The Kennedy Assassination, the Truth is too much to bear!

The reader has to just wonder about the ‘why’ of this piece of Warren Report retrograde  apologetics appearing at Alternet. As Jim Garrison said over a generation ago: ‘Let Justice be done though the heavens fall’!

Conspiracy Theorists’, a propaganda invention of the CIA, as the in order to of discrediting the critics of the Warren Report, still hold sway in respectable bourgeois political circles.  In fact, the Warren Report is the touchstone of the many apologists for  America’s ‘Security Agencies’ whose machinations gave birth to the Kennedy assassination. One of the most egregious demonstrations of the Warren Report’s  lies is the ‘Magic Bullet Theory’ presented as ‘truth’ by Arlen Specter, that defied the laws of physics, but served the purposes of self-exculpatory propaganda.

The Dreyfus Case was subject to the same kind of the self-serving  lies used by the French State, and its many apologists: never an admittance that that State has made a mistake, and then covered up its mendacity, by convicting an innocent man! In sum, that it was wrong! Read Michael Wood’s essay at the London Review of Books on the letters between Dreyfus and Marie Arconati Visconti :

Lettres à la marquise: correspondance inédite avec Marie Arconati Visconti by Alfred Dreyfus, edited by Philippe Oriol
Grasset, 592 pp, £19.00, March, ISBN 978 2 246 85965 9

Mr. Wood’s concluding paragraph of his examination of the Dreyfus Affair is revelatory of the position of a State that favors self-exculpatory lies over truth!

The Dreyfus Affair teaches us, among many other things, that evidence is easily faked, and that when the fakes don’t work or you don’t want to use them, you can plead national security: you can claim to have documents you can’t show. There is a real difference between a document that isn’t produced and one that doesn’t exist, and that is what I mean by saying the truth is not damaged in this perspective. But we have to ask who can see or certify this difference, who controls its display, and what sort of model of probability or prejudice we are going to use in the absence of facts. ‘As for those who have made themselves my executioners,’ Dreyfus wrote in his diary while still on Devil’s Island, ‘ah, I leave their consciences to them as judges when the light is shed, when the truth is revealed, for sooner or later, everything in life is revealed.’ Not quite everything, perhaps.


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@BretStephensNYT finds a Hero in Robert Zimmer. Committed Observer comments

Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.

Perry Anderson


The regular reader of Mr. Stephens knows that he, like his Neo-Conservative tribalist allies, likes nothing more than attacking Students,  and the particular Students he finds so without merit are from the ‘Left’. And their coddlers in America’s Universities, are the weak willed administrators, who bow to the blackmail of these petty tyrants, or so the story is confected by Mr. Stephens.

This maladroit propaganda barrage is used as cover for Mr. Stephens unrelenting campaign to wage war against both Iran and Russia.  As if the War on Terror, now being fought on eight  fronts, isn’t enough to satisfy Mr. Stephens’ unslakable appetite for war. Having no actual experience of war makes Mr. Stephens’ enthusiasm for war – he is no Ernst Jünger exalting the clarifications of battle.

Where have  I read this political merde before? Probably in a newspaper, in my case the unmourned Los Angeles Herald Examiner, during and after Berkeley while the ‘Free Speech Movement’ had its day. Or when Columbia exploded. One of America’s most valuable Journalists was there, Juan González.

Nothing new under the sun? Except the mendacity of Neo-Conservatism and one of its junior members, Mr Stephens, who exercises his historical ignorance in the garb of enlightened centrism.

Neo-Conservatives have made a tradition of this particular brand demonizing of generations of Students finding their way in a University settings. Look to Allen Bloom and his ‘Closing of the American Mind’ as one of the templates used by the succeeding generation of Neo-Conservatives, to continue the fight against the perceived/invented, the reader must choose her side, Student Political Irrationalism. Except that Bloom’s diagnosis was that those ‘Students’ were addled by both ‘Rock and Roll’ and their own advanced narcissism. To engage is reductive psychology, Bloom’s hysterical diatribe had its root in his being ignored, as the dinosaur he was,  by the very Students he attacked with such venom. Like Bloom Stephens is a Prophet of Nihilism!   

Enter the hero of Mr. Stephens moralizing melodrama Robert Zimmer, the President of the University of Chicago. The usual technique of the respectable bourgeois commenter: proclaim themselves to be the voice of rational centrism, as opposed to the un-reason of the Students of the Left. Mr. Stephens cultivated historical ignorance doesn’t effect some of his readership, who recall vividly Theodore Hesburgh as fulfilling not an identical role/purpose as Zimmer,  but so disturbingly, even uncannily similar, to the ‘rationalists’ of present day America. Yet, he wasn’t quite the kind of political actor that Stephens might unreservedly admire. Mr. Zimmer fulfills the role of both scold and enforcer of respectable bourgeois political norms, that Mr. Stephens finds admirable.  A link to a web page in honor of Father Hesburgh is instructive:

‘A week after Father Hesburgh sent his letter to the student body, President Richard Nixon requested that he advise Vice President Spiro Agnew about federal legislation to control student violence on campuses because the vice president would be meeting with all the state governors to discuss and vote on the issue. He wrote a letter to the vice president opposing any sort of federal legislation or action regarding the issue, suggesting that students were often being portrayed unfairly and inaccurately and suggesting that the colleges and universities themselves were better suited to deal with their own communities. When the governors first gathered, more than 40 of them were prepared to vote for federal action, but after reading Father Hesburgh’s letter, more than 40 of them voted against federal legislation.

In October 1969, Father Hesburgh more publicly expressed his own disagreement with U.S. policy in Vietnam, and signed an open letter with other college and university presidents calling on the government to accelerate its withdrawal of troops.’

History and its civic actors, and the political nuances expressed by  those actors, are inconvenient to a perpetual political present. This ‘present’ is by definition history-less, in sum, free floating, ambiguous, cultivated by a writer, whose opinionating is defined by a complete lack of curiosity, and a political program that, in fact, renders that lack of curiosity usable to the ends of propaganda.

Committed Observer



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At The Financial Times: Santiago Maldonado’s death & the political fate of Macri. Old Socialist comments

Macri’s ascendancy has hit a small snag: the death of Folk Hero Santiago Maldonado,and the clueless comments of the operatives of Macri. The Argentine Melodrama has one more day before the vote takes place. Will de Kirchner gain a Senate seat, from which to to hector the Macri’s Neo-Liberal political/economic re-invigoration? Even though she is under indictment.

But pay attention to the august Financial Times’ ‘reporter’ , the usually reliable Mr. Mander, engaging in what might just be maladroit conspiracy mongering, by default.

With results from forensic tests yet to be announced, wild speculation surrounding the Maldonado scandal that has engrossed the nation for more than two months will not be put to rest until after the elections.

The regular reader of the Financial Times has to wonder at the why of ‘wild speculation surrounding the Maldonado scandal that has engrossed the nation for more than two months will not be put to rest until after the elections.’ I don’t recall reading about the Santiago Maldonado case in The Financial Times.  If another reader, or one of the editors of this publication can direct me to reports in this newspaper I would be grateful.

This might be one of the many reasons to subscribe to the English language daily, The Buenos Aries Herald!

Old Socialist

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John McCain as the voice of ‘Reason’: Old Socialist scoffs

From the ‘Straight Talk Express’ to Bomb,Bomb,Bomb Iran This Neo-Conservative War monger, now presents himself as ‘The Voice of Reason’ or one of the fabled ‘Adults in the Room’ of 2006-2007. The whole of the American Political Class, the Neo-Confederate/Neo-Conservative Republicans and their evil twin the New Democrats, Hillary and her minions, just call them both Trump’s midwives, will be this Republic’s official undertakers! The imperatives of the American National Security State swallowed what was left of that Republic long ago!

Old Socialist

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‘The Age of Fracture’ in its European context. Philosophical Apprentice comments

Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.

Perry Anderson


Headline: After Catalans, Italian regions step up autonomy call

Sub-headline:Northern League uses Lombardy and Veneto referendums to push for special status

Its not just the European Project that is under threat from the dreaded Populist Monster , but the  Nation State, the very foundation of Monnet’s Coal and Steel cartel, that suffers from the pretensions of Democracy, as it has evolved. First the long historical evolution of Catalan, and now the lukewarm votes in Lombardy and Veneto for ‘more autonomy’, approved by the Italian Constitutional Court.

This ambiguous position is reflected in Sunday’s referendums, which are consultative and non-binding. They are carefully phrased to ask voters if they want more “autonomy” without threatening “national unity”. Unlike the Catalan vote they have been approved by the Italian constitutional court.

As informative as this news story by Rachel Sanderson is, as to the political actors in the Italian politics of the present, should the reader look to Daniel T. Rogers’ book ‘Age of Fracture‘, written in an American political/historical/economic context, for a telling simile/metaphor for the evolving European crisis? That describes both the EU and the Nation State, caught in the rip tide of  history, exacerbated by the utterly failed Neo-Liberal Dispensation?

A link to Prof. Rogers book:

Philosophical Apprentice



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At The Financial Times: Macri, The Great Neo-Liberal Emancipator. Old Socialist observes & comments

Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.

Perry Anderson

Headline: Election tests Macri’s promise to make Argentina ‘normal’ again

Sub-headline: Legislative poll will be a referendum on the reformist president

You know your reading the Financial Times by the opening paragraphs in praise of an oligarch:

Few have navigated Argentina’s erratic economy as shrewdly as Eduardo Eurnekian. Despite half a century of recurring financial crises, the 84-year-old billionaire has come out on top; he now controls Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, one of the world’s largest private airport operators.

But note that this oligarch is switching economic tracks:

Sensing the shift, Mr Eurnekian is moving into a business that would have been almost unthinkable only a few years ago in a country well known for cronyism, debt defaults and high — mobile banking.

Mr. Eurnekian is now going to become just another speculator, gambler instead of managing private airports. All this presented by Benedict Mander as ‘proof’ that Mr. Eurnekian is prescient about Argentina’s future, about to be re-made by the ‘Reforms’ of Macri, or just call it an attempt to Neo-Liberalize that economy. Yet the phenomenon of  ‘Globalisation‘ is the motive of this oligarch to find a new profit stream.

“There is no way we are going back to the past,” says Mr Eurnekian, who is backing Wanap, Argentina’s first online-only bank. “Globalisation will either absorb us, or it will not. There is no halfway house.”

The reader must cultivate patience for we are in the journalistic territory of ‘The Big Read’,  and we have just begun the guided tour !

The emancipation of Argentine politics/economics from its ‘shadow of its Populist Past’ is the rhetorical frame of this propaganda intervention. Call it the master narrative of Mander’s essay.

Why should or could the reader of Mander’s exercise in self-serving political prescience, garnished with arresting graphs, pictures, a pod cast and an insert called ‘Regional Trends’,  look elsewhere for news about the de Kirchner years?  Here is a Guardian opinion piece written by Mark Weisbrot of October 22, 2011.

Headline: Cristina Kirchner and Argentina’s good fortune

Sub-headline: Under the Kirchner administrations, Argentina has achieved the fastest growth in the west – after defaulting. Listening, Europe?

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is expected to coast to re-election as president of Argentina on Sunday, despite having faced hostility from the media for most of her presidency, and from many of the most powerful economic interests in the country. So it seems a good time to ask why this might happen.

Yes, it’s the economy. Since Argentina defaulted on $95bn of international debt nine years ago and blew off the International Monetary Fund, the economy has done remarkably well. For the years 2002-2011, using the IMF’s projections for the end of this year, Argentina has chalked up real GDP growth of about 94%. This is the fastest economic growth in the western hemisphere – about twice that of Brazil, for example, which has also improved enormously over past performance. Since President Fernandez or her late husband Nestor Kirchner, who preceded her as president, were running the country for eight of these nine years, it shouldn’t be surprising that voters will reward her with another term.

The benefits of growth don’t always trickle down, but in this case, the Argentine government has made sure that many did. Poverty and extreme poverty have been reduced by about two thirds since their peak in 2002, and employment has increased to record levels. Social spending by the government has nearly tripled in real terms. In 2009, the government implemented a cash transfer program for children that now reaches the households of more than 3.5 million children. It is probably the largest such program, relative to national income, in Latin America.

Inequality has also been considerably reduced in Argentina during this remarkable expansion. This is in contrast to most other fast-growing economies in the world (and some of the slower-growing ones like the United States), where inequality has increased over the past decade. In 2001, Argentines in the 95th percentile of the income distribution had 32 times the income of those in the 5th percentile. By last year, that ratio had fallen by nearly half, to a multiple of 17.

I can already imagine the comments that I will get for this piece: people will shout about Argentina’s inflation rate, which, according to some private estimates, is running between 20 and 25% at present. Yes, that is too high, and will likely be brought down in the months and years ahead (it was much lower through most of the past nine years). But it is important to remember that it is real income (adjusted for inflation) and employment, as well as the distribution of income, that determine people’s living standards. If inflation is high but your income is rising faster than inflation, you are better-off than if inflation is much lower and your income does not keep up with inflation – or if you don’t have a job at all.

Now this was in 2011, so what might this six year old opinion piece offer to the reader of the august Financial Times ? Had the Argentine economy collapsed in the intervening years? Or were the voters tired of de Kirchner ? She is running for Senator in the coming election of October 22, 2017:

Peronist factions are divided in two main groups; the Front for Victory, led by the former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, leads the parliamentary opposition to Macri’s administration. Another group is composed of politicians from the Justicialist Party and the Renewal Front.,_2017

Macri did pay Paul Singer over a one billion dollar ransom for re-admittance to the Neo-Liberal family of Nations. But the answer is here:

“It took a year and a half for investors and companies to get comfortable with the idea of investing in Argentina [again], but now I’m being contacted several times a day,” says Noah Mamet, former US ambassador in Buenos Aires who is now in the private sector.

It seems that the only real qualification for Mamet’s appointment to the Ambassadorship to Argentina was that he raised six figures sums for President Obama in 2012:

Since his appointment as U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Mamet has been criticized for being part of a group of nominated “ambassadors that raised six-figure sums” for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, including by websites such as The Washington Examiner and The Huffington Post.[19][20]

In December 2013, BuzzFeed reported that Mamet’s nomination as ambassador to Argentina was “met with surprise, and in some cases anger, by his peers in the donor class. Democratic Party donors complain privately that Mamet unfairly leveraged his clients’ work for his own political gain and benefited from a close personal relationship with President Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina.”[21] A group of retired United States Foreign Service officers have since called for an end to the practice of appointing political contributors and supporters as ambassadors.[22] Mamet has also been criticized for lack of “major diplomatic experience” and not visiting Argentina prior to his nomination.[20][23]

In 2014, fifteen former presidents of the State Department Employees Union (AFSA) made an official request to reject Mamet’s nomination to ambassadorship, which also included George Tsunis (for Norway) and Colleen Bell (for Hungary), because “they showed limited knowledge of the countries to which they’d been nominated” at their Senate committee hearings.[24]

AFSA issued a letter to the U.S. State Department urging it to “oppose granting of Senate consent to these three candidates.”[25] The letter was the first of its kind, which set a new historical precedent to ambassadorial designations in the U.S.[25]

Mr. Mamet is President & Founder at Noah Mamet & Associates LLC. Greater Los Angeles Area-Public Relations and Communications.

Old Socialist








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@socialeurope & Kostas Botopoulos attack the heretical Yanis Varoufakis. Committed Observer comments

Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.

Perry Anderson


Is this paragraph even a surprise coming from a ‘Think Tank’ whose reason d’etre is the production of pro-EU propaganda, and to treat all other points of view as heretical? Kostas Botopoulos provides the indictment of Mr. Varoufakis as that heretic.

From both a political and a legal point of view it is obvious that the EU framework allows for many types of regional settlement (ranging from advanced autonomy to federalism) other than separatism. The non-negotiable and unilateral “secession” of Catalonia evokes the populist themes of Brexit much more than the nuances of a regionalist settlement.

But the historical context of the Germans, as four time defaulters in the 20th Century, treated the Greeks as if their own history were a product of their unconvincing yet politically usable, and utterly convenient political amnesia. In sum, German fiscal probity is a usable 21st Century mythology.

Benjamin Friedman’s address, as reported by Gillian Tett in the pages of the august Financial Times, provides the facts relating to the German intransigence toward the Greeks, and the fact that the Germans  enjoyed an economic tolerance that the Greeks were not entitled to, according to the Germans and EU apologists.

A link to Ms. Tett’s article:

A portion of Mr. Friedman’s address, followed by a link to the entire address

As one historian summarized the approach taken to Germany’s post
-war debt relief, “at the time of the London conference most observer
s had in mind long years of what they viewed as Germany’s irresponsible treatment of foreign debts and property owned by foreigners.”
Nonetheless , “The entire agreement was crafted on the premise that Germany’
s actual payments could not be so high as to endanger the short
-term welfare of her people …reducing German consumption was not an acceptable way to ensure repayment of the debts.”
The contrast to both the spirit and the implementation of the approach taken to today’s overly indebted European countries is stark.There is no economic
ground for Germany to be the only European country in modern
times to be granted official debt restructuring and 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 – and in this case not a useful one. A
s the last decade’s financial crisis fades into the past, and market interest rates move up to a more normal configuration, these countries and others too will find their debt
increasingly difficult to service. In the meanwhile, the contractionary policies imposed on them are depressing their output and employment , and their tax revenues. And the predictable pathology that follows from stagnant incomes and living standards is already evident.

In the watershed of the Depression of 2008, and the EU that is a Cartel pretending to be a Democracy- look to Quebec, the Zapatistas, Scotland and Catalan to see that the Nation State is not as stable as its apologists would like. In this atmosphere of crisis, over time, the recognition that the EU began its life as a steel and coal cartel, that pretends to be democratic, while engaging in the subversion of a democratically elected government in Ukraine. Conspiring with NATO and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, not to speak of Right Sector, Svoboda and other bad actors, that places Mr. Botopoulos’ demonization of Mr. Varoufakis in its broader political context. Perhaps the EU should rehabilitate one of the ‘legal instruments’ of the ancien régime the Lettres de cachet to silence the heretical Mr. Varoufakis?

Committed Observer



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