Peter Beinart on Joe Biden: questions and speculatons by Political Reporter

Is the definition of political misfortune Peter Beinart’s faint praise of Joe Biden, or Jeffrey Goldberg and William Kristol’s praise of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy toughness? Mr. Biden is another stolid, unimaginative New Democrat, not withstanding Mr. Beinart’s attempt at steering the political conversation into a direction that is to say the least puzzling, or just one ‘liberal’ scratching another ‘liberals’ back? Was Mr. Beinart subject to courtship, or was he like John Stewart a regular caller on a prominent office holder? Public intellectual and comedians have a weakness for the powerful!
After Obama’s ‘Hope and Change’ mantra of 2008, that was pure public relations sloganeering devoid of political substance, and the policy schizophrenia of second term: a proxy war in Ukraine led by Victoria Nuland, and her Neo-Con and R2P zealot allies, and the Iran Deal led by John Kerry-what can one make of the whole of it? Not to speak of Obama’s boast that he could be elected to a third term!

Political Reporter

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The ‘Republican strategy’ on Planned Parenthood, or Political Nihilism redux: a comment by Political Observer

The Republicans will never learn, as long as Sen. McConnell and his coterie of sclerotic old white guys, continue to pursue the Neo-Confederate/Originalist Party Line: the myth that women need daddy’s guiding hand, because they are unable to confront such issues as birth control, without the moral surety of  masculine tutelage. The ‘War on Women’ has resonance with all but the religious zealots, who live in the thrall of  religious conservatism/fundamentalism!
Hospitals regularly, as a matter of course, sell tissue harvested from infant circumcisions to drug companies, that manufacture $200 dollar face cream, sold exclusively at plastic surgeons offices. Institutionalized sexual violence is a profit center.
The Republicans will seal their own fate, in 2016, by another round of political nihilism, ushering in Neo-Liberal hack Mrs. Clinton. What ever happened to all that Ronald Reagan political savvy? Or even that old political saw of the 11th commandment? And where are the Eisenhower Republicans?

Political Observer

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Free Markets, red tape and Gillian Tett, a comment by Political Observer

The Party Line of ‘too much red tape’ can be traced back to the early 1960’s where I first heard that line of argument from the Ev and Charlie Show:

The whole issue revolves around the deeply held notion that ‘Government is the problem’ , the Reagan political bromide, that eventuated in the economic collapse of 2008, to foreshorten considerably.  With an assist from New Democrat Bill Clinton and his Free Market allies Phil and Wendy Gramm and other ‘reformers': the repeal of Glass-Steagall was the harbinger of disaster!

What does all this ‘red tape’ really mean? That businesses and their owners and operators have a real civic obligation to operate honestly and fairly inside a civic structure. Now that is something that the Free Marketeers can’t fathom. It is beyond their ken. In the Neo-Liberal world view, The Free Market is the historical/political/ethical singularity that is above question. Not mentioning the greed, mendacity and chicanery empirically demo started by Capital since that 1999 ‘Reform’.

Those ‘innovators’, like Apple and the rest of the tech giants, have exported their jobs to the sweat shops of Asia and their Help Line customer service centers to India. All in the name of profitability. The newest ‘innovator’ is Uber that skirts around laws that protect consumers against unlicensed taxis, because those ‘innovators’ can’t be bothered with the law, or the interest of public safety. The issue is public safety, in the interests of the commonwealth, not of some utopian chatter about entrepreneurs/innovators being held back by draconian bureaucracy. After 55 years of this endlessly repeated propaganda: the myth of the innovators squelched by state bureaucracy, a central claim of Neo-Liberal Theology. Yet we are in the 7th year of our ‘economic recovery’, that resembles stasis rather than the argued dynamism of the apologists for a Capital!

Political Observer

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My reply : @Olaf von Rein @Klaus

In two sentences @Klaus articulates a cogent critique of the Neo-Liberal Delusion that has thoroughly colonized the EU, and it’s Masters Merkel/Schäuble the imperative of this motley duo is to willfully forget their own history, and then endlessly propagandize about their political/economic virtue!

Please recall the propaganda offensive of the Virtuous Northern Tier v. The Profligate Southern Tier? The editors at the FT, and many of it’s readers find this Merkel/Schäuble Party Line politically useful, if not an irresistible antidote to the utter failure of their singular idea of The Self-Correcting Free Market:now in it’s seventh year of ‘recovery’. One might ask if this be ‘recovery’ what might prosperity look like?   The rise of Thatcher/Reagan and their addiction to the economic bromides of political romantics like the risible Hayek and the other Philosophers of Greed like von Mises and Friedman, with help from script writer and pamphleteer Ayn Rand have still not lost the most diehard of their acolytes and political pitchmen: reconsideration and even a volte face of those true believers is not in the cards. Yet we await the next political actor who will appear on the EU stage, Spain, and who is to follow?

You don’t mention Keynes, yet your whole essay is an attempt not just to discredit but to malign his policies : he is the perennial enemy of the Neo-Liberal Apologist, for good reason!  Neo-Liberals refuse to face the failure of their Economic Theology and it’s successor Austerity: it would require an act of impiety, not to speak of sacrilege.


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Mr. Noah Feldman on Jonathan Pollard: on the limits of defensive anguish, a comment by Political Reporter

Mr. Feldman rehearses the defensiveness of American Jews not seen since the Rosenberg’s Show Trail. According to documents obtained under The Freedom Of Information Act Mr.Greenglass was suborned to perjury by the prosecution, even though the case against the Rosenbergs was ‘air tight’. For the particulars:

‘Early on in the federal investigation into the Rosenberg spy ring, Greenglass was trying to protect members of his family, including his sister; his betrayal of her was to come only later when, according to his own admission, he was pressured into lying by federal prosecutors.’

In this context how seriously should we take Mr. Greenglass’ eventual repudiation of his testimony?

As for Mr. Pollard, he seems to have been  an ardent Zionist whose loyalty to Israel was primary. Was he the embodiment of the Antisemitic trope of dual loyalty? Perhaps this will provide an answer, from the Wikipedia entry:

‘Prior to sentencing, Pollard and his wife Anne gave further defiant media interviews in which they defended their spying and attempted to rally Jewish Americans to their cause. In a 60 Minutes interview, Anne said, “I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews, what our moral obligation was as human beings, and I have no regrets about that.”[36]

He may not be mentally ill, at the least he was an opportunist aided by his galloping narcissism, and the practice of lying as a habit of  being:

‘As of 2014 the full extent of the information Pollard passed to Israel has still not been officially revealed. Press reports cited a secret 46-page memorandum, which Pollard and his attorneys were allowed to view.[35] They were provided to the judge by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who described Pollard’s spying as including, among other things, obtaining and copying the latest version of Radio-Signal Notations (RASIN), a 10-volume manual comprehensively detailing America’s global electronic surveillance network.[8][36]

The pertinent question might be: why would our closest ally spy on the US? which Mr. Feldman scrupulously avoids asking. The Israelis only admitted culpability for this whole sordid affair in 1998. Mr. Feldman provides the reader with anguished defensive chatter, instead of anything resembling thoughtful analysis.

Political Reporter

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Varoufakis at the Financial Times: Headline ‘Former Public Enemy writes an editorial’

The Financial Times has allowed one of it’s former Public Enemies a space to offer some new ideas about a pressing issue. One is hardly surprised at the response of the readership of the FT! A concerted campaign of vilification has paid off, in the comments section of Mr. Varoufakis’ essay.

The Corporatist State is the future of the ‘West': in America the passage of the TPA has ushered in the idea that  ‘secret legislation’ is acceptable, without much dissent, by an completely corrupt/complaint political class, that repeats the Party Line on ‘Free Trade’ which is in essence Managed Trade. Large multi-National Corporations are now in charge of both our politics and economic life: and the Merkel/Schäuble alliance is the future of our collective idea and practice of politics. Which involves a surrender of sovereignty i.e. self-determination as constitutive of what republicanism once meant. What I find puzzling is Mr. Varoufakis’ faith in the idea of Europe as practiced by that Merkel/Schäuble duo.

Political Cynic

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Mr. Bernie Quigley on NATO and Europe

Is Bernie Quigley the nom de guerre that Niall Ferguson has adopted for this editorial? The argument such as it is: America has been carrying these politically worthless Europeans for too long, to foreshorten this diatribe! Quigley/Ferguson echos the Germans on the Greeks? One might guess that from the deeply pessimistic attitude, not to speak of cynicism that NATO and Europe produce in this thinker. He mentions the mandarine Kennan and his Long Telegram, but fails to mention his publication of same under different guise in Foreign Policy , if I recall correctly. Or to even mention Lippmann’s extensive, not to say devastating reply. Call it the Disagreement of The Mandarins to stay within the parameters of Foreign Policy Chatter that Mr. Quigley/Ferguson practices with a certain aplomb.
As for the notion of Kennan as ‘secessionists’ the letters that are produced as proof date from the 97th  year of Mr. Kennan’s life. 
We needn’t worry, with the passage of the TPA and it’s successor TPP we are about to enter the world remade into an International Corporatist political hegemony, the EU being our model for the utter decline of democracy, and state sovereignty, as economic corollary to the National Security States of ‘The West’.  America will never give up on Europe or NATO it is an instrument of the exercise of dominance over Europe, and the instrument to fight off ‘Russian revanchism’ and a proxy war with Russia over Ukraine: The New Cold War.

For an informative and gossipy history of Cold War personalities like Kennan and the Alsop brothers i.e. The WASP Ascendancy see The Georgetown Set. Not quite as addicted to current pop culture references as Quigley/Ferguson, but
but it provides insights that Joe Alsop’s Cold War  or The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy, Brothers in Arms don’t offer . Those insights are about the political and personal connectedness of policy makers like Kennan and the Bundy brothers. What is offered about Kennan is his stalwart advocacy/apologetics for American power, even as he played the Liberal Dissident role in the pages of The New York Review of Books.
 I think my Quigley/Ferguson speculation falls a bit flat near the end, as Mr. Quigley lapses into a kind of caricature of Isolationism, that lacks the self-presentation of historical sophistication, that is one of the  salient markers of the Ferguson’s argumentative style. In Mr. Quigley’s world-view it is the primacy of the Anglo-American Special Relationship, while Europe is to languish. Yet we are witnessing the coming apart of the EU in agonizing installments under the leadership of  the current  Merkel/Schäuble allience.
Political Reporter
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