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An excerpt from the above linked-to article by RT News follows:
The head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, has called for the creation of an international coalition of states to fight the “dictatorship” imposed by the US on the rest of the world, and to reject the use the US dollar as a reserve currency.
Speaking at a roundtable in Moscow, Bastrykin said that the world urgently needed a new system of checks and balances that would allow equal representation of all nations on the international political arena.
He said an alliance of countries was needed which could act in concert as “a feasible pole to counter the dictatorship imposed by the Americans together with their Western allies,” according to the minutes of the roundtable published on the Investigative Committee’s website.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
It’s total common sense for Russian officials to think like this. The US (not alone however) is absolutely not interested in law and order in any meaningful way. You have to be brain dead to not know that. It’s interested in domination, which losers like Obama and Hillary Clinton (and all of the American ruling class) refer to euphemistically as ‘leadership’. Well, The mafia godfather is interested in leadership too, and you’d better understand what that means.
William Greider wrote “One World, Ready Or Not” many years ago. It’s a great read. He interviews quite a few people for the book, including some Boeing officials. He was discussing the GATT rules with one and, once they had established as a talking point that, yes, the rules were violated all the time, the official allowed that the rules were not there because corporations have some principled position on law and order, but because it kept the whole corrupt, rickety mafia capitalist system from falling on everyone’s head. In other words, It wasn’t ‘everyone’ he is concerned about, since if that were to happen, the important people would suffer to. Capitalists (the mutated variety) are macho, suicidal, destructive and pathological, but they can often be clever. I’ll never say wise. That’s different.
I remember Michael Hudson (economist) musing about the possibility of (Nazi) Ukraine not paying it’s bill with Russia for energy now that it’s happily being used by the US to destabilize Ukraine and blame Putin for it (Cold War II). I thought “Yep. That’s how it works. You come to dominate by breaking the rules – financial in this case – that all have agreed to beforehand. The ‘more’ law abiding you are, in the US-dominated world, the more danger you are in. And sure enough, Ukraine said it wouldn’t pay. I don’t know how that ended and whether or not Ukraine backed down from that position.
Do I believe that the world will divide into a US-dominated system and an independent Russian-dominated system, or something like that? It could happen if the world had enough time for it, I suppose. I don’t believe that that’s the case. Nor do I believe that a coalition of independent countries able to protect itself from a hyper violent, hyper lawless US would be a righteous congregation. That’s another thing altogether. This dark world’s paradigm is ‘riches for the strongest’. Being a loser in a game that you shouldn’t play doesn’t automatically make you righteous.
Fix your garbage commenting system RT.
An excerpt from the article, “The IMF Changes its Rules to Isolate China and Russia,” by Michael Hudson follows:
==== == = –
Imagine the following scenario five years from now. China will have spent half a decade building high-speed railroads, ports, power systems and other construction for Asian and African countries, enabling them to grow and export more. These exports will be coming online to repay the infrastructure loans. Also, suppose that Russia has been supplying the oil and gas energy for these projects on credit.
To avert this prospect, suppose an American diplomat makes the following proposal to the leaders of countries in debt to China, Russia and the AIIB: “Now that you’ve got your increased production in place, why repay? We’ll make you rich if you stiff our adversaries and turn back to the West. We and our European allies will support your assigning your nations’ public infrastructure to yourselves and your supporters at insider prices, and then give these assets market value by selling shares in New York and London. Then, you can keep the money and spend it in the West.”
How can China or Russia collect in such a situation? They can sue. But what court in the West will accept their jurisdiction?
That is the kind of scenario U.S. State Department and Treasury officials have been discussing for more than a year. Implementing it became more pressing in light of Ukraine’s $3 billion debt to Russia falling due by December 20, 2015. Ukraine’s U.S.-backed regime has announced its intention to default. To support their position, the IMF has just changed its rules to remove a critical lever on which Russia and other governments have long relied to ensure payment of their loans.
– = == ====
See also Michael Hudson’s article titled “Orwell at the UN: Obama re-defines democracy as a country that supports U.S. policy.” Here’s an excerpt:
“In his Orwellian September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence or revolution. This was his threat to promote revolution, coups and violence against any country not deemed a ‘democracy’. In making this hardly-veiled threat, he redefined the word in the vocabulary of international politics. Democracy is the CIA’s overthrow of Mossedegh in Iran to install the Shah. Democracy is the overthrow of Afghanistan’s secular government by the Taliban against Russia. Democracy is the Ukrainian coup behind Yats and Poroshenko. Democracy is Pinochet. It is “our bastards”, as Lyndon Johnson said, with regard to the Latin American dictators installed by U.S. foreign policy.
“A century ago, the word “democracy” referred to a nation whose policies were formed by elected representatives. Ever since ancient Athens, democracy was contrasted to oligarchy and aristocracy. But since the Cold War and its aftermath, that is not how U.S. politicians have used the term. When an American president uses the word “democracy”, he means a pro-American country following U.S. neoliberal policies, no matter if the country is a military dictatorship or its government was brought in by a coup (euphemized as a Color Revolution) as in Georgia or Ukraine…”
Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm (1785-1863) and his brother Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859) are most famous for their collection of tales, one of which is “Snow White.” In their (first) collection of fairy (?) tales published in 1812, “Snow White” is tale number 53. Apparently, It undergoes some revision and it’s final form is published in 1854.
My interest in Snow White is solely restricted to the wicked Queen’s magic mirror, which she uses to indulge in ritualistic, narcissistic self-assurance. She happens to be beautiful and so enjoys regularly hearing about it from her truth-telling magic mirror. Until one day when her mirror tells her a truth she doesn’t want to hear.
“Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid,” by Japhy Wilson, is exciting. But I’m thrilled and annoyed. It’s flaws annoy me while the subject, and the detailed information about it that Japhy presents, is important. The author commits a huge punctuation fail. Unless he’s very fond of paraphrasing – I’d have to do major forensics to determine how fond – Japhy simply dispenses with proper punctuation, offering quotes, most of the time, without proper quotation marks. That slows me down for sure. It’s hard to say that someone who Japhy quotes said this or that, when I don’t know whether it was Japhy who said this or that or the person he’s quoted. He also unnecessarily forces the reader to dig into the notes at the back of the book in order to know what the source of a longer quote is. He could just indicate that in the main body of the text. Publishers, including Verso, do a major disservice to it’s readers when they can’t insist that authors who they publish follow the major rules of punctuation and grammar. Also, I don’t know whether to criticize Japhy for providing no index in his book (which could just reflect a lack of resources), but that wasn’t helpful.
I’m not familiar with Japhy Wilson. I’ve no doubt read him before. I just had no reason, or capacity, to remember. One of the reasons I picked up his book (second hand) is that I am familiar with Jeffrey Sachs. My introduction to Jeffrey was via Naomi Klein’s discussion of his destruction of Bolivia, Poland and Russia. As Japhy points out, Sachs’s destruction ‘inspired’ the IMF to create it’s neoliberal Structural Adjustment Programs. In this manmade (sort of) hell, with Satan’s deputy, the wild beast of corporatocracy, in charge, People like Jeffrey Sachs are rewarded for their service to the exploitative, godless 1%.
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it has hated you. If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is it’s own.” – John 15:18,19
“Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.” – Matthew 10:32,33
“No one can slave for two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for riches.” – Matthew 6:24
“Looking back on Sachs’s career, it is no exaggeration to say… that his ‘track record’ has been consistently on the side of the rich… In his popular writings, Sachs has consistently emphasized that inequality is not a problem, and even his recent criticisms of Wall Street are qualified by his eager insistence that he is ‘not in the slightest against the accumulation of wealth, even vast wealth’, and his firm assertion that he is ‘not recommending a “class war”. There is no excuse for equalizing incomes’.” -page 145 of “Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid” by Japhy Wilson
Japhy talks about how Jeffrey Sachs’s reputation took a hit after the failure of Russia to thrive following drunkard Boris Yeltsin’s adoption of Sachs’s economic shock therapy, which included the wholesale selling of nationalized companies, the cutting of social spending and the establishment of legal protections for private property, the opening up of the country to foreign investment, the squelching of opposition to ‘reforms’ by bypassing input from citizenry, and massive layoffs. The author mischaracterizes Sachs’s trajectory, in my view. It’s as if the author has never heard of the concept of the doctrinal system. In explaining Sachs’s ideas and projects, the main one being the famous Millennial Villages Project (See below), the author takes a unique approach. Instead of an explanation that looks at the subject’s decision to serve power (Sachs’s neoliberal colleagues, namely mafia capitalists marching under the banner of NSC 68 to victory against the people) and ideology, in accordance with the doctrinal system, the author opts for some fancy theory of the Real of capital to explain Sachs’s sudden re-admittance into neoliberal policymaking networks. The re-admittance was real, but it was not forgiveness. There was no transgression to forgive, from the standpoint of the neoliberal establishment. And the networks of neoliberal policymaking are tangible and intangible. Sachs’s being literally disconnected from those, for a time, did not mean that that community was against him or vice versa, as Japhy’s own statements make clear.
Japhy seems to suggest that neoliberals fully believe that neoliberalism is natural. Japhy’s theory is that Jeffrey Sachs, and other neoliberals, have created a neoliberal fantasy that they’ve superimposed on the Real of capitalism, which they can live with for quite a while, via repression, before the Real of capitalism, which means actual, existing capitalism, happens to break through their delusion to disturb their peace. Those are a lot of people with that particular psychological problem therefore. I don’t think that neoliberals in high places believe that neoliberalism is benign. And their understanding that neoliberalism isn’t natural doesn’t prevent them from choosing to promote it.
Does Japhy believe in evil? Do you have to believe in God to believe in evil? – Regarding American political culture (and even amongst the general population), There’s an anguished effort amongst those within Hollywood/CIA/Pentagon to extinguish the idea of an actual creator God, who isn’t man, seen in loopy ideas like George Lucas’s force with it’s dark and light sides. Someone can cross the line, into the dark side – lying and manipulating and extreme evil like slaughtering children – and rather than be branded a major criminal who should be punished, he (or…) instead becomes, if he’s a member of the tribe, a candidate for extra compassion so as to encourage him to forgive himself, as others, of his tribe, forgive him. We are thereby taught to not pay any attention to glaring inconsistencies. (Maybe the Emperor has family that wants him to forgive himself and stop slaughtering innocents so they can take him back and continue enjoying family get togethers without fear of rebel attacks.) If authorities say it’s so, then it’s so. If authorities say that here’s the rule: ‘Crossing over to the dark side means you can never come back’, but then break it, We have to just accept that they are the authorities and know best, And ‘badness’ – dishonesty for example – is sometimes also ‘goodness’. God is vanquished here, not directly, but by his absence and by the slaughtering of his standards. Get rid of ‘who’ God is and you get rid of God. What’s frightening is that people suck that up. In a recent post I wrote, I look at the odd decision by suits in tv-land to air a mini series about Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End.” Clarke’s sci fi story reveals his total hatred for our ‘immature’ attachment to the idea of an actual creator God.
“In his performance of Mr Aid, Sachs abandons the dry economics and ruthless neoliberal strategizing of Dr Shock, and adopts a distinctly evangelical tone. He frames his development project as nothing less than a ‘simple plan to save the world’…
“Such emotive language has led Sachs to be depicted as an ‘economic proselytizer’ and a ‘dispenser of moral medicine’. It is notable that his own ‘second coming’ occurred around the turn of the millennium, and was framed by the biblical references of ‘Jubilee’ 2000 and the ‘Millennium’ Development Goals. Sachs frequently refers to God in his writings on development, and his public appearances have become increasingly messianic.” -pg 66 of “Jeffrey Sachs – The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid” by Japhy Wilson
“Jeffrey Sachs was in the room at the Kremlin on the day Yelstsin announced that the Soviet Union was no more…
“Russia’s conversion to capitalism had much in common with the corrupt approach that had sparked the Tiananmen Square protests in China two years earlier. Moscow’s mayor, Gavriil Popov, has claimed that there were really only two options for how to break up the centrally controlled economy: “Property can be divided among all members of society, or the best pieces can be given to the leaders… In a word, there’s the democratic approach, and there’s the nomenklatura, apparatchik approach.” Yeltsin took the latter approach… In late 1991, he went to the parliament and made an unorthodox proposal: if they gave him one year of special powers, under which he could issue laws by decree… he would solve the economic crisis… Yeltsin could have one year of absolute power…
“He immediately assembled a team of economists… The group’s figurehead was Yegor Gaidar, whom Yeltsin named as one of his two deputy prime ministers. Pytor Aven, a Yeltsin minister in 1991-92 who was part of this inner circle, said of his former clique, “Their identification of themselves with God, which flowed naturally from their belief in their all-round superiority, was, unfortunately, typical of our reformers.” -pages 266 & 267 of “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein
Sachs exited his career as a super economist advising countries on how to transition to the supposedly superior American-style capitalism that enshrines the market and sacrifices everything to it’s dictates, following his failure to fix Russia, and then he re-enters politics as an Aid guru with the answers. The answers he had previously put forth weren’t wrong, in his and others’ (neoliberals) view. Sachs’s moved into a new ‘department’ (Harvard’s economics dept from 1980-1999/ chair of the Millennium Project in 2002 and, at the same time, head of the Earth Institute/ United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in 2012) within the neoliberal/neoconservative corporatocracy. He’s merely looking at the primary doctrine from a different standpoint. Neoliberalism hasn’t morphed into something else so much as Sachs has just chosen a different position to stand in relation to that system and his new viewpoint is reflected in his altered language and approach to the promotion of neoliberalism. (The author points out many instances of Mr Aid talking neoliberal trash just like the old Dr Shock, but he explains that as being an effect of Sachs’s psychological problem, manifesting as a sort of tourette’s syndrome, in which the old evil Dr Shock pokes through to utter neoliberal obscenities. I’m not sure of Japhy’s point, but I see what Chomsky means when he says that mastering keeping their stories straight is not something that all cultural managers / pushers of doctrine can do well.) The author’s contention that neoliberalism has morphed is a distortion of reality, I think. Neoliberalism hasn’t morphed so much as it has changed and adapted. Who would doubt that it needs to? If Russia after Sachs reveals that neoliberalism is brutal and inhuman, then the need is for neoliberals to make it appear not so. What’s unusual about that? But neoliberalism hasn’t changed into something else and there’s no reason to suppose that Sachs was ever ‘truly’ rejected by the neoliberals and neocons with whom he partnered.
“…In 2006 Sachs launched the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), with the support of the Earth Institute, the United Nations Development Programme, and Millennium Promise – a philanthropic foundation that he cofounded in 2005 with the billionaire Wall Street venture capitalist Ray Chambers. The MVP applies the Millennium Project’s recommendations in eighty pre-existing villages, organized into fourteen ‘clusters’, which are distributed across ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa…
“Since its launch, the MVP has become the most high-profile development project in the world, and has acquired the support of a growing array of celebrities, philanthropists, and multinational corporations.
“Sachs is effectively micromanaging the lives of 500,000 Africans…
“Like shock therapy, the Millennium Villages Project sets out a strict blueprint, based on a comprehensive, integrated set of reforms, which are assumed to be applicable to all countries regardless of local context or political institutions. Sachs is careful, however, to locate his Millennium Villages only in countries with established records of ‘good governance’, which is World Bank-speak for countries that have undergone structural adjustment programmes and continue to do the bidding of the International Financial Institutions. Indeed, the Millennium Project specifies that selected countries should have received ‘favourable reviews’ from the World Bank and the IMF. The countries involved in the MVP are Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. It is no coincidence that all of these countries were regarded as good pupils of the World Bank and the IMF at the time the Project was launched.” – pages 73 & 74 of “Jeffrey Sachs – The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid” by Japhy Wilson
Also, The failure in Russia wasn’t unique, as Japhy points out. The neoliberal reforms had varying degrees of success in the countries Sachs shocked the hell out of. And you don’t fail because you fight and lose. The establishment would only regard Sachs’s efforts on behalf of the 1% as a failure if Sachs had disowned his former policies and proceeded to betray neoliberal principles and by extension, the neoliberal order and the powerful special interests who benefit from it.
Did the establishment have to recognize that Russia was a disaster ‘after’ Sachs’s intervention? Sure. But that means nothing. Just as politicians today enter into politics knowing that they are going to do things that the people – those who voted for them and those who didn’t – won’t like, because that comes with the mafia capitalist / neoliberal territory (See page 4), so too Sachs would not have taken it personally when his partners, reacting to public displeasure over the raping of the Russian economy that he (and his Russian partners and assorted Russian gangsters who came out after Sachs’s implemented policies had made an opening for them) helped bring on, had to acknowledge the situation, just as they would not have taken Sachs’s failure in Russia personally. They could hardly afford to, since it would have been tantamount to admitting that what ‘they’ do, and have no intention of not doing, is criminal. In other words, Sachs’s reputation has only taken a hit among principled people who pay attention to what’s going on in the world.
The way the system works – and if Japhy has read Noam Chomsky, he would know this – involves the ruling class’s indoctrination of the people. And there are two targets for indoctrination. The hands-on managers in society – the educators, journalists, news anchors, generals and judges – are the first target. They may or may not fully grasp the lies they are fed. But, unless they want to be cast out (with material consequences in this money system in which money means life), they play along. The second target is the masses. Then everyone indoctrinated talks in the language of the system’s doctrines. I often talk about demonstration thinking and behavior. It’s what you see when authority figures talk in such a way that it serves to set an example for others how to behave, talk and think. The authority figure isn’t being honest. But most people don’t pick up on it. It’s used for many purposes, obviously. One of them has to do with establishing, in the interests of the 1%, the schedule for examination of horizontal and vertical issues, which Japhy illustrates nicely with his account of Sachs’s, and other luminaries’, rushing to Zucotti Park to denounce greedy bankers and to “twist its political direction away from revolutionary anti-capitalism and towards a populist attack on greedy bankers and politicians, in defence of capitalism itself.” (page 123) Often the intention is to direct people’s attention away from one thing and onto another thing, which ‘other thing’ may not necessarily be an unworthy subject for examination. The point is ‘control’ which also includes ‘framing’, which Japhy himself engages in when he tries hard to convince us that Sachs’s ‘fear’ of communism is actual fear. It’s not. I might fear that it’s freezing cold outside. Does that mean anything? Sachs’s is just playing his role as promoter of neoliberalism and the American Empire. I’m reminded of something you see every election. Pundits, treating the election like a game, breathlessly make statements about a politician who may regret some statement or other. It’s all relative. When you serve power, power looks after you. Usually, the (often already rich) politicians who ‘lose’ in elections go off and join companies or their boards or law firms and do just bloody fine.
There’s no democracy happening but only political gangsterism and manipulation. The idea of ‘horizontal’ is that it is equivalent to ‘shallow’, or relatively – not absolutely, usually – important, as opposed to ‘vertical’, which would be equivalent to subjects or issues that are deeper or more important. Behind the doctrines (and the preeminent doctrine which the entire world has revolved around since it was penned, is the Cold War anti-communist doctrine known as NSC 68) lies the reality, which is nothing more mysterious than what the term ‘mafia capitalism’, or the term ‘riches for the strongest’, conveys. Rule-breakers rise to the top, everywhere. But they’re still human, by which I mean that while rule-breaking allows you to climb over and on top of others, like vicious dogs eating dogs, you still need those rules in order to function socially, for you still need others. And you still have others, including sons and daughters and friends and neighbors (some) who you care about and who you want, and need, to care about you. You need the language of civilization in order to interact with all of those ones. And then, finally, you need that language of civilization – that will often be shared with the public – to talk about your criminal activity – colonialism, imperialism, neoliberalism – to yourself and to your colleagues. If, as an authority, or as a high level authority, you know the ‘code’, then you’ll be able to function socially, in all situations, and as a servant of power. That language is doctrinal. It’s not honesty. But in the sense that it enables you to function as a mafia capitalist, which you’re ‘actually’ doing, within a mafia capitalist system, which ‘really exists’, it’s real. (Not even ‘good’ people are honest.) And the more powerful you are, the more dishonest you are. Doctrines involve codes and players certainly know them and speak in them. Others who refer to doctrines or their components might not have any awareness that those are ‘doctrines’ rather than just reality.
“A properly functioning system of indoctrination has a variety of tasks, some rather delicate. One of its targets is the stupid and ignorant masses. They must be kept that way, diverted with emotionally potent oversimplifications, marginalized, and isolated. Ideally, each person should be alone in front of the television screen watching sports… deprived of organizational structures that permit individuals lacking resources to discover what they think and believe in interaction with others, to formulate their own concerns and programs, and to act to realize them. They can then be permitted, even encouraged, to ratify the decisions of their betters in periodic elections. The rascal multitude are the proper targets of the mass media and a public education system geared to obedience and training in needed skills, including the skill of repeating patriotic slogans on timely occasions…
“The problem of indoctrination is a bit different for those expected to take part in serious decision-making and control: the business, state, and cultural managers, and articulate sectors generally. They must internalize the values of the system and share the necessary illusions that permit it to function in the interests of concentrated power and privilege – or at least be cynical enough to pretend that they do, an art that not many can master. But they must also have a certain grasp of the realities of the world, or they will be unable to perform their tasks effectively. The elite media and educational system must steer a course through these dilemmas – not an easy task, one plagued by internal contradictions.” -pages 369 & 370 of “Deterring Democracy” by Noam Chomsky
There’s a primary doctrine. And then there’s secondary doctrines. (And there’s a ‘mirror mirror on the wall’ counterpart to the primary doctrine that tells us the truth.) What was the Soviet Union’s primary doctrine? What is Russia’s primary doctrine? It is pretty much the same as the US’s, except that it has become less doctrine and more truth as the US has shown itself to actually be what it accused the Soviet Union of being, just as today, it shows itself to actually be what it accuses Russia of being, namely an evil expansionist empire – with Russia operating something like 8 bases in former Soviet republics to about 1000 US bases in foreign lands. (See David Vine’s CounterPunch article “Garrisoning the Globe” and See Deirdre Fulton’s Common Dreams article, “Ratcheting Tensions, Obama Orders Huge Weapons Increase Along Russia-EU Border,” about the US’s continuing, serious, acts of aggression toward Russia.).
The domestic population control (in the West and the Soviet Union) function of the Cold War is looked at by Chomsky in his book “Deterring Democracy,” although things have changed since it’s publication in 1991. Russia sees the US as being bent on world domination. And it is. But I don’t believe that Russia isn’t part of this dark world and that it doesn’t act in accordance with it’s operating principle of ‘riches for the strongest’, even if, in relation to the US, especially in recent years, it has behaved far better. The Cold War NSC 68 doctrine authored (principally) by Paul Nitze, directs our attention to the “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” of the (former) Soviet Union. With John F. Kennedy’s administration, Thinking about the true enemy being the people, euphemistically referred to as “the internal enemy,” began in earnest. To be sure, the reference to “internal aggression” was almost always packaged as involving communist influence, but, as Chomsky notes, the term ‘communist’ was mostly used in a technical sense. Anyone, communist or otherwise, who opposed what the powerful do, was labelled a commie. That’s still often seen. Kennedy used the phrase “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” in his April 27, 1961 speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association – http://bit.ly/1KCqtc6. The phrase isn’t found in the NSC 68 document. Obviously, the hawkish Kennedy hewed to NSC 68.
“Sachs’s enduring obsession with communism is also evident in his fixation on John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sachs concludes Common Wealth and The Price of Civilization by recalling the Cuban Missile Crisis, when ‘Americans faced the challenge of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.’ He quotes JFK’s speeches from this period in all five of his Reith Lectures and all three of his bestselling books. Indeed, as I write this, Sachs has recently published his fourth major book, To Move The World, which is entirely devoted to JFK’s role in ending the Cuban Missile Crisis…” -pg 148 of “Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid” by Japhy Wilson
The only thing that could spoil by appreciation for this important book more than those things I mentioned at the top of my post is if Japhy Wilson has embraced the propaganda of Camelot (in which JFK is ‘not’ a terrorist). He doesn’t indicate his position in this book, but my spider senses are tingling.
NSC 68 is complemented by documents that were not public and which didn’t talk about a powerful, evil slave state bent on world domination. NSC 68 was not meant for public consumption despite being doctrinally appropriate. The complimentary private documents talked about how to take advantage of a vulnerable Post World War II Soviet Union. The ‘mirror mirror on the wall’ counterpart to Queen NSC 68 would be (the truth of) this dark world’s paradigm, or organizing principle, of ‘riches for the strongest’. The Soviet Union is gone, but not that primary doctrine, which helps explain elites’ attraction to the Cold War, which they’ve returned to and is known as Cold War II. (A great site for taking in information about this sad turn of events is “The New Cold War: Ukraine And Beyond.” – newcoldwar.org) Not many top echelon planners, who are informed, will believe, literally, the implications of the primary doctrine. (Chomsky seems to think that many will. Or he seems to.) I can’t imagine that any would. (And note, We have the advantage of being sure of which primary doctrine, of the West, is truly primary, by virtue of the fact, as Chomsky points out, that “The most powerful mafia don is also likely to dominate the doctrinal system.” – pg 32 of “Year 501 – The Conquest Continues”) Some of the charlatans might be bamboozled by secondary doctrines stemming from the primary doctrine. The tale-telling ramifies and fragments. And even intertwines with truth. Just read John F. Kennedy’s speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association (above), in which he says much that is reasonable (if hypocritical) and true about a free press. It would be impossible for many in the newspaper publishing industry, and without, to not believe the de-contextualized, but reasonable, explanations for why a free press is crucial to a functioning democracy.
Someone on one website I just looked at notes, in regard to the quote I provide below (which represents an idea Chomsky has expressed many times), that it is “Based on the transcript of a lecture delivered at the Delhi School of Economics on 5 November 2001, to be published by Oxford University Press. Thanks are due to Ingrid Evjen-Elias and Emma Schwartz for help with the transcription.” Consider:
“REMEMBER the context of Huntington’s thesis, the context in which it was put forth. This was after the end of the Cold War. For fifty years, both the US and the Soviet Union had used the pretext of the Cold War as a justification for any atrocities that they wanted to carry out. So if the Russians wanted to send tanks to East Berlin, that was because of the Cold War. And if the US wanted to invade South Vietnam and wipe out Indo-China, that was because of the Cold War. If you look over the history of this period, the pretext had nothing to do with the reasons. The reasons for the atrocities were based in domestic power interests, but the Cold War gave an excuse. Whatever the atrocity carried out, you could say it’s defence against the other side.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the pretext is gone. The policies remain the same, with slight changes in tactics, but you need a new pretext…”
The primary doctrine enabled the gangsters running the world to carry on with their criminal activity. As circumstances changed, requiring a tweak to the doctrine, you see no wringing of hands by it’s purveyors over their great mistake of approaching foreign relations in the gangster, imperialist manner they did. Instead, No heartbeat is skipped as they tweak the doctrine so as to not hurt it’s power to enable the continuance of imperialism and rapine. From pages 276 & 277 of Noam Chomsky’s book, “Hopes And Prospects,” the following:
“A critical question about “the biggest year in world history since 1945,” which “changed everything,” is how global policies were affected by the dawn of the “unipolar moment,” as it came to be called…
“The Bush I administration reacted at once by invading Panama… The event was a minor footnote to a familiar history, though there were two innovations. One was the pretext: not “the Russian are coming,” the reflexive justification of the past, but the threat to our existence caused by Hispanic narcotraffickers. The second difference was explained by former high State Department official Elliot Abrams, who pointed out that for the first time the United States was able to intervene without concern for a Russian reaction somewhere in the world. As other prominent commentators elaborated, the collapse of the Soviet deterrent “makes military power more useful as a United States foreign policy instrument… against those who contemplate challenging important American interests,” and makes it easier to resist “manipulation of America by third world nations.” We are now more free to resort to force, violence, and subversion to achieve our global aims.
“The Bush I administration responded immediately to these opportunities in its Pentagon budget and national security strategy report in early 1990. In brief, nothing would change, apart from pretexts and tactics. We still need a huge military system, but for a new reason: the “technological sophistication” of third world powers. We have to maintain the “defense industrial base” – a euphemism for state-supported high-tech industry. We must also maintain intervention forces directed at the Middle East energy regions – where the significant threats to our interests “could not be laid at the Kremlin’s door,” contrary to decades of deceit. All of this and much more like it was passed over quietly, barely even reported. But for those who hope to understand the world, it is quite instructive.”
As Chomsky has noted often, Despite being the world’s foremost deterrent of democracy, the United States is very free in certain regards. You can pretty much say what you want and so can the press. Which is why propaganda in the States (as it is in other developed democracies) is so sophisticated. Cultural managers, the first and most important targets for indoctrination, are conditioned to self-censor (partly via frightening examples of what happens to those who don’t, something you can get an idea of from reading chapter one of Noam Chomsky’s “Towards A New Cold War”). But you get an idea how the doctrinal NSC 68 is not an honest statement, and how the ruling class apprehends the reality it disguises, when you see how easily planners segued from the slave state’s (Soviet Union) menace to other big bogeymen.
Japhy posits, essentially, that Jeffrey Sachs has a psychological problem and that he can’t confront his own past as Dr Shock (confusing Dr Henry Jeckyl with the evil Mr Edward Hyde), which sort of lets Sachs off the hook. Supposedly, Sachs can’t imagine that the neoliberal order that he has always believed in might not be the wonderful thing he tells people it is and so he represses the fact of Russia’s unravelling following his ‘guidance’. (Sachs ‘belief’ in the neoliberal order is not an ignorant belief. He knows what neoliberalism is.) What Sachs doesn’t do is show humility. That means that you don’t admit mistakes. That’s all. Sachs’s has no intention of giving up the attention, or glory, that his efforts on behalf of the 1% bring to him. (And boy does Sachs like attention! Japhy tells the story of a Russian official who complained about the arrogant Jeffrey Sachs who was waiting for an audience with the deputy prime minister of Russia, with his feet up on a table in the ante-room, with others there. He was asked to take his feet off the table and did. And then put one back up in order to tie his shoe laces. pages 29 & 30) He continues to act in accordance with the primary doctrine, in loyalty to his class, as Japhy notes. His switcheroo is absolutely not mysterious nor a result of pathology, although one can call him sick without reference to an actual medical condition. Japhy notes, about Sachs’s new appointment as an Aid guru, that it’s “like seeing Thatcher fighting the police on a picket line, or hearing Reagan singing the ‘Internationale’.” IF you’re not paying attention. Only ‘if’.
Elites are not the only people on the planet and they can’t ignore the people and their reactions to their trouble-making, although they do try to and are pretty good at it (and employ gatekeepers to that end). But they are not unaffected. If the American ruling class has to acknowledge the destruction of Russia that all see, and adjust their language accordingly, but without really abandoning the primary doctrine – or their intention to do gangster business as usual – That is not the same as their rejecting Jeffrey Sachs for his crime of destroying Russia. At most, as with Vietnam, Sachs’s powerful associates might posit that Sachs made mistakes in his bumbling effort to do good. (I’ll keep my eyes open for just such examples. For now, That’s something I’m assuming.) That’s the kind of propaganda operation that was, and continues to be, performed by compliant major media following the US’s withdrawal – but not peace with – Vietnam. Vietnam was a ‘mistake’, a conclusion which much of the American public came around to disagreeing with during the 60s, a development that alarmed elites. Vietnam was not a mistake. It was an enormous crime. However, By definition the nation that is a ‘city on a hill’ can do no wrong as it carries out God’s will.
There’s no need for that convoluted explanation of Sachs’s egomaniacal, evil behavior. Sachs knew he was acting in accordance with the primary ‘great game’ doctrine and he knew as well, as Japhy’s own account clearly shows, that in order for him to have the approval and acceptance of powerful players, and the adulation of the masses, much of which does believe the fantasy pointed to by the primary doctrine, he therefore had to uphold the primary doctrine, in a new way perhaps, but nevertheless, uphold it both by not attacking it via confessions of bad intentions (which, note, would be condemnatory toward the US ruling class, a tricky proposition whether you choose to side with it or not) and by actually putting a stamp of approval on his past service to the neoliberal order by now attempting to show the world, with his human zoos in Africa (which actually came with instructions to visitors to not feed them or give them things!), that neoliberalism is in fact civilized and includes social safety nets and charity and compassion. Japhy reveals nicely how that aid isn’t straight-forward aid, but is applied in such a way that the neoliberal order remains unchallenged and those dependent on the aid remain outside of democratic avenues and the ability to assess, disagree with and challenge the neoliberal order. Indeed, Sachs’s aid is conditional upon all donors’ acceptance of the tenets of neoliberalism (liberalized capital and unconstrained corporations, the primacy of private property), which is actually the problem that creates a need to search for solutions.
“Despite claiming to be committed to the principles of ‘community participation’ and ‘local ownership’, the MVP is based on the premise that Sachs already knows ‘the solution’ to poverty. The power relations between ‘expert’ and ‘villager’ are evident in the visitors’ brochure for a Millennium Village in Rwanda, in which ‘Rule #1 is ‘Please do not give anything to the villagers – no sweets, cookies, empty water bottles, pens or even money’, with the explanation : ‘our desire is to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship and service provision rather than handouts’…” -pg 77 of “Jeffrey Sachs – The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid” by Japhy Wilson
The author asserts, on page 75, that a tenet of neoliberalism is the idea that markets are a natural order of society. That may or may not be fair. Earlier, on page 22, he notes that neoliberalism means 1. free trade 2. deregulation 3. privatization 4. austerity. He doesn’t call those tenets, and that’s appropriate. They aren’t controversial or in the realm of mere ‘belief’ or ‘interpretation’. I think he knows what a tenet is. The dictionary says that a tenet is a belief. One definition says that a tenet is a belief that can’t be proven. Chomsky states that “While insisting on powerful states to serve as their tools, [corporations] naturally seek to restrict the public arena for others, the main tenet of “neoliberalism.”” pg 117 of “Rogue States – The Rule Of Force In World Affairs” by Noam Chomsky. From elites’ standpoint, Chomsky’s assertion can’t be proven, because it’s not written anywhere and, I assume, because they would disagree with his (and others’) interpretation of neoliberalism. But honest people would acknowledge the facts, and history, that lead to Chomsky’s simple observation about neoliberalism. As for the idea which the author now suggests is a tenet of neoliberalism, that strikes me more as being a secondary doctrine. It’s still something that neoliberals, certainly most neoliberals in positions of authority, would know is code only. The author’s suggestion might not make his case.
Neoliberalism isn’t just ripe capitalism. It’s ripe mafia capitalism. (I usually do equate neoliberalism with ripe capitalism. So, I mean to here emphasize the criminality of neoliberalism rather than to suggest that capitalism was always as bad as it is today.) The problem isn’t the system. The problem lies with the fact that too many within it are criminal-minded. You can make an inferior socio-economic system work – if all those within it have good intentions. It might not be perfect, because you can’t get perfect systems from imperfect human beings, but capitalism, for example, can be ‘made’ to work in the sense of social democracy, where you acknowledge, wisely, that your system is imperfect and you therefore make allowance for the possibility that the impersonal market might leave some people behind through no fault of their own. You therefore put in place mechanisms – a social safety net – like welfare and unemployment insurance and a progressive tax system and ways to redistribute wealth, while allowing for political input from the people affected by policy. That’s what we had for a short time post World War II, before too many capitalists decided that they had great political power, conferred on them by dint of their fortunes and their willingness to break agreements (written and unwritten), and could use it to have it all and then took steps, starting with studies and papers that showed (as they wanted them to show) that there was a ‘crisis of democracy’, to reduce, a la James Madison, the democracy (not the social problems) and in that way ensure that their own class’s power and privileges would never be diminished going forward. Self-modified people (no longer interested in Jesus’s golden rule of ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’) were now free to play their game of ‘riches for the strongest’ and play God, after rejecting him and, I believe, fearing that rejecting him didn’t really mean that they had vanquished him. That leads to pathology in my view.
“So much wealth was being made in Russia in this period that some of the “reformers” couldn’t resist getting in on the action. Indeed, more than anywhere else up to this point, the situation in Russia exposed the myth of the techocrat, the egghead free-market economist supposedly imposing textbook models out of pure conviction. As in Chile and China, where rampant corruption and economic shock therapy went hand in hand, several of Yeltsin’s Chicago School ministers and deputy ministers ended up losing their posts in high-profile scandals.
“Then there were the whiz kids from Harvard’s Russia Project, tasked with organizing the country’s privatizations and the mutual market. The two academics who headed the project – Harvard economics professor Andrei Shleifer and his deputy Jonathan Hay – were discovered to have been directly profiting from the market they were busily creating. While Shleifer was the lead advisor to the Gaidar team on privatization policy, his wife was investing heavily in privatized Russian assets…
“When these tangles came to light, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Harvard…
“Perhaps this kind of “self-dealing” was inevitable, given the nature of the Russian experiment. Anders Aslund, one of the most influential Western economists working in Russia at the time, claimed that shock therapy would work because “the miraculous incentives or temptations of capitalism conquer more or less anything.” So if greed was to be the engine for rebuilding Russia, then surely the Harvard men and their wives and girlfriends, as well as Yeltsin’s staff and family, by taking part in the frenzy themselves, were simply leading by example.
“This points to a nagging and important question about free-market ideologues: Are they “true believers,” driven by ideology and faith that free markets will cure underdevelopment, as is often asserted, or do the ideas and theories frequently serve as an elaborate rationale to allow people to act on unfettered greed while still invoking an altruistic motive?” – pages 281, 282, 283 of “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein
“By constructing an image of a place devoid of human agency and abandoned to the natural vagaries of death and disease, such representations encourage an understanding of poverty as a consequence of local environmental disadvantages, rather than political and economic relationships of power, while legitimizing development interventions by the very same governments and donors that bear significant responsibility for the perpetuation of poverty and inequality.” -pg 88 of “Jeffrey Sachs – The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid” by Japhy Wilson
Sachs’s case better illustrates my own theory, in my opinion. I believe that those who knowingly and willingly reject the Creator create a disturbance within their souls. It’s like a mental itch. And sometimes, when they think about God, it becomes a real mental itch. Those who modify themselves so as to become believers in inequality rather than believers in Jesus’s golden rule of ‘Treat others as you would have them treat you’, acquire an inner disturbance that translates into outer trouble-making. They are like rabid animals. There is no law that says that those who come to understand that they’ve turned to go down a wrong spiritual path will automatically turn around and look for the right spiritual path. That’s not something that social psychologists teach and that’s not something that the Christian Bible teaches. Elliot Aronson, author of “The Social Animal,” talks about rationalizing and self-justification in that book. He notes that one ‘can’ admit one’s mistake and change course. But ‘can’ and ‘will’ are not the same thing.
“…I made the point that people strive to be right and that values and beliefs become internalized when they appear to be correct. It is this striving to be right that motivates people to pay close attention to what other people are doing and to heed the advice of expert, trustworthy communicators. This is extremely rational behavior. There are forces, however, that can work against this rational behavior. The theory of cognitive dissonance does not picture people as rational beings; rather, it pictures them as rationalizing beings. According to the underlying assumptions of the theory, people are motivated not so much to be right; rather, they are motivated to believe that they are right (and wise, and decent, and good).” -pg 104
“Overt aggression is no longer necessary for human survival… It is possible to achieve mastery of a problem or a skill without hurting another person or even without attemtping to conquer… This is a difficult distinction for us to grasp, because the western mind – and perhaps the American mind in particular – has been trained to equate success with victory, to equate doing well with beating someone… For two centuries, our educational system has been based upon competitiveness and the laws of survival. With very few exceptions, we do not teach our kids to love learning – we teach them to strive for high grades.” -pgs 166 & 167
I quibble with some of Elliot’s beliefs. I don’t believe in biological evolution. And I do believe that the problems he attributes to American society and the American education system, in the above passages, stem from decisions made by those who have ignored their God given conscience (internal rule-book), modified themselves into being believers in inequality and then went on to cause trouble. And his reference to people wanting to believe is problematic. They want to be ‘labelled’ a certain way (that allows ‘slotting’, for survival purposes) more than anything. They want to be labelled by the right people as ‘correct’. (Compare this idea to the idea of a doctrinal system. Also compare this to the idea of the mafia’s ‘made’ men.) Cred is the thing. There’s two kinds of believing, namely: full believing (actively/outwardly plus passively/ internally) and believing actively and conveniently only.
Aronson bemoans US culture, which he’s part of, and how it includes the idea that winning is everything and it always involves beating someone. Without humility, there will not be an admission of error and a change of course, which Aronson explains. And as Jesus Christ notes, “…every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. For example, Whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him, no, not in this system of things nor in that to come.” (Matthew 12:31,32) There’s a line you can cross – which is crossed, simply, when you knowingly and willing oppose God – that requires God to destroy you, completely, body and soul. And that rule will stand forever. In the Bible book of Revelation, in the final part of the vision given to John, John writes: “Well I, John, was the one hearing and seeing these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing me these things. But he told me: “Be careful! Do not do that! I am only a fellow slave of you and of your brothers the prophets and of those observing the words of this scroll. Worship God.” He also told me: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the appointed time is near. Let the one who is unrighteous continue in unrighteousness and let the filthy one continue in his filth. But let the righteous one continue in righteousness and let the holy one continue in holiness.”” (Revelation 22:8-11)
Those who reject the Creator and seek to replace him can’t find tranquility in that decision and the course it launches them on. They become trouble-makers, always striving to prove to others, and in that way to themselves, that their chosen idea of reality, the Lie (humankind is God), is the Truth. But you can’t prove a lie. The rejection of God includes a rejection of his standards. The self-modified person now finds that knowing for sure that there’s no creator God would be a comfort. Who wants God to spoil their party? You can tell yourself that there’s no God and view the last couple thousand years of human history as proof that that position is solid. Momentarily that hit might satisfy you. When that fails to calm you permanently, you can then try something else, namely calling God out, which you’ll do because your business is already one that involves breaking rules that enables you to gain at others’ expense. Then you note that as you go about your godless behavior with more gusto, there’s no God in sight to slap you on the wrist or stop you. (Calling God out is just what you think it is. You do terrible things that a God of love would not approve of, hoping he won’t appear in order to deal with your crimes. If he doesn’t ‘hear’ you call him out, then you might want to call him out ‘louder’. Remember, You want to KNOW that he isn’t there.) So where is he? Perhaps at some point you stop thinking about it – the way a restraint suddenly snaps – and you just focus on seeking your glory and riches and power, with no crime too great to perform or be a part of. And perhaps now and then, after that, you pause to reflect on that and marvel at how no God appears to stop you, completely ignoring the fact that he has a timetable and you’re not going to budge it. The paradigm is ‘riches for the strongest’. Ego is a big part of it. Blasphemers aren’t just bad-mouthing God and spitting on his standards, earning the love and moral support of their dark world, but they are also full of false pride in their own power and the power of their manmade system, as the builders of the tower of Babel were as well. “Who is like the wild beast and who can do battle with it?” (Revelation chapter 13) Well, The weakened people can’t. So what?
But you’ll never be fully convinced that, indeed, you’re God and those who disagree with you are wrong. And the world suffers because of your sickness. So, Carry on. The cure is coming.
It’s crazy how hard it’s getting to simply buy a (real) book. I live in Toronto and I prefer to buy my new books at the somewhat indy Book City. I buy most of my books used, however. I often net books in new condition at BMV, a chain second hand bookstore here in Toronto. The books vary in price, but they are always a deal. As for Book City, I prefer them over the big chain Indigo, presided over by the censorious, pro Nazi Israel, Heather Reisman, who, reportedly, doesn’t see her bookstore as being a bookstore and keeps Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” from the tender sensitivities of her customers. I haven’t tried shopping for a book in the Indigo (in the Eaton’s Center at Dundas & Yonge) for some time. (And I missed, or forgot, that Indigo is on the list of BDS targets, for good reason. This Rabble blurb will give you an idea: “Yves Engler requests publisher not distribute book to Indigo Chapters bookstores”. Therefore, I will not try Indigo again.) They’ve shrunk the real book section, for adults, considerably, by expanding the kids book section. We had better stay kids I guess! I couldn’t even see normal sections to browse in. There was more crap – candles, cards, toys, electronics! – I think than books! And there’s a Starbucks. Quality learning does go with quality coffee.
I have a list of books to buy that I keep on me. (That list is about 1% of the longer list I have bookmarked.) I include the ISBN numbers in my notebook. The hapless checkout dude in Indigo could call up neither of the two books I asked him to order for me. In frustration, I tried a third. Same thing. “Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost” by Joe Allen, “The Secure And The Dispossessed,” edited by Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes and “Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later,” by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, are books that Heather Resiman has no interest in helping me to find.
“Enduring Lies” is proving particularly difficult for me to get my hands on. When you look for it on the Barnes & Noble site, it does comes up. I found it there, added it to my shopping cart and proceeded to check out. Then I was given a message that it can’t be shipped to my location. I’m in Canada for gosh sake! I clicked on a link there, info@Russellbooks.com, which loaded my gmail. I typed up a note asking whether they could sell me the book. I then hit send and received an error message. Edward Herman can be found on ZNet easily enough, but contacting him will require an email address, which I don’t see. What I’d love to see is the publisher and, on the publisher’s website, the book, and then the option to buy it. I often buy books that way. But in the book world, everything’s in flux. It doesn’t always pan out. Publishers swallow publishers and books just sort of disappear. I’m trying hard to avoid Amazon and ebay. I just don’t want to use those companies to buy my books if I don’t have to.
Amazon’s product information for “Enduring Lies” includes mention of the publisher, which, apparently, is an Amazon entity called CreateSpace:
And CreateSpace information on one of “Enduring Lies” authors, namely Edward S. Herman includes this:
So I pop into Amazon for info on the book. I see that it’s published by CreateSpace, which is also Amazon! Why are leftists pleasuring this monster? I found CreateSpace online and entered in “Edward S. Herman.” It returned no results! The Left is good at writing about the loss of democracy. But I don’t see them doing much about it in this area. I’d like to read what leftists are writing and have to go through hoops that lead to nowhere or to Jeff Bezos’s Amazon. Thanks a lot! Everyone.
I suspected that CreateSpace was possibly not well organized (which users of the site who might want potential buyers should consider) and that I could search for the book title instead of the author’s (or authors’) name and so that’s what I tried. Lo and behold! There was the book. I paused writing this book to purchase it, which seemed to work. We’ll see. I’m still VERY unhappy about having to buy my book from Amazon. Was this necessary?
An excerpt from the above important story follows:
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A petition denouncing Turkey’s military op against Kurds, which was signed by 1,200 academics, was “a call for peace talks” and condemned “violence by everyone,” a signee professor told RT. It has been branded “terrorist propaganda” by the government.
– — =========
I would love to use RT to make my views known about this development, but that’s not what RT wants. It looks like RT is allowing readers to comment. But something’s funny about RT’s comments sections. Register yourself and try to participate. You’ll quickly see what I mean by hoops (See below). Instead of trying to comment in a substantial way, I simply noted that RT makes it hard to do that. That comment, I see, was disappeared. But it didn’t stop one loser from replying to it! What happened? I have no idea. Is that person connected with the site and free to bark at me while also disappearing my comment?
RT’s bundle of shows are slickly done. But RT is sick.
Here’s my disappeared comment. I follow up by responding to the person, Kevin, who completely brushes off my criticism. That too will probably be disappeared. I have to assume that my first comment was disappeared, because when I examine the comments, mine is grayed out. Even if it’s not disappeared, my point about hoops on RT stands. You can’t have your own password. You have to log in with RT’s long, machine generated password (Be sure to keep it or you’ll be registering repeatedly!), which you’ll never remember, multiple times if you read more than one article and try to discuss it. And the editing feature in the comment field?! My goodness what abuse! From my gmail inbox, the following:
My probably soon to be disappeared response to Kevin:
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That doesn’t address my point. My point was the HOOPS. Did you understand that? Or are you just a rabid fan of RT who can’t handle any criticism? Anyone who worships any of these ‘leaders’, by the way, has serious issues, in my view. That doesn’t mean that we can’t discuss things like Syria and Ukraine, trying to learn ‘facts’ and pass them on. I think that Putin has been horribly abused by Western leaders and media in relation to both Ukraine and Syria.
The people posting on this site are strange, in my view. (I don’t think many of you are for real, frankly.) I say the most reasonable things and get slammed, while the slammers get major upvotes. Rick Salutin, who failed the democracy test recently when he defended the Toronto Star’s decision to kill commenting on it’s website, was not wrong about everything. There’s not much civility on websites where commenting is allowed. While I think he’s right, I do think it depends on the site. Common Dreams sees many decent, informed readers commenting. This site, not so much. Rick would know that. I think Rick’s leftwing sentiments are dying. But you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, even if there’s a LOT of dirty bathwater. You don’t defend democracy by destroying it, if you don’t have to.
RT is funny, not as in humourous. Why won’t those given oversight over readers’ commenting fix the commenting feature? You completely ignore that. Do you like hoops? You certainly like attacking me, a democrat.
– ==== —–
*edit, January 12, 2015 – I corrected a few typos and touched up a few sections. Nothing much was changed. I did add in a quote that I intended to add when I first did up the post, but forgot to. I pointed out that there’s a reason why a picture of Conrad Black was placed on the wall of Michael Cooke’s office in the Toronto Star building, but I forgot to say a few words about that reason. I have now added those few words.
I was rather startled when the Toronto Star, which is good (in a bad way) at startling us (progressives), suddenly killed commenting. Editor Michael Cooke’s own explanation for that was lame.
“We’ll also be working to foster more insightful commentary from our readers and engage with you in a more meaningful way. We have passionate, opinionated readers who are eager to get involved in conversations about politics, education, municipal issues, sports and more… With that goal, we have turned off commenting on thestar.com effective Wednesday and instead we’ll be promoting and showcasing the comments our readers share across social media and in their letters and emails to our editors.”
“More” as in ‘more insightful’, not ‘more readers’, clearly. I too agree that people – smart, dumb, nobodies and professionals – are like a bewildered herd. But I bemoan that. The 1%, and it’s tools, depends on it.
The Star then cleverly had one of it’s few Lefties, Rick Salutin, do a video backing it’s anti-reader, undemocratic decision. (Or if that wasn’t deliberate, it’s still clever. It’s Nixon going to China. Nixon was Republican. Had a Democrat gone to China, the Right would have screamed bloody murder. If Ezra Levant, a rightwinger, had defended the Star’s axing of readers’ comments, the Left would have gone ape crap. Recognizing, of course, that both the Democrats and Republicans are rightwing. But that’s another subject.) The Left is failing everywhere you look. Like the Liberal class which Chris Hedges, some of whose luminaries – Barack Obama, Pierre Trudeau – adorn Michael Cooke’s office (or did). Elder Trudeau helped to run Canada years ago (in two stints between 1968 and 1984), but, same thing. He was a fake friend of the people. It’s telling that Michael Cooke’s office wall also has on it, or, again, did have on it, a picture of Conrad Black, the criminal and hardcore rightwinger who is absolutely undemocratic and anti-people. And there’s a reason for that piece of decor being there. (Celeb interior designers may have picked the pictures, but it seems that Cooke was okay with them. I’m sure, too, that they didn’t just guess what sort of photos Cooke would like to look at in his office.)
“Over the next 20 years, Cooke moved across the country to various jobs at different papers—from the Star to the Montreal Gazette to the Edmonton Journal—and, with each promotion, further established his reputation as a provocateur. He describes his own politics as “fiscally centre-right, socially centre-left.” In 1995, when he was hired as editor-in-chief of the right-wing Vancouver Province, he was accused of making it even more conservative and of trying to bust the union. Conrad Black took notice. While still at the Province, Cooke was tapped to help shepherd Black’s new project, the National Post. He spent several months commuting from Vancouver to Toronto, where he joined the Post’s founding editor, Ken Whyte, and others in developing a prototype. It was a heady, exhilarating time. Alison Uncles, who now serves as the Star’s associate features editor, first met Cooke then and was enchanted: “In the early days, the Post was ridiculously stupid and fun,” she says. “He loved that, he fit right in, and everyone trusted him right away. He’s good at being a grown-up and a kindergartner at the same time.”” – Jason McBride
To get an idea whose side Michael’s friend, Conrad, is on in the class war which pits the 1% against the people, check out this blog post by the author of “Thieves Of Bay Street” Bruce Livesay: “Debate in HuffPost about Black lawsuit”) Like the NDP (provincial and federal), which isn’t failing, but has failed. Has Rick gone over to the dark side? I am not prepared to say that. But his support for this decision was not impressive. I can’t say I see the democracy in his position (or in his position on Wikipedia, which CounterPunch, a leftwing site, cautions us to use with care). I’d give it a fail. Here’s his video presentation, which I simply captured with my cell phone. Handy workaround that.
I also stumbled upon this video of Rick discussing plagiarism. I thought it was mostly wise, but was quite surprised at his endorsement, without qualification, of Wikileaks. Is Rick a great promoter of democracy and a great guide for democrats? (I recently stumbled upon what must have been an older version of CounterPunch’s guideline for submitting articles. Wikileaks’s dubious reliability was mentioned. I can’t find it again. I see nothing like it on the CounterPunch website. But I’m sure it was real and actually reflected the site’s owners’ views.)
I take issue with Rick on Wikipedia, and anyone who ‘actively’ learns, like the good people at CounterPunch, would. Wikipedia is wide open to manipulation. I use it for a quick look at basic facts, such as dates and names. Anyone who has delved into Wikipedia – bloggers, for example, needing information – will find that it’s not right. If you know nothing to begin with, you may never notice. You’re slipping Rick. Will you become a fake friend of the people like the Toronto Star which you now work for? You also support the Star’s killing of commenting. There’s so much wrong with your defense of that (and a little that’s right), I wouldn’t know where to begin. Well, I would, if I felt compelled to get into it. What’s the use? Democracy is under attack everywhere. Even people who have written books on democracy, like Rick, attack it. It’s up to us, people, to be very, very vigilant. Noam Chomsky, who Rick once introduced to the audience at Massey Hall, which I was there for, told his audience to not believe him. He got their attention. His lesson was that sure, you can trust a leader. Just be sure to verify. I would add – and so would Chomsky no doubt after Christopher Hitchens’s career switch from Lefty to Righty, which prompted Chomsky to say something like “I await the return of the old Hitchens” – Don’t be surprised to find that verification fails. Didn’t Chris Hedges right an entire book about it afterall? “Death Of The Liberal Class” is a must read for any who want to grasp the depth and breadth of the darkness that is upon us today.
If people aren’t ready for real discussion, as Rick suggests (failing to distinguish between those who are and those who are not), then it’s also true that media (Right and Left) are not ready to listen to the people. (Examine my Toronto Star posts in the ‘Disappeared’ category of my blog. What is the Star’s problem with readers? When you look at what kind of posts got ignored and what kind of posts were disappeared, you begin to get an idea where the Star and it’s gatekeepers are coming from.) I’m sure there’s many reasons, few of them good. Progressives know about the corporate-owned major media. Corporate owned-media crank out news ‘and’ propaganda. And it means that the news is too often impure. It’s often not there at all, as Project Censored’s work makes clear. But on the Left, I’ve found that you’re still dealing with imperfect humans. They can be prideful and egotistical and, in the case of writers, uninterested in seeing their narratives challenged. Rick would no doubt agree. Maybe his rightwing bosses would agree too. They’re good at that. Look at Jason McBride’s fawning profile of the Toronto Star’s editor, Michael Cooke. He quotes Cooke saying wonderful things about reporting and consumers of news:
““We must make more noise,” Cooke says, “and the best kind of noise. We have to be seen as a citizen of the city that you need to have around…
“The two things Cooke hates most are boredom and secrecy. At a news organization, investigative journalism can potentially dispel both. Cooke doubled the size of the so-called I-team—there are now seven reporters, including a data analyst and editor-reporter Kevin Donovan, who has run the team since 1989—and likewise doubled the department’s budget to around $1 million. He doesn’t balk at exorbitant freedom of information request fees, even if, as in one particular case involving police data, that fee is $12,000. Burt Bruser, the Star’s in-house counsel, considered one of the finest media lawyers in the country, suddenly had a lot more to do, dealing with publication bans and libel risk; he went from working two days a week to full-time. “Michael believes if you have a big story, you play it big,” Donovan says. “You get so much more reaction from the public and from political leaders.””
In other words, Follow the rightwing Toronto SUN format. The reason that you can do ‘good’ investigative journalism that ‘every’ person, including the ‘six pack Joes’, will like (the way Rob Ford reaches out and touches his supporters by answering their phone calls and dealing with their immediate, pot holey, problems) is that the world is big. You can knock off a lot of the bad guys (like, say, Rob Ford), pretending you’re a good guy (which has it’s uses), and still survive – with the blessing of the country’s, and world’s, more powerful players (like, say, Conrad Black). You can be a crusader for social justice and citizens’ rights without really changing the system that continually upends citizens’ lives – by not going after really big dogs and really big issues (or at least not too many big dogs and issues) like free trade and tax fairness. Then there’s foreign policy, which our continentalist, neoliberal Canadian leaders align with bloody US foreign policy, no matter what the costs to people. Look at the case of Rwanda (which the corporate-owned media still lies about) and now Saudi Arabia. Aligning our foreign policy with US foreign policy makes Canada complicit in terrorism and war crimes. It always has and always will. During the election, Trudeau, Mulcair and Harper all pledged fealty to NATO, while Mulcair and Trudeau hammered Harper (rightly) for his failure to consult with stakeholders and they promised that they wouldn’t be like that. They also painted themselves as patriots defending Canadian values. It’s one thing to consult with stakeholders, Canadians presumably, who may want an independent foreign policy, and another thing to actually give a damn what they want, ‘if’ what the people want is not what the 1%, including it’s military/intelligence industrial complex, wants. NATO means the US, period. And it symbolizes war and lawlessness. It’s also a racket and the opposite of what the people, everywhere, need. (Incidentally, The Star ‘has’ done some amazingly good investigative reporting on important subjects, like racial profiling. And Jason mentions a few other examples.)
“Trudeau Pledge Tracker: Ignoring Executions and Proceeding with Saudi Arms Deal” Sharmini Peries interviews Dimitri Lasaris
“The Kagame-Power Lobby’s Dishonest Attack on the BBC 2’s Documentary on Rwanda” by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
“White Slaughter In Black Africa – Dr. Gerald Caplan & The Rwanda Genocide Cranks” by Keith Harmon Snow
“The Dallaire Fairy Tale” by Yves Engler
“Hotel Propaganda” by Anthony Black
The Toronto Star endorsed rightwinger Justin Trudeau in the last (October 19, 2015) federal election. Of course, none of the parties were leftwing. The Green Party is probably Canada’s most leftwing major Party, but I have no use for Parties whose leaders fail to take the position (via the position of ‘Israel, right or wrong’) that ‘all’ lives matter. That FAIL would apply to all of Canada’s major Parties. In another way, The Star endorses rightwing Parties. It campaigns ‘against’ changing the electoral system from first-past-the-post! But corporate-owned media just can’t, by definition, by a friend of the people. Not in this neoliberal era. And with media in it’s pocket, the 1% needn’t fear, too greatly, the forces of democracy.
When the Star’s decision to kill commenting was announced, I had this to say about it, in part (below). The following was included in my previous blog post titled “The Toronto Star Wants To See A Right Christmas”:
Paul is so absolutely right about all that he puts down here. His timing is impeccable, from my standpoint. The Toronto Star just killed ‘all’ commenting on it’s website. (I long felt that the Toronto Star is a fake friend of the people, one or two great journos notwithstanding.) I wonder whether I had something to do with it? I noticed long ago that the Star disappears lots of my comments, but it was doing that in a sneaky way. I found out by chance when I clicked on the icon beside one of my comments and was shown (Thanks Star!) a list of all my comments, including those that had been disabled, which the Star labelled ‘Content disabled’. The interesting thing about it is that in the comments section attached to the article, you’d see your comments (unless one had been specially flagged and removed), including those that had been casually disappeared. But there’d be no visible indication that only you were seeing your disappeared comments and no one else was seeing them.
I had already created a category on my own blog titled “Disappeared.” A lot of this goes on online, and it’s annoying and so I got the idea to sort of track it (for myself only, obviously). That’s easy enough to do. I use a handy little free app called PicPick to quickly screen capture sections of a screen and started showing those comments on my own blog (tag ‘censored’). The most recent blog post I did showed how aggressively the Star’s gatekeeper (appointed or self-appointed but in tune with the organization’s rightwing orientation) had been expunging my comments expressing support and sympathy for Gazans. It was ridiculous, but, sadly, not unusual in fascist North America. I tried a little trick that I found sometimes worked for getting around the gatekeeper’s trouble-making. I would quickly copy & paste the ‘Content disabled’ comment and re-post it. I figured it was worth a shot. My theory is that perhaps the gatekeeper can be forced to work so hard that he or… just can’t keep up. Also, Perhaps a shift change loses the gatekeeper and sees a real person take his place. I even quickly threw one disappeared post up in the cloud (my service is Box), grabbed a short link for it and quietly snuck it into another comment without drawing a whole lot of attention to it. Was that eventually discovered and a cause of consternation? Did my comment alerting other readers to how they too can see whether or not the Star’s gatekeepers were disappearing tons of their comments also cause consternation among those overseeing the commenting section at the Star?
Very, very briefly, it looks like whoever oversees the commenting department didn’t know how to deal with comments, which I can’t help feeling I helped bring about, and so I saw something I had not seen before. Comments attached to at least one article showed the ‘Contents disabled’ message. They were visible! That didn’t last long. I’m guessing that the overseer felt that once the comments section were full of ‘Contents disabled’, there’d be alarm on the part of a lot of readers, as well as angry letters to the Star about it. I can’t be the only one the Star disdainfully swats away when truth is being spoken to it.