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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Kier Starmer, Michael Ashcroft, Donald Macintyre & perennial villain Jeremy Corbyn, meet in the pages of the TLS.

Political Cynic comments.

The mendacity of The Times is always dependable: a review of ‘Red Knight, The unauthorized biography of Sir Keir Starmer’ by Michael Ashcroft titled ‘The mendacity of hope’ :Labour on the road back to electability’ by Donald Macintyre, his political credentials:

a former chief political commentator of the Independent and the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour, 2000

Mr. Macintyre knows the Party Line on Corbyn:

Much of the optimism that informed that decision has since eroded, and the disapproval goes well beyond the Corbynite Left, whose members rallied behind Starmer’s rival in last year’s contest, Rebecca Long-Bailey (the Beckett du jour).

Not only were May’s treaty negotiations with the EU persistently undermined by those same Tory MPs, Johnson foremost among them, but it is also far from clear that Corbyn, despite his own instinctive pro-Brexit leanings, would have been ready to provoke charges of sleeping with the enemy by making such a deal with May. Though the talks were led by Starmer, Corbyn was represented by Seumas Milne and Andrew Fisher, reporting directly to the Labour leader. Corbyn finally abandoned them on May 17, 2019, a week before May resigned.

The scale of the opposition leader’s main task in Brighton – to exorcize the spectre of Corbynism – shouldn’t be underestimated.

Abandoning an ill-prepared proposal to return to the “electoral college” of unions, MPs and party members, Starmer has instead concentrated on raising the number of MPs required to nominate a candidate, thus making it more difficult for someone from the Corbynite Left to throw their hat into the ring.

The mendacity of hope

Mr. Macintyre’s manages, in a very long ‘review’ by TLS standards, to realize rhetorically, the fact that Starmer is out of his depth. An almost a perfect reflection of Mrs. May ? But who can match the lupine charms of Tony Blair ?

Political Cynic

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Edward Luce acts as ‘Friend of Joe’ in The Financial Times ?

Political Cynic comments.

Mr. Luce acting as ‘Friend of Joe’ was almost exhilarating. Or was it just his exposition of the politics of D.C., that acted as its simulacrum?

That lobbyists are/were acting like the hyenas they are, hardly constitutes political revelation! But that the the corporate contributions, to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, are at an almost obscene level, offers a revelation, that excels almost any observation that Mr. Luce offers. Perhaps the last paragraphs of his essay, in which he explains ‘reality’ to his readership, should be taken in the spirit of explanation, of the D.C. political process, rather than ‘Friend of Joe’ advocacy?

But US political wisdom is refracted through multiple lenses and what voters want is rarely visible on the other side. Washington is enmired in ritual agony about government over-reach and fiscal irresponsibility. Both sides are complicit in this. Biden’s supporters began by describing his reforms as the biggest since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and even Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. That made it easier for his opponents to warn of a socialist takeover.

In reality we are witnessing a familiar tale: medium-sized proposals get watered down by big lobbyists. Is it any surprise voters are so cynical?

https://www.ft.com/content/2818267d-d864-4df2-8702-917f8468f1c5

When Mr. Luce recovers his Posh Boy sang-froid, Joe will return to his guise of Socialist Menace, for his ‘Almost New Deal’. The fact that this will be Joe’s last act, the denouement of his political career, hasn’t caused this Neo-Liberal to present an actual ‘New Deal’ but its simulacrum.

Political Cynic

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Brussels vs Poland, in the pages of The Financial Times.

Political Observer asks a question.

The opening paragraphs of this news report demonstrates the resolve of the E.U. and its commission president Ursula von der Leyen:

The European Commission will take steps to punish Poland for challenging the supremacy of EU law, its head has vowed as she condemned Warsaw for “calling into question the foundations of the European Union”.

Ursula von der Leyen, commission president, said on Tuesday that Brussels had three tools to hit back at Poland, ranging from a legal challenge, to a formal sanction that could withhold tens of billions of euros in EU funds, and a political process that has the power to strip the country of bloc membership rights.

“We cannot and we will not allow our common values to be put at risk. The commission will act,” von der Leyen told the European parliament in a strongly critical speech, as Poland’s prime minister listened in the chamber. “This ruling . . . is a direct challenge to the unity of the European legal order.”

https://www.ft.com/content/fb7c2484-8923-446c-8328-51ca76175412

Given this statement of resolve, what can the reader make of this from The Telegraph of September 9, 2021?

Headline: Michel Barnier demands return of France’s ‘sovereignty’ from European courts

Sub-headline: Former EU negotiator accused of hypocrisy by Brexiteers after attack on European Court of Justice

Michel Barnier said that France had to regain the sovereignty it has lost to European courts on Thursday and called for a referendum on a ban on non-EU immigration.

The former Brexit negotiator and EU commissioner was accused of hypocrisy because his comments appeared to contradict many of the positions he took when he was helming talks with the UK.

During the Brexit negotiations, Mr Barnier, who is running to be French president for the centre-Right Republicains party, called for the European Court of Justice to continue to hold sway in the UK and insisted it remained the sole and supreme arbiter of EU law.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/09/09/michel-barnier-demands-return-frances-sovereignty-european-courts/?utm_content=telegraph&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1631268226

The last three paragraphs of this news report are telling:

A previous attempt to apply the procedure against Poland in 2017 was shelved after Hungary vowed to veto it, and that obstruction would need to be overcome to resurrect the process and apply sanctions.

Polish government officials said the commission had misunderstood the court ruling and was both responding to its most extreme interpretation and taking a political approach to a legal issue. “With this approach to the ruling it will be hard to de-escalate,” said one.

Morawiecki told lawmakers: “If the institutions created in the [EU] treaties exceed their powers, member states have to have a tool to respond . . . The EU is not a state.”

Is the power of the European Super State waning? If the Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, turns against his former employers: ‘demands return of France’s ‘sovereignty’ from European courts.’ in his attempt to wrest control from Macron, and his utterly failed/discarded Jupertarian Politics, as cover for his Neo-Liberalization of France, what else might be possible?

Political Observer

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Gideon Rachman on Joe Biden’s ‘two-front war for democracy’.

Political Reporter & Almost Marx comment.

Headline: Joe Biden’s two-front war for democracy

Sub-headline: The US president’s domestic problems are hobbling his efforts to defend freedom overseas

Gideon Rachman begins his latest essay with this sentence: ‘“Are We Rome?” Cullen Murphy’s book with that title was published in the US in 2007, capturing the concern that America was an empire in decline.’

Instead of following the link provided by Rachman, to Walter Isaacson’s review in The New York Times, here are two alternative reviews of Cullen’s book:

Review by George Pendle in the May 25, 2007 issue of The Financial Times:

Of course, when Murphy asks, ”are we Rome?” he is really asking whether America will end like Rome – in dissolution. But he does not believe history is doomed to repeat itself. Asserting with Livy that an empire remains powerful ”so long as its subjects rejoice in it,” his cure is to promote assimilation, foster cosmopolitanism, and somehow regain an uncynical faith in strong government. He suggests that national service would resuscitate the patriotism of the early American (and Roman) republic, and bring the citizenry back in touch with the military. It is a classical solution – unfashionable, impractical, yet undeniably sane.

https://www.ft.com/content/7595cfb0-075d-11dc-80b9-000b5df10621

Here from the New Yorker is a one paragraph review, under the rubric of ‘Briefly Noted’ of May 21, 2007:

Murphy writes that “Americans have been casting eyes back to ancient Rome since before the Revolution,” and goes on to interrogate the comparisons drawn both by “triumphalists,” who see the world’s only superpower in terms of the Roman Empire at its height, and by “declinists,” who see America as “dangerously overcommitted abroad and rusted out at home,” like Rome before its fall. Murphy makes telling points about the solipsism of political élites and the impact of corruption and cronyism on civil society, but he stops short of predicting America’s fall. (Indeed, he argues that it is simplistic to say that Rome fell.) Instead, he points to a malaise exemplified by the debasement of the term “franchise,” once associated with freedom to vote, and now with commerce: “Here, in miniature, is the political history of America.” Murphy prescribes antidotes, and finds grounds for cautious optimism in the words of Livy: “An empire remains powerful so long as its subjects rejoice in it.” ♦

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/05/28/are-we-rome?source=search_google_dsa_paid&gclid=Cj0KCQjwtrSLBhCLARIsACh6Rmg0eG7GqtdVtgwWL3xPziZb7Z-QI3ScYcd5I557Bbik845zVMwSrj4aAp6nEALw_wcB

Just re-reading the first thirteen pages of his Prologue and its featured players: ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘Spartacus’ ‘Ben-Hur’, Liam Neeson in ‘Batman Returns’, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Max Boot, Chalmers Johnson, Paul Kennedy, Niall Ferguson, Jane Jacobs, Victor Davis Hanson, Richard Horsley, Jerry Falwell, Dick and Lynn Cheyney, Regis Debray, Barbara Haber, Trent Lott, Clair Booth Luce, Richard Neustadt, Ernest May Lyndon Johnson , A.J. P. Taylor. The reader suffers the shock of name dropping !

But this sentence best exemplifies the Cullen Murphy literary enterprise:

Had the president of the United States , George W. Bush , been of a mind to compose his own ‘Meditations, he could legitimately say he wrote them ‘among the Alemanni’, the Franci ,the Celtae,’ because he was here with the Germans ,the French, the Irish and a number of other tribes for a summit meeting with the members of the European Union-…

I had ordered my copy of ‘Are We Rome’ in 2009 and read a portion of the Prologue. I had read, the year before, J.G. A. Pocock’s Barbarism and Religion, Volume One , The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon 1737 – 1764And Barbarism and Religion Volume Two, Narratives of Civil Government. Mr. Murphy failed to meet the standard set by this historian, even though Pocock doesn’t address the burning question of ‘Are We Rome’- Murphy wrote a magazine article that simply grew to book length!

On the question of Weimar see The Weimar Republic Sourcebook’ edited by Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, Edward Dimendberg. At 741pages of texts , from German writers of the Weimar period, and introductions that aids the readers understanding of period, place, politics, the place of women, cinema, Jews etc., etc.

A laboratory for competing visions of modernity, the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) continues to haunt the imagination of the twentieth century. Its political and cultural lessons retain uncanny relevance for all who seek to understand the tensions and possibilities of our age. The Weimar Republic Sourcebook represents the most comprehensive documentation of Weimar culture, history, and politics assembled in any language. It invites a wide community of readers to discover the richness and complexity of the turbulent years in Germany before Hitler’s rise to power.

Drawing from such primary sources as magazines, newspapers, manifestoes, and official documents (many unknown even to specialists and most never before available in English), this book challenges the traditional boundaries between politics, culture, and social life. Its thirty chapters explore Germany’s complex relationship to democracy, ideologies of “reactionary modernism,” the rise of the “New Woman,” Bauhaus architecture, the impact of mass media, the literary life, the tradition of cabaret and urban entertainment, and the situation of Jews, intellectuals, and workers before and during the emergence of fascism.

While devoting much attention to the Republic’s varied artistic and intellectual achievements (the Frankfurt School, political theater, twelve-tone music, cultural criticism, photomontage, and urban planning), the book is unique for its inclusion of many lesser-known materials on popular culture, consumerism, body culture, drugs, criminality, and sexuality; it also contains a timetable of major political events, an extensive bibliography, and capsule biographies. This will be a major resource and reference work for students and scholars in history; art; architecture; literature; social and political thought; and cultural, film, German, and women’s studies.

After the framing device of ‘Are We Rome’, Weimer and the thickets of Rachman’s political thought, the reader’s journey ends here:

The idea that Biden is a floundering incompetent is now being hammered home by the Republicans, who also point to the failure to control migration on America’s southern border — and to the administration’s struggle to get its spending package through Congress. One recent opinion poll saw Biden’s approval rating dipping to 38 per cent; others put him in the low 40s.

The White House is trying to project an image overseas of a resurgent America that is neither Rome nor Weimar. But in Biden’s Washington the fear that the president may fail — and the dread of what that might mean for America — now hovers in the background of every conversation.

https://www.ft.com/content/76ad8f97-3927-4a55-9252-7888aa64e7b5

Political Reporter & Almost Marx

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Thatcherite @rcolvile loses his ‘faith in the state’?

Almost Marx …

After last weeks column:

Headline: At the Tory conference Boris Johnson bemoaned the lack of heckling. Well, it may come soon enough

At my first Tory conference, in 2006, I was given a very simple instruction by the Telegraph politics team: find Boris Johnson and follow him. It wasn’t hard. There he was, urging parents to push pies through school railings if they didn’t want their kids following the Jamie Oliver diet. Or warning that localism could lead to sharia law in Tower Hamlets, or criticising new rules on car seats for children (“When I was growing up, we all bounced around like peas in a rattle — did it do us any harm?”). When an elderly audience member fainted at the Telegraph fringe meeting, perhaps overcome by the sheer thrill of Johnsonian proximity, he swept from the stage to pick her up, chair and all, and carry her outside. At one point he spent an hour hiding in the party press office as the media laid siege outside. He was where the news was.

Fifteen years later Boris was again the dominant figure of Tory conference. In fact its entire architecture was shaped around him. Because of Covid uncertainty, his ministers were confined to a temporary auditorium, separated from the main exhibition hall by a set of black curtains. For Johnson’s big speech on Wednesday, however, the cameras and banners were moved to a larger, grander, purpose-built space — a crowded, adoring BozzaDrome. And whereas the prime minister had time to quote poetry and riff on the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, his colleagues got a much briefer moment in the spotlight, with a choice between a seven-minute speech and a 20-minute discussion. A few, such as the chancellor, had a little longer, but even they were frequently competing with the hubbub from the main hall.

Naturally, party conferences usually focus on their leaders. At that 2006 conference David Cameron delivered not one keynote but two, and our system has only got grown more presidential since then.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/at-the-tory-conference-boris-johnson-bemoaned-the-lack-of-heckling-well-it-may-come-soon-enough-hwwwcq5t2

A combination of a ‘Life Report’, on his journalistic beginnings at the Telegraph, and his reportage, that is a pastiche of Trollope’s ‘long carpeted hallways’? if I recall this reference correctly? Or perhaps a critical evaluation of C.P. Snow’s novels, that is etched into memory ? The past wedded to his musings on Boris Johnsons, longing for a bit more political melodrama, featuring himself, in the present.

The regular reader of Mr. Colvile must give him his due as a political writer/commentator, who relishes politics as practiced, in all its inglorious particulars.

Mr. Colvile’s essay of October 16, 2021 and his self-presentation is at best failed comedy:

Headline: Faith in the state? It only took a short call from Test and Trace to disillusion me all over again

In the face of it the headlines about soaring Covid case numbers are deeply alarming. But they miss out something important. Covid has, against all expectations, become a disease of the young. There are still tens of thousands of cases a day. But among those over 18 prevalence of the disease has barely budged since summer. What is fuelling the numbers is cases in schools, with 8.1 per cent of secondary-age children and 3.1 per cent of primary estimated to have been infected as of October 9 — both far, far higher than in any other demographic.

For me, data turned into anecdote last week. Having escaped the Tory party conference moshpit with barely even a cold, I got an email from school on Monday: the six-year-old’s teacher and her assistant had both tested positive. The lateral flow test gave my son the double line, the PCR test confirmed it and then it was back to the familiar routine of self-isolation, Zoom classrooms, masked deliveries at the door and trying not to breathe in at night as two coughing, mildly feverish children clamped themselves to my side.

I thought the worst part of it would be persuading the kids to have testing swabs stuck up their noses not once but twice, including an honest-to-God wrestling match at the testing centre. But then I got the call from NHS Test and Trace. It wasn’t just that the sound faded out every two seconds. Or that the on-screen script froze, so the caller had to put me on hold for ten minutes while they reset the computer. It’s that the entire process seemed to have been designed without any consideration of what it would be like to deliver or listen to the script.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/faith-in-the-state-it-only-took-a-short-call-from-test-and-trace-to-disillusion-me-all-over-again-fvxhclbdx

The political melodrama continues, with Mr. Colvile as the victim of a bureaucrat asking inane questions about his children. Eventually aided by Cass Sunstein, whose new book is called ‘Sludge’.

This is a textbook example of what the US academic Cass Sunstein calls “sludge” in his new book of the same name: dispiriting, dehumanising, time-swallowing bureaucracy that actively makes people’s lives worse.

Who can forget Cass Sunstein’ s other political interventions? Here Jeremy Waldron reviews Soft-Core Authoritarian Sunstein’s ‘Nudge’:

It’s All for Your Own Good

And my own comment on @gilliantettFinancial Times essay of June 9, 2021

Cass Sunstein, a leading behavioural scientist who helped to popularise the concept of the “nudge”, a policy technique that steers people towards certain actions, has written that Biden’s plan to embrace evidence-based policymaking incorporates “an explicit endorsement of behavioural science — and it calls for much more of it”. Sunstein himself has been hired by the Department of Homeland Security.

https://www.ft.com/content/7d3cac49-6d2a-4770-86f2-3e80797c528c

The sad news is that Mr. Sunstein is a lawyer, not a ‘a leading behavioral scientist’ ! See my essay for the particulars

@gilliantett frames her latest essay via Soft-Core Authoritarian Cass Sunstein. Political Skeptic comments.

Mr. Colvile, as Thatcherite, chatters about the virtues of the ‘Free Market’, that utterly collapsed in 2008, and destroyed both the Working Class and the Middle Class. The Question that Mr. Colvile fails to address, in his advocacy for that ‘Free Market’: where is the Radiant Economic Prosperity, that Thatcherism and its folk hero Hayek thought to be axiomatic? Perhaps not enough of the cleansing bath of ‘Austerity’?

Even a Thatcherite like me wouldn’t argue that we should have a free-market flourish in testing and tracing, with firms giving a special discount on self-isolation for choosing their services. But my experience cuts against the narrative of the pandemic offered by government.

The conscious destroyers of the Welfare State, Mr. Colvile and his fellow travelers, and its institutions: @CPSThinkTank continue their War against the Welfare State, as if their ignominious past, and present, has been subject to a viable erasure. The Welfare State’s raison d’être was/is the care and maintenance of the Public Welfare. Not the propping up of a Capital, stepped in political mendacity, that exalts ‘The Market’ as the sine qua non of human aspiration!

Almost Marx

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Moqtada al-Sadr as political opportunist , in the pages of The Financial Times.

Political Realist comments.

That the Anti-Imperialism, in the Islamic World, should embrace leaders like Moqtada al-Sadr, should come as no surprise. That the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have ended in ignominious defeat, for an America, now utterly disenchanted, with the lies of the Neo-Conservative political toxin, is also unsurprising. Especially after Trump, and a Pandemic that remains a frightening reality, coupled with a loss of faith in Science and its Institutions.

As informative as Chloe Cornish essay is, it follows the Party Line on Political Islam! To commit a Political Heresy : If Zionism is legitimate, then Political Islam is equally legitimate!

How surprising for Chloe Cornish to quote a writer/journalist on the actual ‘Left’ , no matter how brief… ‘Patrick Cockburn, author of Moqtada al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq.’.

Like all politicians Moqtada al-Sadr seeks to grow and institutionalize his political power! That seem axiomatic …

Political Realist

https://www.ft.com/content/98c8a27b-4dfc-40d8-ae4d-a859f9cf3250

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Jamie Diamon proclaims the viability of ‘Supply Chains’, with help from fellow ‘Globalists’, in The Financial Times.

Political Skeptic comments.

Who better to proclaim the viability of ‘Supply Chains’ than the redoubtable Jamie Diamon? The Economic Utopianism of the twins of Globalism/Neo-Liberalism have experienced collapse, that date from 2008, with catastrophic consequences for ‘we’ lesser beings of the planet. Yet in the attempt of this report/essay to construct a carefully confected History Made to Measure , reads like what it is a wan apologetic for the failure of that Globalism/Neo-Liberalism.

Mr. Diamon issues this economic proclamation:

“This will not be an issue next year at all,” said Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase chief executive, at the Institute of International Finance conference this week. “This is the worst part of it and the great market system will adjust for it.” 

Followed by Brian Moynihan:

“Six months ago when this was raised to me by clients around the country . . . you never would have thought it would have gotten so much worse since then,” said Brian Moynihan, Bank of America chief executive, on Tuesday.

More from fellow traveler Charlie Scharf:

Charlie Scharf, Wells Fargo chief executive, expressed similar surprise at the extent of the disruptions, but said he believed the problems were “transitory”.

The barrage of propaganda never stops:

I think we understand the intricate interconnectedness of the global supply chain and in ways that . . . people more broadly probably don’t,” Scharf said. “What we just have to protect against is people making decisions that exacerbate the problem, which is trying to add to inventories too quickly.”

Moynihan said it was too soon to say whether or not the shortages would lead to price increases that make goods unaffordable: “That’s the grave concern right now.”

https://www.ft.com/content/0dd1622d-883a-44a8-80c4-079fc5e90fab#comments-anchor

The collapse of the myth of ‘Supply Chains’, in the Age of Pandemics, present an imperative: the reestablishment of indigenous manufacturing bases, within the individual Nation States of the world. As a founding principal to replace the utterly failed, misbegotten Globalism/Neo-Liberalism Mythology!

Political Skeptic

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The Show Trial of Kristalina Georgieva continues, in pages of The Financial Times.

Political Cynic comments on this unfolding Political Melodrama!

The Show Trial’ of Georgieva continues in this newspaper. Yet even Luce’s Bill of Attainder lost what political force, it might have had, in its last two paragraphs. But what The Hegemon, America, wants it will get! The IMF and The World Bank are the public relations defenders of Toxic Capital. Quoting the mendacious Jeffery Sachs as a ‘Progressive Economist’ followed by Stiglitz leads the reader to what conclusion? 

The New Cold War with China, and numerous others, makes this reader wonder at the inexhaustible treasuries, and the political will of America, as the Afghanistan Defeat still bedevils its hegemonic self conception.

Here is the lynch-pin of this essay, after all the speculation and political temperature taking: the high placed anonymous source: ’A former division chief at the IMF’

A former division chief at the IMF said the extent of the board’s disagreements over Georgieva’s fate had already undermined her ability to lead going forward, leaving few alternatives beyond her being replaced.

“Such openly divided and at best modestly enthusiastic support for its managing director risks hobbling the institution’s effectiveness, both in terms of its policy advice and credibility of its analysis,” said the former IMF official. “Even if she weathers this storm, it will be difficult for Ms Georgieva to continue as an effective leader of the institution for much longer.”

The political melodrama continues, as Georgieva’s ‘Deviationism’ must be firmly established in the Public Mind!

Anne Krueger, a former World Bank chief economist and deputy managing director of the IMF, said the affair left her “worried about the future in general”.

“I’m worried that if indeed this is somehow permitted to pass, we will have more pressure for more governments to change more numbers in more favourable directions,” she said. “Not everybody . . .[will] give in but there are some staff or management who will, and the situation will get out of hand if it isn’t already.”

Like any effective melodrama, drawing on a Tradition that dates from Ancient Times, a member of Economic Royalty appears, as the deus ex machina:

Paul Romer, a Nobel laureate who was World Bank chief economist under Georgieva and worked with her and Djankov, said the latter’s alleged actions “should be interpreted as being done with the knowledge and at the behest of Kristalina”.

https://www.ft.com/content/a0cfb7d5-ad32-4aa1-9e08-952accde5b44

Political Cynic

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Edward Luce on ‘the crimes’ of Kristalina Georgieva, or much ado about nothing?

Radical Socialist comments…

Read just the first two paragraphs of Luce’s essay, or should it be referred to as his wan Bill of Attainder, against Kristalina Georgieva?

Kristalina Georgieva’s alleged sins may look trifling to some. The IMF’s managing director is accused of having manipulated the World Bank’s Doing Business index in 2018, when she was the institution’s CEO, to give China a higher ranking than it merited. Compared to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one of her predecessors, who in 2011 was accused of sexual assault in New York, or Rodrigo Rato, an earlier occupant, who was jailed for embezzlement, Georgieva’s clerical meddling looks like a victimless misdemeanour. Yet in geopolitical terms, her fate will be of far greater consequence.

An independent report published last month claims Georgieva interfered heavily in the Doing Business ranking to appease China in the midst of trying to secure a capital increase from Beijing. It is doubtful this would have generated anything like this fuss had Georgieva interfered on behalf of any other country, let alone kept its ranking at a paltry 78th rather than let it drop a few rungs.

The next paragraph makes a reference to the ‘Thucydidean world’! Mr. Luce, like the late Mario Buatta, is addicted to chinch, of the rhetorical variety.

Yet we inhabit a Thucydidean world in which today’s hegemon, the United States, which has dominated the Bretton Woods system since it began in 1944, faces a challenger, China, that is knocking with growing conviction at the door. How could such a damning report land without a thud?

Evidence of the penetration of Graham Allison’s artfully marketed ‘best-seller’, as an answer to a World dominated by unpredictability/uncertainty ? That offers a convenient ‘catch phrase’ ,in lieu of actual thought, on the part of those who quote him. Here is a condensed version of Mr. Allison’s essay via Foreign Policy:

Headline: The Thucydides Trap

Sub-headline: When one great power threatens to displace another, war is almost always the result — but it doesn’t have to be.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/09/the-thucydides-trap/

Read the short version of Mr. Allison’s CV :

Graham Allison is a professor of government at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was the founding dean. He is a former U.S. assistant defense secretary and the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Twitter: @GrahamTAllison

Mr. Allison is a member of a very exclusive club of Foreign Policy Technocrats, who has served in government. The question is wheatear Luce takes full advantage of Mr. Allison’s expertise/experience, or is just following the ‘Buatta Stratagem’? Its infectious!

The next sentence gives Luce’s game away:

The sharpest contrast between today’s emerging cold war and the one between the US and the Soviet Union is that China is deeply integrated into the global economy.

There is no ‘emerging Cold War’, but there is, in fact, a Cold War on simmer on many fronts, in in the political present:

Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and the vexing defeats of America in Iraq and Afghanistan! The list is very long.

The reader need only look to the status of The World Bank and the IMF as IGO’s , Inter-governmental Agencies. That offer Capitalism, as practiced in the West, and its hangers-on, to construct a viable self-apologetic, for the ravages inflicted upon populations, across the world, under the banner of an ‘Enlightened Capital’.

Our point of arrival in Mr. Luce’s essay, concludes with two almost contradictory paragraphs, swimming in realpolitik, that renders Luce’s attempt at melodramatic fireworks moot!

America faces a choice between relaxing its grip on global bodies to encourage Beijing to stay in the game, or refusing to acknowledge China’s rise and risk it exiting parts of the system altogether. Beijing has already created parallel tracks, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the Belt and Road Initiative. Given that China, along with the US, is one of the five veto-wielding members of the UN security council, it is unlikely to reduce its presence there. But it takes little imagination to picture China losing interest in bodies such as the IMF if it does not receive its due as one of the world’s two great powers. It is surely not in the west’s interests to discard key tools for engaging China in an increasingly bifurcated world.

Where does this leave the IMF’s Georgieva? America is being lobbied by poorer members in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere to retain her. She has won plaudits for responding nimbly to the pandemic and retooling the world’s lender of last resort to address threats such as climate change. Yet US hawks now depict her as irredeemably pliable to China. A reputation for fearless probity will come at a rising premium amid the battle for the future of the big global bodies. The worst of both worlds would be to keep Georgieva in place without having banished doubts about her neutrality.

https://www.ft.com/content/de0f9916-8de2-4ba8-b97e-f514bd5da511

StephenKMackSD

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The New Cold War, episode MDXIII: The Financial Times on the ‘expulsion of 8 Russians for spying’.

Almost Marx scoffs!

Headline: Nato expels 8 Russians for spying

Sub-headline: Maximum size of Moscow delegation to Brussels headquarters halved as east-west relations deteriorate

https://www.ft.com/content/a3c24aea-8db8-44ad-bbc4-6acbb77a93da

The New Cold War reaches one of its many denouements! NATO had once outlived its usefulness with the fall of the Soviet Union. And the American Project of administering the ‘shock therapy’ of the Free Market, upon the misbegotten citizens of the once Enemy. Administered, after the election of Clinton, by Strobe Talbott, Jeffrey Sachs (now in a state of pathetic, comic denial) and one of his minions Zanny Minton Beddoes, now editor-in-chief of The Economist.

But the propaganda arm of NATO ,The Atlantic Council, has become a stepping stone for young aspirants, to enter the Foreign Policy Technocracy. No critics of that powerful coterie, will ever come from inside this hive of political conformists.

One very pressing question might be, how many operatives of the American National Security are employed by NATO. Or is that simply a naïve query , that fails to recognize NATO as just one more arm of American Imperialism. Born of the first Cold War, as an instrument to blunt/confront Soviet revanchism?

Although FDR and Churchill’s bargain with Stalin, is a fact, that can never be faced by respectable bourgeois commentators: posing as experts/technocrats in possession of a ‘knowledge’ not available to the ordinary reader?

Almost Marx

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