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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Reading @DouthatNYT on Bethany Mandel: who frets, not about her ignorance of the word/concept of ‘woke’, but about her comments going ‘viral’. Douthat acts as excuse maker.

Queer Atheist comments.

Headline: What It Means to Be Woke

The first paragraph of Douthat’s essay is revelatory:

This week the conservative writer Bethany Mandel had the kind of moment that can happen to anyone who talks in public for a living: While promoting a new book critiquing progressivism, she was asked to define the term “woke” by an interviewer — a reasonable question, but one that made her brain freeze and her words stumble. The viral clip, in turn, yielded an outpouring of arguments about the word itself: Can it be usefully defined? Is it just a right-wing pejorative? Is there any universally accepted label for what it’s trying to describe?

Douthat offers the notion of ‘brain freeze’ as a would be defence of Mandal’s ignorance. Yet the OED offer this definition from 2008:

woke adjective earlier than 2008

View OED entry

#staywoke. In the last few years, the injunction to ‘stay woke’ in the face of racial discrimination or social injustice has ensured that woke, an originally African-American variant of woken or awake, has received wide currency and considerable attention. Woke was among the candidates for Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year in 2016, when its development and usage were explored by Nicole Holliday for the OxfordWords Blog. The OED is currently seeking any contextual evidence (i.e. not from a glossary or definition) of woke meaning ‘well informed’ or ‘alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice’ that dates from earlier than 2008.

Although first recorded in the nineteenth century in the literal sense of ‘awake, not (or no longer) asleep’, figurative use of woke has been traced back to 1962 in a glossary of ‘phrases and words you might hear today in Harlem’. This glossary accompanies a New York Times article titled ‘If you’re woke, you dig it’ by novelist William Melvin Kelley. In it he discusses the constantly shifting street slang used in urban African-American communities and provides the following definition of woke:

Well-informed, up-to-date, (‘Man, I’m woke’).

1962 New York Times Magazine, 20 May, pg. 45

Despite this mid-twentieth century origin, contextual evidence has been difficult to find. The only twentieth-century example we have located is in an extended metaphor from a 1972 play by Barry Beckham that, seemingly by coincidence, anticipates the word’s later use in racial and social contexts:

I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr. Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon stay woke. And I’m gon help him wake up other black folk.

1972 Barry Beckham, Garvey Lives, prologue, pg. 1

Further contextual evidence next appears in 2008, when American singer-songwriter Erykah Badu used the words ‘I stay woke’ as a refrain to her song Master Teacher. In more recent years it has been particularly associated with the activism of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Because it began existence as a slang term that was more likely to be spoken than written, finding early examples of woke could require consulting unusual sources like transcripts, personal letters, pamphlets, or signs. As mentioned, we are particularly interested in identifying contextual examples in the sense of ‘up-to-date, aware’ or ‘alert to racial and social injustice’ from prior to 2008, but any evidence (even glossarial) earlier than 1962 would help us to enrich the word’s entry in the OED Online.

Can you help us find earlier evidence of woke?

Posted by OED_Editor on 25 June 2017 15.53

Tags: 1960s, 2000s, North American, slang

This might have been the beginning point, on which to start a conversation about ‘woke’. But Mandel seems more concerned about her ignorance being on public display.

Not to forget, that ‘woke’ has become a dismissive epithet, to characterize thoughts, opinions, politics, sexual orientation, gender identity etc. , etc. as beyond the pale of respectable bourgeois discourse. Undeterred Mr. Douthat chatters on, presenting his own essay as a source:

Headline: The Religious Roots of a New Progressive Era

Sub-headline: Welcome to the post-Protestant Reformation.

Queer Atheist

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SPIEGEL International on the SVB/Credit Suisse crashes. Gerald D. Suttles, with Mark D. Jacobs in ‘Front Page Economics’, of 2010, offers an analysis of these recurring ‘Financial Crises’!

Old Socialist comments

Headline: SVB’s European Shockwaves Silicon Valley Brings Disruption to Global Finance

Sub-headline: Rising interest rates have plunged the financial markets into turbulence. Regional banks in the U.S. are facing bank runs while in Europe, Credit Suisse is on the brink. Is a new global financial crisis coming?

By Tim Bartz und Michael Brächer

17.03.2023, 17.46 Uhr

It all began a week ago with the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in California, a financial institution known in the startup scene, but which most average investors had never heard of before. The bank experienced rapid growth in recent years, but completely misjudged the consequences of the recent interest rate increases and was facing collapse as its panicked clients rushed to empty their accounts

Following a series of emergency meetings, American financial authorities were forced to do something a number of regulatory and liquidation provisions had been designed to prevent: rescue a bank with government help.

Shortly afterward, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to the country: “Americans can have confidence that the banking system is safe,” he said on Monday. “Your deposits will be there when you need them.”

Despite Biden’s efforts, though, stock markets around the world plunged this week, with bank shares bearing the brunt of the slaughter. Investor trust eroded by the minute, and even German financial institutions, like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, saw their stock prices temporarily plummet into the abyss.

They were statements reminiscent of pledges made by other leaders during the last crisis. Then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel told her compatriots: “Your savings are secure.” Mario Draghi, Lagarde’s predecessor at the ECB, was even more dramatic: “Whatever it takes,” were his words.

The situation at Credit Suisse then provided the cherry on top of this troublesome week. For years, the Swiss bank has been stumbling from one homemade scandal to the next. Once a beacon of the Alpine banking industry, the institution burned through billions with bad investments in addition to providing financial services to corrupt politicians, war criminals, human traffickers and drug dealers. In the fourth quarter of 2022 alone, wealthy and concerned clients withdrew 107 billion francs from the financial institution. The exodus has continued this year.

The reader need only look to Gerald D. Suttles, with Mark D. Jacobs ‘Front Page Economics’ of 2010, for a critical analysis, that is not just a relevant history of 1929, 1987, 2008, but of the Political/Economic present!

Old Socialist

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@NYT and @LeMonde_EN consider Macron’s ‘Pension Reform’.

Old Socialist comments.

The New York Times :

Headline: Macron Faces Pivotal Week in His Attempt to Change France at Its Core

Sub-headline: Huge crowds are again expected to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age before a decisive vote that could redefine his nation and his legacy.

@NYT publishes Roger Cohen’s apologetic for the Neo-Liberal Macron’s attempt to rob French Workers of retirement at 62, surely not a surprise? A sample of Mr. Cohen’s ‘reportage’:

A favorite phrase of Emmanuel Macron, the French president, is that in life “you have to take your risks.” He did, and rose from nowhere to lead France at the age of 39. Now, six years later, he has decided to risk his political future on reshaping France at the very point where it is most resistant to change.

Mr. Macron’s battle with the French street over his plan to raise the legal age of retirement to 64 from 62 is expected to culminate this week in a decisive vote in both houses of Parliament on Thursday. Before then, if the last several weeks are any guide, the president can expect more than a million French citizens to rally in protests around the country, hoping to beat back the change. In Paris, they will demonstrate in streets piled high with trash, uncollected because of strikes.

With his attempt to overhaul France’s pension system, Mr. Macron has taken on the fierce French resistance to a world of unbridled capitalism, the nation’s deep attachment to social solidarity and the pervasive view that a long and painful sentence of work is offset only by the liberating rewards of a pensioner’s life. It is an enormous gamble.

“Every country has a soul and the soul of France is equality,” François Hollande, Mr. Macron’s predecessor as president, famously said. Profit remains suspicious to many French people who view it as a subterfuge of the rich. The 1.28 million protesters in the streets of France last week — 3.5 million according to labor unions — had an unequivocal message for Mr. Macron: “Work less to live more,” as one slogan put it.

Note that ‘worker laziness’ is and will be, the almost silent rhetorical armature, of the Neo-Liberal Cadre’s self-presentation. Think of the Greek Crisis of 2014, and the invention of the ‘Virtuous Norther Tier’, verses the ‘Profligate Southern Tier’ reframed for this political occasion.

More samples of Mr. Cohen’s ‘reportage’ :

Mr. Macron, 45, appears unmoved, resolute in his conviction that the change is essential to France’s economic health because today’s workers pay the pensions of a growing number of retirees, who live longer.

“It’s simple,” Mr. Macron said last year. “If we do not solve the problem of our retirees, we cannot invest in all the rest. It’s nothing less than a choice of the society we want.”

That may be logical, but the reservoir of sympathy on which Mr. Macron could once depend has evaporated. The pivot point of his second term, still less than a year old and accompanied until now by sense of drift, appears imminent.

Europe’s wunderkind is wounded. To some degree, he is vulnerable. Yet he insists, in the quixotic style he has often demonstrated, on the most difficult of changes at a time when 40 percent of French families say they struggle to make ends meet.

Cohen gives the game away with this descriptor: ‘Europe’s wunderkind’ . He has written a 1,546 word exercise in apologetic propaganda.

What to make of this from Political Technocrat Alain Duhamel ?

Mr. Macron’s hodgepodge centrist political party, Renaissance — formerly known as La République en Marche — with the backing of the center-right Republicans, should prevail, but support seems to be wavering and the outcome is unclear. Renaissance holds 260 seats and the Republicans 61, with 289 votes needed for a majority.

“It’s not a given that the reform passes,” said Alain Duhamel, an author and political commentator. “A month ago, I would have said 80 percent it goes through; now I would say 60 percent. Macron has taken a risky gamble. The logic of it is evident, but not the urgency.”

The Reader can work her way through this political monstrosity. That ends here, on the note of ‘healing’ , an exercise in Bourgeois Centrist Babble, the sine qua non of The New York Times.

If he can push the reform through, Mr. Macron will certainly follow up with offsetting social measures, including attempts to improve working conditions and broaden on-the-job training. Mr. Beaune, the minister delegate for transport, described the core idea as “work more but work better.” 

Whether this will be enough, should the legislation pass, to heal the rift that has opened up in France over pension reform is unclear. Much will hinge on such healing, because a France at war with itself is likely to benefit the political extremes of the left and right. 

From Le Monde:

Headline: French pension reform: Trade unions fill up war chests to support strikers

Sub-headline: Trade unions can boast of large funds to help mitigate the loss of income for employees who take days off work to protest the French government’s divisive reform. One such fund has no less than €150 million.

By Thibaud Métais and Bertrand Bissuel


What might The Reader make of this @LeMonde_EN coverage of the ‘Trade Union’ response to Macron’s ‘reforms’? Can The Reader grasp the fact that ‘Class’ plays an active role in this ?

From buckets filled with spare change during protest demonstrations to online solidarity pools fed by multi-digit amounts, strike funds have reappeared in the wake of opposition to the French pension reform as national days of action – the eighth is Wednesday, March 15 – have gathered momentum. They provide support to those who take days off work and do without part of their salary, in a context aggravated by high inflation.

How many of these solidarity systems are there across France? The myriad initiatives have not been comprehensively counted to date, but an interactive map allows us to locate some of the bigger ones, as indicated by sociologist Gabriel Rosenman, a former railway worker and SUD-Rail activist, who is working on a thesis on the subject. In late 2019 and early 2020, during the mobilization against the proposed universal pension system, “up to 380 online strike funds” had been counted, he recalled.

Two main practices have emerged. One has a sectoral or local dimension. It includes, in particular, online solidarity pools opened at the initiative of union sections or federations, such as the CGT-Cheminots (Railway Workers’ Federation) or the CGT energy branch, and fed by donations, in order to support the women and men participating in “long strikes,” explained Rosenman.

“The other approach is to set up funds financed by a percentage of union dues. These funds are reserved for members and are released to allow those involved – for example, precarious workers – to participate in demonstrations of strength that take place on an ad hoc basis,” Rosenman said.

The whole of this essay, and the sub-set Legal support and The ‘balance of power’ is what Journalism is, and should be . Not Roger Cohen’s Bourgeois Centrist Babble! Macron and Macronism is the product of a retrograde nostalgia, for the utterly failed Neo-Liberalism of Hayek/Mises/Friedman, that collapsed in 2008. And demonstrates that The Coal and Steel Cartel, imagined and realized by Jean Monnet, that metastasized into the ungovernable E.U.-the failed Utopia’s of these toxic Actors, keep maladroitly re-inventing themselves, in the political present, via Public Relations experts, the misbegotten issue of Edward Bernays!

Old Socialist


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On Bob Dylan at 81, in the New York Times.

Old Socialists reminisces…

If I recall correctly I first heard Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues’ on Lloyd Thaxton Popular Music/Dance Party on KCOP channel 13 , 1965, that its was a revelation, of a kind, is to understate.

I walked to Sears Compton and bought Bringing It All Back Home and played it, on my dad’s old portable record player : Strauss Waltzes, his favorite, I even liked them. I next purchased The Times They Are A-Changin’ to my disappointment this from his Folk Period. Followed by Highway 61 Revisited , Blonde on Blond , John Wesley Harding.

After that I went to Compton College, and Cal-State Long Beach, as it was known then, being a Highschool Dropout was … no more records, or even a radio, for some years. My interest in Dylan just faded into the background.

What caught my attention today was this ‘story’ in The New York Times, by Jim Windolf. In New York Times World ‘you’ have to be Trump, Putin, Xi Jinping or Ye (Kanye West) to qualify for bad press!

Headline: Bob Dylan, at 81, Still Gives the Camera What It Wants

Sub-headline: A new ad campaign for the fashion brand Celine highlights the troubadour’s hidden talent.

Although he comes from a time when musicians risked being called sellouts for endorsing products, Mr. Dylan has had seemingly no compunction about lending his image and songs to advertisements for Apple, Pepsi, Cadillac, Airbnb, IBM and several other corporations. Perhaps most memorably, he appeared, along with the model Adriana Lima, in a 30-second TV commercial for Victoria’s Secret in 2004. That appearance seemed to make good on something he said during a 1965 news conference. “If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest, which one would you choose?” one of the many reporters in the room asked him. “Ladies’ garments,” Mr. Dylan replied.

Mr. Slimane photographed Mr. Dylan in Los Angeles in December. In one portrait, the 81-year-old Nobel laureate is shown with an acoustic guitar. In another, he is playing a Gibson electric. For fans who have seen him on his recent concert tours, the sight of him with those instruments was noteworthy: His main weapon of choice of late has been the piano or organ. “Dylan’s been 99.9 percent keyboard-based for 20 years now, but he actually did pull a guitar out a few times not too long ago,” Ray Padgett, who chronicles his live performances in the Substack newsletter “Flagging Down the Double E’s,” wrote in an email.

To speak in the rhetorical mode of the very distant past: is Bob Dylan just another ‘sellout’? To reach even further back in time, a Clifford Odets, or like a Bud Schulberg, or even an Elia Kazan? Maybe these last two examples, too much? Or as my friend Sandy opined, Dylan was ‘just exploring new opportunities’, she, in thrall to Neo-Liberalism’s etiolated vocabulary, of the self-serving…

Just listening to Dylan’s Murder Most Foul almost 17 minutes of rambling lamentation: American Historical personalities, Musicians , The Zapruder film, Oswald and Ruby make their appearances : the reader can find the full cast of characters here. If The Reader was expecting “J’accuse…!” she would be – is it Dylan in his dotage?

Old Socialist

P.S. I forgot one of the most important political/propaganda figures, on the Warren Commission: Assistant counsel, Arlen Specter, who invented the ‘Magic Bullet Theory’, a fiction that became exemplary of Warren Commission Science.

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@nytdavidbrooks plumbs the depths of the belief in ‘The Self-Destructive Effects of Progressive Sadness’: or Brooks as a would-be Freud?

Former Analysand comments.

The first paragraphs of Mr. Brooks’ essay are attempt to establish his premises, via a potted social history, what else to name this meander?

One well-established finding of social science research is that conservatives report being happier than liberals. Over the years, researchers have come up with a bunch of theories to explain this phenomenon.

The first explanation is that conservatives are more likely to take part in the activities that are linked to personal happiness — like being married and actively participating in a religious community. The second explanation is that of course conservatives are happier; they are by definition more satisfied with the established order of things.

The third explanation, related to the second, is that on personality tests liberals tend to score higher on openness to experience but also higher on neuroticism. People who score high on neuroticism are vigilant against potential harms, but they also have to live with a lot of negative emotions — like sadness and anxiety.

I’ve paid only casual attention to these debates over the years, mostly because, during the Barack Obama years, for example, liberals didn’t seem sad. Massive crowds of young Democrats were chanting “Yes We Can!” at Obama campaign rallies built around hope and change. Audiences thrilled to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” an optimistic, celebratory and multiracial account of America’s founding. There was an assumption of confidence — America is moving forward, the arc of history bends toward justice.

Some quick notes on the establishing of his argument.

One well-established finding of social science research is that conservatives report being happier than liberals.

The first explanation is that conservatives are more likely to take part in the activities that are linked to personal happiness — like being married and actively participating in a religious community.

The third explanation, related to the second, is that on personality tests liberals tend to score higher on openness to experience but also higher on neuroticism.

The next paragraph include Barack Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton, a 21st Century Minstrel Show. that reflects what? Next this exhausted political cliché ‘the arc of history bends toward justice’: to paraphrase Truman Capote this isn’t writing but typing. Freud was, at the least, an inventive, if befuddling propagandist! Perhaps that was the point of the Dead Letter of Psychoanalysis, and Mr. Brooks ‘free associations’?

Here is a critical review of Chernow’s book on Hamilton, that was the basis Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway kitsch,

Headline: Hamilton: a flawed portrait: Chernow supposes too much and verifies too little.

By Willard Sterne Randall  |  May 2, 2004


I’ve paid only casual attention to these debates over the years, mostly because, during the Barack Obama years, for example, liberals didn’t seem sad. Massive crowds of young Democrats were chanting “Yes We Can!” at Obama campaign rallies built around hope and change. Audiences thrilled to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” an optimistic, celebratory and multiracial account of America’s founding. There was an assumption of confidence — America is moving forward, the arc of history bends toward justice.

More Brooks historical reductivism, at high speed ‘free association’ :

Gradually, that atmosphere changed. First, smartphones and social media emerged and had a negative effect on the nation’s psyche, especially among the young. Then the election of Donald Trump darkened the national mood, on right and left.

Young liberals were hit especially hard. A 2021 study by Catherine Gimbrone, Lisa M. Bates, Seth J. Prins and Katherine M. Keyes looked at the emotional states of 12th-grade students between 2005 and 2018. Liberal girls experienced a surge in depressive symptoms. Liberal boys weren’t far behind. Conservative boys and girls also suffered from higher rates of depressive symptoms, but not nearly as much as liberals. Sadness was linked to ideology.

The sentences/paragraphs now become the historical descriptors of Brooks as diagnostician of a ‘receding’ American Malady:

Lord knows the right has gone off on its own jarring psychological journey of late, but many on the left began to suffer from what you might call maladaptive sadness

First, a catastrophizing mentality. For many, America’s problems came to seem endemic: The American dream is a sham, climate change is so unstoppable, systemic racism is eternal.

Second, extreme sensitivity to harm. This was the sense many people had that they were constantly being assaulted by offensive and unsafe speech, the concerns that led to safe spaces, trigger warnings, cancellations, etc.

Second, extreme sensitivity to harm. This was the sense many people had that they were constantly being assaulted by offensive and unsafe speech, the concerns that led to safe spaces, trigger warnings, cancellations, etc.

This rhetorical style is also self-destructive. When maximalist denunciation is the go-to device, then nobody knows who’s going to be denounced next.

say that liberal sadness was maladaptive because the mind-set didn’t increase people’s sense of agency; it decreased it. Trying to pass legislation grounds your thought in reality and can lead to real change.

Brooks’ final paragraph gives way to hope?

I share the widespread sense that the “woke” era is winding down. Things are calming down. I hope people are coming to the same corny conclusion I have: If you want healthy politics, encourage people to have confidence in their ability to make a difference — don’t undermine that confidence.

Former Analysand

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@NYT opines on the ‘evolving danger’ of ‘West Bank Armed Groups’.

Political Observer comments.

@NYT is getting nervous about:

Headline: In West Bank, New Armed Groups Emerge, and Dormant Ones Stir

Sub-headline: The small but influential Lions’ Den network has attracted young Palestinians disappointed by their leaders and angry at Israeli violence. Veteran fighters are restless, too.

Isn’t the right to resist the occupier codified?

Headline: Palestinians have a legal right to armed struggle

Sub-headline; It’s time for Israel to accept that as an occupied people, Palestinians have a right to resist – in every way possible.


Stanley L Cohen is an attorney and human rights activist who has done extensive work in the Middle East and Africa.

Long ago, it was settled that resistance and even armed struggle against a colonial occupation force is not just recognised under international law but specifically endorsed.

In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (pdf), as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere.

Finding evolving vitality in humanitarian law, for decades the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) – once described as the collective conscience of the world – has noted the right of peoples to self-determination, independence and human rights.  

Indeed, as early as 1974, resolution 3314 of the UNGA prohibited states from “any military occupation, however temporary”.

In relevant part, the resolution not only went on to affirm the right “to self-determination, freedom and independence […] of peoples forcibly deprived of that right,[…] particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination” but noted the right of the occupied to “struggle … and to seek and receive support” in that effort. 

The Times opinion columnists, Tom Friedman and Bret Stephens, are unapologetic apologists for Zionism: that has reached the point of Fascisms, under Netanyahu and his gang of armed, porcine thugs, aided by a lawless ‘Settler Cadre’.

Political Observer

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On The Political Rehabilitation of Ian Buruma, @TheEconomist & @FT.

Political Observer comments.

The doubtful Reader should consult The Economist, here:

Headline: Three stories of collusion during the second world war

Sub-headline: Ian Buruma examines the motive s and results of betrayal in “The Collaborators”


The Reader confronts this benign sentence:

That, broadly, is the theme that holds together these three stories of the second world war, told in intricate but fascinating detail by Ian Buruma, a prolific Dutch-born chronicler of modern times.

The New York Times of Sept. 19, 2018 offers this:

Headline: New York Review of Books Editor Is Out Amid Uproar Over #MeToo Essay

From reading Cara Buckley’s reporting Buruma seems removed from anything like responsibility-perhaps he was not used to dealing with criticism, for what appears to be, in sum, his laziness or just disinterest? Might this be key to reading his latest book as ‘chronicler of modern times.’ ? Could this be the place holder for ‘History’ , of a kind? The New York Review ‘scandal’ never appears in The Economist essay! Buruma as a victim of #MeToo, makes him very attractive to The Economist?

The Financial Times offer a review of Mr. Buruma’s book here:

Headline: The Collaborators — case studies in survival and betrayal

Sub-headline: Ian Buruma profiles three figures whose wartime actions remained mired in accusations of treachery — and delusion


Again there is no mention of Mr. Buruma being fired from The New York Review of Books! The concluding paragraphs of Rana Mitter’s essay, a professor of the history and politics of modern China, University of Oxford, offers Buruma’s book as reflective of: ‘We are living through another era when resistance and collaboration are real, and Buruma’s powerful book is also a warning for our own times.’ In sum Buruma writes a History, and Rana Mitter maladroitly attaches America’s Proxy War in Ukraine, to ‘a warning for our own times.’

Weinreb’s hometown is now known as Lviv, in western Ukraine. Today, resistance is the most visible Ukrainian reaction to the horror of the Russian assault. But the Ukrainian authorities are investigating some 450 cases of collaboration in areas liberated from Russia late last year. Many of those accused will have faced choices similar to those of Kersten or Weinreb: should they try their luck by profiting from new masters, or just try to survive in dangerous and turbulent circumstances?

Still other Ukrainians are wrestling with dilemmas of identity; just as being Chinese or Japanese became a sharp binary choice for Kawashima in the war of the 1930s, so speaking Ukrainian or Russian now becomes a signifier of identity too. We are living through another era when resistance and collaboration are real, and Buruma’s powerful book is also a warning for our own times.

Political Observer

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Geoffrey Robertson warns, in the TLS of January 20, 2023, about the clear and present danger of Russian Oligarchs.

Old Socialist attempts a reading of the 4,401 word polemic …

Here is the introduction, by Martin Ivens , to this January 20, 2023 edition of the TLS -the opening sentences tells The Reader that ’Anti­semitism is still virulent in the modern world’ via political fiction writer David Baddiel, who now replaces Jonathan Freedland, as the most current political hysteric. That acts as introduction to Geoffrey Robertson’s essay, which is an extract from his book, published by TLS Books.

Headline: A town called Sue

Sub-headline: How Russian oligarchs use British courts to close down investigative journalism.

In his recent TLS book, Jews Don’t Count, David Baddiel challenged the lazy, sometimes malign assumption that because many Jewish people are white, they cannot be victims of racism. Anti­semitism is still virulent in the modern world. This week we publish Lawfare by Geoffrey Robertson KC, a free-speech champion who has challenged literary censorship, state secrecy and the abuse of the law of libel by the rich and infamous throughout his career. It is an unequal struggle. In Britain the defendant in a libel case must establish their innocence – a reversal of the general presumption of innocence – and the judiciary, some shining exceptions apart, are unsympathetic or inexpert. Robertson identifies a new threat – Russian oligarchs who exploit British courts to suppress investigations into their affairs and those of their master, Vladimir Putin. In London, on the eve of Russia’s war with Ukraine, Catherine Belton’s book Putin’s People “attracted a sudden blizzard of legal actions from Roman Abramovich and three other oligarchs”, writes Robertson. It would have cost Belton’s publisher, HarperCollins – which publishes TLS books – £5 million to fight a successful defence and more than twice that if it lost. The action had already cost the publisher £1.5 million in legal fees before it arrived at a confidential judicial settlement. Other works about Russia have never even reached British bookshops, as publishers have decided they cannot bear the likely legal costs. Ninety-five per cent of libel claims are won or settled on terms that required withdrawal, according to one bleak survey. Robertson argues for sweeping reforms of the laws of libel and privacy. The government concedes the injustice of the current system and promises change. Robertson, however, suspects ministerial legerdemain. Legal reforms may also restrict access to human rights legislation and impose further restraints on reporting national security issues.

The Reader might wonder what David Baddiel’s book shares in common, with Geoffrey Robertson’s book about the menace of Russian Oligarchs? I’ve highlighted that part of the editors introduction.

Is the virtue of Geoffrey Robertson’s book excerpt that The Reader finally arrives at the bad actor Vladimir Putin, after 845 words of evocative British Legal/Political History, and a portion of John Betjeman’s poem? This was once the most prestigious Literary Review in ‘The West’, that has descended into being The British National Security State’s propaganda arm.

What might The Reader think about this books published as part of ‘The TLS Companions’ series in 1992:

Geoffrey Robertson wastes not a moment of utterly valuable propaganda time and space. He is after ‘reform’ that protects the virtuous. I’ve highlighted the last sentence of the quoted text.

Vladimir Putin gushes lies to justify his barbaric attack on Ukraine. These lies are, for people in Russia, “facts”, and his lickspittle MPs have rushed through a law to make it a crime for anyone to deny them by publishing the truth. Such censorship is anathema to a nation like Britain, which boasts of its history and tradition of “free speech”. But wait a minute. As the Privy Council (comprising English law lords) pointed out:

Free speech does not mean free speech: it means speech hedged in by all the laws against defamation, blasphemy, sedition, and so forth. It means freedom governed by law.

And governed by lawyers, who act for the very rich to wage a bloodless but nonetheless scary war, in the form of litigation, against those who attempt to criticise or expose them. “Lawfare” in this sense has come to mean the use of legal strategies to harass or intimidate publishers – to make them pay, literally, in large and unrecoverable (even if they win) legal fees, and in heavy damages and their own legal fees if they lose. This is not a new problem, but it has come into recent focus as publishers of prescient books about Putin have been frightened and deterred by lawyers acting for his oligarch friends, threatened with legal costs that can run to millions of pounds. You cannot blame lawyers for using the law. But that law is antipathetic to serious journalism and must be reformed if the Fourth Estate is to function effectively in our democracy by scrutinising the wealthy and the powerful.

Is it news to Robertson that litigation favors powerful political actors, with reservoirs of cash? This ad hoc naiveite is the self-serving pose adopted by a propagandist. I’ll quote selected portions of this rhetorical behemoth. In his way Robertson adopts the Neo-Conservative rhetorical strategy, of drowning The Reader in a toxic bath of History Made to Measure, as expressed via logorrhea. Have I engaged in reductivism? this 4, 401 word polemic demands a severe pruning!

“Lawfare” is a weak pun, with a pejorative tinge when used by those on the receiving end of writs for libel and breach of privacy. The term originated in America in the 1950s, first used by army chiefs who objected to legal actions brought by civil liberties groups over discrimination in the military.

The most notable victim was a distinguished journalist, Catherine Belton, author of Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the West, which attracted a sudden blizzard of legal actions from Roman Abramovich and three other oligarchs, and from Rosneft, Russia’s national oil company, claiming that the book libelled them.

This is the perennial problem of defending allegations about Russians, and wealthy claimants from the Middle East, or indeed from Britain, namely the impossibility of proving truth when it is hidden behind offshore trusts or in tax havens, or has come from sources who fear reprisals.

They hardly needed it: over the previous few years books had gone unwritten, or had been censored or simply not published, for fear of defamation actions about statements reasonably believed to be true, but not capable of proof by evidence admissible in a British court.

Such people are embraced by British judges. As one judge recently said of an international businessman, “his professional achievements and family wealth make him a rare member of a small elite in the world of business.

But it is the current state of British law that allows this. Judges, not parliament, have fashioned the most recent threat to press freedom – the sprawling growth of a law against the invasion of privacy.

Britain (to its discredit) had no protection for privacy at all until the 1998 Human Rights Act reproduced Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”.

The rot began, fairly precisely, in 2004–05, when both the top court in the UK (then the House of Lords Judicial Committee) and the European Court of Human Rights decided that two much-photographed women, the supermodel Naomi Campbell and Princess Caroline von Hannover of Monaco, had a reasonable expectation of privacy when they walked down a public street.

For this incoherent reason an enforceable right of privacy over social and financial networks was soon being claimed by kleptocrats and conmen alike.

So privacy actions proliferate, to deter or freeze investigative journalism by suppressing information that is factual.

Any self-respecting kleptocrat with a mansion and a superyacht and a tax-avoidance scheme has a vast amount of information he or she can call on the courts to protect from exposure, unless the defending author or journalist can prove (the burden of proof, of course, being on the defendant) that publication serves an overriding public interest.

This ruling was applied by the UK’s Supreme Court in 2022 to prevent Bloomberg from reporting a highly significant development in tackling corruption.

But the Supreme Court merely ruled that “ZXC” had a “reasonable expectation” that investigations into his alleged corruption should be kept private. As a Supreme Court decision, the Bloomberg case carries great weight.

What is striking is that none of the Supreme Court judges could discern any public interest in publishing the names of suspects, even though it is well known (especially in rape cases) that doing this often causes more witnesses to come forward – sometimes with evidence of other crimes, and occasionally with evidence that exonerates the suspect.

Damages for injury to reputation tend to be more than the law awards for the loss of an arm or a leg, and more than the criminal compensation board awards to those who have suffered grievous bodily harm or rape.

As for kleptocrats and foreigners who have been formally sanctioned by the UK government, the sanction should deprive them of the right to bring any action in England, because they no longer have a reputation here.

In the first month of Putin’s war on Ukraine, his most odious sanctioned oligarch, Yevgeny Prigozhin (“Putin’s chef”), continued his libel action against Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative website Bellingcat, who had published evidence of Prigozhin’s connection with the Wagner Group, Russia’s brutal mercenaries.

For all that Britain boasts about free speech, it has had a wretched history here – other countries do it better. American law gives much surer protection to defamatory words if they are published in good faith about public figures, and most European laws treat defamation as no big deal, providing a right of reply for those attacked or else an order for retraction, rather than heavy costs and damages.

SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuits against public participation” – a nonsense name dreamt up by American academics. In the US more than thirty states have adopted anti-SLAPP laws, enabling judges to strike out defamation and privacy claims that abuse the legal process because their primary objective is to stop legitimate reporting.

In England, meanwhile, the first problem was how to define a SLAPP. Raab described it as an action “where the primary objective is to harass, intimidate and financially and psychologically exhaust one’s opponent via improper means”.

Reforms to end the unequal justice dispensed by defamation and privacy laws and lawyers are not difficult to identify, but they appear nowhere in Raab’s plans for a Bill of Rights to “strengthen protection for freedom of speech”.

Lawfare disrupts democracy by enabling the wealthy to intimidate publishers and suppress news and opinions that the public are entitled to hear. It is, for the most part, fought below the waterline, in confidential letters between lawyers and trips to a judge in chambers behind closed doors, or in the offices of taxing masters privately assessing costs.

This Reader has to think out loud, about the revelations offered by The Labour Files – The Crisis I Al Jazeera Investigations that has been subject to a complete political blackout at The Times, The TLS and other British Corporate Media. While Geoffrey Robertson inveighs against the destructive power of Putin’s Oligarchs in Britain, the fact that that media has simply ignored the facts offered by the Al Jazeera expose, offers primary evidence, of the utter political bankruptcy the whole of that Media and Political Class!

Old Socialist

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The thought of reading one more of Ross Douthat’s essay… or saved by Politico’s @jackshafer!

Queer Atheist comments.

The very thought of reading one more of Ross Douthat’s meditations, conjured in a mind packed with exhausted Aquinian Theology, tinctured in AI, unidentified flying objects, hallucinogens …

The first paragraphs of his latest essay:

Headline: The Return of the Magicians

March 2, 2023

Mr. Douthat is too young to recall that 1960 bestseller by Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels ‘The Morning of the Magicians: Introduction to Fantastic Realism’?

In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself writing columns that touch on the rapid advance of artificial intelligence, the mystery of unidentified flying objects haunting American skies and the enthusiasm in certain circles for taking mind-altering substances that yield a feeling, illusory or not, of contact with supernatural-seeming entities.

These are very different stories, in a way. The A.I. revolution belongs to the realm of serious and lavishly funded science. The U.F.O. phenomenon hovers on the paranormal and pseudoscientific fringe. The spiritual dimensions explored by users of drugs like DMT belong primarily to the terrain of psychology and religion — either as manifestations of some sort of Jungian unconscious or else, well, as actual spiritual dimensions.

But there is a shared spirit in these stories, a common impulse to the quests: the desire to encounter or invent some sort of nonhuman consciousness that might help us toward leaps that we can’t make on our own.

This impulse is an ancient one: The idea that one might bind a djinn, create a golem or manipulate a god or fairy to do your bidding is inscribed deep in the human imagination. Once upon a time this magician’s art seemed like a plausible rival to scientific technique, or a complementary means of mastery over nature; indeed, the scientist and the magician were often overlapping figures in the early modern imagination, blurring together in vocations like alchemy and characters like Dr. Faustus.

But I was saved by this essay at Politico by Jack Shafer, which was meant to be serious, but offered many comic moments.

Headline: Opinion | Rupert Murdoch Rides the Trump Tiger — and Gets Eaten

Sub-headline: The Dominion lawsuit has exposed the powerlessness of the Fox News titan.

An article of faith among modern media observers preaches that Rupert Murdoch can manipulate American politics in any direction he wants through the broadcasts of his lucrative media property, the Fox News Channel. This article of faith, which Democrats share with their children to give them nightmares and Republicans share with theirs as a cautionary tale, has given Murdoch king-maker status over the years as he has directed his channel to reward his supplicants and punish his enemies.

But on closer examination, and especially in light of the testimony released in Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News for its coverage of the “stolen” presidential election of 2020, Murdoch isn’t always the master puppeteer he’s reputed to be. In Murdoch’s own words, delivered in Dominion suit depositions, he describes himself as frightened by the power Donald Trump holds over the Fox audience. He portrays himself, accurately in this case, as the supreme authority at his network but unable to control his prime-time anchors who endorsed Trump’s lie of a stolen election. And he regrets not interceding — which he says was within his power — to keep stolen-election fabulists like Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell from repeatedly appearing on his shows, even though some Fox executives and anchors were gagging, off-screen, on Giuliani and Powell’s wild-eyed theories.


This paragraph offers earlier comments that Jack Shafer made about the evolving Trump/Murdoch wobbly alliance:

But as I’ve written before, Murdoch has failed again and again to elect a president of his choice. In the 2016 campaign, he opposed Trump, tweeting in July 2015, a month after Trump announced, “When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?” Trump was so furious at Fox coverage at one point, and with then-host Megyn Kelly, that he retaliated by skipping the Fox primary debate. Moreover, Murdoch opposed Trump’s signature positions on immigrants, the Muslim ban and trade. Only after Trump paved a sure path to the nomination did Murdoch start sucking up to Trump, and he sucked hard.

Some excerpts reveal Rupert Murdoch, as the hapless victim of his viewers, his ‘on air talent’ and various political actors who makeup the Trump Cadre. A selection:

Murdoch’s fear of a Trump temper tantrum became palpable after the Capitol Hill riot, as an email exchange between Murdoch and former Republican House Speaker and Fox Corporation board member Paul D. Ryan attests. In it, Murdoch claims that Hannity, a Trump stalwart, had been “privately disgusted by Trump for weeks, but was scared to lose viewers.” It’s obvious here that Murdoch was mapping his fear of losing viewers onto Hannity, as a single instruction to the host to tell the truth about Trump’s claims would have put things straight.

When a former Fox executive told Murdoch in a Jan. 8, 2021, email that “Fox News needs a course correction” on Trump, Murdoch replied, “Fox News very busy pivoting. … We want to make Trump a non person.” A few days later, Murdoch expanded in another email to his son. The network was “pivoting as fast as possible” away from Trump, but after four years of conditioning its audience to worship the president, Murdoch was aware that the decondition process would be hairy. “We have to lead our viewer which is not as easy as it might seem,” Murdoch wrote.

“Nobody wants Trump as an enemy,” Murdoch said in a deposition, still bruised from his tiger ride. “We all know that Trump has a big following. If he says, ‘Don’t watch Fox News, maybe some don’t.’”

Murdoch’s pursuit of power and money, and his deft combination of the two, has always been a naked secret for those who care to inquire. These latest court filings only strip the top layer of epidermis from his hide and expose his venal essence. As late as Jan. 26, 2021, Murdoch was still so fearful of Trump that he had not executed the pivot and was still allowing stolen-election crackpot (and loyal Fox advertiser) Mike “MyPillow” Lindell a platform on the network’s Tucker Carlson Tonight show. Why allow it? Murdoch was asked. Presumably cashing Lindell’s fat checks in his mind’s eye, Murdoch replied, “It is not red or blue, it is green.”

Queer Atheist

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Bret Stephens political romance with Joe Biden and his Neo-Cons.

Political Observer on two possible strategies of analysis.

There are two possible approaces to Mr. Stephens’ propaganda: one is to engage in a reductivism, that uses the Topic Sentences as the beginning of a critique: Stephens is enamored short sentences, that frame verbose paragraphs. The other choice is the treat this essay as what it is, propaganda, that manipulates the emotions of the reader. In sum the people Mr. Stephens comments upon are ether good or bad, this is Political Melodrama. It qualifies in the cinematic language of the beginning of Movies: when now viewed the movement of the actors is visually distorted.

The fist two comments are set pieces, to establish the moral/political superiority of Stephens. It is an Olympian View as interpreted by a Neo-Conservative, framed as giving ‘advice’ to Macron and Scholz.

To President Emmanuel Macron of France, a suggestion: 

If, as a report in The Wall Street Journal suggests, you are convinced the war in Ukraine is destined for a bloody stalemate, and would like to encourage Kyiv to enter “peace talks” with Moscow that would leave Russia in possession of large tracts of conquered territory, why not lead by example? Publicly suggest the return of Alsace to Germany as evidence that you, too, believe that territorial sovereignty should be negotiable. 

To Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, another suggestion: 

If you’re going to dangle the prospect of closer ties between Ukraine and NATO (but not full membership) as a way of pushing Kyiv into a diplomatic settlement with Moscow, why not invite several battalions of Russian armor to the vicinity of Berlin? That would demonstrate that you, too, are willing to adjust the verdict of 1991 to mollify the Kremlin’s resentment, greed and paranoia.

If The Reader has paid attention to these set pieces, which are then the subject of a self-critique by Stephens:

These are preposterous suggestions. That’s the point. Those who now argue that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine needs to be “realistic” or “pragmatic” — that is, that he should stop short of pursuing a complete Russian withdrawal from all occupied Ukrainian territories — are proposing a solution they would never countenance for their own countries under ordinary circumstances, let alone during a struggle for national survival. 

In the next paragraph The Reader confronts Stephens’ profession of faith the leadership of Joe Biden:  

That’s why, as the war in Ukraine enters its second year, I feel grateful for Joe Biden. Fault him all you want on many issues, particularly his gradualist approach to arming Ukraine, but on the most consequential question of our time he has the big thing right. “Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased,” he said last week in Warsaw. “They must be opposed.” 

That’s not a voice of fusty morality. It’s one of experience, foresight, military realism and political prudence. 

The political advisors of Biden are Neo-Cons and Liberal Hawks: Victoria Nuland, Samantha Power, Wendy Sherman, Jon Finer etc. As reported in The New York Times.

Headline: Biden to Tap More Former Obama Officials for Top National Security Jobs

Sub-headline: The president-elect is turning to trusted former colleagues to manage complex negotiations with Iran and Russia.

With the Neo-Cons and Liberal Hawks as ‘advisors’ to Biden, Stephens is comfortable with his ‘leadership’. Now seems to be the moment when those once discarded, by me, Topic Sentences become a usable analytic tool ?

Experience, because the world has come to know Vladimir Putin very well over his 23 years in power. We know he does not honor the terms of any agreements to which Russia is bound, from the Cold War-era I.N.F. Treaty to the more recent Minsk agreements.

Foresight, because a negotiated settlement would create more problems than it would solve.

Military realism, because the lesson of the first year of war is that Moscow can be defeated.

As for prudence, musing openly about the need for eventual negotiations harms Ukraine’s solidarity and morale, both key factors for its survival and success.

Calls for negotiation also undermine public support for Ukraine in the United States.

President Biden likes to say that the United States will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.

The final two paragraphs of Stephens’ fevered enthusiasm for war, a fixation on combat, not born of any experience of its stark realities. At least the unapologetic hawk Joe Alsop, had an idea of what actual war was like, in WWII and Korea. Mr. Stephens is not just careless of the lives of strangers, but an un-thinking, unfeeling acolyte of Henry Kissinger, in his glory days with Nixon!

That’s why it makes no sense for the administration to slow-roll arms deliveries to Ukraine or drop heavy hints that Ukraine is unlikely ever to retake Crimea. Biden’s goal for 2023 should be clear and direct: victory for Ukraine. He can accomplish it through the rapid delivery of game-changing military equipment combined with a diplomatic offensive in which we propose Ukrainian membership in NATO if Russia doesn’t withdraw. Maybe that could even give Putin his off-ramp for surrender. 

After a year of war, I’m more confident than ever that Biden will make the right choice. That’s more than can be said for Macron, Scholz and the other pale shadows of what passes for statesmanship in the free world. 

Political Observer

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