latest, media watch, Russia, USA

Our media are not fit for purpose

by Philip Roddis

This morning, just after eight, BBC Radio 4’s John Humphrys interviewed an American ‘expert’ – didn’t catch the name – on the first meeting, today, of Trump and Putin. In the time between my reaching for the bread bin, and two slices of the moderately browned popping from the toaster, said expert had presented as incontestable truth – no need to back up such a claim – Russia’s ‘aggression’ as against America’s ‘caution’.

People buy this crap, you know, if only subliminally. Why? Because the west, anglo saxon west in particular, long ago traded independence of foreign policy for favoured status in Washington, so framing the boundaries for mainstream discourse on global affairs. And because, thanks to English as world lingua franca, most of us grew up on a cultural diet of the US as force for good: the orientalist corollary being the inscrutable asiatic; untrustworthy and capable of unspeakable acts.

(Nowadays no one says such things out loud of course. An age that’s given rise to so many new and useful terms – blowback and spin spring to mind – now gives us dog-whistle.)

Those two realities underpin projection and reality inversion on a colossal scale; variations on the Shoot Out at the OK Corral theme of good, dependable and peace loving America morally compelled once more to heave reluctant sigh, strap on the Colt 45s and step out into the latest high noon (Syria say) or deep shade (Yemen) to face down the latest bad guy. It’s an immensely durable narrative, remarkable in its ability to shrug off a wealth of counter-evidence. Up against powerful myth, truth is always the underdog.

To these two factors we can a third, exemplified by Humphrys’ unsurprising failure to challenge his interviewee’s self satisfied claims. He might have asked what’s so cautious about shooting down a Syrian jet in airspace where America has no lawful business, and the world’s second military power is there on the invite of Syria’s elected government. Or how firing 59 Tomahawk Missiles, while saying Damascus has ‘again’ used chemical weapons, is a sign of restraint.

(It’s useful to keep in mind, at times like this, that “we have evidence” is not evidence.)

But Humphreys asked no such question. Nor – since jet and Tomahawks can after all be laid by the only partially gullible at Trump’s door – why US and UK arms suppliers have for years made fat profits from slaughter in Yemen. Nor why we should fear Pyongyang’s tiny nuclear capability but not America’s huge one. He might even have asked how many nations have been invaded this past twenty years – let’s be generous and exclude the covert stuff in such as Ukraine and Honduras – by cautious America; how many by aggressive Russia.

But again he didn’t. Why? Here I’m accused at times of conspiracism; of supposing thousands of journalists like Humphreys to be consciously mendacious. In fact no such supposition is needed. My insistence that ‘our’ media are not fit for purpose stands up to Occam’s Razor, resting on but few premises:

  • The two already cited: (a) lack of independence from Washington, especially in wars hot or cold; (b) deep, culturally imbibed assumptions of America as capable of mistakes, yes – blamed on specific administrations so the slate can be wiped clean every four or eight years (useful thing, ‘democracy’) – but fundamentally a force for good.
  • Widespread ignorance of history and even basic geography, not just by media consumers but its producers too.
  • A combination of economic and other forces making once investigative journalists reliant for war coverage on official sources in military and intelligence circles. For example the stark choice for reporters in Iraq of being chaperoned by army units else excluded altogether from the war zone.
  • A market driven matrix of incentive and disincentive, effective with only occasional need for outright lying, that keeps major media and career focused journalists on message re aspects of state interest too critical to be challenged in any sustained way. A key text here is Herman & Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which sheds a great deal of light on how relentlessly dominant but highly misleading narratives can be sustained by subjectively honest journalists; never more so than when demonisation gives cover for wars of profit in the name of humanitarianism. It’s not that the real and very material drivers of such wars are completely hidden. Snowden and Assange helped of course, but we needn’t hack US intelligence to see that America has for decades harboured plans to reshape the oil rich middle east by ridding it of a Ba’athism opposed on the one hand to salafism, on the other to an imperialism with a record dating back to the fall of the Ottomans of using salafism to further its own ends. You can even find some of the evidence in mainstream media. What you won’t find there, however, is any consistent narrative that joins up the threads in ways that suggest, if only as alternative possibility, that the reasons given for ‘our’ wars are seldom the real ones. Such counterarratives must wait a decade or two before being fearlessly served up by an intrepid Guardian, an unshakably truth seeking BBC.


    1. Edwige says

      I recommend Matthew Alford and Secker’s new book ‘National Security Cinema’ for anyone interested in how much the government now controls the media.

    2. Hello rehmat1
      How in the world did you manage to slip in another anti Putin link – why don’t you just post them all in one go, it’ll save you time and effort while you are busy on all the other sites you’ve been posting them. If you like I can return to one of Offg’s other articles and copy and paste them for you?
      Best wishes.

    3. Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:

      Everything has a price these days – except, it seems, the truth. Lies and disinformation, on the other hand are promulgated by anyone who wants a nice “little earner” and scruples go out the window(assuming they ever had any in the first place).

    4. “Our media are not fit for purpose”

      Well, which purpose? The Media are doing exactly what they were designed, implemented and funded to do… and doing it very well. The Media are not a given; they aren’t a natural constant or an inevitable result. They are Man-Made and exist in support of their makers. We’re so deeply brainwashed to revere “The Press”, for example, that we suppose that any evidence of deceit or corruption, within organs of The Press, are a deviation or a falling off or evidence of decay from the higher standards of a Golden Age. Nope. The Press… like widely-disseminated Christian Texts before it… were always meant to supply beliefs/ opinions/ attitudes/ sensation… NOT to “inform” them. Any data-artifact that cost more than a few tens of thousands of dollars to produce is suspect… but we’ve been trained to grant Authority/ Credibility to suit-wearing talking heads with big salaries broadcasting from expensive-looking sets; we’ve been trained to respect the high-production values that only the most Powerful Propagandists can afford. See the problem….?

      • writerroddis says

        Strictly speaking you’re right. My title assumes readers sensible enough to deduce that by ‘fit for purpose’ I refer to the one more or less stated on the tin: keeping us informed. I’m aware of course that corporate media serve a quite different agenda. Isn’t that obvious from what follows my header? But even from a ruling class perspective, media aren’t delivering so well these days. An annual survey both sides of the Atlantic – I forget which company conducts it – has been reporting year on year drops in public trust in the media. That’s part of the context for the second paragraph of my reply, below, to Husq. I’m anticipating western ruling classes less bothered about framing our worldviews through misinformation as they tool up for older and more forcible forms of repression.

        • BigB says

          Phillip: I’m not criticizing your article, which makes your points eloquently – but on your choice of title – where does it say “keeping us informed” on the tin. I am minded of the famous Mark Twain quote – “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed”. There has always been a confluence of power between various ‘Press Barons’ and the political and para-political ‘elites’. Most transparently, in the incestuous relationship between Churchill, Beaverbrook and Rothermere. Randolph Hearst, Maxwell, Murdoch, Bernays, Lippmann, etc. had no intention to inform.

          The BBC themselves, have always been in the service of power. The one example I can think of to counter this would be the Gladio documentary aired on BBC2; circa ’91. That would simply not even be commissioned today. As for their independence, I see that Treason Dismay has chosen her new ‘Minister for Public Enlightenment’ – Robbie Gibb – from the BBC. The fourth or fifth such appointment. Now ‘MiniTru’ is embedded in the Cabinet Office.

          In our Orwellian post-truth, meaning reversal world – the media IS fit for the purpose it is employed for – to mis-inform. Were it ever the case otherwise, the Revolution against our asset stripping, terrorist sponsoring, anti-life, would-be-Rulers – would have occurred long ago. The media remain as they always have been – the premiere repressive mechanism – Bernays’ cryptocratic “Invisible Government”.

          I guess you think that it is pedantic for StAug and I to point: but you also make a brilliant case that the media IS fit for its true purpose. It does what it says on the tin – only nowadays people are starting to read that sub-text…

          • It isn’t pedantic for the very reason that so many people still believe, naively so, that the purpose of the media is to inform and that “they wouldn’t lie, would they” mindset still exists. In this respect Phil’s right, for the rest who know exactly what their purpose was and has been since the 60’s, they are indeed, “fit for purpose”. Now all we need to do is enlighten everyone to the real purpose, which not so long ago would have been a Mount Everest task, now it’s more a Ben Nevis undertaking. Progress, be it very slow, is still progress.

          • writerroddis says

            I don’t think mine was a well chosen title and, no, I don’t think you or StAug pedantic.

      • They’re back(One of I.K’s friends has turned up with yet another anti Putin link, this time how Putin serves Israel).
        Isn’t it amazing how they can somehow find the words to validate the anti Putin stuff totally off topic. At least now we have another name and I’ll keep you informed if they visit anymore of my sites. Name and shame is probably going to be the best approach since I already know some of them. Eventually they will run out of alternative posting names.

        • M! I seriously doubt that V. Putin needs us to defend him from slander! Laugh. Who cares? You can only plug so many holes in the dyke and stamp out so many brush fires. There have to be better things to do with your, or my, time. Troll-fighting is a thankless task.

          • A thankless task perhaps. But what pleasure if I could see them squirm should I be successful in outing them. Ah well. My problem with them, is that they can turn a social site into another propagandist platform – an extension of the MSM.
            I don’t intend to plug the holes in the dyke, just be a thorn in their side.

    5. flybow says

      I believe that the US is the only nation rebuked by the UN for state sponsered terrorism. (the mining of waters adjacent to Nicaragua)

    6. Control of the Media was one of the 25 points on the plan drawn up for Rothschild aimed at global domination.
      This plan was drawn up by Adam Weishaupt, 1773, a renegade(?) ex(?) Jesuit, a professor of canon law.

      Another point was Ruin The Youth through Drugs & Sex.
      Look around you at Western Culture.
      The Taliban had poppy production down to near zero by the year 2000.
      The West invaded Afghanistan 2001, the poppy acreage is now at a historic high, & Western troops guard the fields.

      Here is where I first saw Pawns in the Game referenced:
      Or, put in Youyube search box: Retired Head of FBI Tells All “Illuminati, Satanism, Pedophile Rings”
      1 hr 4 mins.

      John Doran.

      • Husq says

        Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902).

        “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit, the better it is for the human race… the absorption of the greater portion of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars…I look into history and read the story of the Jesuits. I see what they were able to do in a bad cause and I might say under bad leaders. In the present day I became member of the Masonic Order. I see the wealth and power they possess, the influence they hold…Why should we not form a secret society with but one object – the furtherance of the British Empire, for the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making of the Anglo-saxon race but one empire…We learn from the past how to frame our future…What has been one of the causes of the success of the Romish Church? Let us form the same kind of society which should have its member in every part of the British Empire working with one object, and one idea, who should its members placed at our universities and our schools and should watch the English youth passing through their hands […]
        The Society should inspire and even own portions of the press, for the press rules the mind of other people.”

        • Indeed.
          Rhodes was a Rothschild agent helping to secure a monopoly over the diamond & gold industries of South Africa, just as J.P. Morgan (Competition is a sin) in the US was a Rothschild agent.

          Since the 1950s the Rothschild & Rockefeller businesses & families are so intertwined that they can be regarded as one family: William Guy Carr, Pawns in the Game, 1955.

          John Doran.

        • Sounds like the origins of Nazism well enough. White Supremacists are invariably sick of mind as Rhodes was sick of body. Of course a sociopath or psycopath would describe such thinking just as aptly.

    7. “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

      The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
      ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

    8. Frank says

      Interestingly enough more balanced and reasoned analysis of both the second Iraq and Libyan wars appeared some years after the western interventions had been carried out. Firstly there was the Chilcott enquiry on second Iraq war and particularly the nefarious role played by Blair, and then the report of 14 September 2016 The Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Select Committee has published a report examining the intervention and subsequent collapse of Libya.

      The deliberations of the Committee which took evidence from key figures including Lord Hague, Dr Liam Fox, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, military chiefs, and academics, concluded that decisions were not based on accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. Furthermore, a policy which had reputedly intended to protect civilians drifted towards regime change and was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya. The consequence was a political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal welfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.

      The western media seems to know that it is being economical with the truth at the time. But full disclosure may will come out ex-post facto at a future date when no-one is particularly interested anymore. Given the short memory span of the average consumer of the news, we can go through the whole farce again, this time in Syria.

    9. I remember a joke doing the rounds when I was at school in Britain around 1970. “The Americans have worked out how to win the Vietnam war – send John Wayne to punch it in the throat.” Quite a brilliant undermining of US exceptionalism/propaganda now I look back on it.

    10. Very good piece – thank you.

      I think the media have been relentlessly “got at” for the last 30-40 years, maybe longer. The sort of people who were attracted to investigative journalism at one time have long since fled, or been “let go” by their employers, sometimes no doubt at the behest of the security services. This came to a head and was painfully obvious during the David Kelly affair – and the subsequent loss of any remaining nerve for proper journalism that might have been lurking at the BBC.

      Without wanting to sound apocalyptic, it’s almost as if humanity generally (not just in the U.K.) is on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown. There’s a refusal to face what must be faced, resulting in all kinds of weird behaviour and acting-out, accompanied by angry repression of those who have the temerity to point out that the emperor is, in fact, stark bollock naked in all his appearances – and he has been for some time.

      • More and more I am thinking this collective neurosis is more just a feature of what is still seen as the “free West”, or more accurately, “Atlanticist empires”, which are now sadly (for them) in decline. This sort of sickness doesn’t seem to afflict those up-and-coming johnnies such as the BRICS, except maybe those of their population who identify with the Imperial mindset.
        I can only hope that what seems to be the impending collapse of these historical parasites will happen as painlessly as possible and not take the rest of the planet with it. Knowing the capacity of the Emperor for Narcissism, it may decide to commit murder-suicide just because. Living through this mess is not going to be fun, I can tell.

        • Yes, good point. Maybe the BRICS nations will catch our disease later, to the extent that they buy into our ideas of continual economic growth, deregulation, etc.?

          • Ross Hendry.
            That truly would be a disaster, I hope you are not expressing wishful thinking?

            • Not at all. I don’t know why you might want to read that into my comment. The fact is that if they (like us) are unaware of the roots of the Western neurosis it’s quite likely they WILL catch the same disease.

              • Ross Hendry.
                No I did not think you really were espousing wishful thinking, I was being facetious and I apolgogize if my comment was taken as a serious question.
                Sometimes my humour is misdirected and not appropriate, I have my failings!

          • I would hope that the horror of what is to come for us will deter any sane society from emulating the causes of it, if they survive this themselves that is. Perhaps they’ll erect monuments in the future to warn from this.

            I see there’s something in Georgia already which seems a bit premature or at least ineffective as a warning to most people. Regardless of their origin or interpretation, in themselves the ‘rules’ themselves seem sensible in contrast to what we have now.

            • Dominic.
              It would seem the Guidestones rules have been largely cast aside:

              Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
              Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
              Unite humanity with a living new language.
              Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
              Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
              Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
              Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
              Balance personal rights with social duties.
              Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
              Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

              I think we are going to need more than good intentions and advice, but it’s a good well meaning thought.

              • Oh yes, my impression was that it was more of an expression of an ideal which is desirable to return to, if that is at all possible. I can see how the ‘desired’ population level can make some nervous, depending on how that would be achieved, and how fast.

                Perhaps it’s just an early monument to those survivors who follow us, warning of not repeating our mistakes. Bringing it back to my original comment, perhaps that won’t be necessary if the disaster is localised purely to the previously predatory nations, where the epicenter will lie.

                • Hi Dominic.
                  If I recall correctly Indiri Gandhi had a solution that was considered an assault on humanity when deciding on how to reduce the population – she wanted thousands of women sterilised!!!!
                  As for the third one, I’m not sure who decides what and how that would be determined either. I think you called it right when you suggested it was intended as a warning not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
                  With regard to keeping the problem localised to the predatory nations, that has never been the case – they always pick their fights against the weakest or gull others into doing their dying.
                  I wish someone could clarify just what the rules are, at the moment, it seems others, not of the majority, are the ones who make them and break them and apparently we do not learn from the mistakes of the past(or the horrors).
                  We both live in hope while their is hope.

            • “Regardless of their origin or interpretation, in themselves the ‘rules’ themselves seem sensible in contrast to what we have now.”

              Whoa, Dude! The Georgia Guidestones have been a sinister blip on my parapolitical radar for going on 20 years, now, and the EugeniGenocidal “dream” of reducing the Earth’s human population to a fraction of its current levels must be taken as a serious threat, not a hopeful suggestion. There is more than enough space and food for everyone on Earth if the selfish scum at the top can be separated from the preponderance of Land/Resources they have stolen (and keep stealing) for themselves. How many humans could live well enough on an average American golf course, with the big-village-levels of water the golf course consumes? How many land-grabbing, resource-gobbling golf courses and resorts and military bases and malls and theme parks are there in the world?

              Idea: how about reducing the total number of cars to below 50,000,000, and let the humans stay? How about we re-install America’s, and Europe’s, farmlands, after ripping out the shopping centers and highways? How about we develop the tech for harvesting all that virtually-infinite Solar Energy? Curiously, the really positive, inspiring alternatives to How We Now Live are never mentioned… it’s always the hideous EugeniGenocide Dreams that pop up instead.

              The Brainwashing is so, so strong (Invoice of Her Generation, Yoko Ono, just loves those Guidestones). We have to learn to resist it. The “dream” of 500,000 humans, spread across the inhabitable surface of the Earth, is an Hitlerian Sci Fi nightmare of Lords, Serfs, Robots and Lebensraum.

              It’s a Human-Hating fantasy: some psycho-aristocrat being driven for thousands of “pristine” miles without having to see one filthy human from his/her limo window. Give me a crowded market of people selling bread and vegetables and sandals and water colors and rugs and secondhand vinyl, with dogs yipping and kids laughing, any day of the week. The known universe is vastly, vastly, vastly devoid of Life in general and Humans, specifically… have we forgotten how miraculous a fucking human newborn is? Probably a trillion times less likely to manifest in the universe than gold, right? We should be treating Humanity as precious… more precious even than i-phones and diamonds. Yet the “elite” want more gold and fewer Humans and, eerily, many of us would appear, subconsciously, at least, to agree: how did they manage that neat trick?

              No, Humans are not a “plague” on this planet… but the psychopaths controlling us are a plague. What good would culling us to 500,000,000 do if 1,000,000 were still psychopaths and they were still in charge (and, rest assured, in this fantasy, they are still in charge). There’s room for all of us… except the murderous psychos. But even they can be accommodated… in high security facilities. Let them make solar-cells in the prison workshops.

              I mean: who do you think paid for the creation and maintenance of the Guidestones… a secret consortium of really nice poets?

                • “Standing in the midst of a freshly planted maize field, Bright Osei Kwaku recalls that last year he more than doubled his output with the help of improved seeds, fertilizer and advice on farming techniques. Altogether, his two to three acres yielded about 15 100-kilogramme bags of maize, compared with just six bags the year before, when he had no such support.”

                • Norman.
                  The problem with any mechanization of farming is the dire consequences it has on the small holding peasant farmers, who get by with regard to keeping their own families in basics. They must not be seen as a waste of land, rather Fairtrade deals should be involving their small acreage into production by helping them (freely – now there’s a thought) providing them with organic bio friendly pesticides and fertilizers, good seed and access to water.
                  The Clinton Foundation were involved in various land deals in Africa, but it turned out that many of the farmers were in fact ousted by means of gangster like persuasion(protection racketeering or your crop goes up in flames)and the farmers were forced to sell then work on their own land at a fraction of what they had previously earned from it. Various UK “corporates” did the same thing.
                  I read an article in which it was stated that the waste food discarded by the richer countries would see the starving all over the world, fed. The figure quoted as wasted food was 60% of the world food production. I recycle a lot of my wasted food by feeding it to the birds, foxes and other wildlife(if I can’t give it to my dogs). It made me feel very guilty about what I was wasting.
                  The sites I get this kind of information from are probably my environmentalist sites, which are many, so can’t give a link.
                  There must be an answer and we must find it soon. Monsanto have been given the go ahead to use their bee killing pesticides under the DARK Act(along with a whole lot of good for business, bad for the planet business practices) which will likely see a further reduction in pollinators – crucially bees and other insects – and likely the introduction of pests immune to their previous brand of pesticides(thus ensuring we all buy their expensive latest and greatest).
                  I don’t want to jump on any bandwagon yet, until I know the poorest aren’t the ones paying the heaviest price(the reason why so many scientists would not sign off on the “mankind is the cause of climate change” reports).

                  • “The problem with any mechanization of farming is the dire consequences it has on the small holding peasant farmers, who get by with regard to keeping their own families in basics. ”

                    This “problem” is only a problem in a capitalist context.

                    In a society in which “need” would be the only or primary economic “imperative,” the mechanization of farming would reduce to only two motives: to increase the reliability of food production for all and reduce the burden of labor for those involved in agriculture. No one now a peasant would end up “destitute,” but in fact would see an enormous amelioration in the quality of their lives in terms of leisure (i.e. opportunities for cultural pursuits) and material comfort.

                    It is only under a capitalist regime that mechanization substitutes for labor so as to dispense with labor, rendering many “hands” economically and socially de trop. Furthermore, those that remain to labor after a cycle of “mechanization” always end up having to work at least as hard as before and sometimes — under the capitalist imperative for more effort for less — even having to work harder than ever.

                    So the issue is not that of “mechanization” per se, but of the “ends” being served by “mechanization.”

                    Under capitalism, “mechanization” serves but the profits of the capitalist or the firm; under a different and yet entirely possible economic imperative, “mechanization” could serve to “humanize” production, whether in agriculture or elsewhere, by reducing both the drudgery and the length of the workday.

                    “Fair trade” may keep peasants “employed” and “solvent” in a capitalist context, but it doesn’t really ameliorate their lives nor the cost of living for anyone ethically committing themselves as consumers to that principle of “fairness.” Existence yet remains both precarious as well as onerous in many ways.

                    • The theory works very well, but the reality is very different and complex. What is required is all concerned to agree on the proposed policy and ideology. Sadly, as “western” culture makes it’s way into a natural order of a society which traditionally takes only what it needs, so do their “needs” change. They “need” the latest mobile ‘phone, they “need” the fags, booze and women, the latest fashion clothes and modern TV’s and w/machines. Before you know it, needs and “needs” take on new meaning and destruction of a way of life occurs, tradition is replaced by acquisition and what once was is consigned to a past never to be revisited.
                      Most people adopt all too readily the modernism introduced into their society(intentionally)and their future is guided by those who stand to profit.
                      What is required and what is achievable are poles apart. Even the Inuits have tried to hang on to the old ways, but so many of them now, drive around in snowmobiles, which did not arrive via Santa Claus.
                      I still think Duran’s way is the route we should all be taking, only those who want to join will make the move away from the corporatism and usurious capitalism that governs peoples lives but as disenchantment cuts deeper, such a movement could indeed grow.
                      In an ideal world, capitalism would be dead and ten billion of us would be kind to each other and war would not be an issue. No-one would go hungry and we would adopt the old Irish Brehen justice system and I would adopt a druid take on life.
                      Ouch! Damn and blast it, reality just gave me a rude awakening and I was so enjoying my alternate lifestyle.
                      Humans don’t do love and harmony very well, or live and let live, whilst millions of us could wish for a better world, millions, unfortunately want the blemish remover, the must have fashion accessory – pink kittens to match the current wardrobe, the biggest and best plasma t.v and absolutely fabulous kitchen gadgets. etc. etc. Those are the people I live among, they’re nice enough, just not overly concerned about the millions who go to bed hungry every night, or will die slowly because they can’t afford meds, or will freeze tonight without a roof over their head. I recognized this as a truth 40 years ago when I read Marx, and whereas once I spent an hour reading the bible saying a vocal prayer for all those who had so little, now it is an unspoken apology to all those who do not have what I have. Forty years have passed and I’m still hoping for a socialist revival – let it be so, before it’s too late. Then will your vision of a Marxist existence become a reality.

                • I watched a tv programme that showed a huge golf course in Africa which had diverted the water supply and agreed to provide an alternative water supply. The golf course backers were raking it in, but the villagers were dying of disease from filthy pools because the alternative water supply wasn’t working(and it was minimal at best). Monied interests tops peasant survival every time.

              • BigB says

                …really nice poets – who couldn’t spell ‘pseudonyn’!!! 😉

                I can’t find the ref right now, but a major US uni did a study that said the world could sustain 10 billion through organic farming… we need our land back… not idly accumulating unearned income for aristos and pseudo-aristos…

                  • BigB says

                    I think this is the paper. From the abstract: it says “organic agriculture has the potential to contribute quite substantially to the global food supply.” So we could almost sustain the current population on the current agricultural land: without nitrogenous fertilizer (or GMO.) Suck on that Bill Gates and Monsanto

                    • “These results indicate that organic agriculture has the potential to contribute quite substantially to the global food supply, while reducing the detrimental environmental impacts of conventional agriculture.”

                      Are you sure the authors of this paper haven’t had a fatal boating accident since publishing this in 2007…?

                • I, too, have momentarily lost the reference, but when the global population still only stood at roughly 6 billion souls, and presumably the situation remains unchanged, less than half of all habitable land was occupied.

                  Furthermore, if I recall correctly a figure that was touted by Samir Amin in something I read by him, most of the agriculture on the planet is still, so to speak, primitive-agrarian. The difference in yield between that kind of farming and the modern type is 2000 fold. So if more than half the world is living on agriculture that could be ameliorated by magnitudes of yield, our world can sustain far, far greater number of humans than we imagine — and remember, that’s only on half of what is theoretically available to us . . .

                  If I get the time, I’ll try to track down my sources. Hopefully, I haven’t confabulated too much of what I’ve just spouted . . .

                • To quote Amin,

                  Capitalist agriculture, governed by the principle of the profitability of capital, is localized in North America, Europe, the southern cone of Latin America, and Australia,
                  and employs only several dozen millions farmers who are not truly “peasants.” But their productivity — a function of mechanization (which exists almost exclusively in these regions) and the extent of the land which each possesses —
                  leads to a yield of between 10,000 and 20,000 quintals [equal to 100 kilograms or 220 lbs] of grain-equivalents per worker per year.

                  On the other hand, peasant agricultures support nearly half of humanity — three billion human beings. These agricultures are divided, in turn, between those that have benefited from the green revolutions (fertilizer, pesticides, and the best quality seeds), but are still hardly mechanized, whose production yields between 100 and 500 quintals per worker and those that have not benefited from the green revolution,
                  whose production yields only around 10 quintals per worker.

                  The gap between the productivity of the best equipped agriculture and poor peasant agriculture, which was 10 to 1 before 1940, is today 2000 to 1. In other words, the rate of growth in agricultural productivity has largely surpassed that of other activities, resulting in a real price reduction of 5 to 1.

                  Capitalism has always combined with its constructive dimension (the accumulation of capital land development of the productive forces) several destructive dimensions,
                  such as the reduction of humanity to being nothing more than the bearer of labor power, itself treated as a commodity;
                  long term destruction of reliable natural bases for the reproduction of the means of production and life;
                  and destruction of sections of older societies and sometimes entire peoples, such as North American Indians. Capitalism has always simultaneously “integrated” (that is, workers subjected to diverse forms of exploitation by expanding capital — by “use” in direct terms) and excluded (that is, those who, having lost the position that they occupied in older systems, have not been integrated into the new). But in its ascendant, and historically progressive phase, it integrated more than it excluded.

                  Source: The Liberal Virus, Samir Amin, Monthly Review Press, 2004.

                  Amin then goes to raise out the “real” agrarian question: as the currently remaining peasant agriculture becomes modernized, what is to become of the billions of peasants to be replaced but by a few tens of millions of capitalist farmers?

                  It’s not that there are too many people and insufficient resources, but that the call for “population reduction” is a direct manifestation of the capitalist imperative for profit and, therefore, nothing but a naked call for genocide. In a word, it truly is barbarism.

                  • BigB says

                    @Norm: the really criminal (and deliberately under-reported) part of the wilful destruction of the Ukrainian economy is the criminal sale of the land. No country that sits atop the Chernozerm Belt should ever be poor (I guess I don’t need to make that point to a Canadian?) Unless by IMF- compradorist oligarchal-Capitalist design.

                    The former breadbasket of the Soviet Union is being marketed as “The Breadbasket of the Future”: and sold by AgroGeneration to the likes of Cargill, Monsanto and a veritable who’s who of the corporatocracy.

                    Evil – again, it’s the only word I can find – as at least 1.5 million were being genocidally starved in the Donbass. That failed, so now they are trying to starve Transnistria. Evil, truly evil.

                    Damn you, Soros!!! Damn you, Lagarde!!! I’m going to stop now… Otherwise I’ll be damning all afternoon!!!

              • I agree with you on that one. Now really wanting to write a novel every time I make a comment I have to boil it down to the conclusion without giving the exposition, and in contrast to the (engineered?) chaos of today these ‘rules’ do seem sensible.

                The seemingly arbitrary figure did jar with me, it does recall the misanthropic aristocrats of a deserted Earth covered in private estates which I read about in an Asimov novel. They were not exactly a barrel of laughs.

                I can only imagine our overlords would like nothing more than to have their own giant game preserve (or golf course) free of the peasants they once relied upon for survival, now technology has made us redundant in their eyes.

                No Agent Smith I, nor a Luddite. A devotee of Bucky Fuller with his bright vision of a future where Technology was devoted to Human development rather than the other way around. That vision was good, while it lasted in the public eye, but it wasn’t followed through because there was no more money (or wealth) in it than otherwise for those who already had it apparently.

                • “I can only imagine our overlords would like nothing more than to have their own giant game preserve (or golf course) free of the peasants they once relied upon for survival, now technology has made us redundant in their eyes.”

                  Redundant for some things, sure, but I can’t think of a more sophisticated, cost-efficient, self-correcting, self-repairing or sex-ready robot-Caddy than a meat-based Serf…!

                  • In a sy-fy novel future, that is exactly what is predicted if we don’t pull things around soon.

    11. David Otness says

      Bravo, Phillip Roddis!
      That’s some grand wordsmithing while laying out the truth in an excellent overview.
      Many of us — such as readers of off-Guardian and a select few others — grit our teeth listening to BBC, CBC and NPR as they blithely spout such utter twaddle and “all of the smart people” — generally in the U.S. the liberals and ill-informed progressives — just eat it up as being “reliable” as it comes from a vaunted institutional source.
      These emperors have no clothes as you have just so admirably illustrated. I am sharing this one on FaceBook. Thank you for writing it.

    12. Husq says

      America has no friends. Only interests.

      The Battle of Russia begins by depicting the many times Russia has been invaded over the centuries, and how it has has always defeated and driven out the invaders. It then delves into the reasons for why this “imperialism”, as the film calls it, occurs: Russia’s many raw materials and natural and human resources, which, the film says, imperial countries seek to control and benefit from.

      • writerroddis says

        Thanks for the link Husq. I don’t know the film but will watch. From the west’s point of view, cold war on the USSR – always about transferring immense assets to Wall Street while opening up its markets – was won, but did not go entirely to plan. Russia is unfinished business. There are other reasons though. Demonstrated on the one hand by Syria, on the other by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Russia – increasingly collaborative with China – is a significant obstacle to western imperialism’s ability to control resources and markets everywhere. These are interesting times.

        Even as our rulers seek to manufacture consent for their wars of aggression, presenting them as morally right, trust in the media is going down. This is exciting but scary. A hundred years or more of bourgeois democracy have been premised on ruling class ability to secure its interests, in the main without resort to naked repression. Capitalism on the hand; pluralism, limited democracy and ‘open society’ on the other: should the two ever prove incompatible, it’s a no-brainer which our rulers will choose.

      • rehmat1 says

        Funny though, the so called ‘Battle of Russia’ never materialized during the 50-year Cold War while Soviet Russia’s ally India and United States ally Pakistan fought three major war finally creating Bangladesh.

        Since both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin serves Israeli interests – there is no chance of a direct war between the two nuclear colonists over Ukraine or Syria or India.

        • rehmat1.
          ” Soviet Russia’s ally India and United States ally Pakistan fought three major war finally creating Bangladesh.”
          It’s not as if India had much of a choice and the world powers(except the US and their new Sino friends)were horrified by Pakistan’s genocide against the Bengalis.
          I was a teenager at the time and watched the horror unfold.
          Another honest and balanced representation of the Bangladesh War of Independence can be found on Wiki:
          “The war began after the Pakistani military junta based in West Pakistan launched Operation Searchlight against the people of East Pakistan on the night of 25 March 1971. It pursued the systematic elimination of nationalist Bengali civilians, students, intelligentsia, religious minorities and armed personnel…..The Pakistan Army, which had the backing of Islamists, created radical religious militias – the Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams – to assist it during raids on the local populace.[11][12][13][14][15] Members of the Pakistani military and supporting militias engaged in mass murder, deportation and genocidal rape. The capital Dhaka was the scene of numerous massacres, including the Dhaka University killings. An estimated 10 million Bengali refugees fled to neighboring India, while 30 million were internally displaced……An academic consensus prevails that the atrocities committed by the Pakistani military were a genocide…..The Provisional Government of Bangladesh was formed on 17 April 1971 in Mujibnagar and moved to Calcutta as a government in exile. Bengali members of the Pakistani civil, military and diplomatic corps defected to the Bangladeshi provisional government. Thousands of Bengali families were interned in West Pakistan, from where many escaped to Afghanistan. Bengali cultural activists operated the clandestine Free Bengal Radio Station. The plight of millions of war-ravaged Bengali civilians caused worldwide outrage and alarm. The Indian state led by Indira Gandhi provided substantial diplomatic, economic and military support to Bangladeshi nationalists. British, Indian and American musicians organised the world’s first benefit concert in New York City to support the Bangladeshi people. Senator Ted Kennedy in the United States led a congressional campaign for an end to Pakistani military persecution; while US diplomats in East Pakistan strongly dissented with the Nixon administration’s close ties to the Pakistani military dictator Yahya Khan.
          India joined the war on 3 December 1971, after Pakistan launched preemptive air strikes on North India. The subsequent Indo-Pakistani War witnessed engagements on two war fronts. With air supremacy achieved in the eastern theatre and the rapid advance of the Allied Forces of Bangladesh and India, Pakistan surrendered in Dacca on 16 December 1971……….
          The scale of the atrocities was first made clear in the West when Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani journalist who had been sent to the province by the military authorities to write a story favourable to Pakistan’s actions, instead fled to the United Kingdom and, on 13 June 1971, published an article in The Sunday Times describing the systematic killings by the military. The BBC wrote: “There is little doubt that Mascarenhas’ reportage played its part in ending the war. It helped turn world opinion against Pakistan and encouraged India to play a decisive role”, with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi herself stating that Mascarenhas’ article has led her “to prepare the ground for India’s armed intervention”.[60]”
          and this ought to sound very familiar:
          “…..Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America’s new tacit ally, China. To demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an ally, and in direct violation of the US Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan and routed them through Jordan and Iran,[127] while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan. The Nixon administration also ignored reports it received of the genocidal activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram.[128]
          Nixon denied getting involved in the situation, saying that it was an internal matter of Pakistan, but when Pakistan’s defeat seemed certain, Nixon sent the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal,[129]”
          Many “Trekkies” were dismayed that Nixon would use the Enterprise in such a foul provocation and intervention so we remember it well.

          • rehmat1 says

            I was in East Pakistan at that time – and was aware of India-Israel-Russia evil plan to dismember Pakistan which posed the greatest threat to racist-criminal Brahmin-ruled India.

            Former head of counter-terrorism branch of India’s intelligence Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), B. Raman, in his book ‘The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane’ documents the major part played by India-Israel intelligence agencies in the dismemberment of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh in the Eastern part of Pakistan in 1971. The book give most credit to the first Chief of RAW, Rameshwar Nath Kao (died 2002) from 1969 to 1977, whose photo adorns the front-cover of the book. According to the book the breakup of East Pakistan was carried out by Indira Gandhi government in two phases. Phase one was coordinated by RN. Kao and phase two by Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (a Parsi, died 2008) – both reporting directly to Indira Gandhi (died 1984).

            According to Raman, in the late 1960s, Indira Gandhi, deployed RAW into action as the East Pakistan crisis deepened. RAW trained and supplied arms to the Bengali anti-Pakistan guerrillas and organized phsychological-warfare campaign against Islamabad-based central government. Almost every day Indira Gandhi had at her disposal bugged conversations of top Pakistani officials on Islamabad’s plaaning in East Wing of the country. She did not make a single decision concerning military action in East Pakistan without the advice of RAW’s Chief R.N. Kao.

            The Illustrated Weekly of India (1923-93), had posted an article, titled “The Spymaster” in its December 23, 1984 edition, which stated:

            “One of the most glorious chapters in the history of RAW, was the operation leading to the creation of Bangladesh. That country would never have been born but for the operation carried out by RAW for several years before the Indian Army action. The first meeting between IB operatives and Sheikh Mujib had taken place as early as 1963, and after RAW was set up in 1968, it anticipated virtually every major military and political development that took place in what was then East Pakistan during a meeting in India with Mrs. Gandhi, at which the master spy (Kao) was also present, Mujib’s successor, Zia-ur-Rahman is reported to have remarked: “This man (Kao) knows more about my country than I do.”

            Soon after RAW’s establishment in 1968, Kao arranged a secret liaison with Israeli intelligence agency Mossad – to “learn from its counter-terrorism techniques”. Father Bush as director of CIA (1975-77) cultivated a close friendship Kao. As vice-president, Bush, turned off Washington’s support for the Sikh separatists in Indian Punjab on the advice of Kao. Later, India’s Hindutva leader and Home Minister LK Advani visited the Zionist entity in June 2000, during which the two Muslim-hating governments agreed that the Israelis would make India and Israel partners in threatening the Muslim world with diabolic conspiracies to fragment and cripple it as a political force in the world. The details of his meetings with Zionist-regime, particularly the heads of the Israeli Home Ministry and its intelligence agencies, Mossad and Sabak, revealed that the arrangements he has made for joint Indo-Israel espionage operations in key areas of the Muslim world would make the Indian embassies in these Muslim countries the eyes and ears of the worldwide cloak-and-dagger of Israeli spy network….


        • Rehmat1

          Your favourite authour wrote the following:
          “…..the Jews always seek to impose chaos on the Gentiles as a means to reshape the World to favor the contrived fulfilment of Jewish messianic prophecy. Jews seek to pit Muslims and Whites against one another and Putin is helping them to do just that. Jews also seek to pit the nuclear armies of the Whites against one another, and Putin is doing just that, guaranteeing our mutually assured destruction at a time when Whites enjoy a near monopoly on the most powerful nuclear weapons in existence and could instead employ them to guarantee our mutual preservation….”
          “Christopher Jon Bjerknes received antisemite badge of honor”
          a friend of yours?
          He mentions the word “Jews” and “Jewish” four times and “Whites” three times.
          Who is he referring to when he uses the word Jew?
          Who is he referring to when he uses the word White?
          Some nice supremacist friends you got there.
          ” Putin is communist snake wrapping the Jewish serpent around planet Earth,” adds Bjerknes.”

          How ill informed and stupid is this Berk?
          Putin is not a communist, he barely scrapes by as a centrist and is more aligned with State Capitalism.

          In a post on OffG July 5th you write:
          • July 5, 2017
          I don’t know the idiot who wrote that Op-Ed and I’m certainly no fan od Vladimir Putin, the Butcher of Chechnya – but I would like writer to judge Putin based on what Rabbi Aleksandr Boroda, president of Russian Federation of Jewish communities, said about Putin: “if Putin is ever removed from power, Russian Jews will be facing serious danger.”
          Needless to say that while all leaders of the Christian Western world need Jewish support for their political survival – in Russia, it’s the Jewish community that needs Vladimir Putin for its survival….

          Butcher of Chechnya? WTF?
          He may be all kinds of not perfect, but Butcher?
          Where is the link to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. He is such a Saint isn’t he, especially for the homosexuals in Chechnya, but don’t you bother about such facts lest they get in the way of your anti Putin trolling.

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