On the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, as reported @FT

Headline: Machine guns and a hit squad: the killing of Iran’s nuclear mastermind

Assassination set to escalate tensions as US president-elect Joe Biden keen to restart nuclear talks


Note that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is named as the sinister, in fact evil ‘nuclear mastermind’

My comments:


How soon will the comments section get too pointed, so that the editors close down the comments section, of the reworked Mossad propaganda from yesterday? When the going gets tough…

Headline: Iran’s nuclear mastermind ‘assassinated’

Sub-headline: Officials in Tehran suggest Israel involvement in killing that escalates tensions with US


What if an American Scientist was murdered inside America? What would be the punishment for the responsible party, who hired thugs to do their dirty work?


In reply to Koln

Do better!!! I’m in America not in Tehran, and I have voiced my opinion, just like you have! Iran threw off the yoke of Imperial Oppressors.  A coup conducted by BP and Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA removed the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, and put the Shah, and his secret police in power: this was the incubator of the mullah’s that you now inveigh against.
The Iranians come by Anti-Americanism and Anti-Britainism  via the route of the machinations of the American National Security State and British Petroleum to deny the sovereignty of a state because Mossadegh said he would Nationalize Iranian Oil.
‘The West’ is the object of Iranian rage for very good reasons as I have mentioned.
The final question in my post still stands unanswered. Because the answer is clear!

Thank you for your comment.



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The Proud Boys, as reported in the London Sunday Times. Old Socialist comments, and asks a question.

Headline: Meet the Proud Boys — Trump’s unofficial militia spoiling for a fight

Sub-headline: Sporting Fred Perry shirts and heavily armed, the American far-right group the president refused to condemn is on patrol at his rallies

‘ I initially thought McInnes’s list of Proud Boy “degrees” of membership must be another one of his jokes. Initiates must swear allegiance to the fraternity, get beaten up until they can recite the name of five cereal brands, adhere to a “no wanks” pledge (so young men stop watching porn and meet actual women, Aaron explained) and get a Proud Boy tattoo.
It made them sound like a bunch of incels (involuntary celibates). Could this be for real, I asked Aaron, who, like Mike, is 33 and single. Yes, the rules were rules. He took my question about the ban on masturbation well — “It does wonders for your determination, energy levels and productivity” — but denied they were incels. “That’s just a cheap lowball insult,” he said.
Nor were they misogynists, he insisted. “We do venerate housewives, though we respect women who work. We want to put women back on their pedestal. They have a cherished role in western civilisation.”
In fact, he was off to see his girlfriend in Seattle this weekend, a black foreign exchange student from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I’m not a racist, 100%,” he added.
Aaron went on to remind me that there was a further “degree” for members — “getting into a physical altercation with Antifa”. He fulfilled that pledge in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in August when there was a violent clash with the far left. He sent me a video link. “It was wild,” he said. As he slugged it out with Antifa, he got hit in the face with a street sign.
If there is election chaos after November 3, as Trump has predicted, Aaron will be back on the streets with his Ruger AR-566 — all in the name of “self-defence”. If they are going to play at being Trump’s vigilantes, it will be a terrible joke on the American electorate.


Sexual Puritanism & Violent Reactionary Politics, if the Freudians still enjoyed cultural/psychological currency they would … If only Eric Ericson and his clique!
Add to the ‘Proud Boys’ the ‘Bugaloo Boys’ and ‘The Oath Keepers‘ that represent an American political nihilism, that dwarfs ‘Antifa’ and ‘BLM’ that leads inexorably to the question: will America’s Second Civil War begin on November 4, 2020?

Old Socialist

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Andy Divine depends on the ignorance of his readers, Episode MCCVII: On Concentration Camps & more pressing Evils. Old Socialist comments

I’ll bypass the first two installments of the Mr. Divine’s encyclical of June 21, 2019:

The Next Step for Gay Pride

The Trump Code

I’ll just read this next segment of moral shaming with which Andy confronts his readers:

The Totalitarian Nightmare the World Is Ignoring

I don’t want a new Cold War with China. But it is, in my view, an evil regime, and we should have no illusions about that. Twitter has been having a great time this past week parsing whether detention camps for illegal immigrants in the United States should be called “concentration camps.” In China, this debate might seem somewhat beside the point. Over a million Muslims who have crossed no border and committed no crimes are being taken from their homes en masse and subjected to brainwashing in vast camps and compounds from which there is no escape. Watch this excellent new BBC piece on these “thought transformation camps” — and feel the fear everywhere. The BBC was given access to a show camp, which is creepy enough. We can only imagine what goes on in the hidden ones.

Somehow Andy has become an expert on ‘concentration camps’: now Andy isn’t very adroit about his attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her very welcome plain speaking on the concentration camps used by ICE to hold the Mestizo Hordes ,that are invading the land of Anglo-Protestant virtue, as articulated by that American political hysteric Samuel P. Huntington: in his Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. The separation of children/infants from their parents , not to speak of caging these human beings, is an action used by Trump and his minions: ‘Give me your tired,your poor ,your huddled masses…’! An utter betrayal of ‘American Values’ ?

Andy likes to engage in the time honored tradition of One-up-man-ship pioneered by Stephen Potter. Virtue signalling is the current term of abuse, but Potter’s old stand-by fully describes Andy’s dull-witted practice . His argument:  You’ve averted your eyes from the ‘Evil Chinese Regime‘  for too long -its Human Rights abuses! In sum, the Concentration Camps used by ICE are by comparison to the Chinese Regime’s forms of oppression/re-education are evil, while the human rights abuses practiced by ICE are subject to a kind of pseudo- apologetic! In sum,  the crimes of ICE are minimized in comparison to the Chinese.


On the left, we worry about Islamophobia, or we expend our energies protesting the oppression of Palestinians by Israel’s occupation. On the right, we talk of religious freedom too often as if it only applies to Christians or Jews.

Yet, here is a man and writer whose moral/political enthusiasms for ‘The Bell Curve’ and the War in Iraq are facts that Andy can’t overcome. At least with his readers whose memories reach back to Andy’s reprehensible political past.  Andy achieves his ends by means of hectoring moralizing, in service to Andy’s pathological egotism, wedded to his political nihilism.

Old Socialist



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Adam Tooze, with help from Hegel & Intellectual Poser Francis Fukuyama, produces a Political/Philosophical History in Aspic, with Putin as his Anti-Hero

Political Cynic scoffs!

The reader, before she attempts to read Mr. Tooze’s 3,415 word essay, might profit from reading Molly Fischer’s essay at New York Magazine.


Ms. Fischer’s essay at 5,224 words wallows in Fan Magazine gush, that informs the magazine’s readers what they should ‘think’ about Mr. Tooze, and his Fan Base! this magazine tells its readers where to eat, it keeps its readers current on the most watched television/internet programs, and its political columnists keep their readership up to date on what they should think about politics, and Madam Clairvoyant…, the latest bargains on clothes, shoes and other commodities that a New York magazine reader might need- Its a would be Silver-Fork Handbook for those who live and die by the latest trends, in the life of the New York cognoscenti, or its pretenders. The pretense of being dans la mode is the lingua franca of New York social life!

Mr. Tooze in his near historically sophisticated essay, though he can’t quite match the talent of Janan Ganesh for such rhetorical curlicues, and stylistic panache, as cover for his reactionary politicking! Mr. Tooze manages to impress with adroitly executed, not to speak of its intellectual/philosophical breath, of his particular expression of a History Made to Measure! These paragraphs demonstrates Mr. Tooze’s facility, to engage in historical pastiche of near understatement?

It was the French Revolution that defined the stakes in modern war as an existential clash between nations in arms, in which fundamental principles of rule were in question. War was the world spirit on the march. That is what the German poet Goethe thought he witnessed at the Battle of Valmy in 1792, where a rag-tag revolutionary army unexpectedly turned back a much better-equipped counter-revolutionary invasion by royalist and Prussian forces. “From this day forth,” he wrote, “begins a new era in the history of the world.” Two days later, the French Republic was declared.

A “world-soul” on horseback is what Hegel thought he saw, as Napoleon cantered through the city of Jena in October 1806 on his way to the battle that would push the Prussian state to the brink of extinction. War was not simply a violent practice of princes, a duel writ large. War was History with a capital H – the “slaughter-bench”, Hegel would call it – “at which the happiness of peoples, the wisdom of States, and the virtue of individuals have been victimised”. It was something both fascinating and horrifying. Transformative and yet also on the edge of tipping over into absolute violence, as in the horrors of guerrilla war in Spain, depicted by Goya. Two centuries later, in the commentary on the war in Ukraine, one can feel the same spirit stirring.

The spectacle of war has always evoked mixed emotions. On the one hand, enthusiasm and something akin to relief: here, finally, is real politics, real freedom. And, on the other hand, horror at the violence, suffering and destruction.

In the wake of Waterloo in 1815, both diplomacy and contemporary social science tried to put the genie back in the bottle. For all his grandeur, Napoleon had been defeated. Millions had died in the global wars sparked by the French Revolution, and his project of modernising empire had come to naught. The lesson, according to the followers of the sociologist Auguste Comte, was that the future belonged to industry, not to the soldiers.

War at the end of history

Later in his essay Mr. Tooze engages in this explanation of American Seer Francis Fukuyama:

That this terrifying stand-off ended with the largely peaceful overthrow of the communist regimes in Europe in 1989 persuaded Francis Fukuyama, then a member of the policy planning staff at the US State Department, that we had reached “the End of History”. This is often described as a triumph of capitalism and democracy. It was certainly that, but no less significant was that the West had won the military contest without firing a shot in anger. The Warsaw Pact folded. By the time of Leonid Brezhnev, from the 1960s onwards, the Soviet system no longer seemed worth dying for. Mercifully, that spared Nato the question of whether the world was better off dead than red.

Anchored in American power and depoliticised neoliberalism, Fukuyama’s vision of the End of History remains a compelling interpretation of the decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The ideological contest seemed settled in favour of a one-dimensional vision of liberal democracy, the rule of law and markets.

The achievement of the End of History consisted in not just the triumph of the liberal model, but in that it was attained bloodlessly. That gave it both its sense of inevitability and, as Fukuyama wrote, its post-heroic quality.

Of course, the End of History did not mean the end of events or the end of war. That threat of nuclear destruction continued to hang over us. Under the de-targeting agreement of 1994, the coordinates of major cities were removed from the computers of Russian and American intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). But they could be loaded back if required. We still live under the menace of absolute atrocity. Meanwhile, actual wars have continued to be fought. But war has changed

A Strussian offers a warmed over Hegelianism, and the American Intellectual/Philosophical Provincials were instantly smitten by Fukuyama’s World Historical Merde. And what does ‘depoliticised neoliberalism’ represent but an utter lack of intellectual honesty, in service to self-promotion of Mr. Tooze – to establish his political conformity. This whole essay is awash in that imperative.

More History Made to Measure foreshortened:

The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s was perhaps the last conflict in which two sides commanding substantial armed forces had everything at stake; any means could be mobilised to secure victory and neither side could afford to lose. The bloodiest wars in more recent decades – notably those in the former Yugoslavia, central Africa and Syria – were sprawling civil wars, often involving multiple non-state actors. In Iraq and Afghanistan the stakes were existential, but only for the locals. The US, which led the invasions, was shaken by the 9/11 attacks, but the global war on terror was always more of a policing action than a conventional war.

The Reader has arrived, after Mr. Tooze groundwork has been laid from the large canvas to the mere sketch, at Putin:

The question posed by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is whether in this fundamental sense the spell of the End of History has finally been broken. Has history restarted in a tragic key, as President Macron has recently put it? Have we reached the end of the end of military history?

The answer we give to that question initially depends on the interpretation of Putin’s motives.

There is yet 2,379 words left in Mr. Tooze’s polemic against Putin, still framed by ‘The End of History’, a crippled antique by a Staussian foot-soldier. The topic sentences of the remains of this essay, offer some vital clues as to the arguments Mr. Tooze marshals. Note that Mr. Tooze employs the Straussian rhetorical strategy of exhausting both the critical acuity of The Reader, and her patience!

The most obvious reading is that he has never accepted the verdict delivered by history in 1991.

But if this is his basic motivation why in 2022 was he willing to risk the ultimate trial of battle?

One argument is that Putin gambled because he is a man of war.

This embrace of war leads some analysts to describe Putin as a man of the 19th century.

These are pleasingly simple ideas.

The defining characteristic of the Russian invasion, other than its brutality, is the sense of history repeating itself as farce.

In this reading, far from rupturing the End of History, or forcing a return to primal conflict, Putin saw himself as adjusting an anomaly created by the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych government in 2014.

Perhaps the most telling moment came when the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, denounced Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as a “war of choice”.

Putin’s invasion and the attack on Iraq in 2003 by the US-led coalition have in common a disregard for both international law and geopolitical logic that left much of the rest of the world aghast.

In the war in Ukraine, the wildcard is the Ukrainians.

But we should beware our Eurocentric prejudices.

What marks this war as different is that the Ukrainian resistance has stopped Putin’s invasion in its tracks.

The result is that Putin awakens from the resentful nightmare of Russia’s post-Cold War memory into a bona fide, existential crisis, a “real war” that the Russian army is far from certain of winning

Again, the experience of defeat and discredit on the part of the larger power is not itself novel.

To escape the nightmare, Putin may choose to escalate the invasion, even toying with the nuclear option

Putin may have challenged the post-Cold War order but, given the liminal status of Ukraine – neither a member of the EU nor of Nato – and the underwhelming performance of the Russian military, which makes an attack on the Baltics or Poland seem unlikely, it is up to others, principally China and the Western alliance, to decide what to make of this clash.

Ukraine, of course, has every interest in using the momentum of its early successes to widen the conflict.

Clearly, if it so chose, Nato could turn this war into World War Three.

Putin’s allegation that Ukraine was being developed as a base from which to strike at the soft underbelly of Russia seems less plausible now than it did before the war.

Although Joe Biden has blurted out his indignation that bad characters like Putin are in charge of modern states, the West remains shy about embracing regime change as its ultimate goal

As critics of the interwar order like Carl Schmitt sensed, the hegemony of the victorious powers in 1918 threatened the first End of History.

In 2022, if Putin were to be brought down by military frustration and economic exhaustion, and were his regime to be replaced by one that was pro-Western and ready for peace, all those who have levelled cheap criticism at Fukuyama over the years would owe him a giant apology

However, if the war does not escalate to a Third World War and Putin’s regime does not collapse, there will be no option but to face the difficult business of diplomacy and peace-making

Mr. Tooze demonstrates that he is a political/moral conformist, he is not John Mearsheimer, but another of a long line of apologist for the murderous political interventionism, of the Centrism of the political present: the alliance between the Neo-Liberals and the Neo-Conservatives!


Not to the reader:

On question of Hegel, let me offer my experience of trying to read The Phenomenology of the Spirit: I was stopped at entry 243, as I recall it in utter bewilderment, and then read Hegel’s Idea of a Phenomenology of Spirit by Michael N. Forster. It took me months to read this book, impressive doesn’t quite cover the scope of Prof. Forster scholarship.

Political Cynic

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Sanctions and the fate of Globalism/Neo-Liberalism.

Political Observer’s sketch.

Its as if the concepts/practices/institutionalized twins of Globalism/Neo-Liberalism, will now be partially dismantled, in the name of Anti-Russian Hysteria: favored @TheEconmist, @FT, @bopinion , @NYT, & other Corporate apologists like @gideonrachman, @martinwolf_ ? The very fate of that Post War bulwark, against Soviet revanchism, the ‘Common Market’ , a coal and steel cartel, and its Technocrat Supreme Jean Monnet, that ‘evolved’ into the teetering E.U., might be sacrificed on the pyre of Sanctions?

Even the facts that Europe is still dependent on Russian gas, or that the ruble is strong, doesn’t factor into the policy decisions, of the Neo-Cons advisors of Biden: Antony Blinken, Wendy Sherman, Victoria Nuland, Jake Sullivan? Or that Biden’s own utterly obvious ‘cognitive deficit’, to speak in the patois of bourgeoise political commentary- or the fact that the New Democrat’s redoubtable hawk, Senator Diane Feinstein, whose own ‘cognitive deficit’ has become a topic of discussion…

Political Observer

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The tireless self-promoter Mr. Fukuyama! A comment by Political Observer.

Mr. Fukuyama was never a ‘Conservative’, as announced in the link to this interview, but a Staussian i.e. a Neo-Conservative, and a maladroit plagiarist of Hegel. He , in his 2013 essay ‘The Decline of American Political Institutions’ attacks the meliorism of the whole of the American Politics of the 20th Century ! This was not ‘Conservatism’ using the most capacious practice of an attempt at measurement.


His career as Political Seer is built upon ‘Straussian Principals’ the misbegotten child of Leo Strauss’ attempt to rewrite the History of Philosophy. Strauss held the key to the divination of that Tradition, all else were mere pretenders. Mr. Fukuyama is still trading on that Staussian Revelation.

Political Observer

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Myra Breckenridge on ‘The Oscars’.

Are ‘The Oscars’ just an antique, signifying the utter irrelevance of ‘Hollywood’? And its parade of aging actors, and their Leading Ladies, who all look like bad advertisements for Restylane and Botox ? Are Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, in that tired exhumation of ‘A Star is Born’, representative of the predictable future of ‘Hollywood’ in the 21st Century? ‘Remake’ followed by ‘Remake’, is now the operative strategy of The Industry, to insure the profitability of ‘The Dream Factory’? Recall the halcyon year of ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ and the S & M kitsch of ‘Blue Velvet’ ?

The alternative to this is the low brow Universe, of the Marvel World of Stan Lee, awash in 1930’s & 1940’s concepts of the Super Hero, awash in a caricature of Masculinity , celebrated in tight Lycra, bulging pecs and well stuffed crotches!

Or should The Reader turn her attention to the latest of Movies about Movies, a venerable Hollywood tradition: ‘A Star is Born’ , The Bad and The Beautiful’, ‘The Goddess’ ‘Two Weeks in Another Town’, Feud: Betty and Joan & the latest entry into this genre ‘The Offer’, running on the internet by Paramount? The ultimate Hollywood Egoist Bob Evans, as one of the featured player/stars of this Hollywood Epic. Read Robert Evans’ ‘The Kid Stay in the Picture’, till you want to vomit, at his unslakable egotism, floating on his ‘charm’! This book was once the ‘talk of Hollywood’ in its audio book form, in his own seductive voice. The apotheosis of ‘Public Relations’! Bob even ‘produced’ a one hour an thirty three minute Movie Version.

Here is Hollywood sycophant Graydon Carter, in his ‘retirement’ from Vanity Fair, who publishes Dana Brown’s nostalgia for Oscar Parties Past, Mr. Brown is a low rent Saint-Simon, who reports on Hollywood’s would be decadence? The first paragraph of Mr. Brown’s report reeks of the hipster invited into the ‘inner circles’ decadence.

So I’m smoking a joint with Seth Rogen and Danny McBride. This might sound like the setup to a joke, and it would probably be a good one, but this is what the Oscar party was like. At least for me.

Are Seth Rogan and Danny McBride ‘A Listers’, to speak in the patois of the long forgotten Joyce Haber?

Your truly,

Myra Breckenridge

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The Economist offers a ‘diagnosis of Putin’, relying on selective quotations from seven books.

Political Observer comments.

Understanding Russia’s president:

Headline: Writers have grappled with Vladimir Putin for two decades

Sub-headline: Greyness, greed and grievance have been the dominant themes


First considered, under the rubric of ‘Culture’, as the largest frame for this Ant-Putin polemic! Followed by Understanding Russia’s president: This is a political essay framed as an ersatz psychological analysis, that evolves into …

Not since the publication of ‘Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Twenty-eighth President of the United States. A Psychological Study.’ by William C. Bullitt and Sigmund Freud’s, has there been such a penetrating psychological analysis of a political leader?

The first paragraph of this ‘essay’ sets the stage:

HE WARNED US. Vladimir Putin gave notice of who he was, and what he was capable of, in “First Person”, a transcript of interviews published in 2000, at the start of his overlong rule. In his youth, he recalled, he had been a tough little hoodlum who fought rats in the stairwell of his communal-apartment building and, later, brawled with strangers on the streets of Leningrad. “A dog senses when somebody is afraid of it,” he had learned, “and bites”. He prized loyalty and feared betrayal. He was hypersensitive to slights, to both his country and himself (concepts which, in the decades that followed, became perilously blurred). He bore grudges. 

Followed by more ‘History Made to Measure’ , that buttresses the first paragraph: or should it be named self-serving political melodrama ?

One of them was over the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the interviews he reminisced about a jaunt to Abkhazia and a judo tournament in Moldova: the Soviet empire had been his wealth and pride, and when it fell, he took it hard. “I wanted something different to rise in its place,” he said of the lost Soviet influence in eastern Europe. Frantically burning papers as a KGB officer in Dresden in 1989, grieving the “paralysis of power” that seemed to have afflicted Moscow, he came to associate protesting crowds with disintegration. Corruption, meanwhile, was only to be expected in Russia, he implied—“and if somebody thinks that somebody stole something, let him go and prove it”. 

That ‘History Made to Measure’ is set aside for Richard Sakwa’s “Putin: Russia’s Choice” (2004) ‘thought the country had shaken off nationalism and imperialism’ and Andrew Jack’s “Inside Putin’s Russia” (2004) ‘noting Mr Putin’s democratic backsliding and disregard for human rights’ that appear as ballast .

Under the rubric of Darkness and the don:

David Satter’s “Darkness at Dawn” provides essential political melodrama: ‘was among the first Anglophone analysts to gauge the evil in the system.’ . Next in order of appearance is Masha Gessen’s “The Man Without a Face” (2012) that presents Putin ‘as a killer and extortionist.’ Then Catherine Belton’s “Putin’s People” (2020).and its “KGB capitalism”. Followed by Steven Lee Myers’ “The New Tsar” (2015) that points to ‘the Orange revolution in Ukraine in 2004’ as the trigger to Putin. Mr. Lee Myers offers more for the writer, and The Reader of this essay, in this:

By 2014, thought Mr Lee Myers, he had found a “millenarian” mission as the indispensable leader of an exceptional power. “The question now was where would Putin’s policy stop?”

The Economist writer/stenographer continues to mine the political commentary of the policy technocrats: “Mr Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” (2015), by Clifford Gaddy and Fiona Hill offer, or is the Economist writer embroidering upon themes?

His bid to undermine Western democracies through fifth columnists, bribery and kompromat was part of the same strategy.

Its almost ‘as if’ The Reader is forced to recall that The New Cold War, and its precursor, operated upon the notion of ‘fifth columnists’ as the enemy within. Without the proper loyalty to what? The American National Security State crimes and its Propaganda Offensives against dissidents?

Mr Gaddy and Ms. Hill—who became the top Russia adviser in Donald Trump’s National Security Council—concluded that he was more than an avaricious gangster. His objective was to survive and overcome his foes, who, in his view, were Russia’s enemies too; to that end he was waging a long, hybrid war against the West. He would pounce on weaknesses, the pair warned, and fulfil his threats. “He won’t give up, and he will fight dirty.” Yet even these authors judged that, if only for reasons of trade, Mr Putin “does not want Russia to end up being a pariah state”. 

The Reader might recall that Fiona Hill was one of the primary ‘witnesses’ at the ‘Trump Impeachment’ comedy: she became an overnight sensation. Along with Alexander Vindman, that cemented the relations between the Neo-Liberals and the Neo-Conservatives, as the defining moment of ‘Political Centrism’ re-defined, in the wake of Trump. That she was an advisor to Trump, casts a revelatory light on her ‘testimony’ !

The one place in this essay, that carries weight, is this writers comments on émigré writer Vladimir Sorokin. This kind of writer is a Russian Tradition, from the time of Alexander Herzen. Yet Mr. Sorokin is a Post-Modern writer, sure to raise the hackles of the very Conservative readers of The Economist? But more importantly Mr. Sorokin serves a propaganda purpose.

Russian novelist and playwright considered to be one of the most influential figures in postmodern Russian literature. Sorokin was known particularly for his vivid experimental, and often controversial, works that parody the Socialist Realism of the Soviet Union.


Mr. Sorokin was successor to Alexander Zinoviev’s ‘Yawing Heights’ and ‘The Radiant Future’ . The last two paragraphs of this Anti-Putin polemic deserve to be quoted in full:

The book that most clearly saw where Putinism was heading was not a history or biography but a novel. “Day of the Oprichnik” by Vladimir Sorokin, a Russian author living in exile, is set in 2028. The Russia it depicts seems to exist in two time-frames at once, futuristic technology jostling with medieval barbarity and obscurantism. The country is walled off from Europe and the tsar has been restored. His word is law, but even he must “bow and cringe before China”, which (along with gas exports) props up the economy. The oprichnik of the title is one of his elite henchmen—the name comes from an order of pitiless enforcers under Ivan the Terrible. Their methods are murder and torture, their sidelines extortion and theft.

Published in 2006, Mr Sorokin’s satirical dystopia has come to seem more prescient than outlandish. The details are grotesque, but also, sometimes, horribly familiar. In the story, when the wall was built “opponents began to crawl out of the cracks like noxious centipedes”—imagery that anticipates Mr Putin’s dehumanisation of his critics as gnats. Chillingly, when the oprichniks gather for a debauch, one of their toasts is “Hail the Purge!”

Political Observer

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The New York Times as propagandist for The American National Security State: Ukraine!

Political Reporter comments.

The Front page of March 20, 2022 proves that @NYT is part of The American National Security Propaganda apparatus. The Barbarism Of Putin’s War on Ukraine, as reported in the New York Times. Here is ‘its’ self-apologetic in 2004 for the War in Iraq coverage, ‘not as rigorous as it should have been’ but still wallowing in self-congratulation!

Over the last year this newspaper has shone the bright light of hindsight on decisions that led the United States into Iraq. We have examined the failings of American and allied intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq’s weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists. We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves.

In doing so — reviewing hundreds of articles written during the prelude to war and into the early stages of the occupation — we found an enormous amount of journalism that we are proud of. In most cases, what we reported was an accurate reflection of the state of our knowledge at the time, much of it painstakingly extracted from intelligence agencies that were themselves dependent on sketchy information. And where those articles included incomplete information or pointed in a wrong direction, they were later overtaken by more and stronger information. That is how news coverage normally unfolds.

But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.

The ‘reporter’ Judy Miller :

Headline: Judith Miller Carried Water for the USA’s Worst Debacle Since Vietnam

Sub-headline: A publicity blitz aimed at reputation rehabilitation revives a telling personal memory for one journalist

But in the last few days, Miller has published a piece in the Wall Street Journal, “The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths, “ and The New York Times has reviewed her just-published book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, and I find myself thinking again about the 4,400 American dead, the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, the untold wounded and maimed, the waste of $4 trillion, the connection between the shattering of Iraq and the rise of ISIS, and not least, the fact that no one involved in the greatest American disaster since Vietnam has been held remotely accountable. So when I read Judith Miller saying, yet again, that a journalist is only as good as her sources, I found my blood pressure redlining.

Judith Miller Carried Water for the USA’s Worst Debacle Since Vietnam

Manufactured Political Amnesia is the imperative of the Corporate Press!

Political Reporter

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Johnathan Miller on his ‘Jewishness’.

Political Observer comments.

Here is Jonathan Miller, interviewed by Dick Cavett , articulating a moral/political/personal opinion on his ‘Jewishness’, that might just cause The Bespoke Suited Victimologists like @Freedland, @Baddiel, @AnthonyJulius6 to screeching polemics!

The Problem is that all of these writers, even Julius who authored the most trenchant polemic/ critique of T.S. Eliot ever written, seem to represent a class of highly successful men, who don’t seem to have suffered the effects of the Anti-Semitism they inveigh against.

Political Observer

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Current reading: March 19, 2022.


2nd Edition

Pierre Bourdieu By Richard Jenkins:

‘The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848–1914’ by J. W. Burrow:


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‘Law and Order’, Eric Adams and the political/civic necessity of Citizen surveillance of Police.

Political Dissident comments.

Headline: Eric Adams: Filming NYPD at Unsafe Range ‘Won’t Be Tolerated’


Eric Adams doesn’t define ‘unsafe range’, because in the police mentality, consonant with authoritarianism, hasn’t quite considered that his pronouncement will determined in a Court of Law! Mayor Adams has willfully forgotten ‘Stop and Frisk’ and Mayor Bloomberg’s surreptitious removal of Judge Shira A. Scheindlin from the case? A link to her exit interview:

Does the Mayor Adams think that the victims of this travesty have forgotten? What of the Police Murders across the Nation. A portion of the Mayor’s statement :

He continued, “Stop being on top of my police officers while they’re carrying out their jobs. That is not acceptable, and it won’t be tolerated. That is a very dangerous environment that you are creating when you are on top of that officer, who has an understanding of what he’s doing at the time, yelling ‘police brutality,’ yelling at the officer, calling them names.”

Nia Prater offers this on the record of the NYPD:

The increasing prevalence of cell phones has resulted in more recordings of police activity, particularly in volatile and tense situations. In 2014, video footage captured the moment when Eric Garner was detained by NYPD officers and later placed in a prohibited chokehold. The recording captured Garner repeating the words “I can’t breathe” and losing consciousness. He was later pronounced dead. In 2020, a 17-year-old used her cell phone to record Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, kneeling on the back and neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes during an arrest. The footage became an integral piece of evidence in the resulting trial, and Chauvin was later sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for Floyd’s murder.

The Police Reforms:

These are a revamped version of past anti-crime units, a type of plainclothes unit that had faced complaints of violent tactics. The units were disbanded in 2020 under then-Commissioner Dermot Shea, but Adams promised to revive them as part of his platform to decrease gun violence and the presence of illegal guns in New York.

The teams, made up of five officers each, will be deployed to 30 precincts across the city. The officers under the unit initially volunteered for the assignment but were ultimately selected following a vetting process and recommendations from their commanding officers. Team members took part in a seven-day training course beginning in February that included sections on community relations and constitutional policing.


Police policing Police? The Reporters, who video the Police, are the very necessary civic component, that will ensure, that what happens during the Police interventions, are subject to documentation. And not subject to post intervention Police Reports, as the only viable source of public information!

Essential to the rise of Eric Adam is the endorsement of The Manhattan Institute: recall its ‘Broken Windows Policing’ , the precursor to ‘Stop and Frisk’, and the enthusiasm, in its propaganda arm, of the City Journal:

Headline: The Promise of Pragmatism

Sub-headline: Can moderate Democratic leaders resist progressive excess?


Not forgetting Bret Stephens, in the New York Times, groveling hagiography:

Headline: Eric Adams Is Going to Save New York

Political Dissident

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Tom Wolf just won’t go away. Julia Friedman and David Hawkes’ exhumation.

Political Observer comments.

I found this essay on 3 Quarks Daily: ‘Against De-Materialization: Tom Wolfe in the Age of *NFTs’ at Quillette and was scanning it and encountered this brief synopsis of ‘Bonfire’

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) concentrates on the convergence between the financialization of the economy and the trivialization of culture in millennial Manhattan. It eschews the flashy formal devices of postmodernism in favor of rich, deep description of figures and phenomena that are clearly recognizable from real life. The plot recounts the downfall of Sherman McCoy, a Wall Street banker who Wolfe designates by the Hegelian term “bondsman.” McCoy trades in “gold-backed bonds”: financial instruments that represent a determinate quantity of physical gold. Such bonds are referential signs, similar in form to the verbal signs with which Wolfe describes them. McCoy has made his fortune by trading in the kind of money whose value is assumed to be real. He is therefore unprepared for the eruption of hyper-reality in either economic or linguistic form.

In economic terms, hyper-reality produces “derivatives”: financial signs that refer only to other financial signs, rather than to any real-world commodity. In linguistic terms, hyper-reality is manifested in differance: Jacques Derrida’s never-ending chain of representation that never comes to rest in extra-linguistic reality. Sherman McCoy is certainly destroyed by a media wildly independent of anything that might be described as “reality.” And yet, the novel is unimpeachably realistic in form. Wolfe surveys the roiling chaos of 20th-century New York City from a detached, objective perspective. He uses realism as the antidote to the hyper-reality of real life.


Recently I read almost a hundred pages of ‘Bonfire’ and its ‘hero’ Sherman McCoy… The book itself was a doorstop, brevity, or better yet concision was not his strong suit. Nor was character development, his literary actors are utterly static, its a collection of marionets. The only time the novel comes alive, in any way, was when McCoy and his his would be conquest, are attacked, when they get lost on the Bronx Parkway, and end up in the ‘wrong part of town’ : they fend off their attackers.

Safe at home, after the attack, McCoy and friend: Wolfe sex scene is -to call it prim isn’t quite right, but its lacks the passion for conquest that a Capitalist like McCoy would relish.

Note that Julia Friedman and David Hawkes resort to Derrida. Its as if neither one of these writers, have quite grasped the fact that Modernism, of Art, Poetry and Criticism were integral parts of each other! Mallarmé, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, and in an American context Frank O’Hara.William Empson could be added to this list.

Here is part of Judith Goldman’s reviewing Wolfe’s book in September 1975:

Is there anything on that blank canvas but blankness?

Tom Wolfe goes nowhere in The Painted Word (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $5.95) he hasn’t gone before. He tells the familiar story that earned him his reputation and made him big at the media box office: the tale of the aspiring haute bourgeoisie. With a nasty humor that conceals his Middle American morality, Wolfe dissects the trappings of the art world to make the old point that “the arts have always been a doorway into Society,” and goes on to present a theory he mistakenly believes anew: “Modern Art has become completely literary: the paintings and other works exist only to illustrate the text.” To understand modern art, one must know the words of current criticism; this is Wolfe’s seeming point.

Although Wolfe went to great lengths to build his case against modern art, the message of The Painted Word is not about art, but Wolfe’s familiar one against change, movement and all things different or unknown. To call Wolfe a philistine is to miss the point. He is neither an alien nor an unsophisticated man, but a reactionary who is for the status quo, deeply suspicious of radicals, black or white; intellectuals; art; and high culture. Difference is dangerous in the heartlands. And Wolfe, as the protector of Middle American values, writes for those folks back home. He brings light to their darkness and by, telling them about the moral shams that pass for big time in art and politics, he confirms their fear and prejudice. Culture, like the big city, is wicked and dangerous—at least according to Wolfe.

From the Archives: Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Painted Word’ Gets Panned, in 1975

The final paragraph of the Goldman essay is stinging:

The sad postscript to The Painted Word was the art world’s reaction. Who’s afraid of Tom Wolfe? Many people seemed to be and grew serious and defensive. Art seldom receives the attention of journalists or the popular press and Wolfe’s image of it makes the neglect seem justified. But the less public reason for the defensiveness has to do with conditions inside the art world. Much current art writing lacks either passion or conviction. But the fault does not lie with Greenberg, Rosenberg or Steinberg, for they are passionate observers of the art scene. Not one of them has responded to Wolfe. At least they knew he was not writing about art.

Goldman’s last sentence of the above paragraph is not just insightful … Mr. Duron addendum to Goldman’s essay, speaks from the Neo-Liberal Age in a state of collapse: ‘a pillar of postwar art criticism’ ! Tom Wolfe was never anything more than an American provincial, as conjured by Walt Disney!

But such criticism aside, the book remains a pillar of postwar art criticism, and one might say that he presciently identified the International Art English that plagues so much writing about art today. —Maximilíano Durón

The Julia Friedman and David Hawkes essay rambles on and on…

Harold Rosenberg’s ‘Tradition of The New’ was published in 1959, and Robert Hughes ‘Shock of the New’ was broadcast in 1980 on the BBC, and on PBS in 1981. Just two examples of actual Art Criticism. Hughes was also the Art Critic for Time Magazine. The American Post War Art World was defined by the arrival of European refugee Artists, like Hans Hoffmann, who taught a generation of American artist, who became Abstract Expressionist, or Pop artists like Larry Rivers. Rosenberg called what this coterie practiced ‘Action Painting’. Its successor Pop Art, Op-Art, and the pioneering work Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, just give a few examples of what I observed from 1960 to the present!

That anyone can be shocked by Marketing Hype in the World- Marketing Hype is the very life blood of the Neo-Liberal Age, even in its state of slow-motion fissuring. Tom Wolfe was the death rattle of The Dandy: he was not Baudelaire but Beau Brummell.

Political Observer

Added March 16, 2022:

* Note that NFT stands for ‘Non-Fungible Token’ : even in the watershed of the collapse of the Neo-Liberal Swindle in 2008, and its horrific costs, not just in monetary terms, but in human suffering – Hayek as Pontiff of The Market Mythology still holds sway in the cultural/political life of The Art Market.

Political Observer

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