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:


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


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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


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David Bromwich on ‘Trump v. Comey’ : Episode MMDIII of The American Political Melodrama, Political Observer comments

Mr. Bromwich 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 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.



 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.

Political Observer




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Martin Wolf sees Macron as the Political White Knight of France and the EU Almost Marx Comments

The vision of  Monnet for the EU was of a Federation of Technocrats, democracy in a coal and steel cartel was not just irrelevant, but a danger to the profit motive of a Capitalism, employed as a check in the evolving Cold War against the post-war Soviet Empire. Monnet according to his beliefs, shared a larger vision, too bad that has proven to be misbegotten, in the persons of Schäuble and Merkel as henchmen for an utterly corrupt institutionalized German autocracy.

The notion that Neo-Liberal Lite Boy Wonder Macron will somehow ‘persuade’ the Schäuble/ Merkel axis, that ‘reform’ of the EU is a  political/economic imperative is on its face preposterous. As object lesson the reader need only look to how the Schäuble/ Merkel axis treated the Greeks, as the response that four time defaulter Germany will treat Macron’s proposals.

Here is an excerpt from Yanis Varoufakis’ essay at Project Syndicate of May 15, 2017:

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.


This shows, with a directness not seen at The Financial Times, that the Macron Victory is made up of electorate’s exercise of the ‘The Lesser of Two Evils’, spoiled ballots and massive abstentions, that, in sum, are the facts of the Macron Victory. And the Wolf imperative of ‘Reform in France’ meaning its Neo-Liberalization. The French can’t even manage to look across the Channel, to see the utter disaster of  the British experiment with the Free Market Poison? Is Macron France’s Tony Blair? The man without a Party will govern how? As Yanis Varoufakis points out, there will be no honeymoon!

Almost Marx



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At The Wall Street Journal: Kenneth W. Starr opines, ‘The guardrails of our republic are secure.’ I. F. Stone’s Ghost comments

America’s Fascist Newspaper, the Wall Street Journal , according to political expert Gore Vidal, provides a forum for Kenneth W. Starr,a.k.a. Roy Cohn’s Ghost, to defend Trump’s jurisprudential catamite Rod Rosenstein’s attack on Comey. It must be really important to the Murdoch Empire, and its Charles Foster Kane, the pay wall is down. Never let business interfere with a golden propaganda opportunity!
I. F. Stone’s Ghost



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Neo-Liberal Apologist Ian Buruma poses the question: The End of the Left/Right Divide? A post-mortem by Almost Marx

The idea that the political designations Right and Left as being obsolete is one of the cornerstones of the Neo-Liberal Dispensation. The in-order-to of Buruma’s intellectual mendacity is to pose his conjecture in the interrogative. All of this with the proper historically plausible garnish: in sum the Left is obsolete, Jeremy Corbyn is a throwback to the 1970’s: the endlessly repeated Party Line of The Economist and The Financial Times, if they don’t picture Corbyn as the natural inheritor of the Bolsheviks. The Neo-Liberalism of Blair and Bill Clinton is ascendant, which translated into economic/political catastrophe.

The idea of the transcendence of those two political categories, as obsolete, has infected the whole of Western Political Discourse. We live in the watershed of the Economic Collapse of 2008. Where is the myth of the Self-correcting Market? Another cornerstone of Neo-Liberal myth-making? The cumulative wisdom of Occupy Wall Street provides an arresting political metaphor: we live in the Age of the 99% vs. the 1%. We need, in World Politics,  a series of FDR’s of ‘I welcome your hatred’ instead we get Hillary Clinton and Emmanuel Macron. 

Mr. Buruma is a respectable bourgeois intellectual,  just the latest in a long line of thinkers/political activists to repeat the canard of Neo-Liberal Political Theology, as a truism of the political present. All in advocacy/defense of the Neo-Liberal Lite Macron. In sum, Macron transcends political categorization, in the intellectual mirage of that Neo-Liberal huckstering. The man without a Party will govern how?  Macron voters chose ‘the lesser of two evils’ a subject that Buruma carefully avoids.  Speed and Shock Fillon received almost 20% of the vote, as did Mélenchon, so the very outline of the premature Macron Triumphalism is another manufactured mythology of the political present. And Mr. Buruma just another ‘fellow traveler’ in the parade of the bankruptcy of ‘public intellectuals’ who surrendered their critical faculties to the imperative of political conformity. As the reader can tell I’ve run out of patience with intellectual hacks!

But never fear, like the respectable bourgeois intellectual, he hedges his bets in his final paragraph:

While France has dodged the xenophobic bullet this time, the dust has not yet settled. Left and right may be in flux, but the old divisions that emerged after 1789 are still there, perhaps more than ever. Macron is full of good intentions. But if his politics fail, the latter-day anti-Dreyfusards will be back with a vengeance.



Almost Marx


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At The Financial Times: David J Lynch & Sam Fleming ‘report’ on the Trump firing of Comey. Political Reporter comments

‘The Big Read’?

David J Lynch and Sam Fleming do a workman like job of reportage. Or more accurately, produce more of the same low grade political melodrama the reader of The Financial Times has come to expect. That features at its end the extensive comments of Trent Lott, who lost his Senate leadership post, for praising Strom Thurmond’s political prescience as Dixiecrat candidate for president in 1948. And quotations from Obama ‘adviser’ Prof. Tribe.  Prof. Tribe, like Cass Sunstein, exercised the bad judgement of  becoming courtiers to Neo-Reganite Obama.

The reader will make better use of her/his valuable time reading Yves Smith’s enlightening introduction, and Gaius Publius’ long and equally insightful and informative essay on Trump and the firing of Comey. After the link, I provide some examples of the analysis of Smith and Publius.



1.Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. Both the strong form claim that many seem to believe about Trump (“Trump is a Russian agent”) or its weaker form variant (“Trump under Russian influence”) extraordinary, since both amount to charges of treason.

Yet despite months of press and pundit yammering, nothing has come within hailing distance of proving either claim, despite Trump being the object of extensive oppo by the Republicans, then the Democrats, and throughout, one presumes, by members of the military/surveillance state that badly want to escalate a conflict with Russia (both in the United Kingdom, and this country).

It is hard to fathom how the Russian government could get influence over a US billionaire based on Trump officiating at a beauty pageant and setting up some legal vehicles for licensing deals that never got done. And the other theories of how Russia would have sway over him don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Trump leads an over-the-top life. A sex scandal, even if there were one, wouldn’t dent him, unless, per the cliche, it involved catching Trump in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.


All of which means that if Trump’s Russia doings aren’t formally investigated, either by a special investigator or by Congress, elites who want him gone will have to force him out by extra-constitutional means.

Which suggests three questions. One, who wants him to go, since that will determine the shape of the opposition he faces? Two, who wants him to stay in office? And three, what are those means? Others may answer differently, but I’ll offer these.

First, those in elites positions who want him to go include:

• All Democratic officeholders.

• Many Republican officeholders (those who would much prefer a President Pence).

• Many of those who work in the bowels of the CIA, FBI, and NSA — highly placed rank-and-file operatives in position to leak information and do other substantial damage. (Note what happened during the election when those in the DC office of the FBI leaked damaging Clinton material because they disagreed with Comey’s refusal to recommend an indictment. It’s six months later, but the same dynamic.)

• Others in the national security establishment who don’t trust Trump to be warlike enough. This ropes in neocons both in and out of the military.

• The broader neocon establishment/infrastructure, people who would have supported Clinton’s wars and staffed her administration, all of whom hate Trump’s statements (true ones in my view) about NATO’s irrelevance. Saying goodbye to NATO starts the tearing down of American military-backed hegemony. NATO’s sole relevance is to structure that hegemony in Europe.

Note that the list of Trump’s elite enemies is likely to grow in number of individuals, if not in number of groups. Note also that the key group is the second, Republican officeholders. If they turn against him in large numbers, even if only in private, Trump won’t remain in office. Also, if they support him sufficiently, even if only in private, it will be up to the last three groups, working together, to pressure Trump to leave.

To lapse into economic metaphor, how appropriate here at The Financial Times, the wise reader will invest her/his time in something that will pay handsome dividends, in being provided more food for thought, rather than the sub-standard chatter of the apologists for the dismal political present.

Political Reporter





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