What is ‘Post-Liberalism’, or Neo-Conservatism Re-Christened by fraudulent Political Moralist @HawleyMO. Old Socialist comments

Alexander Zaitchik essay in The New Republic, is steeped in a modified form of  journalistic kitsch, but offers this, in conclusion to his essay on Sen. Josh Hawley.

Nobody is accusing the post-liberals of being Hitler-style fascists. It’s enough that they often sound like the people who prepped the ground for later authoritarian or fascist movements. Much of the language, sensibility, and obsessions of the post-liberals—the modern university, cosmopolitan elites, social cohesion and order—echoes the anti-modern rumblings in Fritz Stern’s study of post-liberalism in Wilhelmine Germany, The Politics of Cultural Despair. One of Stern’s subjects, the nineteenth-century German biblical scholar Paul de Lagarde, liked to imagine the Literat and the liberal political system that he believed inseparable from it as a “poisonous weed” that “must be extirpated from our streams and seas” before the “ancient gods [could] reemerge from the depths.” The idea of avenging gods is echoed in the title of R.R. Reno’s forthcoming post-liberal treatise, Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of the West.

Nobody knows how the gosh-golly, Ivy League–educated senator from Missouri will figure into all this in five or ten years. But if Josh Hawley seems too smooth, too educated, and too thoughtful to worry about, well, that is precisely what makes him worth worrying about. He was the only elected official to address the Burke Foundation last week for a reason. And he didn’t launch a PAC after one month in the Senate to teach Sunday School on a commune with Rod Dreher. He aspires to be a transformational figure, in more ways than one, and has the support of both the post-liberals and the billionaires. If it’s premature to say what, exactly, this portends, it’s not too early to know it isn’t anything good.


Sen. Hawley shows his hand when he identifies the ‘enemies’ of his re-imagined American Republican Virtue:

That work begins with a clear assessment of where we stand.
For years the politics of both Left and Right have been informed by a political consensus that reects the interests not of the American middle, but of a powerful upper class and their cosmopolitan priorities.
This class lives in the United States, but they identify as “citizens of the world.” They run businesses or oversee universities here, but their primary loyalty is to the global community.
And they subscribe to a set of values held by similar elites in other places: things like the importance of global integration and the danger of national loyalties; the priority of social change over tradition, career over community, and achievement and merit and progress.
Call it the cosmopolitan consensus.

On economics, this consensus favors globalization—closer & closer economic union, more immigration, more movement of capital, more trade on whatever terms. The boundaries between America and the rest of the world should fade and eventually vanish.
The goal is to build a global consumer economy, one that will provide an endless supply of cheap goods, most of them made with cheap labor overseas, and funded by American dollars.
But it’s about more than economics. According to the cosmopolitan consensus, globalization is a moral imperative. That’s because our elites distrust patriotism and dislike the common culture left to us by our forbearers.
The nation’s leading academics will gladly say this for the record.

MIT Professor Emeritus Leo Marx has said that the “planet would be a better place to live if more people gave [their] primary allegiance ‘to the community of human beings in the entire world.’”
NYU’s Richard Sennett has denounced what he called “the evil of shared national identity.”
The late Lloyd Rudolph of the University of Chicago said patriotism “excludes difference and speaks the language of hate and violence.”
And then there’s Martha Nussbaum, who wrote that it is wrong and morally dangerous to teach students that they are “above all, citizens of the United States.” Instead, they should be educated for “world citizenship.”
You get the idea. The cosmopolitan elite look down on the common affections that once bound this nation together: things like place and national feeling and religious faith.
They regard our inherited traditions as oppressive and our shared institutions—like family and neighborhood and church—as backwards..
What they offer instead is a progressive agenda of social liberation in tune with the priorities of their wealthy and well-educated counterparts around the world.
And all of this—the economic globalizing, the social liberationism—has worked quite well. For some. For the cosmopolitan class.


Does it startle the reader that Marx , Sennett and Nussbaum are ‘Liberals’ in the largest sense of that descriptor? Or that this Cosmopolitan Class in to blame for the nation’s economic ills. What remains off stage, in Sen. Hawley’s narrative, is the brutal fact that Neo-Liberalism and its Free Market Ideology collapsed in 2008: the politics, the economics of America, has yet to fully come to terms with, or to emancipate itself from this economic theology of greed. The Senator is the conscious agent of that failed political/economic system, in his project of re-description.  As a Public Moralist Sen. Hawley is an abject failure, in sum , he’s another political grifter reciting the New Party Line: the Cosmopolitan Elite becomes his scapegoat.

Mr. Zaitchik mentions in his essay the ‘Post-Liberal’ thinker Yoram Hazony.

Stated simply, the post-liberals—represented foremost by the right-wing Israeli scholar Yoram Hazony, but also by more mainstream writers like The New York Post’s Sohrab Ahmari—reject universal reason as a basis for laws and government

For additional insights, into ‘Post-Liberalism’ / ‘National Conservatism’  read Daniel Luban’s July 26 ,2019 essay on Mr. Harzony in the New Republic:

Headline: The Man Behind National Conservatism

Sub-headline: Yoram Hazony has written the closest thing to a manifesto for intellectuals on the right

Media coverage of Hazony in the United States has tended to refer to him simply as an “Israeli political philosopher,” but the label doesn’t really do justice to his interesting and highly illustrative career. Born in Israel in 1964, but raised and educated in the United States, he described being “mesmerized” by an encounter as a Princeton undergraduate with the ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, a few years before Kahane’s party was banned in Israel for anti-Arab racism. Going on to earn a doctorate in political theory, Hazony chose not to pursue an academic career, instead moving to Israel with Princeton friends to found the Shalem Center, an American-style think tank based in Jerusalem. Hazony was an early member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle, and Shalem would remain closely aligned with the Likud Party. It would also serve as a nexus for the Israeli and American right; funding came from American billionaires like Ronald Lauder and Sheldon Adelson, while the roster of fellows tended to feature Israeli political figures who played well inside the Beltway. Hazony and others in the Shalem leadership spent the 1990s living in Eli, an Israeli settlement deep in the West Bank, until security concerns following the Second Intifada convinced them to relocate to East Jerusalem.


Daniel Luban also provides a valuable link to a 2007  Haaretz essay on Hazony. Thank you to Mr. Luban!


Old Socialist











Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Financial Times & Sherman Katz plot a course toward year zero 2049. Political Observer comments

Headline: How to tame China’s rogue state capitalism

Sub-headline: The west must focus on the scale and scope of Beijing’s industrial subsidies

How to define ‘China’s rogue state capitalism’ ? Meaning just State Capitalism minus the the hysterical descriptor ‘rouge’? The fact that China is totalitarian regime, and that its workers are slaves to that state, is to be addressed how? What pressure can the ‘West’ ,still in the watershed of an utterly failed/collapsed Neo-Liberal experiment, go about such a campaign? Mr Katz studiously avoids the Human Rights question:

Headline:Suicide at Chinese iPhone factory reignites concern over working conditions

US-based Chinese workers’ rights organisation has claimed that a factory worker at a firm that produces Apple’s iPhones in China, died after jumping from a building on Saturday.

China Labor Watch (CLW) said that Li Ming, 31, jumped to his death from a building in the city of Zhengzhou, in the east-central Chinese Henan province, where he had been working for Foxconn.

The death has triggered comparisons with a wave of suicides in 2010 and 2011 at Foxconn factories in China amid concerns over working conditions.

CLW posted video footage that it said showed Mr Li, who the organisation claimed was was working for Foxconn through an agency, lying lifelessly on the ground after his leap. The footage, seemingly filmed from a nearby high-rise building, shows a body lying in the snowy ground, as four people stand nearby.

CLW said that it had spoken to Mr Li’s father, but that it was still not clear why he had jumped from the building. The organisation told The Telegraph that he had been working for Foxconn for two months and lived in factory dormitories.

Foxconn’s spokesperson did not respond to messages asking for further information about the incident.


In July 2009 a 25 year-old male Foxconn communications department worker named Sun Danyong committs suicide by jumping from his apartment building. He allegedly lost a prototype iPhone and was beaten up by security guards.


Foxconn’s annus horribilis for employee suicides. The company, embroiled in accusations of “sweatshop” conditions, disputes some cases, but it is been estimated that at least 14 company employees took their own lives during the year, most throwing themselves from buildings. The iPhone 4 is released in June.


In May 2011 Foxconn erects nets around its Shenzhen factory buildings, designed to prevent suicide jumps. A PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, is hired to deal with negative publicity. The nets seem to work, with fewer suicides reported after they go up, but at least four employees die by throwing themselves from buildings.


In January 2012 Foxconn factory workers protest about conditions in Wuhan. September 2012 sees the release of the iPhone 5. Three Foxconn employees, all in their early 20s, are report as having killed themselves by throwing themselves from buildings during the two-year period.


The year of the iPhone X: Apple’s first $1,000 smartphone. On January 6 Li Ming dies after falling from a building in Zhengzhou, where the X is manufactured.


Mr. Katz offers a Technocratic ‘solution’ to China’s ‘rogue state capitalism’ :

For instance, the trade ministers of the US, EU and Japan share profound concerns about China’s model of state capitalism. They and their staffs have met six times since December 2017 to discuss a joint effort to strengthen subsidy rules and establish new rules governing SOEs. However, US president Donald Trump’s insistence on negotiating his own deal with China means their efforts have so far attracted little political support in Washington.

This “trilateral” group is discussing incentives to encourage China, and other World Trade Organization members, to comply with the existing rule that all countries must disclose full details about their subsidies. They are also considering possible penalties for nondisclosure.


2049 is the year in which China is set to become the  “leading manufacturing power” in 10 key industrial sectors’ :

The WTO operates on a consensus basis, which means that a single member can block reforms. So China will have to be persuaded that it should go along with the measures being proposed. In the past, it has done so when a large number of countries has supported new measures. It is a good sign, therefore, that the trilateral group is expanding to include Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico.

It is unlikely that the US-China trade talks will address subsidies and SOEs. So the deliberations of the trilateral group are our best hope of taming China’s rogue state capitalism. The Trump administration should get behind them.

The ‘West’ faces a clear and present danger of a China, as industrial powerhouse, while America is in precipitous economic, political decline!

Political Observer





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Conservative Cadre finds Boris almost agreeable, yet the weight of caveats … ! Political Cynic scoffs

From @BretStephenNYT:

Headline: Why I’m Rooting for Boris Johnson

Sub-headline: Britain’s new prime minister has proved he can win people over. He’ll need to now.

Boris Johnson has been Britain’s prime minister for not quite a day, and the reviews are in. He’s a disaster! A fraud! A Trumpy toff and shameless showman whose ego is inversely correlated to his merit and whose tenure of office won’t just be bad for the United Kingdom, but very possibly the death of it.

Johnson might be half-inclined to agree. As he once said of himself: “You can’t rule out the possibility that beneath the elaborately constructed veneer of a blithering idiot, there lurks a blithering idiot.”

I’ve always had a vague distaste for Johnson, based mainly on his history as a journalistic fabulist, as well as the unflattering testimony of friends who’ve dealt with him personally. Also, I opposed Brexit, which Johnson recklessly championed in 2016 and which he now promises to see through, one way or another, by the end of October.

But I’m rooting for him, hard, as you should, too. And there’s reason to suspect that, this time, the man might be suited for the challenge and the hour.

As between (a) an anti-Semitic bigot and (c) an anti-immigrant bigot, I’ll choose (b): Boris, who has even called for amnesty for some illegal immigrants.

Mr. Stephens’ ‘enthusiasm’ is tempered with a bit of political realism, as Boris is given to outbursts of Islamophobia, and other prejudices shared by ‘Conservatives’ .

Mr. Stephen offers a negative:

And yet I have an inkling that he isn’t going to fail. His mistakes are many, but many of them are venial: He was sacked by The Times of London, for instance, for making up a quote concerning the love life of King Edward II (1284-1327).

Mr. Stephens offers some positives:

He has charisma. He’s eloquent and disarming. He is capable of winning people over.

Stephens repeats the lie that Corbyn is an Anti-Semite, an integral part of the mythology confected by Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian newspaper. Stephens’ near enthusiasm just might have its root in the political propinquity between Posh Boys.

Watch Mr. Corbyn well articulated challenge to Mr. Johnson in the house of Commons. Note Johnson’s stuttering, blustering reply that simply reaffirms his status as political nihilist, in the guise of a Comic Opera Prime Minister. Yet Stephens finds Johnson’s  reply to Corbyn, steeped in Free Market advocacy/apologetics, that Johnson presents as the sine qua non of Democracy,  somehow meets the standard of being compellingly argued.



From Niall Ferguson:

Headline: Boris, the Churchill of Brexit, has Corbyn on the ropes

Sub-headline: The PM’s road out of the EU is still paved with rocks and hard places

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice,” wrote Karl Marx in a justly famous passage from his essay The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. “He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

Marx had in mind the immense discrepancy between Napoleon I and his nephew Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, later Napoleon III. A latter-day Marx might make precisely the same point about Sir Winston Churchill and Boris Johnson, except that Johnson pre-emptively published his own biography of Churchill, insisting on a parallel that could only be unflattering to himself.

So here I sit, unable to shake off the sinking feeling that we are about to witness the Monty Python remake of the film Darkest Hour.

Yet it would be a mistake prematurely to write off Johnson’s premiership. Boris has needed a lot of luck as well as charisma to get to the top of the greasy pole. In the course of his career he has survived a dozen scandals and fiascos, any one of which would have destroyed a common-or-garden political hack. He has that unlearnable magical power that elicits affection and limitless forgiveness from a substantial proportion of voters.

Moreover, despite his reputation for disorganisation, he opened strongly last week. The purge of Theresa May’s cabinet was impressive. The return of Dominic Cummings — the mastermind of the campaign to leave the EU and now the capo dei capi special adviser at
No 10 — was clever, as was the decision to put Michael Gove in charge of the Cabinet Office. And the appointment of Sajid Javid as chancellor of the exchequer, with a strong team of junior ministers, was the right way to reassure financial markets.


The reader it meant to be awed by Ferguson’s highfalutin historical/philosophical frame. And Johnson, wins Mr. Ferguson’s high praise for his House of Commons speech:

Almost as important, on Thursday Johnson delivered a barnstorming performance in the House of Commons, reassuring his own party that he has what it takes at the dispatch box.

Yet Ferguson’s enthusiasm for is tempered by a compelling realism:

We have all seen too much of Boris the bluffer and bungler, not least in his recent wretched stint as foreign secretary. It was easy to forget that, when he is conductor as opposed to second fiddle, he knows how to assemble a strong team and inspire its members to give their best. Those who worked with him when he edited The Spectator and served as mayor of London testify to this.

Ferguson never tires of the use of History, as garnish to his meditations on the political present:

This is not May 1940. France is not collapsing as the Wehrmacht sweeps westwards

Also in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Marx wrote one his most famous observations: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under given circumstances directly encountered and inherited from the past.”

Yet for all the historical garnish, Ferguson repeats the Party Line on Corbyn: Anti-Semite and in ill health,  the ‘as if’ New Labour represents the only viable historically defensible iteration of the Labour Party. Labour was a ‘Left Wing Party’ from its beginnings. The political opportunist Tony Blair remade the Party into a bastion of Neo-Liberalism.

The one crucial piece of luck Johnson has going for him is the parlous state of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, the most left-wing leader in its history. Two years ago Corbyn enjoyed a strange bout of popularity that scuppered May’s bid for an increased majority. Today, irreparably damaged by charges of anti-semitism and rumours of ill health, Corbyn is the perfect opponent for the rambunctious Johnson.

The rise of Boris Johnson to the office of Prime Minister, represents the desperation of the  Conservative Party, in sum he is the dregs of that Party.  The political agitation, against Corbyn, will continue in the pages of the Corporate Press. Yet Corbyn continues to draw large crowds, in his public campaign appearances. How long before the General Election happens is the vexing question that awaits an answer?

Political Cynic





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peggy Noonan’s war against ‘American Jacobins’! Political Observer comments

Ms. Noonan begins her essay by describing the French Revolution, based not in history, political history or its various expressions, but as a ‘a nationwide psychotic break’ ,that denies the very context of that revolution. Since the ‘Science of Psychoanalysis’ is a dead letter, call Noonan’s maladroit psychologization of that revolution a propaganda methodology: to render the political, into a trivialized modality, suited to the needs of  propaganda, against the contemporary ‘American Jacobins’.  That revolution marks the end of the  Ancien Régime, praised by both Kant and Hegel before the ‘Terror’. That ushers in the Age of Democratic Revolution to borrow from R.R. Palmer.

We often make historical parallels here. History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme, as clever people say. And sometimes it hiccups. Here is a hiccup.

We start with the moral and political catastrophe that was the French Revolution. It was more a nationwide psychotic break than a revolt—a great nation at its own throat, swept by a spirit not only of regicide but suicide. For 10 years they simply enjoyed killing each other. They could have done what England was doing—a long nonviolent revolution, a gradual diminution of the power of king and court, an establishment of the rights of the people and their legislators so that the regent ended up a lovely person on a stamp. Instead they chose blood. Scholars like to make a distinction between the Revolution and the Terror that followed, but “the Terror was merely 1789 with a higher body count.” From the Storming of the Bastille onward, “it was apparent that violence was not just an unfortunate side effect. . . . It was the Revolution’s source of collective energy. It was what made the Revolution revolutionary.”


Any surprise here? Noonan is a political propagandist whose quoted text is and will be a touchstone for her political allies in the American Political Center, now defined as the alliance between the New Democrats and the Neo-Conservatives. The choice of Simon Schama whose ‘history’ of that revolution meets the demand for an historian who is   ‘heroically nonideological’ : consider this claim to be awash in ideology!

That is from Simon Schama’s masterpiece “Citizens,” his history of the revolution published in 1989, its 200th anniversary. It is erudite, elegant and heroically nonideological.

To move ahead in Noonan’s  psycholigizing polemic:

It was a revolution largely run by sociopaths. One, Robespierre, the “messianic schoolmaster,” saw it as an opportunity for the moral instruction of the nation. Everything would be politicized, no part of the citizen’s life left untouched. As man was governed by an “empire of images,” in the words of a Jacobin intellectual, the new régime would provide new images to shape new thoughts. There would be pageants, and new names for things. They would change time itself! The first year of the new Republic was no longer 1792, it was Year One. To detach farmers from their superstitions, their Gregorian calendar and its saints’ days, they would rename the months. The first month would be in the fall, named for the harvest. There would be no more weeks, just three 10-day periods each month.

For counterpoint to Noonan’s propaganda, read Hillary Mantel’s revelatory, not to speak of evocative essay on Robespierre:

The historian François Furet tells us: ‘The revolution speaks through him its most tragic and purest discourse.’ It does not matter where he lived or what he was like, or that he walked through this gate the day before his horrible death. His temperament is of no consequence, nor the will that drove his punitively controlled body through the all-night sittings. But this abstract Robespierre is not the one that interests you, as you stand inside the passage, sheltered from the street. After all, you keep his portrait on your wall; if Furet’s formulation convinced you, you would not feel so desolate, and almost panic-stricken. The passage itself is confined and dark. Your throat constricts a little, and you remember what Michelet said: ‘Robespierre strangles and stifles.’ There are closed doors on your left. You glance up to the first floor. The windows are dirty. You say: ‘it is only a metaphysical space.’ Metaphysical wild horses would not drag you into Robespierre’s room or any space that might have been occupied by it. You lean against the wall, expecting something to happen.


Now, from the French Revolution and its sociopaths, framed in her a-historical psycholigizing we come to Noonan’s idee fixe:  The reader can’t escape from the Party Line, so clearly enunciated by propagandists Jordan Peterson, Andrew Sullivan among other political hysterics !

So here is our parallel, our hiccup. I thought of all this this week because I’ve been thinking about the language and behavioral directives that have been coming at us from the social and sexual justice warriors who are renaming things and attempting to control the language in America.

The ‘enemy’ as defined by Noonan, exists in a political space, that shares a commonality with her psycholigizing: ‘ social and sexual justice warriors’ and their ‘speech codes’ that does not apply to Robespierre and the Jacobins. Who were purged/executed  from their own ranks in the Thermidorian Reaction. These political actors that are Noonan’s propaganda Straw-Men: sociopaths  . Noonan’s public shaming of American Jacobins ,who have not engaged in politically motivated violence. But are the subject of Noonan’s invidious comparison, that  has no merit on its face. Propaganda is simply about producing a politically exploitable negative emotion. Noonan’s next political target will be Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib?

Political Observer

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Andy Divine at full screech on Mueller, Trump, Putin, Pelosi etc. Political observer scoffs

The opening paragraphs, of Andy’s latest hysterical diatribe, is a list of the betrayers of America , while not mentioning himself , as one of the many Midwives of Trump, who helped to birth this political monstrosity!

‘The Mueller hearings told us almost nothing that we didn’t know already. We knew that the president welcomed assistance from a foreign power in order to win an election, and has fawned over his political patron in this endeavor, Vladimir Putin, since he became president. We knew that though he was not competent enough to construct a conspiracy, he was eager to collude with a foreign foe to defeat his domestic one. And we knew that he then lied about it as baldly as he lies about almost everything, and tried repeatedly to obstruct the investigation into the affair. His attorney general then blatantly lied about the key conclusions of the Mueller report, distorting the public debate for weeks as he kept the contents under wraps, and then bet that Americans, with our gnat-like attention spans, would simply move on.

We also knew that in contemporary America, none of these facts matter in the slightest. The notion that the average citizen should care deeply about the rule of law and constitutional norms — and even actively defend them — has become terribly passé. Now, all that truly matters is whether we are entertained by someone who can command televisual excitement the way Trump does on a daily, hourly basis. If he can’t, whatever the underlying facts, no one gives a damn.

American political elites are no better. The president’s assault on the Constitution has merely revealed the Democratic Party as the lame farce we knew it was. Its ancient, pusillanimous congressional leadership was never going to do what duty, rather than politics, requires. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, moreover, has set an extraordinary precedent: that clear evidence, meticulously collected, that a president has committed what she calls “crimes against the Constitution” does not constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment, even when those crimes were designed to cover up an alliance with a foreign power. If more than that is needed, the impeachment power has effectively been nullified.


Mr. Divine’s hysterical political melodrama reaches its crescendo, awash in doom saying, with his last two paragraphs:

The awful truth is that the American constitutional system is failing on almost every level. The system, it turns out, is not even strong enough to withstand one Trump term, let alone two. Trump intuited this in 2016, and if he wins reelection, as he now has a good chance of doing, what’s left of liberal democracy will be under acute duress.

The “extinction-level event” that I feared in the spring of 2016 is already here. Look around you. And it wasn’t even a fight.

Is he playing Tiresias or Cassandra ?

Political Observer

P.S. Is it possible that Andy missed much of Mueller’s testimony, or was just not paying close attention? The answer appears to be no, as Andy characterizes Mueller being ‘the somewhat out of it Mueller’. Mueller’s problems appeared to be more serious than simply being ‘somewhat out of it’ !

Biden, who is beginning to resemble the somewhat out-of-it Robert Mueller, backs Pelosi’s lameness, and says he doesn’t think anyone expected Trump to turn out as badly as he has, revealing just how clueless and smug the Democrats really were in 2016




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On the Cult of Mueller, in the pages of The Financial Times. Political Observer comments

Mr. Mueller as FBI Hero rings hollow, notwithstanding Nadler’s praise:

Mr Nadler praised Mr Mueller as “a model of responsibility” in his opening remarks and hinted at the process of impeachment even as he avoided using the politically fraught word.

“Director Mueller, we have a responsibility to address the evidence you have uncovered. You recognised as much when you said ‘the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.’ That process begins with the work of this committee,” Mr Nadler said.


Yet the convictions based on forensic evidence of the FBI’s Crime Lab from 1980 to 2000 were nullified. This Atlantic essay by Conor Friedersdorf from April 20,2015

Forty years ago, Bob Dylan reacted to the conviction of an innocent man by singing that he couldn’t help but feel ashamed “to live in a land where justice is a game.” Over the ensuing decades, the criminal-justice system has improved in many significant ways. But shame is still an appropriate response to it, as the Washington Post made clear Saturday in an article that begins with a punch to the gut: “Nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000,” the newspaper reported, adding that “the cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death.”

The article notes that the admissions from the FBI and Department of Justice “confirm long-suspected problems with subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques—like hair and bite-mark comparisons—that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.”

That link points back to 2012 coverage of problems with FBI forensic analysis, but the existence of shoddy forensics has been so clear for so long in so many different state and local jurisdictions that the following conclusion is difficult to avoid: Neither police agencies nor prosecutors are willing to call for the sorts of reforms that would prevent many innocents from being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, and neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party will force their hands.


But the FBI Crime Lab scandal dates back to the 1990’s

Bad Science and Forensic Fraud

Eventually, investigations were launched into Whitehurst’s allegations but failed to lead to any justice. It wasn’t until ten years later that Whitehurst was finally vindicated, when a scathing 500+ page study of the lab by the Justice Department Inspector General, Michael Bromwich, concluded major reforms were required in the lab. This included the use of forensic hair analyses, which had been used for decades in state and federal criminal cases, and was proven flawed and inaccurate more than ninety percent of the time. Some of the cases Whitehurst had reported included the 1993 World Trade Center attack, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the O.J. Simpson murder case.

As a result, the FBI agreed to unprecedented reforms. These included outside accreditation of its crime lab, the appointment of an objective and independent scientist to oversee lab operations, and the removal of various lab officials who had engaged in misconduct. The FBI pledged to review all cases potentially affected by the lab’s flawed forensic science.

In 2012 the Washington Post published an extensive review of the FBI and DOJ failures to properly review the cases impacted by the FBI lab scandal, based on Whitehurst’s research. As a result, the DOJ agreed to conduct yet another review of hair cases in collaboration with the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

  • 3,000 cases were identified by the government that had used microscopic hair analysis from FBI examiners.
  • 500 have been reviewed as of March 2015.
  • 268 included pro-prosecution testimony from FBI examiners.
  • 257 (96 percent) contained erroneous statements from “FBI experts”.

One example of the many people falsely imprisoned is Donald Eugene Gates, who served twenty-seven years for a violent crime he did not commit before his exoneration.

For some, however, it was too late. Defendants in at least 35 of these cases received the death penalty and errors were identified in 33 (94 percent) of those cases. Nine of these defendants have already been executed and five died of other causes while on death row.

To Serve and Protect

It has taken the FBI and Justice Department more than twenty years to actually review these problems – and the government still does not know the full extent of damage caused by the FBI lab scandal.


The publication of  Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab, by John F. Kelly and Phillip Wearne was published in 1998


Mueller as head of the FBI from 2001 to 2013 puts him where in terms of a historically demonstrable cover up?  The FBI was once the private preserve of the the paranoid political/sexual hysteric J. Edgar Hoover! Term limits were placed on the time any one man could hold that office, because of Hoover’s complete abuse of power.

In the Age of Trump, the Hero Worship of Mueller serves the nefarious purpose of making the Clinton/Clapper/Brennan lie of ‘Russian Interference’ based upon the ‘evidence ‘ of  a CrowdStrike, not on an actual FBI investigation, according to Comey, in the American Election serve the political ends of a New Cold War. That reflects the current alliance between the New Democrats and the Neo-Conservatives as the putative Political Center.

Political Observer







Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

miranda.green@ft.com on the ‘elevation’ of Boris Johnson. Political Observer comments

The Financial Times couldn’t secure the talents of one of its Marquee Names, to write this essay, framed on the supposition of the politically unpredictability of Boris Johnson, as a place holder for a wholesale political apologetic? That would be laughed at, by its very politically sophisticated readers. But Ms. Green shows that she is capable of something akin to that apologetic, but in a unintentional comic vein:

But this carefully-curated persona is not the same man that Conservative MPs and commentators say will reveal himself once in power.

The reader needn’t waste her time here, but watch and listen to George Galloway, a favorite here @FT, on the elevation of Boris Johnson:


Let Mr. Johnson have the last word, as reported by Ms. Green:

As Mr Johnson himself admitted to the Tory party after acknowledging his victory in a speech just after midday: “There may even be people here who wonder quite what they have done.”

Political Observer


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment