The Financial Times declares Jeremy Corbyn the winner. A comment by Political Observer

After the avalanche of Anti-Corbyn propaganda in the respectable bourgeois press, The Financial Times leading the highfalutin cadre, Mr. Corbyn has won. Even with the thoroughly colonized Party apparatus, by the powerful Blair clique, disqualifying 150,000 of it newest members. Not to mention the manufacture of a fake ‘Antisemitism crisis’ by among others Jonathan Freedland, at the Guardian:

Headline: Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem

Sub-headline: Under Jeremy Corbyn the party has attracted many activists with views hostile to Jews. Its leaders must see why this matters

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/18/labour-antisemitism-jews-jeremy-corbyn

And others at The Financial Times:

At The Financial Times Robert Shrimsley opines on April 28, 2016:

How Jeremy Corbyn turned me into a political Jew. It is simply impossible to vote for a Labour party that does not appear to like us.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5e642d92-0c57-11e6-9456-444ab5211a2f.html#axzz47LrFIllT

A Financial Times April 28,2016 editorial states:

Jeremy Corbyn’s halfhearted shrug over anti-Semitism.The Labour leader’s failure on this issue is tarnishing his leadership.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/433ec60e-0c60-11e6-9456-444ab5211a2f.html#axzz47LrFIllT

The Financial Times editors even resurrect this February 19, 2016 essay by Simon Schama:

The left’s problem with Jews has a long and miserable history. Anti-Israel demonstrations are in danger of morphing into anti-Semitism, writes Simon Schama

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d6a75c3c-d6f3-11e5-829b-8564e7528e54.html#axzz47LrFIllT

This manufactured crisis simply disappeared, at least from the pages of The Financial Times. See my full comment from May 1, 2016:

https://stephenkmacksd.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/at-the-financial-times-antisemitism-jeremy-corbyn-the-manufactured-crisis/

The conflict between the Reformers, Corbyn and his successors, and New Labour will define the history of the Labour Party, for the foreseeable political future. And in view of the truly dismal economic present, as a product of the failed Free Market and the Crash of 2008, it will be a future fraught with perpetual conflict.

Political Observer

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/feaf0968-8243-11e6-a29c-6e7d9515ad15.html#axzz4LE4y46b4

 

 

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Janan Ganesh ‘reviews’ Ed Ball’s Speaking Out. Political Observer comments

Headline: Generation Balls in UK politics already reeks of yesterday

Sub-headline: Picture them roaming public life like ghosts, helping out without ever being central to anything

Mr. Ganesh’s essay of September 23, 2016 is awash in bile and contempt for Mr. Balls and his ‘generation’ of politicians. Mr. Ganesh’s one salient talent as writer is stinging polemic. Nothing new, yet instead of a clear thoughtful analysis of Mr. Ball’s book, and its reason d’etre, or even its arguments, the reader is confronted by that aforementioned bile and contempt. And a collection of cliches as a rhetorical place holder for rational thoughtful criticism:

a zero-sum view of the world, post-national, strategic primacy, stink of yesterday, materialists and technocrats, conscientious social-science graduates, incremental refinement, intangibles of politics, Old Think,  Generation X, Euroscepticism, globalisation

Then comes this arresting observation on Mr. Balls’ vision of the Political:

The smartest of the bunch, he tends to see the world as a web of economic problems waiting to be neutralised by the application of reason. His generational peers in Westminster were, like him, materialists and technocrats.

Mr. Ganesh provides in a highly foreshortened pragmatic way, a working definition of Politics, in his characterization of Mr. Balls’ thought/practice : ‘he tends to see the world as a web of economic problems waiting to be neutralised by the application of reason.’  How better, in such limited space, to define politics? Mr. Ganesh is now the victim of his own nihilism, as expressed in his polemic: his ideological myopia is his undoing. All of this leaving the argued ‘centrality’ where? Does a political actor need to hold a position of power to wield influence? The questions abound.

Political Observer

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3241b5a4-800b-11e6-8e50-8ec15fb462f4.html#axzz4LBba1GMP

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At The Financial Times: Mauricio Macri Reformer & more. Almost Marx comments

How can Macri be The Knight of Neo-Liberal Faith and Action when he and de Kirchner were both clients of Mossack Fonseca?

Read this TLS review of The Panama Papers by Edward N. Luttwak. A passage worthy of quotation:

If anyone tried to work back from company number 123 to the original money-sending company by way of the 122 companies in between, a lifetime of investigations might not do it, especially because those 122 companies could be registered anywhere in the world, not restricted to the places where Mossack Fonseca had and still have offices, to wit: Anguilla, the Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Malta, the Netherlands, Panama, Samoa, the Seychelles, the United Kingdom and two US states: Nevada and Wyoming. Those companies, moreover, could be legally incorporated yet have no identifiable owners at all, because their equity might all be vested in nameless “bearer” shares. Not even the ultra-formidable billionaire Paul Singer, who had bought up heavily discounted Argentine debt, had refused “haircut” payouts and was employing lawyers and investigators everywhere to track down anything of value that he could impound (he did succeed with an Argentine naval vessel), could do anything about the $65 million sitting tantalizingly close to him in Nevada – but now all the data was revealed (too late for Singer because Argentina’s new President, Mauricio Macri, also a Mossack Fonseca client as it happens, had already decided to settle and pay him off, along with all the other hold-out claimants).

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/hidden-costs/

Read the global overview of the Panama Papers here:

https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160403-panama-papers-global-overview.html

My question will not be answered here at the Financial Times, which is part of a cheering section of ‘journalists’ who celebrated Paul Singer’s victory in an  American court, and Macri’s negotiation with the Vulture Capitalist as the in-order- to of rejoining the Family of Neo-Liberal Nations. De Kirchner was corrupt, but the question remains about the why of Macri being a client of the most notorious tax dodging/money laundering organization in history. No honest politician needs such a service!

Who is Gustavo Grobocopatel, Argentine farmer? More likely an Argentine Agribusiness owner, that provides a bit of that old reliable Austrian Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’ garnish, to this essay celebrating the rebirth of a vigorous functioning Capitalism in Argentina . In both America and Europe a vigorous functioning Capitalism would be a most welcome change from our perpetual economic doldrums. But it seems our economies overdosed on that ‘creative destruction’ otherwise called theft on a mass scale.

Almost Marx

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fad526b2-7c38-11e6-ae24-f193b105145e.html#axzz4KkGAR9Hq

 

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At The Financial Times: Anne-Marie Slaughter chatters about ‘Education’ viewing it through a Neo-Liberal lens, Political Reporter comments (Revised)

Ms. Slaughter begins her disappointing, even trivializing essay framed by part of the catechism of Neo-Liberalism  ‘the global market in education’. Education is civic concern with nothing to do with the worshipers of Market Discipline. The Charter School movement in America, that has produced massive fraud to the tune of 3.3 billion dollars of looted public funds, has passed by this writer. So does the continuing crisis in American Education, since the rise of Mario Savio and The Free Speech movement in 1964 to the political present, escapes this political conformist’s ken. But Ms. Slaughter does manage this  exercise in ‘Neo-Liberal Futurism’ :

High walls and high prices are an invitation for digital disrupters to find new ways to compete.

For the particulars on New America Foundation- what America needs of is another propaganda outlet for policy technocrats between government jobs- see this SourceWatch  entry:

The New America Foundation is a Washington D.C.-headquartered think tank which states that it “invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States … With an emphasis on big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic solutions, New America invests in outstanding individuals whose ability to communicate to wide and influential audiences can change the country’s policy discourse in critical areas, bringing promising new ideas and debates to the fore.”[1]

The foundation, which was launched in 1999, has as its CEO Steve Coll, a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine while the chairman of the Board of Directors is the Chairman & CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt.[1]

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/New_America_Foundation

For the New America Foundation ties to the political reactionary Peter G. Peterson Foundation see this SourceWatch entry:

Peter G. Peterson, born June 5, 1926, is a controversial Wall Street billionaire who uses his wealth to underwrite a diversity of organizations and PR campaigns to generate public support for slashing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, citing concerns over “unsustainable” federal budget deficits. In 2007, he made a fortune from the public offering of the private equity firm he co-founded, Blackstone Group, and pledged to spend $1 billion of this money to “fix America’s key fiscal-sustainability problems.” He endowed this money to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which he launched in 2008 (see below for more).[1] His son, Michael A. Peterson, is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the foundation.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Peter_G._Peterson_Foundation

Ms. Slaughter’s pose as concerned public intellectual, under the descriptor of an ersatz Progressivism, and its alliance with the Peterson  clique, in the cause of education, is just part of her attempt at self-rescue, from her catastrophic intellectual interventions in the area of Foreign Policy. As a regular reader of The Financial Times, this essay reads as if it were dictated to secretary and revised, in a few hurried free moments, during a busy schedule.

Political Reporter

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c3c967b6-7bfa-11e6-ae24-f193b105145e.html#axzz4KkGAR9Hq

 

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At The Economist: Erasmus & Loukas Tsoukalis redefine Theology as a propaganda instrument. A comment by Political Observer

The focus of the Erasmus essay is one chapter, ‘The Priest, the Sinner and the Non-Believer’ of Mr Tsoukalis’ book ‘In Defence of Europe’. Mr. Tsoukalis and his think tank ELIAMEP are not just advocates of the European Idea/Ideal, but its full time apologists! Just view the Wikipedia entries on ELIAMEP, and his own entry to confirm his status as a well credentialed, and decorated academic, whose  ‘think tank’ clearly demonstrates his status as  EU apologist:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenic_Foundation_for_European_and_Foreign_Policy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loukas_Tsoukalis

The question that leaps to the mind of the regular reader is how long will The Economist continue to give credence to the shopworn construct of The Virtuous Norther Tier vs The Profligate Southern Tier, or iterations on the same theme? As descriptor of anything resembling ‘reality’ this dialectic has no cogency, except as the tool of public shaming of the Greeks, in defense of the European Ideology. In sum this ideology is built on the shaky foundation of German Economic Virtue. Can the reader take this at face value? Here is compelling challenge to that vaunted ‘virtue’ : Gillian Tett’s ‘a debt to history’ published on January 15, 2015 in the Financial Times:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/927efd1e-9c32-11e4-b9f8-00144feabdc0.html

The sub-headline is instructive:

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

In sum, Ms. Tett reports on an after dinner speech by economic historian Benjamin Friedman. Here is the quite stunning part, as reported by Ms.Tett:

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

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

“The supposed ability of today’s most heavily indebted European countries to reduce their obligations over time, even in relation to the scale of their economies, is likely yet another fiction,” he continued, warning of political unrest if this situation continued.’

The Economist and Mr Tsoukalis share both an ideology and an interest in the manufacture of usable propaganda,  even if that propaganda is couched in a complete perversion of any recognizable theology, and a self-willed for getting of history. The Economist/Tsoukalis ménage almost rivals the political theology of Carl Schmitt and his latter-day epigones !

Another question occurs, when does the ‘West’s’ leading newspaper begin to exercise ‘the due diligence’ that is the foundation of actual Journalism as opposed to highfalutin  propaganda?

Political Observer

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2016/09/forgive-me-father

 

 

 

 

 

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Former NATO supreme allied commander James Stavridis on how to handle Putin. Political Observer comments

 

Perhaps the most famous piece of stage direction in Western literature occurs in the third act of Shakespeare’s classic play “The Winter’s Tale: “Exit pursued by a bear.” There’s plenty of reason to think that being pursued by a bear, the most iconic image of Russia in international relations, is precisely how the United States must feel at the moment. Seemingly in every direction we turn, Russia is there, chasing our policy choices off the stage of world events. Despite valiant efforts to negotiate with Russia in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, Iran, missile defense in Europe, NATO membership, and cybersecurity — to name just a few — Moscow and Washington have serious disagreements.Perhaps the most famous piece of stage direction in Western literature occurs in the third act of Shakespeare’s classic play “The Winter’s Tale: “Exit pursued by a bear.” There’s plenty of reason to think that being pursued by a bear, the most iconic image of Russia in international relations, is precisely how the United States must feel at the moment. Seemingly in every direction we turn, Russia is there, chasing our policy choices off the stage of world events. Despite valiant efforts to negotiate with Russia in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, Iran, missile defense in Europe, NATO membership, and cybersecurity — to name just a few — Moscow and Washington have serious disagreements.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/14/how-to-negotiate-with-putin-on-anything-russia-obama-syria/

Here is James Stavridis’ essay on The West’s Problem Child , Putin. Despite the rhetorical framing from The Winter’s Tale, we are in the shopworn territory of  Family Melodrama writ large.  Mr. Stavridis is the replacement for the last two military figures that have not simply disappointed – Colin Powell as an utterly gullible instrument of Neo-Conservative War Mongers and David Petraeus as pussy-whipped consort to Paula Broadwell’s political ambition, not to speak of his own libido, as the why of his surrendered judgement. The  central  claim of Mr. Stavridis’ first paragraph is that America is the hapless victim of Putin’s political nihilism, his status as spoiler to the magnanimity of the USA is established ? America as the eternal victim, somehow that just won’t wash! Should the reader take the mention of Ukraine, as part of that over-arching claim, of America as victim of Putin’s machinations as somehow a viable argument?  NATO was an active co-conspirator in the 2014 Ukrainian Coup along with other bad actors: the EU, Victoria Nuland, Jeffrey Pyatt, The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty etc., etc. The in-order-to of his recitation of the Party Line of America’s betrayed virtue seems to crumple, under the weight of just one instance of Mr.Stavridis’ lack of candor, in defense not of republican values, but of his defense of the American Nation Security State to which he owes his allegiance.

The first order of the business of the policy technocrat is to demonstrate, that he is first and foremost a political conformist, to the current iteration of political orthodoxy, as Mr. Stavridis does with this first paragraph. But the question that remains is what does he offer in the remainder of his essay that the reader can evaluate as valuable to a continuing debate about American Foreign Policy?

Here is Mr. Stavridis’ list of recommendations:

Begin by understanding the Russian worldview.

Accept the supremacy of Putin.

Prepare for a long and difficult process.

Sharpen your logic.

Don’t overlook the personal.

Is any of this advice beyond the ken of the most inexperienced diplomat? I would hope not! It’s called pragmatism.

Political Observer

 

 

 

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David Runciman Chatters, Episode XXXIII: Death by Enthusiasm, Political Observer comments

You have to wonder at the political desperation that gave birth to Mr. Runciman’s essay. Just call it chatter! One could compare it to the Party Line of The Financial Times’ ‘The Rebellion Against The Elites’ which appears in its many guises and iterations, on an almost daily basis. Along with the hand-wringing of Mr. Wolf or Mr. Stephen’s on the fact that Capitalism and its actors are at best thieves: their own worst enemy.

Capitalism and democracy: the strain is showing

Martin Wolf

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e46e8c00-6b72-11e6-ae5b-a7cc5dd5a28c.html

Global elites must heed the warning of populist rage

Martin Wolf

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/54f0f5c6-4d05-11e6-88c5-db83e98a590a.html#axzz4KcnSoE7g

How to save capitalism from capitalists

Philip Stephens

(‘The delicious first two paragraphs of the Stephen’s essay are not to be missed by the true believers, who read the Financial Times with regularity. A bit of shock treatment? Patience is required by the true believer! Political Observer)

Once in a while capitalism has to be rescued from the depredations of, well, capitalists. Unconstrained, enterprise curdles into monopoly, innovation into rent-seeking. Today’s swashbuckling “disrupters” set up tomorrow’s cosy cartels. Capitalism works when someone enforces competition; and successful capitalists do not much like competition.

Theodore Roosevelt understood this when, as US president, he deployed the Sherman Act against the industrial titans at the turn of the 20th century. Henceforth antitrust, or competition, law has served, sometimes effectively, sometimes less so, to protect the interest of consumers and thereby legitimise the profits of big business. US president Ronald Reagan, scarcely a leftie, presided over the break-up of AT&T.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c69e7972-79c0-11e6-97ae-647294649b28.html#axzz4KcnSoE7g

 

Yet Mr. Runciman leaps about rhetorically from assertion to assertion, without touching political terra firma, because his is not a critique of Corbyn, per say. But a maladroit defense of the Labour status quo i.e. the Blair Neo-Liberals or ‘Moderates’, represented by Owen Smith, as Liz Kendall’s essay extrapolates on the Wolf/Stephens/Financial Times theme, she is a devout Neo-Liberal, who lards her essay with the hallowed jargon of the trio of Free Marketers: Hayek, Mises and Friedman. Not to speak of her enthusiasm as true believer. This final paragraph makes plain her status as New Labour to the core:

Finally, we must face up to our responsibilities abroad and deal with world as it is, not as we wish it would be. While lessons must be learnt from Iraq and Libya, this cannot mean Britain withdrawing from the world and hoping difficult problems go away. Making these arguments will not be easy but Labour moderates must have the courage of our convictions. It is the only path back to power, and to change the country for the better.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/57cae772-7b4d-11e6-ae24-f193b105145e.html#axzz4KcnSoE7g

Corbyn is building his political base through a concerted campaign. Just how hard is that to comprehend for a seasoned political observer? Again the reader confronts Mr. Runciman’s muddled propaganda, in the most direct way via the maladroit ‘death by enthusiasm’ trope.

Political Observer

Labour’s death by enthusiasm

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