My two replies to Finn du siecle (@FT) . Old Socialist

As Yanis Varoufakis once observed ‘you don’t negotiate with the EU’ ! The Financial Times writers have a chance to repeat, and admire, in their own way, Variety’s review of the Movie Version of ‘Adults in the Room’ directed by Costa-Gavras. To say the least, Variety is not Cahiers du cinéma, or even the utterly pretentious American publication Film Comment!

In the midst of Boris Jonson’s manufactured crisis about Brexit, and its attendant political melodrama, played out in this newspaper: that has enlivened the comments section of its various ‘news stories’ on the vexing questions raised by Boris’ demonstrable incompetence- but Brussels Briefing supplies the reader with inner workings of the EU, while remaining fully vested in the Financial Times’ fealty to the highly evolved and rationalized Coal and Steel Cartel, founded by technocrat supreme Jean Monnet’s Neo-Liberalism before the fact.

Note too the use of photographs, and those evocative graphs, that drive those argumentative points home: technocrats, actual and just the pretenders, find this irresistible. See Deirdre McCloskey’s ‘The Rhetoric of Economics’ chapter 3 ‘Figures of Economic Speech’, for the hold that these explanatory devices have in economic reasoning.




To The Posh Boys @FT

Printed the Spectator essay by Ivan Rogers, and read its eleven pages! Oxford and ENS:

Rogers was educated at Bournemouth School in his hometown, the south-coast town of Bournemouth in Dorset,[2] at which his father taught history.[2] After a gap year in Bremen, in north-western Germany, he studied History for three years at Balliol College at the University of Oxford, followed by the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. This was followed by another three years at Balliol, at which he pursued doctoral studies in the history of socio-biology and eugenic thinking on the political left, though he did not finish his degree.[2]

Establishes his credential as apologist for the Technocracy’s fealty to the Coal and Steel cartel: that ‘evolved’ into an ersatz Federalism. Although Mr. Rogers isn’t above a bit of hysteria mongering, of an almost genteel kind:

But if that is where we end up in a few weeks time, there is no politically credible path afterwards to where the Prime Minister says he wants to get. And the eventual outcome would be much worse for the UK, the EU and the entire West than it needed to be. Future political generations would excoriate this one for having let it happen – indeed in many cases for having worked assiduously to deliver, and celebrated delivering, this failure.

This era perhaps now bears more similarities with the gold standard era – with its free capital mobility, its open trade, and its staggering complacency – than any other. That era came to an abrupt and violent end with world war one and its key features could not be resuscitated for decades. Many sage figures bearing considerable similarity to our current political leadership confidently pronounced in the early 20thcentury that conflict was now completely impossible between developed democratic states, given their economic interconnectedness. We know how that turned out.

The voice of the Eurocrat is heard:

Deep integration inevitably requires that we eliminate the transaction costs that traders and investors face in cross-border transactions, and end regulatory discontinuities at borders. To enforce, police and adjudicate this, by definition, requires supranational legislation and a supranational Court. And those necessarily undermine national autonomy in decision-making.

We used, across party lines, to be in favour of all that because we thought – and a massive extension of qualified majority voted to deliver it, supported by Margaret Thatcher – it a price worth paying for building a much larger and more open ‘home market’. The British were notorious, from Thatcher on, as the biggest enthusiasts for the Single Market.

Have we heard this before? The advocates for TPP, one being Barack Obama, recited from the Corporatist Hymnal. And Rogers is fluent in patois of the Eurocrat, and their concerns about the blessing of ‘deep integration’ and other conundrums of the European Mythology. The Greeks were the telling object lesson of the bankruptcy of the EU! Read your own newspaper:

Headline: A debt to history?

Sub-headline: To some, Germany faces a moral duty to help Greece, given the aid that it has previously enjoyed

For a couple of minutes Friedman then offered a brief review of western financial history, highlighting the unprecedented nature of Europe’s single currency experiment, and offering a description of sovereign and local government defaults in the 20th century. Then, with an edge to his voice, Friedman pointed out that one of the great beneficiaries of debt forgiveness throughout the last century was Germany: on multiple occasions (1924, 1929, 1932 and 1953), the western allies had restructured German debt.

So why couldn’t Germany do the same for others? “There is ample precedent within Europe for both debt relief and debt restructuring . . . There is no economic ground for Germany to be the only European country in modern times to be granted official debt relief on a massive scale and certainly no moral ground either.

Let me interject that what needs to happen, in tandem with Brexit, is a remaking of Britain into a revitalized Social Democratic State, with the welfare of its citizens and revitalization of its economy, and a renegotiation of trade deals with its partners,as hard as that may be is the wake of Brexit.






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On Boris Johnson’s proroguing Parliament as reported in The Financial Times & The Good Grey Times: Old Socialist comments

Headline: Boris Johnson vows to purge rebels who vote against no-deal Brexit

Sub-headline: Threat to withdraw Tory whip and deselect former ministers such as Philip Hammond

The Tory rebels are planning to work with Labour and other opposition parties to try to seize control of the House of Commons order paper and then pass a law to stop Mr Johnson from executing a no-deal departure from the EU on October 31.

The prime minister agreed the dramatic deselection threat after talks with party whips and advisers at Chequers, his country residence, on Sunday; Mr Johnson’s aides believe the threat of deselection will burn off some of the rebels ahead of the critical votes this week.

But a source from the Tory whips’ office said: “If they fail to vote with the government on Tuesday they will be destroying the government’s negotiating position and handing control of parliament to Jeremy Corbyn.”

But Rory Stewart, former international development secretary, said: “If we want to stop no-deal, we have to stop it this week. I’m proud to be a Conservative, I want to stand as a Conservative in my constituency, but I can’t stand on a no-deal platform.”

Mr Hammond said on Saturday Mr Johnson was showing “staggering hypocrisy” in threatening to throw out Tory MPs who oppose no-deal, since eight serving cabinet ministers have rebelled on Brexit this year.

Compare the above highly nuanced political melodrama, as deftly reported by George Parker, with Dominic Lawson’s essay in the good, grey Times of September 1, 2019

Headline: Johnson the proroguer is serving democracy

Sub-headline: In honouring the Brexit vote, the PM will save parliament from itself

The former chancellor Philip Hammond led the charge in describing the PM’s move as a denial of “democracy”. That might be true, if Westminster were the solitary repository of democratic legitimacy in the matter of Britain’s relationship with the EU. But it isn’t.

To understand why, read the words of the cabinet minister who introduced the second reading of the referendum bill in June 2015 — the then foreign secretary, one Philip Hammond. He began by declaring that the EU had “changed almost beyond recognition” from what the British had endorsed in the 1975 referendum, and that therefore another popular mandate was required.

He ended: “Whether you favour Britain being in or out, we surely should all be able to agree on the simple principle that the decision over our membership should be taken by the British people. Not by Whitehall bureaucrats; certainly not by Brussels Eurocrats; not even by government ministers or parliamentarians in this chamber. The decision must be for the common sense of the British people . . . For too long, powers have been handed to Brussels over their heads. For too long, their voice on Europe has not been heard. This bill puts that right. It delivers the simple in/out referendum that we promised and I commend it to the House.”

Is it possible to ignore that Johnson has by, his act of proroguing Parliament,  rendered null, the fact that the ‘how’ of the Brexit will take place, without one of the vital political actors, in this decision, will be forcibly excluded from the negotiation of that ‘how’.

But the above quote by Philip Hammond : Not by Whitehall bureaucrats; certainly not by Brussels Eurocrats; not even by government ministers or parliamentarians in this chamber. The decision must be for the common sense of the British people . . .

The Brexit will simply take place via a vote? Call Mr. Lawson employment of Hammond’s reductionism awash in political fantasy.

It is true the prime minister is more concerned to honour the referendum result than the will of parliament (which has been to oppose everything and back nothing). In the battle between two forms of democratic legitimacy, he has taken sides. But if parliament declares itself more sovereign than the people, it will do itself more damage than any bombs dropped on it by the real Hitler.

The balance between all of the three branches of government is the imperative that must be recognized as just that!

Old Socialist






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The Financial Times, John Thornhill & Peter Pomerantsev on Toxic Populism. Old Socialist comments

Headline: This is Not Propaganda — how the information revolution was hijacked

Sub-headline: The Soviet-born writer warns of the ‘war against reality’ being waged by populist forces

Pomerantsev reviewed by Thornhill is instructive in terms of political melodrama , at its most gruesome, with the murder of Maria del Rosario Fuentes Rubio, described in vivid detail. At least as vivid as Financial Time’s might permit! Mr. Thornhill’s two paragraphs describes Pomerantsev’s realization:

The impetus for the book came from Pomerantsev’s realisation that although he had left Russia in 2010, Russia had somehow followed him. Having dismissed the country as a “sideshow, a curio pickled in its own agonies”, he began to notice how many of its pathologies were popping up elsewhere.

“Suddenly the Russia I had known appeared to be all around me: a radical relativism which implies truth is unknowable, the future dissolving into nasty nostalgias, conspiracy replacing ideology, facts equating to fibs, conversation collapsing into mutual accusations that every argument is just information warfare . . . and just this sense that everything under one’s feet is constantly moving, inherently unstable, liquid.”

The review sifts focus for just a paragraph to recount, in highly condensed form, Pomerantsev’s father’s story and posits the notion ‘new narratives’.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the global financial crisis of 2008 exploded both narratives, throwing ideology up into the air. Smart populist politicians, including Putin and Donald Trump, have been quicker than many rivals to invent infectious new narratives, playing heavily on conspiracy theory and ethnic identity.

The story of the American intervention in the internal affairs of Russia, after the Fall of The Soviet Union, which placed manipulable drunkard Boris Yeltsin in power. That, then,  led directly to the rise of Putin is, and remains, subject to the political amnesia of both this author and his reviewer. Should ‘we’ thank Bill Clinton and Strobe Talbott for Putin, by way of the Yeltsin appointment?

To express it in terms of the current Political Mythology, why might Putin hate The West? Look to the infliction of  vengeful Market Discipline on the Russian People? Instead, what the reader receives from Pomerantsev, is another reheated version of The Populist Menace: this left-over has been reheated so many times, it smells like what it is fetid political garbage.

Old Socialist


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My reply @Les Kaye votes Leave! @Lancaster Professional

@Les Kaye votes Leave! @Lancaster Professional

Blonde in the Belly of the Beast is your first source! She is articulate, but she lapses into what can only be called a collection of straw-men,  a litany of bad actors favored by the Canadian Frontiersman Jordan Peterson: to call him a charlatan is an apt descriptor!  ‘Blonde’s‘ version of the Frankfurt School is pure fiction! Read Theodor W. Adorno : One Last Genius by Detlev Claussen:

Adorno was an active advocate of democracy, in Germany in the face of student protests, when he returned to his home.

Also read The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno by Gillian Rose.

Polemic has its place, and she is an accomplished practitioner of the art. Polemic in service to what? is the pressing question. Consider the practice of willful ignorance! ‘Blonde’s’ collection of bad actors, fills her audience with dread of The Enemy Within, a favorite trope of not the status quo, but of a politics cleansed of unruly dissidents: see Bloom, Kimball, D’Souza and its latest duo Lukianoff and Haidt for her precursors!







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The Financial Times scolds Macri! Old Socialist comments

Headline: Argentina is in default, says Standard & Poor’s

Sub-headline: Restructuring plan amounts to the ninth time that the country has reneged on its debt

Argentina has defaulted on its debt, according to Standard & Poor’s, the rating agency, after it announced plans to delay payments on its $101bn of borrowings.

Standard & Poor’s like the other ‘rating agencies’ are bankrupt!

Headline : The Indisputable Role of Credit Ratings Agencies in the 2008 Collapse, and Why Nothing Has Changed

The role of the credit ratings agencies during the financial crisis remains highly criticized and mostly unaccountable. The agencies have been blamed for exaggerated ratings of risky mortgage-backed securities, giving investors false confidence that they were safe for investing. While criticizing the ratings by credit ratings agencies in an op-ed for The New York Times, columnist Paul Krugman wrote, “The skewed assessments, in turn, helped the financial system take on far more risk than it could safely handle.” In 2011, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission found that these ratings agencies “were key enablers of the financial meltdown.”

Germany defaulted four times in the 20th Century as reported in this newspaper:

For a couple of minutes Friedman then offered a brief review of western financial history, highlighting the unprecedented nature of Europe’s single currency experiment, and offering a description of sovereign and local government defaults in the 20th century. Then, with an edge to his voice, Friedman pointed out that one of the great beneficiaries of debt forgiveness throughout the last century was Germany: on multiple occasions (1924, 1929, 1932 and 1953), the western allies had restructured German debt.

When do the Posh Boys at The Financial Times admit that Neo-Liberalism is not just an utter failure, but a catastrophe? There is more about Macri political defeat, and ‘The Three’ lowering Argentina’s credit rating- the corrupt ‘rating’ the incompetent?

Argentina’s bonds and currency have slumped since Mr Macri — who had been a popular figure with international investors — suffered an unexpectedly heavy defeat in a primary election which all but ended his hopes of re-election in October.

The result of the primary election had already seen two of the big three rating agencies lower Argentina’s credit rating.

Next in line is the Financial Times’ Editorial Board’s intervention:

Headline: Argentina’s debt debacle poses a difficult choice

Sub-headline: Addiction to US dollar borrowing is haunting the country once again

Argentina is hurtling towards another disorderly debt default. It would be the ninth in the country’s history. The timing is highly unusual, coming two months before a presidential election and less than a year into an IMF bailout that had already been increased. But it is also a recognition of reality. IMF assumptions on Argentina’s ability to roll over its short-term debt proved wildly optimistic in the face of political uncertainty. A recent central-bank auction that covered only a fraction of the debt falling due highlighted how much Argentina is struggling to refinance its vast and largely US dollar-denominated debt pile.

The resounding defeat of President Mauricio Macri in a nationwide primary election on August 11 triggered protracted financial market turbulence. The currency has weakened by about 25 per cent since the vote, taking the country’s ratio of public debt to gross domestic product — 86 per cent at the end of 2018 — to something closer to 100 per cent. The finance ministry announced late on Wednesday that Argentina will seek a “voluntary reprofiling” of its debt, though describing the problem as “liquidity stresses” rather than a solvency issue. The distinction does not matter. Maturity extensions are classified as defaults by rating agencies. And institutional investors have been given no choice in the delay in repayment of $7bn in short-term debt imposed by the government. Argentina will now try to negotiate a restructuring on the rest of its debt, split between $44bn in repayments to the IMF and $50bn in international bonds. Any swift agreement will be difficult to achieve.

The reader notes that Macri is given a bit of a scolding by @FT: his ‘Austerity Lite’ wasn’t strong enough medicine. In sum, Market Discipline must cause suffering to insure ‘salvation‘. This, the Party Line of the Free Market Mythology in route!

The country’s economic problems are deep rooted. But Mr Macri bears some responsibility for not tackling them more robustly. Years of outsized fiscal and current account deficits are only now being reined in — the latter thanks more to a collapse in imports than to any sustained improvement in exports. Had Mr Macri accelerated fiscal consolidation at the start of his term four years ago and relied more heavily on domestic financing, Argentina’s vulnerabilities would be much lower. This “original sin” problem has been the country’s downfall time and again.

The editors then consider Macri’s responsibility in this debacle, eliding from their narrative the why of the near free-fall of the peso, but most importantly, the continuing proof that Neo-Liberalism is a spent force.

With the exception of Macron’s ‘Reforms’, that are not just haunted by both the  gilets jaunes and gilets noirs, but a generalized political discontent, defined by the 36.5% of ‘spoiled ballots’ in the final vote:  that can, given the right circumstance, lead to open rebellion!

Old Socialist






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@FT The Cult of Macron, episode DCLXXVII: The Triumph at G7! Political Observer comments

Headline: Emmanuel Macron’s G7 summit calms the storm, for now

Sub-headline: Brexit has already pushed Britain to the margins of global affairs

In the wake of Macri’s signal failure at the Argentine voting booths, the Posh Boys at The Financial Times, ‘The Editorial Board’, mine Macron’s success at the G7, as if it were more that a collection of opportunities, for useful public relations photos. Note the photo of Macron and Trump, that is the silent witness to the Cult of Macron ,as not quite ‘Dear Leader’ propaganda, but close!

As the gilets jaunes demonstrations continue in France, now not worthy of reporting in this newspaper- the only place to find video of these continuing demonstrations is on twitter! No need for corporate media to do anything, but simply engage in a form of Stalinist Erasure, before the fact?

Much credit goes to the meeting’s host, French president Emmanuel Macron, for his adroit diplomacy in defusing these potential time bombs. Mr Macron has had his own domestic political troubles, but he has emerged as a leader with weight and seriousness in international affairs. His willingness to act as a broker in an effort to bring together Mr Trump with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for direct talks on the nuclear crisis showed laudable diplomatic imagination.
In handling Mr Trump, Mr Macron found a balance between necessary if embarrassing flattery of the US president and strong resolve to promote Europe’s commitment to the multilateral international order.

Mr Macron, however, deserves considerable thanks for his efforts to calm the storms.

In this collection the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ remain the same, as Summer makes way for Fall, the Posh Boys just give this deck of cards a perfunctory shuffle!

Political Observer



@gaston lagaffe @StephenKMackSD

Thank you for your comment. What is the reader of this newspaper to think of first, the fact that 36.5% of voters, in the final round of the election, rendered their ballots ‘spoiled’ or otherwise ‘uncountable’ ?  The Financial Times pronounced this ‘win’ as  what? A Sea Change?  ‘They still linger’ is indicative of a loss of interest by the gilets jaunes, while the gilets noirs ,France’s undocumented migrants, occupied the Pantheon in mid-July.

What will precipitate a re-invigoration, and a possible alliance between these two coteries, of the discontented? Macron’s insufferable, flat-footed arrogance will provide the answer! He’s Trump with an ENA pedigree.  The ‘Jupertarian Politics’ proclaimed by Macron are not now the focus of The Financial Times’ Editorial Board, but his succession to the position occupied by Merkel, as titular head of the EU and leader of the  mythical ‘Europe’. Macron as Neo-Liberal actor, couched in the notion of necessary ‘Reform’, will provide the reasons for the re-invigoration of the gilets jaunes, and for that necessary alliance with gilets noirs.




@Italianstallion @StephenKMackSD @gaston lagaffe

Thank you for your comment! ‘You are nuts’ is your opening gambit. The jury is still out on that vexing question. Then a selection of reductive comments about what and who the  gilets jaunes are, and their political ineffectiveness. They lacked the hierarchy necessary to political victory?   Then on to Macron’s ‘tinkering’ with his Neo-Liberalization Project, which is equal to ‘some fine tuning’, of an utterly failed Project, that collapsed with a thud in 2008? Or should I remind you of Macri’s rout? Probably not! Does this demonstrate his ability, or just your faith in Macron The Reformer?

Headline: France’s Macron to shut elite ENA school in drive for fairness

PARIS (Reuters) – The Ecole Nationale d’Administration has for decades churned out presidents, ambassadors and industry leaders but on Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron said he would abolish what has become a symbol of inequality in his drive for a fairer society.

“To carry this reform we need to put an end to the ENA,” Macron said as he outlined his response to months of protests in part against elitism in the political establishment.

“This is not about saying the ENA is a bad thing, quite the contrary. This is about ambitious reform, we need to build something that works better.”

The president’s eye-catching move against his own prestigious alma mater will please those who consider the ENA an emblem of the tight-knit club that dominates political and business circles and rile others who see a cynical gesture that fails to address the causes of France’s social imbalances.

“If you keep the same structures, habits are too strong,” Macron said as he sought to calm a five-month street revolt that has derailed his economic reforms and challenged his authority.

Or might a political cynic point to the fact that, he has kicked the ladder, that made his political ascendancy possible, down. So that only he and his fellows can enjoy the fruits of their victory, obtained by their status as the last of the pedigreed ENA Technocrats?



P.S. Your screen name is … And you call me ‘nuts’!





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@HawleyMO a possible escape from your cultivated political ignorance? Queer Atheist

Instead of announcing your ignorance about Cosmopolitanism, and your use of it as a political straw-man of your fictional New Republicanism, that looks like the same bourgeois respectable Racism of Reagan ( ’76’Welfare Queens Driving Cadillacs’,’80 ‘I believe in States Rights’)

Add to this inherited Dixiecrat toxicity, the usable paranoia, of the McCarthy/Mundt/McCarran/Nixon Axis, and its attack on The New Deal as ‘a generation of treason’ . Voila! there you are, the natural inheritor of this legacy, in all your brazen, cultivated ignorance, in its various dimensions : the charge that the ‘Democrats’, read New Democrats, have any interest, or the intellectual inclination, much less the  capacity to advocate for such a larger moral/political vision, is preposterous on its face! Cosmopolitanism and bankrupt Neo-Liberalism are antithetical practices and World Views !

A possible avenue of escape from your state of ignorance ?

Here is screenshot of the first page of Chapter 2, page 48:

Have one of your underlings type up a paragraph length precis of this book, and/or just block me from commenting on your twitter account!

Add to your reading list, as part of your self-education, this book:


Queer Atheist




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