At The Financial Times: Shawn Donnan on the TPP, advocates and antagonists. A comment by Political Reporter

Congratulations to Mr. Shawn Donnan for two well written but highly circumscribed reports on TPP, after all this is The Financial Times, one of the most respected publications of Capitalist Apologetics!

His first essay titled ‘Negotiators strike Pacific trade deal’ ::

He quotes at length  ‘Tim Groser, New Zealand’s trade minister and one of the architects of the TPP’:

Tim Groser, New Zealand’s trade minister and one of the architects of the TPP, said its “strategic” implications for global trade were enormous.

“All of this is being lost in these arcane battles over grams of butter and cheese,” he said.

“While people will no doubt laugh at the conservatism of some of the timetables of liberalisation of the most politically sensitive [products in the TPP], that will probably prove to be the wrong take,” he said. “Because the issue is to get the direction of travel right.”

No real need to comment on the partisan character of this essay, it seems obvious that the opponents of TPP, in this report, are mere bit players in this little melodrama.

Mr. Donnan then turns attention in this companion essay titled ‘And now the other TPP battles begin’, to the looming American domestic political battle over the TPP:

Again the antagonists remain in the very proscribed Financial Times/Donnan world view: Mr. Trump and Sen. Orrin Hatch. The fact that Bernie Sanders has made the defeat of TPP an integral part of his presidential campaign remains off stage, too politically inconvenient? Two TPP partisans: one a trade representative another a policy technocrat   are then added ‘Mike Froman, the US trade representative’ and ‘Philip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.’

One could observe that the Utopianism of Neo-Liberalism/Austerity is being supplanted by a version of TPP as it’s replacement.

Political Reporter

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At The American Prospect: Mr. Paul Waldman on The GOP’s Delusion, a comment by Political Reporter

Paul Waldman demonstrates the bankruptcy of ‘Liberalism’ in his essay at The American Prospect titled ‘The GOP Delusions’ with the sub-title of ‘ Politicians and voters, both pretending their party can do things it can’t.’ by using this attack as one of his arguments:

‘Cruz is not a legislator, he’s a performer, a kind of right-wing version of the Code Pink activists who disrupt Capitol Hill hearings.’

Code Pink is a political organization that has used political theater/agitprop to focus national attention on vital political issues, and has been effective in the use of those tactics. Sen. Cruz is a senator elected to govern! Is the difference between them not readily apparent? Except to pundits whose raison d’être is the cultivation of  bourgeois political respectability, Mr. Waldman qualifies as such a writer.
There can be no doubt that the Republican Party will destroy itself: a collection of Dime Store Robespierres, whose belief in governance is non-existent. Sen. Lugar was purged from the Party not because he wasn’t Conservative enough but because he practiced the art of the possible, without apology!
Mr. Waldman doesn’t even address a question or speculation that seems patently obvious: where are the Eisenhower Republicans while the nihilists destroy the Party? He’s too busy appreciating/relishing the Republican Circus, not to speak of indulging in unseemly anti-left hysteria mongering. As the American melodrama unfolds, in a series of carefully orchestrated political events, featuring political actors, who can only pretend that Trump is just another candidate, instead of the main attraction.

Political Reporter

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At The Financial Times: an interview with Daryush Shayegan, a comment by Philosophical Apprentice

Daryush Shayegan is a Cosmopolitan to his marrow,  a polymath and intellectual. Mr. Huntington was one of the last of the WASP Ascendancy, like the Bundy brothers and their journalistic twins the Alsop brothers. Huntington was an operative of the American National Security State and worked for the South African apartheid government of P.W. Botha: should readers be surprised as to Huntington’s political advocacies, sympathies?   Huntington’s’ Clash’ was the transitional dogma that succeeded the Old Cold War and was the precursor of  the War on Terror. Yet look at  the ‘Nativist’ paranoid vision of Huntington, as argued in his book Who Are We: The Mestizo Horde about to divide and conquer the wondrous American Anglo/Protestant culture: two peoples,two cultures, two languages. The American reality is that like Walt Whitman we embrace multitudes! To say the least, Huntington’s vision of the ‘Clash’ and ‘Who Are We’, when viewed in tandem, are an utterly stunted vision of  the human potential for building an actual world.  The vision of a world, not simply advocated but lived by Mr. Shayegan, is about the actuality of a Cosmopolitanism in the present, not about a longed for Utopia!

Philosophical Apprentice

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At The Financial Times: Martin Wolf on Jeremy Corbyn’s challenge to economic convention, a comment by Political Reporter

From his somewhat equivocating first paragraph, to his economic analysis and his lapse into the  prescriptive, Mr. Wolf’s faint praise of Mr. Corbyn and his economic brain trust is mired in Neo-Liberal myopia. The fact that Corbyn and that brain trust are just a beginning of a long overcoming of an entrenched, indeed an institutionalized Neo-Liberalism, hasn’t yet reached the level of an intuition in Mr. Wolf’s consciousness. The a-historical world of a very specific kind of defensive journalism is indicative of that myopia, or is it more accurate to refer to a foreshortened history rather than the a-historical? John Pilger offers a sage analysis of that defensive journalism in this quotation:

These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.

Mr. Wolf’s essay doesn’t quite come close to the  notion of  ‘ a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.’ but comes close enough to offer an invitation to a number of considerations.

Political Reporter

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At The Financial Times: Demetri Sevastopulo and Barney Jopson confront the Republican anti-mainstream push, a comment by Political Reporter

The very notion that John Boehner, Scott Walker or Strom Thurmond apologist Trent Lott are representative of Republican Party political rationalism is on it’s face ludicrous. The foreshortened ‘history’ of the recent Republican Party presented by Demetri Sevastopulo and Barney Jopson lacks historical reach, not to speak of it’s ideologically fueled myopia. The fact that Eric Cantor was one of the early congressional advocates/allies of the Tea Party makes his comments, not just superfluous, but self-servingly disingenuous.

Trump is the culmination of Republican Party mendacity. The beginning of Trumpism can be traced from the ‘Generation of Treason’ Anti-New Deal propaganda offensive of the Nixon/Mundt/McCarthy/McCarren Cold War alliance. And from Goldwater and his allies, who purged the Republican Liberals from the Convention in 1964, the Dixiecrat mass migration to the Republican Party in 1964 and 1965, after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, to the New Nixon of 68: The Southern Strategy, that even pitchman Reagan embraced in his first speech after his nomination at the Neshoba County Fair in 1980.  And then to the Willy Horton hysterics confected by Lee Atwater & Bush I. And the rise of political capo Karl Rove of Bush II. Admittedly this is a polemically charged argument, but this is a history that is, to say the least, a political rejoinder to the vacuous ‘history’ presented by the Sevastopulo/Jopson duo!

Trump is an American Caudillo in the mold of Peron, with the strutting showy arrogance of Mussolini, perfected from years of honing his skill at humiliating his underlings on network television. It plays perfectly to an audience now thoroughly disenchanted with Neo-Liberalism, it’s  successor Austerity and the present economic stagnation.

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At The Financial Times: Rachman,Stephens, Barker and others on Putin, a comment by Political Observer

Mr Rachman’s essay is the culmination of a continuation of Anti-Putin propaganda that was begun with the Philip Stephens essay titled ‘Conflicts will become the new norm’ link here:

A catalogue of the risks facing the thoughtful Capitalist rhetorically framed by the construct  ‘ Vladimir Putin’s revanchist designs on Ukraine’. Of course no mention of the EU/American political adventurism of Victoria Nuland and her many co-conspirators, mostly American and EU based NGO’s.

Followed by this ‘report’ by Alex Barker titled ‘The key moments in Russia’s shift from pariah to player’ :

Alex Barker presents this under the rubric of the political self-rehabilitation of Mr. Putin, yet it reads like a rather clumsy indictment, as a potted history of the Crimes of Putin, to frame it as vulgar political melodrama.

Ashton Carter, US defence secretary, said the Russian strikes appeared to have hit areas where there was no Isis presence.

“It does appear that they were in areas where there probably were not Isil [Isis] forces and that is precisely one of the problems with this whole [Russian] approach,” Mr Carter said at the Pentagon.

The startling revelation that Putin has the means and the power to act unilaterally, just like President Obama and his precursors, comes as a revelation to the FT and its ‘reporters’ and editorialists ?

Mr. Rachman adds to the continuing political/propaganda conversation with the invidious comparison of Putin with George W Bush:

George W Bush famously said that he had looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and “got a sense of his soul”. Maybe he did – for the former US and current Russian presidents are beginning to look like soulmates, when it comes to the idea of a “war on terror”. Like President Bush, President Putin has decided to deploy his country’s military in the Middle East, as part of a war on terrorism. And like President Bush, the Russian leader has argued that he is engaged in a struggle on behalf of the whole civilised world, while appealing for global support.

Is the fact that both Putin and Obama can act unilaterally, that there is a parity of sorts, such a disturbing reality to the apologists for America’s unilateral actions? What are the results of America’s interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, it’s drone attacks conducted with absolute impunity? The exercise of honesty might just demand the thought that the current Refugee Crisis is the product of the exercise of  American hegemony. But consider the thought that Putin can also be a spoiler, as he might just be engaging in retribution for ‘Western’ meddling in his own backyard, Ukraine? Or might he just be a peacemaker in the mold of Nobel laureate President Obama?

Political Observer

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At The Financial Times: my reply to @Silicon Valley Matt

@Silicon Valley Matt

Here is an instructive quote from W. Patrick Lang whose CV appears below the long quote describing inter-agency foreign policy meetings at the White House:

‘-It is increasingly clear that President Obama is disengaged from foreign policy and concentrating on what he sees as his revolutionary domestic agenda.  His victory over Bibi/AIPAC in the Iran nuclear deal fracas is likely to be his last serious foreign policy action.  The foreign policy apparat is running on auto-pilot and is in the hands of incompetents like General Allen.  It is reported to me that every interagency foreign policy meeting in the WH begins with a competitive harangue against Putin and the Russians in what has become a mythic self-generated “struggle” against an imagined rival.  In that  atmosphere the ultimate US reaction to increased Russian activity n Syria can nor be predicted.  pl’

‘Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years. He was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. In the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) he was the “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism,” and later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service.” For his service in DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” This is the equivalent of a British knighthood. He is an analyst consultant for many television and radio broadcasts.’

Mr. Lang is in a position to know, if only from hearsay, what takes place in these meetings. Your faith in the president’s canny judgement, indeed his ‘trickiness in a good way’ is just that, a kind of faith, i.e. not based in empiricism but in your exercise of belief. Is that a standard that others might exercise with equal results? Neo-Cons, R2P’rs?



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