet. Impossible! Trump is an international businessman, some as Clinton's who have just as much shady history with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. Follow the money there is a flow of money from Russian banks and players to the Clinton Foundation while she was SoS.

Lenore Olmstead , 4 days ago

So sad you cannot read the book and you cannot listen and dismiss a really serious threat to our elections. You did not even know what happened in Estonia. You demonstrate a real lack of willingness to explore the truth with an open mind.

Scott Turner , 4 days ago

That was great! The emoticon proof! Hahaha! His tenacity was quasi-religious, especially in the wrap-up and boils down to "There is evidence of collusion, even though I cannot point to any evidence."

doubtingmantis , 4 days ago

Luke's book is speculation. Thanks Aaron for holding his feet to the fire.

Colonel Chuck , 4 days ago

1987 all the way back when it was called the Soviet Union and was communist country. I am an Independent, but get a charge out of all the lying and BS going on in the USA and the 2 parties and their zombie followers. Empires going down and the 2 parties are just puppets for the Military Industrial Congressional Complex/Deep State. Big war coming and need lots of unemployeed young draftees.

CryinFester , 4 days ago (edited)

Good job, Aaron! What does the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko have to do with Donald Trump colluding with Russia to steal the election from the hideous witch?

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

Highly recommended!
Guardian in Russia coverage acts as MI6 outlet. Magnitsky probably was MI6 operation, anyway.
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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 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 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] 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] 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] 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] 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] 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

[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.

[Aug 18, 2017] Steve Bannon s work is done. Donald Trump doesn t need him now

Notable quotes:
"... Tragic that so many in the US don't seem able to see that the problem is gross economic inequality in their country, regardless of race. But divide and rule still works well for the ruling class. ..."
"... There's more to it than that. Its true that the white working class in America are the only group that the media feels it is acceptable to insult/denigrate. What was it Obama said - People in small towns clinging on to their religion & guns. ..."
"... The white middle class has to walk the walk with respect of social justice. Due to the economics of it, multiculturalism has affected the working classes far more than the middle classes. As I say, I'm prepared for the consequences personally, but I wonder how many others would be. ..."
"... People may underestimate the populist element in Bannon's make up. As Scaramucci tells it, both he and Bannon had white middle class fathers who had played with a straight bat and had their retirement savings wiped out in 2008 and all that, while the fat cats were saved by Uncle Sam. Maybe a story just for the telling, but it is out there. ..."
"... "In Bannon's view, we are in the midst of an existential war, and everything is a part of that conflict. Treaties must be torn up, enemies named, culture changed. Global conflagration, should it occur, would only prove the theory correct. For Bannon, the Fourth Turning has arrived. The Grey Champion, a messianic strongman figure, may have already emerged. The apocalypse is now. ..."
"... I got the strong sense that Trump was hunkered down defensively and baring his teeth like a feral dog trapped in a corner. ..."
"... Trump is not Mussolini or Franco in that he is not a true believer ..."
"... With the exception of the military which at this point is a state unto itself the government is a paradox of being both omnipresent and nowhere and thus truly Kafkaesque...utterly opaque and completely visible at all times... ..."
"... The left's focus on identity politics is the reason this Bannon chump is relevant at all. The switch in focus from class to race and gender has segmented the working class from the common struggle. A people divided. This is about the only strategic fact Bannon understands. But it is an important one. ..."
"... Identity politics at its core is mostly untenable and while it might treat the symptoms of disease in the short run it will always collapse under the weight of its internal inconsistencies. The blind squirrel Bannon has found his nut. Continuing to assert that poor white men have it made is demonstrably false and offensive. And gives the alt-right plenty of tools to recruit. ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

jessthecrip , 18 Aug 2017 09:16

Tragic that so many in the US don't seem able to see that the problem is gross economic inequality in their country, regardless of race. But divide and rule still works well for the ruling class.

So a billionaire like Trump, with Bannon's aid, does whatever he can to focus the disatisfaction of the population on people who have a different skin colour, rather than the vastly rich elites who have grabbed such a massive share of US wealth and power - and demand yet more

joey2000 -> jessthecrip , 18 Aug 2017 09:29

There's more to it than that. Its true that the white working class in America are the only group that the media feels it is acceptable to insult/denigrate. What was it Obama said - People in small towns clinging on to their religion & guns.

Must have gone down really well in those rustbelt towns where everyone is on oxycontin out of sheer despair. But hey, they're only rednecks so who cares right ?

JerHig -> jessthecrip , 18 Aug 2017 09:36

Tragic that so many in the US don't seem able to see that the problem is gross economic inequality in their country, regardless of race. But divide and rule still works well for the ruling class.

Exactly, it's all about creating a group you can point to and say "at least you're not as bad off as them!"

When your entire existence is predicated on 'at least I'm not the worst off' it becomes frightening when those who were previously 'worse off' start improving. But instead of improving themselves they try and bring the others down again.

MattSpanner -> Isomewhatagree , 18 Aug 2017 09:34

That's what I don't get about the Nazis who turned up in Charlottsville: they chanted "Jews will not replace us" and also "we're going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump". How can Nazis believe Trump is on their side when his daughter is married to a Jew? There are so many contradictions in this situation that I can't get my head around it.

asparagusnextleft -> MattSpanner , 18 Aug 2017 09:40

It's simple. They're fucking idiots.

Fwaffy -> BrokenLogic , 18 Aug 2017 09:34

It's remarkable isn't it, the man appears to be visibly decomposing. It's been suggested that the statue of Robert E Lee was his penultimate Horcrux.

MattSpanner -> Fwaffy , 18 Aug 2017 09:49

He looks like an alchy.

therebythegrace -> MattSpanner , 18 Aug 2017 10:13

Or Dorian Gray's picture. Maybe the more evil Trump gets, the worse Bannon looks?

Ravenblade -> Bjerkley , 18 Aug 2017 10:35

Someone has to lose out in a redistribution of anything, be it political power or wealth. I mention the white middle classes because they tend to the the keyboard warriors refusing to tackle the insecurities and concerns of the white working class, and simply resorting to calling them racist.

The white middle class has to walk the walk with respect of social justice. Due to the economics of it, multiculturalism has affected the working classes far more than the middle classes. As I say, I'm prepared for the consequences personally, but I wonder how many others would be.

Agree with your latter point and I'm sensitive to the fact that within class groups, minorities and women remain disadvantaged; I'm not saying we don't continue to look at that. But realistically, on an economic level, you're not going to get white working class men accepting that middle class minorities or women are disadvantaged compared to them, are you? The only reason this distinction doesn't seem to happen (class lines) is because most of the SJW contingent suddenly have to check an aspect of privilege they're unkeen to pay attention to.

tamborineman , 18 Aug 2017 09:27

People may underestimate the populist element in Bannon's make up. As Scaramucci tells it, both he and Bannon had white middle class fathers who had played with a straight bat and had their retirement savings wiped out in 2008 and all that, while the fat cats were saved by Uncle Sam. Maybe a story just for the telling, but it is out there.

As to Bannon still in the job, I think LBJ's story about tents and which way the piss goes applies.