Fear Mongering at the good,grey Times! Almost Marx shares the essentials of ‘Corbygeddon’

Headline: Rich List 2019: wealthy prepare to flee Corbyn’s Britain

Sub-headline: Fears of ‘Corbygeddon’ raid on private wealth


Almost Marx



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At ‘The Spectator’ Geoffrey Alderman’s equivocating ‘defense’ of Jeremy Corbyn. Old Socialist comments

Geoffrey Alderman’s self -declaration as ‘a proud Zionist’ in the penultimate paragraph of his ‘defense’ of Corbyn- with friends like Alderman ?
Here is his collection of the charges leveled against Corbyn by the collective under the rubric of Labour Friends of Israel and its fellow travelers:

It’s quite true that the Labour Party that Corbyn leads has been dogged in recent years with incidents in which a significant number of its members, after being publicly pilloried as anti-Semites, have been expelled from the party. Worse than that, earlier this year a group of MPs resigned from the party, citing rampant anti-Semitism and a failure to deal with it as one of the reasons for their departure.

The group included the Jewish MP Luciana Berger, and also the non-Jewish MP Joan Ryan, formerly chair of Labour Friends of Israel. In her resignation speech, Ryan suggested that the ‘huge shame’ of anti-Semitism did not exist until Corbyn became party leader. Criticising Corbyn for ‘presiding over a culture of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel,’ Ryan insisted that ‘Over the past three years… the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has become infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism. This problem simply did not exist in the party before his election as leader.’

The Blair coterie and Labour Friends of Israel are not politically divisible. Corbyn’s support for B.D.S. is what is really bothering this alliance, and its manufactured political hysteria. This time its the forward that Corbyn wrote for John Atkinson Hobson Imperialism: A Study.  What is at the center of this continuing defamation of Corbyn is that he will be elected as Prime Minister, after the political demise of the politically incompetent Mrs. May. The Blarite faction’s imperative is to discredit Corbyn at all costs.

The problem is that Alderman’s description of the charges follows the Party Line, he fails to address these bogus charges, but simply repeats them. Not to address these charges is a  blatant moral/political abdication.  And then as rhetorical cover, he begins a history made to measure of Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.  ‘I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him’ describes Alderman’s  position, while maintaining his status as tribalist in good standing.

Old Socialist




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janan.ganesh@ft.com on Holbrooke & the failure of the ‘millennials’. Old Socialist comments

Title this Ganesh essay  ‘In Praise of American Imperialist Richard Holbrooke’ !

Referring to Mr. Packers book, and the career of Holbrooke, Ganesh’s expresses his misplaced tone of regret, for the decline of a species of bellicose Democrats who were ‘outward-looking, diplomatic but open to the use of force’ :

Instead, the book works better as an elegy for a certain type of Democrat. Holbrooke was outward-looking, diplomatic but open to the use of force and restless to fix even the bits of the world that did not touch on American interests. The type has been familiar from Harry Truman’s time to Hillary Clinton’s.

In his praise of Mr. Holbrooke Mr. Ganesh misses the careers of Henry Jackson, the redoubtable  Jeane Kirkpatrick the most bellicose of Democrats,  not to forget Joe Biden.

Then there is this not so puzzling comment on the absence of ‘foreign policy’ as a subject that the 2020 Democratic candidates. Tulsi Gabbard has made that ‘foreign policy’ the cornerstone of her campaign from its beginnings. Like the good Corporatist hireling, Ganesh ignores the inconvenient exception to his rule setting, or it it just cultivated ignorance?

Several months into the race, almost none of the 20-plus hopefuls has said anything of note about foreign policy.

As Daniel Larison points out in his essay Mr. Ganesh engages in ‘lazy argument’ ,or from my perspective, just ideological myopia.*

Then there is this bit of ‘analysis’:

The party is as rich with ideas as it has been for a generation — universal healthcare, plans for climate change abatement — but they are either domestic or only tangentially international.

Only a small portion of the 22 are discussing these question, the stolid New Democrats are avoiding the taint of Leftism!

The proof that ‘millennials’ , lazy journalistic shorthand for the younger generation, who have seen the ravages of that the Holbrook’s of the American Technocracy have visited upon the world, have chastened their view, while an older generation are still steeped in the failed/failing mythology of Pax Americana.

Still, something deeper, more generational, seems to be at work this time. A new survey of public attitudes by the Center for American Progress, a think-tank, finds that 59 per cent of baby-boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — and their elders believe the US should take a “leading role in the world”. Just 45 per cent of millennials and their juniors do. That will change as they age, you might think, but the number for the middle group of Generation X is just 46. In fact, lots of millennials and people born after them “hold no strong views whatsoever about any foreign policy or national security issue”.

Not to forget that the  Center for American Progress is the propaganda vehicle  i.e. Think Tank, whose membership is instructive: Sen. Tom Daschle, Chair, Neera Tanden, President, Stacey Abrams, Steve Daetz, Glenn Hutchins, John Podesta . New Democrats all!

But here Mr. Ganesh presents the reasons, the whys, of the ‘disenchantment’ of those ‘millennials’ :

In other words, the Americans who are most keen on global burden-bearing will, to put it tactfully, stop voting over the coming decades. Governments must increasingly answer to an electorate that prioritises the domestic. Foreign policymakers might rather their craft take place in a Kissingerian bubble, sealed off from the mob, but such nuisances as the universal franchise will tend to get in the way. It matters, then, that millennial views of US leadership are so jaundiced by the triple fiascos of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. This generation will soon be the largest segment of the US electorate. It is already setting the tone in the Democratic party.

And then a wan defense of the “liberal international order” , in sum, the post war Pax Americana, that cannot find a place in the morality/ politics/world view of the myopic ‘millennials’.

Mr. Ganesh misses the opportunity that the R2P  (Responsibility to Protect) Zealots Michael Ignatieff and Samantha Power offer, as the newest, and more nuanced re-interpretation of that “liberal international order”. Based not in power politics, but in a defense in the alluring garb of Human Rights. The R2P coterie are bellicose Neo-Conservatives in the afore mentioned garb. Mr. Ganesh is not a deep thinker, but a Sunday Supplement writer out of his depth.

Old Socialist












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On David Brooks’ experience of renewal:’The Second Mountain’ chronicles his personal journey. Political Cynic comments

Lisa Miller interviews  ‘American Prophet’ David Brooks on the publication of his new book The Second Mountain. The opening paragraph is a wonder of history made to measure, swimming in overwrought melodrama. Television kitsch dominates the inner lives of Americans. The black and white photo illustration to this feature article is indicative of its content:


It was 2013, and David Brooks was in the wilderness. Not the literal desert or jungle or anything like that, but the emotional wilderness of an accomplished man who, in midlife, has discovered a deep emptiness at his core. His marriage of 27 years was falling apart. The genteel conservatism in which he was nurtured and raised was morphing into something craven, naked, and raw. Lonely and living alone in an apartment in Washington, D.C., Brooks, 52 at the time, took stock and saw that in his rise to the pinnacle of American punditry, he had failed to make or keep meaningful friendships. And what was happening to him, Brooks writes in his new book, The Second Mountain, was happening on a nationwide scale. “The crisis in our politics is created by the crisis in our sociology and in our relationships — and in our morals,” he told me, looking preppy, eager, and somewhat slighter than I’d imagined, as we sat drinking coffee at a chain restaurant near Carnegie Hall.

This sentence rewrites Mr. Brooks’ beginnings as protege to the Wm. F. Buckley, there was noting ‘genteel’ about this Conservative gargoyle:

The genteel conservatism in which he was nurtured and raised was morphing into something craven, naked, and raw.

The Midwives of Trump across the political spectrum are still unable to confront their responsibility for helping to birth this political monster. But Mr. Brooks narrates that rise in self-serving terms. His existential crisis, the rise of Trump, the crisis in our sociology, in our relationships and morals, are folded together to produce a personal/political/sociological/moral crisis. In sum the personal,intellectual, moral describes a crisis on a Cosmic Scale, with Brooks in a central role as sufferer and commentator. Call this a role of breathtaking scope.

“The crisis in our politics is created by the crisis in our sociology and in our relationships — and in our morals,”

But Brooks’ life was reinvigorated by:

His emotionally arid existence bloomed again, thanks to the loving presence of a woman — Anne Snyder, his researcher at the New York Times and 23 years his junior.


Neo-Liberal advocate/apologist and Iraq War enthusiast finds love with a woman 23 years younger than himself. Who writes a book about his experience of ‘renewal’,  the stuff of Television Kitsch!

Political Cynic




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At The Financial Times: Kurt Campbell reviews’Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century’, by George Packer. American Writer comments

Kurt Campbell is the chairman of the Asia Group and was an assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration

The Asia Group LLC (TAG) is a strategy and capital advisory group based in Washington DC with an affiliated office in Hong Kong.[1]The firm was founded in 2013 by Dr. Kurt Campbell, the former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Nirav Patel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategy and Multilateral Affairs.


Here are some telling excerpts from Mr. Campbell’s near swooning ‘review’ of Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, by George Packer. Mr. Campbell is a member of the The Club! Call it what? self-serving literary/political kitsch?

In many ways this book is also a collective portrait of that generation who came of age during the Vietnam war. This terrifically talented and fantastically flawed cohort of men come to life in these pages, and Packer makes painfully clear that in some ways they would never fully escape the jungles of south-east Asia. The betrayals, hubris, massive military mistakes and, perhaps most of all, the intense drama of their youthful encounters in Vietnam, would mark their later years.

Decades later, during Holbrooke’s dark moments of indecision in the diplomacy over the Balkans before his historic 1995 Dayton peace agreement, and in his desperate ruminations a decade later over a way out of Afghanistan, Vietnam was always lurking.

This book is a complex rendering of a complicated man. Depending on your perspective, his was a life either of diplomatic daring and achievement marred by a few disappointing episodes, or a life of narcissistic excess interrupted intermittently by a few good deeds.

In an elegant and thoroughly accessible fashion, Packer has taken pains to tell Holbrooke’s story fully and fairly. He was constantly scheming and manoeuvring for perceived advantage but he used those traits to negotiate the end to Europe’s most vexing conflict; he could shamelessly court those more powerful but then take a stand on a matter of principle; he neglected family but was a fabulous mentor to a new generation of foreign policy practitioners. For Holbrooke, Packer’s honest renditions of his indiscretions, betrayals, and lapses in judgment would be wounding but ultimately excused. It is, however, Packer’s ultimate rendering of Holbrooke’s legacy that he would regard as fatal. In the end, Holbrooke was almost great.


Even the mildly curious reader could, without much effort, find this review of Mr. Packer’s book by Thomas Meaney at the New Republic website:

Headline: The Canonization of Richard Holbrooke

Sub-headline: Why Third Way liberals saw a glamorous, difficult diplomat as the protector of their values

The first two paragraphs are telling in terms of the attempt at political/moral rehabilitation of the bumptious Mr. Holbrooke.

If anyone questioned the sureness of Richard Holbrooke’s media touch during his lifetime—when he was persona very grata on cable news shows, dated Diane Sawyer, and set-designed the Dayton Accords on a remote U.S. air base to dramatize the inconvenient necessity of American power—the fact that George Packer has produced a 600-page portrait of him should lay to rest any doubt. Not every diplomat of the second-tier receives full biographical treatment, much less from one of the most beloved journalists in the country

Perhaps this book originated out of some sense of obligation. After Holbrooke’s death in 2010, a group of his friends wantedsomeone to write his life. Already the author of a New Yorker profile of Holbrooke, Packer was the obvious candidate. Holbrooke’s widow entrusted him with a massive trove of Holbrooke’s personal papers and audio aide-mémoire. Less clear is what was in it for Packer. In order to get a long biography off the ground, he would need to make his subject embody something larger. If the mission was to re-quicken the country’s lost appetite for humanitarian intervention and liberal internationalism, Holbrooke was a promising vessel. Who better represented the more noble side of American power, on display during the golden years between, in Packer’s exacting periodization, “Cold War sobriety and the celebrity shitbox”?

For the patient reader the next paragraph puts Mr. Campbell’s ‘review’ in its place: an wan attempt at hagiography!

Of course, Holbrooke could be belligerent, obtuse, and impatient: “Is he one of those guys you have to sit around and drink tea with for hours?” he complains about a Saudi go-between at one point in this book. “Holbrooke put his feet up anywhere,” Packer writes, “in the White House, on other people’s desks and coffee tables—for relief, and for advantage.” But liberal legend had it that he had solved the riddle of the Balkan Peninsula through the sheer force of his personality, and might have done the same in Afghanistan if only he’d lived long enough, or if his ego hadn’t tripped up his talents. In these dark times, with America’s global prestige apparently in ruins, surely we would rally to have him on our side. The “our man” of Packer’s title is in this sense not tip-of-the-hat-to-Graham Greene ironic, but elegiac and vaguely defiant.

Thomas Meaney , provides this, that is key to the an understanding of Holbrooke’s character:

Born in New York City in 1941, Holbrooke came from a Jewish middle-class liberal background, much like Packer’s own. (In Holbrooke’s case, the fact that his parents were Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Europe was kept from him until adolescence, and he downplayed it until late in life, when he suddenly “became Jewish” on the eve of his ambassadorship to Germany.)


In terms of Holbrooke Melodrama: who can forget the golden boy of nepotism, Ronan Farrow’s pitiable claim, ‘He Was the Closest Thing to a Father I Had’? In the American Political Gossip Sheet Politico.


American Writer










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The Financial Times ‘reports’ on Milken’s Predators’ Ball. Almost Marx comments

Is it anything like a surprise that The Financial Times would be ‘reporting’ on Milken’s Predators’ Ball? A brief description on Milken’s career is revelatory:

Milken was indicted for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989 in an insider trading investigation. As the result of a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to securities and reporting violations but not to racketeering or insider trading. Milken was sentenced to ten years in prison, fined $600 million, and permanently barred from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. His sentence was later reduced to two years for cooperating with testimony against his former colleagues and for good behavior.[4]Supporters, like George Gilder in his book, Telecosm (2000), state that “Milken was a key source of the organizational changes that have impelled economic growth over the last twenty years. Most striking was the productivity surge in capital, as Milken … and others took the vast sums trapped in old-line businesses and put them back into the markets.”[5] Since his release from prison, Milken has funded medical research.[6]


Note the headline and sub-headline:

Headline: Elite gathering reveals anxiety over ‘class war’ and ‘revolution’

Sub-headline: Michael Milken invokes Margaret Thatcher as conference debates threats to capitalism

Note the attendees: Steven Mnuchin , David Solomon, Eric Schmidt , Ivanka Trump, Ken Griffin, Alan Schwartz. But the real guest of honor was Thatcher The Milk Snatcher and her dressing of Hayek’s Market Singularity into moralizing drag!

Mr Milken played a video of Thatcher from two years before she became UK prime minister. “Capitalism has a moral basis,” she declared, and “to be free, you have to be capitalist”. Applause rippled through the ballroom.

These Plutocrats have reason to fear! Eric Schmidt sums up the growing paranoia of these profiteers, the fact that both the Working Class and the Middle Class have been decimated by unbridled Capitalism, in its coruscating Neo-Liberal iteration: this reality is lost on these stakeholders in a system corrupted by their greed, clearly demonstrates their egocentricity, expressed as self-serving myopia.

“I’m concerned with this notion that somehow socialism’s going to creep back in, because capitalism is the source of our collective wealth as a country,” Mr Schmidt said, urging his fellow capitalists to get the message out that “it’s working”.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represent the end of the hegemony of the Neo-Liberal Swindle’s power over American politics. But Alan Schwartz articulates the political paranoia of these plutocrats, ‘class warfare’ the ultimate argument of the plutocrats, who live in fear of the ballot box. FDR replied to this in his ‘I welcome your hatred’! That, too, is a part of history, that this meeting’s attendees ignore, that is the root of their political paranoia.

“If you look at the rightwing and the leftwing, what’s really coming is class warfare,” he warned. “Throughout centuries what we’ve seen when the masses think the elites have too much, one of two things happens: legislation to redistribute the wealth . . . or revolution to redistribute poverty. Those are the two choices historically and debating it back and forth, saying ‘no, it’s capitalism; no, it’s socialism’ is what creates revolution.”

This statement sums up the paranoia of the plutocrats who live in fear of the ‘putative redistribution’ exercised by the ‘lower orders’ via the ballot box.

One top investment company executive echoed the common view among the conference’s wealthy speakers: “Punitive redistribution won’t work.”

The Green New Deal is The New Deal in its latest iteration.

Almost Marx



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On Andy Divine’s fleeting political romance with Joe Biden? Myra Breckenridge calls out this Dizzy Old Queen

Before you even read Andy’s latest screed, read Janan Ganesh’s May 1, 2019 essay on Biden at The Financial Times:

Headline: Joe Biden would offer US voters a welcome breather

Sub-headline: Americans tend not to elect several high-drama presidents in a row


Also read Old Socialist’s comments on Ganesh’s wan endorsement of Biden here:


The opening two paragraphs of Andy’s latest essay are revelatory of his own status as outsider to his ‘Leftist colleagues

If you’ve been reading the liberal media and Left Twitter the past couple of months, you’d be certain of one thing: Joe Biden is hopelessly out of touch — too old, too white, too male, too handsy, too racist, too misogynist, too unwoke, and far too compromised by his past positions to be the Democratic nominee in 2020. Josh Marshall, while liking Biden, regarded him as “unsuited to the moment in almost every way imaginable.” Jamelle Bouie saw him as a repugnant variant of Trumpism: “For decades Biden gave liberal cover to white backlash.” My colleague Rebecca Traister recently called him “a comforter of patriarchal impulses toward controlling women’s bodies.” Ben Smith declared: “His campaign is stumbling toward launch with all the hallmarks of a Jeb!-level catastrophe — a path that leads straight down … Joe Biden isn’t going to emerge from the 2020 campaign as the nominee. You already knew that.” Michael Tomasky summarized the elite consensus: “Nearly everyone thinks [Biden] can’t win the nomination.”

“Nearly everyone” — i.e., all my friends and acquaintances in the journalistic and political elite — also thought Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in to win the general election. But Biden has had an extremely good start to his third campaign for president. His announcement video was aimed at those on the left who see Trump as the tip of the spear of white nationalism, and to those swingier voters who simply want to return to normalcy, constitutional order, and, well, decency. That’s a message that rallies the base but also appeals to those who may be exhausted by the trauma of Trump. As an opener, perfect. Even, at times, moving.

Those identified as‘Leftists’ by Andy are all mainstream political conformists employed by Corporate Media, or aspiring to such! The ability of Andy to define ‘Left’ is severely hindered by self-conception as political prophet, against the mainstream.  Biden is only capable of ‘moving’ those who found in his Crime Bill and his speech about ‘predators’ moving!

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

…the bill was originally written by Senator Joe Biden of Delaware and then was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.


Portions of Biden’s Predators speech here:

Hillary Clinton’s comments on Super-Predators is a valuable part of a record of what the New Democrats actually thought of a part of their political base.

Compare Biden’s ‘predators’ to Andy’s enthusiasm for ‘The Bell Curve’ that was published in 1994, that predicated the bogus notion that black people were inherently of inferior to whites. Naturally inferior blacks and predators offer a kind of propinquity in political terms.

After extensive quoting the polling numbers Andy then segues into the notion that Biden is a Union Man. Not so much a Union Man, than a crony of corrupt Union Leaders. Those leaders still attached to the notion that the New Democrats have any semblance of loyalty to what might be left of The New Deal Tradition. Or just fellow travelers that have no connection to Labor’s radical past.

The reader then reaches the mention of Biden’s other virtues:

Two other points: Biden is a Catholic. Anyone who has ever been saturated in American Catholicism can swiftly recognize the figure: old-school but open, a believer in the innate dignity of every human soul, regularly at Mass, deeply comfortable in the world of white ethnic America, surprisingly liberal. Catholics — shockingly, given the depravity of the Republicans — split their vote last time.

Is the declaration of ‘..old-school but open, a believer in the innate dignity of every human soul…’ consonant with Biden’s view of ‘predators’ and his Crime Bill? The innate dignity of every human soul… is  theological kitsch turned to political use:  that Andy in his intellectual poverty uses as a marker that demonstrates Biden’s natural superiority over the Carnival Barker Trump. The fact is that both Biden and Andy are steeped in patriarchy and they are white, to state the glaringly obvious. Yet, Andy isn’t quite finished with his adoration of New Democrat Biden.

There is also, dare I say it, a deeper contrast between the two men. One is decent, kind, generous, funny. The other is indecent, cruel, miserly, and has the callous humor of a bully. There would be a moral gulf between any current Democrat and Trump, of course. But with Biden, we’re reminded of the America we thought we knew. Yes, this is partly nostalgia, but no one should underestimate nostalgia in a country as turbulent, afraid, and resentful as America right now. Biden’s moment, in my mind, was 2016, but he was prevented from competing by Clinton and Obama. But history takes strange turns. This already feels to me like a two-man race. That may change. It’s extremely early, but the odds are with Biden. And the tailwinds behind him are intense.

Andy tarts it up in his addiction to cheap political melodrama!

Your truly,

Myra Breckenridge



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