The Guardian on ‘the focus of conspiracy theorists’, while it ignores its in-house propagandist Jonathan Freedland. Political Observer comments

A prominent ally of Donald Trump suggested on Sunday that the special counsel appointed to investigate alleged links between the president’s aides and Russia should instead focus on the murder last year of a young Democratic staffer, Seth Rich, which has become the focus of conspiracy theorists.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/21/newt-gingrich-seth-rich-wikileaks-conspiracy-theory-fox-friends

Mr. Gingrich may not be  a reliable source of information, yet this reader, given the empirical evidence, that The Guardian has published Jonathan Freedland’s political hysterics against the Corbyn wing of the Labour Party’s and its purported Antisemitism, based on the ‘evidence’ of an American editorial cartoon, and the historically accurate comments of Ken Livingstone.

‘The focus of conspiracy theorists’ is the rhetorical means of placing the very real concerns that the possible leaker, Seth Rich, of the Podesta e mails, was murdered for his ‘crime’. In sum it is the ‘crackpot fringe’, not the respectable bourgeois press, that believes in such conspiracy theories, yet The Guardian is home to one of the confectors of the Labour Antisemitism Crisis.


March 18, 2016

Race Issues: Opinion

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


April 29, 2016

Israel: Opinion

Headline:My plea to the left: treat Jews the same way you’d treat any other minority

Sub-headline : The row over Ken Livingstone and Labour antisemitism has exposed people who think they’re anti-racist – but make a curious exception for Jews

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/29/left-jews-labour-antisemitism-jewish-identity


May 3, 2016

Headline: British Labour Party Accused Of Harboring Anti-Semites

NPR’s Robert Siegel interviews Jonathan Freedland, columnist for The Guardian, about the problems within the British Labour Party and the political left over anti-Semitism.

http://www.npr.org/2016/05/03/476639243/british-labour-party-accused-of-harboring-anti-semites


Freedland as a New Labour stalwart: his  first challenge was to confect out the ‘evidence’: an American editorial cartoon and Ken Livinstone’s comments, a political nihilism, against the reigning orthodoxy of Neo-Liberalism, and its front man Corbyn. Now that Corbyn is a moderate Social  Democrat was an impediment to Mr. Freedland’s propaganda. So  as  a consequence of Mr. Freedland’s Philo-Semitism and/or Zionist fanaticism he wove an unconvincing narrative, which gained credibility only as it was endlessly repeated in the respectable bourgeois press, as fact. The Blairite Faction had its foothold on the popular imagination, that of the heretical Corbyn. Yet in the political present,  in the run up to the June election, Corbyn is attracting record crowds, of the young who have had enough of the Neo-Thatcherites, New  Labour or Tory.

In sum, The Guardian needs to clean house before it has any political credibility to make the trivializing accusation of  ‘The focus of conspiracy theorists’!

Political Observer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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Union Buster Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, Old Socialist comments

Not to comprehend that ‘Charter Schools’ are a part of a larger plan to eliminate one of the most powerful weapons against the failed Neo-Liberal Dispensation, Public Sector Unionism. That Unionism was once the core of New Deal politics, as it morphed into The Great Society , and was betrayed by the New Democrats: Bill and Hillary and even Obama! Obama appointed Arnie Duncan to the Dept. of Education another Charter School Apologist/Advocate.
Now we have Betsy DeVos, sister of Right Wing Zealot Eric Prince, directing Educational Policy. Who can’t garner the respect that a Commencement speaker might just take for granted.
Michael Bloomberg spoke at Harvard, where he attacked Occupy Wall Street and other assorted ‘hippies’ who took his iron-fisted treatment of those unruly demonstrators
as what? The Harvard Rule is never disrespect a possible source of endowment!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhfn2zgFFJ8

DeVos had the temerity, even the shamelessness to address Bethune-Cookman University’s class of 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida, where even the threats of the head of the University fell on deaf ears!
Here is the 23 minute version of her Commencement Address:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4BqmN8yWk8&t=350s

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My replies to David Bromwich, at The London Review of Books

1)

Mr. Bromwich’s  style is very readable in this instance, I don’t know that Bromwich has modeled his style on that of Murray Kempton, but it sometimes reads as if it were. The essay seems quite straight forward, except that the shifting roles of hero and villain in The American Political Melodrama begins to fatigue the reader. Although the claim of Hillary Clinton as ‘victim’ is one of the comic aspects of this debacle.

We are supposed to take the word of Edward Snowden that Comey deserves our support. Quite frankly I admire Mr. Snowden, but he did not live through the Dark Age of J.Edgar Hoover! A closeted paranoid hysteric who had unquestioned power from 1935 to 1972. The FBI is his creation, and its culture of political oppression allied to its claim to be self-righteous upholders of The Law. It even qualified for a long running television show, that was Hollywood’s contribution to the FBI Myth.

‘The FBI over its history has shown itself to be criminally incompetent and utterly mendacious: its targeting of dissidents, and ‘fellow travelers’ of the McCarthy/Nixon era, the JFK assassination, the Black Panthers in the 60’s , the notorious letter to Martin Luther King, and its ‘Crime Lab‘ this is jut to name a few of the FBI’s many crimes!:

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

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

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/csi-is-a-lie/390897/

This history of the FBI is utterly relevant to the construction of Comey as Hero. How can one be that hero, if one heads an institution so riddled with corruption , not to speak of covered with lies and an impasto of Public Relations. The rise of The American National Security State asphyxiated the the Republic, and the FBI one of the nascent institutional strongholds of autocracy in the person of J. Edgar Hoover, now succeeded by Comey’s replacement. Aided by Trump’s jurisprudential catamite Rod Rosenstein.
StephenKMackSD

2)

Here is a link to an Intercept report by Trevor Aaronson on Comey that is worth your time.
https://theintercept.com/2017/05/17/dont-lionize-james-comey-the-fbi-did-some-terrible-things-under-him/
A eye opening quote that demonstrates the unchecked power of the FBI:

‘Had this been a normal criminal investigation, and had Comey been a special agent in the field, the memo he would have written would have been known, in the FBI’s parlance, as an FD-302. The FBI does not record conversations with subjects related to criminal investigations. Instead, FBI agents, using their memory and sometimes handwritten notes, draft memos that summarize the conversations and include purportedly verbatim quotes. Federal judges and juries have consistently viewed these memos as indisputable fact. For this reason, Comey’s memo is no normal government memo. It could do lasting damage to Trump’s presidency, if not contribute to costing him the nation’s highest office altogether.’

The recollections of FBI agents are treated as fact! Its not Law but Political Theology!
StephenKMackSD

https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/05/11/david-bromwich/trump-v-comey/#comments

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Trevor Aaronson on Comey & the unchecked power of the FBI: one telling paragraph.

Had this been a normal criminal investigation, and had Comey been a special agent in the field, the memo he would have written would have been known, in the FBI’s parlance, as an FD-302. The FBI does not record conversations with subjects related to criminal investigations. Instead, FBI agents, using their memory and sometimes handwritten notes, draft memos that summarize the conversations and include purportedly verbatim quotes. Federal judges and juries have consistently viewed these memos as indisputable fact. For this reason, Comey’s memo is no normal government memo. It could do lasting damage to Trump’s presidency, if not contribute to costing him the nation’s highest office altogether.

https://theintercept.com/2017/05/17/dont-lionize-james-comey-the-fbi-did-some-terrible-things-under-him/

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@gduval_altereco The Approaching Dark Age of Macron’s ‘Reforms’ . A comment by Almost Marx

Headline: Can Macron Move Europe Forward?

Of course, this depends in the first instance on the attitude of Germany, of its government but also of public opinion there. That’s the reason why Macron’s first trip after assuming office was made to Berlin. The crushing second round defeat of Le Pen was a nice surprise for our neighbours who feared, if not her victory, at least a very tight outcome.

There was no ‘crushing defeat of Le Pen‘ ! the facts are of massive abstentions,spoiled ballots and the exercise on the voters part to choose ‘the lesser of two evils’ . That is  how an honest ‘reporter’ might have framed it, but your not that, your a Macron Partisan, a   technocrat!  Some insights on the French election that place your ‘crushing defeat of Le Pen‘ into proper perspective:

Consider that according to Reuters the abstention rate in the French election was to be between 25-27% :

The final abstention level in the second round of the French presidential election is likely to stand at between 25-27 percent, according to four polls published on Sunday.

A survey from Ifop-Fiducial put the abstention rate at 25 percent. Polls from Ipsos Sopra Steria and Elabe estimated the abstention rate at 26 percent while another poll from Harris Interactive estimated that rate at 27 percent.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Michel Rose)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-election-abstention-idUSKBN1830MT

And, according to Newsweek:

Abstention could be high, and close to 60 percent of those who plan to vote for Macron say they will do so to stop Le Pen from being elected to lead the euro zone’s second-largest economy rather than because they fully agree with the former banker-turned-politician.

http://www.newsweek.com/france-french-president-election-emmanuel-macron-marine-le-pen-turnout-low-595935

Close to 60% of those voters ‘ who plan to vote for Macron say they will do so to stop Le Pen from being elected…’. The idea that Macron can be important to ‘the whole world’ is mooted by the fact of that 60% of voters cast ballots against Le Pen, rather than in favor of Macron. This puts the Macron Victory in a much clearer light. 

Also read this FiveThirtyEight essay by Harry Enten titled ‘Macron Won, But The French Polls Were Way Off’ :

This observation about the ‘shy voter’ adds some necessary insights:

None of this is to say that there aren’t “shy voters” in the electorate. It’s just that we may be thinking about them in the wrong way. Instead of undercounting conservative support because people are afraid to give a socially undesirable response, the polls may simply be missing unenthusiastic supporters — people who aren’t excited about their candidate enough to answer a poll but still vote. In fact, when the idea of a “shy” voter was originally formed in 1992, it had nothing to do with right-wing populists. Instead, pollsters were underestimating the strength of the mainstream and relatively milquetoast Conservative Party in the U.K.

“Milquetoast,” in fact, has been used to describe Macron. In the 2017 French election, his voters were more likely to say that they were voting against Le Pen than for Macron. A Suffolk University poll also indicates that voters who liked neither candidate went overwhelmingly for Macron. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well, Trump won because people who were unenthusiastic about both candidates (i.e., had an unfavorable view of both) went in large numbers for Trump. Maybe we should talk less about “shy” voters and more about “apathetic” voters or “reluctant” voters.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/macron-won-but-the-french-polls-were-way-off/

The reader is then confronted with your political metaphysics, for want of a better term, as somehow the answer to questions of  pressing relevance.

Paradoxically, this wide margin of victory somewhat weakens Macron’s immediate hand, however: had the election been won 55-45, fear of the Front National (FN) would probably have more easily brought the German government to accept substantial changes in Europe than the actual 66-34 outcome that no doubt prompts our neighbours to think there’s no point in over-estimating the unpopularity of austerity in the rest of Europe. This state of mind has already come to play with the warning shots in the German press against likely demands from Macron. The renowned weekly Der Spiegel put on its cover of May 12 the header, Dear Macron, playing on the word ‘dear’, with as sub-header: ‘Emmanuel Macron saves Europe…and Germany foots the bill’. As for the Chancellor, she let it be known straight after his election that she could do nothing to reduce Germany’s current account surplus due, she indicated, to elements outwith her control: the excellence of German companies combined with the excessively accommodating monetary policy of the European Central Bank.

Then the reader confronts the perennial German Hypocrisy expressed by Der Spiegel : ‘Emmanuel Macron saves Europe…and Germany foots the bill’ ! Do you not read the British Press? Here is a link to Jillian Tett’s  2015 essay at the Financial Times titled ‘A Debt to History’ that reports on an address given by economic historian Benjamin Friedman.

“We meet at an unsettled time in the economic and political trajectory of many parts of the world, Europe certainly included,” he began in a strikingly flat monotone (I quote from the version of his speech that is now posted online, since I wasn’t allowed to take notes then.) Carefully, he explained that he intended to read his speech from a script, verbatim, to ensure that he got every single word correct. Uneasily, the audience sat up. 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.

https://www.ft.com/content/927efd1e-9c32-11e4-b9f8-00144feabdc0

The Germans defaulted four times in the 20th Century, and now assume the role, in the crude metaphor, of ‘The Virtuous Norther Tier’ propaganda that was quickly discarded by  the Neo-Liberal apologetic Western Press, which means the respectable bourgeois press. The Germans would not grant to the Greeks what the whole of Western Capitalist Democracies had granted to them. The only descriptor for this is hubris. Courtesy of the Merkel/Schäuble alliance.

The reader then confronts your Neo-Liberal Faith, expressed in most banal terms, bland and non-threatening, which belies the facts of the Strong Medicine of Neo-Liberalism’s inherent nihilism, allied to its utterly perverse politics of Austrian Economics:the Hayek/Mises pathology.

Despite these reactions, the chances of successfully reforming Europe are greater than one usually thinks if Macron gathers enough momentum around him for this course of action. Given its demographic, economic weight and its geographical position at the heart of an enlarged Europe, Germany incontestably plays the dominant role within the EU.

As to the chances of success for Macron the reader need only turn to Yanis Varoufakis’ May 15, 2017 essay.

Headline:  Congratulations, President Macron – Now We Oppose You

ATHENS – Prior to the second round of the French Presidential election, DiEM25 (the pan-European movement of democrats, mostly of the left, that I helped to found) promised Emmanuel Macron that we would “mobilize fully to help” him defeat Marine Le Pen. This we did – incurring the wrath of many on the left – because maintaining “an equal distance between Macron and Le Pen,” we believed, was “inexcusable.”

But there was a second part to our promise to Macron: if he “becomes merely another functionary of Europe’s deep establishment,” pursuing dead-end, already-failed neoliberalism, we “will oppose him no less energetically than we are – or should be – opposing Le Pen now.” Relieved that Macron won, and proud of our clear support for him, we must now fulfill the second part of the promise. No “honeymoon” period: we must oppose Macron immediately. Here’s why.

Macron’s electoral program made clear his intent to continue with the labor-market policies that he began to introduce as former President François Hollande’s economy minister. Having spoken to him about these policies, I have no doubt that he believes in them strongly. He follows a long tradition of blaming the legal constraints on firing workers for the fall in permanent employment and the emergence of a new division between protected and precarious employees – between insiders, with well-paid, quasi-tenured positions, and outsiders, who work as service providers without benefits and often under zero-hour contracts. Trade unions and the left, according to this view, are actually a conservative force, because they defend insiders’ interests while ignoring the plight of the burgeoning army of outsiders.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/opposing-macron-from-the-start-by-yanis-varoufakis-2017-05

Relevant to thoughts about the possible/probable political success of Macron, key to which is his exercise of personal integrity in his interaction with political allies, here is a link to Simon Kuper’s essay at The Financial Times of May 17, 2017:

Headline: The chill behind Emmanuel Macron’s charm

Sub-headline: ‘He seduces useful people, then drops and humiliates them’

Emmanuel Macron watches a smartphone video of an egg cracking on his forehead at a campaign event. He ­guffaws, then plays the video again. “It didn’t hurt. It came from a long way, did you see?” he marvels to his wife Brigitte and an aide. “The guy got lucky.”

The scene is from Emmanuel Macron, les coulisses d’une victoire (“Behind the scenes of a victory”)‚ a fly-on-the-wall documentary of his campaign that screened on French TV after he was elected president. It’s the most intimate portrait I’ve seen of a political leader. After the artificiality of the campaign, we’re starting to get to know Macron better. He’s a remarkable chap. But there is also something chilling about him. One man who knew him well for many years told me: “He seduces everyone. And then he kills.”

The key to Macron is that he is what the French call a grand séducteur. He quickly learnt that his charm could get him whatever he wanted. Almost every schoolboy fantasises about seducing his sexy high-school teacher. Macron did, even after Brigitte initially turned him down.

He also got used early to being the smartest person in the room. That doesn’t mean he has an original intellectual mind. He twice failed the entrance exams for the Ecole Normale Supérieure, France’s most cerebral “grande école”. But he’s a polymath who quickly absorbs everything from Rossini’s operas to Hegel. His father, a neurologist, had applied his brain more discreetly: his most cited academic article is on sneezing in cats. However, Macron’s charm required larger outlets. After writing his master’s thesis on Machiavelli, he got rich fast as a banker, then absorbed enough economics to be named finance minister.

Like his political ancestor Tony Blair, who walked into Downing Street 20 years ago this month, Macron is an actor at heart. (He met Brigitte when she taught him drama.) Watch the online video in which a journalist hands him a copy of Molière’s play The Misanthrope, a favourite of Macron’s, and suggests he mug up the opening scene so they can perform it together in a week. No, replies Macron, let’s do it right now. And he does, from memory: “Leave me, I beg of you . . . ” He also used to have ambitions of performing as a pianist.

https://www.ft.com/content/464df34e-3a48-11e7-ac89-b01cc67cfeec

Your essay first reads like  an uninspired but victorious Macron Press release, and then lapses into a defense of the approaching Neo-Liberalism à la française, not to forget that the ‘vision’ of Monnet was Neo-Liberalism avant la lettre : a coal and steel cartel with the window dressing of  ‘democracy’ . Although you attempt to redeem yourself in these last three paragraphs, or is it just the use of an ironizing rhetorical strategy to emancipate your politicking from the jejune chatter of the technocrat? The word ‘reform’ is the perpetual stand-in for a completely discredited Neo-Liberalism, in the wake of that failure , Austerity then assumed the role , that, then again, morphs into the benign notion of ‘reform’. The reader tires of this maladroit posturing, that, in sum, is an apologetic for a failed belief system, whose institutional realization brought catastrophe.

Paradoxically, what risks weakening Macron the most in this indispensable struggle to save Europe and the euro by transforming them is French domestic policy. To convince Germany’s leadership into changing Europe he thinks he absolutely must start by doing to France what they ask: ‘reforms’ of the type introduced to Germany at the start of the 2000s by the social democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder that liberalised the employment market, removed layers of social protection and lowered labour costs.

However, this is the very same kind of policy that Francois Hollande consistently applied during five years with no less than four important reforms of the labour market, plus €40bn labour cost reductions with the pact of responsibility on top. And that’s why he failed as much at the economic level with no industrial recovery or decline in unemployment to show for his efforts as at the social and political level with endless social conflicts and the disintegration of the socialist party.

By continuing, even speeding up in this direction Macron risks from the very start breaking once more the very modest economic recovery at work and ranging the two-thirds of the French who elected him on May 7 against each other by reawakening social and political tensions. And this, in turn, would weaken his negotiating position towards the German government as well as public opinion in the drive to reform Europe.

https://www.socialeurope.eu/2017/05/can-macron-move-europe-forward/

Almost Marx

 

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Edward Luce on The Republican Want of Courage: Episode MMDLIII of The American Political Melodrama. Political Observer comments

Mr. Luce calls the Republican Party’s want of courage on the vexing question of Trump ‘a dangerous impasse’ while headline writers at The Financial Times call it: Paralysis grips Republicans over Donald Trump. You can almost hear the newsboys of yesteryear  declaiming this, to the busy passers-by as they press their money into the hand of this character out of the popular imagination.

Where could the reader find a Republican, who holds office in Washington D.C., in the collection of Tea Party, Dixiecrat, Neo-Con, Free Marketeers and various riff raff, of a Party that has long since discarded Lincoln, Eisenhower and even Reagan, in favor of the political irrationalism that is the product of the McConnell/Ryan alliance? Political Nihilists rule the Party, a fact that Luce can’t bring himself to confront with anything like honesty!

Added to the toxic chatter this bit of conspiracy mongering, so totally out of character for a respectable bourgeois pundit:

Most of the sites ignored this week’s revelations and focused on the shooting of Seth Rich, a Democratic staffer who had apparently forwarded thousands of emails to WikiLeaks last summer. Readers were left in no doubt that Hillary Clinton, or people close to her, were involved in Mr Rich’s murder.

So the WikiLeaks e mails were not because of Russian hacking ? A departure from the current Party Line? The imaginative reader can almost picture the murder of Mr. Rich,  Dynasty Style:

Scene:

Mrs. Clinton is dropped off by her trusty Driver not far from where Mr. Rich’s parking structure. She is dressed in the usual dreadful pants suit in black and black trench coat, a small floppy hat covers her face.

Cut to:

She approaches Rich in the poorly lighted upper story of that structure and he is shocked into silence as Clinton empties the small silver revolver into him as he slumps to the ground.

Cut to:

Clinton, in bathrobe, gives a large plastic bag containing all of her clothing to her Driver ,and not a word is spoken.

Cut to:

Driver is seen throwing the bag into a blazing incinerator and shutting its heavy and smoke stained door.

Cut to black

My imagined scenario of the Rich murder makes as much sense as Mr. Luce’s doomed search for a courageous Republican. Perhaps political naif Colin Powell can be persuaded to come forward?

Political Observer

https://www.ft.com/content/f2847cb8-3a4e-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23

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Janan Ganesh gushes over Neo-Liberal Lite Golden Boy Macron, Political Reporter comments

In this essay Mr. Ganesh takes the role of the lovesick Christian de Neuvillette, being tutored  by Cyrano de Bergerac, except that the consistent rhapsodic refrain is not Roxanne, Roxanne, Roxanne but Macron, Macron, Macron! It would be comic except that Neo-Liberal Golden Boy Macron expects to be treated as an equal by the Merkel/Schaeuble autocracy. The object lesson of the Greeks is subject to the selective myopia of Macron.

And then the reader wonders, what side is Ganesh paying loyalty too? It must be to the EU of Monnet’s coal and steel cartel, ruled by the Technocrats, who practice the Federalism of the Un-elected.  The belief that the EU is somehow representative of the Enlightenment ideal of Cosmopolitanism realized, is the Great Fiction of the deluded ‘Remainers’, who worship at the shrine of St.  Jean Monnet.  The Conservatives, like Mr. Ganesh, just idealize the Super State as Neo-Liberalism avant le lettre.  The realization of the stunted vision of the Holy Trinity of Hayek/Mises/Friedman.

Political Reporter

https://www.ft.com/content/63a8c1cc-3713-11e7-bce4-9023f8c0fd2e

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