All posts filed under: Essays

Left degeneracy plumbs new depths

by Patricia Greanville An appeal landed in my mailbox yesterday from I suppose the editors of Mother Jones or their marketing machine in conjunction with an outfit called Citizens United. The letter blares across the page something that can only be of interest to people suffering from a bizarre sense of priority, abysmal ignorance or clinical stupidity: Donald Trump just SLANDERED President Obama! The implication is that we should urgently do something about this. Aux armes! Further, in what we must accept as a compelling supporting rationale for action, the authors of the appeal, proving they do come from Lalaland, offer this laughable argument: …Donald Trump is wrong!!! President Obama has always been on our side. He’s been fighting to overturn Citizens United since Day One. With equal breathless dishonesty, the letter has the audacity to talk about defending “Obama’s legacy”, a supposedly sterling body of work apparently about to be wrecked by the horrid Trumpinator. By the standards of silliness this marks a new low; by the standards of left thinking, such as it …

Snow, Death, and the Bewildered Herd

by Edward Curtin, from Global Research Few people at this hour – and I refer to the time before the breaking out of this most grim war, which is coming to birth so strangely, as if it did not want to be born – few, I say, these days still enjoy that tranquility which permits one to choose the truth, to abstract one in reflection. Almost all the world is in tumult, is beside itself, and when man is beside himself he loses his most essential attribute: the possibility of meditating, or withdrawing into himself to come to terms with himself and define what it is he believes and what it is that he does not believe; what he truly esteems and what he truly detests. Being beside himself bemuses him, blinds him, forces him to act mechanically in a frenetic somnambulism.” Ortega Y Gasset – The Self and the Other As I write these words, the house is being buried in a snowstorm. Heavy flakes fall slowly and silently as a contemplative peace muffles …

A thought on Culture as an Integral Part of the Conditions of Existence

by Norman Pilon Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. Karl Marx, 1852 The concrete totality as a totality of thought, as a thought concretum, is in fact a product of thought and conception; but in no sense a product of the concept thinking and engendering itself outside or over intuitions or conceptions, but on the contrary, a product of the elaboration of intuitions and conceptions into concepts.’ Karl Marx, 1859 What is the problem of History? It is, as Marx puts it, that we do not make our history, be it personal or collective, under circumstances of our choosing. What are these circumstances? To describe them and the manner in which they seize hold of us, never again quite to release their grip, consider what happens to a child born into a …

The cognitive dissonance of western “progressive liberals”

by Andre Vltchek Most likely you have already heard that tune, ten times, or maybe one hundred, depending where you live and the circle of friends you have. But let me remind you how it goes: “I’ll never set foot in Singapore, because it is all business there.” Or: “Let others go to Gulf countries, I’d never do something like that. They have no culture and it is all showing off and glitz there, purchased with oil money… not to mention all those terrible conflicts they are fueling in the region.” Then, there is that big ugly “I” name: “Me going there? Over my dead body! It is illegitimate; it is sitting on other peoples’ land.” So it goes… While genuine criticism is always healthy, it is important to realize that many of those who get ignited by even hearing the names of places like Dubai or Singapore are actually living in the cities like New York, Paris or London. Some are even practicing law, or other mainstream professions that have to be defined as …

The dark spectre of political correctness

by Vladimir Golstein at the Duran A spectre is haunting Europe—and it is not the spectre of communism. Marx’s dream had been replaced by a much more primitive, pernicious, and grotesque spectre, that of Political Correctness and by its twin brother: equally primitive, grotesque and virulent xenophobia and racism. This spectre replacement is hardly coincidental. Like a good cop, bad cop routine, these twin brothers seem to succeed in their insidious attempt to suppress any serious discourse of domestic or foreign policies, any attempt to go beyond the previously approved and predetermined lines of reasoning so that the ruling order remains protected from Marx’s or any other truly dangerous spectres. Besides its philosophical poverty, PC had recently demonstrated its utter bankruptcy in the face of wars, invasions, population displacement, and cheap labor policies. It failed to formulate and carry out a proper response to the so-called refugee crisis that overwhelmed Europe first by the sheer amount of people indiscriminately admitted into Europe, and then by the amount and intensity of violent crimes that some of …

What is the European Union For?

by Frank After all the initial eu(ro)phoria and hopes placed upon the original concept of a non-aligned, social-democratic Euro-bloc, the reality has turned out somewhat differently. In a pamphlet written in 2011 – Europe: The Unfinished Project – I wrote: At the present time the EU project seems to be stuck in no-man’s land, unable to press ahead with full political integration, or retreat back into a northern European protectionist Deutschmark zone, and leaving the peripheral member states to the tender mercies of unfettered, globalized capitalism. However there seems to be a sufficient residue of the original EU idealism in the present stage of development to persevere further with the political struggle taking place.” Ibid, page 19 I believe that this view, which seemed justifiable and plausible enough at the time of writing, has now become difficult to sustain. And the reason for this came in the next sentence, viz. One only has to consider the Anglo-American alternatives (to the Euro model) and globalization more generally to make this choice.” This statement was, however, based …

How Come Washington’s Humanitarian Concerns Always Result in Population Control

by Jean Perier, via New Eastern Outlook Alleged humanitarian efforts have always been a rather important aspect of the state propaganda campaign carried out by the White House and its media. We’ve seen Washington using its proxy NGOs to fight against the alleged “humanitarian crimes” of the Syrian government, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and other states that Washington has declared its enemies. This large-scale campaign that is said to be driven by “common human values” has been supported by a number of modern American oligarchs. Among those “humanitarian champions” one may find the founder of Microsoft and one of the richest businessmen in the world, Bill Gates. He is a figure who likes to be presented as a benevolent philanthropist of sorts. By using the so-called “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” this American oligarch attempts to put on the mask of the official representative of the US political elite, carrying on the fight against poverty, food shortages and diseases in Africa and other poor regions of the world. However, in reality these “activities” …

Obama’s Nonexistent Legacy

by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Trump did more than any democrat to deflate the neocon/neoliberal agenda that liberals themselves screamed was fascist when Bush was president.” That was a brilliant and profoundly true reader-comment posted November 14th about Hillary Clinton supporters who were demonstrating against Trump’s winning the Presidency. Hillary was even more of a war-hawk than Bush was, or than Obama was: she supported not just Bush’s invasion of Iraq, but Obama’s invasions of Libya and Syria, a coup in Honduras, and helped plan Obama’s coup in Ukraine, which led to Ukraine’s breaking apart into civil war. Plus she was even more of a champion of Wall Street than Obama was, and maybe even more so than Bush was. Yet many Democrats think that the anti-Establishment Donald Trump is, somehow, even worse. They claim that Trump is a “racist” — as though either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton hadn’t been leading a country where the top 0.1% got the vast majority of the economic benefits and the bottom 90% — including especially …

A collection of thoughts about American foreign policy

by William Blum, November 6, 2016, Anti-Empire Reports Louis XVI needed a revolution, Napoleon needed two historic military defeats, the Spanish Empire in the New World needed multiple revolutions, the Russian Czar needed a communist revolution, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires needed World War I, Nazi Germany needed World War II, Imperial Japan needed two atomic bombs, the Portuguese Empire in Africa needed a military coup at home, the Soviet Empire needed Mikhail Gorbachev … What will the American Empire need? I don’t believe anyone will consciously launch World War III. The situation now is more like the eve of World War I, when great powers were armed and ready to go when an incident set things off. Ever since Gorbachev naively ended the Cold War, the hugely over-armed United States has been actively surrounding Russia with weapons systems, aggressive military exercises, NATO expansion. At the same time, in recent years the demonization of Vladimir Putin has reached war propaganda levels. Russians have every reason to believe that the United States is preparing for war …

34 Reasons This Bernie Voter Will Vote Trump

by Eric Zuesse Here are the 34: “Hillary Clinton’s Six Foreign-Policy Catastrophes” “Hillary Clinton the hawk, and the Honduran coup” “I’m a Bernie Sanders Voter: Here’s Why I’ll Vote Trump” “Hillary Clinton: A Threat to All Humanity.” “Red-Light Warning On Now About Hillary Clinton” “Here’s Why Hillary Won’t Allow Her Corporate Speeches to Be Published” “Hillary Clinton’s Global-Burning Record” “We’re out of time on climate change. And Hillary Clinton helped get us here” “Hillary Clinton Is Backed by Major Republican Donors” “Wall Street gives Hillary Clinton $27M” “Tim Kaine Calls To Deregulate Banks As He Campaigns To Be Clinton’s VP” “Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 1 – How She Aggressively Lobbied for Mega Corporations” “Hillary v. Bernie: Their Two Opposite Views of the Presidency” “Hillary Clinton Backs Fast-Track on Obama’s Trade Deals” “Hillary’s Record: Pretending to Oppose Trade Agreements” “Hillary Clinton Oversaw US Arms Deals to Clinton Foundation Donors” “Neocon Kagan Endorses Hillary Clinton” “Neoconservatives Declare War on Trump” “U.S. Foreign Policy ‘Elites’ Eagerly Await Expansion Of Overseas Wars Under Hillary Clinton” “Hillary the Hawk: A History” …

Nobel Economics Versus Social Democracy

by Avner Offer, October 10, 2016, via Project Syndicate Of the elites who manage modern society, only economists have a Nobel Prize, whose latest recipients, Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström, have just been announced. Whatever the reason for economists’ unique status, the halo conferred by the prize can – and often has – lend credibility to policies that harm the public interest, for example by driving inequality and making financial crises more likely. But economics does not have the field entirely to itself. A different view of the world guides the allocation of about 30% of GDP – for employment, health care, education, and pensions – in most developed countries. This view about how society should be managed – social democracy – is not only a political orientation; it is also a method of government. Standard economics assumes that society is driven by self-seeking individuals trading in markets, whose choices scale up to an efficient state via the “invisible hand.” But this doctrine is not well founded in either theory or practice: its premises are …

The BLACKGUARDING of JACQUELINE WALKER

by W Stephen Gilbert It’s crucial to remember that anti-Semitism is the McGuffin, a plot device that fifth columnists in the Labour Party deploy to further their aim of undermining Jeremy Corbyn. The Jewish community has for centuries been one of the most progressive, radical and creative contributors to Britain’s politics and culture, and there has been a natural and easy affinity between Socialism and Judaism. What Marx called “the Jewish question” has always attracted lively interest and sympathy on the left. This has not changed since Corbyn became Labour leader; not one iota. Though anti-Semitism has frequently been expressed on the right of British politics, racial and/or tribal and/or cultural distinction has rarely before caused dissension on the left. It’s true that male chauvinism and homophobia have been more difficult for the left to grasp, but not for all on the left; James Connolly, the Irish patriot and Socialist thinker who was executed a century ago this year, wrote wisely and well about feminism though he, like all thoughtful men, would not claim to …

Why Both Clinton & Trump Are Corrupt

by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org In order to overcome the partisanship on both sides of this U.S. Presidential contest, the corruption of both of the candidates needs to be acknowledged, and a quick way to do that is to consider the cases of their respective charities (we’ll go beyond that to a broader view afterward): On September 10th, David A. Farenthold headlined in the Washington Post, “How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money”, and he documented that Trump has lied in his many statements asserting that he donates lots to charities, and that he has even used his (actually meager) Foundation as a device to collect donations from others and then simply donate that money from others, to other charities as being “charitable donations by the Trump Foundation”; he even has sometimes used donations others had made to his ‘Charity’ in order to purchase things for some of his own businesses. So: not only is his ‘charity’ meager, but it consists largely of the charity of others — and …

Failures of the Western Left

by Andre Vltchek It is tough to fight any real war. And it takes true guts, discipline and determination to win it. For years and decades, the so-called ‘left’ in the West has been moderately critical of North American (and sometimes even of European) imperialism and neo-colonialism. But whenever some individual or country rose up and began openly challenging the Empire, most of the Western left-wing intellectuals simply closed their eyes, and refused to offer their full, unconditional support to those who were putting their lives (and often even the existence of their countries) on the line. I will never forget all those derogatory punches directed at Hugo Chavez, punches coming from members of the ‘anti-Communist left’, after he dared to insult George W. Bush at the United Nations in 2006, calling him a “devil” and choking, theatrically, from the sulfur that was still ‘hanging in the air’ after the US President’s appearance at the General Assembly. I will not be dropping names here, but readers would be surprised if they knew how many of …

NATO’s War On Russia: The Winds Howl Before The Storm

by Christopher Black, via New Eastern Outlook, October 3, 2016 A few weeks ago I wrote, “I have been a defence lawyer most of my working life and am not used to gathering evidence for a prosecution, but circumstances impelled me to open a file for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or perhaps some future citizen’s tribunal, in which is contained the evidence that the NATO leaders are guilty of the gravest crime against mankind, the crime of aggression. I would like to share with you some brief notes of interest from that file, for your consideration. Article 8bis of the Rome Statute, the governing statue of the International Criminal Court states: For the purpose of this Statute, “crime of aggression” means the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter on the United Nations. …

Russia-Baiting and Risks of Nuclear War

by Ray McGovern at Consortium News As U.S. and Russian officials trade barbed threats and as diplomacy on Syria is “on the verge” of extinction, it is tempting to view the ongoing propaganda exchange over who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014 as a side-show. That would be a huge mistake – easily made by President Obama’s wet-behind-the-ears sophomoric advisers who seem to know very little of the history of U.S.-Russia relations and appear smug in their ignorance. Adult input is sorely needed. There are advantages to having some hands-on experience, and having watched how propaganda wars can easily escalate to military confrontation. In a Sept. 28 interview with Sputnik Radio, I addressed some serious implications of the decision by the U.S. and two of its European vassal states (the Netherlands and Ukraine) to stoke tensions with Russia still higher by blaming it for the downing of MH-17. In short, there is considerable risk that the Russians may see this particular propaganda offensive (which “justified” the European Union’s economic sanctions in 2014), …

Liverpool United Aim for the Title

by W Stephen Gilbert Nobody worked harder at the Liverpool Conference than John McDonnell. You could count yourself unlucky if he didn’t breeze in at the session you were attending, however arcanely fringe it might be. He never gave a speech or even a few words that you’d heard before and, though looking increasingly exhausted, he was winningly upbeat, ending with a cry of either “Solidarity!” or “Socialism!” every time. His keynote speech in the main hall put pounds of flesh on the bones of the party’s economic policy, indicating that he’s been working flat out all the rest of the tumultuous year that he has been shadow Chancellor. He’d better pace himself. Labour needs him. Conference also established triumphantly that the Corbyn loyalists who stepped up to fill the suddenly empty seats in the shadow cabinet after the mass exodus were nothing like the fourth eleven that the media and other belittlers claimed. Sadly, I missed the much-praised address by Clive Lewis, but I caught most of his comrades performing in one setting or …

Reforming the EU – Waiting for Godot

by Frank There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain. In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to …