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Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'
Aggressive Creationism Dumbing down america Groupthink Obscurantism and Mayberry Machiavelli United States of Amnesia  
Media as a weapon of mass deception US and British media are servants of security apparatus Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite The Real War on Reality The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Edward Lucas as agent provocateur
Patterns of Propaganda The importance of controlling the narrative Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" Demonization of Putin Color revolutions Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Lewis Powell Memo Neoconservatism as the USA version of Neoliberal ideology Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism New American Militarism The attempt to secure global hegemony
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manifactured consent Bullshit as MSM communication method
Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Big Uncle is Watching You What's the Matter with Kansas Most important anti-Russian propaganda campaigns
Soft propaganda Groupthink Nineteen Eighty-Four Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc
  When you talk about the effectiveness of American imperialism, you highlight the fact that part of the reason it's so effective is because it has been able to be largely invisible, and it has been invisible, you point out, through, I think, two mechanisms, one, that it trains the elites in other countries in order to manage affairs on behalf of American imperialism, and also because it disseminates, through popular media, images of America that in essence -- I'm not sure you use this word exactly -- indoctrinate or brainwash a population into allowing them to believe that America is instilled with values that in fact it doesn't have, the ability of imperialistic forces to supposedly give these values to the countries they dominate.

I mean, that is a kind of a raison d'être for economic and even military intervention, as we saw in Iraq, in planning democracy in Baghdad and letting it spread out across the Middle East, or going into Afghanistan to liberate the women of Afghanistan. That, as somebody who spent 20 years on the outer edges of empire, is a lie.

Chris Hedges

Days of Revolt The Making of Global Capitalism


"The tragedy is that we have become a screen culture, televisions, computers, phones, tablets, etc. Our electronic hallucinations have produced a society that has little time or patience for introspection or deep thinking. It reinforced my decision to maintain a television free life. For some, what Chris has to say may cut to close to the bone. But those with the courage to do so are usually the ones that care the most."

The biggest and most invisible elephant in the American psyche is this: our government has long since abandoned the goal of managing this nation as a nation.

Instead, America as a nation is managed as a means to global empire.

[May 17, 2015]  Andre Vltchek How to Fight Western Propaganda    Information Clearing House - ICH By Andre Vltchek

May 15, 2015 "Information Clearing House"

 -  First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective!

Is love objective; is it passion? Are dreams defendable, logically and philosophically?

When a house is attacked by brigands, when a village is overran by gangsters, when smoke, fire and cries for help are coming from every corner, should we award ourselves with the luxury of time to calculate, analyze and aim at complete logical, ethical, holistic and objective solutions?

I strongly believe no! We are obliged to fight those who are burning our dwellings, to hit with full force those who are attempting to rape our women, and to confront fire with fire when innocent beings are slaughtered.

When the most powerful and the most destructive force on earth employs all its persuasive might, utilizing everything from the mainstream media to educational facilities, in order to justify its crimes, when it spreads its poisonous propaganda and lies in order to oppress the world and suppress hope, do we step back and begin endless and detailed work on precise and objective narratives? Or do we confront lies and propaganda with our own narrative, supported by our intuition, passion and dreams for a better world?


The Empire lies continuously. It lies in the morning, during the day, in the evening, even at night, when most of the people are sound asleep. It has been doing it for decades and centuries. For grand deceits it relies on countless numbers of propagandists who pose as academics, teaches, journalists and “public intellectuals”. Perfection in the art of disinformation has been reached. Western advertising (so much admired and used by the German Nazis) has some common roots with propaganda, although propaganda is much older and “complete”.

It appears that even some leaders of the Empire now believe in most of their fabrications, and most of the citizens certainly do. Otherwise, how could they sleep at night?

The western propaganda apparatus is enormously efficient and effective. It is also brilliant in how it ensures that its inventions get channeled, distributed, and accepted in all corners of the world. The system through which disinformation spreads, is incredibly complex. Servile local media and academia on all continents work hard to guarantee that only one narrative is allowed to penetrate the brains of billions.

The results are: intellectual cowardice and ignorance, all over the world, but especially in the West and in its client states.


What are we, who oppose the regime, supposed to do?

First of all, things are not as hopeless as they used to be.

This is not the morbid unipolar world that we experienced in the early 90’s. Now Venezuela, Russia, China, and Iran support large media outlets that are opposed to the Empire. Powerful television stations emerged: RT, Press TV, TeleSUR and CCTV. Huge English language Internet-based magazines and sites in the United States, Canada and Russia are also exposing the lies of the official Western propagandists: Counterpunch, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Veterans News, Strategic Culture, New Eastern Outlook quickly come to mind. And there are hundreds of important sites doing the same in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and French languages.

The fight is on: the fight for an intellectually multi-polar world. It is a tough, mortal fight! It is a crucial battle, simply because the metastases of the Western propaganda cancer have spread everywhere, contaminated all continents, and even some of the most courageous countries and brains that are earnestly fighting against the Western imperialism and fascism! No one is immune. To be frank, all of us are contaminated.

Unless we win this battle, by first clearly identifying and proving “their narrative” as fraudulent, and later by offering humanist and compassionate perceptions, we cannot even dream about the revolution, or about any significant changes in arrangement of the world.


How do we achieve victory? How do we convince the masses, those billions of people? How do we open their eyes and make them see that the Western regime is dishonest, toxic, poisonous and destructive? Most of humanity is hooked on the Empire’s propaganda; that propaganda which is not only spread by mainstream media outlets, but also by pop music, soap operas, social media, advertisement, consumerism, ‘fashion trends’ and by many other covert means; cultural, religious and media junk that leads to total emotional and intellectual stupor and is administered like some highly addictive narcotic, regularly and persistently.

Do we counter the tactics and strategy of the destructive and ruthless Empire with our honesty, with research, with telling and writing meticulously investigated facts?

The Empire perverts facts. It repeats lies through its loudspeakers and tubes. It shouts them thousands and thousands of times, until they sink into the sub conscious of people, penetrate the skin, spread all through their brains.

Good will, naive honesty, “speaking truth to power”, could this change the world and the power itself? I highly doubt it.

The Empire and its power are illegitimate, and they are criminal. Is there any point of speaking truth to a gangster? Hardly! Truth should be spoken to people, to masses, not to those who are terrorizing the world.

By talking to villains, by begging them to stop torturing others, we are legitimizing their crimes, and we are acknowledging their power. By trying to appease gangsters, people are putting themselves at their mercy.

I absolutely refuse to be in such position!


To win over billions of people, we have to inspire them, to fire them up. We have to outrage them, embrace them, shame them, make them laugh and make them cry. We have to make sure that they get goose bumps when they see our films, read our books and essays, listen to our speeches.

We have to detox them, make them feel again, wake up natural instincts in them.

Simple truth as a detox agent will not work. The poison of our adversaries has sunk too deeply. Most of the people are too lethargic and too immune to simple, quietly stated truths!

We have tried, and others have tried as well. My acquaintance (but definitely not my comrade) John Perkins, former US apparatchik educated by the State Department, wrote a detailed account of his horrid deeds in Ecuador, Indonesia and elsewhere – “Confession of An Economic Hitman”. It is a meticulous, detailed account of how the West destabilizes poor countries, using corruption, money, alcohol, and sex. The book sold millions of copies, worldwide. And yet, nothing changed! It did not trigger a popular revolution in the United States. There were no protests, no demands for regime change in Washington.

In the recent past, I wrote and published two academic, or at least semi-academic books, packed with great details, quotes and tons of footnotes: one on Indonesia, a country used by the West as a model horror scenario for the rest of the world, after the 1965-US-sponsored military coup. The coup killed 2-3 million people, murdered all intellectualism, and lobotomized the 4th most populous country on earth. The book is called “Indonesia – Archipelago of Fear”. The second book, unique because it covers an enormous part of the world – Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia (“Oceania – Neocolonialism, Nukes and Bones”), showed how the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and France, literally divided and destroyed the great South Pacific island cultures and the people. Now classes are being taught using my books, but only a very limited number of people are influenced by the facts exposed in them. The elites in both Indonesia and Oceania made sure that the books are not widely read by the people.

I have spent years and years compiling facts, researching, investigating. The revolutionary effectiveness of my academic work is – I have to admit – nearly zero.

It is easy to see the contrast: when I write an essay, a powerfully crafted, emotional essay, demanding justice, accusing the Empire of murder and theft, I get millions of readers on all continents, as well as translations to dozens of languages!

Why do I write this; why do I share this with my readers? Because we should all be realistic. We have to see, to understand, what people want – what they demand. The people are unhappy and scared. Most of them don’t know why. They hate the system, they are lonely, frustrated, they know that they are lied to and exploited. But they cannot define those lies. And academic books, exposing the lies are too complex for them to read since the masses have no time to read thousands of indigestible pages or the necessary education to allow them to understand what they are reading.

It is our duty to address those people, the majority, otherwise what kind of revolutionaries are we? After all, we are supposed to create for our brothers and sisters, not for a few researchers at the universities, especially when we realize that most of the universities are serving the Empire by regurgitating official nomenclature and supporting demagogues.


The Empire speaks, writes and then repeats some outrageous lies, about its benevolence, and exceptionality of its rule, or about the “evils” of the Soviet Union, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Cuba. This is done daily. In fact it is designed so that almost every human being gets his or her dose of the toxin at least several times a day.

We feel we have to react – we begin spending years of our lives, meticulously proving, step by step, that the Empire’s propaganda is either one big fat lie, or exaggeration, or both. After we compile our arguments, we publish the results in some small publishing house, most likely in the form of a slender book, but almost nobody reads it because of its tiny circulation, and because the findings are usually too complex, too hard to digest, and simply because the facts do not shock anybody, anymore. One million more innocent people were murdered somewhere in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia; what else is new?

Researching and trying to tell the truth, fully and honestly, we feel that we are doing great, professional, scientific work. All the while the propagandists of the Empire are dying of laughter watching us! We are representing little danger to them. They are winning effortlessly!

Why is that? Doesn’t the detailed truth matter?

It does – from the point of higher principles it matters. Ethically it matters. Morally it matters. Philosophically it matters.

But strategically, when one is engaged in an ideological war, it does not matter that much! The truth yes, always; the truth matters! But simplified, digestible truth, presented powerfully and emotionally!

When immorality is ravishing the world, when it is charging mercilessly, when innocent millions are dying, what matters is to stop the slaughter, first by identifying the murderous force, then by containing it.

Language has to be strong, emotions raw.

When facing murderous hordes, poetry, emotionally charged songs, and patriotic odes have always been more effective than deep academic studies. And so were political novels and films, passionate documentaries, even explicit cartoons and posters.

Some would ask: “Just because they are lying, should we lie as well?” No! We should try to be as truthful as we can. But our message should be often “abridged”, so the billions, not just those selected few, could understand it.

It does not mean that the quality of our work should suffer. Simplicity is often more difficult to achieve than encyclopedic works with thousands of footnotes.

Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is short, just a pamphlet, straight to the point. And so is the “Communist Manifesto”, and ‘J’accuse!”

Our revolutionary work does not have to be necessarily brief, but it has to be presented in a way that could be understood by many. I am constantly experimenting with the form, while never compromising on substance. My recent book, “Exposing Lies of the Empire” has more than 800 pages, but I made sure that it is packed with fascinating stories, with testimonies of people from all corners of the globe, with colorful description of both victims and tyrants. I don’t want my books to collect dust in university libraries. I want them to mobilize people.


I truly believe that there is not much time for “objectivity” in any battle, including those ideological ones, especially when these are battles for the survival of humanity!

The lies of the enemy have to be confronted. They are toxic, monstrous lies!

Once the destruction stops, millions of innocent men, women and children will cease being sacrificed, and we can return to our complex philosophical concepts, to details and to nuances.

But before we win our final battles against imperialism, nihilism, fascism, exceptionalism, selfishness and greed, we have to fully and effectively utilize our most powerful weapons: our visions of a better world, our love for humanity, our passion for justice. Our determination and our beliefs have to be presented in a loud, potent, even “dogmatic” manner, our voice should be creative, artistic, powerful!

The house is on fire, comrades! The entire town is turning to ashes. The entire planet is plundered, devastated, lobotomized.

We cannot confront bigots with nukes and battleships. But our talents, our muses, and our hearts are here, with us, ready to join the battle.

Let us outsmart our enemies; let us make sure that the world begins laughing at them! Have you seen them, those pathetic losers, the buffoons – the CEO’s? Have you listened to those Prime Ministers and Presidents, those servants of the “market”? Let us convince the masses that their tyrants –the imperialists, the neo-colonialists and all their dogmatic preachers – are nothing more than pitiful, greedy, poisonous fools! Let us discredit them! Let us ridicule them.

They are robbing and murdering millions. Let us begin by at least pissing on them!

Let us fight Western propaganda by first exposing those who are really behind it. Let’s get personal.

Let’s turn this revolution into something creative, hilarious, truly fun!

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

Par K · 1 day ago


I have been reading Andre Vltchek's essays and commentaries for a longtime. His honesty,integrity, depth of thought, and articulation id beyond any doubt. Courageous and bold writing like this one need to reach as many people as possible - more exposure - that is what is needed:

- A compiler of 'Independent News and Editorials:
The News Scouter:

What we need is to bring awareness to masses. We need to promote the truth - the knowledge - let the Information reach the maximum number of people. It is all about knowing the facts.

The key to bringing in the change - the real change, is to remain informed - well informed. To make the right decision we need all the relevant information, news, and analysis. Be it the economy & finance, politics, or wars, information is the key. But, as we all know, searching out for the needed information is a time consuming task.

Now, more than ever, in this fast changing world, we need "information" - Fast & Quick - at a single point.

Here is a source that we have stumbled upon - A new comer that is already gaining momentum and recognition among both the readers and writers alike at a lightening speed:
The News Scouter.

"All the 'Must-Read' News Stories, Information and Editorials from around the world - Everything from Global Affairs & Finance to Science & Technology - Updated Regularly - Sorted and Categorized - All in one place."

Here is the Link to The News Scouter:

maninhavana · 1 day ago

The only decent journalists working in the media today are working for Telesur, RT and those mentioned in the article or as independents who get carried by this indispensible website ICH. The rest are just presstitutes .

Sarah Rainsford of the BBC is a supreme example and John Simpson one time head of the BBC world service admits to admiring John Pilger and Martha Gelhorn who would most likely despise his lickspittle sellout journalistic efforts. If you read this article and havent sent a donation to ICH what are you thinking?

Andy Perry · 1 day ago

If Vltchek wants to build an oppositioin to the self-styled 'West' he should avoid making major concessions to his opponent right from the start.

What is the term 'West' supposed to mean?
It is relative, abstract and meaningless and it is intended to be so.

The 'West' is a BRAND NAME. Its purpose is to control the way you perceive the BRAND.
If you strip the packaging and the marketing away, the 'West' is the Anglo Saxon Axis- a collection of Germanic countries (under NATO) led by Anglo Saxon America.

You should consider the fact that Vltchek hasn't been smart enough to figure this simple truth out before you listen to anything further he has to say on the matter...

Cultural Constituencies: The Anglo Saxon Maidan. 

RubyRenae · 19 hours ago

What is this author Vltchek trying to do? Mobilize the people of the Police States of AmeriKKKa? To...overthrow the regime? How, when the populace is acculturated with God, Guns, and Grocery Stores with fully-stocked shelves? Those facts will beat any kind of moral suasion in this wretched nation. The Police State propagandists themselves present the answer: the AmeriKKKans must be defeated in a war to bring peace to the world. AmeriKKKa must be forced into recognition that the Police States has lost legitimacy by a more powerful state (or states). This is all that can be done, if you read their literature on the British Empire.

Dick · 10 hours ago

The seven Principles of Propaganda P{art 1 as follows:

Avoid abstract ideas - appeal to the emotions.

When we think emotionally, we are more prone to be irrational and less critical in our thinking. I can remember several instances where this has been employed by the US to prepare the public with a justification of their actions. Here are three examples:

The Invasion of Grenada during the Reagan administration was said to be necessary to rescue American students being held hostage by Grenadian authorities after a coup that overthrew the government and return the previous government. I had a friend in the 82nd airborne division that participated in the rescue. He told me the students said they were hiding in the school to avoid the fighting by the US military, and had never been threatened by any Grenadian authority. Film of the actual rescue broadcast on the mainstream media was faked; the students were never in danger.

The invasion of Panama in the late 80's was supposedly to capture the dictator Manual Noriega for international crimes related to drugs and weapons. I remember a headline covered by all the media where a Navy lieutenant and his wife were detained by the police. His wife was sexually assaulted while in custody, according to the story. Unfortunately, it never happened. It was intended to get the public emotionally involved to support the action.

The invasion of Iraq in the early 90's was preceded by a speech in congress by a girl describing the Iraqi army throwing babies out of incubators so the equipment could be transferred to Iraq. It turns out the girl was the daughter of one of the Kuwait's ruling sheiks and the event never occurred. However, it served its purpose by getting the American public involved emotionally supporting the war. It is the most blatant use of propaganda, since it used the US congress to present the story as true. Whom do we trust?

The greatest emotion in us is fear and fear is used extensively to make us think irrationally. I remember growing up during the cold war having the fear of nuclear war or 'The Russians are coming!' After the cold war without an obvious enemy, it was Al Qaeda even before 911, so we had 'Al Qaeda is coming!' Now we have 'ISIS is coming!' with media blasting us with terrorist fears. Whenever I hear a government promoting an emotional issue or fear mongering, I ignore them knowing there is a hidden Truth behind the issue.

Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases.

This could be stated more plainly as 'Keep it simple, stupid!' The most notorious use of this technique recently was the Bush administration. Everyone can remember 'We must fight them over there rather than over here' or my favourite 'They hate us for our freedoms'. Neither of these phrases made any rational sense despite 911. The last thing Muslims in the Middle East care about is American's freedoms, maybe it was all the bombs the US was dropping on them.

Give only one side of the argument and obscure history.

Watching mainstream media in the US, you can see all the news is biased to the American view as an example. This is prevalent within Australian commercial media and newspapers giving only a western view, but fortunately, we have the SBS and the ABC that are very good, certainly not perfect, at providing both sides of a story. In addition, any historical perspective is ignored keeping the citizenry focused on the here and now. Can any of you remember any news organisation giving an in depth history of Ukraine or Palestine? I cannot.

Demonize the enemy or pick out one special "enemy" for special vilification.

This is obvious in politics where politicians continuously criticise their opponents. Of course, demonization is more productively applied to international figures or nations such as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi in Libya, Assad in Syria, the Taliban and just recently Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine and Crimea. It establishes a negative emotional view of either a nation (i.e. Iran) or a known figure making us again think emotionally, thus irrationally. Certainly some of these groups or individuals were less than benign, but not necessarily demons as depicted in the west.

Appear humanitarian in work and motivations.

The US has used this technique often to validate foreign interventions or ongoing conflicts where the term 'Right to Protect' is used for justification. Everyone should remember the many stories about the abuse of women in Afghanistan or Saddam Hussein's supposed brutality to his people. One thing that always amazes me is when the US sends humanitarian aid to a country it is accompanied by the US military. In Haiti some years back the US sent troops with no other country doing so. The recent Ebola outbreak in Africa saw US troops sent to the area. How are troops going to fight a medical outbreak? No doubt, they are there for other reasons.

Obscure one's economic interests.

Who among you believes the invasion of Iraq was for weapons of mass destruction? Or the constant threats against Iran are for their nuclear program? Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no one has presented firm evidence Iran intends to produce nuclear weapons. The West has been interfering in the Middle East since the British in the late 19th century. It is all about oil and the control over the resources. In fact, if one researches the cause of wars over the last hundred years, you will always find economics was a major component driving the rush to war for most of them.

Monopolize the flow of information.

This mainly entails setting the narrative by which all subsequent events can be based upon or interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the narrative. The narrative does not need to be true; in fact, it can be anything that suits the monopoliser as long as it is based loosely on some event. It is critical to have at least majority control of media and the ability to control the message so the flow of information is consistent with the narrative. In the last few months, I have seen this played out on mainstream media concerning the Ukrainian conflict. One of the most interesting examples of this principle was in the lead up to the Iraqi war in 2003. John Howard, Prime Minister at the time, gave a speech in the Australian parliament justifying the intervention in Iraq on March 18, 2003. Two days later on March 20 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, gave the same speech word for word to the Canadian parliament. Either Harper is lazy or there was an attempt to control the message in countries supporting the war. What I would like to know is who wrote the speech in the first place. I cannot see two Prime Ministers giving an identical speech to their respective parliaments as a coincidence.


Who have ever been in a war don't wish to go back to such. US media always shows the bombing in the distance. If the American people could see up close the carnage, they would kill every congressman who have voted for any war.

Again that is the reason to have massive poverty  so the poor provide the soldiers with a promise of a free college education as long as you are able to go to school in the evening after duty, but if you are at a relentless illegal war forget about your free education.

[Sep 14, 2015]  Non-linear disinformation makes it nearly impossible for you to tell what is real or fake

6 Replies  

Those in charge make sure that, for the most part, nothing that you see is as it is PRESENTED. The game is always the same, For GOOD reason. When a very small percentage of the population controls the system and virtually all the assets, they know the biggest weakness they have, is the people they control figuring out who is doing exactly WHAT to them. So they stay hidden and they make it very difficult to figure out who they are and what is actually happening.

Now I know that most people will never accept this truth regardless of being shown example after example of it. They will always retreat to the idea that every example is just another anomaly. It is an “exception”. It can’t be that way intentionally, etc. But whether people accept the truth or not does not change the NATURE of the truth that exists.


In no way do I claim to have “figured this truth out” on my own. That would be absurd. Everyone stands on the shoulders of the giants who have come before. This has been the way since the beginning. Some people in ALL times have known the truth. What has changed is that with the advent of the Internet, the truth is now available to everyone, unlike in the past. All anyone has to do is truly desire to know the truth and put in a bit of time. Yet STILL the masses refuse to see.

So clearly, the masses can probably never see. There is no other conclusion to reach. There is something else operating on their collective minds. And this is a very hard truth for those who do see and can accept reality and want to wake the masses. But once again, there is no point denying this truth either.

The law is the heartbeat of these deceptions. It appears to be something it is not. It is not there to help people and to improve society etc. It is there to control the masses and facilitate control of the assets by the few under the guise of doing “justice for the people”. Nothing else.

That’s why nothing ever works IN PRACTICE as you would expect, and that’s why this glaring FACT must always be explained away as accident, and coincidence and bungling, and one off, and a bad apple etc. Even though it just KEEPS happening again and again, same song, new verse. Any explanation that THE SYSTEM is not what it purports to be, and that it is instead actually working exactly as planned, is “kookery” and “conspiracy”. Why? Because if that were true, “Everyone would know.” lol

That’s why no matter how bad the schools are and how much they get worse and worse, those in charge insist they are trying to improve them even when they are clearly going in the wrong direction. This is the same for everything from the EPA to the FDA to military blunders, to Fast and furious, to Obamacare, etc. etc. The entire government, media, education system is designed to create a picture of a “world” that is a complete fantasy.

The precise form of the systems of control have varied throughout time. However, regardless of what form is being used to control the masses, the real system is always hidden to the masses. What in the world is even controversial about something that is this SELF EVIDENT and so comports with common sense? Nothing, yet still the people refuse to accept this truth and are fooled into believing that what THEY LIVE IN right now does not fit this model. Where they are, is somehow magically “exempt” from this reality. It really is quite amazing.

I recently ran across this great 5 minute “short” by Adam Curtis. The same guy that did “The power of nightmares” and “The century of self” series I suggest in my “fascinating other stuff” section. Sadly, and not surprisingly, watching those is no longer very simple like it used to be. Shockingly, they are restricting the public’s ability to see those series that blow a huge hole in the kabuki theater. If you have never watched those series I strongly suggest you go do that, wherever you can find them.

This short is great. Just take 5 minutes and watch it. It does a great job of giving the facts to you from a slightly different angle. And then, it adds a piece, I was previously unaware of, enjoy. Then I want to talk a bit about it.

Hopefully you just watched it. If not then go watch it. lol.   It is truly great, like all of his stuff. Very accessible to the average viewer. I love his style. Anyway the part I loved so much about this short beyond how obviously right it is about so many things, is that the non-linear system comes from THE ART WORLD. How interesting. And yet, it makes perfect sense. Art and entertainment and the psyche of the masses are so intertwined. The whole idea is fascinating to me.

Do you see how this non-linear system provides a SIMPLE UNIFYING explanation for an otherwise difficult or an almost impossible to explain combination of things? And why everything always seems like a giant Gordian Knot? By looking at it in terms of non-linear theory, it all falls into place. Non-linear theory as an explanation, is an excellent example of Occam’s razor.

This non-linear system is clearly employed in almost everything, including the law. Support and create contradictory items and movements and explanations so that the people simply throw up their hands and turn over control to their “leaders”. Supreme court opinions and regulations and laws and police behavior that all contradict each other while professing to seek the “same goal” etc.  There is no way to “prove” much of anything wrong or right. Nothing is ever resolved. Just scandals, and events and “terror” and distractions and rinse and repeat endlessly. It is genius.

No longer JUST left right, up down, right wrong. Everything is a panoply of confusing and nonsensical items that don’t fit. Which is of course exactly what EVERYONE observes. And hence, the “problems” can never be resolved or solved. They just need to be managed with more and more controls.

When you’re constantly immersed in a giant non-linear show, as we all are, it is essential to question everything, but it is difficult to remind yourself of this.

This is why I constantly remind everyone that the best way to control the opposition is to run it, as Lenin said. Most opposition is FAKE opposition that has been put there for a reason. And even if it began as legitimate, it will be virtually INSTANTLY infiltrated and thereby co-opted as soon as it starts to get any real traction. Witness the Tea party movement, or Occupy, or any other “opposition”. It is clearly not legitimate AT THIS POINT, regardless of how it started. It is controlled or infiltrated.

So how do you deal with this insane world system? First in order to try and make sense of anything you must always ask, “what do we actually KNOW” as opposed to what were we told? Who told us what we were told? And “Who Benefits” if the story is believed?

Then you have to follow the money. Always. And the money in this country and in fact in the whole world, is in the hands of a very small group. Extraordinarily small. And that concentration is the result of world wide Central banking which exists as the result of corrupt governments. Nothing else. Not brilliance, not because they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, not out working you, not “working smarter”, not building a better mousetrap. Those are all laughable lies they tell the people to hide the REAL game.

When you control the PRICE and supply of money, as the elite in the world do with PRIVATE fiat, fractional reserve central banking, you can control EVERYTHING else by buying it all up, or by “allowing or supporting” any and every other business or government or endeavor in order to keep the charade up. NO matter how useless the business, or corrupt the government. And it can go on and on for years and years and therefore APPEAR to be real. Just as “opposition” can be made to appear real. That is ALL there is to it. Nothing more.

Everything else is subservient to this simple fact. Look at CNN, it sucks. Its ratings suck. Its programming is a joke. Yet does it change? No. Does it go out of business? No. It keeps overpaying useless losers who don’t draw any audience to be on there. Why? How does this work in what we are told is a private “free enterprise” “dog eat dog” “work harder” best mousetrap wins system? Why is CNN on at all the airports? Why is it cited as though it is something it is not, i.e. a source of NEWS that people watch and trust? Why?

Those questions have no answers that make any sense as long as you look for them INSIDE the paradigm of the world you are given. But they are simple to answer when you see that something as ridonkulous as CNN is just one of many useful tools playing its part in the non-linear show. It is fully supported by the powers that be to push an agenda. Nothing more. Not a legitimate business reflecting the REAL world of ratings and response to what CONSUMERS want. Do you see this?

Because of the existence of fiat central banking, this type of example can be reproduced countless times with drug companies, car companies, movies, magazines, “celebrities”, “politicians”, “consumer advocate groups”, enemies, opposition, and on and on. Yet people refuse to accept the reality. It is just too great a disconnect for most people. It is too painful to accept that they live in a world that is not what they are told.

All of the stuff you see in the news and entertainment trying to convince people about people “building a better mousetrap” and becoming “tycoons” and all the tripe they sell on book tours about “self made millionaires” and how to books and interviews and made for TV movies and series about “tough honest” government types and the “American dream” are pushed for one reason and one reason alone. To fool the masses into believing the world they live in is something it is NOT.

And here is another IMPORTANT KEY. All of those fairy tales they tell in news and school and in entertainment, are just slightly more sophisticated versions of the pap they sell to the masses like “Hope and Change”. Many intelligent people laugh at the hopeless masses who glom on to silly slogans like “Hope and Change”, repeating it mindlessly as though just saying it will actually DO something.

But those same people laughing at the masses about “hopiechangie” then turn and just as naively cling to ideas such as the constitution “protects them”, that, the problems in the government are because of “liberals”, that “terrorism” is organic and a legitimate threat to our country or people, that “Russia is the enemy” and that the way to “get ahead” is to “work harder and smarter”. Forget the facts. In fact, IGNORE the facts, deny the facts, lol.

Do you see that those fairy tales about “working hard” “freedom isn’t free” etc. are simply the next step up the ladder of lies from “hope and change”? They are lies and slogans that have been presented as “news and intellectual thought” and “politics”. But there is no DIFFERENCE IN KIND from “hope and change”, only a difference in quality between the two delusions. They are both kabuki theater and nothing more. Do you see that?

Does that mean that “nobody gets nominally ahead” or that there are NO people who oppose things? Of course not. But just because those things do exist, does not mean that they are who we are told. Or that they are what we are told, etc.

Most of the “success stories” we are constantly fed are just survival bias and pure chance. Some honest people will succeed in almost any system. But that is a long way from the FACT that the percent of people WHO SUCCEED who are cheating, dwarfs the honest ones. And that the CHANCE of succeeding by cheating, dwarfs that of being honest. And that NOBODY who is truly wealthy, hundreds of millions and billions of dollars wealthy, has done it without “help”, meaning they have CHEATED you using government and laws. Lol. That is reality, plain and simple.

It has always been the same. This is nothing new. All that is new is that the masses for the last 200 years now actually think it is different, and we now have perpetual electronic media, and a world that runs on non-linear opposition.

As long as those with control can convince those THEY CONTROL that the “controlled” are “in charge” there is nothing to rebel against. You don’t rebel against yourself.

So the “CONTROLLERS” spend endless time and effort selling the masses ideas about “go get yours” and freedom and “threats” from all sides that only “government intervention and regulation” can ever hope to “solve”.

Do your own test, see if the news you see fits with the theory of non-linear opposition. Just check out my “Distractions in the news” section.  I am quite confident of the results.

As always, once you see you can never UNsee. The non-linear insane faked up “opposition” and “unexpected results” are all around us all the time. I show you them in the law all the time.  That’s why it is so confusing. It is designed to confuse you so you GIVE UP control. It is intentional. The same people back all sides all the time. And hence, there is no clear path to change because all the paths are lead by the same people at the base.  Remember the truck from Texas that “ISIS” had. if you don’t I’m giving you the link.  Remember, “ISIS” is daaaaangerous and a booooogie man.  lol

As brilliant as the system is, it doesn’t work once people KNOW it is there and how it operates. So count yourself lucky my friend and tell others about the truth about the law. We few, we band of brothers, we need to stick together. The truth can be tough to accept. But no real progress is even possible unless it is in the direction of the truth. So take heart.

That’s all for now, my brainwashed Brethren, don’t be down, live in the light.

6 thoughts on “Non-linear disinformation makes it nearly impossible for you to tell what is real or fake.”

usurykills June 1, 2015 at 7:52 pm

I will look for more from Adam Curtis.

“Obfuscation” is the bankers’ favorite word. Mike Montagne’s work (PfMPE) helped me sort things out from a financial perspective. Unfortunately, he still believes a constitutional amendment is going to save us. LOL! (OK, it isn’t really laughing funny. It ain’t funny at all.)

I have come to understand that real change comes from within. Government is only force.

You are right, vast edumacation required. Here’s a bonus: YouTube user TragedyandHopeMag

Legalman Post authorJune 2, 2015 at 10:01 am

You’re right about that usury. The most important thing anyone can do is control their own mind. That is the whole enchilada. But it is really much too amorphous a concept for most people. They always want some concrete step by step plan etc. to “see change’. lol. So I try and write about the law so people can start to catch on and then maybe slip a bit in now and then. Maybe down the road I can write directly on the topic. But there has to be a base for people to accept whatever you say. So I am doing my best to build that with my knowledge of how the legal game is a scam. Of course the financial game is a scam, it relies on the legal scam. But science is fully infiltrated as well. Everything is infiltrated. And it all relies on the legal scam that supports “government”. But as I have said. I try not to be too radical otherwise it turns a lot of otherwise reachable people off. And the key is reaching those who are on the edge and could be pulled over. Those already over here just need support and info. So it is a tight rope to walk.

Regardless I always appreciate feedback. I’m glad you’re here. — L

John Hagel March 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

The Adam Curtis short video was quite enlightening. It implies that countering the randomness and non-linear presentation of events might be difficult. However, it is too easy. Just say, “We don’t trust you. Your facts and presentations mean nothing to us because we find you not trust worthy.” Don’t get into their arguments with their weaving of truths with fiction. Just keep repeating that most people don’t trust them anymore, and more people trust them less all the time. Don’t try to fight their evil mind manipulating efforts with logic. Counter with expressions of complete distrust. It’s too easy! Good luck!

John Hagel March 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Oh yes, genuinely laughing at them while looking at them is very disabling to criminal manipulative brain washers.

panthera Tigris Altaicia March 7, 2015 at 3:13 am

Is your mentor an incarnation of Shiva?

Legalman Post authorMarch 7, 2015 at 11:19 am

Well I think I would be doing pretty well if they are. lol. Thanks for the note. Enjoy. — L

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Old News ;-)

[Sep 10, 2015] The Weaponization of Ignorance: the West's Go-To Experts by marknesop

September 9, 2015 |

... ... ...

In order to be Doing The Right Thing, it is necessary for you to believe Russia is an isolated and reviled international pariah which has invaded its neighbor – Ukraine – with heavy armor, artillery and hundreds of thousands of uniformed soldiers in the country on state orders, and which shot down MH-17 so that it could blame it on innocent Ukraine (among other wild justifications). It is a country which makes nothing and is totally reliant on energy exports; backward, barbaric, uncultured and unlettered, deceitful and underhanded.

An excellent example to start off with is Forbes, featuring the clownish oaf Paul Roderick Gregory. Mr. Gregory was one of the first to latch on to the scoop that Russia had inadvertently published the figures of its dead in the "Eastern Ukrainian Campaign", in a small, innocuous business newspaper called Delovaya Zhizn (Business Life). Then, the story goes, the government frantically deleted the information, but not before some sharp-eyed truthseekers hasd pounced on it and exposed it to the world. Yahoo – staunchly Russophobic in its news content – jumped on it as well. Social media dismembered it in hours and revealed it as a fake, while the purported representative of Business Life claimed the site had been hacked from a Kiev-registered IP on August 22nd, and the bogus data inserted long enough to be captured, then erased. The excitement the story caused in the media was something to see, and the Twitter storm – led by luminaries like Michael McFaul drawing attention to it for all they were worth – was furious while it lasted. Once it was exposed as a fake, the story just kind of…went away. Nobody said sorry.

No western news story on Russia or Ukraine is complete without the insertion of the phrase "Russian aggression" like a trademark, and an assertion that Russia has large numbers of military troops in Ukraine although it cynically denies it. News sites regularly claim there is "pretty overwhelming evidence" that Russia and Putin are lying, but none of them ever cite any, and the United States refuses to release any satellite imagery confirming the purported troop movements or transit of armored columns. It must be sensitive about Putin's feelings, and is protecting him. Ha, ha.

... ... ...

CNN's "Banned! 10 Things You Won't Find in Russia" is, unsurprisingly, horseshit. The law forbidding "gay propaganda" does not "mean anyone campaigning for LGBT rights or equating straight and gay relationships can be prosecuted. " It is quite specific that it may not be pitched to minor children, but the United States has become so chuffed with itself over how gay-friendly it is that it seems to think nobody is too young to learn how to do it the gay way. How about three – is three too young, do you think? Thinking about sending your gender nonconforming three-year-old son to Crossdresser Camp? I wonder if the other boys in his class – when he's, say 12 – are going to be as supportive? Gay adults can do as they please in Russia, as they always could, and homosexuality was legal in Russia ten years before the USA got around to saying it was okay to be gay.

Anonymous blogs are illegal – oh, dear. That should be of great concern to the civil libertarians who are sharing their phone conversations with the NSA, have been for some time before it was revealed, and the NSA refuses to stop, while the government refuses to make them. National security, you know. Think about that next time you're discussing your hemorrhoids with your doctor on the telephone.

Western food is banned; quite a lot of it, anyway. Why is that, CNN, again? Because of sanctions imposed against Russia. Why? Well, because the Russians shot down MH-17, of course! And before anyone calls tit-for-tat sanctions "childish", yes, they are. But you're talking to the country that changed the name of the American street on which the Soviet Embassy was located to "Andrei Sakharov Street", just for spite. The Wall Street Journal called it "simple but inspired". They were half-right: it was simple. Stay tuned for the U.S. Embassy to be on "Edward Snowden Boulevard".

Foul language is banned from films and television. Oh, no. How could anyone sit through a movie in America if it was not non-stop swearing from start to finish…kind of like conversation is in the USA. Ridden a city bus lately? Honestly, America has become the proverbial caricature of itself, so obsessed with slagging off the Russians in an attempt to humiliate them that it portrays being The Sopranos from sea to shining sea as some kind of virtue.

Drug related websites. The mind reels. Where is I gonna get my hit on, iffen I can't fin' my on-line dealer? CNN….man, I just don't know. I used to think, when I still watched CNN, probably about 10 years ago, that Wolf Blitzer was the worst thing about it. But now you is on a ho' notha level. Freedom…is drug-related websites.

... ... ...

The Independent (owned by a Russian oligarch – oops! "Tycoon", I meant, which is how western newspapers sucked up to Poroshenko the Billionaire after he took over the presidency of Ukraine) reports, completely gratuitously, that Moscow is "the world's unfriendliest city"; so designated by a survey conducted among the readers of Travel & Leisure Magazine! Which had a total circulation, in 2011, of just under 971,000. Ha, ha!! Jesus, listen to yourselves, will you? More than twice as many people read Rolling Stone, Bon Appetit and Golf Digest as read Travel & Leisure. Take a flying leap at a rolling doughnut, Travel & Leisure! Who gives a toss what you think? We'll see all 971,000 of you in Galway, Ireland (rated the "friendliest" city), and you'd probably all fit.

Timothy Snyder, eminent historian and defender of the Maidan, tells whoever will listen that Kiev is the only bilingual capital in Europe. Mind you, he also says Ukraine is a country of 50 million people, when he's actually spotting them about 10 million. Ukraine lost around 3 million people in 2014 – and you know where they went – and the population currently stands at just under 43 million according to the state statistics service. But what's a couple of million more or less? We routinely hear how a million or two well-educated and talented people rush for the exits in Russia every year, but by some miracle the population is increasing! The babushkas must be knitting new Russians in the basement at night, like the Keebler elves.

There's no need to dissect Snyder's embarrassing knowledge deficit further – my colleague, Paul Robinson, does a wonderful job of that – but suffice it to say Kiev is far from the only bilingual capital in Europe. More importantly, Snyder is playing up the distinctive nature of Ukrainian as if being able to switch between Russian and Ukrainian is an accomplishment on a par with speaking French and English. Russian and Ukrainian are both East Slavic languages descended from a common root – the language of the medieval Kievan Rus – and are mutually intelligible; that is, the two have sufficient common elements that if you can speak one fluently, you will be able to understand much of the other.

Get the picture? Western leaders, through the western media, rely on feted "experts" who do not know if their ass is bored or punched, but who nonetheless blather whatever their paymasters want to hear – and what they want to hear, pretty consistently, is that Russia is barbaric, weak and surly, reeling from sanctions which are wringing its economy like a dishrag. They want to hear that its population is steadily declining, thanks to its increasingly unpopular and unstable president. Timothy Garton Ash regularly paints a bloodcurdling – if you're a Russian – picture of a tottering giant about to topple. Edward Lucas, narcissistic British bonehead, rails against Putin's non-existent determination to bring the Baltics under his dictatorial command. Craaazzzy Annie Applebaum, Mrs former-Polish-political-wunderkind, snaps at her own entrails in a Russophobic delirium. Julia Ioffe. Luke Harding. Shaun Walker and Roland Oliphant. Simon Ostrovsky of Vice News. Rainbow-Brite Hater Jamie Kirchik of The Daily Beast. Too many to name them all, each pumping out soporific smoke that reassures westerners of their ongoing moral superiority and perspicacious judgment. All of it totally manufactured nonsense, delivered with a straight face in an atmosphere in which nobody wishes to challenge their accuracy, because it just feels so good to let go and believe.

I'm not arguing this so the west will come to its senses and try to repair the damage it has done to international relationships, entirely owing to society's own myopic stupidity and epic eagerness to be fooled. It's much too late for that; Russia has reached the realization that it cannot be a partner to the west so long as Russia insists upon making its own decisions and following its own policies. Consequently, it is decisively turning away from the west and reordering its markets, its institutions and its partnerships. Some business relationships might recover, but the west will not be trusted again for a generation at least. Because you can't trust someone who will not listen to reason.

I'm arguing it because the rest of the world is looking aghast at the west as if it had gotten drunk at their kids' birthday party and made an ass of itself, and it's embarrassing.

et Al says: September 9, 2015 at 11:20 am

Well Mark, the torrent of b/s spouted by the self-proclaimed and good will only serve one function in the end – something for Western Screaming Heads (TM) to drown in as none of what they produce actually makes a damn worth of difference. There is no talent preaching to the converted, but much of these so called credibly western institutions have also lost credibility with their own citizens. It's a model case of the decline and fall of empire & power. It's only going to get funkier.

Meanwhile, as if on cue, the Brits are still playing at calling the shots:

Neuters: UK softens tone against Syria's Assad, moots transition period

Britain could accept Syrian President Bashar al-Assad staying in place for a transition period if it helped resolve the country's conflict, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Wednesday, in what appeared to be a softening of tone on the Syrian leader….

…Reuters reported on Wednesday that Russian forces have begun participating in combat operations in Syria to help defend Assad's government, citing three Lebanese sources familiar with the political and military situation there.

Hammond told parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee that a political rather than military solution was needed and said Britain had made clear to Russia and Iran, Assad's principal international allies, that it would be prepared to discuss a plan which saw him stay on temporarily.

"If there is a sensible plan for transition that involves Assad remaining in some way involved in the process for a period of time we will look at that, we will discuss it. We are not saying he must go on day one," he said, adding that the transition could be a period of months….

…Hammond rejected Russia's suggestion Syria could hold snap parliamentary elections which could see Assad share power.

"That is not an acceptable position. The international community cannot in my view facilitate and oversee a set of elections in which somebody guilty of crimes of the scale that Assad has committed is able to run for office," he said…

We'll not hang you now Bashar, we'll hang you a bit later. Deal?

The Brits yet again speaking for the US. Who needs puppets when you can have a poodle? Woof!

marknesop , September 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

That's the kind of stuff that makes me throw things. Jesus Q. Johnnycake, what is it with Britain and its conviction that the world is comprised of Britain, and her colonies, which she suffers to live only insofar as they conform to a standard of decorum bred in Whitehall? Poxy gits; "Britain could accept Syrian President Bashar al-Assad staying in place for a transition period if it helped resolve the country's conflict, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Wednesday". Is that so? What that has been instigated by the UK in the last decade would lead you to believe Britain's opinion was indispensable?

"…Hammond rejected Russia's suggestion Syria could hold snap parliamentary elections which could see Assad share power.

"That is not an acceptable position. The international community cannot in my view facilitate and oversee a set of elections in which somebody guilty of crimes of the scale that Assad has committed is able to run for office," he said…"

That's because he knows full well Assad would win in a landslide, and the appropabation of his people cannot be allowed to interfere with Britain railroading him for war crimes without a trial. War crimes! Jesus Christ! What the fuck does he think has been goinmg on in Ukraine?? There's a whole hell of a lot more evidence of what's going on there and who's responsible for it, but "the international community" could not care less.

I had to take a deep-breathing break. The important thing is to get some effort brought to bear on reversing ISIS and driving them back, and eventually, out. Then Russia will have a little more breathing room for Britain's case to collapse. I'm sure Russia would not preserve Assad only to see the British cart him off to The Hague.

I was just reading an old post, linked in another reply, and ran across some research I did on the position of General Secretary of the UN. Did you know that Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were nominated to run against Ban Ki-Moon? Blair was still PM at the time, and the UN General Secretary cannot be from any of the veto-wielding powers, so they were both ineligible – but can you imagine?

et Al , September 10, 2015 at 3:14 am

It's a particularly British skill putting other people's backs up. Today we call it trolling for that is surely what his PR team is aiming at. Why? Because they can and they enjoy it.

Of course, two can play at that game, but the Russians should, selectively do this also. It's not hard.

If only Philip Hammond had an actual talent apart from trolling that was valuable. Something like this:

Warren , September 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

Oddlots , September 9, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Out-fucking-standing. Finally we have been able to field an adult. This is EXACTLY what we need to hear.

Cheered me up no end.

et Al , September 10, 2015 at 3:40 am

He's a threat to the national security state. By hook, or by crook, professionals will try to make sure that he doesn't become Prime Minister. Assuming that he becomes Labor leader, these professionals have less than five years.

james , September 9, 2015 at 12:41 pm

thanks mark… "Nobody said sorry." that and the constant hypocrisy from the west via the msm, drives me fucking crazy.. lying and pushing for all the wrong reasons never really impressed me.. at bit part of me doesn't follow the msm for these reasons.. when the herd is going one way, i'm going to be going the other way.. fb – naw… msm – naw, living in a cave – yeah, lol.. i admire your work trying to dissect it all.. that is a constant uphill battle that isn't ever going to stop!

james@wpc , September 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Well said, Mark. I agree the road ahead looks bleak and is not about to get any better any day soon.

The reason for the eye-rolling of the rest of the world is that few in the West know how to think. Fewer still know that they have been deliberately taught not to think (through being ridiculed for asking questions and not being told the difference between Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom) and to look to shills and idiots known as 'experts' to do their thinking for them.

This is not how we survived two million years. Oops, sorry, that should read 6000 years . . . . and never mind those dinosaur bones! Regardless, we will not survive a similar time span either way, or anything like it, into the future

Warren , September 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Published on 9 Sep 2015
An unsourced story originating on an Israeli website claimed Russia was about to deploy significant military assistance to Syria to fight Islamic State. This set the media aflame and had Washington issuing warnings. The story was not only unsourced, but also untrue. But it did reveal how the West frames its illegal war against Syria. CrossTalking with Eric Draitser, Danny Makki and Fawaz Gerges.

Lyttenburgh , September 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Another great article, Mark!

I've been arguing since… 2012, I think, that the West, it's media – both entertainment and news services – are beholden to what I call an "Ouroboros effect". There is one successful, time-tasted and profitable trademark, let's call it – "Russophobia". It sells. It sells really good. There is a constant demand for it and no shortage of supply.

But the most beatiful thing of all? "Ouroboros effect" is self sustaining! Clients demand more of what they like and are used to ("Russophobia"), and the producers are glad to oblige, supply them (and a few of uninitiated) with it, thus strengthening the clients perceptions on the topic in question and making them crave more of it.

Clients are fed basically the same stuff for decades with little or no variations in flavor or consistence – and they gladly swallow all of it and demand more.

And this "immortal, perfectly constructed animal" (Plato's words, not mine) has an in-built defense systems. Someone is suggesting that biting and sucking your own tail right next to a place where your feces come out is disgusting and there are more healthy things to eat around here? Why, it must paid Kremlin's propaganda, paid Kremlin-trolls, brainwashed serfs of the Regime or bullied by KGB poor and innocent souls. They are not to be trusted, for sure.

Someone said, that a true totalitarism is not the fact that a StateSec can come one day and take away some "undesirable". It's when the neighbors of these "undesirables" are ratting them away, or take part in lynching of the "Enemy", while policing each other for the slightest sign of sedition and calling it "Being Vigilant". Or something like that.

Currently there is no any meaningful dialog between the West and Russia. On any level. I'm speaking not only about governments here – I'm talking about every single level of possible communication. Ultimately, I'm talking about people. The West preaches that "when people from different ethnic and religious and cultural backgrounds come together it enriches learning and creativity". In fact, it actually means that everyone must adopt "universal" (read – Western) set of values to be successful and productive, and all other opinions are just "undesirable".

Right now, I don't see any way to change the Western narrative about Russia. Russophobia is a time-tested product in high demand. The West demands from Russia "conversion" to its superior "values" and is not interested in any compromises or even entertaining the mere thought that the Culturally Superior West might adopt something from Russia as well. And Russia for a change decided that it's fed up with this sanctimonious shit piled on it for decades and would rather have an independent policy, thank you very much.

Ouroboros will suck on its own tail. Maybe, when it stops this highly entertaining activity the whole wide world will experience the escape from the wheel of Sansara and unite in a humanity-wide Nirvana. Or the pigs will learn to fly.

et Al , September 10, 2015 at 8:12 am

What exquisite timing:

Financial Crimes: Russian group accused of hacking satellites

One of the world's most sophisticated hacking groups, linked to the Russian government, has been accused of hijacking vulnerable commercial satellite communications, using hidden receiving stations in Africa and the Middle East to mask attacks on Western military and governmental networks.

The group, which operates Ouroboros - the virulent malware also known as "Snake" or "Turla" - was outed last year as having mounted aggressive cyber espionage operations against Ukraine and a host of other European and American government organisations over nearly a decade.

In a report released on Wednesday, digital security and intelligence firm Kaspersky Lab, which was among the first to analyse the Ouroboros hackers' activities in 2014, said it had identified a new "exquisite" attack channel being used by the group that was virtually untraceable…

…Western security officials have previously told the Financial Times they believe Ouroboros to be a Russian operation - a fact supported by the group's targets and clues in the coding of the malware itself.

Satellite operators are meanwhile powerless to prevent the hackers from routing requests through their networks - at least for the next few years. The only other way to do so, experts note, would be for them to encrypt all of their downstream communications - a process that would require the launch of entirely new satellite arrays.


This piece certainly ticks all the boxes of Fear Uncertainly & Doubt.

Two points:

1: Not only would new satellites have to be sent up, but satellite receiving equipment would have to be upgraded on the ground, though I would assume that these days is could be done through software;

2: But, bu, but haven't we been told many times that Kaspersky – a Russian software security firm – is close to the Kremlin. If so, then why 'uncover' this story that would be so apparently damaging to their own friends? Of course this is one step of logic that no self-respecting active or passive russophobic journalist, or simply one enjoying it, would deign to ask.

So you see, yet again and apart from Kaspersy in this case, no other named source is willing to come out and publicly name finger the Russians and of course the Kremlin by association. Yes kids, its is journalism at its finest!

marknesop , September 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Yes, the "western analysts" to whom they refer are probably FireEye, a California firm, who claimed that a super-capable virus program it discovered "was programmed on Russian-language machines and built during working hours in Moscow." We've already been over how idiotic that is.

Warren , September 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Syria crisis: Nato concerned by Russia 'military build-up'

The US and Nato have expressed concern over reports that Russia is increasing its military presence in Syria.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said if confirmed, Russia's involvement would not help to solve the conflict.

Separately on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry "reiterated" his concerns to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over the phone.

Russia, a key ally of Syria during its four-year civil war, says it has sent military experts but that is all.
Correspondents say that without Moscow's backing, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have fallen by now.

marknesop , September 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm

It is clear the USA does not want any help in Syria, unless it is from its trusted allies. I wonder why? Does Washington honestly think people are so dozy that they can't catch on? A couple of other things are clear, too; one, either the USA's intelligence is terrible or it did not even bother to check if the rumors are true, because the Kremlin has said it has no immediate plans to intervene in Syria. However, two, the USA obviously does not trust the answer, because it has already taken the step of asking European allies in the region to deny permission for overflight to Russia. It seems fairly obvious that the USA does not want Russia in Syria even though it is "losing" to ISIS.

I'm sure the Kremlin is well aware that the USA is covertly helping and encouraging ISIS, and hopes they will overrun Damascus. And Britain's snooty attitude about Assad possibly continuing in his position as leader suggests they expect the push that will overwhelm Assad to come soon. I can't believe Russia is just going to sit back and let it happen, knowing the main purpose is to enable a Qatari gas pipeline that will cut it out of the European gas market.

Patient Observer , September 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm

The pipeline is a big deal but they also want to remove (no, murder) any non-compliant national leader – need to keep up the image of invincibility. Notice how the leaders of Iraq, Serbia and Libya were all murdered directly or indirectly by Western hands.

Western propaganda simply provides cover for the vast majority of the US population who are fearful of recognizing the Empire's hideous face,

It has come up in this blog from time to time that most Americans are basically decent and simply lack access to truthful information. I tend to disagree. Anyone with decency and half a brain would not be deluded by the idiocy that passes for news. In short, the majority of Americans choose to be ignorant because they are cowards.

Fern , September 9, 2015 at 6:14 pm

You're quite right about the importance of the image of invincibility achieved by the literal or metaphorical grinding of all opposition into the dirt. In addition to the list you give, it seems that Yanukovich was also targeted for assassination, only narrowly escaping with his life and yet his 'crime' was the seemingly pretty minor one of deferring the EU Association Agreement. The same kind of conquering mentality was discernible in the Greek bailout negotiations when the Troika went all out to heap humiliation on Tspiras. A glimpse of the psychopaths behind the liberal, democratic masks.

james@wpc , September 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

This is speculation but what makes sense to me is that there is a faction (at least) within the Russian govt that is pushing for upping the military support to Syria and this fabricated controversy is an attempt to head off that internally proposed Russian initiative.

All this, to me, points to the US getting desperate to overcome the SAA, and soon, otherwise 'all is lost'

Oddlots , September 9, 2015 at 5:54 pm

"…rely on feted "experts" who do not know if their ass is bored or punched…"

God you make me laugh.

Thanks for the intro to Rory Galagher. Completely new to me. Working through some you tube videos and it's far better for my blood-pressure than getting caught up on the day's "mendacity index."

Btw I came across this today:

marknesop , September 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm

Yes, the plan to tip over Syria does go back quite a bit, and the USA has always wanted to take him out because he is a Russian ally. His refusal of the Qatari pipeline deal put the writing on the wall for him.

Oddlots , September 9, 2015 at 10:10 pm

I remember some U.S. Economic wonk talking about the way Syria seemed to sit out the GFC of 2008 as if it was somehow sinister that the "cheap seats" would get a – cough – pass.

Wish I could remember who it was. Someone of Summers' stature but not him.

At the time it struck me as utterly perverse: Let me get this straight… You are belittling this country because its government – maybe by accident: who cares? – has insulated its citizens from the worst of our epochal melt down? You do realize, given the country's level of development, that you are talking about whether the population can, you know, eat?

Of course no-one called him on it.

Cortes , September 10, 2015 at 7:33 am

US "successes" analysed:

marknesop, September 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm

I smell the earthy and pastoral bouquet of bovine excrement. Both USA Today and Die Zeit are agreed that ISIS/ISIL numbers only about 20,000-30,000 members. Yet representatives of the "USA-led Coalition" claim to have killed more than 15,000 of them, in around 5,500 air strikes – an air strike for every 6 people in the organization.

Oh, sure, USA Today claims that recruiting has offset the losses, but seriously – a force of no more than 30,000 is prevailing against the Syrian Army and the USA-led Coalition, despite the fact that it has no air force of its own, and gaining like a brush fire? What kind of nancies is the USA-led coalition recruiting these days? Can you hear, ghost of Simon de Montfort, whose tiny force of French knights defeated a force more than 20 times their own number at Muret? It's no good – the professionalism of the Syrian army is well-established, and they were enjoying significant success against the rebels until the USA poked its warty nose in and said "I insist that I help you; no, no, you're not doing it right", and ISIS straight away began to gain ground. There is no reasonable explanation other than that Washington will countenance no other outcome than an ISIS victory, and is working energetically toward that goal.

Moscow Exile , September 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm

ООН: на Донбассе погибли почти 8 тыс. человек

UN: in the Donbass almost 8 thousand people have died
Almost 8 thousand people have lost their lives in Eastern Ukraine since mid-April 2014. This is stated in a report published by the UN Monitoring mission on human rights in the Ukraine, reports Ukraine National News.

In the report, which covers the period from 16 may to 15 August 2015, it is noted that the number of civilian casualties has increased by more than half compared with the previous three months: 105 people were killed and 308 injured compared to 60 killed and 102 wounded between February 16 and may 15.

So, since the conflict began in Eastern Ukraine in mid-April of 2014, at least 7,962 people, including members of the Ukrainian Armed forces, civilians and members of armed groups, have been killed and at least 17,811 wounded, the high Commissioner said, citing the latest available data.

And a deathly silence about this in the Western media.

Oddlots , September 9, 2015 at 10:13 pm

According to S.F. Cohen German intelligence puts the figure at 50 k and that seems reasonable to me. But out of date.

marknesop , September 9, 2015 at 10:32 pm

I'm with him. The casualties in Syria are hyped considerably higher than the real figure, because the activists want to provoke a NATO intervention and a high kill count argues for that, while the aim in Ukraine is the exact opposite.

et Al , September 10, 2015 at 4:21 am

That's the Bosnian Gambit. Not long after the civil war in Bosnia started, Cherif Bassiouni picked 200,000 dead Bosnian civilians out of his ass and the Pork Pie News Networks ran with it like an olympic gold marathon runner.

He of course hails from the De Paul university, one of the biggest sources serbophobic hate during the conflict. He's a Humanitarian War warrior of the first odor:

Moscow Exile , September 10, 2015 at 12:16 am

Yes, Cohen and German intelligence say that the 8K figure only correlates to morgue body counts; the total figure is much higher.

Yukie news and Western Pork Pie News always implies these deaths are caused by the blood thirsty Evil One. Svidomite bloggers even post pictures of slaughtered by Yukie army artillery barrages Donbass civilians, stating that this is the work of Russia's bloody hands.

Included in those Svidomite propaganda blogs are horrific images of disembowelled, limbless Ukrainian Donbass citizens, including women and babies and small children. The Svidomites even show pictures of those civilians murdered by Yukie air force cluster bombs at Lugansk, including pictures of that woman in the red dress who had her legs partly blasted off and who was still conscious and speaking shortly before she died, claiming that their deaths were caused by Putin.

... ... ...

Польша: зудящее желание реституции
Poland: A nagging desire for restitution

Poland – the eternal enemy of the Ukraine. And it is unfortunate that the representatives of the Kiev regime are not capable of recognizing this fact that has been written and voiced by many historical and philosophical minds. So says the leader of the Ukraine Union of Left Forces,, Vasilii Volga, who is amused by the misunderstanding shown by high representatives of the Kiev regime as regards the real goals of the relationship between the Ukraine and the heirs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Yeah, well … the perfidious Moskaly subhuman Orcs are the real enemy of the Ukraine, aren't they?

marknesop , September 10, 2015 at 9:34 am

I would be willing to bet that a map strikingly similar to the one pictured was swimming in and out of the consciousness of former NATO Secretary-General-in-waiting Radek Sikorsky when he blurted out that outrageous falsehood about hearing Putin propose the carving-up of Ukraine to Poland's leaders. He went for it because he knew English-speakers would immediately assume it was true, and did not count on Polish pushback from his rivals because, like most stuck-on-themselves diplomatic golden boys, it did not occur to him that he had any serious rivals among the dullards that make up his fellows in Poland's political milieu. I am more sure all the time that his bold declaration was a trial balloon to gauge Europe's reaction to Poland's repatriation of its former lands. He just decided to float it as a Russian plan in case Europe freaked out. He probably thought it was foolproof.

[Sep 04, 2015] What Happened to the Moral Center of American Capitalism?

"...The fact that he believes that capitalism has or ever had a "moral center" (other than "greed is good!") is absolutely touching in its naivete."
"...The prototype and kickstarter for capitalist industry was sugar plantation slavery (15th century, Madeira, Canary Islands)"
The latest from Robert Reich begins with:
What Happened to the Moral Center of American Capitalism? : An economy depends fundamentally on public morality; some shared standards about what sorts of activities are impermissible because they so fundamentally violate trust that they threaten to undermine the social fabric.

It is ironic that at a time the Republican presidential candidates and state legislators are furiously focusing on private morality – what people do in their bedrooms, contraception, abortion, gay marriage – we are experiencing a far more significant crisis in public morality.

We've witnessed over the last two decades in the United States a steady decline in the willingness of people in leading positions in the private sector – on Wall Street and in large corporations especially – to maintain minimum standards of public morality. They seek the highest profits and highest compensation for themselves regardless of social consequences.

CEOs of large corporations now earn 300 times the wages of average workers. Wall Street moguls take home hundreds of millions, or more. Both groups have rigged the economic game to their benefit while pushing downward the wages of average working people.

By contrast, in the first three decades after World War II – partly because America went through that terrible war and, before that, the Great Depression – there was a sense in the business community and on Wall Street of some degree of accountability to the nation.

It wasn't talked about as social responsibility, because it was assumed to be a bedrock of how people with great economic power should behave.

CEOs did not earn more than 40 times what the typical worker earned. Profitable firms did not lay off large numbers of workers. Consumers, workers, and the community were all considered stakeholders of almost equal entitlement. The marginal income tax on the highest income earners in the 1950s was 91%. Even the effective rate, after all deductions and tax credits, was still well above 50%.

Around about the late 1970s and early 1980s, all of this changed dramatically. ...[continue]...

Peter K. said...
Krugman speculated it started when sports fans began discussing star baseball players' salaries. CEOs went Galt and asked why not us also?

Workers are just inputs like fixed capital nothing more.

What's good for GE and Goldman Sachs - profits - is good for America.

DeLong asks the more central question. When did business leaders decide that growth, aggregate demand and full employment wasn't in the interest of their companies?

In the 1950 and 1960s they were in favor of a high-pressured economy. That changed.

Maybe it was the 1970s and "take this job and shove it."

Peter K. said in reply to Peter K....

They also forget about the Great Depression as it faded from memory.

And the Cold War ended. Would they risk Western nations like Greece and Spain going to the other side because of sky high unemployment? No they'd govern them with military dictatorships.

Ben Groves said in reply to Peter K....

US investment/capital markets were semi-nationalized from WWII into the mid-70's. The whole basis was to fight the Nazis then Soviets. The economic crisis of the mid-70's, detente and excessive growth beyond cohort changed things. For all the 79-89 hype, the cold war died with that global economic crisis of the 1970's as the Soviet Union never recovered and China bailed.

Business view was that the pre-WWII order needed to be restored. I think many people mistake the 50's and 60's as "normal", but they weren't. They were a time of war.

Peter K. said in reply to Ben Groves...

"War is the health of the state."

We need an invasion from aliens.

mulp said in reply to Ben Groves...

Well, given the US has been at war since Reagan, elected because Carter would not go to war, how do you explain the punishment of workers to reverse the glorifying of workers from the 30s through even the 70s??

It was not war that made the period before 1980 better over all, but the understanding that consumers could only spend as much as they were paid, and the problem for a corporation seeking to grow was making sure all the other corporations paid their employees well.

By the end of the 80s, the iconic corporations of the 60s in terms of growth and loyalty to employees were criticized by free lunch MBAs for sticking with the old ways of treating employees as assets because they were being creamed by competitors who treated employees as liabilities. Eg, IBM was badly managed because it was not screwing its workers like Dell, HP was doomed because it was not firing all its US factory workers and contracting with Asia factories.

You see, the MBAs were teaching that US workers are liabilities to replaced with the cheapest non US workers and the US consumer needs to be mined for ever more dollars of spending. And if consumers were not spending enough, the problem was they were taxed too much, so the calls for tax cuts to put money in consumer pockets so consumers could shop 24 by 7.

Before 1980, everything was zero sum. If you want that $1000 car or boat, you had to first earn $1000, unless the manufacturer float you a loan with a threat of the repo man. That meant manufacturers needed every consumer to have a job. And every dollar paid to workers came back to them in consumer spending. And government was the same way - if you wanted better roads, you first had to agree to taxes to pay for it.

After 1980, the idea economies were zero sum were thrown in the trash can. Want something, borrow and spend. Republicans would get government out of the way of the loan sharks. The loan sharks became bank owners and got rid of their enforcers, turning that over to Congress. Think of all the debt you can not shed but that government collects by force by the IRS and attaching your Social Security benefit.

Once consumers could borrow and spend, workers are now purely liabilities. Get rid of them.

In the real world, the ivory tower of business and economics is not able to be applied 100% or even 20%, but that even 20% of the connection between payroll and business sales is lost means an ever deepening pit of debt.

Federal debt declined from before the end of WWII as a burden on GDP until Reagan and then it grew as if the US were waging a war larger than the Korean war or Vietnam war or WWI or maybe the Civil war.

With the exception of the Clinton years which were not free of war, the budget has looked like a major war was going on.

DrDick said...

The fact that he believes that capitalism has or ever had a "moral center" (other than "greed is good!") is absolutely touching in its naivete.

Paine said in reply to DrDick...

Sweet bobby

bakho said in reply to DrDick...

Indeed. Greedy "Malefactors of Great Wealth" don't become wealthy by fair play. Nothing obtained by workers was ever got without a fight. Many bloody union battles over dead bodies won worker's rights. Once the unions lost power, workers went backward.

mulp said in reply to bakho...

And union leaders were all choir boys....

raping their members like priests.

As a liberal, I can play the game of name calling, character assassination, etc.

How do you think it is that there are capitalists with loyal workers? Do you think there are capitalists who understand that economies are zero sum and that you can't have customers wealthier than employees are wealthy?

I see lots of worker advocates who seem to think that every worker can be paid $1000 and only pay $500 for everything produced.

Paine said in reply to mulp...

Reading this is like chewing glue

DrDick said in reply to Paine ...

Which he was obviously huffing while writing it.

Paine said in reply to Paine ...

A system is not judged by its functioning components but by its malfunction components and the emergent failures of the system of components
U know that

Social production systems often grow and develop

they re not zero sum !

They produce a social surplus when functioning well

That social surplus gets ex appropriated by an exploiter class in class systems

The primary producers may add 1000 in value and receive only 600 of that value as compensation

Suggesting radicals or at least some radicals want more then one hundred percent of the social product for the producers themselves is blatant Tom foolery

bakho said in reply to mulp...

"How do you think it is that there are capitalists with loyal workers?"

The same way plantation owners had "loyal slaves". Loyalty lasted until Sherman's boys came and said, "You are free and if you show us where the silverware is hid, we'll split it with you."

Loyalty only goes as far as the next better offer.

anne said...

Assuming there was at least a superficial acknowledgement of a "moral center of American capitalism," that surface acceptance was methodically worn away from the 1970s on. An early sign of the wearing away and the need to turn away from a moral center of capitalism came with this article in 1970:

September 13, 1970

The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits
By Milton Friedman - New York Times

The carefully cultivated "Chicago Boys" not long after the article in the New York Times even gained a country to play with, Chile.

anne said in reply to anne...

July 23, 2015

If you don't know what I'm talking about, the term "Chicago boys" was originally used to refer to Latin American economists, trained at the University of Chicago, who took radical free-market ideology back to their home countries. The influence of these economists was part of a broader phenomenon: The 1970s and 1980s were an era of ascendancy for laissez-faire economic ideas and the Chicago school, which promoted those ideas....

-- Paul Krugman

Paine said in reply to anne...

A charming little toad that Milty

Swallow him and die of his poisons

Paine said in reply to Paine ...

Street value of milty's elixir: Oligopolistic Corporate free range capitalism

Sandwichman said...

1. The prototype and kickstarter for capitalist industry was sugar plantation slavery (15th century, Madeira, Canary Islands)

2. Slavery was extolled by Southern slaveowner aristocratic "ethics and theology" as the pinnacle of bible-based Western Civilization.

3. After defeat of the Confederacy, the neo-Confederate heirs of the old slaveowner plutocrats rewrote history to deny that the South fought the Civil War to retain slavery.

4. The big lie of "Lost Cause" neo-Confederacy is the secret sauce of the Republican Party "Southern strategy" emulated by the "centrism" of the Democrats.

5. What happened to the "moral center" of American Capitalism?

6. Just what "moral center" are you referring to, Bob?

Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...

John Cairnes, 1862:

"in spite of elaborate attempts at mystification, the real cause of the war and the real issue at stake are every day forcing themselves into prominence with a distinctness which cannot be much longer evaded. Whatever we may think of the tendencies of democratic institutions, or of the influence of territorial magnitude on the American character, no theory framed upon these or upon any other incidents of the contending parties, however ingeniously constructed, will suffice to conceal the fact, that it is slavery which is at the bottom of this quarrel, and that on its determination it depends whether the Power which derives its strength from slavery shall be set up with enlarged resources and increased prestige, or be now once for all effectually broken."

Ben Groves said in reply to Sandwichman...

Don't forget about 1600's Amsterdam. That was the kickstarter for finance capitalism. William the Orange exported it to the Brits and the rest is history. The link between the 2 is indeed "bible based".

Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...

James Henley Thornwell:

"The parties in this conflict are not merely abolitionists and slaveholders - they are atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins, on one side, and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other. In one word, the world is the battleground - Christianity and Atheism the combatants; and the progress of humanity at stake."

Ben Groves said in reply to Sandwichman...

Thornwell was a Rothschilds bagman fwiw. The whole basis of the planters was slaves. They couldn't make it without them. Without the production, Europe would be in shortage. Hurting the Rothschilds business interests.

That is why quotes never workout. You create a dialect when it is all personal motive. Not all socialists were against slavery. Many thought it was better than capitalist production cycles.

anne said in reply to anne...

Not all socialists were against slavery. Many thought it was better than capitalist production cycles.

[ I am waiting for the documentation of the many socialists who thought.... ]

Paine said in reply to anne...

Socialist is a very eclectic catch all term Anne

Some socialist by self description probably believed in human sacrifice

Oh ya that was us Stalinists

anne said in reply to Paine ...

September 4, 2015

Ben Groves said in reply to Sandwichman...

Not all socialists were against slavery. Many thought it was better than capitalist production cycles.

[ I know precisely what I have been asking for. I am still waiting for the documentation of the many socialists who thought.... ]

anne said in reply to Ben Groves...

Thornwell was a ----------- bagman for what it's worth. The whole basis of the planters was slaves. They couldn't make it without them. Without the production, Europe would be in shortage. Hurting the ----------- business interests.

[ Again, where is the documentation, the "----------- bagman" documentation, to what I consider simply calumny? ]

Sandwichman said in reply to Ben Groves...


James Henley Thornwell (December 9, 1812 – August 1, 1862) was an American Presbyterian preacher and religious writer from the U.S. state of South Carolina. During the American Civil War, Thornwell supported the Confederacy and preached a doctrine that claimed slavery to be morally right and justified by the tenets of Christianity.

"Thornwell, in the words of Professor Eugene Genovese, attempted "to envision a Christian society that could reconcile-so far as possible in a world haunted by evil-the conflicting claims of a social order with social justice and both with the freedom and dignity of the individual."

Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...

The "cornerstone speech"

"The ideas entertained at the time of the formation of the old Constitution," says the Vice President of the Southern Confederacy [Alexander Stephens],

"...were that the enslavement of the African race was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. Our new government is founded on exactly opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery-subordination to the superior race-is his natural and moral condition. This our Government is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. It is upon this our social fabric is firmly planted, and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of the full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.... This stone which was rejected by the first builders 'is become the chief stone of the corner' in our new edifice."

Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...

Harry Jaffa: "this remarkable address conveys, more than any other contemporary document, not only the soul of the Confederacy but also of that Jim Crow South that arose from the ashes of the Confederacy."

But not just the Jim Crow South, also the enduring white supremacy that permeates and dominates the American (incarceration nation) political discourse under code word dog whistles like "law and order" and orchestrated abhorrence of "political correctness".

Where is the "moral center" of a cesspool whose "cornerstone" is hatred? Ask Dante.

Mike Sparrow said in reply to Sandwichman...

True, but accepting Jim Crow allowed the capitalists to expand down south slowly but surely. By 1950 the south was becoming industrialized and Jim Crow was under attack. Their agriculture had been automated. Jim Crow just delayed history.

The problem I think people have with white neo-confeds is not so much "black slavery", but that white's were basically being starved and living standards reduced by the same system. The 1% of white's made it big with a global system at the expense of country. The anti-confeds are basically in a race war against what they see as foreign invasion. While the neo-confeds think they are protecting white "traditions" that really aren't really traditional to the white population as a whole. It is a good reason why socialists who patriot nationalism and organic unity can't unite with them. What they view as "white" is different. It leads toward political divide and conquer.

Paine said in reply to Mike Sparrow...

Jim crow delayed southern development

Only if you abstract from the northern social formation that hatched and husbanded it. For 100 years
Much as the slave system was husband by unionist northerns for 80 years

Paine said in reply to Paine ...

One could talk of a moral core to capitalists like thadeus Stevens
But the north ended reconstruction not because of southern white resistance
But because nothing more was need at that time and level of development
Of the north and of the union

Paine said in reply to Paine ...

The Grant years were like a sign in the sun and a sign in the moon

The sympathetic nations of Ameriika would remain in mortal struggle

Race Injustice would rule to the horizon of time and space

Paine said in reply to Paine ...

We would and will live side by side and yet turn away from each other
One side in torment the other in wrath

Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...

I think it would be useful to cite the whole paragraph of Harry Jaffa's comment on the cornerstone speech. Who was Harry Jaffa, anyway? Some politically correct Marxist America hater? Jaffa was the guy who wrote Barry Goldwater's 1964 Republican nomination acceptance speech. You know, "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue." That's who.

"This remarkable address conveys, more than any other contemporary document, not only the soul of the Confederacy but also of that Jim Crow South that arose from the ashes of the Confederacy. From the end of Reconstruction until after World War Il, the idea of racial inequality gripped the territory of the former Confederacy-and not only of the former Confederacy-more profoundly than it had done under slavery. Nor is its influence by any means at an end. Stephens's prophecy of the Confederacy's future resembles nothing so much as Hitler's prophecies of the Thousand-Year Reich. Nor are their theories very different. Stephens, unlike Hitler, spoke only of one particular race as inferior. But the principle ot racial domination, once established, can easily be extended to fit the convenience of the self-anointed master race or class, whoever it may be."

Paine said in reply to Sandwichman...

The battle between the declaration of independence and the constitution

Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...


"The Committee respectfully urges all authorities charged with the selection of text-books for colleges, schools and all scholastic institutions to measure all books offered for adoption by this "Measuring Bod" and adopt none which do not accord full justice to the South. And all library authorities in the Southern States are requested to mark all books in their collections which do not come up to the same measure, on the title page thereof, "Unjust to the South."

Reject a book that says the South fought to hold her slaves.

Reject a book that speaks of the slaveholder of the South as cruel and unjust to his slaves.

Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman...

"How the Negroes Lived Under Slavery

"Life among the Negroes of Virginia in slavery times was generally happy. The Negroes went about in a cheerful manner making a living for themselves and for those for whom they worked. They were not so unhappy as some Northerners thought they were, nor were they so happy as some Southerners claimed. The Negroes had their problems and their troubles. But they were not worried by the furious arguments going on between Northerners and Southerners over what should be done with them. In fact, they paid little attention to these arguments."

What's a "coffle"?

anne said in reply to Sandwichman...

Excellent series of posts.

anne said in reply to Sandwichman...

October 4, 2014

A Brutal Process

Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
By Edward E. Baptist

For residents of the world's pre-­eminent capitalist nation, American historians have produced remarkably few studies of capitalism in the United States. This situation was exacerbated in the 1970s, when economic history began to migrate from history to economics departments, where it too often became an exercise in scouring the past for numerical data to plug into computerized models of the economy. Recently, however, the history of American capitalism has emerged as a thriving cottage industry. This new work portrays capitalism not as a given (something that "came in the first ships," as the historian Carl Degler once wrote) but as a system that developed over time, has been constantly evolving and penetrates all aspects of society.

Slavery plays a crucial role in this literature....

Eric Foner is the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia.

DrDick said in reply to Sandwichman...

As Sydney Mintz showed, capitalism was founded on and made possible by slavery.

Paine said in reply to DrDick...

Marx sounds this theme powerfully in his chapter in Kap I
on primitive or primal accumulation

Sandwichman said in reply to Paine ...

Sounded the theme... but then failed to develop it. Maybe it was too obvious in those days, soon after the Civil War and before the "measuring rod" of neo-Confederate censorship rewrote history.

anne said in reply to Sandwichman...

April, 2010

Toxic Debt, Liar Loans, and Securitized Human Beings
The Panic of 1837 and the fate of slavery
By Edward E. Baptist

Early in the last decade, an Ayn Rand disciple named Alan Greenspan, who had been trusted with the U.S. government's powers for regulating the financial economy, stated his faith in the ability of that economy to maintain its own stability: "Recent regulatory reform coupled with innovative technologies has spawned rapidly growing markets for, among other products, asset-backed securities, collateral loan obligations, and credit derivative default swaps. These increasingly complex financial instruments have contributed, especially over the recent stressful period, to the development of a far more flexible, efficient, and hence resilient financial system than existed just a quarter-century ago."

At the beginning of this decade, in the wake of the failure of Greenspan's faith to prevent the eclipse of one economic order of things, Robert Solow, another towering figure in the economics profession, reflected on Greenspan's credo and voiced his suspicion that the financialization of the U.S. economy over the last quarter-century created not "real," but fictitious wealth: "Flexible maybe, resilient apparently not, but how about efficient? How much do all those exotic securities, and the institutions that create them, buy them, and sell them, actually contribute to the 'real' economy that provides us with goods and services, now and for the future?" ...

chris herbert said...

I don't think Capitalism has much to do with morality. Capitalists employed 8 year olds and a workweek of 60 hours at subsistence pay was the norm. Even today, look what American capitalists do to their employees in the Far East! Adam Smith figured that capitalism improved people's lives unintentionally. Not much of a moral statement, that one. That's why capitalism fails so miserably if not tightly regulated. Democracy, on the other hand, has pretty well defined moral foundations; Liberty, rights, equality etc. etc. Social democracies, in my opinion, have a stronger tether to the moral side of Democracy than we currently have here in the U.S. Our moral tether was shredded by the political right turn accomplished in the 1980s under Reagan. A similar degradation began in the U.K. about the same time under Thatcher. Oddly enough, that 30 plus year period between the end of WWII and 1980, was a period of strong progressive policy making. Pro labor laws, steeply progressive tax rates, voting rights, sensible retirement funding and Medicare for the elderly were all products of that time period. Maybe it was all an anomaly. A brief period of egalitarian ideals that created a middle class and produced a manufacturing hegemon. No longer. We are a military hegemon now. We are no longer a Democracy either. Most people haven't realized it; most especially working men and women who freely give up their rights and protections by voting for Republicans. We have the government we deserve. We are the most entertained and least informed citizens of any of the rich countries.

Paine said in reply to chris herbert...

Exploitation has a morality

All that exists must be torn apart
Rest is sin
The future is blocked only by the present


Peter K. said...

Off topic but everyone's favorite subject: monetary policy.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Revealed Preferences: Fed Inflation Target Edition
by David Beckworth

Over the past six years the Fed's preferred measure of the price level, the core PCE, has averaged 1.5 percent growth. That is well below the Fed's explicit target of 2 percent inflation. Why this consistent shortfall?

Some Fed officials are asking themselves this very question. A recent Wall Street Journal article reporting from the Jackson Hole Fed meetings led with this opening sentence: "central bankers aren't sure they understand how inflation works anymore". The article goes on to highlight some deep soul searching being done by central bankers in the Wyoming mountains. It is good to see our monetary authorities engaged in deep introspection, but let me give them a suggestion. Dust off your revealed preference theory textbooks and see what they can tell you about the low inflation of the past six years.

To that end, and as a public service to you our beleaguered Fed officials, let me provide some material to consider. First consider your inflation forecasts that go into making the central tendency consensus forecasts at the FOMC meetings. The figures below show the evolution of these forecasts for the current year, one-year ahead, and two-years ahead. There is an interesting pattern that emerges from these figures as you expand the forecast horizon: 2 percent becomes a upper bound.


So rest easy dear Fed official. No need for any existential angst. According to revealed preferences, you are still driving core inflation--which ignores supply shocks like changes in oil prices--it is just that you have a roughly 1%-2% core inflation target corridor rather than a 2% target. So even though you may not realize it, you are doing a bang up job keeping core inflation in your target corridor."

Peter K. said in reply to Peter K....

Our Neo-Classsical single equilibrium friend Don Kervack says the economy "naturally" healed itself despite unprecedented fiscal austerity, a trade deficit and strong dollar.

I don't buy it. Economics isn't broken. Politics is.

The center-left party for the job class should be calling up the Fed and asking "WTF?"

SomeCallMeTim said...

In the mid-1970s, at some universities economics was still called 'political economy', micro began with consideration of equity vs. efficiency, and the legitimacy of countercyclical social programs wasn't so widely questioned.

Was there a loss of nerve, at least in the U.S., following the Vietnam War, the 1973 oil shock, and the following recession that led to a quantum shift in generosity of spirit / belief in children exceeding their parents material well-being (or as politicians would later put it, voting one's fears instead of one's hopes)?

Second Best said...

The Plague of American Authoritarianism

by Henry Giroux

Authoritarianism in the American collective psyche and in what might be called traditional narratives of historical memory is always viewed as existing elsewhere.

Viewed as an alien and demagogic political system, it is primarily understood as a mode of governance associated with the dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970s and, of course, in its most vile extremes, with Hitler's poisonous Nazi rule and Mussolini's fascist state in the 1930s and 1940s. These were and are societies that idealized war, soldiers, nationalism, militarism, political certainty, fallen warriors, racial cleansing, and a dogmatic allegiance to the homeland.[i] Education and the media were the propaganda tools of authoritarianism, merging fascist and religious symbols with the language of God, family, and country, and were integral to promoting servility and conformity among the populace. This script is well known to the American public and it has been played out in films, popular culture, museums, the mainstream media, and other cultural apparatuses. Historical memory that posits the threat of the return of an updated authoritarianism turns the potential threat of the return of authoritarianism into dead memory. Hence, any totalitarian mode of governance is now treated as a relic of a sealed past that bears no relationship to the present. The need to retell the story of totalitarianism becomes a frozen lesson in history rather than a narrative necessary to understanding the present

Hannah Arendt, the great theorist of totalitarianism, believed that the protean elements of totalitarianism are still with us and that they would crystalize in different forms.[ii] Far from being a thing of the past, she believed that totalitarianism "heralds as a possible model for the future."[iii] Arendt was keenly aware that the culture of traditionalism, an ever present culture of fear, the corporatization of civil society, the capture of state power by corporations, the destruction of public goods, the corporate control of the media, the rise of a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, the dismantling of civil and political rights, the ongoing militarization of society, the "religionization of politics,"[iv] a rampant sexism, an attack on labor, an obsession with national security, human rights abuses, the emergence of a police state, a deeply rooted racism, and the attempts by demagogues to undermine critical education as a foundation for producing critical citizenry were all at work in American society. For Arendt, these anti-democratic elements in American society constituted what she called the "sand storm," a metaphor for totalitarianism.[v]

Historical conjunctures produce different forms of authoritarianism, though they all share a hatred for democracy, dissent, and human rights. It is too easy to believe in a simplistic binary logic that strictly categorizes a country as either authoritarian or democratic and leaves no room for entertaining the possibility of a mixture of both systems. American politics today suggests a more updated if not different form of authoritarianism or what some have called the curse of totalitarianism. In this context, it is worth remembering what Huey Long said in response to the question of whether America could ever become fascist: "Yes, but we will call it anti-fascist." [vi] Long's reply indicates that fascism is not an ideological apparatus frozen in a particular historical period, but as Arendt suggested a complex and often shifting theoretical and political register for understanding how democracy can be subverted, if not destroyed, from within.

(more at link above)

Anonymous said...

1) Gut all regulation in the name of free markets.
2) Sprinkle with the fairy dust of zero or negative real interest rates.
3) Let it rip.

I mean the moral fiber of society. this had a big hand in it.

Anonymous said in reply to Anonymous...

If anyone thinks incentives have nothing to do with deteriorating moral fiber, you are delusional.

ezra abrams said...

Is this the same RR who crossed a picket line at huff post, or someplace like that ?
cause ya know, his views are just so critical...
as my dad use to say, a scab never has to worry bout getting by, he can always steal from blind mens cups

and liberals wonder why blue collars hate hi falutin people

anne said in reply to ezra abrams...

Where is the precise reference to this nastiness?

Since Robert Reich provides his essays to any publication through a Creative Commons license, I cannot imagine how he could have crossed any picket line. Any essay by Reich can be used on any Internet site.

Returning now to the nastiness....

ilsm said...

Thuglican Jesus, thuglican God......

Factitious values based on thuglican God ordained "lesser people" should be property and the 98% exploited for the chosen .01%.......

See Sandwichman at Angry Bear.

cm said...

I suspect the moral center has been declared as a cost center, and not only yesterday.

[Aug 30, 2015] The Abyss Looks Back: Europe's Phenomenal Arrogance

Aug 25, 2015 |
... ... ...

On Europe's Phenomenal Arrogance

A lot of august bodies have decided to share their thoughts on the current vis-à-vis between Russia and what is colloquially known as "the West". Most of such "musings" inevitably touches the subject of the current situation in Ukraine, due to it's being a "hotspot" in the bilateral relations. Most often we are graced by some strongly worded opinions from the veritable Legion of the Free and Independent Western press (), or it might be even a Deep and Thorough Analysis by this or that think-tank, NGO or research facility, sharing with the hoi-poloi of the world their convoluted (and, therefore, unquestionably true) findings on the nature of things they probably didn't even have any previous personal contact with.

And then we have something… anomalous. And huge. I'm talking here about a report (well, "commentary", to be precise) of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a rather self- explanatory name for an organization.

The Limits and Necessity of Europe's Russia Sanctions

The picture below the title of the article shows Moscow's Kremlin and the snow-covered streets of Moscow. Because –apparently! – it is always gloomy and snowy in Russia. How you gonna argue with such a paragon of Western objectivity on Russia's portrayal as the Independence Day movie, where there is snow in Russia in July?!

You might say that I'm too nitpicky. Honestly, I'll cease and desist the very moment the West stops this kind of petty manipulation of public perception of my country.

The article from the very beginning says what it's about:

To get a clearer understanding of the situation it might be useful to start from the other end – not to ask if the sanctions work, but to first look at the nature of Europe's problem with Russia and ask what it would take to fix it, or even whether it can be fixed by the West at all. That will allow us to see what role the sanctions can play in remedying the problem – and what the things that sanctions cannot accomplish are.

In short – this article is about judging Russia by the esteemed people of the EUrocracy, and determining – is it worthy of their "mercy". The author asks her audience,

"Do we want Russia to leave Donbas? Give back Crimea? Do we expect a regime change in Moscow? Or do we want Russia to start behaving "as a normal European country," i.e. one that tries to base its influence on attraction rather than coercion?"

with the straightest face possible. Suddenly, Russia became an object of EU decisions, as if Russia now is a member of the EU (it isn't) or that the EU is some super strong, unified world power capable of really compelling Russia to do it's bidding (again – nope).

Unfortunately, what follows is the author's opinion on "the nature of our Russian problem". The author had a mighty lot of predecessors willing to find a "final solution" for the "Russian problem". This particular individual, elevated well above her station by the simple fact that she writes for the ECFR, does the most "professional" thing possible – goes full ad hominem not only against Russian president Vladimir Putin (KGB reference included), but to the Russian people as well. You see, for the author of this "commentary", Russians are just "rent-seeking clients" mobilized against "enemy figures – real or imaginary". The Russian system of education (in the Soviet era, second to none – now "thankfully" reformed by the West worshiping "democrats") plus "the state-centric way history and international relations are taught at Russian schools and universities" has contributed to the fact that the EU is "having problems" with Russia.

As a person educated in Russia by the Russian system of education (including Higher Education) I can say that this kind of claim is inaccurate. In the Moscow State University (aka "Lomonosov's") our professors took a lot of effort to drive us to the "multi-vector approach" of the history and historiography, taught us of many existing schools of thoughts and research. No one indoctrinated gentle young souls into some Putin-worshiping cult. I can safely claim, from personal experience, that I was educated from a plethora of historical textbooks – including extremely "handshakable" ones, both in school (state run) and at the Uni. Still, I am who I am despite (and thanks) to everything that I've learned earlier. So, basically implying that the Russian state is "brainwashing" youngsters in the state-run higher education institutions is a big fat lie. One only need to look at MSU's (of Lomonosov) Journalism department to see teeming masses of "handshakables" and "not-living-by-the-lie-ers" in the making.

But the article is actually right in one regard – it admits the vast abyss that exists now between the Western perception of the current situation and the Russian one. The author is even sufficiently capable to articulate it correctly:

What makes the current standoff so tense and dangerous is not the reach of Russia's territorial ambitions, as many suggest, but vice versa – the limited nature of them, and its psychological implications. Moscow sees itself as having given up everything: it has left Central Europe, it has left the Baltic States, not to mention Cuba, Africa and the Middle East, but now the West seems intent on 'taking' the last little bit that was left – 'brotherly' Ukraine. Of course Moscow takes it emotionally and tries to fight back.

But then, as tradition dictates, the author allows her own ideological bias to distort the rest of the narrative in what might have become an honest attempt to look at the current problem from both sides' perspective:

The countries in Russia's neighbourhood – in what one can call the Eastern Partnership area – received their independence semi-accidentally in 1991, when it was promptly hijacked by corrupt elites. Now, their societies are starting to mature and demand better governance, rule of law and more say over their countries' futures. This manifests in a bumpy, but inevitable evolutionary process that the EU did not launch and does not control, but cannot do anything other than support. Moscow, on the other hand, is fixated on the elites it can control – and therefore bound to resist it. The clash is systemic, and likely to manifest repeatedly as long as the fundamentals remain unchanged.

Calling the multitude of processes that in the end resulted in the dissolution of the USSR "a semi-accident" is an admission of one's ignorance about the history of every single country of the so-called "Eastern Partnership area". The author also fails to mention that "societies" (the author obviously likes this term as much as she despises the term "the people") in some of these countries indeed have found an answer how to reach a "better governance, rule of law and more say over their countries' futures". One only has to look at Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. And let's not forget that Russia itself was "promptly hijacked by corrupt elites". And what the EU "did not launch… but cannot do anything other than support" were the forces inimical to these governments, which managed, indeed, to bring better governance, rule of law (which was non-existent before) and more say over their countries' futures (that's it – they will have more say about it, not some "advisers" from Brussels or Washington).

And then the article lists all the reasons why the West won't reach any agreement with Russia. The EU will continue to do what it pleases, not giving a damn about Russian concerns over "spheres of influence" because of "the OSCE charter, the principles of the Council of Europe, the founding documents of the EU and NATO and so forth"- even despite the fact that some members of Russia's elite are indeed ready to strike a deal with them. This sort of sincerity is kinda refreshing, I must say. When a person speaking on behalf of the West freely admits that they don't care about Russia's opinion at all, that any real equal dialog is pointless, this sounds both arrogantly prideful and refreshingly new.

But the article also discusses some methods to "fix the Russian problem"! Once again, I'm reminded of some other high-ranking citizens of the "United Europe" of old, who had similar plans. But the new generation is much, much more merciful to the undeserving "lessers":

Ideally, Europe would want to live next to a Russia that shares if not our values, then at least some of our interests, and uses attractiveness, rather than coercion to win allies and make itself influential. Some experts suggest that to achieve that, we need a regime change in Russia. This would be true if our Russia-problem was rooted solely in the personality of Putin and the nature of his regime – but this is probably not the case. Russia's dominance-fixated mindset has survived multiple regime changes…

What is needed, therefore, is something much more complicated: Russia's sincere and extensive rethink of the means and ends of its international behaviour. This is closer to an identity change, than to a regime change. And a lot trickier. While such things have happened in history, the circumstances that bring them about are generally unpredictable and tend to vary greatly – which means that this is not something that outsiders can easily bring about, and achieve a desired outcome.

One of the biggest reasons why Russians resisted so fiercely (and why the common people's memory preserved it through generations) the many-faced West is because of its desire to "re-make" and "re-model" Russia into forms more suitable to the West. Numerous nomads from the East were up to the usual stuff – pillage, burning, slave taking. But they've never dictated to the Russians how they should rule themselves or how they must worship. Only the West did it and by doing it have forever earned the special degree of distrust – confirmed once again by this "commentary" of the EU institution, not intended to be read by Russian "savages" at all. While the author generously admits that "perhaps" Russia doesn't warrant a "regime change" (which, you must understand, is sort of a norm for the Free and Democratic West – i.e. changing legally elected "regimes" for fun and profit) in Russia, she still argues for an "ideal" Russia without an independent foreign policy; she is arguing for Russia surrendering its security and economical concerns in the name of "appealing to Europe". Oh, and she also dreams of a Russia which abandons any thoughts of allying itself with China because the EU are the good guys, and China is a "meanie".

The article is a true hodge-podge of some brilliant epiphanies (for a typical westerner) – when, say, the author argues that the West's blind support or Yeltsin in 1996 in face of the possible "communist revival" has been unwarranted and even harmful. But then, unfortunately, the author decides to touch upon the subject of Western sanctions, and here we might glimpse the true attitude of "what it's all about" concerning them:

This implies a wider strategy that consists of boosting the security of the vulnerable EU and NATO members, defending the independence and sovereignty of the EaP countries, and keeping sanctions until the conditions for lifting them – implementations of the Minsk agreements or settlement of the Crimea issue – are fulfilled…

… It is good that the sanctions are linked to concrete demands – return of Crimea and fulfilment of the Minsk agreements. This provides a relatively clear conditionality that Europe needs to stick to. While the Crimea-related sanctions will probably remain in place for the foreseeable future, as a settlement of the issue is not on the horizon, the Minsk agreements are supposed to be implemented by the end of the year.

This is very notable, because in just a few paragraphs a person close to the EU analytical stuff (at least) admits that:

  1. Russia MUST "return" Crimea to Ukraine
  1. b) Russia will be held personally accountable for any failures in implementation of Minsk agreement.

And despite the fact that the author tries to distract us with all her flowery words about "one does not need to make sanctions a 'barometer' of Russian behaviour in Ukraine" (because, As Everybody Knows It () – "Russia is waging a war on the territory in the territory of Ukraine, and about Zero percent of locals actual contribute to it"), while demanding that the EU's policy " must consist of a refusal to roll back sanctions before Ukraine has gained full control of its eastern border". In short – the current Kiev government can do nothing regarding their responsibilities according to the Minsk-2 accord (with the blessing of the EU, it's implied), but Russia must be held responsible for EVERYTHING. And be sanctioned appropriately, should it falter in its duties. After all, "sanctions should be a slow squeeze that gradually reduces Russia's freedom of manoeuvre and thereby reminds it of its misdeeds and Europe's displeasure."

The conclusion of the article, despite the absence of any bellicose terms, reads (at least for me) as a declaration of War against Russia:

Europe needs to be aware that our problem with Russia is long-term and multi-layered. It is clear that the sanctions are not a miracle cure to fix it all, but they need to be a small part of a bigger strategy. They are instrumental in restoring our credibility and possibly fixing a few near- or medium term goals. Getting that right, however, is important, as credibility is something Europe badly needs if it wants to influence processes in the future. Hence the necessity of sanctions – despite all their limits.

Actually, the majority of politically aware Russians won't find anything "revelatory" in this article. It's been a "Punchinello's Secret" that the EU will always skew more on the side of regime in Kiev while reviewing the "fulfillment" of the Minsk-2 resolution. The Official EU (as opposed to its individual members) will always see Russia as an aggressor and the guilty party by default. While the talks about "possible cancellation of sanctions" remain a sort of tasty carrot for some people (especially for some too eager to sell Crimea for a batch of the "true" Italian Mozzarella cheese), the fact remains – the EU will renew its sanctions against Russian at the end of 2015, no matter what.

The sheer gall of claiming that "…Europe would want to live next to a Russia that shares if not our values, then at least some of our interests, and uses attractiveness, rather than coercion to win allies and make itself influential" is astonishing. Since when did the so-called "United Europe" abandon the use of "coercion to win allies and make itself influential"? What has happened to the collective memory of the Enlightened Western Public () (Totally Entitled to Its Own Opinion Even Without Knowing A Thing) about the events that preceded the bloody coup d'etat in Kiev on February 22, 2014?

But, despite all its flaws, I actually like these kinds of "anomalous articles" that sometimes grace the pages of the Free and Independent Western Press (). First of all – some admissions here signify that the so-called analysts in the West are not brain-dead and that they can still understand and articulate some basic things about Russia's perspective, in the language probably accessible to the vast majority of their target audience. Second – the article is refreshingly honest about the West's goals and objectives in the conflict with Russia.

Yes, there is some flowery prose here, but the core imperatives are hard to miss. And, yes, I'm using the term "the West" in rather broad definition here. Despite their best attempts to conceal this, it's rather obvious for anyone with a functioning brain that the EU sanctions against Russia applied (as they claim) due to "the unlawful annexation of Crimea", "support of militants in the Ukrainian East" or "Russia's as yet unconfirmed (but we are counting on it anyway!) complicity in the downing of MH17" have nothing to do with any point of the Minsk-2 agreement. In fact, right after the signing of this treaty, the EU decided to prove to the Whole Civilized World that it didn't bow down to Russia's demands, and issued yet another batch of sanctions.

But for every Russian who will read this article (and believe me – there will be a fair amount of them), after they get the essence of it, they will realize that this is not some op-ed by the typically "handshakable" Western outlet, that this "commentary" had been published by the Powers That Be of the EU – and that everything written herein bodes nothing good for Russia in the foreseeable future, no matter what. Russians, being the citizens of Russia, tend to react very negatively to some Western countries' decision to "deal" with them. And the reaction will follow. As it turned out, the Westerners of old (who also had some "long- term problems with Russia") were truly… mortified by such manner of counter-reaction.

ThatJ, August 29, 2015 at 4:30 pm

I don't make any definitions. Similarities and differences are easily observed by the naked eye, but if you want something more scientific, you can always rely on genetics. "Ethnicity" can be considered a modern substitute for "tribe" anyhow, and closely related peoples did wage wars against each other in the past (and today). There was a motley of Germanic tribes in the past, many of whom are today just "Germans", "Dutch", "Danes", &c.

From Darwin Revisited:

The following observations in The Origin regarding the nature of evolutionary competition provide valuable clues as to why civil wars occur, why the French make jokes about the Belgians, the Norwegians dislike the Swedes and the British go to war against the Germans. Darwin wrote that 'the competition will generally be most severe between those forms which are most nearly related to each other in habits, constitution, and structure' (1968: 165).

[Aug 29, 2015] So Wrong for So Long

"...For starters, neoconservatives think balance-of-power politics doesn't really work in international affairs and that states are strongly inclined to "bandwagon" instead. In other words, they think weaker states are easy to bully and never stand up to powerful adversaries. Their faulty logic follows that other states will do whatever Washington dictates provided we demonstrate how strong and tough we are. This belief led them to conclude that toppling Saddam would send a powerful message and cause other states in the Middle East to kowtow to us. If we kept up the pressure, our vast military power would quickly transform the region into a sea of docile pro-American democracies."
"...Moreover, neocons believe military force is a supple tool that can be turned on and off like a spigot. If the United States uses force and things go badly, they seem to think the nation can just pull out quickly and live to fight another day. But that's not how things work in the real world of politics: Once forces are committed, the military brass will demand the chance to win a clear victory, and politicians will worry about the nation's prestige and their own political fortunes. The conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia should remind us that it's a lot easier to get into wars than it is to get out of them, but that lesson has been lost on most neoconservatives."
"...They claim their main goal is spreading freedom and democracy (except for Palestinians, of course), but they have no theory to explain how this will happen or how toppling a foreign government with military force will magically cause democracy to emerge. Instead, they believe the desire to live in freedom is hardwired into human DNA, and all one has to do is remove the bad guys at the top. Once they are gone, the now-liberated population will forget past grievances, form political parties, embrace tolerance, line up for orderly elections, accept the resulting outcomes willingly, and offer grateful thanks to Uncle Sam."
Aug 21, 2015 | Foreign Policy

Over the past few weeks, proponents of the nuclear deal with Iran - from President Barack Obama on down - have marshaled a powerful attack on some of the deal's most prominent opponents. Specifically, they've been pointing out an indisputable fact: Many of the individuals and organizations that are most actively lobbying and speaking out against the deal helped dream up the idea of invading Iraq or worked hard to convince Congress and the American people to go along with the idea. The logic of the pro-deal camp is simple: Given that the opponents were so catastrophically wrong about the Iraq War, no one should listen to their advice today.

I agree with this basic argument, of course, but opponents of the deal do have one line of defense against the "Wrong on Iraq, Wrong on Iran" meme. It is possible someone could have been dead wrong about the wisdom of invading Iraq in 2003, but nonetheless be correct to oppose the nuclear deal with Iran today. None of us is infallible, and it is at least conceivable that Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams, James Woolsey, Fred Hiatt, Max Boot, et al. could have blown it big-time in 2002 - but be absolutely right this time around.

Conceivable, I suppose, but highly unlikely. Why? Because their views in 2002 aren't independent from the views they're expressing today. On the contrary, their earlier support for the Iraq War and their opposition to the Iran deal stem from the basic neoconservative worldview that informs their entire approach to foreign policy.

To be more specific, the problem isn't that these people just happened to be embarrassingly wrong about Iraq. After all, plenty of other people were equally misguided back then, including many people who now support the deal today. Nor is the problem the neocons' stubborn and morally dubious refusal to admit they were wrong and take responsibility for the lives and money they squandered.

No, the real problem is that the neoconservative worldview - one that still informs the thinking of many of the groups and individuals who are most vocal in opposing the Iran deal - is fundamentally flawed. Getting Iraq wrong wasn't just an unfortunate miscalculation, it happened because their theories of world politics were dubious and their understanding of how the world works was goofy.

When your strategic software is riddled with bugs, you should expect a lot of error messages.

What are the main flaws that consistently lead neoconservatives astray?

  1. For starters, neoconservatives think balance-of-power politics doesn't really work in international affairs and that states are strongly inclined to "bandwagon" instead. In other words, they think weaker states are easy to bully and never stand up to powerful adversaries. Their faulty logic follows that other states will do whatever Washington dictates provided we demonstrate how strong and tough we are. This belief led them to conclude that toppling Saddam would send a powerful message and cause other states in the Middle East to kowtow to us. If we kept up the pressure, our vast military power would quickly transform the region into a sea of docile pro-American democracies.

    What happened, alas, was that the various states we were threatening didn't jump on our bandwagon. Instead, they balanced and then took steps to make sure we faced significant and growing resistance. In particular, Syria and Iran (the next two states on the neocons' target list), cooperated even further with each other and helped aid the anti-American insurgency in Iraq itself. Neocons were outraged by this behavior, but it shouldn't have surprised anyone who understood Realism 101. At the same time, long-standing U.S. allies were upset by our actions and distanced themselves from us or else they took advantage of our excesses and free-rode at our expense. In short, the neoconservatives' belief that the United States could browbeat and intimidate others into doing our bidding was dead wrong.

    Today, of course, opposition to the Iran deal reflects a similar belief that forceful resolve would enable Washington to dictate whatever terms it wants. As I've written before, this idea is the myth of a "better deal." Because neocons assume states are attracted to strength and easy to intimidate, they think rejecting the deal, ratcheting up sanctions, and threatening war will cause Iran's government to finally cave in and dismantle its entire enrichment program. On the contrary, walking away from the deal will stiffen Iran's resolve, strengthen its hard-liners, increase its interest in perhaps actually acquiring a nuclear weapon someday, and cause the other members of the P5+1 to part company with the United States.

  2. The neoconservative worldview also exaggerates the efficacy of military force and downplays the value of diplomacy. Military force is an essential component of national power, of course, but neocons tend to see it as a magical tool that can accomplish all sorts of wonderful things (such as the creation of workable democracies) for which it is not really designed. In reality, military force is a crude instrument whose effects are hard to foresee and one which almost always produces unintended consequences (see under: Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, etc.). So it was in Iraq, and the results of a direct military conflict with Iran would be equally unpredictable.

    Moreover, neocons believe military force is a supple tool that can be turned on and off like a spigot. If the United States uses force and things go badly, they seem to think the nation can just pull out quickly and live to fight another day. But that's not how things work in the real world of politics: Once forces are committed, the military brass will demand the chance to win a clear victory, and politicians will worry about the nation's prestige and their own political fortunes. The conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia should remind us that it's a lot easier to get into wars than it is to get out of them, but that lesson has been lost on most neoconservatives.

  3. Third, the neoconservatives have a simplistic and ahistorical view of democracy itself. They claim their main goal is spreading freedom and democracy (except for Palestinians, of course), but they have no theory to explain how this will happen or how toppling a foreign government with military force will magically cause democracy to emerge. Instead, they believe the desire to live in freedom is hardwired into human DNA, and all one has to do is remove the bad guys at the top. Once they are gone, the now-liberated population will forget past grievances, form political parties, embrace tolerance, line up for orderly elections, accept the resulting outcomes willingly, and offer grateful thanks to Uncle Sam.

    It would be nice if that Pollyannaish scenario were accurate, but such views betray near-total ignorance of the prerequisites for meaningful democracy and the actual history of democratic growth in the West itself. In fact, the development of liberal democracy was a long, contentious, imperfect, and often violent process in Western Europe and North America, and anyone familiar with that history would have known the neocons' formula for democratic change was doomed from the start.

  4. Fourth, as befits a group of armchair ideologues whose primary goal has been winning power inside the Beltway, neoconservatives are often surprisingly ignorant about the actual conditions of the countries whose politics and society they want to transform. Hardly any neoconservatives knew very much about Iraq before the United States invaded - if they had, they might have reconsidered the whole scheme - and their characterizations of Iran today consist of scary caricatures bearing little resemblance to Iran's complicated political and social reality. In addition to flawed theories, in short, the neoconservative worldview also depends on an inaccurate reading of the facts on the ground.

  5. Last but not least, the neoconservatives' prescriptions for U.S. foreign policy are perennially distorted by a strong attachment to Israel, which Max Boot (and others) have described as a "key tenet" of the entire movement. There's nothing wrong with such attachments per se, of course, but it has crippled their ability to give sensible policy advice to U.S. politicians. In particular, neoconservatives tend to believe that what's good for Israel is good for the United States - and vice versa - which is why they see no conflict between their attachment to Israel and their loyalty to the United States. But no two states have identical interests all the time, and when the interests of two countries conflict, people who feel strongly about both are forced to decide which of these feelings is going to take priority.

Over the past few weeks, some proponents of the deal have pointed out - correctly - that some opponents don't like the deal because they think it is bad for Israel and because the Netanyahu government is dead set against it. As one might expect, pointing out these obvious facts has led some opponents of the deal to accuse proponents (including President Obama) of anti-Semitism. But as Lara Friedman, J.J. Goldberg, and Peter Beinart have made clear, this charge is absurd, even laughable. Among other things, it appears a majority of American Jews support the deal - and so do plenty of distinguished figures in Israel's own national security establishment. If anything, it is Netanyahu's efforts to persuade American Jews that it is their duty to support him, rather than their own president, that echoes those hateful anti-Semitic canards about "dual loyalty."

Instead of being a serious criticism, this familiar smear is really just a way to change the subject and to put proponents of the deal on the defensive for pointing out the obvious. Fortunately, in this case the charge just doesn't seem to be sticking, and its appearance is just another sign that opponents don't have rational arguments or solid evidence to justify their opposition.

The bottom line: The fact that the neoconservatives, AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, and other groups in the Israel lobby were wrong about the Iraq War does not by itself mean that they are necessarily wrong about the Iran deal. But when you examine their basic views on world politics and their consistent approach to U.S. Middle East policy, it becomes clear this is not a coincidence at all. Support for the Iraq War and opposition to the Iran deal flow from the same flawed premises, and that's why following their advice today would be as foolish as it was back in 2003.


I take a much narrower view as to what motivates neocons-it definitely is not ideology. They have infiltrated most of the "think" tanks, they have infiltrated many of the cabinet level departments, and have infiltrated all levels of political activity. To me, that indicates a hunger for power and money and it has been very successful. Huge sums of money support these people and their constant push for war. Finally, it is all orchestrated my Netanyahu and the Likuds. The neocons and their AIPAC, WaPo, et al take their script from Netanyahu and because of the money and their positioning in the Foreign Policy establishment, it seems impossible to counteract. Indeed, depressing and tragic for the United States.
Lost in america
I think it is a mistake to throw all of these positions and policies altogether. Actually, opposition to the treaty may seem bipolar because of the political marketing by the Administration. But there are varied rationales: Some people are against the deal deal because they do not trust Iran under any circumstances. Some are against the deal because we could have negotiated a better deal. Some want more compensation for past Iranian transgressions. Some believe that the treaty is too open ended and allows nuclear development too soon. Some Americans do not believe that you should make a treaty with a nation unless they release your hostages. Some see that Iran has problems and we should not let them off the hook so easily. The best argument for the treaty is that sanctions are weakening anyway. To believe that the treaty will make Iran a better citizen is similar to the belief if you make Iraq a democracy, this will lead to a better world. The Neocons are similar to the people who support the treaty. They are idealistic and probably making the world worse.
exMod 27
Why does everyone expect the US to carry the weight? What is in our National Interest? Israel and the Sunni Arab/Turks want a weaker Persia/Shia/Iran so they can dominate the region. A weak Iran means a weak Syria and a weaker Shia presence in the region. (looking at you Hizbollah). That is why a good number of Arabs and Jews oppose the deal. They don't want ANY deal that lifts sanctions on Iran. So, where does that leave the US? 10 years ago, with oil prices sky high, we would have to back the Sauds. 30 years ago, with the Great Bear still running around, we would have to backed the Israelis. Today? Oil is flowing and Putin is driving Russia into a ditch. What is in our National Interest? Commerce. I don't understand today's Republican party. Led by fools.
BDL2010 is correct: "You could say the same thing about liberals." My bet is that Prof Walt would have supported any deal coming out the Obama Administration. So I challenge him to state exactly what the minimum deal with Iran would have been that he would find unacceptable.

I note 2 points of logic: (i) The notion of "the myth of a better deal" is a contrary-to-fact conditional. There is no way to know if Prof. Walt is correct especially has he has provided no evidence that a better deal could not have been or could not be forthcoming. (ii) It's simply name calling to label an opposing point of view a "myth," then define what strawman necons believe as that myth, then knock down the strawman (with little evidence even for this poor task).

Further, I note an interesting aspect of the deal that even the most neophyte negotiator would have avoided. We gave away for certain the only lever we had (the sanctions) in return for a promise to be fulfilled in the future. And we found out this week that a major portion of the promise will be verified by our opponent in the negotiation. "This used car is in fine shape. Buy it now and I'll come over tomorrow and verify that there isn't sawdust in the transmission."

Prof. Walt is entitled to his opinion. But intellectual honesty requires that he pressure test his opinion by finding the best, not the worst or vaguest arguments against his conclusion instead of setting up strawmen and knocking them down. Unfortunately, setting up strawmen is a favorite tactic of our commander in chief.

More political BS. You could say the same thing about liberals. Case in point, how is Libya going? How about Syria? Right now there is a major refugee crisis due to instability in both of these nations. In one we took action and in the other we failed to. So if you want to pen an article about how neo-cons are always wrong then you need to follow it up with how liberals are not always right either. I'd hope that at some point in the future we would start to realize that we need a foreign policy that transcends political parties. When other nations look at our policies they see that it is America that is enacting it. They do not see Republicans or Democrats to blame. It's due time for us all to grow the hell up and get our act together.
I disagree in one main point. While most politicians consider the results of the war in Iraq to be negative, neocons see the same results as positive. It removed a major threat to Israel (Saddam) and caused unending social upheaval in the countries surrounding it that continues today. The neocons also see a similar result of war with Iran as positive from the Israeli point view. Who really cares about the interests of the United States?
@samamerco Well stated and right on the mark.
Mark Thomason
This is a wonderfully clear explanation of a very complex subject, a real tour de force.

I'd add two smaller points.

One, it is hard to get out once we start a war, even when we win. WW2 was as overwhelming a win, unconditional surrender, as one could ever hope to get. Yet after all these years, we are still in Germany, Italy, and Japan, and we are in them because of WW2 and how we ended it. Once in, we couldn't get out even by total victory.

Two, while come neocons may believe in spreading democracy, they did not act as if that was their goal when they had the chance. They imposed government, and supervised the "election" of puppets. It was more like lip service cover for another goal we know was close to the heart of the leaders: make the Middle East safe for Israel no matter what it does, even for continued expansion and a Greater Israel. American power was misused to do that, and it failed as completely as did the excuse of bringing democracy.

Most people that oppose this deal have legitimate reasons for doing so, obviously there are some that just don't want a deal full stop for selfish reasons. Obama and Kerry have not come even close at all to a deal of any resemblance to what they initially set out to achieve for the American people. Despite Obamas rhetoric about "its this deal or war", I doubt anyone can seriously contemplate Obama of all people starting a war with Iran and the next president will be faced with the fact that Iran is no feable Iraq, not that Iraq itself have been a walk in the park. The talk that "if this deal is rejected that our European allies will ease sanctions unilaterally" totally overlooks the fact they these same allies applied sanctions on Russia which is much more costly to them then the Iran sanctions are. Lifting the UN restrictions on military equipment and missile technology has to be changed, this should only happen if Iran proves it has stopped their state sponsorship of terrorism, also Iran been allowed to provide their own samples to the international inspectors to verify that they haven't been cheating in the past is just unbelievable, mind boggling, how could anyone think this is acceptable? Imagine an athlete that was suspended for taking drugs being allowed to provide his own urine samples to the sports league. Imagine a criminal in the court of law being the only person to submit evidence of his own guilt or innocence. Imagine if the police pullied over a intoxicated driver, only to let him go cause he said "he hadn't been drinking", but you don't have to imagine something so ridiculous cause this kind of circus act is exactly what's now playing out between Iran and the IAEA. There has to be a better deal then this poor excuse of a 'deal'.
Mark Thomason
@Jinzo "Most people that oppose this deal have legitimate reasons for doing so"

No, they don't.

Negotiators rarely get all of their initial demands. Anyway, "what they set out to achieve" is here defined as what Netanyahu dreamed of getting, not Obama's real goals.

Toot Sweet
They are wrong so often because they are ideologues. And like all ideologues, they are dogmatic and care little for facts, criticism, or compromise. For them, the ends justify the means which explains why they distort and dissemble with great ease, and never apologize.
So, neo-cons are ignorant bullies who are killing the rest of us. How do we stop them?
This piece is just like the neo-cons: sometimes right, sometimes wrong.

In the end, though, it always comes down to straining for the opportunity to lambaste Israel. Even when the President flips out and attacks his detractors as war-mongers in league with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard; when hordes of pro-deal lobbyists representing every P5+1nation descend on Capital Hill (as is their right); when virtually every western nation already has sent representatives in the last few weeks to negotiate commercial deals with Tehran even before the mullahs have demonstrated good faith; even as morally neutered "realist" academics spout off while drenched with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other innocents but continue to sit in judgment of their inferiors -- even with all that and so much more, it's always the right time to attack Israel.

The writer is always very busy telling us not only that Israel is a big drag on the U.S., but now offers psychological analysis that Israel's supporters are clinically incapable of having well considered opinions that differ from his own, notwithstanding abundant proof of his own impenetrable bias. Which is to say, what a load of crap.

bpuharic -> Ggee
You didn't read the article. What he said was the right has a power fetish. That's why neocons get it wrong


In the end, though, it always comes down to straining for the opportunity to lambaste Israel.

It seems abundantly obvious that your are among the people who places Israel's interests ahead of those of the United States. Why don't you just move there?

Chris F

"The logic of the pro-deal camp is simple: Given that the opponents were so catastrophically wrong about the Iraq War, no one should listen to their advice today." Mr. Walt, this is a logical fallacy and you should have been done with it when you admitted so. Though you acknowledge the fallacy, you still go on to defend it. You never got specific on how "these people just happened to be embarrassingly wrong about Iraq" but I guess you mean the WMD. True, no nukes were found, but lots and lots of other weapons, including chemical weapons, were found. The New York Times did a huge report on this.

So, your assertion that we shouldn't listen to opponents of the deal because they were wrong on Iraq is highly debatable, and if that's what support for the Iran deal rests on, the case is very weak indeed.

As for the neo-con worldview question, occupation has worked pretty well in Japan, South Korea, Germany and others in the long run, so one could be forgiven for looking at the long line of overall successes and thinking it would work in Iraq if we were honest and clear about what we were going to do with Iraq - that is undertake a multi-generational transformation of Iraqi society through occupation. It should also be remembered that there was a lot of support for the US enforcing UN resolutions as part of the Iraq invasion. If the neo-cons were so wrong and we can't listen to them now, then ditto for the Democrats who supported the war and the countries in the UN who also supported it.

"This belief led them to conclude that toppling Saddam would send a powerful message and cause other states in the Middle East to kowtow to us." Also debatable. Qaddafi saw what happened in Iraq and gave up his weapons program. Even Kim Jong Il was reportedly freaked out as he watched the invasion. We'll never know how things could have been shaped if the US was consistent in its mission.

"Among other things, it appears a majority of American Jews support the deal - and so do plenty of distinguished figures in Israel's own national security establishment." Of course, there will be some people on both sides. But this is a rare moment when the Israeli left and right, Jew and Arab, are in overwhelming agreement over how bad the deal is. That is no small feat. As for American Jews, I was at the well attended anti-deal rally in Los Angeles last month and judging by how many different groups showed up, your assertion here is also incorrect. Jews, Arabs, Christians, Democrats, Republicans, Palestinians, Israelis and gay activists all showed up and all were against the deal. This is LA, the biggest home of liberal Jews outside of NYC.

I also saw Ted Cruz speak at one of the largest Persian Jewish synagogues in LA (maybe the country) last month. The place was over capacity and the fire marshal showed up. The subject was the Iran deal and Cruz got multiple standing ovations. Again, we're talking about liberal Jewish LA. So, you may have read a few articles by Jews who support the deal, but I have seen up close thousands of American Jews in liberal LA, many of them Iranian, who are disgusted with this deal.

[Aug 29, 2015] Maintaining Confidence - Keep On Dancing

Aug 29, 2015 | Jesse's Café Américain

The action was a bit heavy in the metals today, as the Powers-That-Be quietly attempted to restore confidence and a sense of well-being and recovery after the somewhat disconcerting equity market plunge of Monday.

There was intraday commentary here about some interesting Goldman Sachs activity in an otherwise exceptionally sleepy week at The Bucket Shop.

People often ask me for a possible motive as to why central banks might care about gold and silver. Willem Middelkoop does a decent job of briefly explaining why in the first pictorial below. It is all a part of the confidence game, when a series of bad decisions place a strain on one's full faith and credit.

The goal of the financial class is to keep the music going, and the public out there on the floor dancing so they don't have time to think.

Still out there bottom watching.

Have a pleasant weekend.

[Jul 20, 2015] The Dangerously Vague Romance of War by Shane Smith

July 20, 2015 |
Which sounds better, to "die for your government", or "give your life for your country"? The first could be interpreted, after a mountain of bodies pile up, as a mistake. As something that would seem to require scrutiny, admissions of having been wrong, of blame to be placed. Dying for a government, or more precisely, dying for a select group of political figures at a certain moment in time for very specific reasons, doesn't hide behind a fluttering flag quite as well as "dying for country". Which is why we never hear it. War, in the mind of the Middle America that still thinks on it, is shrouded in a sepia-toned composite of images and sounds, stories of soldiers, duty to country, service, songs, movies, and myth that give politicians far more leverage than they would otherwise have, when executing another war. No, "service to country" is the emotional and moral narcotic we administer to ourselves, almost automatically, at the inception of a new war. War is all wrapped up in our American Mythos so tight that it seems astonishing that we haven't descended utterly into a pure American-style fascism. Maybe a few more 9/11-style attacks and the transformation would be complete. 9/11 was an unparalleled opportunity for the explosion of government growth, and as much as "war is the health of the State", so are foreign attacks on the home State, attacks that can be perfectly molded so as to stoke the maximum amount of nationalist rage from the citizens. Those attacks were a godsend for a government that had been starved of an actual threat for far too long. And they took full advantage of the opportunity. Fourteen years later, the Warfare State is petering out from the evaporating fumes of 9/11, and their looking for a new fix.

But what of those who lied the country into igniting a regional dumpster fire after 9/11? Once the war hysteria evaporates, where are What would it really take to hold any one politician for a military disaster halfway around the world? It is blindingly obvious that there will never be a reckoning for those who hustled us into the Iraq war. What about Libya? Syria? How bad does it have to get for there to be something resembling accountability? War atrocities seem to have become less of a chance for justice and lessons learned than as a new precedent that the progenitors of the next war can point to when their war goes bad. And creators of war did learn a few things from Iraq and Afghanistan. They learned that flag-draped coffins do focus the attention of the citizenry. And drone strikes don't, really.

That hazy collage of feel-good nationalism is trotted out every election year, and every candidate engages in it to one degree or another. Peace is a hard sell next to the belligerent effusions of a Donald Trump. His crazed rantings against immigrants, his bizarre fantasies as to how he would handle world leaders via telephone call, as well as his boorishness in general, has thousands flocking to hear him speak. But what they're cheering is an avatar of a blood-soaked ideology, one that cloaks itself in the native symbols and culture, breeding hate and intolerance, until the bilious nationalism reaches just the right temperature and then boils over into lawless fascism. As Jeffrey Tucker points out, Trump is nothing new. The graveyard of twentieth century tyrannies is a testament to just how much death and destruction can be induced by a charismatic parasite bellowing the tenets of a flag-wrapped tyranny. Most of what we hear coming from leaders today is fascism to a greater or lesser extent. If what we mean by fascism to be a Religion of the State, a militant nationalism taken to its logical conclusion, then every leader engages in it, because it ignites something primitive and sinister in the minds of voters.

We understand war theoretically, and distantly, but what of those who are forced to carry out the fever dreams of politicians? Blindly thanking veterans for their service, we feel a sense of duty discharged, and never think to look more deeply into their traumas, or the scheme they were tricked into executing. Military recruiters, the unscrupulous peddlers of military slavery, are treated as a benign influence on young people today. Their pushy, overindulgent attitude toward our 18-year olds should piss us off more than it does, since what they are conning the young into is becoming the expendable plaything for the whims of the current Administration.

War is the pith of total government. The source of all its power, war and the threat of war provide the excuse for every injustice, every outrage, every restriction of liberty or further bilking of the citizen-hosts. As the Warfare State trots out the familiar sermons of threats from abroad, potential greatness at home, and wars to be fought, one would do well to reflect that war enriches the State at the expense of the rest of us. It consumes our lives, our liberty, our wallets, and the future of our children and grandchildren. The current crop of candidates who peddle military greatness are the enemy of peace and prosperity, and when they so openly declaim their lust for war, we should frankly believe what they say. And after hearing them, we should recognize the would-be tyrant in our midst, hawking hyper-militarism under the guise of national greatness, and treat them like the vermin they clearly are.

Shane Smith lives in Norman, Oklahoma and writes for Red Dirt Report.

Read more by Shane Smith

[Jul 10, 2015] Unbridled capitalism is the 'dung of the devil', says Pope Francis

"...He said he supported their efforts to obtain "so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three "Ls": land, lodging and labour"."
"...he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil", and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries. "
"..."Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the pope said, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature"."
"...The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor"
"...A lot of us are awaiting the 3rd WW, between Russia and the US, between China and the US, between the West and the East, while the war is on. ... Is it work of Capitalism? I think that capitalism in it's modern form lies near this war, and both are made by the same people."
"...Still, the subject of my comment was not the predominance of Christians, but how much poverty exists in this predominantly Christian nation. They ignore the most fundamental teachings they profess to believe--the admonitions of Jesus to feed, clothe, and generally help the poor."
"...There is a reason the US has over 900 bases across the world, and that is to insure its business interests."
"...An economic system is not a matter of either-or. Those who profit from "Laissez Faire" capitalism like to push the idea that the only alternative is communism. Pope Francis is obviously a proponent of a "mixed economy" as most people in the US on the left are. He is attacking "unbridled capitalism" not an adequately regulated free-market economy."
"...Animal farm is not about the failure of either Communism or is a commentary on the corruption of power; not a uniquely Communist problem. The machinations of politics also feature quite heavily...divide and rule, propaganda, double standards and the use of language to achieve ones aims...these are abuses of power that both the left and the right have been guilty of. Hitler's Germany was Fascist (right wing extremism), Stalin's Russia was Communist (left wing extremism)..."
Jul 10, 2015 | The Guardian

Pope Francis has urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.

In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America".

The pontiff also demanded an immediate end to what he called the "genocide" of Christians taking place in the Middle East and beyond, describing it as a third world war.

"Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus," Pope Francis said.

"In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end."

Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil", and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries.

Repeating some of the themes of his landmark encyclical Laudato Si on the environment last month, Francis said time was running out to save the planet from perhaps irreversible harm to the ecosystem.

Pope Francis shakes hands with a mining worker's leader watched by Bolivia's president Evo Morales, right, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Photograph: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Francis made the address in the city of Santa Cruz to participants of the second world meeting of popular movements, an international body that brings together organisations of people on the margins of society, including the poor, the unemployed and peasants who have lost their land. The Vatican hosted the first meeting last year.

He said he supported their efforts to obtain "so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three "Ls": land, lodging and labour".

His speech was preceded by lengthy remarks from the left-wing Bolivian president Evo Morales, who wore a jacket adorned with the face of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He was executed in Bolivia in 1967 by CIA-backed Bolivian troops.

"Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the pope said, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature".

"This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, labourers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable," he said in an hour-long speech that was interrupted by applause and cheering dozens of times.

Since his election in 2013, the first pope from Latin America has often spoken out in defence of the poor and against unbridled capitalism but the speech in Santa Cruz was the most comprehensive to date on the issues he has championed.

Francis' previous attacks on capitalism have prompted stiff criticism from politicians and commentators in the United States, where he is due to visit in September.

The pontiff appeared to take a swipe at international monetary organisations such as the IMF and the development aid policies by some developed countries.

"No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice," he said.

"The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor," he said.

Last week, Francis called on European authorities to keep human dignity at the centre of debate for a solution to the economic crisis in Greece.

He defended labor unions and praised poor people who had formed cooperatives to create jobs where previously "there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy".

In one of the sections on colonialism, he said:

"I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God."

He added: "I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offences of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.

"There was sin and an abundant amount of it."

The audience gave Francis a standing ovation when he put on a yellow miner's hat that was given to him at the end of his speech.

The pope made his speech at the end of his first full day in Bolivia, where he arrived on Wednesday. On Thursday morning he said a mass for hundreds of thousands of people and said that everyone had a moral duty to help the poor, and that those with means could not wish they would just "go away".

Francis praised Bolivia's social reforms to spread wealth under Morales. On Friday, he will visit Bolivia's notoriously violent Palmasola prison.

The pope looked bemused on Wednesday night when Morales handed him one of the more unusual gifts he has received: a sculpted wooden hammer and sickle – the symbol of communism – with a figure of a crucified Christ resting on the hammer.
Francis leaves on Friday for Paraguay, the last stop on his "homecoming" trip.

Westonboy 10 Jul 2015 09:01

The Pope didn't actually say "unbridled capitalism is the dung of the devil" did he?
So why is that the headline of this piece?

valeronfreza 10 Jul 2015 08:46

Actually, I find one of his thoughts really interesting. A lot of us are awaiting the 3rd WW, between Russia and the US, between China and the US, between the West and the East, while the war is on. The whole civilized world takes part in this mess, the thing is that this war looks different from what we're used to see. I mean, we get information, made by those, who wants us to see it different, like something, that happening far away, though it's dangerous as hell.
Is it work of Capitalism? I think that capitalism in it's modern form lies near this war, and both are made by the same people.

cblyth79 10 Jul 2015 08:41

he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"

He has hit the nail on the head. This is everything that is wrong with society. Every decision is taken with regards to making as much money as possible. However, the great irony is that even if people do make money, their constant desire for more means they are never happy or fulfilled. Meanwhile, socially and environmentally we suffer greatly due to this ultimately fruitless pursuit of as much money as possible.

PM782_ -> Greenshoots 10 Jul 2015 08:40

Generally speaking, you are right of course.

I have very little time for virgin men in silly hats & dresses, carrying crucifixes and expecting everyone to take them seriously when history shows us they cannot be trusted to act in an ethical way, and will (as always) be more concerned about amassing money and influence than doing any good in the world.

The whole thing is ludicrous and you should be ashamed that you believe in it. It is really astonishing.

Greenshoots -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 08:39

Atheist trope. One could as easily say "Religion compels unreasonable people to do reasonable things".

Westonboy -> pol098 10 Jul 2015 08:37

I'm happy to salute the personal contributions you make but, of course, the computer that you will have used to write or test your software is a product of capitalism.
Also, most of the the goods you recycle or give away are no doubt the products of capitalism.
Anti-capitalists don't seem to have any alternative method of wealth creation.

EnglishChapin 10 Jul 2015 08:26

In the article:

Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"

In the headline:

"Unbridled capitalism is the 'dung of the devil', says Pope Francis"

kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 08:24

As a Unitarian/Universalist I am equally, if not more, wary of that practice. Francis, however, is a public figure who has the right to express his opinion. While he was definitely speaking to a Catholic audience, he was not giving his words the weight of a Papal Encyclical. Also, it is the accepted and expected belief of Catholics that the Pope directs their thinking as far as faith goes. I do not see his words being a act of forcing his will on me, personally. All public figures have the right to express their opinion on that subject. I also believe that regulation should go further than dealing with "negative externalities" unless you view the financial crisis of 2008 as a negative externality . While the causes of the crisis were complex and varied, lax regulatory oversight during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations played a role in creating the conditions for it.

lesmandalasdeniki -> hollyjadoon 10 Jul 2015 08:13

Why do you want poor people to rise up? On what sense? Revolution to topple world governments, what's next? What kind of governmental system will we apply to ensure law and order? Will it be one world government by the Vatican?

GallopingGournmet -> citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 08:09

I'm glad you set everyone straight on this. We were all thinking capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. But clearly capitalism involves greed for money, exploitation and environmental destruction. The very fact you've attempted to pick at this shows you're missing the overarching point. The Pope is criticizing how our unregulated "socioeconomic system" - which was capitalism the last time I looked - for being responsible for ruining society, enslaving men and women and destroying human fraternity. All of which is pretty spot on. Excuse me for having to clarify this for you.

citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 07:48

Wouldn't it be great if newspapers like the Guardian printed the truth, rather than spin. The pope did not say that "unbridled capitalism is the dung of devil". Here's the actual paragraph. It's nothing like the Guardian's deceptive headline.

Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished.

And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called "the dung of the devil". An unfettered pursuit of money rules.

The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people's decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.

So he's actually referring to greed for money - a moral sin .... not capitalism, which is basically meritocratic mechanism of funding businesses.

HobbesianWorld -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 07:41

Wrong, it's a predominantly Christian nation. Christians don't own it. Under the Constitution, all beliefs in matters of religion are equal.

Still, the subject of my comment was not the predominance of Christians, but how much poverty exists in this predominantly Christian nation. They ignore the most fundamental teachings they profess to believe--the admonitions of Jesus to feed, clothe, and generally help the poor.

Capitalism isn't a sacred arm of Christianity, yet many (most?) Christians tend to favor Wall Street's gluttony and greed while millions of children live in poverty. Is that what we should see in a "Christian" nation? It's the epitome of hypocrisy.

PM782_ 10 Jul 2015 07:33

The guy in charge of 1 billion plus devout catholics, with all the riches of the Vatican, preaches to us about how excessive capitalism is a bad thing.

This pope seems more reasonable than his predecessors however until he actually DOES something that makes the world a better place and in some way makes up for the history of atrocious behavior that the Catholic church has engaged in, I'm simply not interested.

It is strange though, seeing how many people are hoodwinked by a few choice words, when the organization he represents has been an utter blight on humanity since it began.

heretoeternity -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:32

There is a reason the US has over 900 bases across the world, and that is to insure its business interests.

Laurence W 10 Jul 2015 07:18

Devout capitalists/corporatists may not see the symmetry between John Paul II's defiance of the bankruptcy of unbridled Communism and Francis's defiance of the bankruptcy of unfettered Capitalism. They cling to their irrational faith (and that is what it is) in Adam Smith's "invisible hand." The collapse of Communism does not somehow validate Capitalism. It seems Capitalism's true believers must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st. Century.

ideation2020 -> PeterAB12 10 Jul 2015 07:11

In the West there is a marked reduction in family size since about 1965. There are also far more women at work, the workforce has adapted to almost full attendance of female workers. We generally have accommodated an increase of 70% by reducing family size and equally as important is the accommodation and full attendance of single a and" won't marry" adults.

SmileyFace2 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:10

But Capitalism has resulted in a Plutocracy which leads to rule by the top 1%. So it is not quite a simple as you seem to think hence the need for a mixed economy.

HobbesianWorld 10 Jul 2015 07:08

While I wouldn't put it that way, the Pope is correct that unfettered capitalism is the major source of injustice, especially the injustice of poverty.

It's a source of dark humor for me to hear Christians call the U.S. a "Christian nation" even as they fight to maintain and enhance the cause of poverty--unbridled corporatism; profit over humanity, wealth over justice and selfishness over honor.

Brian Milne -> Kevin Lim 10 Jul 2015 06:59

How much time have you spent in South America? I spent 18 years going back and forth as part of my job, must admit I have not spoken to a Liberation Theology priest (he was actually a Jesuit originally) since October. So perhaps I am just a little bit out of synch.

Life paths include being allowed to express one's sexuality openly and not risk excommunication and denunciation by the church, to be allowed to have abortions and use contraception without being told that you will go to Hell, to be allowed to 'formally' leave the church (some countries still require religion on official document) and to follow political streams that the church condemns as unchristian to name but just a few. By using the pressure of condemnation in the afterlife people are to this day controlled by fear.

Sure nobody is obliged to put money in the dish but too many still fear the stigma of not doing so. If this man can end that then it would be a job well done, but he will not, will he?

cblyth79 -> Manjush 10 Jul 2015 06:51

I agree that overpopulation is a problem, but to me the real problem is the capitalist consumerism of first-world countries and the damage this is causing to the planet. Even if the populations of third-world countries doubled they would not get anywhere near the CO2 that we produce. And that's not even to mention the fact that we have caused climate change and they haven't. To blame overpopulation is to out the blame on third-world countries, when it should be squarely on us.

VivF -> dysro1 10 Jul 2015 06:50

Animal farm is not about the failure of either Communism or is a commentary on the corruption of power; not a uniquely Communist problem. The machinations of politics also feature quite heavily...divide and rule, propaganda, double standards and the use of language to achieve ones aims...these are abuses of power that both the left and the right have been guilty of. Hitler's Germany was Fascist (right wing extremism), Stalin's Russia was Communist (left wing extremism)...

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Lord Acton

Drew -> Layton 10 Jul 2015 06:48

Yay! Religion has done something that isn't rape, muder, burning at the stake, ripping people's breasts off, implement, beheading, shooting people on beaches, blowing things up, being homophobic, sexist, racist or generally being a complete twat! Let's all jump up and down and burn a pilot! YAY!

Kathy -> Foulds 10 Jul 2015 06:42

We are in very new times....Pope Francis is not afraid to challenge the status quo...Alleluia.

Tony Menezes 10 Jul 2015 06:24

The national interest of the unbridled capitalists has sidelined morality and justice. The third world war has started albeit piecemeal.
This is a strong wake up call from someone that must be listened to.

Greenshoots -> rgrabman 10 Jul 2015 06:23

I can only speak for the UK where I have yet to find a Catholic friend who is not immensely supportive of what the Pope has to say, whatever prominent Tory Catholics may have to say. Catholics on the whole tend to vote Labour.

If you want to see a precursor to what the Pope is now saying, read the Catholic bishops document "The common good" from 1996:
"As at the end of the 19th century, Catholic Social Teaching is concerned to protect the poor and vulnerable from the chill winds of economic forces. The defeat of Communism should not mean the triumph of unbridled capitalism."

"The Catholic doctrine of the common good is incompatible with unlimited freemarket, or laissez-faire, capitalism ...".

Unconstituted -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:22

Massively disagree with that bit about him being a non-scientist etc.

If skeptics are still unsure after all the science that has been thrown at them, then perhaps they aren't influenced that way. They follow figures that they personally respect.

And the Pope has a huge following. I am certain that he will have given a lot of people pause for thought recently.

Like many here, as an atheist, I'm no fan of the guy. But causes like social justice, climate change etc need more than just reams of studies. It needs PR.

Greenshoots -> clogexpat 10 Jul 2015 06:17

Which is incorrect because the left is not, and never has been, an identifiable tribe in British politics.
I agree that many people are not tribal about being left wing. They are willing to partner with people whom they disagree with on some issues but where there is a common cause.
However, you just have to read many of the posts in this thread to see that, for many other people, it is a form of tribal allegiance because they, in response to the Pope saying something they probably do agree with, they cannot refrain from attacking him on unrelated issues. They are not interested in supporting the common cause.

Longasyourarm -> MaximTS 10 Jul 2015 06:15

Well spotted but many here are in it for the opportunity to exercise their demons of hatred, bigotry and racism. Most don't even read the article and jump right to the comments in their haste to slag off Catholics, the Pope, Religion in general. I suppose it is still better than invasion of other countries and stealing their stuff, isn't it Tony?

domrice 10 Jul 2015 06:13

Finally, a pontiff brave enough to enunciate the core values of Jesus Christ. Oh that the world had political leaders who weren't shameless slaves to the moneylenders.

discreto -> SmileyFace2 10 Jul 2015 06:11

That is because the Free Trade is not Fair Trade, this is what Pope Francis is talking about. Capitalism is Free Trade it is not Fair Trade with the People who work to ensure the Goods are there to trade are not getting what is a Fair and Just Living wage, they are being used by the Corporations who make Millions out of their hard work. I support Pope Francis and his Courage in speaking up for the People in developing Countries who are made to depend on Capitalism against their will. At last he is the Pope who is acknowledging the sins of the Church both past and present, with a strong voice of Apology. It would be good if he could sit down with The First Nations of America to take part in their native Ritual of Smudging from Smoke of burnt Herbs and grasses for forgiveness and Peace. I pray for Pope Francis's Protection.

kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:02

An economic system is not a matter of either-or. Those who profit from "Laissez Faire" capitalism like to push the idea that the only alternative is communism. Pope Francis is obviously a proponent of a "mixed economy" as most people in the US on the left are. He is attacking "unbridled capitalism" not an adequately regulated free-market economy.

ID1780902 10 Jul 2015 05:55

Why so many negative comments? Here we have an extremely high profile figure publicly rallying people all over the world to help with climate change, and to oppose some of the excesses of capitalism.

Regardless of what you think of the Catholic church, many people will listen to what he says, and take it very seriously. If he only changes the mind of a single climate-change denier that would be enough, but I think he will do a lot more than that, particularly in the US.

[Jul 10, 2015] The video was meant to look fresh and spontaneous, but researchers back in March unrooted the fact that it was produced by a professionals

yalensis, July 10, 2015 at 4:27 am

In Saakashvili news:
Yesterday Saakashvili showed off for President Porky's approval his 2 new assistants: his left-hand man, and his right-hand girl. They will get important jobs at Saak's side, helping him to rule Odessa Province.

The man (let's get him over with first, so we can concentrate on the girl) is Vladimir Zhmak. He is 51 years old, an Afghan veteran and a businessman. He has no experience in government service which, according to Saakashvili, makes him a perfect candidate for this government position.

Moving along to Saakashvili's "girl Friday", it's none other than 25-year-old Julia Marushevskaya, who became famous during Maidan when a video clip of her went viral.
Marushevakaya is of Ukrainian origin (Odessa Province), but spent most of her student years in the U.S., where she attended 2 prestigious American universities: Harvard and Stanford.

When Maidan happened, Julia became an international media star, with her interviews and video clips about the protests. Her most famous video was entitled: "I am Ukrainian", in which Julia called for people to revolt against the "tyrant" Yanukovych. The video gained around 7 million views worldwide.

The video was meant to look fresh and spontaneous, but researchers back in March unrooted the fact that it was produced by a professional British photographer named Graham Mitchell, and directed by a professional Hollywood director named Ben Moses .
In other words, like everything else about Maidan, the video, and Julia herself, were produced in the West.

[yalensis: and I would bet money that Julia was placed in this position by her American handlers, in order to keep an eye on their erratic Gruzian Gauleiter. Julia may be aware that previous "young things" in Saakashvili's cabinet in Gruzia were expected to sleep with him, as part of the job. Which is why Saak's wife eventually left him. But if Julia is a true CIA pro, then she can keep her natural revulsion down to a manageable level…]

[Jun 29, 2015] Everything Russia puts out is actually disinformation, while everything the west puts out, despite being caught lying, is fact

"... What infuriates me is the assumption that everything Russia puts out as fact is actually disinformation, while everything the west puts out as fact is fact, despite being caught lying again and again and again. Believe us – baby, we've changed."
"...I also do not really get what the EU is doing. There already exist pro-western propaganda outlets, for example RFE/RL, etc. In Hungary, more than 50% of the media is western owned. So why is more propaganda needed?"
"...Typical duplication of effort so as to charge the public purse twice over for the same work. The EU produced a marvelous graphic extravaganza intended to lure Ukraine, extolling the virtues of European integration and the salutatory effect it would have on important things like life expectancy, health care, availability of clean water, life expectancy (so important they put it in twice), friendly police instead of extortion-junkies, bla, bla. I encourage everyone to have a look through it from the lens of today, and see how many came true. I especially loved the one about tolerance – mercy, yes; tolerance in Ukraine has certainly taken a leap upward thanks to Europe's beneficial influence. "

Fern, June 28, 2015 at 7:34 pm

And the latest news from Inside the Bubble or, the EU as it's sometimes known, is this breathless piece from the Guardian announcing the actions the Bubble leaders are planning to take to counter Russian 'propaganda'.

"The document, drafted by the EU's diplomatic corps, also calls for efforts to persuade people in countries such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova of the benefits of European-style reforms.

The plan was prepared ahead of the EU summit in Brussels and offers a strategy to provide alternatives sources of information to outlets such as Russia's state-funded RT television, amid an increasingly polarised media environment sparked by the war in Ukraine.

A communications unit called the East StratCom Team, launched in April, will support EU delegations in the six eastern neighbourhood countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – as well as in Russia itself.

The main objectives include communicating and promoting "EU policies and values", supporting independent media and increasing awareness of "disinformation activities by external actors".
The document states that communication towards the east should "first and foremost focus on the development of positive and effective messages regarding EU policies towards the region".
Brussels needs to spread the message that reforms promoted by the European Union "can, over time, have a positive impact on their daily lives," the action plan says. It stresses that the strategy should highlight the benefits, not the bureaucracy, focusing on clearly explaining the positive effects of EU programmes and policies rather than going into details about the policies."

The author of the paper or report called "The Kremlin's Hall of Mirrors" to which this Guardian article refers is Peter Pomerantsev and everything makes an appearance therein including Putin's troll factory. It goes without saying that everything coming out of Russia is propaganda while everything coming out of the West is the God's Honest Truth. Pure unvarnished facts. Take this snippet where he tells the tale of one Margo Gontar who's involved with StopFake:

"At times like this, she had always reached out to western media for a sense of something solid, but this was starting to slip too. Whenever somewhere like the BBC or Tagesspiegel published a story, they felt obliged to present the Kremlin's version of events – fascists, western conspiracy, etc – as the other side, for balance. Gontar began to wonder whether her search for certainty was futile: if the truth was constantly shifting before her eyes, and there was always another side to every story, was there anything solid left to hold on to?"

Yeah, I always reach out to western media for the self-same reasons. And if the BBC's coverage of Ukraine has ever been impartial, well, I must have blinked and missed it.

In similar vein, Pomerantsev spends a lot of the article ridiculing RT as here:-

"Presenters rarely challenge the views of "experts" during discussions of subjects such as the Syria conflict – where Moscow has backed President Bashar al-Assad. One regular guest has suggested that the Syrian civil war was "planned in 1997 by Paul Wolfowitz", while another has described the death toll as "a joint production of CIA, MI6, Mossad".

I take it that Mr Pomerantsev has heard neither of the Yinon plan dating from the 1970's which started that a key part of Israel's foreign policy objectives should be the break-up of the surrounding nation states into mutually hostile ethnic statelets nor the Project for a New American Century, a neo-con outfit in which Wolfowitz played a leading role, that targeted around seven countries, including Iraq and Syria for destruction.

This is the issue Mr P the EU and NATO are really complaining about – in the past their statements would pass without challenge, but not any longer.

Pavlo Svolochenko , June 28, 2015 at 7:44 pm
'Gontar began to wonder whether her search for certainty was futile: if the truth was constantly shifting before her eyes, and there was always another side to every story, was there anything solid left to hold on to?"'

That's the shreds of your conscience screaming at you to pull your head out of your arse. You know you're full of it – why not quit before you completely damn yourself?

yalensis , June 29, 2015 at 2:31 am
Pro-Russian propagandists have found a way to weaponize FACTS. This is the latest form of hybrid warfare. Or maybe multi-brid warfare.

Anyhow, it gets confusing; on whom can one count on in this post-modernistic world?

Remember: The Truth is only what Curt says it is, there is your guiding star!

marknesop, June 29, 2015 at 7:27 am
What infuriates me is the assumption – as Fern alluded – that everything Russia puts out as fact is actually disinformation, while everything the west puts out as fact is fact, despite being caught lying again and again and again. Believe us – baby, we've changed.
Cortes, June 29, 2015 at 10:47 am
Cavour used to say that the surest way to deceive his counterparts was to tell the plain truth.
Moscow Exile, June 29, 2015 at 11:07 am
I remember some smart arse on the Guardian CiF commenting after I had posted a lengthy contribution in which I had used Levada sourced statistics: "You do realize that all your sources are Russian?"
ThatJ, June 28, 2015 at 8:57 pm
Guardian correspondent "Matt G" commented:

US government media Radio Liberty reports on "strategic communications action plan" they probably had a pivotal role in writing, about how they plan to pump more money into Ukrainian and other post-soviet media in order to promote Europeanization, which would technically be what RFE would call "propaganda". Both Russian media and Western media especially RFE is complicit in "disinformation propaganda campaigns" and I struggle to understand what quite "EU policies and values" are exactly, other than promoting LGTB rights. Nonetheless, why do we need to promote "EU policies and values" in three Caucasus countries and two European countries one traditionally Russian and the other which will never be integrated into the EU. Is it just me or does this look less about promoting are values and more about turning post-soviet states against Russia? Something which was previously carried out in Ukraine before the coup as highlighted in some Wikileaks documents on Crimea.


"Lesm" had this to say:

This article itself is a good example of the kind of propaganda that the EU is thinking of expanding to the East. Rt was itself started by the Russians as an antidote to the relentless Western propaganda contained in the "news" that comes from the Western Controlled wire services and media empires. The thing I find quite funny about the West is their habit of suggesting always that they are simply responding to things being done to them rather than initiating actions that others are responding to. So the West never does "terrorism", it only does "counter-terrorism". Equally it never does propaganda, it only counters propaganda from the "other" side.

The reality is of course quite different. The West, and in particular the US, the UK and NATO, are the largest and most successful terrorist organisations on the planet. In addition the old USSR acknowledged that it simply could not compete with the propaganda mechanisms of the West as they were so pervasive and so well disguised as to be unbeatable!!!!


Reader "DomesticExtremist" is unconvinced that the EU is democratic:

European values = declaring Conchita Wurst the winner of Eurovision 2014 even though the telephone (popular) vote was won by Donatan and Cleo.

A metaphor for Western democracy if ever there was.

[ThatJ: I hate it when people speak only of the EU, EU, EU… it's like we're helping to cement the view in the public's mind that the EU is kinda like an "United States of Europe". Distinction between the member countries must be made. I'll try to speak of "Brussels" instead of the European Union, because Brussels belongs to a country only (Belgium), and the message is clear enough: the dictates of Brussels are alien to the European countries.]


A bigoted homophobe named "Lordoflight23″ thinks US-exported, Brussels-welcomed values are uninspiring:

The values of supporting moderate opposition and creating extremist, backing all "good regimes" around the world, the two most powerful EU leaders being wiretapped and still do nothing about it, gay parades and bearded women. Some values that is.


Kremlin troll "Alphysicist" resorts to whataboutism, links to a RT article:

'Let viewers form own opinions' – German channel probed for airing RT show

So in Germany Salve.TV took a broadcast from, and is now under fire from media watchdogs. That is EU pluralism! Real values.

I also do not really get what the EU is doing. There already exist pro-western propaganda outlets, for example RFE/RL, etc. In Hungary, more than 50% of the media is western owned. So why is more propaganda needed?

I like RT, because one gets to hear many who are persona non grata in the Western media. John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Gilad Atzmon, Norman Finkelstein, George Galloway, Udo Ulfkotte, and the list goes on and on. And they have many interesting things to say! Also, even if RT is connected to the Kremlin, the persons above are saying their own opinions, regardless of the Kremlin. This is why RT is a really useful supplement to western propaganda.

Fern, June 29, 2015 at 3:00 am
ThatJ, thanks for posting those comments from Guardian correspondents, baffling as always that they seem more informed than the journalists paid to write for the paper. Glad to hear it's not only me struggling to understand what 'western values' actually are.
marknesop, June 29, 2015 at 7:52 am
Typical duplication of effort so as to charge the public purse twice over for the same work. The EU produced a marvelous graphic extravaganza intended to lure Ukraine, extolling the virtues of European integration and the salutatory effect it would have on important things like life expectancy, health care, availability of clean water, life expectancy (so important they put it in twice), friendly police instead of extortion-junkies, bla, bla. I encourage everyone to have a look through it from the lens of today, and see how many came true. I especially loved the one about tolerance – mercy, yes; tolerance in Ukraine has certainly taken a leap upward thanks to Europe's beneficial influence.

[Jun 29, 2015] NSA intercepted French corporate contracts worth $200 million over decade

Jun 29, 2015 | WikiLeaks
Washington has been leading a policy of economic espionage against France for more than a decade by intercepting communications of the Finance minister and all corporate contracts valued at more than $200 million, according to a new WikiLeaks report.

The revelations come in line with the ongoing publications of top secret documents from the US surveillance operations against France, dubbed by the whistleblowing site "Espionnage Élysée."

The Monday publications consist of seven top secret documents which detail the American National Security Agency's (NSA) economic espionage operations against Paris.

According to the WikiLeaks report, "NSA has been tasked with obtaining intelligence on all aspects of the French economy, from government policy, diplomacy, banking and participation in international bodies to infrastructural development, business practices and trade activities."

The documents allegedly show that Washington has started spying on the French economic sector as early as 2002. WikiLeaks said that some documents were authorized for sharing with NSA's Anglophone partners – the so-called "Five Eyes" group – Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

The report strongly suggests that the UK has also benefited from the US economic espionage activities against France.

"The United States not only uses the results of this spying itself, but swaps these intercepts with the United Kingdom. Do French citizens deserve to know that their country is being taken to the cleaners by the spies of supposedly allied countries? Mais oui!" said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a statement on Monday.

The documents published on Monday also reveal US spying on the conversations and communications the French Finance Minister, a French Senator, officials within the Treasury and Economic Policy Directorate, the French ambassador to the US, and officials with "direct responsibility for EU trade policy."

The leaked NSA documents reveal internal French deliberation and policy on the World Trade Organization, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the G7 and the G20, the 2013 French budget, the decline of the automotive industry in France, and the involvement of French companies in the Oil for Food program in Iraq during the 1990s, the report said.

"The US has been conducting economic espionage against France for more than a decade. Not only has it spied on the French Finance Minister, it has ordered the interception of every French company contract or negotiation valued at more than $200 million," said Assange.

"That covers not only all of France's major companies, from BNP Paribas, AXA and Credit Agricole to Peugeot and Renault, Total and Orange, but it also affects the major French farming associations. $200 million is roughly 3,000 French jobs. Hundreds of such contracts are signed every year."

On June 23, WikiLeaks announced a plan to reveal a new collection of reports and documents on the NSA, concerning its alleged interception of communications within the French government over the last ten years.

In the first tranche of leaked documents WikiLeaks claimed that NSA targeted high-level officials in Paris including French presidents Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, as well as cabinet ministers and the French Ambassador to the US.

Despite the tapping claims made by WikiLeaks, US President Barack Obama has assured his French counterpart Francois Hollande that Washington hasn't been spying on Paris top officials.

Hollande, on his part, released a statement saying that the spying is "unacceptable" and "France will not tolerate it."

It's not the first time that the NSA has been revealed to be spying on European leaders. According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published at the end of 2013 the US intelligence agency had previously targeted the phone of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The tapping scandal is believed to have created a rift between Washington and Berlin.

The US collects the information through spy operations regardless of its sensitivity, as it has the ability to do so, Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst told RT.

"It's hard to be surprised by any revelations of this kind," he said. "The snooping is conducted because it's possible to conduct it. In a new way we have a technical collection on steroids. The President of the US said that just because we can collect this material, doesn't mean we should. The thing has a momentum, an inertia of its own. Since about ten years ago it has become possible to collect everything, and that's precisely what we're doing."



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