Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 31, 2014

How Foreign Policy Demeans Democracy At Home

Nothing by me but you should read and discuss this essay in Spiked Its conclusion:

The EU and the US act as if they bear no responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine and in Western-Russian relations. Possibly the West has deluded itself about global affairs to such an extent that it is oblivious to its own complicity in the current crisis. Such delusions mean that the normal rules that inform international relations have given way to shallow posturing and empty moralising, always with an eye to making an impact with the media. This corrosion of Western diplomacy represents a real danger to global stability. It also undermines the moral authority of democracy. At a certain point, the politics of double standards in foreign affairs will demean democratic ideals so much that even the integrity of democratic institutions at home will come to be undermined.

To some point this is, I believe, already happening.

Posted by b on March 31, 2014 at 01:35 PM | Permalink

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Yes, b, it is already happening. Sam Nunn, former senator from my state, has co-written an op-ed with George Schultz that is every bit as stupid as Mitt Romney's anti-START piece of a few years back, pushing the idea of countering Russia with (likely heavily-subsidized) exports of American natural gas. It so happens that Nunn's daughter Michelle is a candidate for the Senate this year, and state and national party leaders are trying their hardest to anoint her as the Democratic nominee, despite competition in the primary (which includes my preferred candidate, a Serbian-born psychiatrist). So we're expected to vote by name-recognition, enhanced by the occasional "elder statesman" cameo by this old Brzezinski acolyte. In other words, these people only care about "democracy" when it suits them, both at home and abroad, and they never have held it as an ideal.

Posted by: Jon Lester | Mar 31, 2014 2:25:32 PM | 1

To quote the essay:

After analysing the statements about Ukraine made by Western diplomats over the past two weeks, I have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that the motives behind the current campaign to demonise Russia are based on genuine convictions. Of course, there is a great deal of propaganda, wilful distortion and a significant element of fantasy in this campaign - but the outlook it expresses has been so firmly internalised by many in the West that it now constitutes their reality. [...] At least realpolitik has the merit of being rooted in the real world; the current anti-Russian campaign, by contrast, is based on confusion and, even worse, on self-deception.

I don't find this convincing. Everyone knows what following constitutional procedures means. The British foreign minister went before Parliament to tell them that the change of the Ukrainian government was legal, and the Guardian later had a piece explaining that he had lied to them, that the president had been removed from power illegally.

There is a difference between "genuine convictions" and "self-deception". The first involves believing in or internalizing your own propaganda, the second involves Orwellian doublethink. Ordinary Americans who think that Russia did something wrong by incorporating the Crimea may genuinely believe the Western propaganda, but Western leaders are either practicing doublethink or simply lying when they say that the Kiev regime is legal.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 31, 2014 2:27:12 PM | 2

I think the ex-communists at Spiked have got it arse backwards. Historically, the events of the current period including tactics and strategies used, have been practiced by the imperialist powers for centuries. What has changed is the role of the media in these events. Hence we view them very differently from exactly the same events that have been engineered in the past.

For example, the proxy war waged by the US and South Africa, via UNITA, to overthrow the 'marxist' government of Angola, or the war against the Sandinistas that used the Contras. There's an endless list of horrors to account for but all the result of "genuine convictions" no doubt. Back then, such proxy wars were rarely officially acknowledged and definitely not centre stage to the Western propaganda effort. But then, all those events were diffracted through the lens of the Cold War for those of of us who lived through it all.

What bullshit, "genuine convictions" indeed! To pasraphrase, the road to hell is paved with genuine convictions. The Spiked piece is essentially a load of post-modern gobbledegook, that says nothing except that they purport to know just what our sociopathic political class is thinking.

I'm surprised the 'b' thinks its worth disseminating.

Posted by: William Bowles | Mar 31, 2014 2:44:22 PM | 4

@2

There is a difference between "genuine convictions" and "self-deception".

Venn diagram is good for describing such differences.

Posted by: rjj | Mar 31, 2014 3:04:18 PM | 5

Gunfire reported in Kiev.

Posted by: Mcdoo | Mar 31, 2014 3:09:34 PM | 6

@3

There is a subclass of liars who genuinely believe their lies. A Venn diagram with said subclass and the politicians under consideration might not be necessary.

Posted by: Nora | Mar 31, 2014 3:10:23 PM | 7

"but you should read and discuss this essay"

I think this may be more important:

http://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/must-go-viral-blockbuster-this-is-accurate-and-now-100-percent-confirmed-hijacked-ibm-engineer-successfully-dialed-out-of-diego-garcia/ IBM ENGINEER TAKEN FROM HIJACKED FLIGHT 370 GOT A SELFIE OUT TO THE INTERNET.

"The picture posted with the following text: “I have been held hostage by unknown military personal after my flight was hijacked (blindfolded). I work for IBM and I have managed to hide my cellphone in my ass during the hijack. I have been separated from the rest of the passengers and I am in a cell. My name is Philip Wood. I think I have been drugged as well and cannot think clearly.”

Posted by: scalawag | Mar 31, 2014 3:11:36 PM | 8

Let's change that @3 to @5... ;~)

Posted by: Nora | Mar 31, 2014 3:11:41 PM | 9

I think the Dunning-Kruger phenomenon explains a lot. Was stunned when I actually SAW the footage of Nuland handing out cookies (had only read about it).

What practical difference does it make whether these stooges are acting out of conviction, delusion, passionate intensity, folly, or vanity?

Posted by: rjj | Mar 31, 2014 3:27:55 PM | 10

Watch This Reaction: Putin Laughs Right In This Journalist's Face

Posted by: Mitar | Mar 31, 2014 3:41:28 PM | 11

The article was more about the illusions of young Americans than anything else. Given that most young Americans don't have much of an idea about the outside world, they're likely to confuse democracy with American policy.

Real democracy doesn't have much of a chance, when faced with the interests of powerful people. Ancient Athens is a good example. Democracy lasted as long as it was "guided" by a leader. Then there was "demagoguery", that is leaders who were interested in the vote, whatever it was. So they lost the Peloponnesian War. Democracy in Athens disappeared pretty quickly in the 4th century BC.

Of course that was a first attempt. We should not criticise them for having tried and failed. Our more recent efforts have been more successful, having learnt from the past. But I wonder whether the situation is really different. Democracy depends upon leaders who are willing to maintain it. They can easily change, and tell you they are the right leader, whatever the vote.

By the way, I am for democracy.

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 31, 2014 3:59:42 PM | 12

I enjoyed the Furedi piece. I think it reaffirms the disconnect between governing elites and the general public, backed up by a recent poll by the Pew Research Center. Despite weeks of shrieking about Russian "aggression" and "violation of international norms," a majority of Americans don't want any involvement in the Ukraine.

I think there is hope, after Snowden, after Obama's aborted attack on Syria, after looking at those Pew poll numbers, that people can limn the outlines of the Deep State.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 31, 2014 4:06:24 PM | 13

#10 What practical difference does it make whether these stooges are acting out of conviction, delusion, passionate intensity, folly, or vanity?

One big difference is that if acting out of delusion then the possibility of making a big error goes way up. In the case of Ukraine, a big error could result in war. I have assumed that US/EU policy was calculated but poorly thought out. If so we can walk back the mistake and create some new understandings. If based on delusion then it will be much harder to do that. I cannot speak for what is happening in the minds of our diplomats but I have been quite appalled at the thinking of many of my closest colleagues and friends who seem utterly incapable of seeing that Russia has legitimate self interests and fears of the West. Much like the author of this piece writes about those US NGO employees. Those people are deluded.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 31, 2014 4:07:27 PM | 14

Speaking as a U.S. "western" I must ask what Democracy? Hell I can't even find a democratic institution. The word democracy can be found nowhere in the U.S. constitution by intent and design. Nor can one reasonably claim political parties, much less the U.S. House or Senate are in any way Democratic beyond rare acts of kabuki when the results are meaningless or what powers that be wanted anyway. And these points are most certainly true all the way down to the smallest of local levels.

We the people cannot peacefully abolish/or dramatically alter our government nor can we directly amend the constitution itself.

I'm fully aware these things never operate in a vacuum.... however I ask once again.... what Democracy?

This is the ultimate self deception among my fellow countrymen.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Mar 31, 2014 4:14:32 PM | 15

@4 Bowles

No. I think b is on to something. I don't deny the century-long continuity in American imperialism, but there has been a phase change. US and UK (and Canadian for that matter though it doesn't matter)is stupider and more parochial than it was 40 to 50 years ago. I can't speak for the UK. They used to have an aristocracy and what has happened to them since Thatcher is unbelievable; but in the case of the US we have the displacement of the old foreign policy elite by a so-called meritocracy that is the political social reproduction of unquestioned received wisdom not to mention pure careerist sucking up. The same thing is happening in France, so it is not peculiarly American. Poll-tested politics by kids who majored in 'Election Studies' (I'm sure as shit that there is a University where there major in that 'discipline').

The people who have come through that mill really do believe the crap they are peddling. That's why they are so dangerous, and why the United States has become the greatest danger to world peace since Wilhelmine Germany.

I believe (without personal knowledge because I have no contacts there) that the CIA has managed to preserve a corps of people who actually understand what is going on the rest of the world (speaking of the intelligence, not the operations side). My acquaintances at DOD definitely do not.

The press is a different read, since in principle the editors and journalists are not subject to the same top-down constraints that operate in government and organizations like the IMF, World Bank and OECD (personal knowledge). In fact, however, they are. Le Monde is a disgrace, and it is best not to speak of NYT or WaPo so as not to scare the children. Careerism certainly plays a part in the scam; laziness another part.

It's a toxic mix. I don't know what to do. I talk to people one on one, but it's like sticking your finger in the dike when the waves are coming over the top.

Posted by: Knut | Mar 31, 2014 4:14:47 PM | 16

US foreign policy is chiefly designed to fight against countries that can barely fight back. Since we're not about to invade Russia and since economic sanctions are acts of war, we can either embrace the neo-nazis of Kiev and lend them our "support" or we can back completely down and look for a much weaker country to punish. The Maldives have been making a bunch of noise about rising sea levels. Maybe we should go over there and shut their traps. It would be clean victory if nothing else.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 31, 2014 4:19:47 PM | 17

Amongst the general public, even the very well educated, the idea that the US represents the good guys is pretty thoroughly ingrained. Not everyone buys it by any means but there are plenty who do. Those are the ones most likely to seek careers in government.

Once there, promotion is almost quite certainly dependent on ideological purity. People reading alternative media all the time wont get very far.

So yeah, I can see how some elites eat up their own bull shit and call it ice cream. And when they are doing some sort of massacre or whatever, there's always the "end justifies the means" argument for self persuasion. Ask Madeleine Albright if you have any doubts.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 31, 2014 4:32:44 PM | 18

An example I see often are the numerous justifications for nuking Japan. Twice.

Like "it saved us from an invasion"...as in mass murder of civilians saved us from having to do real fighting, so it was ok.

Or, "It showed the Russians we meant business" as in mass murder to intimidate others is ok.

Or something along those lines. For them morality is whatever suites them at any given time. Yes, they really think like that. I guess it's banality of evil some such thing.

Posted by: Lysander | Mar 31, 2014 4:37:13 PM | 19

This corrosion of Western diplomacy represents a real danger to global stability.

Diplomacy? You meant this kind of f*cking diplomacy?

U.S. could free Israeli spy in deal to save peace talks: source close to talks

An Israeli spy serving a life sentence in the United States and groups of Palestinian prisoners could be freed under an emerging deal to salvage Middle East peace talks, sources close to the negotiations said on Monday.

The sources, who spoke as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said under the proposed arrangement that Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst caught spying for Israel in the 1980s, could be released by mid-April.

Everyone of these people are traitorous war criminals. If people think that American exceptionalism is completely off the rails what does it mean that that the US bows to the shitty apartheid genocidal state of Israel even letting their spies go free in order to be a third party to the farcical "peace talks"?

Oh that's right we're too busy giving Oscars to other Israel scum spies.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 31, 2014 5:23:50 PM | 20

Adding: there are some good FOIA FBI documents about Milchan linked to in the thread I linked to here. Noting: the docs are just as redacted as the Dancing Israeli FBI reports from 9/11. Yup, there's American exceptionalism and then there's Zionist exceptionalism and together they pose the greatest threats to mankind. Easy.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 31, 2014 5:42:33 PM | 21

I wouldn't give them the benefit of the doubt by saying they suffer from self-delusion. I think they know perfectly well what they're doing, but they don't care. As long as they can reap whatever rewards they seek, they're willing to bastardize and warp the ideals that sustain us.

Posted by: madisolation | Mar 31, 2014 5:56:56 PM | 22

Maybe there's more than one kind of psychopath among TPTB, but it doesn't matter too much, they're essentially all doing the same thing - promoting govt as an ongoing criminal enterprise. And it's been forever so. Reading Gore's civil war trilogy makes clear it was about money and power of one set of northern psychopaths against the southern ones.

Here's a good read:
War Is the Health of the State
http://www.bopsecrets.org/CF/bourne.htm

Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 31, 2014 6:31:24 PM | 23

this is what happens when people unwittingly elect bad people into government, as as has happened in most western states from USA and canada to europe and Australia

Posted by: brian | Mar 31, 2014 6:50:06 PM | 24

It's already happened and it continues. I've been a student of the US Empire and world history for decades. The first point I'll make is at the very moment when the USA was signing and ratifying the UN Charter, it was already engaging in terrorism in Eastern Europe and the USSR through its program of hiring former SS and Gestapo troops for that purpose, and had engaged in the massive war crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Congress utter failed to do its DUTY to impeach the majority of the Truman Administration, and then compounded the problem by damning the future by passing the 1947 National Security Act, which effectively ended what little democracy that existed within the US Empire. During the 1945-1950 time period, there are myriad other examples that serve to prove the same point--the US federal government was out-of-control of its citizens who had come so close to reining it in prior to 1941. Essentially, the NSA was implemented to render impossible any attempt to revive the Neutrality Acts and thus rein-in the still fledgling MIC. Remember, Truman needed to drum up the threat of war in 1948 to get re-elected and to save airplane manufacturers and their Air Force baby.

It's also possible to go back to WW1 regarding the demise of what few democratic institutions existed, while also noting how Prohibition enhanced the crushing of civil liberties, just as the Drug War does today.

I would further insist on going back even further in time to 1787 and closely examine the coup that overthrew the Articles of Confederation and the government that was based upon it, which gave us our entirely undemocratic form of government with its blank slate Executive.

What we're fighting against today was a long time in coming. Also recall that the written records of the 1787 coup plotters in Philadelphia were supposed to remain secret forever. The ethos of Snowden's been around for quite awhile!

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 31, 2014 7:01:15 PM | 25

The United States is certainly not a democracy in substance, and even in form it has been surpassed decades ago by the social democracies in Europe and most recently by the new forms of participatory government in Latin America. The form democracy takes in the United States - the multi-billion dollar elections and media driven campaigns as the extent of public involvement - is laughable. No one takes this to mean "democracy" anymore.

My take: In the main, America stopped developing democratically following the Second World War, when the public relations methods applied during the First World War became permanent institutions. Since the Second World War, we have seen basically a social war going on between those institutions who maintained democratic forms - largely labor unions, what was left of the Communist and socialist parties whose children became the Peace Movement, the universities, and the churches via the Civil Rights Movement - versus the military, the corporations, and the rich. And slowly but surely, the corporations have been edging the people out of every sphere where we had a voice in making policy. Even the military, once a rare institution that brought Americans together, has become a private fiefdom of corporations and politicians.

But that social war for democracy was over by the beginning of the 1990s and, although there were some great victories like Civil Rights, the people lost the main prize: the chance for those democratic forms to take hold and become institutionalized.

The social war took many forms. In some cases and in some areas it was literally war where citizens were treated like criminals - killed, had their lives ruined, organizations destroyed by underhanded tactics (see COINTELPRO and the Church Committee hearings). The FBI and CIA litterally squashed all kinds of home grown democratic and peace movements with violence. And they didn't stop at the little guy - the list of heavyweight personalities that were gunned down in the 1960s is an astonishing one: MLK, JFK, RFK, Malcolm X, and many others who, for whatever you thought of them (and I'm not a big fan of the Kennedy's), they did offer alternatives and were simply eliminated. What other industrialized country in the post-war period faced such far-reaching political violence?

And of course this extended throughout the third world where the US stopped any and all social reform in the name of "anti-communism" - how many well-meaning people were killed by the United States and her puppets in this period? And it is easy to see what all that mayhem and social engineering wrought: Look at a countries like Egypt and Afghanistan, countries which appeared in the 1950s and 1960s to be moving towards becoming functioning, modern societies - now collapsing and caught between an unsavory choice of fundamentalism and rule by outsiders.

The labor unions (for whatever you think of them as well) were true mass organizations that gave a full third of the US work force a voice in politics. Real organizations that posed a real threat because they had both resources and people - were initially weakened by McCarthyism and from deportations, and were finally all but eliminated by business policy and a blind eye from the government and finally trade agreements like NAFTA. And what remains? Skyrocketing inequality, stagnant wages, massive unemployment, and corporate dominance of politics.

Today we see a full on assault against the education. Tuition hikes, destruction of tenured positions in favor of "adjunct professors", declining enrollment rates, and a move away from liberal education to "something that pays the bills" all just mean that, within a decade, those bastions of education, freedom and alternative awareness will be unrecognizable from what they are today. This too will be a key driver of inequality and lower people's political awareness. And of course this isn't just in the colleges, even children in elementary school are now faced with "testing" in favor of critical thinking and personality development.

But most important, I feel, has been the absolutely deafening barrage of anti-social ideas coming out of the corporate media. It is hard to even calculate the effect of television, radio, and the movies have had on the population. And with new devices of control like social media (the manipulation clearly in evidence in the so-called Arab Spring) but also their ability to be monitored - we are entering unknown territory to be sure. The power that technology has given to those with the money and position to wield it is truly frightening. It portents a new dark age. There is no telling what will come of it.

We have only to look at the effects of all of this on America - domestically, the democratic deficit is so vast that even when the population supports a policy by 70% (as it did single payer healthcare) it cannot even get a hearing. Trust in institutions like Congress is in the single digits.

On foreign policy, the the power elite has gone completely over the edge. Where the people ever had a say - in the military - the elite has realized the advantage of turning the army first into a volunteer force and now has turned completely to private contractors. Both of which allows them to launch wars and basically tell the public "its none of your business".

The USA was never very democratic, but it is currently on course to becoming a truly Orwellian nightmare: a country where every voice that comes from the screens tells us one thing, when in our hearts we know it is another. And the dangers in speaking out - in the form of punishment in ones social and economic life - are becoming more than most people dare to take on.

The future for democracy in the United States is non-existant.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 31, 2014 8:44:13 PM | 26

Yikes, sorry. TL;DR'd that one.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 31, 2014 8:44:59 PM | 27

Democracia, derechos humanos, deomcracy, human rights....
These words are meaningless anymore. Before in America del Sur and el Caribe, these were true ideals, they helped Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo fight against a military regime. They were what people in Colombia, Venezuela and Central America were tortured, bled and died for.

Free trade this also a word I curse, maldita sea.
International, globalisation, para el carajo!

All these things are tools and mechanisms for control and domination by USA and it's stooges. They disgust me with double standards, bullying and complete utter disregard for other people and civilizations.

They simply export problems, they attempt to solve one problem and create 10 more. I am not lying, simply look at the Jamahiriya in Libya.
Look at Central America, the utter chaos that exists in some of the inner cities. Maras, Guarimbas and the theft of the best and brightest.

They make it a desert and call it peace.

Posted by: Fernando | Mar 31, 2014 8:49:00 PM | 28

b is correct. There has been a sea change in the last decade. Today government and media’s sole function is to make money and gather more power to the dynastic elite. The House of Saudi is but one of the few families now controlling the West.

Victoria Nuland is a figurehead of this change. She directed and takes credit for the coup in Kiev. To be a State Department executive and a senior wife in the neo-con clan, she has to believe that she is doing good. But, in fact, she is destabilizing the Balkans. Western media omits this. They omit that the Turkish tapes indicate that John Kerry dropped off an updated plan for a no fly zone over Syria this month; after the bombing campaign was rejected by UK Parliament and Americans last August.

That RT broadcast this intelligence indicates that Russia considers that the Kiev Coup to be an existential threat to its survival. That this is not even acknowledged by the Western Establishment shows how close the world is to Armageddon.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Mar 31, 2014 8:53:24 PM | 29

@guest #77:

I believe that the best theoretical treatment of the present American political system is the political scientist Sheldon Wolin's concept of inverted totalitarianism.

It's intended for the US specifically. I don't think it can explain why European elites follow USG's fantastic narrative of what happened in the Ukraine and the Crimea.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 31, 2014 9:07:54 PM | 30

Oops, that was meant to be @guest77 #25.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 31, 2014 9:16:04 PM | 31

@30 thanks, I've been wanting to read that. Hedges is problematic for his hyperbolic stance on violence, but I do listen to all his lectures I can get my hands on. And I'm very interested in the intellectual foundations of his work. So thanks.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 31, 2014 9:23:29 PM | 32

bevin would be an excellent voice on this subject. Just sayin'.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 31, 2014 9:24:08 PM | 33

Demian | Mar 31, 2014 9:07:54 PM | 29

I was unaware of Wolin's inverted totalitarianism. I remember him from my Berkeley days in the 70s. Somehow, he, like Chalmers Johnson, I thought of as conservatives. Absolutely amazing what an open mind and retirement can do to a university scholar.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 31, 2014 9:48:31 PM | 34

@ToivoS #33:

Yes, Chalmers Johnson is the obvious comparison. According to Wolin, universities are part of the American totalitarian system. So it is not surprising that one does not find critiques of the Empire coming out of the academy anymore. Instead, one finds political scientists ruminating about how a low voter participation rate is an indication that people are happy with the system.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 31, 2014 10:06:45 PM | 35

guest;

I find bevin's an excellent voice on pretty much all subjects he talks about. Its really disappointing that he has disappeared for such a long time.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Mar 31, 2014 10:11:04 PM | 36

Frank Furedi’s piece in Spiked betrays – a naiveté?; indoctrination? – which seems every bit as invisible to him as the - naiveté?; indoctrination? – of the NGO Americans in Russia who he shakes his head in wonder over.

Of older vintage than ‘conspiracy theory’ and delivered as not a pejorative, the word democracy, or sometimes ‘liberal democracy’ or ‘the democracies’, etc, all have in common providing a fantasy basic premise which is self-congratulatory.

Democracy becomes the quintessential, collective, superior, indisputable lofty basic premise-stance circular argument in effect, equivalent to saying: We are inherently the good guys, no matter what we do, because, because …. we are the democracies. And democracies are good. So there.

If we assume that the author is sincere, the final sentence “At a certain point, the politics of double standards in foreign affairs will demean democratic ideals so much that even the integrity of democratic institutions at home will come to be undermined” is imo riddled with - naiveté?; indoctrination?

We might roll our eyes if someone living in the sickening stench of a slaughterhouse surrounded by corpses writes an opinion piece asserting that someday if he’s not careful his ideals of cleanliness and godliness and fresh air ‘will come to be undermined.’

It’s rare in any reference to or discussion of democracy, including piles of books, for the term to be defined. At its core, it means that the many, the public, the people, exercise ultimate political power, sovereignty. The three typical descriptions of variations on the theme are representative, participatory and direct democracy; but these tend to hide more than they reveal.

Representative democracy in theory becomes in practice Roosevelt’s “Presidents are selected, not elected”, or black box voting fraud, or public manipulation, or oligarchic, or plutocratic, or intelligence [sic] agency run, and so on.

But there remains the possibility of vibrant democracy: it relies upon an appropriate social basis, which includes the normalization of honest and full political discourse, which is within human capability.

There was an interesting brief experiment in Canada a generation ago with a variation on the theme of direct democracy. A new constitution was proposed and Canadians were asked to give their verdict. Every political party and most institutions that had any kind of voice and most media, and ‘journalists’, a ‘vast cast’ of luminaries, told Canadians that they must assent to the new Constitution or the sky would fall. Almost alone among major Canadian political figures, retired Pierre Trudeau spoke against the new proposals. Canadians showed great interest in the matter, and ‘perversely’ (imo wisely) voted no. Thumbs down.
This cured our political elite of further flirtations with direct democracy. She turned out to be an independent minded bitch. It also showed that the capability to ‘manage public perceptions’ still can run into glitches.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Mar 31, 2014 10:11:17 PM | 37

Wolin's a great read and he gets very close to the mark but there some ideas I wish he'd address as they seem to potentially be contrary to his theories. Note: not criticizing Wolin, his book is great just throwing some stuff out there.

1) Rampant Zionism. Yes, corporations rule the roost in the US and the inverted totalitarian structure does pacify the peons with stage-managed democracy but what about the true believer Jewish and Christian Zionists. Their influence is massive in the US, the followers radical and the policies often cut against the grain of the inverted totalitarian structure as Zionism DOES INDEED speak to a "master race", "chosen people" that Wolin cites as an examples of paleo-totalitarian societies e.g., the Nazis, specifically. It is somewhat problematic to the theory b/c the dominant guiding neoliberalism takes a back seat when Israel is concerned. Yes, it's lobbying/bribes - i.e., AIPAC, ZOA, etc - but NOT for the furtherance of the corporate hegemony but for distinctly ethno-religious reasons. Certainly, the apartheid genocidal state of Israel has conned the world into believing that it needs Israeli technology and security corporations but beyond that the state is a paleo-totalitarian nation that the US acts subservient to all the time.

2) This is not really a problem of Wolin's thinking but more of an expansion b/c I wanted to comment on something someone said the other day about Putin maybe being "in on it" and part of the elite cabal. The US and its fascist war criminals have definitely been attempting to promulgate this "inverted" vision of theirs to other Western nations for decades. It meshes very neatly with Isaiah Berlin's "negative freedom" that the post-WWII crowd of intellectuals bought into and which Adam Curtis and others have explained in various films etc. The EU is a disgusting example of how hollowed out democracy - and how quickly - can become in this inverted process. There are many EU politicians that actually still call themselves Marxists, Stalinists, Communists, Socialists - much less liberals, progressives, greens, etc - but who all always subscribe to the neoliberal tenets of the IMF, the EEC, etc etc when they get into office. It's obviously terrible with only two colors to choose from in the US but Socialists preaching austerity, ffs?!!!

The stage management of democracy in the inverted totalitarian US - led by its massive massive propaganda infrastructure - has mutated and taken on a global scope since the 1990s. Globalism, the New World Order, free markets, free trade and all the other bullshit catch phrases that started gaining popularity in the 1990s made it seem as if it was a smaller multicultural world that the Clinton, Blairs and other war criminal whores were pushing for when it really was all just a campaign for the US empire all the time. Leaders may have figured why not pick the winning team and subjugate their nations' pride and dignity to become US whores but in the end the US called the shots cf. 9/11, GWOT, Iraq, etc etc.

Thus, when the original poster was conjecturing - and it's a common conjecture that people should entertain I think as it's valuable when looking at certain events - whether or not Putin was also on board with the New World Order or part of the trans-national elite cabal that was looking to consolidate its power into one huge entity I tend to think that Putin and others are no longer - if they ever were, again, I'm just following this line of conjecture - buying this tired old shit anymore but that it took some time for them to be able to publicly say so because the US and its massive - now global - propaganda infrastructure filled every hall/newsroom of every international body with sycophantic whores who would preach the neoliberal globalization gospel. Top this day, you literally cannot have an economic conversation in the US and most of the Western world if you don't speak in neoliberalese and that is no exaggeration. That's slowly starting to change as the wheels are starting to finally and noticeably fall off the US murder-wagon but when you only know one tune that's what you sing and these effing war criminals will preach this nonsense shit till their final breaths. The propagandistic "shit" part of the American "shitzkrieg"/war of aggression necessarily preceded the "krieg" portion by about a decade or so but it was a very potent weapon as the bought-off whores of most of the planet laid their nations on the American war criminal doorstep for chump change...or were violently taken care of.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 31, 2014 10:38:57 PM | 38

Adding briefly:

And this "globalization" propaganda campaign can go far I think in explaining why Western leaders and youth "activists" are such a bunch of fucking embarrassing nimrods: for over twenty years the mantra has been TINA - THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE - to US led neoliberal hegemony so why both learning about foreign countries, peoples, world history, alternative political philosophy etc when you and all of your bosses, professors and cohorts REALLY REALLY believe - not the overlords who know this is all a great scam but that's another story - that the entire planet will actually end up looking like the suburban US, that everyone on the planet obviously wants this outcome and that all of the murder, maiming and pillaging are necessary stops along this wonderful path to "freedom". Why bother studying cultures when they are slated to become assimilated - or murdered, shhhh - anyways? Waste of f*cking time, bra!!!

Posted by: JSorrentine | Mar 31, 2014 11:00:22 PM | 39

Here's a little playlist on Wolin - there's not much there unfortunately.

I would not for avid YouTube watchers (and I noticed this on my own favorites and in the list of Wolin) - videos get taken down A LOT. Best to save your favorites if you can. There are YouTube downloaders out there.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 31, 2014 11:04:30 PM | 40

@39 Damn it, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wlHB6jSe7s&list=PL30E368D1CFF3D008

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 31, 2014 11:04:53 PM | 41

@31 About hedges, noone is perfect.

Does he have flaws? Of course. Is his almost religious attachment to non violence a flaw? Quite possibly.

But hes still a very good man, one of the last few America has left. I believe we can forgive few small flaws.

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 31, 2014 11:09:25 PM | 42

@33 Once youre no longer paid to have certain viewpoints, views can change.

Similar to Upton Sinclairs "Its hard to get someone to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it".

Take away the dependence on salary, and voila! Peoples views start changing almost immediately!

Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 31, 2014 11:11:58 PM | 43

@JSorrentine:

Wolin is a political theorist, and he was trying to come up with an adequate understanding of the current American political and economic systems in the context of Western political thought. Zionism is not constitutive of inverted totalitarianism, so it need not be given special treatment by the theory. The Israel lobby can be treated as just another special interest group, albeit a strange one, since it makes Superpower act against its own interests.

I agree that with "globalization", certain features of inverted totalitarianism have been exported to the rest of the West. The mechanism of export seems to be a combination of military, financial, and cultural/social scientific hegemony.

I agree that Putin is not on board with the New World Order. The New World Order is a project to create and maintain a unipolar world. Russia is not the only major power that wants a multipolar world, one reason not to want one being that a unipolar world leads to instability, as the wars of this century have made plain. The other two major powers that are resisting the establishment of a unipolar world are China and Iran (as the former Reagan Treasury official Paul Craig Roberts keeps on repeating), but Russia is the strongest military power of the three.

Posted by: Demian | Mar 31, 2014 11:21:04 PM | 44

Hear hear. this is the finest analysis to date.

Posted by: Dan | Mar 31, 2014 11:29:06 PM | 45

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Mar 31, 2014 4:14:32 PM | 14

Mirage democracy was created to “Make the people’s cause our own,” Adam Weishaupt. It is de facto rule by the secret societies, thus electorates are offered only fleas, spiders and scorpions. People who are neither subordinate nor black-mail-able are silently barred out or circumvented. This is precisely why democracy is adulated, because the satanic societies are anti-human. However, in Russia today people in government are immensely popular because they are on humanity’s side. We in the West deserve rule by the satanists because we turned away from God – I mean because we think Satan and Freemasonry do not exist. So simple. There IS justice in the world.

Posted by: Michaël | Mar 31, 2014 11:45:12 PM | 46

Chris Hedges from Truthdig. Worth a listen.

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/our_only_hope_will_come_through_rebellion_20140330

Posted by: ben | Mar 31, 2014 11:50:57 PM | 47

Making An Enemy – Demonizing Putin Endangers America’s Security

In my recent comments, I expressed astonishment how US and Western media plus 'progressive' bloggers participate in pure propaganda on global issues foregoing independent reporting and historical facts. It appears I'm not alone and watched some issues at CNN and read the following articles …

○ Christiane Amanpour goes after Wolf Blitzer on CNN
○ Russia's UN envoy Churkin replies to CNN anchor Amanpour

Demonizing Putin Endangers America’s Security by Stephen F. Cohen

(The Nation) Sept. 16, 2013 – Nonetheless, Putin-bashing on the right and the left, featuring mostly irrelevant, baseless or hyperbolic allegations about his political record, continues unabated with scarcely any countervailing voices in the mainstream media. It ranges from characterizing Putin as “a KGB thug” whose policies at home are akin to those of Saddam, Stalin and Hitler to claiming that his entire foreign policy, past and present, consists of the “restoration of the Russian empire” and “poking America in the eye.”

Distorting Russia

(The Nation) March 3, 2014 – The degradation of mainstream American press coverage of Russia, a country still vital to US national security, has been under way for many years. If the recent tsunami of shamefully unprofessional and politically inflammatory articles in leading newspapers and magazines—particularly about the Sochi Olympics, Ukraine and, unfailingly, President Vladimir Putin—is an indication, this media malpractice is now pervasive and the new norm.

Posted by: Oui | Apr 1, 2014 12:06:19 AM | 48

Well, there is perhaps some degree of self-deception among the electorate, but the movers and shakers know exactly what they're doing even if it is not the wisest course of action. It cannot be an accident of self-deception that The Daily Beast published an article which purportedly proves the snipers in Kyiv who slew "peaceful protester" and Berkut riot cop alike were a crack Alfa unit trained in Russia.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/30/exclusive-photographs-expose-russian-trained-killers-in-kiev.html

These photos are part of an allegedly 90 Gb package of video material which was captured by "ordinary Ukrainians just going about their business" (cough * activists * cough), and feeds into a meme which some of the Maidan leaders tried to get rolling during the fighting - that "Alfa" Russian anti-terrorist troops were operating in Kyiv and protecting Yanukovych.

Note how the author describes "At first the protesters had lost ground. Waves of coordinated sniper fire and riot police assaults pushed them back" as if the snipers were working hand-in-glove with government forces. They had a funny way of showing it, if that were so, or else they hardly merited the title "sniper", since a dozen or so riot cops fell to sniper fire as well.

This cannot be accurately described using such dulcet terminology as "self-deception". This is a lie, and the people passing it off as news know that it is a lie.

Incidentally, the "Russian spies in Kyiv" story that has been waved to distract Ukrainians whenever the need to frighten them or anger them or otherwise manipulate their emotions arose has led to a mocking video developed by someone on the Russian side, which details the "capture" of "Ensign Titushkin".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHmI5U1SKm0

Posted by: Mark | Apr 1, 2014 1:19:01 AM | 49

@Mark: Thanks for the Ensign Titushkin" video! (I shudder to think what the poor Ukrainian people must be having to put up with from their TVs, now that the regime has blocked the Russian channels.)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 1, 2014 2:10:38 AM | 50

Chalmers, quoting Wolin


“Democracy,” he writes,

“is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs.”

It depends on the existence of a demos -

“a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office.”

“Every apathetic citizen is a silent enlistee in the cause of inverted totalitarianism.”



I think that's the fundamental insight, and the rest is just a description of the symptoms. It is because we Americans allow it that Barack the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has become death - the destroyer of worlds.

Posted by: john francis lee | Apr 1, 2014 2:11:43 AM | 51

sorry ... the Chalmers Johnson quoting Sheldon Wolin.

Posted by: john francis lee | Apr 1, 2014 2:19:17 AM | 52

@20 and slightly OT

I've been wondering why the US hasn't released the Israeli spy Pollock. He's been in the can a long time, and he ought to be worth something in exchange. The only thing I can come up with is that CIA agents died as a result of his work, and the Agency has made it clear to successive administrations that this is a red line.

Posted by: Knut | Apr 1, 2014 2:36:18 AM | 53

@46

All this talk about Satanists is making me think you have lost your marbles a long time ago.

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 1, 2014 2:51:15 AM | 54

Worth reading:

Viewing the Ukraine Crisis From Russia’s Perspective » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

by FLOYD RUDMIN

Tromsø, Norway.

Events in Ukraine are moving fast and faster.  Dangers of economic paralysis in Ukraine and of wider war with Russia are very real.  This essay will argue that we all need to notice our historical biases in perceiving and misperceiving events.  My own bias is anti-war.  Now is not the time in human history for geopolitical power plays and military alliances.  Now is the time for coordinated international actions on climate and economy.  I am a professor of social and community psychology at the University of Tromsø in Arctic Norway, near the Russian border.  I have no special knowledge of Russia other than conventional sources (Google Scholar, Wikipedia, JSTOR).  My surname is Lithuanian, from my grandfather’s emigration in 1897 when Lithuania was controlled by Russia.

James Joyce’s famous statement that “history is a nightmare” from which we should try to awake, aptly describes current events in the Ukraine.  All nations involved in these events are biased by the remembered, misremembered, forgotten, and mythologized history they carry in their heads.  Chaos in Maidan Square, neo-fascists in positions of  power in Kiev, Russia annexing Crimea, these are inkblots that everyone sees differently depending on the historical visions that dominate their minds.  Our national memories have the passion and power to drive us blindly to hatreds and to war.  The histories we believe set us up for easy manipulations and disastrous actions.

Posted by: Fran | Apr 1, 2014 3:06:47 AM | 55

@54
Gimme a break. The secretly self-castrated worshipful brothers and the Lodge do not exist, which must be why they never mention Satan.

Posted by: Michaël | Apr 1, 2014 3:18:22 AM | 56

Posted by: Massinissa | Apr 1, 2014 2:51:15 AM | 54

You are correct.

However any democracy that tolerates presidential candidates openly neither denying nor confirming active membership in a fraternity, and actually elect one of them, whilst the other is Foreign Secretary now - has a huge problem - never mind the foreign policy.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2014 3:55:58 AM | 57

So the dickheads & propagandists actually admit that all sides in recent prez elections are members of a secret society, but scoffs at the mention of satanism?

Must be great being a complete fuckwit.

Never having to actually think about anything you say

Posted by: brb | Apr 1, 2014 4:15:58 AM | 58

Posted by: brb | Apr 1, 2014 4:15:58 AM | 58

I should imagine fraternities are against "fundamental American Values" as they mean somebody gives you a job not on merit and qualification but because you are a member of the same fraternity and you do the same.

That to be done in secret is a scandal. But presidential candidates can "neither deny nor confirm" on public television.

You can listen to Anthony Sutton on what it means - "these people are a breed".

"Satan" is superstition.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2014 5:00:08 AM | 59

Is public discussion of Lodge influence banned because evil dreads exposure? Or does evil not exist either?

Posted by: Michaël | Apr 1, 2014 5:06:57 AM | 60

Ukrainian Defense News Network shared a link.
22 minutes ago
Report - Unconfirmed

"Today at 7 am Moscow time flagship of the Ukrainian fleet "Getman Sahaidachny " unexpectedly left the port of Odessa and went to sea . Abeam village Constanta ship unexpectedly raised the Russian flag of St. Andrew , and stopped responding to radio and headed towards the Crimea .

The ship went to sea with only part of the crew. His commander captain second rank Roman Piatnitski and most of the officers at the moment when a ship at sea is hosted at the meeting.

It is assumed that a ship at sea brought The watch command . The crew consisted of about a quarter of the sailors came from the Crimea , and perhaps it is they seized control of the " Sahaidachny " and brought him into the sea ."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-g4e8CQgtU&feature=youtu.be

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 5:26:47 AM | 61

Ukraine is a perfect example of how the US uses the worst elements of a society to do their dirty work in other countries and how the US/NATO has a problem finding honest quislings. Since the US favors the nazi coup in Ukraine they talk about sovereignty and the right to self-determination of the Crimean people is made into some outrageous business for which Russia is demonized. John McCain, the chief chicken hawk and key "moral support" figure for the US’ insurrectionists and nazis in Ukraine, urged dissidents in Russia to rise and through that the effect of Ukrainian "freedom" would spread into Russia. McCain and the rest are engaged in subversive incitement, and once again their complete lack of intelligence and knowledge has left them looking like fools to the world. Professor Edward Herman spoke to the Voice of Russia regarding these issues and more.
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_29/Ukraine-the-US-hypocritical-transference-Prof-Edward-Herman-3796/
etc
http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_29/Ukraine-the-US-hypocritical-transference-Prof-Edward-Herman-3796/

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 5:29:25 AM | 62

of all the crimes of the evil vampire.... duplicity, hypocisy, barbarity etc etc
the most sickening is *robber crying out robbery*
thats a chinese proverb with no english equivalence.
the english *pot calling kettle black* implies both sides are equally guilty.
but what fukus routinely does is accusing others of doing what's actually done by itself.
one example suffice, fukus frequently comes to china's doorstep to pick fight, other times it goaded poodles like japan to do the provocations.
if china dare to reacts or even so much as making a protest, this would be turned into evidence of *chinese belligerence* in fukus propaganda circuit, worst still, the muricuns would swallow that hook line n sinker.
works like a charm.

with fukus reigning as the leader of the *free world*, this has *trickled down* to become a common malaise amongst the democrazies, japan, india are two prime examples.

Posted by: denk | Apr 1, 2014 5:46:33 AM | 63

Posted by: Michaël | Apr 1, 2014 5:06:57 AM | 60

Good and evil is what humans are made off, to make it an external force is the age old recipe for murder.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2014 6:10:32 AM | 64

That to be done in secret is a scandal. But presidential candidates can "neither deny nor confirm" on public television.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2014 5:00:08 AM | 59

like I said: Must be great being a complete fuckwit.

Never having to actually think about anything you say

Posted by: brb | Apr 1, 2014 6:12:19 AM | 65

with Putins popularity soaring, spare a thought for a lackeys selfinduced troubles.
an honest statesman ls like Putin is increasingly popular inside and outside his home country: whole a crook servile toady and war monger like Hollande, deserves his drubbing
http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_04_01/Hollande-humbled-after-drubbing-in-French-elections-8233/

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 6:17:15 AM | 66

"Satan" is superstition.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2014 5:00:08 AM | 59

I never said I believed in the message of Satanism you silly little fuckwit - but your or my beliefs are not the issue

Are there groups that claim to believe in Satan as a God-figure?

Yes undoubtedly

Do such groups hold ceremonies in praise of their God-figure?

Yes undoubtedly.

To me, In discussing the subject, it's what they believe that counts, not what some fuckwit on the internet thinks of how rational their beliefs are.

Im not interested in that latter bit at all

Posted by: brb | Apr 1, 2014 6:22:12 AM | 67

The Voice of Russia ‏@VoiceofRussia 1h
'Arab Spring' scenario used in #Ukraine - Russian Defense Minister
http://bit.ly/QBxCEu
yes, meanwhile, a real spring: the Russian Spring, naturally is viciously attacked by the 'International community' of corruption politicians

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 6:23:18 AM | 68

Somehow Der Spiegel could not find a single German taking a position against Russia

The Sympathy Problem: Is Germany a Country of Russia Apologists?

Actually, some tried to defend the US position. They soon found out they were unpopular.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2014 6:26:21 AM | 70

Vicki Nuland has gone on Fox news publically confessing her role in the coup and Obamas knowledge of this, that overthrew Ukraine legitimate govt.....update expected shortly..........

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 6:29:42 AM | 71

Pravy Sektor leader in Odessa in talks with local pro-russians about possible rapproachment, will consider case for seccession.....Fox news reports

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 6:31:16 AM | 72

of all the crimes of the evil vampire, duplicity, hypocisy, barbarity etc etc
the most sickening is *robber crying out robbery*
thats a chinese proverb with no english equivalence.
the english *pot calling kettle black* implies both sides are equally guilty.
but what fukus routinely does is accusing others of doing what's actually done by itself.
one example suffice, fukus frequently comes to china's doorstep to pick fight, other times it goaded poodles like japan to to the provocation.
if china dares to react or even so much as making a protest, this would be turned into evidence of *chinese belligerence* in fukus propaganda circuit, worst still, the muricuns would swallow that hook line n sinker.
works like a charm.

with fukus reigning as the leader of the *free world*, this has *trickled down* to become a common malaise amongst the democrazies, japan, india are two prime examples.

Posted by: denk | Apr 1, 2014 6:46:46 AM | 73

for some media , every day is aprils fools day

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 6:58:49 AM | 74

Breaking News!
Vladimir Putin just announced in Russian TV that he will resign his job as Russian president and run instead for president of the Ukraine in May. He said that his mission is to unify the two people and he can do it best from the position in Kiev for otherwise there would be 'too many attempts to disturb and distort his words' from abroad. The Ukrainian people will see that he is their friend, once he is their president. In the meantime it is planned that PM Medvedev takes over the presidential position in Russia until a possible later return of Putin.

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 7:09:53 AM | 75

Putin with krimean tartars
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=304354323046613&set=gm.10152343350166942&type=1&theater

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 7:59:54 AM | 76

OT but the 'paper of record' reports the human filth Jonathan Pollard might be closer to release. If so, might as well just call it the US of Israel.

Posted by: Don | Apr 1, 2014 8:06:50 AM | 77

@57 - Obama throws in the joker.
Purpose of Talks: The Release of Spy Pollard

Posted by: Oui | Apr 1, 2014 9:05:31 AM | 78

Obviously, April Fools' Day.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 1, 2014 9:21:40 AM | 79

@44

Wolin is a political theorist, and he was trying to come up with an adequate understanding of the current American political and economic systems in the context of Western political thought. Zionism is not constitutive of inverted totalitarianism, so it need not be given special treatment by the theory. The Israel lobby can be treated as just another special interest group, albeit a strange one, since it makes Superpower act against its own interests.

A political theorist? Gee, thanks, professor, I didn't know that. However, if you unravel what you just said there, you'll maybe notice your problem which is to what I was exactly speaking. Wolin is attempting to come up with a descriptive theory of AMERICAN political and economic systems and to come up with a theory that would ACCURATELY describe the American system then he necessarily needs to take into account the massive systemic distortions that the Zionists embedded within the system have caused since taking the reins of power nearly 3 decades ago. Or are we to just disregard the entire Zionist focus of US foreign policy over said period of time what with its massive false flag events - e.g., 9/11 - Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the GWOT arenas that have cost millions of lives and trillions of dollars - which continue to this very day - and the implementation of the US security state? These are not just trifling little peculiarities or statistical outlier events and the Zionist lobby has definitely NOT been just "another special interest group". Saying so is just effing bullshit and smacks of the most childish of whitewashing hasbara.

Why, I thought that if a descriptive theory didn't accurately address reality then it need be modified? Again, I know that Wolin started writing about this in the early 00s but to say that one can accurately depict US political and economic policy WITHOUT speaking to Zionism in this day and age given all that has happened and ESPECIALLY when Zionism is exactly the type of "supremacist" totalitarian thought that Wolin is saying has been replaced by his "inverted" construct is at the very least wrong and at the worst smacks of Zionist propaganda. How can the totalitarianism be "inverted" if Zionist supremacism has been and is still one of THE major trends in US political thinking? Somebody get me a rewrite.

Yes, not having to discuss Zionism and its documented implications/influences in the US system/history saves the lily-livered fake left cowards from having to squeamishly engage in "uncomfortable" discussion/debates which might jeopardize their cushy livelihoods what with having to fuck around with the ADL et al but, hey, who said life was easy? In other words, by just sticking to discussions of corporatism/neoliberalism I'm sure more than a handful of valuable columns at HuffPost etc have been saved.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Apr 1, 2014 10:29:39 AM | 81

Israeli spy jonathan pollard might get released.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/03/31/356716/us-could-free-israeli-spy-to-save-talks/
what a moron obama is!

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 1, 2014 10:32:12 AM | 82

One might add to the piece:

The vilification of Russia is at its roots more American than European - due to geographical, economic, historical ties between Europe and Russia.

The underpinnings are that the US wants to separate Europe from its natural ally or partner, Russia, to keep Europe under its thumb, along the lines of the ever-pertinent *divide to rule.*

Therefore, Russia must be demonized.

All this, on the part of the US, is a reaction, in fact, to the results of globalization and the dismemberment of the USSR (both of which they were and are for) but lead to a situation where to some degree trade, bilateral agreements, and more ‘democracy’ flourished (arguable for the last, or hard to discuss in a brief post) in the region. Not to mention increasing ties of many other kinds taking hold between W, E Europe and the big country next door, Russia. Such as Science, culture, sport, education, etc.

The whole issue exploded with the Ukr. matter.

The EU is now put in a position where it must display extreme submissiveness and alliance to the dominant power, the US. It complies with superb servility, and the media provides a channel to show tremendous support, so it is over the top. (Putin as Hitler, etc. when Russia won WW2.) The media display the ‘belief’ the official position, while at the same time functioning as propaganda.

As for democracy etc. I think many are realizing that US discourse on this matter is hypocritical and hollow, which only creates more strife, though of course from the US pov, that might be one of the aims.

“The democratic institutions at home” -quote- have already been corrupted so much in the past 20 or more years (USA, lobbying, corporations, empty two-team Rah Rah, media circus, lies), Europe (EU power in Brussels, technocratic Gvmts., endless votes for one or another party that switch back and forth with no result or changes on the the ground, lies, etc.) that this last Ukr. mess is not a particularly an important contributor, more of a confirmation.

(See also Demian at 2, Bowles at 4, Robert S. at 37)

The piece might have mentioned that Putin “banned” or set out to rigidly control foreign NGOs in 2012, one article (Reuters), and the laws were made stiffer later.

http://tinyurl.com/cr8r42h

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 1, 2014 11:32:07 AM | 83

Some in the UAE are having fun
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/98057/World/Region/Qatar-is-part-of-UAE-Dubai-security-official.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Apr 1, 2014 11:46:17 AM | 84

Oh,please,lets call a spade a spade.The Zionists control our government,and their historical enmity against the goyim extends to all.Why can't this cult leave the rest of humanity in peace?Take your facebook,twitter and all your other wealth gathering schemes(and the worst artwork in history) and f*ck off permanently, and go play in your sandbox.The Israelis keep bragging about all their inventions,when to my knowledge they've never invented anything useful,though they market and advertise well.And the anti Russian BS definitely involves the feminazis,the homonazis and their fellow travelers,the Zionists,and if don't think the monsters chortle at our helplessness,you are a chortler yourself.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 1, 2014 12:16:42 PM | 85

The political director of YouTube had no problem with a YouTube "You Choose" page misleading voters about their choices in the democratic primary. Even when asked directly by a Democratic candidate to have his name listed along with the other candidates (he did after all participate in some of the debates even!) the political director didn't put his name back. At some point YouTube took it upon themselves (perhaps the decision was left entirely to the political director) to remove a candidate who was originally listed, from the list of candidates! See my video where I complained about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsoP_vk2XZM

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Apr 1, 2014 12:27:13 PM | 86

youtube owned by google.. what do people expect? if youtube can be used for propaganda purposes, obviously those who control the medium get to decide what is or isn't allowed to be put up on youtube, or youboob as i like to call it.

Posted by: james | Apr 1, 2014 12:35:48 PM | 87

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2014 6:10:32 AM | 64

Good and evil is what humans are made off…

By about 1900, awareness of Satan’s reality had been finally drained from the modern mind, leaving only humanity as the conceptual source of evil in the world. This is precisely what we see today.

Posted by: brb | Apr 1, 2014 6:24:49 AM | 69
Of course they are. Everyone at all levels of government is subordinate to the agenda of “Baphomet the Billy Goat.” They must talk the talk constantly to show their obedience, going forward.

And don’t forget that human being have their pretty honest delusions:-

Posted by: brian | Apr 1, 2014 6:31:16 AM | 72

Pravy Sektor leader in Odessa in talks with local pro-Russians about possible rapprochement…

If true I would be thrilled to suspect that sorely needed pro-Russian leadership will be provided by those very rabid “ultra-nationalist” activists who have not really grasped that they have been the proxy/patsies of enemy aliens.

Posted by: Michaël | Apr 1, 2014 1:23:19 PM | 89

If I may, I'd like to return to b's theme, namely that the quality of our imperial leaders [sic] as gone down the proverbial tubes as exemplified by the Spiked article. The author, Frank Furedi, formerly chief honcho of the Revolutionary Communist Party [sic] maintains that it's no longer a question of 'left versus right', we are beyond such outdated concepts. It's all down to what Furedi thinks they think in this, frankly pernicious piece of depoliticized propaganda, masquerading as psychoanalysis.

Furedi's piece opens by telling us that,

"Do they [the masters of the universe] really believe their own rhetoric when they say Putin has expansionary ambitions and wants to rebuild the Soviet Empire?"

This, I take it is a rhetorical question as firstly, who cares what 'they' believe, surely point is, what do we, the public believe, after all, aren't we the target of this propaganda?

It continues,

"Did Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state, mean it when she said Russia’s actions in Crimea are similar to ‘what Hitler did back in the 1930s’? Other anti-Russian observers have also claimed that Russia’s incorporation of Crimea is analogous to the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Do all these people sincerely believe this interpretation of current geopolitical events?"

Who cares what we think they believe? I think Furedi must have dozed off around 1991.

The second paragraph is so off the wall I have to reprint it here as it's worth examining in more detail,

"It is always difficult, if not dangerous, to speculate about the thought processes that drive powerful diplomats and political leaders to say and do certain things. It is especially difficult to make sense of the dynamics that turned the crisis in Ukraine into a perilous international dispute. In a recent interview, a Russian journalist asked me why Western media outlets have become so careless about fact-checking in relation to Ukraine and Russia more broadly. I wasn’t sure if I could answer the question, so I was forced to say that I would have to reflect on it further."

Yet this is exactly what Furedi does, he speculates on the thought processes of 'our' leaders!

Second of all, the question posed by the Russian journalist gets a non-answer from Furedi. And why? Because in order to answer it, he'd have to dump his ludicrous hypothesis about the quality of imperialism's leaders (who are, it has to be admitted apparently pretty much all sociopaths but that doesn't necessarily make them stupid as well).

So no mention of the $5 billion spent on destabilising the Ukraine. No mention of McCain's visits (or Nuland's for that matter, or the subversion by so-called NGOs).

In the next paragraph he manages to conflate realpolitik, that is to say, state-to-state relations with the propaganda designed for the masses. It really is juvenile stuff.

"Of course, there is a great deal of propaganda, wilful distortion and a significant element of fantasy in this campaign - but the outlook it expresses has been so firmly internalised by many in the West that it now constitutes their reality. And the fact that the West’s new breed of would-be Cold War crusaders have convinced themselves of their own rhetoric is likely to have far more destabilising consequences than if this campaign were simply a cynical example of old-fashioned realpolitik. At least realpolitik has the merit of being rooted in the real world; the current anti-Russian campaign, by contrast, is based on confusion and, even worse, on self-deception."

So at least Furedi does admit that some of it is actually propaganda. Current anti-Russian campaign? When did it ever stop? Surely it's ALL propaganda designed to obscure the REAL motivations of the Empire. Demonisation is a well-tested tactic as Goebbels was want to remind us.

Under the sub-hed of 'Double Standards', we read,

"Following a series of meetings on the role of young people in civil society, I had an opportunity to talk with a group of youngish Americans who were employed by US-based NGOs to work in Russia. During our chat, one NGO worker, from Seattle, said she was surprised to discover that some Russian officials treated her as if she were an ‘agent of a foreign power’. Several of her colleagues also expressed astonishment at the fact that they and their NGOs were treated by Russia as… well, what they really are: American organisations promoting American values in a foreign land."

Surely, this points to just how effective the US propaganda is. I think again, Furedi has conflated object with subject. These 'youngish' people are the real objects of this propaganda and given just how ill/mis-informed Americans are, such crude propaganda apparently works quite effectively.

And why? Furedi tells us,

"Because the double standard of modern diplomacy is built on an implicit assumption of moral inequality."

What rubbish! What utter crap! Diplomacy is the very specific process that states (not people) engage in when they meet. It used to be bound by an internationaly accepted set of rules, rules that hide from view, precisely all the things Furedi is rabbiting on about! That's why it's called diplomacy.

The following paragraphs however contradict his basic hypothesis when he talks (at length) about the West's "double-standard", where,

"cultural traffic is increasingly all one way with little variation or dissent, Russia is demonised as a backward and morally inferior society that will be condemned and if necessary punished until it rolls over and agrees to adopt the values of its enlightened critics."

But the kicker has to be the following statement,

"Infantilised diplomats
Anyone who follows the Western media could be excused for thinking Russia is a rampant, aggressive and expansionist power just waiting for a chance to reconquer its neighbouring state of Ukraine. The reality is that despite the occasional nationalistic posturing of President Putin, Russia has turned into a classical defensive status-quo power. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia has experienced a diminishing of its power and influence. It has struggled to keep a grip in the Caucasus and faces a radicalised Islamic movement that is far more formidable than any of the forces that directly challenge Western societies. And on its Western front, Russia feels threatened by political and cultural pressure from Europe. In such circumstances, it is understandable that many in the Russian elite feel as though the very fabric of their nation is fraying."

Anyone who follows...? It's as if Furedi lives on a different planet! That's the entire point of demonising Russia, so that we'll support (or at the very least acquiesce) to the Empire's demands. Furedi glibly dismisses the 2nd most powerful military force on the planet,

"...that despite the occasional nationalistic posturing of President Putin, Russia has turned into a classical defensive status-quo power."

Oh really? Is that why the Empire is attempting to encircle this 'status-quo power' and spend billion of dollars in an attempt to destabilise it?

The final para however is simply laughable,

"The EU and the US act as if they bear no responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine and in Western-Russian relations. Possibly the West has deluded itself about global affairs to such an extent that it is oblivious to its own complicity in the current crisis."

So Furedi wants them to admit to dissembling, lying and duplicitous behaviour as it incites regime change in yet another country? No, of course not, they're simply deluding themselves.

Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 1, 2014 2:11:40 PM | 90

"... integrity of democratic institutions..."? WTF? We're way WAY past that in the US. Here's where we're at, a great rant that gets how deep we are into the governance generated by 'leaders' selected from among those who most obsequiously agreed with and then regurgitated every nuance of the bullshit offered by their uniformly right-wing professors and bosses:

Russophobia: the Lunatics are at the Helm By marco, 31 March 2014 21:36:02

... And now we have a new administration full of supposed young guns, ready to take on the 21st century. Not only is the Obama administration a moral and ethical failure throughout the whole spectrum but this supposedly technically savvy and hyper-informed and educated pile of Rhodes and Constitutional scholars can’t even seem to grasp the basics of human interaction beyond that which you would find in any neighborhood sandbox. They are a bunch of kindergartners who don’t know enough to shut up and let the grownups handle things.

They are so seduced by what they continue to cling to as U.S. hegemony and power that they coast along, not even bothering to make up a story that even halfway jibes with reality. We end up with policy that is not only criminally stupid and dishonest and offensive to anyone with half a brain and half an education who’s read half a history book or even half-paid attention to current events, but it will drag the hubris-laden vessel of the U.S.—and likely a lot of the rest of world with it—to very murky depths before they’re through.

There is no need for diplomacy when you can just stamp your foot and scream and make up all of your own history and facts and information and have the sails of your stupidity belled out by the hot air blown in vast and steaming amounts by a slavish corporate media intent on selling lies that will buoy their bottom lines for the next quarter.

For the record it's the best rant I've ever read.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 1, 2014 3:04:06 PM | 91

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 1, 2014 3:04:06 PM | 91

Hmmm... this is how empires behave. Just go back a few years or few decades or a few centuries and you'll find exactly the same things being said, rationalising the same imperialist ambitions.

Remember Churchill and his total lack of squeamishness when talking about gassing Iraqis (back in the 1920s)? Or Madelaine Albright waxing eloquent about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children as being "worth it"?

Again I say, what has changed is that you don't have to be a Communist on be on the receiving end anymore. The behaviour you're all getting so upset and hot under the collar about, is actually the way it's ALWAYS been but now there's no pretence, no niceties, no diplomacy.

This is how empires behave. With impunity.


Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 1, 2014 3:19:18 PM | 92

PS: But one hundred plus years of anti-communist indoctrination sure does help

Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 1, 2014 3:30:52 PM | 93

William Bowles at 90: Great analysis. There's nothing new about demonizing propaganda. Nothing new about obsequious, conformist bootlickers of the right-wing imperial PTB succeeding to positions in the imperial PTB themselves. If there's anything new, it's that in the 70s and 80s almost all diversity in economic and political thought was deleted from universities, especially at elite institutions. So US foreign policy leaders (actually all US political leaders, mainstream media pundits and 'reporters') roughly under 50-55 have never had to deal seriously with any way of looking at the world that conflicts with the holy trinity of neoliberalism, neoconservatism, and US-led corporate globalization. So when reality hits them hard with common sense or cognitive dissonance they can only respond with denial and 'sticking to the narrative'. Maybe that lack of flexibility, the intellectual desert in their brains, is new. But, like you said, whatever the new stuff is, it has made very little if any difference in actual policy.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 1, 2014 3:42:54 PM | 94

Somewhat OT. I haven't followed the Oso, Washington mudslide story at all, but Normon Pollack points out that the mudslide would not have occurred if the forest above the homes had not been logged, and that the press is, as far as I know, completely suppressing this fact.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 1, 2014 4:01:07 PM | 95

Bowles 90
Can we conclude then that Furedi's article is to hide the sociopathic, criminal nature of US govt?

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 1, 2014 4:16:13 PM | 96

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 1, 2014 4:16:13 PM | 96

Can we conclude then that Furedi's article is to hide the sociopathic, criminal nature of US govt?

Well in a way it does doesn't it? It shifts the attention away from the essential elements onto some kind of psycho-social something or other to do with either stupidity or 'good intentions' or whatever but does nothing to explain the nature of a system which produces people who think this way. Capitalism.

Now whether this is Furedi's intention I have no idea, unlike Furedi, I have no desire of to try and divine what he thinks, I can only go by what he writes.

Don't forget he is an ex-marxist of some 'notoriety', google him and you'll see what I mean. So having ditched one religion, he's now adopted another, psycho-babble. It's an oft-repeated story in the history of Western ex-'lefties', the Chicago School was full of em. Indeed, check out the CVs of a lot of the neocons and you'll find an ex-trotskyist or some other flavour of leftie hiding there somewhere.

At root, the problem we Western lefties have is that we're all the citizens of Empire. Our vision of the world is essentially an imperial one in spite of the leftie blather. Look at the confusion on the left over Libya and Syria and even how to fight imperialism at home.

Here in the UK, the 'left' such as it is, is trying to resurrect some mythical pre-Blairite Labour Party. Ken Loach even made a movie about it called 1945, essentially a hymn to the National Health Service, the only really lasting contribution the Labour Party ever made to this country (currently being dismantled of course, with the help of the Labour Party).

The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theater, go dancing, go drinking, think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save and the greater will become that treasure which neither moths nor maggots can consume — your capital. The less you are, the less you give expression to your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life ... So all passions and all activity are submerged in greed – Karl Marx, Notebooks, 1844

Posted by: William Bowles | Apr 1, 2014 5:09:56 PM | 97

FSB: west steps up attempts to destabilize the internal situation in RF

MOSCOW, March 28, /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Federal Security Service said on Friday that western countries sought to destabilize the internal situation in Russia, following the latest events in Crimea, and called for urgent measures to ensure the security of Russian nationals, including those living in the newly-formed Crimean Federal District.

“The number of external threats to the state has increased. The legal volition of the people of Crimea and eastern Ukraine to be together with Russia are driving the United States and its allies into hysteria. They are trying to destabilize the socio-political and economic situation in this country,” FSB Deputy Director Alexander Malyovanyi said at a ceremony on Friday where President Putin met senior officers who had received new appointments and had been promoted to higher military ranks.

“Under these circumstances we are drawing up and implementing offensive counter-intelligence and intelligence measures aimed at thwarting such aspirations,” Malyovanyi went on to say, pledging to protect Russian nationals from radicals and extremists penetrating into Russia, including in the newly-formed Crimean Federal District.

HT to Boiling Frogs.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 1, 2014 5:18:18 PM | 98

@97: Hyper-insightful quote. Will post on Facebook then it's back to accumulating.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 1, 2014 5:38:26 PM | 99

Sibel Edmonds has an interesting take on Erdogan: first the Empire built him up, now it's taking him down:

Turkish PM Erdogan: The Speedy Transformation of an Imperial Puppet

Now I think that Russia had nothing to do with that leaked Turkish government discussion of a false flag operation in Syria.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 1, 2014 6:07:02 PM | 100

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