Andy Divine on Rep. Ilhan Omar. Old Socialist comments

Andy Divine has the habit of  public moralizing on the political conduct of others,  from his column of March 08, 2019.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Using the phrases “all about the Benjamins” and “allegiance to a foreign country” when referring to the Israel lobby in D.C., as freshman Democratic representative Ilhan Omar recently did, is anti-Semitic. It should be possible to criticize Washington’s relationship with Israel without deploying crude and freighted language like this. But it got me wondering: Is it possible to write honestly about the Israel lobby’s power in D.C. without using any anti-Semitic “tropes” at all?

The basic facts are not really in dispute. A very powerful lobby deploys the money and passions of its members to ensure that a foreign country gets very, very special treatment from the U.S. Many of its supporters are Evangelical Protestants who want to accelerate the Second Coming. Others spring from an older and very American form of Christian Zionism. Many others are also American Jews with a commitment to Israel that has its roots both in the Torah and in a vow never to allow a second Holocaust.

Mr. Divine presents himself as an authority on bigotry, the ‘Anti-Antisemitism’ of Rep. Omar. Yet the reader with a memory reaching back to 1994 can’t forget Andy’s advocacy for The Bell Curve, and here is a link to a collection of responses published in The New Republic:

This devastating review in the New York Review of Books by Charles Lane:

A link to Max Reed’s 2011 Gawker essay:

The one thing that Andy depends upon is the ignorance of his readership , the younger readers might think that he is an Idiosyncratic Centrist, that advocates the use of hallucinogens, while still advocating the Centrist idea of political moderation. Those readers don’t recall Andy’s ‘evolution’ from Thatcherite , to Neo-Conservative to Neo-Liberal  : never forgetting his unquenchable bellicosity in Foreign Policy and his advocacy for a Eugenics for a New Age. His condemnation of Rep .Omar is the product of his self-infatuated mendacity all dressed-up in Pundit Drag.

Old Socialist

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@jonathanchait scolds Republicans about ‘no votes’ on ‘Anti-Hate Resolution’ but misses the real story! Old Socialist comments

Headline: Two Dozen House Republicans Oppose Anti-Hate Resolution for Some Reason

Mr. Chait proves himself to be a true ‘Centrist’ , the current alliance between the Neo-Cons & The New Democrats, by focusing on the minority Republican response to the ‘Anti-Hate Resolution’.
What he ignores is that the New Democrats, in the person of Pelosi ,could not identify Rep. Ilhan Omar as the ‘reason’ for this ‘Resolution’ . So it was couched in a generic condemnation of ‘hate’, that made some of the Republicans rebel against what they perceived to be ‘political correctness’ that the Republicans (Dixiecrats almost to a person) find to be a Leftist Dogma.

The most salient points Mr. Chait avoids, at all political costs, is a frank discussion of the power of AIPAC, and its strangle hold it has on American Politics. In that regard the whole of American Politics is strictly controlled by this Lobby. Rep. Ilhan Omar deviated from the acceptable discourse, to put it the mildest terms. In the spirit of frankness she is an Apostate who needs to be rebuked, shamed into conformity. Has it worked?

Pelosi can no longer control the Party, as Sanders, Warren, and even AIPAC  loyalist Harris support Rep. Omar. The New-New Dealers are the future of the Party, and the New Democrats are its past.  Even though they control of the Party apparatus ,peopled with their apparatchiks like Wassermann-Schultz, Schumer etc., the political agents of the New-New Deal, are now an unpleasant fact of political life for the Old Guard Clintonites: who will stop at nothing to try to kill this newest iteration of a New Deal, re-imagined by Rep. Omar and her sisters in the House.  Mr.  Chait is an Old Guard loyalist/apologist, whose allegiance to that coterie is always manifested in his carefully crafted propaganda interventions.

Old Socialist


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David McWilliams on Bernanke as the cause of Ocasio-Cortez or Political Economy becomes erstaz Theology. Old Socialist comments

Headline: Quantitative easing was the father of millennial socialism

Sub-headline: Federal Reserve’s bid to stave off depression sowed the seeds of a generational revolt

Welcome to Mr. David McWilliams and his brand of Political Economy, that is obsessed with a search for the cause of  the New-New Deal : a cunning blend of Herbert Spencer , Oscar Wilde, and Walt Disney. His  Enemies List begins with Ben Bernanke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. With additional actors : quantitative easing, millennials , leftwing politics, 2008 crash, unorthodox monetary policy, and other villains too numerous to mention, allied with a host of suggestive economic data, bathed is withering sarcasm.

For the reader without the patience to read this whole tedious essay there is the last paragraph:

For the purist, capitalism without default is a bit like Catholicism without hell. But we have confession for a reason. Everyone needs absolution. QE was capitalism’s confessional. But what if the day of reckoning was only postponed? What if a policy designed to protect the balance sheets of the wealthy has unleashed forces that may lead to the mass appropriation of those assets in the years ahead?

The patient reader might ask what has this amalgam of  Herbert Spencer, Oscar Wilde and Walt Disney have in common with a Catholicism, that more closely resembles Calvinism? In the most simplistic terms Bernanke is the Devil and Ocasio-Cortez is his Apostate. The rise of a New-New Deal is the foundation of Mr. McWilliams’ search for the cause of this political manifestation/misfortune that is reduced to a vulgar pastiche of theology.

Old Socialist



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At The Financial Times: Lionel Barber ‘reviews’ William Burns’ ‘The Back Channel’. Old Socialist comments

The headline writers at The Financial Times worked their dark magic to confect this:

The fallen superpower: US foreign policy from triumph to hubris

Veteran diplomat William Burns details shifts under five presidents in ‘The Back Channel’

Who better than Posh Boy Lionel Barber to write this meditation on the career of William Burns ? His very impressive  C.V. is available here:

In the memoir of his diplomatic career, titled The Back Channel , is reviewed by Barber. Mr. Burns left the Diplomatic Service in 2014, and became the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is a graduate of Oxford University.

In the Age of Trump, the points of agreement between Barber and Burns are presented here:

Burns correctly singles out the elder Bush’s administration as the model. The national security team that managed the end of the cold war was top drawer. James Baker was a shrewd secretary of state who enjoyed the trust of the president. Bush Sr understood the importance of restraint. His decision not to topple Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf war looks even wiser given the debacle after the second Gulf war.

But, as Burns recognises, the US stood at the pinnacle of power in 1991. One year later, as Bill Clinton prepared to enter the White House, Burns warned in a prescient memo that victory in the cold war masked more malign developments. The forces of fragmentation were on the rise, with the risk of a retreat into nationalism or religious extremism or a combination of the two.

“Ideological competition was not over — it was simply reshaped,” Burns wrote, “In much of the world . . . Islamic conservatism remains a potent alternative to democracy as an organising principle.”

The Adults in the Room is subject to a political resuscitation. It is more of the same defense of The American Empire, the bleak headline is just the hysterical frame, as a caution not to abandon the fiction of America as benign hegemon. In its round- about way it is the re-rendering of Huntington’s ‘Clash’ in more palatable terms, for easier consumption.

Headline: The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”

The leading myth of the mainstream media over the past year has been the idea that there were “adults in the room” in the Oval Office of the White House. These so-called adults were for the most part general officers, both active duty and retired, who were going to restrain the excesses of Donald Trump by providing moderate and authoritative advice that he couldn’t get anywhere else.

Thus far, we have witnessed two Army generals who have served as the national security adviser, and two Marine generals who have served as Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Defense, and even chief of staff to the president. The past two weeks have been two of the most immoderate weeks in the brief history of the Trump administration, demonstrating that the adults are either AWOL (Absent without Leave) or unable to broadcast on Trump’s frequency.

It was fatuous to assume that general officers could provide the kind of support that such an inexperienced president required. The example of Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State George C. Marshall in the Truman administration was singular because he was an unusual soldier-statesman. The examples of Generals Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell are not particularly useful because they had high-level civilian mentors such as Henry A. Kissinger, Frank Carlucci, and James Baker. Generals H.R. McMaster, John Kelly, Michael Flynn, and James Mattis lacked civilian guidance in the White House; they had no background for offering the sophisticated guidance needed on the geopolitical issues that bedevil our president.

Old Socialist




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At The Financial Times: Macron’s plan for Europe, while the Gilets Jaunes control France. Old Socialist comments

While Macron’s Napoleonic Ambition never seems to be in contact with the wholesale rebellion that is tearing France apart: his Neo-Liberalization of France has met defiance by the seeming leaderless ‘The Great Unwashed’:

In lieu of National Leadership Macron’s propaganda campaign concentrates on the Leadership of the EU. Unable to lead his home country, he puts his energy to leading a Mythical Europe. With a Plan

The Brexit ‘trap’ — but no contentious eurozone reforms

Sharing refugee burden in exchange for stronger borders

Olive branch to UK on security

‘Buy European’ idea is back — again

Treaty changes

Macron presents himself as The Leader of Europe, while he has proved that he is incapable of leading France, except by police violence. His popularity ratings Jan. 2019, 28%, 32 % as of Feb 2019.

Old Socialist

March 05,2019 attempted to post this in the comments section of The Financial Times, but the link for The New Left Review is designated as ‘malformed content’


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Macron attempts a political self-rescue, by misdirection! Almost Marx comments

That Macron was ‘elected’ with a 36.5% of the voters, in the final round, rendering their ballots ‘spoiled’ or otherwise uncountable was the beginning of the end for Macron.His ‘Jupertarian Politics’ , the coded language for authoritarianism, and his ‘La République En Marche’ that began with ‘Rule by Decree’ .
Even now as his Finance Minister Muriel Pénicaud announces to Financial Time, of January 22, 2019 the House Organ of a collapsed Neo-Liberalism, the headline & sub-headline describe the intransigence of the ideologues:

Headline: Paris vows to extend labour reforms despite ‘gilets jaunes’

Sub-headline:Macron aides say protests have spurred government to redouble liberalisation efforts

According to Ms Pénicaud, between 300,000 and 400,000 jobs in France cannot be filled because of a lack of qualified applicants — 80,000 of them in the information technology sector.

“Our challenge is upskilling the nation,” she said, adding that entrepreneurs and employers appreciated last year’s reforms to simplify the labour code but that half of companies complained of recruitment problems. “They say: ‘We are no longer scared of hiring but we can’t find the skills’,” she added.

In Mr Macron’s overall programme, Ms Pénicaud said, “in order to reform France to give it a future, to give it economic and social momentum, one of the big priorities is the step-by-step transformation of the labour market”.

There will be no social peace in France for the foreseeable future, because of the gilets jaunes, but what better way to deflect attention away from this internal crisis, prefigured by that 36.5 % of ‘spoiled ballots’, than to engage in a campaign of misdirection, factoring in the verbal attack on the notorious Neo-Conservative Alain Finkielkraut in Paris, as proof that there is an Anti-Semitism crisis in France that needs to be addressed by the force of Law. But how are these prophets of political virtue to handle the fact that Netnayahu is embracing Orban?

Headline:Anti-Semitism doesn’t bother Benjamin Netanyahu if it comes from his political allies

Sub-headline: Why Israel is cozying up to Viktor Orban’s Hungary and overlooking Poland’s Holocaust law

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now joined the likes of his sworn enemies, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and former Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by engaging in Holocaust revisionism to promote his own political interests. The leader of the Jewish state signed an agreement with Poland late last month that absolves Poland of its role in the extermination of its Jewish population during World War II, despite ample evidence of passive and active collaboration — as was the case throughout Europe.

Netanyahu spun the accord as a sign that he had forced Poland to soften its law about the country’s role in the Holocaust, but it really shows that maintaining power matters more to Netanyahu than fighting anti-Semitism.





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‘Second Referendum’ leaves the Financial Times unimpressed. Old Socialist comments

Headline:Labour party to back second referendum on Brexit

Sub-headline: UK opposition party favours public vote ‘to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit’

After years of political hysterics, coming from this newspaper, and all the other publications of whatever political persuasion i.e. bourgeouise respectability is the key issue, The Second Referendum should have been the headline of this issue @FT, but Mrs. May’s vain attempt at self-rescue, demonstrates the politics of this newspaper’s attempt at producing unconvincing propaganda.

Mrs. Thatcher is still the ghost that haunts British politics, with her penchant for passing out Road to Serfdom like a party favor, and declaring that ‘there is no such thing as ‘Society’ , a concept out of Hayek’s ‘evolution’ from Economist to Social Theorist, such was her political nihilism. Markets and Prices , Social Darwinism masquerading as Economics, were/are the measure of the Human Endeavor. Thatcher even fought with her male hirelings! Mrs. May has all of Thatcher’s arrogance and hauteur, not to speak of mean-spiritedness, but remains unconvincing as political actor. While Cameron was just another Posh Boy given to the expression of ugly snobbery, , as a political position against Labour’s Left Wing Social Democracy.

Old Socialist



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