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

https://www.ft.com/content/a2fade69-f-9fd3-1641ae1fddb13b03-4d0


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

 https://www.ft.com/content/e1bf7e03-b760-4494-b7b2-4e26514a83cd


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?
StephenKMackSD

___________________________________________

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.
Regards,
StephenKMackSD 

https://www.ft.com/content/a2fade69-f-9fd3-1641ae1fddb13b03-4d0   

    

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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.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/meet-the-proud-boys-trumps-unofficial-militia-spoiling-for-a-fight-9mjr8kccb



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

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/andrew-sullivan-the-next-step-for-gay-pride.html

 

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Robert Merry inveighs against Biden’s ‘Almost New Dealism’, under the rubric of ‘Big Government’. Political Reporter comments.

Mr. Merry has been a ‘longtime Washington journalist‘ and the author of a duel biography of the Alsop brothers, that was reviewed at the New York Times under the title of ‘Aesop’s’ Fables’ by David Kennedy, in 1996. Some revelatory quotation:

IT is the fate of most journalists to write not for the ages but for their day alone — and to see their toilsome scrivening unceremoniously chucked out with the daily trash. So it is to be expected that few Americans under the age of 40 have even heard of Joseph and , let alone read their copy. Yet in the Alsops’ heyday, during the three decades following World War II, millions of Americans regularly ingested Alsop prose by the wholesale lot. Their jointly written column, Matter of Fact, widely syndicated by the now defunct New York Herald Tribune, appeared four times a week for nearly a dozen years. And pieces in mass-circulation periodicals like The Saturday Evening Post and Newsweek reached millions of additional readers. The Alsops enjoyed matchless access to the most highly placed sources in Washington and in many of the world’s other capitals as well. They wrote with lapidary authority about the issues that convulsed their era, especially cold war foreign policy. To a degree equaled by few of their peers, and rarely exceeded in the history of their craft, Joseph and Stewart Alsop reigned in their time as the very highest panjandrums of American journalism.

.

David M. Kennedy’s beautifully executed review/polemic, that takes on the Alsop Brothers apologist Mr. Merry. The review is not about a collection of insults, disguised as evaluation but about what matters.

In this rich and fascinating book, Robert W. Merry, himself a professional journalist and currently executive editor of Congressional Quarterly Inc., offers a literary triptych. “Taking On the World” is at once a dual biography of two intriguing personalities and a revealing analysis of the practical workings of the journalistic guild. Most consequentially, it is also a probing examination of the severely attenuated “American Century” — the 30 years of unequaled prosperity and extraordinary national self-confidence from World War II until Vietnam — as seen through the eyes of two men who both chronicled and shaped the great events of their era.

Another less ensorcelled contribution on Joseph Alsop see ‘Joe Alsop’s Cold War: A Study of Journalistic Influence and Intrigue’ By Edwin M. Yoder Jr.

See also The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington by Gregg Herken where Joseph Alsop plays a prominent part. Not ignoring the appearances of many prominent political actors of the time.

Two interviews with Joseph Alsop, on C-SPAN, provide a look at the man, who along with J.Edgar Hoover, were perhaps the most two most prominent closeted political actors, next to Philby and Maclean?

https://www.c-span.org/video/?124869-1/washington-politics

https://www.c-span.org/video/?124890-1/joseph-alsop-books

 

What might the above have to do with Mr. Merry’s essay on highlighting the ‘misbegotten’ political interventions of Joe Biden? The last three paragraphs of his essay demonstrates what? Biden’s program doesn’t include a $15 minimum wage, nor Medicare for all! Just steps to far for Biden’s Neo-Liberalism? Mr. Merry, as apologists for Cold Warriors Joseph and Stewart Alsop, is unable to fathom that Bidens truncated, but toxic, ‘New Dealism’ might just be a cover for waging a New Cold War. Against both Russia and China, in the hands of Blinken, Neo-Con Nuland and R2P zealot Power. That New Cold War wedded to a toxic pastiche of FDR’s actual reforms?

The president projects some $6 trillion of new spending atop an annual budget of only around $4 trillion. Among the spending targets are clean-energy subsidies, electronic-vehicle charging stations, free child care, free pre-kindergarten education, free community college education, free family and medical leave, and the underwriting of incomes in a host of ways, most of which don’t require any work. Biden also would employ the regulatory state to thwart banks from investing in old energy projects and toward greater diversity. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, Biden “seeks to insinuate government cash and the rules that go with it into all the major decisions of family life.” He wants to “make Americans rely on government and the political class for everything they don’t already provide.”

Note the words “the political class.” This is essentially an elitist agenda, bolstering the power and influence of the country’s meritocratic elite, which will administer all this and derive ever greater power and wealth in the process. And, because Biden enjoys no mandate of the kind that fueled the FDR and Reagan programs, he’s fixing to attack fundamental institutions in ways designed—like Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme—to tilt the playing field in favor of the elite agenda. That’s the significance of the budding initiatives to kill the Senate filibuster, pack the court, and give statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The history of America since Roosevelt’s first term provides little evidence that the American people have hungered for this kind of grand governmental aggrandizement and intrusiveness. Indeed, that history suggests the American people have always been wary of going that far. And nothing in the country’s recent political expression indicates anything approaching a serious groundswell now for the Biden vision. The president was elected leader of a nation roiled by passionate discord and disruption, reaching almost frightening intensity. He has unleashed upon his constituency a program that can only make it worse.

A Century of Big Government

Political Reporter

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gideon.rachman@ft.com on ‘Lousy demographics’. Political Observer comments.

On the question of China’s demographics, here is a link to a 2013 essay in the The Journal of Asian Studies of 2013 by Karen Eggleston, Jean C. Oi, Scott Rozelle. Ang Sun , Andrew Walder and Xueguang Zhou, titled ‘Will Demographic Change Slow China’s Rise? Even just the abstract, available through the link, offers valuable information.

The link to Nicholas Eberstadt’s 2019 essay is behind a paywall ,as is my link, though my link offers that informative abstract. Note also that Mr. Eberstadt is a ‘is Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.’ The New Cold War being waged by allies Rachman and Eberstadt ? Aided by a link to a Financial Times report about the decline of China’s population.

What follow this is the usual self-serving History made to measure of the Financial Times writers, with the addition of Demographic speculation, that considers the Future. Its almost resembles the Clairvoyant acts that held sway in Popular Entertainment: Orson Welles’ ‘Black Magic’ of 1949 the very pinnacle of a Movie sub-genre.

Mr. Rachman lacks Welles’ flair for inhabiting the persona’s of melodrama, held together by his charisma, so the readers are left with this preantepenultimate demographic speculation.

Demography will continue to shape world politics, as it always has. But the historic connection between a growing and youthful population and increasing national power is giving way to something more complex. The most significant division may now be between rich and middle-income countries — where populations are static or falling — and poorer countries, where populations are expanding fast.

https://www.ft.com/content/ae51b1bf-4c45-4c8b-8e41-16d2112bc549

Political Observer

********************************************************************

Reply May 6, 2021

Thank you for your comment Generic @FT Reader. the quotation ‘‘demography is destiny’ is ascribed to French sociologist and philosopher Auguste Comte. Thus begins this collection of readymades, cliches, catch phrases, that are cobbled together, in the Financial Times’ History Made to Measure.the reliable practice of its pundits.

The link to Nicholas Eberstadt’s Foreign Policy essay. is inconveniently behind a paywall. Mr. Eberstadt’s AEI page is available without charge:

Nicholas Eberstadt

AEI was Irving Kristol’s final political association before his death.

Not to forget that AEI has the annual Irving Kristol Award. Should that leave any doubt as to the political territory, the reader confronts? ‘Lousy demographics’ is then explained, by Mr. Rachman, as not a key issue. Yet the why of his essay, Mr. Eberstadt’s Foreign Policy essay, remains out of reach of most his readers. But Mr. Eberstadt’s bio page helps clarify:

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Dr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR).

His many books and monographs include “Poverty in China” (IDI, 1979); “The Tyranny of Numbers” (AEI Press, 1995); “The End of North Korea” (AEI Press, 1999); “The Poverty of the Poverty Rate” (AEI Press, 2008); and “Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis” (NBR, 2010). His latest book is “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” (Templeton Press, 2016).

He has offered invited testimony before Congress on numerous occasions and has served as consultant or adviser for a variety of units within the US government. His appearances on radio and television range from NPR to CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

Mr. Eberstadt has a PhD in political economy and government, an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government, and an AB from Harvard University. In addition, he holds a master of science from the London School of Economics.

In 2012, Mr. Eberstadt was awarded the prestigious Bradley Prize.

Nicholas Eberstadt

Mr. Rachman then makes this set of observations, using the standards he has set for himself, I’ll quote it .

But a shrinking and ageing population may not have the same gloomy implications in the 21st century. The great-power struggles of the future are unlikely to be decided by vast land battles. In the recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, unmanned drones played the critical role on the battlefield. Britain’s recent strategic review cut the army, while investing heavily in technology.

What Mr. Rachman is trying to sell the reader on his expertise, he a Policy Technocrat writing regularly writing a column of opinion. So Mr. Eberstadt’s essay provides a point of departure for Mr. Rachman to demonstrate his superior knowledge on questions of moment.

The question the critical reader might raise, in this context, is who recalls the political opinions/prognostications of Walter Lippmann, Joe Alsop, Drew Pearson? Or even the actual ‘Policy Experts’ McGeorge and William Bundy?

Regards,

StephenKMackSD

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Max Hastings, @RColvile, @Noahpinion: * “All that is solid melts into air.”Old Socialist comments.

After Mr. Corvile’s essay of April 25, 2021:

Headline: Robert Colvile: No 10 has started a petrol fight with an arsonist. Did no one tell the PM he would get burnt?

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/68f38c68-a4fe-11eb-9808-bf328d2144aa

This lengthy political meditation on the Cummings/Johnson spat. Was this the right strategy to deflect from the political downfall of David Cameron, in all is inconvenient particulars? Max Hastings had opined on the Cameron case, in the Times, on March 31, 2021:

Headline: David Cameron has gone back to Bullingdon ways

Sub-headline: The former PM is a decent man but has lost his moral compass in the pursuit of easy riches

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/david-cameron-has-lost-his-moral-compass-kk0tpn8fh

The headline and sub-headline tell the story, but the last paragraph of Mr. Hasting’s flaccid commentary is instructive of the evolving Party Line on Cameron, of the Tory coterie?

He appears to have lost his moral compass in pursuit of soft wealth without hard labour. I do not believe that he is a naturally bad man. But his tragedy — and this is shaping up to become a personal tragedy — is that since leaving No 10 he seems to have reverted to the mores of the Bullingdon Club, rather than adopting those of such honourable though not wealthy ex-PMs as John Major, Gordon Brown, Theresa May. We are told that Arabian camels are dying from gorging on plastic bags. Cameron is on the cusp of self-destruction from gorging on plastic riches.

Like the Thatcher Ideologue, the True Believer chronicled in America by Eric Hoffer, Mr. Colvile in his May 2, 2021 attacks Biden’s ‘big spending’:

Headline: Big spending has become the new normal on the left and the right but we’ll pay the price later


It’s been a pretty spicy period in British politics, so we can be forgiven for not paying close attention to events across the Atlantic. But in Washington something big is stirring. Fresh from passing a $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus package, Joe Biden has come back to Congress to ask for a further $1.8 trillion. Yes, that’s trillion with a “t”. In the few moments that they aren’t drawing giddy comparisons with FDR’s New Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, American commentators are performing a collective conga on Ronald Reagan’s economic grave. The message is clear: the era of “big government is over” is over.

But there’s something odd here. One of the justifications for “Bidenomics” is that businesses have failed to invest enough in the economy — so the government will step into the breach and pull them along with it. Biden wants to hugely increase spending on research and infrastructure, especially green infrastructure. He wants to raise the minimum wage, get government to “buy American” and bring back key industries and supply chains from overseas.

This isn’t socialism — it still relies on the private sector to create the wealth. But as the US economic commentator Noah Smith says, it does involve “directly mucking about in the bowels of the economy”, by channelling funding and investment towards favoured areas, rather than just “technocratic knob-turning”. Oh, and it’s going to be paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and capital gains.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/robert-colvile-big-spending-has-become-the-new-normal-on-the-left-and-the-right-but-we-ll-pay-the-price-later-562fdcb9b

Note that Bloomberg opinion writer Noah Smith is quoted, from his blog, about Biden’s directly mucking about in the bowels of the economy”, as indicative of Biden’s not quite Socialism, but produces in Colvile and Smith the usual rhetorical tantrums.

The essay then targets both Bidenomics and Johnsonomics: there is a political propinquity between the two economic approaches? Or is it that it offends Mr. Colvile’s sense of what an economic strategy might be? At least for the purposes of Austerity Propaganda? Austerity is political instrument, for the immiseration of the ‘lower orders’: yes it’s about Class!

By now you too have probably spotted the strange thing here. This description of Bidenomics is a pretty good summary of “Johnsonomics”, give or take a few zeroes on the bill. So why are the most left-wing American government in a generation and a Conservative government with a majority of 80, led by a self-professed admirer of Margaret Thatcher, singing from the same hymn sheet?

For many of those commentators, the answer is obvious. We are at a sea-change moment, like the election of Thatcher and Reagan, when a new consensus takes shape. There are, admittedly, differences between the UK and US. Biden’s spending is truly eye-popping. He takes the view, like Reagan before him, that the deficit is big enough to take care of itself — whereas Rishi Sunak really is worried about borrowing costs and has pencilled in tight post-pandemic spending controls.

Do the final two paragraphs of his essay mark the panic of an ideologue? facing the reality that the Neo-Liberal Age of the Enlightenment realized by Thatcher/Reagan, is not just ending but is over? In the last sentence Mr. Colvile sheds crocodile tears for himself…

But beyond the detail the broader pattern is clear. In the UK we are set for the highest levels of tax, spending and borrowing in decades. And, like our American cousins, we are being told by a multitude of voices that all the spending is not just a necessary response to the pandemic but normal and even welcome: that the best path to growth is for the state to take the economy under its wing. I’ve lost count of the number of times in recent months that I’ve heard a variation on the phrase: “I’m as free-market as anyone, but . . .”

All of which leaves Thatcherite types like me feeling as if the world has left us behind. But we should hesitate before casting away old orthodoxies. Because the truth is that many of these new policies are driven as much by convenience as ideology.

Old Socialist

*https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3789-why-marx-now#:~:text=misery%20and%20precarity.-,%E2%80%9CAll%20that%20is%20solid%20melts%20into%20air%2C%20all%20that%20is,quite%20work%20out%20that%20way.

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Andy Divine dissects Joe Biden’s speech, and his ‘strange fate’. Old Socialist comments.

Read the first two paragraphs of Andy’s regular political gossip column : in this episode, Andy takes the rhetorical guise of a Thatcherite Miss Lonelyhearts: 

History can be funny sometimes, can’t it? And if a slight smile didn’t cross your face at times as you watched or heard the president’s speech to both Houses of Congress on Wednesday night, I’d be worried about you. I mean: who ever would have thought that a) Joe Biden, of all people, would one day be president; b) that he would be elected with slim Democratic majorities in both Houses after a close election; and c) that he would then unveil the most brazenly leftist, spend-and-borrow agenda of any president since, er, Nixon? I mean seriously. Until a couple of years ago, I sure didn’t. 

You might have fantasized about an Obama presidency, perhaps, sailing on a generational wave of optimism, radically transforming American society by bending the arc of history toward moral justice, or whatever. That’s a much more intuitively appealing narrative — and quite a few people tried to squint their eyes to make it happen. But history fucks with you. It decided to land the first black president with a quintessentially conservative disposition, the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and two never-win wars, neither of which he was able to end. Revolution was never on the agenda, however fetid the fainting spells of the far right because of a black man as the symbol of America.

https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/the-strange-fate-of-joe-biden?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo1MzQ5NjEsInBvc3RfaWQiOjM1NjA5NjI1LCJfIjoiTFlyeU8iLCJpYXQiOjE2MTk4MDk0NzcsImV4cCI6MTYxOTgxMzA3NywiaXNzIjoicHViLTYxMzcxIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.ystQeOoIxZNrNRLzkVIfEVy5TMcFWI4VWc3obFXVeLA

 

 

I just might be engaging in a bit of self-serving hyperbole, on the above characterization! But read this paragraph a bit further on in his ‘political story’ :

Today’s huge swing leftward is therefore in part a consequence of the GOP’s abandonment of fiscal conservatism. I mean: if the GOP can gleefully borrow trillions to give the plutocrats a handout during a boom, why can’t the Dems do the same to pay for childcare and education for those struggling in the wake of an American pandemic?

The first sentence, in this paragraph, might leave an inexperienced reader/interpreter of Andy’s political vignettes a bit confused. The toxic political mirage that ensorcelled both the Republicans and the New Democrats was Neo-Liberalism, that precipitated the Crash of 2008. The Pandemic simply magnified the utter failure of Capital, and its cadre of political operatives, to a reform of that Capital, in any cogent way. Dodd-Frank was the Corporatized ghost Glass-Steagall! Andy’s political ‘evolution/de-evolution’ can be described by this ungainly triptych: Thatcherite/Neo-Conservative/Neo-Liberal. The bit between his teeth, Andy proceeds at full gallop, noting that ‘I’ is the noun that dominates this essay. No Surprise!

Old Socialist

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Chrystia Freeland as ‘reported on’ in The Financial Times. Political Skeptic comments .

 ‘Finance minister emphasises that US administration is ‘very collaborative’ on vaccines’ Does this describe the ‘very collaborativeness’ :

Headline: Vaccine makers say IP waiver could hand technology to China and Russia

Sub-headline: Proposal to suspend patent rights comes as poorer countries struggle to obtain Covid doses


Vaccine makers have warned US officials that temporarily scrapping patents for Covid-19 shots would risk handing novel technology to China and Russia, according to people familiar with the talks. 

As industry lobbying has escalated in Washington, companies have warned in private meetings with US trade and White House officials that giving up the intellectual property rights could allow China and Russia to exploit platforms such as mRNA, which could be used for other vaccines or even therapeutics for conditions such as cancer and heart problems in the future.

J&J, Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax did not respond to requests for comment. 

https://www.ft.com/content/fa1e0d22-71f2-401f-9971-fa27313570ab

On Freedland, should the reader look here:

Or here?

‘A Liberal Hand in Hand with Nazis: Chrystia Freeland in Ukraine’

https://www.thecanadafiles.com/articles/ncfuk

Again:

Here?

Freeland warns Canadians to beware of Russian disinformation

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/freeland-warns-canadians-to-beware-of-russian-disinformation/article34227707/

Political Cynic

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janan.ganesh@ft.com on The Republicans. Political Reporter comments.

The reader just has to look at a map to see that The Solid South, except for the four smallest states, is controlled by Republicans, and that the leadership of the Senate Republicans has been Mitch McConnell since 2007, a Southerner. Liz Cheney is from Wyoming.

So the fact that Republicans are in power in a majority of states is established. The Party is now controlled by Trump loyalists and Neo-Confederate/Originalists. Trump’s future is predicated upon his ability to get his version of Twitter up and running, a very necessary political instrument. Otherwise he is disappeared!

The Recall of Newsom, in California, will be on the ballot, not this time sponsored by Hollywood Republicans, who found Grey Davis so objectionable. Will it be a Pete Wilson clone, demonstrating that the party is now hysterically xenophobic. What replaced Davis was a washed up Action Hero ‘Arnold’. Succeeded by Jerry Brown in New Democratic drag. And then Newsom. Should the reader factor in the ‘fickle electorate’ as demonstrative of political rise and fall? Or just engaging in a necessary recycling?

Not to forget that Cuomo’s political capital has plummeted, and offers opportunity for the Republicans? Mr. Ganesh refers to the ‘Moderate Republicans’ like Romney or the ten Republicans House members that voted to impeach Trump?

Mr. Ganesh doesn’t offer much, not even his talent for the production of beguiling aphorisms, all chaff and no grain!

Political Reporter

https://www.ft.com/content/f1c438ea-f8fa-4142-b2e8-ffd8f3a49a24

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@EdwardGLuce on the ‘ideal pluto-populist’. Political Observer’s dissent/ascent.

Should a Larry Summers Neo-Liberal cast aspersions on the champion of ‘aggrieved white conservatism’ and an almost argued ‘ideal pluto-populist’, who also is a possible presidential candidate? This has the stale aroma of Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent series of novels, with a columnists named Frankly Unctuous.

Drury’s growing extremism — his taste for apocalyptic scenarios and belief that American liberalism was actively abetting international Communism — would especially affect his treatment of former colleagues in the media. The newsmen in “Advise and Consent” are already a disproportionately fatuous, left-leaning and scornful lot. In later books, these unnamed, self-important commentators will goofily harden into Walter Dobius and Frankly Unctuous.

Mr. Luce’s comments on the verdict on the Derek Chauvin trial demonstrates that Black Lives Matter is now in the ascendent? Carlson’s dissent …

His reaction to Wednesday’s verdict on Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd crossed even his own thinly drawn lines. The jury’s triple guilty verdict, reached after 10 hours of deliberation, amounted to “an attack on civilisation”, said Carlson. It came as a result of Black Lives Matters threats against a jury that had unanimously reached the verdict: “Please don’t hurt us.”

The true cause of Floyd’s death, Carlson has repeatedly said, was a drug overdose — not the nine-minute asphyxiation that jurors saw over and over.

https://www.ft.com/content/cc2a46cf-4392-44db-b911-f883e2f46539

In the Post-Trump era the possibility of a Carlson candidacy , given Josh Hawley’s raised fist, in response to the January 6, 2021 demonstrators, before the Insurrection commenced, doesn’t seem far fetched. If a huckster and con man can capture the Republican Party from outside the party apparatus.

This reader and critic must give Mr. Luce his due! Well written, well argued, that demonstrates that politics, morality and civic virtue bind ‘us’ together, if not ‘we’ will not survive.

Political Observer

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victor.mallet@ft.com on Edouard Philippe, Macron etc. Political Cynic comments.

Instead of covering the weekly instalment of The Rebellion Against The Elites, that takes place in France every Saturday across the country, is unreported in The Financial Times -in another time and place this was called ‘managed news’!

What appeals to M. Mallet and his editors is palace gossip. Saint-Simon’s particular ‘brand’ has the advantage of being of Historical importance. But an ‘insider’s view’, captivates the committed observer, in the political present, without thought of centuries future. Although in America, of late, this genre has been handled by the respetable bourgeois journalist Bob Woodward, or by the tabloid sensibility of Michael Wolff in his ‘Fire and Fury’. As for actual Trump ‘insiders’: Omarosa Manigault Newman, James Comey, Anonymous,  John Bolton, Mary Trump: this list lacks the ‘heft’ that M. Mallet might find laudatory?

Edouard Philippe, President Emmanuel Macron’s first prime minister and one of the country’s most popular politicians, is the latest to join the fray with a quintessentially French account of his three years in office — discursive, elliptical and short of revelations about Macron but full of hints about how the country should be run by a centre-right leader such as himself.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s former Brexit negotiator and another possible presidential contender, will see The Great Illusion, on the four years that shook Europe, published next month. Finance minister Bruno Le Maire’s 10th book, The Angel and the Beast, came out in January. 

https://www.ft.com/content/69264eed-6a06-426c-9007-94885eab2d70

Note that M. Mallet mentions the potent opposition of the gilet jaunes, in his next paragraph, that led to Phillippe’s beard turning grey. A manifestation of honesty, as to the effect of that rebellion that continues unabated. Should the reader dub it ‘Insurrection on the Installment Plan’, a riff on Mort a credit  by Louis-Ferdinand Céline? How is the reader to check on Phillippe’s popularity? Everywhere Macron, and his political operatives go, a cadre of armored police follow, shields at the ready to repel the mob! That does have an historical ring?

But it is Philippe — half of whose beard went white with the stress of managing the gilets jaunes anti-government protests and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic — who is the focus of political gossip in Paris. He is thought to be loyal to Macron but has not ruled himself out as a candidate in 2022; some suspect he could “do a Macron”, emulating his 2017 trick of wresting the Elysée Palace from the hands of the man who had appointed him.

Not to forget that Michel Barnier and Bruno Le Maire have or will publish more ‘insider accounts’ on Macron in power. Or even run against Macron! What follows this is a Literary/Political Guided Tour under the rubric of ‘In the past, French author-politicians’  a mediation on the use of metaphors. Chosen by French politicians, and their Technocrats to describe their political interventions, and even ‘the maritime musings of former footballer Eric Cantona’ . The last paragraphs of M. Mallet’s essay, Philippe demonstrates his utter banal attachment to shopworn Hollywood Kitsch. From ‘All my life I have had a certain idea of France.’ to ‘Star Wars’ !

On the whole, though, the tone of the book is unlike anything usually published in the UK or the US. There are no toe-curlingly frank anecdotes such as in Sasha Swire’s Diary of an MP’s Wife, or even the pen-portraits of Barack Obama in A Promised Land, including his scathing description of then French president Nicolas Sarkozy with “his chest thrust out like a bantam cock’s”. 

Instead, the reader of a French political book is expected to relish the author’s literary pretensions and to be familiar with the cast of characters before reading the first sentence: Philippe does not refer to Macron by name until page 46.

But maybe, just maybe, Philippe is the harbinger of a new, more populist style of French political writer. 

Along with the obligatory references to Churchill and de Gaulle and a series of French biographers and artists, he manages to pay tribute to Anglo-Saxon film and TV culture from Game of Thrones to Star Wars. Just visible in the cover photo of Philippe is a cufflink with the message: “May the force be with you.” 

Political Cynic

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victor.mallet@ft.com sur Edouard Philippe, Macron etc. Commentaires politiques cyniques.

Au lieu de couvrir la tranche hebdomadaire de The Rebellion Against The Elites, qui a lieu en France tous les samedis à travers le pays, n’est pas rapportée dans le Financial Times – à une autre époque et en un autre lieu, cela a été appelé «information gérée»!

Ce qui plaît à M. Mallet et à ses éditeurs, ce sont les potins de palais. La «marque» particulière de Saint-Simon a l’avantage d’être d’importance historique. Mais un «point de vue d’initié», captive l’observateur engagé, dans le présent politique, sans penser aux siècles à venir. Bien qu’en Amérique, ces derniers temps, ce genre ait été traité par le journaliste bourgeois respectable Bob Woodward, ou par la sensibilité tabloïd de Michael Wolff dans son ‘Fire and Fury’. Quant aux véritables «initiés» de Trump: Omarosa Manigault Newman, James Comey, Anonymous, John Bolton, Mary Trump: cette liste n’a pas le «poids» que M. Mallet pourrait trouver élogieux?

Edouard Philippe, premier Premier ministre du président Emmanuel Macron et l’un des politiciens les plus populaires du pays, est le dernier à se joindre à la mêlée avec un récit typiquement français de ses trois années au pouvoir – discursif, elliptique et à court de révélations sur Macron mais plein d’indices sur la manière dont le pays devrait être dirigé par un leader de centre droit comme lui.

Michel Barnier, ancien négociateur de l’UE sur le Brexit et autre candidat éventuel à la présidentielle, verra La Grande Illusion, sur les quatre années qui ont secoué l’Europe, publié le mois prochain. Le 10e livre du ministre des Finances Bruno Le Maire, L’Ange et la Bête, est sorti en janvier.

https://www.ft.com/content/69264eed-6a06-426c-9007-94885eab2d70

Notez que M. Mallet mentionne la puissante opposition des gilets jaunes, dans son paragraphe suivant, qui a conduit la barbe de Phillippe à devenir grise. Une manifestation d’honnêteté, quant à l’effet de cette rébellion qui se poursuit sans relâche. Le lecteur devrait-il le surnommer «Insurrection on the Acompte», un riff sur Mort un crédit de Louis-Ferdinand Céline? Comment le lecteur peut-il vérifier la popularité de Phillippe? Partout où Macron et ses agents politiques vont, un cadre de policiers blindés suit, des boucliers prêts à repousser la foule! Cela a un anneau historique?

Mais c’est Philippe – dont la moitié de la barbe est devenue blanche avec le stress de la gestion des manifestations anti-gouvernementales des gilets jaunes et du début de la pandémie de Covid-19 – qui fait l’objet de ragots politiques à Paris. On pense qu’il est fidèle à Macron mais ne s’est pas exclu en tant que candidat en 2022; certains soupçonnent qu’il pourrait «faire un Macron», imitant son astuce de 2017 consistant à arracher le palais de l’Élysée des mains de l’homme qui l’avait nommé.

Sans oublier que Michel Barnier et Bruno Le Maire ont publié ou publieront plus de «récits d’initiés» sur Macron au pouvoir. Ou même courir contre Macron! Ce qui suit est une visite guidée littéraire / politique sous la rubrique «Dans le passé, écrivains-politiques français», une médiation sur l’utilisation des métaphores. Choisi par les hommes politiques français et leurs technocrates pour décrire leurs interventions politiques, voire «les réflexions maritimes de l’ancien footballeur Eric Cantona». Dans les derniers paragraphes de l’essai de M. Mallet, Philippe démontre son attachement totalement banal au kitsch hollywoodien usé. De «Toute ma vie, j’ai eu une certaine idée de la France» à «Star Wars»!

Dans l’ensemble, cependant, le ton du livre ne ressemble à rien de ce qui est habituellement publié au Royaume-Uni ou aux États-Unis. Il n’y a pas d’anecdotes franches et franches comme dans le Journal de l’épouse d’un député de Sasha Swire, ou même les portraits à la plume de Barack Obama dans Une terre promise, y compris sa description cinglante du président français de l’époque Nicolas Sarkozy avec un coq nain ».

Au lieu de cela, le lecteur d’un livre politique français devrait savourer les prétentions littéraires de l’auteur et se familiariser avec la distribution des personnages avant de lire la première phrase: Philippe ne fait référence à Macron par son nom qu’à la page 46.

Mais peut-être, juste peut-être, Philippe est-il le signe avant-coureur d’un nouveau style plus populiste d’écrivain politique français.

Parallèlement aux références obligatoires à Churchill et de Gaulle et à une série de biographes et d’artistes français, il parvient à rendre hommage à la culture cinématographique et télévisuelle anglo-saxonne de Game of Thrones à Star Wars. Juste visible sur la photo de couverture de Philippe se trouve un bouton de manchette avec le message: “Que la force soit avec vous.”

Cynique politique

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gideon.rachman@ft.com on ‘Biden’s retreat’, Art History, Pulp, Comic Books & The New Cold War. Political Skeptic tries to explain/interpret this?

In America two genres of popular culture are, and have been, in the ascendent , since the 1930’s and 1940’s , Pulp and the Comic Book. Why start here? James Ferguson provides the cartoon reductionism of the argued conflict between Russia, as the ferocious bear and China just present, but its intention unseen. And a majestic America eagle soars above, in this tableau. Art in the service of propaganda? The interpretation of symbols, in paintings of past ages, is an integral part of Art History.

Biden’s ‘retreat’ ,from the natural role of America as World Hegemon will lead to dire consequences. The second and third paragraphs of his essay Mr. Rachman that features the ignominy of America’s defeat in Vietnam, of course not framed so close to the truth, fealty to bourgeois political respectability must be observed.

The watching world will wonder if a gap is emerging between White House rhetoric about re-engagement with the world, and a reality of continuing retreat. Biden insists that this is not the case. He argues that America has achieved its counter-terrorism aims in Afghanistan and now intends to “fight the battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20”.

But perception matters. The danger is that the pullout from Afghanistan will be seen outside America as a Vietnam-like failure that could eventually lead to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, a replay of the fall of Saigon to North Vietnam in 1975.

https://www.ft.com/content/0116d3ab-9c97-45d8-97ef-8ba86254c4dc

Biden’s ‘weakness’ will have dire consequences. The Enemies are poised to breach the Pax Americana. The reader accompanies Mr. Rachman as he describes , in the vocabulary of Stan Lee, in his Futurology Episodes of The New Cold War to come, while riffing on Dickens. The whole of literary/political inheritance is subject to the demands of fear mongering, about the dire possibilities.

What follows in Mr. Rachman’s polemic is a History Made To Measure, a speciality of Financial Times writers. What Mr. Rachman fails to even mention is that Biden has surrounded himself with Neo-Con ghoul Victoria Nuland, R2P zealot Samantha Power, and Antony Blinken : In sum the Neo-Cons and fellow travelers are in power. What is politics as practised but the exercise of ‘pragmatism’: in sum ‘reappraisal’ is its manifestation.

Political Skeptic

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