More Putin Melodrama at The Economist, an essay by Political Skeptic

The New Cold War hysteria mongering has reached a vigorous simmer here at The Economist. Putin as The New Stalin is the star of this and many other episodes of this long running, or better yet call it interminable melodrama : complete with so many denouements that the reader reaches a point of political ennui.
The rhetorical pose of the innocence of the E.U. and America, in fomenting and carrying out subversion of Russia’s sphere of influence, a thing America never tolerates, while acting as the defender of freedom through NATO and it’s various NGO’s and well funded front groups, now adds a black comic dimension to this turgid propaganda. The dateline of Moscow is not a complete exercise in journalistic deception, as those Oxbridgers both in the Russian Capital and at the home office honed this essay to fit the ever shifting narrative to suit the current manufactured crisis, and or just the self-serving speculation based on the changeable economic/political climate of that ‘mystery wrapped in an enigma’ that is Putin’s Russia! (To the editors: did I get the Churchill reference right?)

Here are two paragraphs from the essay that evoke the newest economic argument in this ever evolving project:

The economic situation is not as bad as many predicted four months ago. Having lost half its value, the rouble has stabilised and even started to strengthen, thanks in part to a recent rise in oil prices. Inflation is running at 17% but is rising more slowly than many feared. Instead of a 5% contraction, the economy may shrink by only 3% this year. “The situation is not as catastrophic as many people thought,” is how a senior Russia banker sums up the mood.

Yet the fragile economic balance is not being used by Vladimir Putin as an argument for returning to peace and prosperity, but rather as evidence that he is standing strong against Russia’s adversaries. The state media have trumpeted the strengthening of the rouble against the dollar and the euro as a victory in the face of American and European enemies determined to ruin Russia.

To those of us who were born and lived in the last Cold War, and have since studied it’s history, this so closely resembles the propaganda we were exposed to 24 hours a day, as are faces were glued to that electronic wonder of another age, television, or read any American newspaper and/or the dread Luce publication Time Magazine. One might speculate, in homage to Mr. Luce,  that the moribund idea and practices of the American Century are being hastily exhumed? Were they ever dead?

For an alternative to The Economist’s nearly invisible line between reporting and editorial opinion see this from Global Research, which is a compilation of sources both congenial and uncongenial to The Economist readers, but none the less worthy of attention, not to say of consideration.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/preparing-for-war-with-russia-nato-war-games-joint-warrior-in-scotland-13000-troops-54-warships-70-planes-submarines/5443229

Political Skeptic

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The Economist on Gunter Grass, or 2006 redux: a comment by Almost Marx

Republishing  this 2006 essay, as an obituary for Mr. Grass, or it’s stand in,  can only be properly described as a chickenshit attack on him, no other epithet describes it as succinctly : he was 12 years old in 1939 and 18 years old in 1945! He came clean about his childhood! What did any of us believe in that six year age range? We, as children, believed what we were told and what was taught to us! In all ways, in that age range, we are the creatures of our time and place. How hard is it to understand that elementary fact about childhood and adolescence! If guilt over his childhood beliefs and practices were the mainspring of Mr. Grass’ brilliant literary/political career and his belated confession, then we are better for his example!

Lets not even consider the power of shame in the lives of human beings! That kind of insight is beyond the ken of the author or authors of this diatribe, masquerading as a meditation on the inability of Germans to confront their own history, the purest political convenience, in an unconvincing rhetorical frame. The essay itself is nine years old, is this the best you can muster?

To prove to your readership the true character of the editors of The Economists, there is no comments section, in which your contemporary readership could vent their justifiable wraith, or more likely, celebrate the unmasking of another Left Wing political opportunist, in posthumous recognition of his historically demonstrated mendacity?  The War on the Left is your manic obsession, while a nearly unbridled Capitalism/Neoliberalism attacks what’s left of the marrow of civic life with abandon!  The re-purposing of this 2006 essay  is the sort of political tactic that the National Review or at The Weekly Standard might engage in as part of business as usual.

Almost Marx

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Mr. Luce on candidate Hillary Clinton, a comment by Political Observer

Is this the point, in the continuing political conversation here at the Financial Times, where we can safely declare Mr. Luce a feminist? It’s as burning a question as any that could be asked, or can we surmise as regular readers, that this is an example of the Luce Method? That method in most instances is a kind of political ventriloquism i.e. presenting various thoughts in his essay that add questionable value. But Mr. Luce surprises, he has taken the trouble to master a great deal of information, that deviates from that Luce Method, and is impressive. Should we take that information as a signal that he supports a legislative program that would lift the burdens of over half the American population? If so that is welcome news!

Mr. Luce ignores the major players that might impede Ms. Clinton’s political ambitions: the New Deal Democrat and very appealing Senator Warren, whose personal history has much more appeal, indeed resonance, with voters than Clinton’s. Allied to her confrontational style when questioning bankers in Senate hearings: a major political push on Ms. Clinton from the Progressive, Left Wing of the Party. And, on a personal level, Senator Warren’s Feminism appears as more organic and less confrontational than Ms. Clinton’s, because style matters! She has what Ms. Clinton utterly lacks, an abundance of personal charm, even a plain spoken charisma.

The possible Republican candidates that look like the usual No-Nothings and Neo-Cons, old and new. On that note, even the Economic  Wunderkind Rep. Paul Ryan, as rising star of the Party, has seemed to become lost amongst the new faces of 2014. What ever became of those much ballyhooed Budget Proposals? And what about Ms. Clinton’s shopworn Neo-Liberalism: free markets for a free people or some such preposterous locution. Recall the Free Trade Agreement as indicative of a small portion of that wretched Neo-Liberalism?

Political Observer

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Cecilia Nahon: Argentina vs the Vultures

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Yanis Varoufakis and Joseph Stiglitz

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On David Brooks Moralist, a comment by Political Skeptic

When thinking about Mr. Brooks it becomes self-evident that he shares much in common with the self-hating, relentlessly hectoring tradition of Paul, Augustine and Jerome, with the addition of the Puritan religious politics of Cotton Mather. The notion that worldly success has turned to ashes, for this man, reflects the kind of spiritual/ethical/political melodrama that Mr. Brooks revels in.
It has always struck me that he identifies himself, in his guise as Pundit, as part Old Testament Prophet, part Platonic Guardian and as the natural successor to Walter Lippmann. A daunting set of aspirations or simply self-delusion?  Reading one of  Mr. Brooks’ essays then becomes the challenge of assimilating the constantly shifting registers, which ends in a kind rhetorical vertigo, experienced as some how insightful and or just intellectual muddle, yet serving the cause of Conservative ideology. Is it confusing? Perhaps that is the point of the exercise.

I read the first thirty pages of The Social Animal and decided that what was really needed to execute what Mr. Brooks aspired to, but did not possess, was the talent of a novelist rather than his penchant for the practice of an ersatz politicized sociology.

The quote from Michael Kinsley seems utterly misplaced, as Kingsley now writes a monthly column for Vanity Fair that if it represents Liberalism demonstrates that that Liberalism has transmogrified itself into the most reprehensible of political creatures, The Neo-Liberal. Also the fact that Mr. Brooks in his ‘Humility Course’ teaches Reinhold Niebuhr leaves one unsurprised, as Mr. Niebuhr has gained ground as the favorite ‘Philosopher’ of President Obama. The critical reader might just opine that Niebuhr, given the insights offered in Mr. Richard Fox’s very friendly biography appears as the complete political conformist: whose call to Christian proselytizing meant more than his dabbling in the radical politics. Niebuhr during the height of the McCarthy era made it clear that he repudiated that radical past. It should come as no surprise that Mr. Niebuhr and Mr. Ilya Kazan shared a belief, a conviction, that their very successful practice, in their chosen fields, was more important that the political delusions of their impetuous youths. That Niebuhr represents humility, or any such civic virtue, leaves no other conclusion than that  Mr. Brooks teaches, not about the actual practice of the Christian Realism of Niebuhr, but the carefully sanitized version, that appeals to the political orthodoxy of this historical moment, wedded to the mendacious apologetics of erasure.

Political Skeptic

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/10/david-brooks-interview-im-paid-to-be-narcissistic-blowhard

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The Economist takes the political measure of candidate Hillary Clinton, a comment by Political Observer

From reading this essay, one might just surmise that various ‘reporters’ contributed parts of it, and then the editors cobbled together the final version, in a long but productive conference: Neo-Liberals have many points of agreement.The point of the conference was to appeal rhetorically to the Economist’s conservative readership while maintaining the journalistic notion of ‘objectivity’, or at the least it’s facsimile.
‘Yet to a left-wing crowd': The Left is the invented enemy of the Economist collective political imagination. Senator Warren is a New Deal Democrat, Ms. Clinton’s only possible political rival, at this point, who might be characterized as another dread political creature the Populist Horde, Senator Warren being it titular leader.
One of  the most prominent Neo-Liberal front groups that is mentioned in the essay is The Center for American Progress, the pubic relations ploy of this organization is that it is ‘Politically Progressive’, while being staunchly Neo-Liberal: Ms. Clinton rhetorically frames her economic philosophy as  “the American model of free markets for free people”. Mr. Summers and his ally Mr. Rubin are the ‘free people’ she refers to, one might even add Mr. Blankfein and Mr. Dimon to the list.
Ms. Clinton is the stogy Neo-Liberal Democratic candidate of that Summers/Rubin economic wing of the Party. But her appeal on Foreign Policy is to Neo-Conservatives like William Kristol and Jeffrey Goldberg, if we can judge from their political enthusiasm of months ago? See Mr. Goldberg’s enthusiastic interview from August 10, 2014, in which she declares her policy independence from President Obama, with Mr. Goldberg cheering her on.Call this quoted paragraph obsequious,indeed pandering to the Clinton ego !
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/hillary-clinton-failure-to-help-syrian-rebels-led-to-the-rise-of-isis/375832/

‘What follows is a transcript of our conversation. It has been edited for clarity but not for length, as you will see. Two other things to look for: First, the masterful way in which Clinton says she has drawn no conclusions about events in Syria and elsewhere, and then draws rigorously reasoned conclusions. Second, her fascinating and complicated analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ill-fated dalliance with democracy.’

As for the e mail issue, the question is or might be, what person who holds public office has the right to edit or delete pertinent items from the public record? Even if the issue is classified material, future historians will or might use that information to offer necessary historical insights. The Clinton ego/arrogance on full display!

Political Observer

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