Links 9/5/14

US vets find 43 socks in sick dog BBC

Water’s edge: the crisis of rising sea levels Reuters

Twitter CFO says a Facebook-style filtered feed is coming, whether you like it or not GigaOm. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo begs to differ. YMMV.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urges more broadband competition LA Times

I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious. Post Everything

Class Warfare:

Judge Declines To Intervene As Detroit Resumes Water Shutoffs Think Progress

Artez Hurston’s Ferguson The Intercept

Groups Accuse Apple Supplier of Labor Violations NYT

Regulators label MetLife a systemic risk Financial Times

Europe’s Bank Takes Aggressive Steps NYT. In relative terms.

Secret Network Connects Harvard Money to Payday Loans Bloomberg

SEC Comment Letters Prompt Executives to Unload Shares Accounting Today

Nikole Hannah-Jones and Jennifer Taub on the Housing Crisis: What’s Changed? Truthout

McMansions not only survive, they’re getting bigger Catherine Rampell, Washington Post

Former Housing-Regulator Head to Join Think Tank WSJ. Fire DeMarco!

Nevada’s share of Tesla plant could hit $1.3 billion Las Vegas Review-Journal. An unbelievable example of corporate welfare. Nevada is, amazingly, seen as the “winner” of the Tesla factory in some media reports. For context, the entire annual budget in the state of Nevada is $6.5 billion. So this is 20% of that, to one company, for (maybe, eventually) 6,500 jobs.

BP Found Grossly Negligent in 2010 Spill; Fines May Rise Bloomberg. Could be as much as $18 billion

Ex-Governor McDonnell and Wife Convicted After Corruption Trial NYT

Taylor Will Remain on Ballot in Kansas Political Wire

American slavery: Blood cotton The Economist. “Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his books are victims, almost all the whites villains.” What else was in this special edition of The Economist, “Jim Crow, Jim Schmo” and an alternate history of the Nice Nazis?

Has Greenwald, Inc. Peaked? POLITICO Magazine. Has laundering national security officials’ running commentary peaked?

Joan Rivers, a Comedic Stiletto, Dies at 81 NYT obit. She was a giant. Angry, real, and a giant. Meanwhile, the state is investigating the outpatient facility where she met her demise.

Thomas Pynchon edited Homer slight from Simpsons episode The Guardian

The elephant that flew BBC Magazine

Antidote du jour (a screen grab from that incredible journey):

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 11.03.51 PM

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. rusti

    I’m a bit torn on the corporate welfare given to Tesla for the Nevada plant here. If electrified vehicle drivertrains are going to replace internal combustion engines, pushing down the cost of battery pack production is absolutely critical. The tangible benefit for Nevada itself is dubious given the price tag, but it might be a win for the rest of us that they are subsidizing these costs that will drive the technology forward.

    The Lux Research report linked above is a load of crap, because if Tesla really can push costs down there will be massive demand from utilities, home installations, and other auto manufacturers all of whom are experimenting with Lithium Ion storage systems independently. Tesla has a natural customer lined up already in their partnership with Solar City and the fact that they opened up all their patents lately has lead to speculation that they’re positioning themselves to be a battery supplier rather than a vehicle manufacturer. I’m more concerned about the ability of Panasonic to supply the massive quantities of cells anticipated if they’re going to meet the lofty production goals.

    1. susan the other

      I’m thinking, Where will the prevailing winds carry all that pollution? We are due east maybe 600 miles. But we all now know that stuff rides the jet stream for many thousands of miles – thanks to the unmistakable evidence from Fukushima. How much does the manufacture or lithium batteries contribute to the lifetime toxic dose of Americans. We need that index, No? The lifetime dose of poison.

  2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    “US vets find 43 socks in sick dog”

    Their 43 mates are in my sock drawer. And my wife swears my feet don’t smell like Liv-a-snaps or Snausages.

  3. trish

    American slavery: Blood cotton
    I read this last night and fell asleep thinking about it.
    2014 and someone in a widely-read respectable journal (still) saying this kind of sh*t:
    An example of “Yankee ingenuity,” “astonishing increases” in cotton productivity (making South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia the four wealthiest states in the United States), not due to driving slaves w/ a system of “calibrated pain,” but on better treatment???
    can’t separate this from the Fergusons. or the innocent men still languishing in prison, their lives gone (link, I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious).
    I remember as a teen stumbling on Invitation to a Lynching by Gene Miller and being stunned. And then, thinking, part of an ugly past I hadn’t learned in school. Today, much older, and since learned so much more, and so much still going on.

      1. cwaltz

        If not slavery, at the very least exploitation. You can’t help but think of the number of people living in third world conditions that essentially “helped” contribute to the billions the Walton heirs have amassed. It certainly isn’t the fair system it tends to be sold as to the masses.

      2. susan the other

        Yes JSS. I think we are looking at an admission, loud and clear, that capitalism has failed. Clearly there isn’t even a pretense of a market, let alone a “free” market these days. We all know that the Fed and the ECB are the only functioning government left – well the Europeans do have a good tradition of socialism which we Americans cannot fall back on when our politics is paralyzed, so we fall back on the Fed because Congress is so damned useless. But the Fed might be the best socialists of all. If they manage to act in time to save households and small businesses. I’ll believe it when I see it. Other that that, we have nothing left because our “government” was based on a capitalist market which no longer exists and I don’t see how it will ever exist again. But maybe.

    1. russell1200

      It is a very odd review of the book.

      I think he might have done better by saying something like: Slavery was a major part of early American economic success. Demonstrating that it sucks is not sufficient to advancing the extent of its economic impact.

      IMO slavery is a really strange story because it piggybacks on a number of cash crop bubbles in the South with the exception of the early success of rice, where suitable land was too limited for it to expand beyond South Carolina.

      I generally take the Southern slave-driven economy to be rather dysfunctional by itself. The Northern economy was tied to it. New England was sending trading in food crops to tobacco raising VA in the mid-17th century. But by the time you get to the big canal building phase, it is harder to see the impact.

      I think it is appropriate to ask where the increases in cotton harvesting came from? To add a comment about “maybe they were nicer” is as foolish as not addressing the issue. I would also like to know what the many areas of the South that were not involved in the plantation industry were up to as a way of contrast. It is hard to tell from this review if any of that type of issue is covered.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘I would also like to know what the many areas of the South that were not involved in the plantation industry were up to.”

        It’s called Appalachia, or farther west, the Ozarks. Cotton don’t grow in poor soil, and neither does money. In remoter corners, which haven’t managed to attract an anchor employer such as a university, health center, corporate HQ, etc., nothing much has changed. Good music though (if a little dark-themed).

        1. Ulysses

          Half an hour drive south of where I grew up is the little village of Richford, NY which is pretty much the northern tip of the Appalachian poverty belt. Still people living as subsistence farmers, no running water, deer-hunting for meat in the winter, etc. Ironically enough, it was the birthplace of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., who left there to make his first fortune as a horse thief in the great plains. He returned there once, much later in life, and the visit is still recalled today with some bitter amusement by the impoverished descendants of those who witnessed it.
          He had already started giving money to nearby places, like Cornell, to put up buildings with his name on it and so forth. Expectations were high that this visit to his birthplace on Michigan Hollow Road might result in a nice new post office or something. All the residents turned out to hear him give a little talk on the theme: “the world owes no man a living, but every man the opportunity to make a living.” At the end of the talk he personally handed shiny new dimes(one each) to all the young (he asked for only those twelve or younger to step forward) denizens of this poor hamlet. That one charitable act is, to this day, the full extent of the Rockefeller family’s largess bestowed on the humble place of their origins.

            1. Ulysses

              Obviously, Mr. Rockefeller did some other, more respectable things than horse thieving early in his professional life. Yet the sizeable capital he gained from his illicit activities is what allowed him to fund the Clark & Rockefeller company early on in his career.

        2. cwaltz

          Actually pockets of Appalachia are not that horrible. I live in the SW tip of Virginia in the region. The town I live in that hits a lot of the lists for “best places.” It was in the top 25 places to retire because our cost of living is below the national average. It’s in the top 10 for places to raise your kids because of the crime rate. It also has been rated pretty well for jobs and businesses. With VT as one of the top 100 colleges it tends to be a region that attracts business.
          If you google Blacksburg you’ll find we DO have a decent university here that offers a broad range of subjects, we do have a corporate research center(we actually are heavily involved in smart roads), and we recently had Carillion add a school of medicine and research institute.

          There are pockets of the region that have been nowhere near as successful as here but some of Appalachia has been able to use the money it gets from the government to reduce poverty like it is supposed to.

          1. susan the other

            One of the things I admire about the South is that they have been reinventing themselves since @1620. Great histories of their drive west, their mix of Anglican, Baptist, Quaker and Presbyterian… to name a few. Every 20 years every little Chamber of Commerce does a new New South rally. It saddens me everytime I read about the North decimating the South, in spite of the fact that for at least 200 years the South lived off the profits of slavery. The North did too – it was just white slavery. Somebody should have kicked their butts too.

            1. craazyman

              You’re a hard woman. But feare ye not, they shall have their reward . . .

              :”Some think sinning ends with this life; but it is a mistake. The creature is held under an everlasting law; the damned increase in sin in hell. Possibly, the mention of this may please thee. But, remember, there shall be no pleasant sins there; no eating, drinking, singing, dancing, wanton dalliance, and drinking stolen waters: but damned sins,bitter, hellish sins; sins exasperated by torments, cursing God, spite, rage, and blasphemy. — The guilt of all thy sins shall be laid upon thy soul,and be made so many heaps of fuel…”
              -Revered Samuel Treat, Eastham Mass., 1672, excerpted from “Discourses On Luke 16 Addressed to Sinners”

              1. craazyman

                I like “wanton dalliance” myself, just speaking personally, and “drinking stolen waters” — which I’d take to refer (no pun intended) to beer on sale by the case. Some of the other sins sound like too much work.

        3. beene

          I lived in the foot hills (Washington county) in Tenn. for almost 15 years. Raised beef cattle, hay and tobacco. Plus worked with the developmental disabled.

      2. sleepy

        “I would also like to know what the many areas of the South that were not involved in the plantation industry were up to as a way of contrast. It is hard to tell from this review if any of that type of issue is covered.”

        Outside of the plantation areas, there were mostly small subsistence farmers who were lorded over by the large scale plantation owners–economically and politically. In upland Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and so on, they couldn’t compete with slave labor nor with the political power of the slave-owning gentry. Historically, many of those areas opposed secession (in Louisiana the popular vote to secede was widely considered to be rigged) and certain areas, northwest Arkansas, eastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina have been republican-voting since the 1860s as a result, long before Nixon’s southern strategy. Of course, West Virginia seceding from Virginia would be the best example of the in-state conflicts.

        A great book on the subject is “Origins of Class Struggle in Louisiana : A Social History of White Farmers and Laborers During Slavery and After, 1840-1875”

      3. lakewoebegoner

        “I think he might have done better by saying something like: Slavery was a major part of early American economic succes”

        As awful as American slavery was (which sets the bar pretty high), British slavery in the West Indies was that much more heinous.

        18th, 19th-century Britain was built on profits from the West Indies sugar trade—which was one reason why Britain didn’t really put forth that much of a fight in the American War for Independence. Jamaica was worth more than all the 13 colonies combined.

    2. Wat Tyler

      The Economist has apologized for the statement and withdrawn the book review. Check the link for the full explanation.

    3. cyclist

      Regarding the ‘I Just Freed an Innocent Man…’ article: Democracy Now! had a segment on this where it mentioned that the prosecutor in that case had over 40 (IIRC) death row convictions and all of them but two were ultimately overturned. And those two, only because the sentence was carried out. How is this even possible?

  4. proximity1

    Also from Politico’s “Most Popular” list :

    “To Understand Putin, Read Orwell,” by Timothy Snyder.

    Since I recently almost posted (it was lost in the shuffle and I didn’t bother to re-type it) the exact same counsel in discussions about the Ukraine-Russia conflict, I certainly agree that one can gain invaluable insights on Putin’s personality and on present-day Russia from the insights in Orwell’s social and political commentary. Of course, one should read everything one can get his hands on by Orwell anyway.

    So, while I am the very last person to discount the value of reading and re-reading Orwell, I’d have entitled the comment,
    “To Understand Putin, Read Anna Politkovskaya, Janine R. Wedel (who has a new book out or about to appear) and then George Orwell” –in that order, especially if matters are urgent or your time is severely limited.

    1. lolcar

      And I quote :
      “In Orwell’s 1984, one of the world powers is called Eurasia. Interestingly enough, Eurasia is the name of Russia’s major foreign policy doctrine. In Orwell’s dystopia, Eurasia is a repressive, warmongering state that “comprises the whole of the northern part of the European and Asiatic land-mass, from Portugal to the Bering Strait.” In Russian foreign policy, Eurasia is a plan for the integration of all the lands from—you guessed it—Portugal to the Bering Strait. Orwell’s Eurasia practices “neo-Bolshevism”; Russia’s leading Eurasian theorist once called himself a “national Bolshevik.” This man, the influential Alexander Dugin, has long advocated that the Ukrainian state be destroyed, and has very recently proposed that Russia exterminate Ukrainians.”

      Am I the only one who thinks that the person who wrote this must be off their meds.

        1. lolcar

          I thought it spoke for itself. It’s one thing drawing parallels between George Orwell’s concept of doublethink and the role of modern media in manufacturing consent. Is the Russian media a better example of that than the Western media, I don’t think so. But it’s not a viewpoint I’d reject out of hand. But to try and draw parallels between specific plot points and modern day Russia comes across as quite unhinged. I mean are we supposed to believe that the Russian high command said to themselves one day “Hey, we plan to be a repressive, warmongering state that stretches from Portugal to the Bering Strait one day – let’s call our new foreign policy doctrine ‘Eurasia'”. Or is it just a telling Freudian slip.

          As for Dugin, I don’t doubt that Vladimir Putin has met him, talked with him. Maybe likes him . But guilt by association is a funny thing. I recall reading that Barrack Obama was a white-hating secret communist owing to his association with Jeremiah Wright. The next Republican president will no doubt have associated with men who say things like “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” According to your Wikipedia link “During the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine was Dugin in regular contact pro-Russian separatists insurgents.[8] He stated he was disappointed in Russian President Vladimir Putin when he did not aid the pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine after the Ukrainian Army’s early July 2014 offensive.[8] During this period Dugin also lost his post as Head of the Department of Sociology of International Relations of Moscow State University.” Doesn’t sound like someone close to the levers of power to me.

          1. proximity1

            “I thought it spoke for itself. ”

            Let me try again, then:

            [Please, feel] …”free to point out exactly which of the statements in the cited text you assert is false and don’t forget to mention why you think so and the support on which you base your views.”

            1. lolcar

              I assert that even if every single statement in the cited text is factually true, they are all non sequiturs with no relevance to to the intentions of any person high up in the Russian government. I mean I’m not going to to go to the trouble to find out if there really is a major Russian foreign policy document called “Eurasia”.

              1. proximity1

                I take it then that, in fact, you don’t and can’t dispute the veracity of any of the points which you derided as “speaks for itself” evidence of the author being off his “meds”.

                Thank you for helping me clear that up.

                1. lolcar

                  Yes if I can’t deny that Alexander Dugin proposed exterminating all Ukrainians (and I honestly don’t know whether he said that, there being no link in the original article) then it must be Putin’s secret policy. It’s only logical.

                  1. proximity1

                    That’s more cheap argumentation. No one called on you to clear such a bar as showing, with positive evidence in support, that the alleged views of Dugin about exterminating Ukrainians reflect Putin’s actual past or present intentions.

                    Instead, you were challenged to simply show what, if anything, in the excerpt you posted was not true and support that with some sort of credible source–since, let’s face it–few if any of us here are experts whose posts are the fruit of our own original research.

                    1. lolcar

                      You’ve got me. I give up. The real issue is my inability to prove that Alexander Dugin didn’t say that Ukrainians should be exterminated. I mean Timothy Snyder seems like a stand-up guy. He didn’t provide a source for what Dugin said but I believe him. No really, I honestly don’t think he’d make that kind of thing up. Which is why why I focused my argument on the lack of evidence that Dugin was the power behind the throne, the modern Rasputin, if you will, in the Kremlin. But you’re right, no one asked me to prove that Dugin was more the crazy uncle that never shuts up about the immigrants and the blacks and the aa-rabs rather than the dark puppetmaster.

                2. Gaianne

                  OMG! Prox! You’re serious :D

                  A phrase whose meaning and use you should learn:

                  Not even wrong.


          1. proximity1

            Let’s be fair. You didn’t attack the link I posted. You derided the author of the text you cited which was found at the link and you did that without the slightest care for showing what was false about it or why, and, when pressed to demonstrate that a second time, you retreated to an “even if” statement in which, finally, you conceded by default, but not by forthright admission, that you couldn’t point out any inaccuracy in the author you dismissed as being off his meds.

            Having scanned the article to which you refer, I see nothing there that wasn’t already apparent about your view of things from the posts of yours which I read so far. You’re relying on Mearsheimer’s article, for example, as a basis of your view and perhaps other opinion in the linked article. All that is already understood. But thank you for it.

            1. lolcar

              Okay if you prefer I’ll own to deriding the author for writing something truly unhinged. I’m not sure if you understand the concept of a non sequitur. 1.) There is a Russian foreign policy plan called “Eurasia” 2.) “Eurasia” is a fictional polity described by George Orwell which stretched from Portugal to the Bering Sea. 3.) Alexander Dugin is a Russian academic who describes himself as a “National Bolshevik” 4.) Orwell’s Eurasia practices “neo-Bolshevisim” 4.) Alexander Dugin has proposed exterminating ‘Ukrainians”. All of these may be true statements which in no way provide a foundation for the view that “we need to dig a bit deeper into the plot for the three concepts needed to understand this very strange war, in which Putin has radicalized Russian politics, destroyed a European peace order, challenged Europeans’ assumptions about their entire future — and even threatened nuclear war.”

              1. Doug Terpstra

                Nicely done. Indeed, the nonsequitur leaps in logic were self-evident, as is most anti-Putin innuendo WRT his unproven “aggression” in Ukraine. Some of us still need a bit of extra hand-holding.

      1. Brindle

        The politico piece is a good example of Western media being a propaganda arm for US/NATO. The article is filled with absurdities such as:

        —-“In fact, Ukraine is a democracy with free expression and is in every respect a freer country than Russia.”—-

        Ukraine’s elected govt was overthrown by a US sponsored and paid for coup—-of course, is not mentioned.

        1. proximity1

          “Ukraine’s elected govt was overthrown by a US sponsored and paid for coup—-of course, is not mentioned.”

          Let’s mention it, then, since it’s an essential fact. Now, about that coup, I would like to ask you some questions. If it hadn’t been aided in any way by the evil West, would your opinion about it be any different? If, that is, you considered it a completely spontaneous affair, wholly driven by the Ukrainian people’s own (admittedly divided, of course) sentiments about their government, would your opinion about it be any different? If so, how?

          And, please let us know: are there any circumstances under which you regard a popular insurgency which ousts the ruling government could be considered justified? Could you describe those and how they differ from the circumstances in Ukraine as you see (saw) them? Or, do you, on the contrary, believe that, once a government is elected democratically–as you say was the case in the election of Viktor Yanukovych–the public concerned are obliged to accept, come what may, the course of events under that government until such time as its term of office has expired and new elections are due?

          1. cwaltz

            Isn’t that point kind of moot since we did throw billions of dollars into the region(while telling our own people we’d have to scale back on programs like food stamps and attempting to sell the idea that we are so broke to old people that they’ll have to retire later and will need to tighten their belts?)

            How do you feel about the fact that the VP’s son is over there regarding a US interest (investment firm and drilling company)in the natural gas that Russia and Ukraine are fighting over? It doesn’t raise any red flags for you that says that maybe this isn’t so much about the UKRAINIAN PEOPLE as it is about UKRAINIAN RESOURCES? At what point do you draw the line at resources that are provided by the American people being utilized to enrich a select few at the expense of the American people?

        2. proximity1

          PS to Brindle, lolcar and any others who share their views on these matters–

          Mind if I put to (all of) you the same questions I asked of C.D. Rogers in the Links thread of Wednesday? –09/03/2014– concerning familiarity with the journalism of Anna Politkovskaya, who, as you might mention, “of course is not mentioned” in your comment, above:

          which, if any, of the published writings of Anna Politikovskaya you have read and indicate whether you read them in full or only partially, and if the latter, how partially.

          To simplify your answer, just refer to any of her main published writings by letter as found below:

          A) Putin’s Russia (2004)
          B) A Russian Diary (2007)
          C) A dirty war : a Russian reporter in
          Chechnya (2001)
          D) Nothing but the truth : selected
          dispatches (2011; published
          E) A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from
          Chechnya (2003)

          For the record, C.D. Rogers hasn’t replied at all as yet to those questions. How about you?

          1. lolcar

            I’ve read none of those. I’d ask you why the FIrst and Second Chechen Wars both started while Boris Yeltsin was President are, 15 years later, the best prism to look at the situation in Ukraine through.

            1. proximity1

              Thank you for the reply regarding my questions about Anna Politkovskaya’s journalism. Had you read much of it–which constitutes much of the translated works listed—you could never have rasonably posed the question you ask of me:

              …”I’d ask you why the FIrst and Second Chechen Wars both started while Boris Yeltsin was President are, 15 years later, the best prism to look at the situation in Ukraine through”

              since her journalism shows this–among much else–about Putin and his circle. The story of Putin and his rise and control of all the aspects of political power in Russia and the story of the second Chechen war, from the summer of 1999, are indissociable stories. To understand one, one must concern himself with the other. Her writing reveal both.

              By the way, this following is from editors’ copy from the back-cover of her English-translation book, A Dirty War

              “The Chechen War was supposed to be over in 1996 after the first Yeltsin campaign, but in the summer of 1999 the new Putin government decided in their own words, to ‘do the job properly.’ Before all the bodies of those who had died in the first campaign had been located or identified, many more thousands would be slaughtered in another round of fighting.”

              ( Politkovskaya’s A Dirty War is translated to English by John Crowfoot)

              1. lolcar

                Putin was completely uninvolved in the First Chechen War. As I understand it a cabinet of Yeltsin-appointed ministers agreed to re-invade Chechnya in 1999. Putin, as head of the FSB at that time was certainly aware of the decision. They wanted to wait for a suitable pretext, which was provided when Chechen fighters invaded Dagestan. By that time Putin had been appointed Prime Minister. Putin’s handling of the war made him front-runner to replace Yeltsin as President, which in 2000 he did. I don’t see that story as saying anything other that the attack on Chechnya was agreed to at all levels of Russian government, a government that Putin was not yet at the head of. If this is the defining story of Russian governance, even 15 years later, what are you suggesting that Westerners should make their policy toward Russia. Are you suggesting that the original sin of Russian policy in Chechnya justifies a policy of deliberate confrontation with the Russian state ? That even if Eastern Ukrainians have genuine grievances against Kiev, that we should support Kiev because Russia should be undermined by any means necessary ?

                1. proximity1

                  My position and point is a very simple one as far as this thread’s discussion is concerned: we (whether in or out of positions of political influence) ought try to take full, due account of all the best and most pertinent information about V. Putin and his part as Russia’s head of state and that for us, participating here, the English translations of A. Politkovskaya are not just a part of that but a prime source of valuable data. If some here are literate in Russian–as wouldn’t surprise me much–then so much the better. But I’d place more store in the views of a person who can’t speak or read a word of Russian who has read A.P.’s journalism than I would a fluent Russian speaker who knows nothing of it.

          2. Christopher Dale Rogers


            I take great offence at your tone, for the record, if you desire to communicate with me, you can do so easily via Facebook or LinkedIn, where you’ll even find my personal email address to contact me if you have any issues.

            Now, as a man of truth, first I’m not a paid “BOT” and have duties and responsibilities myself, so as I was not aware of any enquiries of me, its rather hard to answer. But now I shall answer, personally one is not aware of Ms. Politkovskaya, hence I can have no opinion one way or the other.

            As for your other contention on the legitimacy of the Maidan coup, well that’s simple, it was a coup, democratic judicial process was not observed, this despite the Ukraine allegedly being a democracy. So, its very hard to have claims on being a democracy and inferring legitimacy if you fail to honour democratic tradition. So, in a nutshell, regardless of whether the West supported Maidan or not, a coup is a coup and the present government is illegitimate as its supporters could not be arsed to wait to actually have an election, which was to have been held within the next few months. As such, please give it a rest as your busted record is most boring. I may despise my own British government, I may yearn for my now little country to be free from London and the Westminster whores, but I actually follow the democratic process and don’t ferment violence or revolution. I may do so in future, but presently one hopes many will see common sense sooner or later.

            Further, you seem to think that posters who are opposed to the post-Maiden illegitimate government in Kiev and Western machinations in the Ukraine are automatically huge fans of one V. Putin – quite hard for me to be so given I’m an actual Socialist, but he’s giving the Yank’s, NATO and Brussels the runaround, which is to be congratulated. As for Georgia, is this the country that has its previous leader held in jail, you know the one who attempted to take on Russia and got a bloody nose?

            I can go on, but its a bit late here in Hong Kong, suffice to say, I’ve answered the two most important enquiries you have made, and if you don’t like my opinion on this, well tough!

            1. proximity1

              Thanks for answering it, Mr. Rogers. Apologies for presuming so upon your busy schedule. For future reference, please, take all the time you need to get back to queries from me. It’s just that, as you may have noticed, it’s not at all unusual in fora such as these for people to conveniently ignore what they are not able to adequately refute in arguments. For my having too quickly suspected that about you, I’m sorry.

              As for LinkedIn or Facebook or any similar means of chatting, no, I cannot engage you via those means since I don’t and won’t use them. Any user there going by the name of “proximity1” is someone else, having nothing to do with me.

              Though you’re British, rather than American, your faith in and devotion to real democracy may lead you to cherish and take very seriously, as I do, the words,

              –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–

              (emphasis added)

              I know that “our” MIC rightly fear those words. So should V. Putin (or V. Yanukovich) and his MIC–though some here find they have no trouble seeing the one point but apparently not the other.

              1. Doug Terpstra

                It should be acknowledged also that your questions to Rogers were not posed on the date of the links (9-3-14), but the following morning, after most people have moved on. It’s a bit presumptuous to claim that no response to your stale questuons means your POV is irrefutable. Nice try though.

                1. proximity1

                  Consider the date of posting “acknowledged”.

                  As for,

                  “It’s a bit presumptuous to claim that no response to your stale questuons means your POV is irrefutable,”

                  interestingly enough, I didn’t claim that it did. But that error of fact doesn’t have to slow you down, does it?

                  1. OIFVet

                    You didn’t claim, you implied. “But I’d place more store in the views of a person who can’t speak or read a word of Russian who has read A.P.’s journalism than I would a fluent Russian speaker who knows nothing of it.” IOW, you having read Politkovskaya gives your views “unassailable” heft. Try again Sparky.

      2. diptherio

        Totally, batsh*t insane. For a more reality-based view on Putin, Russia, China and geo-politics, see Robert Kaplan speaking at the Naval War College recently:

        We seem to have gained a Russophobe, war-mongering troll in this ‘proximity’ character (like the mine?). I’d say don’t feed him too much–he’s pretty sophisticated in his trollery–unless you need practice honing your points for countering this kind of nonsense IRL.

        1. Banger

          Personally, I welcome his input but he is very closed to real discussion–but who knows. He reminds me quite a lot of certain DIA/CIA types who genuinely believe that without “full-spectrum dominance” of the US the world will suffer drastic misrule from, their current thinking goes, the Chinese or some combination of authoritarian poweres. Well, as far as I’m concerned all major powers are authoritarian so I don’t think it matters who “wins” the struggle for world domination. In fact, I don’t think we should be struggling for world domination and I don’t believe anyon other than the US and Israel maybe is interested in dominating the world.

          1. diptherio

            You would think it might trouble those Intel folks that “full spectrum dominance” (i.e total control of the world) is literally a comic-book villain goal. If these nutjobs were put in a work of fiction they would have to be the bad guys, because who else wants to rule the world?

            And for the record, this kind of nonsense and obfuscatory debating tactic is why I find proximity so toxic:

            which, if any, of the published writings of Anna Politikovskaya you have read and indicate whether you read them in full or only partially, and if the latter, how partially.

            Obviously not someone looking to have a discussion.

            1. proximity1


              ” And for the record, this kind of nonsense and obfuscatory debating tactic is why I find proximity so toxic:

              which, if any, of the published writings of Anna Politikovskaya you have read and indicate whether you read them in full or only partially, and if the latter, how partially.

              Obviously not someone looking to have a discussion.

              If one’s debating opponents have simply very little or no knowledge of something they are avidly debating, that’s an interesting and a useful thing to know about them. How, after all, could I read the reverse-Jingoist stuff on view here and not suspect that in too many cases, it’s coming from people who’ve simply never bothered to read a solid fact-based critique of Putin and who seem to be ready to treat him as worthy of their respect for no other reason than the fact that others, who they despise, are ranged against Putin, so, as the saying goes, he can’t be all bad. Uh, yeah, he pretty much can be. Though I’m sure he loves his house-pets and his family.

              Wrong again. I’m just curious enough to wonder how people here who seem otherwise so intelligent can think and argue the sort of group-think about Putin as valiant resistance to the evil Western MIC–and it is evil. But, if you really had some better familiarity with Putin and Russia since he took power, you’d understand that he really isn’t against a MIC per se, he’s unalterably opposed to “the West”, period, and even if there were no Western MIC, he be just as adamantly opposed to it for cultural and ideological reasons.

              1. diptherio

                Yes, yes, your sources of information are the only valid ones, we all get it. {yawns}

                How’s about we don’t go sending my friends off to kill and be killed in foreign countries any more? You wanna go fight that evil Putin, go for it.

                Did you watch the presentation I linked to, btw? And if so how much and what parts did you fast-forward through?

                1. proximity1

                  RE: “Yes, yes, your sources of information are the only valid ones, we all get it. {yawns}”

                  That’s both insulting and of course neither true nor my view of it —as well as being nothing but straw-man bullshit and, for it, I’m through engaging with you. Feel free to celebrate that–I know I shall.

              2. OIFVet

                So, in the conflict between Evil Putin and the Evil MIC, you take the side of the Evil MIC? A sort of lesser evilism? Because Evil Putin is opposed to Western culture and ideology? Never mind that Evil MIC is part and parcel of Western culture and ideology, and the ultimate expression of American exceptionalism which arises from that culture and ideology. Just what the hell is it about Western culture and ideology that makes is so damn superior to other cultures and ideologies? The fact that it has carried indigenous genocides in order to spread itself as a gift to those ignorant natives? Your entire argument is basically an excuse for a toxic militarism and corporatism hellbent on global domination and exploitation. Freedom, democracy, equality, these are the meaningless ideals that Western culture and ideology supposedly is based on, yet the MIC it finances brings nothing but death, oppression, and exploitation to every country unlucky enough to be of resource or geostrategically significant location. Nice try, but I suggest you base your hate and fear mongering on something other than Evil Vlad’s dislike of your dear “Western Values”.

      3. susan the other

        That’s pretty interesting Lolcar. Because it appears that the homeland of Orwell, that’s the UK and the US, agrees with Putin and China becoming blood brothers. Whereas Putin wasn’t too sure about the whole thing. I still submit we pushed Putin into China’s arms. It makes sense for the overextended West more than it does for “Eurasia.” Because it frees us up to follow some rendition of capitalism for another century or so. And because big empires are unwieldy and certainly not stable and they can only gobble up the earth at a slow pace.

      1. russell1200

        I am confused. You site the Orlov piece to refute Snyder. But most of the items of Russian aggresion that Orlov said were none existent, have pretty much shown up. I don’t agree with Snyder with regards to the wonders of the Ukrainian state, but sighting Orlov is strange.

      2. proximity1

        ” 10. Kiev has surrendered. There are Russian tanks on the Maidan Square. Russian infantry is mopping up the remains of Ukraine’s National Guard. A curfew has been announced. The operation to take Kiev resembled “Shock and Awe” in Baghdad: a few loud bangs and then a whimper.

        ” Armed with this list, you too should be able to determine whether or not Russia has invaded Ukraine last Thursday.”

        Seriously? This is where we are? We’re now suposed to use this and the preceding nine bench-marks as the safe indication that yes, indeed, the Russians have crossed the border and are fighting in Ukraine? What criteria would you propose in determining safely whether or not Russians had invaded the United States, then? Let’s substitute like for like and see what we get, shall we?

        10. 10. Washington has surrendered. There are Russian tanks in Lafayette Square. Russian infantry is mopping up the remains of the U.S. armed forces and its National Guard troops. A curfew has been announced. …”

        ” Armed with this list, you too should be able to determine whether or not Russia has invaded Ukraine last Thursday.”

        1. Carolinian

          Ya know we get that you think Putin is a ruthless bad guy and that may even be true. But even if it is true and all the other things you assert are true that still doesn’t show how this is any of America’s business. Ukraine are not members of NATO and we have no treaties with them. If Obama feels he has evidence that Russia has violated the UN charter by committing “agressive war” against the Ukraine then he should take it to the UN. Instead he preens and postures and imposes sanctions whicn likely have no basis in international law. By this logic Russia should have imposed sanctions on us when we invaded–the correct word–Iraq. Or is the rule of thumb here that might–the country with the largest military–makes right? Viewing the US as the world’s cop may boost the vanity of Presidents, DC pundits and think tankers and even blog commenters but it’s hard to see how it is good policy. No one country, or even small group of countries like NATO, should declare itself the arbiter of world events.

          1. Brindle

            So true, Obama’s performance on the Ukraine Stage has been juvenile and tawdry:

            “Instead he preens and postures and imposes sanctions whicn likely have no basis in international law.”

            More and more obvious that Obama is just an empty suit with some rhetorical skills. I don’t think he has had an original thought in his head for the run of his presidency.

            1. curlydan

              And the Libya stage and the Syria stage and the Iraq stage (pulled out, then pushed back in) and the Afghanistan stage. I guess I could mention the Gaza stage but that’s just par for the course.

              I can’t really think of a foreign policy success he’s had. A year ago, he might have claimed Iraq, but now that’s back to the quagmire it once was.

    2. Massinissa

      This entire conversation is sort of pointless because none of us are going to change our minds, on either side.

      1. proximity1

        Pointless? …”because none of us are going to change our minds, on either side” ? (emphasis added)

        You can speak for yourself and I’ll speak for myself, thanks. I don’t mind changing my mind when the facts and the evidence demand it. So, allow me to affirm my readiness to take full and fair account of any pertinent evidence as it relates to what I think and argue here, and about my readiness to alter or abandon any opinions I hold which come to be discredited by the evidence which is brought here for my review as support in refuting what I believe and argue. If you, on the other hand, are determined to stick to your views despite any evidence to the contrary, that, really is yours to decide and yours to own as a way of dealing with controversies over facts of current and historical events.

        1. Murky


          Plenty of people here have fixed opinions on controversial issues that will never change regardless of the facts. Me? I actually like when someone can prove me wrong or alter my views. I learn a lot from other people after I’ve initially been wrong. And I respect people for properly informing me. Usually it’s because I had such little depth in a subject to begin with, and I shouldn’t have be so vocal with half-baked opinions.

          About the conflict in Ukraine, best of luck trying to budge the minds of people here. You said it best a couple days ago when you pointed out the ‘group think’ that is so predominant in this forum. If you try to have an academic quality discussion about the Russia-Ukraine confict, you will be shouted down. And here’s why.

          This site has a leftist bent that is not only left in the American political spectrum; there is also a operational political ideology here that is Marxist. There is great hostility here to the American political establishment and Western foreign policy. I share at least some some of that, for example, in that I’m opposed to Amercan militarism and the expanding mission of NATO. The problem is that people here think the West is so very bad, that they buy into the alternative ideology of Marxism, as if humanity has been better served by Russia and the former Soviet state. Never mind that millions of Russians, Ukrainian, Poles and others died in Gulag camps or were forcibly starved to death in the 1932-1933 ‘holodomor’. A couple generations have come and gone since then, so the brutality of the Soviet state is remembered by very few today. When has the USA ever killed millions of it’s own people? Never. But that doesn’t stop hatred and anti-Americanism.

          As regards the Russia-Ukraine war, it’s very difficult to sort out propaganda fabrications from fact. The narrative that’s been constructed by Putin and his media apparatus is that the American CIA first staged a coup in Kiev, and then a Nazi regime took over. Nevermind that there is no evidence whatsoever of a CIA coup. Just try getting someone here to provide any clear documentation of CIA involvement in Ukraine, and your thread will suddenly go dead. Because it’s a bogus allegation. The claim that there is a Nazi regime in Ukraine is also specious. Extremist political organizations such as Svaboda polled only 2% in recent Ukrainian presidential elections. But that there are, nevertheless, some fascist elements in Ukraine has been cause to demonize Ukrainians as a whole. “Nothing is worse than Nazis! They deserve to be exterminated!” This is what Russian propaganda wants you to believe about Ukraine. And the people here at Naked Capitalism believe just that. Nevermind that there are fascist political organizations within Russia, some using the swastica. The National Bolshevik Party, the Russian Unity Party, the Black Hundred, the Eurasian Youth Union, and others are openly fascist. The most visible fascism within Russia is currently advocated by Aleksandr Dugin, a close advisor to Putin. Dugin advocates ‘Eurasianism’, which claims that Russians are a superior from of humanity in a death struggle with the corrupt and evil Atlanticist West. Find Dugin’s “kill kill kill” rant against Ukrainians on Youtube if you are curious.

          This war is more about propaganda than reality. The reality is that there was a popular uprising against a brutal and kleptocratic president in Ukraine. That president, Yanukovych, fled from office, was then impeached in the Ukrainian parliament. Moscow then lost control of Ukraine for the first time in hundreds of years, and Putin is directly responsible for this loss. He propped up the Yanukovych regime until the day it collapsed. He then attacked Ukraine, uniting Ukrainians against Russia.

          Lambert and Yves do excellent work on financial fraud (indeed!), but they also push Anti-americanism and Putinism to an extreme. For example, Lambert constanty rants about a CIA coup in Ukraine, but has never presented a shred of evidence for this claim. Likewise the links provided by Lambert and Yves are thick with false narrative about a nazi regime, CIA, and Western capitalist takeover. This is bald propaganda, pure and simple. That’s how it works with Marxists. They are willing to tow Moscow’s party line, even when it involves outright falsification.

          But what does a falsified narrative matter if that propaganda is effective? Many people here have bought into the ‘nazis in Ukraine’ narrative. Some very aggressively. Some as fellow travellers. That’s why academic quality discussion here about Ukraine fails, why you get shouted down, and why I’ve been called a nazi. That’s how it goes with people who have been indoctrinated with hate propaganda. Their intellect serves to vent emotional hatreds, not to learn and discover an accurate historical context for framing the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

          Best of luck with this crowd. There are some very good people here as well, but they’ve been thoroughly dunked in anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian propaganda.

          1. OIFVet

            Murky, you Marxist! Such an eager beaver komsomolets! Operating on the same old principles of denunciation, giving a full and complete “report” to the visiting “dignitary” or to the local secret police, slinging shit and calling out the “enemies of the people.” Yeah, you read like the denunciations attached to my grandfather’s secret police dossier: Same style of breathless douchebaggery and eagerness to please, climbing up the ladder over the bodies of those you denounced. Ain’t the first time you done it either, is it? I know your type, I grew up surrounded by such specimens. Not surprising either, neocons did have Marxist roots. The beliefs may change, but never the tactics, right Comrade Murky?

          2. Ulysses

            “When has the USA ever killed millions of it’s own people? Never”.
            I encourage you to travel to the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota and repeat that statement out loud. It might be a really good learning experience for you!!

            1. Vatch

              Millions of American Indians died from the diseases that the European settlers unwittingly brought with them, but that was unintentional. Once the USA was established, the government carried out multiple acts of ethnic cleansing, but it seems an exaggeration to say that millions were killed. I think the mass murders committed by the Soviets, Nazi Germans, Communist Chinese, and even tiny Cambodia greatly exceed the very real crimes committed by the United States. I could be wrong; if so, please point me to some evidence.

                1. Vatch

                  Yes, I’m aware of the controversy surrounding smallpox laden blankets given to the Indians, and I should have mentioned that. The sources disagree on whether the blankets were given to them to cause disease or for charitable reasons. These events occurred prior to the adoption of the germ theory of disease, so it is conceivable that in some cases, no harm was intended. Whatever the intent was, I don’t think that anything close to a million people were killed by this type of activity.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Biological warfare has been practiced since antiquity. The people back then did not have the germ theory of diseases either. Yet, the instances of deliberately spreading disease amongst one’s enemies was quite common. Not knowing how the disease works on a microbiological level does not preclude the knowledge that exposing someone to an article that has itself been exposed to the disease can cause infection. “Genocide by charity” may fit the apologist agenda of revisionist historians but that’s hardly an excuse, is it?

                    1. Vatch

                      I’m not making excuses for anyone. The treatment of the American Indians has been disgraceful. The main point is that the number of people intentionally killed by the 20th century Communists and Nazis far exceeded the number people killed by or on behalf of the U.S. government.

                    2. OIFVet

                      I did say that you did, but to be frank the revisionist take of “they were only trying to be charitable” would be laughable if it wasn’t so incredibly evil. It is simply unpalatable, and it flies in the face of history.

                      As for death counts, don’t you worry, the 21st century is ours to lose. We have a commanding lead, and short of an unlikely outbreak of pacifism amongst US elites we are unlikely to squander the advantage. And I assure you, the vaccine against pacifism has long been perfected and administered here…

            2. jrs

              Also is there any moral difference between killing millions of your own people, and millions of people in other countries for no reason? Isn’t limiited it to one’s own people drawing a line that doesn’t really exist?

            3. Murky


              The Wounded Knee massacre was indeed a horrible barbarity perpetrated by the US govt. You’ve got that right. You are also right that there was a systematic policy of genocide against Native Americans in the 19th century; it wasn’t just one incident at Wounded Knee. Another example of mass murder in America is the lynchings of black Americans in the first decades of the 20th century; that went into many thousands.

              But your arithmetic needs rehab. Roughly 300 were killed in the Wounded Knee massacre. Not 3,000. Not 30,000. Not 300,000. Not 3,000,000. This last figure, 3,000,000 is a conservative estimate of the number of Ukrainians forcibly starved to death in the Ukrainian ‘holodomor’ of 1932-1933. Google ‘holodomor’ if you don’t believe me. The Gulag prison system constructed in Stalin’s Russia consumed many more millions; google ‘Gulag’ or ‘Solzhenitsyn’.

              To keep it short, Russia has killed vastly more of its own citizens that has the USA. It’s not even close. Weird to have a contest about which nation has been most brutal and murderous. Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and Mao’s China are definitely the worst mass-murdering nations.

              1. jrs

                Why aren’t citizens of other countries included in the brutal and most murderous calculation? Ask an Iraqi?

              2. jrs

                Meanwhile we’re holding Stalin against Russian I guess (and Hitler against Germany), but not a war a mere decade plus old against the U.S.

                1. Murky

                  Here’s the difference between Germany and Russia. Germany, by which I mean West Germany, had a complete regime change after WW2. Basically the Nazi regime was completely dismantled, and a functioning democracy put in its place. There was no equivalent regime change in Russia after Stalin died. Khrushchev was, however, a very important transition figure after the passing of Stalin, initiating what’s known as “The Thaw”. Beria, the head of Stalin’s police, was ‘removed’, Khrushevev made one of the most important speeches of the 20th century denouncing Stalin’s crimes before heads of government, and by 1958 most of the Gulag prison system had been dismantled with millions of ‘Zeks’ (gulag prisoners) returning home. But Soviet communism was not uprooted by any means, and governments after Khrushchev maintained stiff political and cultural controls over Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Soviet ‘satellite’ countries of Eastern Europe. While Brezhnev’s and Andropov’s regime did not vary from the Soviet norm, the Gorbachev regime tried both cultural and economic reforms. These reforms more or less failed and destabilized the Soviet state, leaving Yeltsin to take over the show. The break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 was proclaimed in the West as the defeat of communism and the end of the Cold War, but this was a very hasty conclusion. Yes Yeltsin established multiparty politics, a free media, and an embryonic democracy within Russia. That’s the only time, a few scant years, where the legacy of Soviet communism with all its totalitarian brutality was shed. Well maybe not entirely; Yeltsin had an itty bitty war going on there for a while in Chechnya. Putin ended this period of liberalization and reestablished brutal political control over Russia and neighboring states. In the meantime East Europe and the Baltic states have leaped West, can’t get them back. But Putin is using all necessary force to hold onto Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Contrast how Germany has retained almost no legacy at all from it’s Nazi era; it’s a single state and a functioning democracy without control over neighboring states. Russia, on the other hand, is still thick with its authoritarian past, and has a broad swathe of client states fully under its control. Will Ukraine successfully break free? It already has.

                  This is just a quick and hurried sketch of what remains of Stalin’s totalitarian Russia. The Soviet regime was never dismantled. So don’t think it’s just that the West has an unreasonable prejudice against Russia. There are very good reasons for shunning Russia. Ukrainian state territory has been seized by Russian-backed separatists. Ukrainian citizens have been murdered by these same separatists. If you don’t understand that stealing territory and killing citizens is wrong, and there’s no way I can persuade you that Russia is at fault here.

                  1. OIFVet

                    What a load of murky crap. The budding Russian democracy was destroyed by the vodka swilling Yeltsin in the fall of 1993. Far from ushering in democracy, the drunken fool destroyed it as Clinton applauded from the sideline. Yeltsin was a de facto dictator for several months, which allowed him to begin the wholesale theft of state properties under the guise of “reforms”, again lustily cheered by the West. This is the period when the corrupt oligarchy was truly created, when ordinary Russians were cheated out of their savings, and the economy destroyed. And you see that as the brief shining moment when democracy was “on the march” in Russia? Fucking idiot.

                  2. OIFVet

                    PS And it is your fascist junta that is shelling civilians with artillery and ballistic missiles, for the purpose of creating terror as an aide in its ethnic cleansing campaign. The shelling of civilians is a war crime, so the West is aiding and abetting the criminal fascist junta.

                  3. frosty zoom

                    “If you don’t understand that stealing territory and killing citizens is wrong..”

                    tell me more, mr. kettle.

            4. abynormal

              so glad you caught that!
              “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” Iroquois Maxim

              sadly, war stomp’n Proxy’s never get this

          3. proximity1

            …”This site has a leftist bent that is not only left in the American political spectrum; there is also a operational political ideology here that is Marxist. There is great hostility here to the American political establishment and Western foreign policy. I share at least some some of that,…”

            But, but, but, Murky, I‘m a Leftist, a Capital-L Lefist, a product of Bertrand Russell’s brand of Liberal thought. I am hostile to the American political establishment; I agree that it’s a world-wide menace and has been since John Adams took up the British cause against the French Revolution. I don’t want a U.S.-M.I.C.-dominated world. And I don’t care to make excuses for a regime such as Putin’s which savagely blights the prospects of the Russian people. The plain tenor of the crowd here is that such things as that are at best the lamentable consequences of the realpolitik to which those people’s aspirations simply have to be sacrificed–since to do otherwise would entail —-what?, exactly? That, really, is for the Russian people to determine for themselves, just as it is for the Ukrainian people—not tyrannical dictators or those ready to excuse them and do big business, whether of the Left or the Right. If these people are what it means to be Leftist, then, if they could, Russell and Orwell would be turning in their graves. I’m even, indeed maybe especially a Wright Mills Leftist, though, unlike him, I’m not a Marxist. I don’t think many here are and I’m fairly certain Yves is anything but a Marxist of any sort.

            These Leftists here, the one’s you (perhaps rightly) say I’ve got no chance of getting through to, they’re supposed to be open-minded, that’s part of the catechism; but they’re classifying my questioning of them as part of my being close-minded. The world really is upside down.

            1. OIFVet

              “That, really, is for the Russian people to determine for themselves…” Which they did, oddly enough. “….just as it is for the Ukrainian people…” Which they did not, as one oligarchic circle was simply replaced with another one in a coup. And yet, oddly enough, your hostility to the American political establishment and the MIC results in you blaming Putin for something that our douchebags carried out. Is that how you interpret Russell’s call for pragmatism?

            2. Jackrabbit

              I think you got the wrong impression. Push-back on anti-Putinism is mostly due to a knee-jerk reaction to what most who are anti-Putin are like. Really there are few, if any, Putin lovers here. We are generally more concerned with Western corruption and neocon dominance of foreign policy is symptomatic of that.

              Welcome to NC!

              H O P

            1. abynormal

              Yes Lambert…weekend assignment has been issued :-/

              “Since the war, we’re the only intelligent species left in the universe, therefore we think everything in this universe has to conform to our paradigm of what makes sense. Do you have any idea how arrogant that view is and on how little of this universe we base it?”
              R. Buettner, Overkill

            2. Murky


              I give you carte blanche. Select anything I have written here. Show me where I am clearly mistaken. And I’ll thank you for being proven wrong.

              You, on the other hand, have made serious allegations about a CIA coup in Ukraine. It’s time for you to substantiate your claim, or give it up as bogus. Where is your evidence? Let’s see if you can admit when you are wrong. And be pleasant about it!

              My prediction: Zero chance Lambert can substantiate his allegation about a CIA coup in Ukraine.

              1. Lambert Strether

                I asked for a link. You cannot give one. Prove your claim, or retract it. You don’t get to shift the burden of proof for your claim to me. Pas si bete. Nor do I take assignments.

                1. Murky

                  I’d really like to respond, but my posts are getting nuked. Will you please allow me to post content in this forum? Many thanks in advance!

          4. lambert strether

            “Lambert constanty rants about a CIA coup in Ukraine.” Oooh, my fee fees are hurt! Kinda a low baseline for “constantly” and “ranting,” given the volume of material I have to get through, but perhaps some people have thinner skin than others.

            I don’t recall saying “CIA coup” in the Ukraine; so I’d like a link.* I believe the formula I use is “US-backed” or “sponsored” coup; after all, with a sea of mis- and disinformation floating about, it’s hard to find a smoking gun. See, “covert operations” are called covert, even for a clumsy regime like ours, because — follow me closely, here, Murky, this a subtle point — they’re covert. Likewise, plausible deniability is, by design, plausible. That said, here are some “shreds” on the Ukraine, that illustrate these points. Here’s a link-heavy timeline. Here’s a list of other coups; if, as most citizens who want to participate in the public square must be, I played intelligence agent and sought signatures, I’d look there. I’m sure people who track the administration’s bullshit on Ukraine have better sourcing still.

            So, “US-backed coup.” I’ll take this by steps for you, Murky, because I know you’ve got to back to lifting the bed covers to see if there’s anything under there besides dust bunnies.

            1) Was there a coup? yes.

            2) Did the US back it? Yes; see first link above, and look for “Nuland.”

            Ergo, 3) “US-backed coup.”

            NOTE * I only require a link from you on this one point.

            1. Murky

              Just had a wonderful lunch and cup of coffee. I feel great! Had to leave this forum for whole two hours. Now I have time for you.

              Well, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on your first issue. Whether your phrasing was ‘CIA coup’, ‘US backed coup’, or ‘US sponsored coup’, I don’t really care. I’m not going to spend hours digging through hundreds of your posts to isolate all the specific language you have used.

              The important thing is that you have repeatedly stated there was a coup, as if this was factual information. Do you know what ‘facts’ are, Lambert? Facts are known, provable, verifiable. That there has been a CIA backed, US backed or US sponsored coup is simply not a fact, but rather your own belief parading as fact. Yeah, you have a THEORY. And it’s a CONSPIRACY THEORY. If a US backed coup was indeed established knowledge I’d find it in Wikipedia. But it’s not there! Maybe you are ahead of the curve and have certain knowledge of this coup. Then write your own Wikipedia article on the US coup in Ukraine. I’m just absolutely sure we’ll be able to read your entry tomorrow, or early next week at the latest! But then, a few folks might not believe you at Wikipedia. Fools!

              You offer me 2 links, and both very interesting links by the way. Gets me reading from your perspective, and I really appreciate that. But you’ve stumbled here, Lambert. Providing links is not the same thing as constructing a coherent argument. You can’t rely on other people and their links to speak for you. It’s up to you, not someone else, to present a coherent history of a covert US coup in Ukraine.

              So far, here is your entire evidence for which you have found one a single word. “Nuland”. Gosh, Lambert. What did Nuland say, or do? I just can’t wait for your detailed narrative of Nuland’s grand adventure in Ukraine.

              So far my prediction is 100% accurate: “Zero chance Lambert can substantiate his allegation about a CIA coup in Ukraine.”

                1. Murky

                  I’ve already conceded that point. And here’s an admission that I was probably wrong in how I quoted you. Are you ready? Here it comes.

                  I was wrong about your wording Lambert! Thank you for correcting me!

                  So that’s settled, right? Good. Now we can move on to the main event.

                  We eagerly await your narrative about the US coup in Ukraine. If it’s really good, you’ll submit it to Wikipedia right? Then it will be established knowledge. FACT! Hallelujah! Rejoice! True knowledge about Ukraine is forthcoming!

                  Speak, Lambert! Please tell us all about the US coup in Ukraine. Does it really all condense down into one word? ‘Nuland’? But but but… don’t you have a verb, some other characters, and a plot? C’mon, share!

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    No, you haven’t. You said you would give me the benefit of the doubt. Now you say you were “probably” wrong about my wording. Your linkless claim was false. The word you are looking for is “retraction.” Can you use it in a sentence?

                    1. Murky

                      You’ve gone off the edge, Lambert. I admitted I was probably wrong. I made a mistake. I apologized. Yeah sure, I’ve now retracted my claim that you’ve used the phrase, ‘CIA coup’. What else do you want? Shall we continue beating this dead horse? Do you want me to jump through hoops for my next trick?

                      When will you get around to writing your history of the US covert coup in Ukraine? Shucks, we’ve waited hours! Maybe tomorrow, right? Or maybe next year? Gosh, Lambert, maybe there never was any US coup in Ukraine. And maybe, just like the Wikipedia article reads, it was a popular uprising that toppled Yanukovych.

                    2. Lambert Strether

                      Fascinating. First, an ad hominem. Next, in “when will you get around to” not only a derailment, but an assignment. Finally, pointless sarcasm.

                      You made a false claim. Retract it. “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

                    3. Murky

                      On a very narrow issue, I’ve apologized, retracted what I said, and admitted I was wrong. And I’ve done so with good cheer. That’s enough.

                      You sir, are evading the main issue. You made a claim that the US sponsored a coup in Ukraine. You have FAILED, to substantiate your claim. Therefore, I must conclude that you seek to manipulate public opinion here by making false and unsubstantiated allegations. People who make false and unsubstantiated allegations are called liars, slanderers, defamers, propagandists and frauds. Are you one of these, Lambert?

                      Maybe by tomorrow you’ll have your history of US covert operations in Ukraine written? Lord, may it come to pass!

                    4. Lambert Strether

                      You just retracted now. Don’t you feel better? The Counterpunch timeline linked to above provides plenty of evidenced for “US-backed” or “US-sponsored.” However, handing out assignments (“you’ll have your history”) is a Rule #1 violation at NC; see generally the bullet points there. Frankly, the fact that you consider linkless false claims “a very narrow” issue should tell readers all they need to know.

                  2. skippy

                    US backed coup Murky?…. And here I thought is was a corporatist backed claim on… in advance expenditure and future profits expectations… silly me… eh.

              1. abynormal

                If you find some writings on Wikipedia a bit pompous or awkward because they read too formal, do not blame humans. For an increasing number of entries on Wikipedia are being written by automated software or ‘bots’.

                One such automated writer, called “Lsjbot”, has been created by Swedish physicist Sverker Johansson from Dalarna University. This bot pulls raw information from databases and then uses algorithms to generate text in standardized templates to post on the free encyclopaedia website, a Wall Street Journal report said.

                A bot can generate up to 10,000 new entries a day. ”The single bot program in Sweden has written more than 2.7 million articles on Wikipedia – or about 8.5 percent of the total collection,” the report said. About two-thirds of the bot’s entries are written in Filipino and one-third in Swedish.
                bots misread UAL and shares dropped 12.50 to 3.00

                1. Murky

                  Yup, that single phone conversation is the entire supposed evidence that the USA was meddling in Ukraine. Now about that 5 billion, don’t presume it was all for covert operations. I do not doubt the USA spent that money on Ukraine, but as Vatch has pointed out, that money probably was spent on a wide variety of educational, cultural, diplomatic, and trade programs as well. It’s been suggested that money was spent over a span of 25 years, since Ukrainian independence in 1991.

                  Now, as far as Nuland goes, I think there is a photo of her in most dictionaries under the word ‘slime’. Maybe not fair of me to say, but I really found this woman to be intensely distasteful. And she did exactly what you said, she was trying to pick the Ukie the USA wanted to deal with and support.

                  Do I personally think the CIA was involved in Ukraine. Yes. Probably like most people in this forum, I assume the CIA has operatives in all the major countries on the planet. Do I think the CIA had intense interest in Ukraine? Yes. Do I think they had the resources to make a coup happen in Ukraine? No way! I say this because even if that 5 billion were covert money, it wouldn’t be nearly enough to buy off the many oligarchs that run the country. Rinat Akhmetov alone is worth some 11 billion dollars, and he’s not going to pull up stakes, change allegiances, and run counter to Moscow because a few CIA agents try to bribe him. And there are dozens of other oligarchs that’d have to be bought off. Do you think the CIA had unlimited budget and hundreds of agents in Ukraine? I don’t think so; too big an expenditure of US resources. Meanwhile the FSB (latter day KGB) undoubtedly had thousands of agents and informers in Ukraine working closely with the Yanukovych government. Americans agents probably outnumbered by 100 to 1.

                  The amazing thing that almost everybody here overlooks is that the Ukrainian revolution was a popular revolution. Mass protests for months in the main square of the capital city Kiev resulted in a showdown between protesters and Yanukovych. Yanukovych got desperate and called in snipers who then killed about 100 protesters. This is what turned the revolution decisively in favor of the protesters. The Ukrainian public was outraged at the shootings. Several key institutions of the Ukrainian state then failed to back Yanukovych. It’s known that the Ukrainian army refused to take action against the protesters. Yanukovych had lost control of his own government and fled. Yanukovych’s party, the Party of Regions, then completely fell apart in the Ukrainian parliament. The opposition gained majority status and immediately impeached Yanukovych. That’s what happened in Ukraine, and that’s what’s in the Wikipedia article on the Ukrainian revolution if you care to read it.

                  1. OIFVet

                    ‘So that there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,’:

                    And who might have trained Right Sector Nazi fucks? Why, Poland of course! “There, they received four weeks of intensive training in crowd management, person recognition, combat tactics, command skills, behavior in crisis situations, protection against gases used by police, erecting barricades, and especially shooting, including the handling of sniper rifles.”

                    You know, the same Poland that aided and abetted extraordinary renditions, hosted secret jails, and is otherwise a loyal poodle and blow job dispenser (per Sikorski). Funny how the junta refuses to investigate the killings, apparently investigating itself is a bit too democratic for these fascists.

          5. Lambert Strether

            I want to circle back to this one. “Lambert and Yves do excellent work on financial fraud.” Anybody who is even a semi-serious reader of NC, or familiar, or caring about, the ongoing life of the blog, knows that I couldn’t carry Yves’s notional jockstrap on financial fraud, and would never claim to. Sheesh.

      2. Banger

        I think you are wrong. We need opposition to our position in order to help us think clearly. Jesus instructed us to “love our enemies” because they actually benefit us because by loving and accepting them we come to understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as our own which in turn allows us to defeat them. Proximity1 represents the thinking of most of the people who make policy for the national security state including most major visible journalists and editors who believe in the ideology of American Exceptionalism, which includes the idea that the USA must, at all costs, dominate the world for the benefit of the world. These guys don’t want to pillage the world they want to “improve” it and because their intentions are good (unlike other actors on the stage) they deserve to bring the world to this promised land of milk and honey and the End of History. Sadly these true believers are unable to understand why we oppose this project. It is this project that we ought to be talking about–not Putin because he is merely a leader of a major society who uses gangster methods like every other leader in the world. There is very little difference among most leaders. Putin has a lot of power in his world so he doesn’t have to pull the sorts of stunts that Cameron, Obama and Hollander have to pull in order to appease their own men with guns.

        1. proximity1


          …”Proximity1 represents the thinking of most of the people who make policy for the national security state including most major visible journalists and editors who believe in the ideology of American Exceptionalism, which includes the idea that the USA must, at all costs, dominate the world for the benefit of the world.” ???

          Gee, “thanks” so much for that “defense”—but, no, I do not represent them. If I had my may, they’d have faced criminal charges, been convicted and sentenced to prison long ago– and that includes the Reagan, Clinton, Bush(es) and Obama administrations.

          I’ve read and I agree with Andrew Bacevich’s trenchant critique of American exceptionalism. It’s just that I _also_ know something about the person and character (political and other) of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin thanks to the brilliant writing and the amazing courage and insight of, most notably, Anna Politkovskaya. When others can say that they’re familiar with her writings, I’ll be readier to hear them explain why what she has written doesn’t completely convict and condemn Putin as one of the very worst people currently active on the international political stage as a head of state. Putin’s RussiaI dare any of you to read that book and then review what you’ve written and argued here about Putin vs. “the West” concerning the matter of Ukraine. Or, would that be “pointless” since ” ‘nobody’ is going to change his mind about the issues” ?

          Till then, I’d say it’s rather you lot who have a lot to learn –and some of you I think ought to be ashamed to consider yourselves liberals, leftists–unless you think that that is what Bill and Hilary are.

          1. Massinissa

            Oh Bill and Killary are ‘liberals’ all right, though I wouldnt call them leftists.

            I wouldnt call you a leftist either, since you favor American Imperialism and full spectrum dominance, even if you dont call either of those things those terms. I would say the word ‘liberal’ fits you like a glove though.

            Actually your views are probably a good example of bourgeois American ‘liberalism’.

          2. lolcar

            The problem is that even if “Putin’s Russia” proved that Putin regularly drinks the blood of babies, it’s an argument for arresting him next time he sets foot in a Western country (in the full knowledge that in doing so you’re risking war). It’s not an argument for supporting the Kiev government in shelling Donetsk.

          3. Banger

            Fair enough–but, I an assure you, that a good deal of the State Department, CIA and DIA is populated by a significant number of liberal intellectuals who feel more at home with the NYRB than the National Journal yet, they honestly believe that US world dominance is a requirement for any liberal world order–I believe that is wrong.

            As for Putin, he is a particularly interesting Eastern potentate who plays rough and nasty. He represents a sort of nationalism that the US policy makers oppose–they believe in a global marketplace civilization where nation states don’t count for much–however, the power vacuum has been filled not the democratic will of the people but the will of large corporations. This is why I welcome Putin and connect him with figures as disparate as Hugo Chavez and Marine Le Pen.

            Also, be patient with us here–I may disagree with you and even question your motivation but I for one hope you keep posting here–I don’t know everything and you’ve already taught me a few things. It takes time to know the individual–just be yourself–these discussions are stimulating and the worst thing for all of us is to stay asleep in our opinions.

              1. OIFVet

                Technically, Banger is correct: the goal is a liberal NWO. Liberal in the traditional European origin of the concept, not in the American sense.

                1. Jackrabbit

                  No. Our tax system and other privileges (volunteer army) effectively create a neo-aristocracy. Neolibcons are creating a New World Order. (NWO). They have not chosen to call it a Liberal World Order because that is not what it is.

                  Banger has made his point of view clear many, many times: that we should embrace this oligarchic world order (only oligarchs can change anything so show “love” to oligarchs are benign or lobby for things we want – even if the oligarch is only acting in their own selfish interest) because it is inevitable and no one really cares.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Neoliberals descend from liberals (European sense of the term), do they not? They just selectively decide to whom liberal economic tenets should apply: laissez-faire for the masses, socialism for the elites and corporations. Neoliberalism is the lovechild of laissez-faire liberalism and socialism, just like neoconservatism is the fusion of Marxism and conservatism. That describes the modern Democrat Party perfectly. It’s not like I agree with Banger re: oligarchs, but the fact is that the NWO has that strong whiff of classical liberalism that simply can not be masked.

                    1. Jackrabbit

                      Yes, neo-liberalism is mostly a return to liberalism. But as you point out, neo-liberal =/= liberal and it is a misleading misnomer to refer to classical liberalism when the “world order” is being framed by crony neolibs. Even the neolibs and neocons refer to it as a New World Order, and I imagine for that very reason.

                      I also imagine that Adam Smith would be agast at the co-opting of ‘liberal’ by the neo-libs and neocons.

                    2. Carolinian

                      Since you asked, and since the term gets used quite a lot around here. From Wikipedia

                      Neoliberalism was an economic philosophy that emerged among European liberal scholars in the 1930s attempting to trace a so-called ‘Third’ or ‘Middle Way’ between the conflicting philosophies of classical liberalism and collectivist central planning.[4] The impetus for this development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early 1930s which conventional wisdom of the time tended to blame on unfettered capitalism. In the decades that followed, neoliberal theory tended to be at variance with the more laissez-faire doctrine of classical liberalism and promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a model which came to be known as the social market economy.

                      In the 1960s, usage of the term “neoliberal” heavily declined. When the term was reintroduced in the 1980s in connection with Augusto Pinochet’s economic reforms in Chile, the usage of the term had shifted. It had not only become a term with negative connotations employed principally by critics of market reform, but it also had shifted in meaning from a moderate form of liberalism to a more radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. Scholars now tended to associate it with the theories of economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.[5] Once the new meaning of neoliberalism was established as a common usage among Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused directly into the English-language study of political economy.[6] The term neoliberal is now used mainly by those who are critical of legislative initiatives that push for free trade, deregulation, enhanced privatization, and an overall reduction in government control of the economy.[7]

                      American scholar Robert W. McChesney notes that the term neoliberalism, which he defines as “capitalism with the gloves off,” is largely unknown by the general public, especially in the United States.[8] Today the term is mostly used as a general condemnation of economic liberalization policies and their advocates.[7]

                      I believe “neocon” was a disparaging coinage by the “paleoconservatives”….not accepted by the neocons themselves. But could be wrong about that.

                      This thread is an all day sucker. My last comment was at 10am!

                  2. Banger

                    Complete misrepresentation of my views. I’ve called for revolution–my “support” is just that I believe the oligarchs have complete control at present and we have to learn to accept that and live with that fact before we can change it.

    3. Banger

      One can read Orwell and understand a lot including Putin–just as one can read Machiavelli and understand politics. If we are rating “Orwellian” states I don’t believe the RF would rate very high. The USA has the most sophisticated and longest-lasting propaganda state with a shifting series of enemies usually “personalities” who always equal Hitler. I won’t go into this further as you know exactly what I think. Of course much depends on what you regard as “Orwellian.” Obviously you regard Putin as a dangerous world actor while I view the US oligarchs as the most dangerous and malevolent actors.

      1. Ulysses

        I wrote a little rant in favor of a more nuanced view of Machiavelli’s political thought than one gets if one only reads the Prince. Perhaps it’s a good thing that it was lost in the ether. Short version: Read his Discourses on Livy and Florentine Histories too before passing judgement!

        1. Banger

          I very much love Machiavelli and my own views are informed by him and his sensibility. He has gotten a bad rap–he was a real truth teller and a daring thinker.

    4. Gaianne

      Snyder is pretty Orwellian himself! A solid practitioner of crimestop.

      If the article is cheesy and clumsy, at least the banner photo of Putin is great! Sooo spooky!


  5. abynormal

    re, Waters Edge…a few snips
    “In 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a $4.1 million project to close gaps in the line of flood protection for Constitution Avenue and the Federal Triangle area – home of the departments of Justice and Commerce, the National Archives and the Internal Revenue Service. The corps expects to finish in late autumn a 380-foot-long, 9-foot-tall barrier across 17th Street near the Washington Monument.” WHY?…’kill your darlings’ works for me.

    “we will be constructing water projects to solve past problems for the next 40 years” as the money is slowly made available, said David Conrad, a water resources policy specialist in Washington.
    The wait list is symptomatic of a larger problem hindering efforts to deal with rising seas: the U.S. government’s inability to confront the issue head-on.” …’killing darlings’ slowly…we do like our torture.

    1. ambrit

      Kill your darlings is easier than “run for the hills.” When you have systemic short termism in control, generational issues aren’t on the to do list.
      Move the Federal Capitol to Saint Louis or Kansas City and you will solve a lot of problems: flooded government, drowning populations, East-centric governance, employment for loads of people, and Eurocentric elites. (Since you’ll have to relocate Wall Street too, may I suggest Denver?)

    2. ambrit

      This is just one aspect of the global warming process. Living down South as you do, the question of heat must have crossed your mind. It has ours. Newer houses are designed with mechanical air conditioning in mind. When the electricity to run those air conditioners becomes too expensive for the average household, what to do? Older houses were designed for passive cooling. A return to such methods is in the cards.
      Having ridden out Katrina in our attic, Phyllis and I have “run for the hills” as it were. I often joked about setting up a Nuevo New Orleans in the gentle hills of south central Mississippi. Planning ahead for disaster I called it. So far, I’ve been roundly ridiculed every time. People truly don’t learn from history. What a shame.

      1. Ed

        With New Orleans, the left has some complicity in this, in insisting after Katrina that everything be put back after it was. But everything I’ve read about the geography and impending weather changes indicate that it will be impossible in the medium term to maintain a city of that size in that location. Start shifting as many people and functions as you can to Baton Rouge upriver.

          1. susan the other

            So this raises the big question. What is the shadow plan? It is clearly to let the coasts become inundated, let people realize the situation they are in just how expensive it will be for them to share the costs of moving their houses inland, etc. Already insurance policies have all sorts of exceptions for this eventuality. One thing we know is that we, the USA, is never without a plan. We know exactly what each option costs. And we know it 20 years in advance. At least.

        1. Jess

          Afraid that Baton Rouge is a couple of hundred miles short of what you need. Saw a graphic a while back, think it was on a NatGeo site, showing what happens if the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets melt as some are now predicting. Short version:
          Pine Bluff, Arkansas is the new New Orleans. Houston also ceases to exist, except perhaps as a glass-bottom boat tour site. Ditto for virtually all of Florida plus significant sections of AL and MS.

          1. susan the other

            So this makes my point – that it is just too expensive for the government and/or the insurance companies to undertake. A cautious person gets him/herself out of the mess well before the stuff hits the fan.

  6. Carolinian

    The NYT strikes again

    “After four months of conflict in eastern Ukraine, however, few have chosen to use the “I” word to define the slow-burning war”

    Suggested revision after Times editors have been given a good shaking: Walking a fine line, U.S. and NATO officials have been unwilling to use a phrase fraught with so many implications for future policy. That phrase is “civil war.”

    1. Brindle

      Anytime that US/NATO releases some supposed evidence of Russian invasion such as photos or youtubes, they are quickly exposed as being lacking in any evidentiary value.
      The Rebels are winning the civil war because their motivation (defending their homes) and tactics are superior to those of the Western UKR forces.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Gathering of hawks [WaPo]:

      Within the first hours of NATO’s two-day summit, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron indicated they were prepared for a more aggressive Western role.

      Writing in the Times of London, the pair rejected calls for “an isolationist approach” and asked their fellow leaders to “summon up the shared resolve that inspired NATO’s founding fathers.”

      But it was Ukraine — and the empty chair of Russia — that dominated the summit’s first day.


      We’ve gone from the original Founding Fathers — such ol’ Geo. Washington, spouting the limp-wristed anathema of ‘Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none, or a very remote relation’ — to ‘NATO’s founding fathers,’ not one of whom I could name. Who’s our daddy, anyway?

      Since our northern European comrades — Denmark, Netherlands, Poland and Germany in particular — have been so instrumental in advancing NATO’s Final Solution to the Slavic question, consideration is being given to naming the coming military intervention Operation Blond Ambition.

      Muwah ha ha ha … white folks sho’ is strange!

      1. Carolinian

        Mr. Yatsenyuk, tear down that wall (after you build it).

        Ukraine is beginning work on a “Wall” project that envisages the construction of an actual state border with Russia, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Wednesday. “We are beginning the ‘Wall’ project. This is the construction of an actual state border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation,” Yatsenyuk said during a government session. Earlier the same day, Yatsenyuk said Kiev needed to create a new military doctrine that would reflect that Russia as an “aggressor nation,” which threatens the territorial integrity and national security of Ukraine.

        This and other interesting tidbits here

  7. MikeNY

    RIP Joan.

    She was an original. Smart and outrageously funny at her best. You could still go to hear her try out new material at this little divey club on 42nd as of just a few years ago. I did — and am glad I did.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Wow, lucky you.
      RIP, indeed, to an amazing icon and a courageous, big soul.
      Glad (for her) she went out on top of her game and still working!

      1. cwaltz

        I wasn’t a fan either. She always struck me as rather mean spirited(HATED her fashion police crap). The only time I enjoyed her was when she was doing self depreciating humor and being honest about her numerous plastic surgeries. Quite frankly pretty on the inside ought to be a goal- not so much with “perfect” faces and body types.

      2. optimader

        I agree, personally I found her humor utterly unfunny to me. I didn’t have any philosophical problem w/ her, just no appreciation for her comedic shtick.
        That said, I never heard she wasn’t a decent person while having the moxie to achieve her own measure of success and perhaps forged a path/assisted others?
        RIP and sympathies to her family/loved ones.

        Sidebar, An in office elective procedure, no less on an 81yo? approach with huge caution. It’s likely she had more resources than good advice on this count. A shame.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Like art is not about the expensive painting you have on the wall, but living a creative live, humor is not about watching a comedy show, but living a funny life oneself.

          ‘If you can’t laugh at yourself, how can you laugh at the world?’

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That is to say, homemade humor is the only way to go…like homemade beer, I suppose or homegrown squash.

            It’s like the 18th century…if you wanted music, you had to play it yourself at home most of the time – none of this casual relationship with music by popping in CDs or downloading from the net.

            1. optimader

              I tend to agree because humor is usually most relevant close to home/between friends.
              But on the other hand, in the craft, IMO Joan River’s stock wasn’t of the caliber of George Carlin, Mel Books or for that matter, or more contemporarily Lewis CK.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I try to tell my own jokes, however bad (thank you all for putting up with me) and avoid any references to professional ones.

                That’s how I overcame my spiritual/emotional obesity.

      1. MikeNY

        LOL, thanks for that. I know she wasn’t everybody’s favorite flavor, but I still pee myself listening to “What Becomes A Semi-Legend Most”.

  8. James Levy

    NATO is ramping up a rapid reaction force and wants to position troops and equipment in Poland,

    but there is more:

    “We must be able to act more swiftly,” Cameron said. “I hope that today we can agree a multinational spearhead force deployable anywhere in the world in just two to five days.”

    Um, since when is NATO’s remit “anywhere in the world”? And doesn’t anybody in Europe remember that Poland and Romania were the staging areas for Operation Barbarossa? You know, the attack that cost at least 20 million Soviet citizens their lives? I mean, do they think that will go unnoticed by every Russian who isn’t a traitor to his people? And didn’t we promise the Russians that NATO forces would never be deployed to former Warsaw Pact countries other than East Germany? And isn’t it the job of someone in this fucking country to A) remind the people of these realities, and B) point out that Russia still has an ample nuclear deterrent force that can clobber us, and C) that even if the nuts in Washington are telling their NATO “allies” that in a real crisis a combo of cyber attacks, preemptive hits, and US missile defense capabilities will neutralize that threat, they are out of their minds? A preemptive strike would have to be able to dig out the entire Russian command, control, and communications system while simultaneously sinking whichever Russian missile subs happen to be operational at the time, all before the Russians could get a significant number of their own missiles airborne. And then our ABM capability would have to be up to the challenge of dealing with whatever gets off the ground. All without creating enough fallout and ash to precipitate a nuclear winter (Obama’s cure for Global Warming?).

    I’m scared.

    1. Banger

      There is today as there was during the Cuban Missile Crisis a segment of the National Security State that believes that a first strike would “work” in that, at that time they figured a four to one ratio of casualties which to those guys was acceptable because it would wipe out the vast majority of Russians–all worth it because then the world would be their oyster. I don’t think those nuclear hawks have the President’s ear nor will they, I believe.

      We have to understand that adopting a bellicose posture is the way to get ahead in the world of Washington politics for politicians, bureaucrats and journalists because when push come to shove Imperialism is Washington’s most important business.

      I think the main impetus from a strategic POV for this militant posture on the part of the West is to control the subject populations of Europe and North America by creating a permanent state of conflict and tension so that the State continues to stay at the center of power after decades of incursion by the corporate elite. Interesting historical conflict between these two powerful groups.

      1. Ulysses

        A lot of U.S. elites are bats%$it insane regarding the survivability of nuclear war. Ever wondered why I.B.M. moved their headquarters up to Armonk in the early sixties? It happens to lie just outside the radius of near certain death were a nuke to be dropped on Manhattan!

        1. Ulysses

          I don’t see much of a “conflict between these two powerful groups,” so much as a revolving door within one powerful group of inter-connected elites– in which the same individual can be a corporate attorney representing fraudulent banksters one year, and U.S. Attorney General running interference for these same banksters the next. Or, a four-star general one year, and a lavishly compensated private-sector “consultant” the next. I think you get my general point!

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘Um, since when is NATO’s remit “anywhere in the world”? ‘

      Apparently when we ditched the constitution, the treaties went along with it. Or maybe it was when the War Department rebadged itself as the Defense Department in 1949, as it consolidated its new global empire.

      It ought to be a cautionary tale for Americans that the loudest barking poodle is the UK, a failed empire which already went through the painful imperial downsizing cycle. Yet Americans believe, as they repeat every move from the losing British playbook, that somehow it will turn out differently with our brilliant selves in charge.

      ‘Scared’ is a reasonable response. But so is ‘angry’ and ‘scathing’ and ‘corrosive’ and ‘mocking.’

  9. Eeyores enigma

    A huge McCastle is going up across the way where our small farm is. There mostly 2 to 5 acre lots with large McMansions on them but this guy bought out the equestrian center and is tearing everything down and building this monster.

    We didn’t mind as there was a hill between us so we didn’t have to look at it. They brought out some massive earth moving equipment, the kind you see in mining operations, and took out the hill so they could have a large flat area at the front of the house for a circular drive with fountains. Now it is visible to all. YUCK!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I heard free-ranging crocodile meat is the next big thing.

          Gotta let those alligators roam.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps you can plant some GM canola and see if Monsanto will sue them for patent infringement as the seeds get blown onto the lawn.

    1. McMike

      You should worry. They bring with them higher expectations for public services, and a lower tolerance for the realities of farming (sights, sounds, smells).

      Within a few years, the roads will be twice as wide and plowed more frequently. The water/sewer plant will have to do a $50 MM capital improvement, and the police & fire will upgrade to 24/7 paid staff coverage. Just for starters.

      1. James Levy

        It depends on where you are. In my little corner of the universe we are still governed by the Town Hall Meeting system, so rich people who own summer homes would face a wall of impenetrable opposition to those hijinks, and we are a Right to Farm community, so the chickens, goats, horses, and pigs come with the territory. We pay a goodly amount of taxes, but we vote for them and we choose what they go to do. It’s a good way to live so long as you don’t have too many people or competing interests to contend with (then you need serious rules, procedures, checks and balances).

        1. McMike

          We’ll pray for you. I have yet to identify something that the rich couldn’t find a way to buy or ruin.

    2. sd

      Take solace in the fact that one day in the not to distant future it will turn into a private school, sober living, or apartments.

    3. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Paint your house pink, and put purple curtains, of varying shades and hues, in the windows. A couple o’ old beaters in the yard, some tires, and lots of broken kid’s toys (my wife says not to forget pink flamingos).

      My late step-father-in-law, Sheldon — a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and a real prick — got into an argument with one of his neighbors in his central FL retirement community. Seems he didn’t like the statuary the neighbors had put out in their front yard. He tried to get the HOA to have it removed, but there was nothing they could do.

      So, ol’ Sheldon gets himself an inflatable love doll (in kinky underwear, with the mouth formed into a permanent ‘o’), and put it in his flower bed. He would go out every morning and repose it. It was so bad, we couldn’t help but laugh. Eventually, it went away (that is, we stopped hearing about it), but I don’t know if the neighbor ever removed their statuary.

    4. optimader

      That blows.
      If neighborly consideration is exhausted, check Municipal Code and have the neighbor advised you will go the Yard Art landscaping route w/ klieg lighting until the proposed driveway is rerouted and the terra-firma screen is restored You can buy 3-4MM candlepower lights for under $25.00 a piece, very inexpensive.

      I had a neighbor who installed a spot on his house that shined directly into my property where we spend a lot of time in the evening. Spotlight in the face goes along the absence of other lights Of course he located it for his own convenience and because he is an inconsiderate idiot. After several polite requests to shut it off/ reconsider the location , then one or two impolite requests, I installed a 3 MM candlepower spot light “Yard accent lighting” and tested it one evening at ~10:30pm. That spot light was off in about a minute never to abuse our retinas again.

    5. susan the other

      Yesterday on CNBC half of the big builders on the exchange were claiming they were flicking it in on cheaper real estate and planned to concentrate only on the “high-end.” Well, isn’t that special? I think I can see the future. At least 4 million “high-end” houses. What a laugh.

  10. diptherio

    Call for submissions for Beautiful Solutions book.

    Our natural systems of mutualism and interconnectedness are broken. As we disarm the worst excesses of the current order, we must create new institutions — political, social, economic, and cultural — that restore the balance and point the way forward. That’s what this book is about.

    Around the globe and throughout history, quiet revolutionaries have discovered the power of building “the new society in the shell of the old.” Along the way, lessons have been learned and innovative models devised. Beautiful Solutions pulls them all together in one accessible place.

    Beautiful Solutions is designed as a companion volume to the indispensable Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution, and builds off its popular model for distilling the component pieces of effective organizing. The book lays out an interconnected matrix of prefigurative Tactics, Values, Theories and Case Studies that can be adapted by anyone looking to build solutions. Are your community’s needs being ignored? Try TACTIC: Participatory Budgeting. Need a roadmap for shifting your city to renewable energy? See what they did in CASE STUDY: Boulder, CO takes on Xcel Energy, 2013.

    Beautiful Solutions gathers the most promising and contagious strategies for building new institutions grounded in justice and sustainability. Written for — and by — several generations of constructive revolutionaries, it’s a toolbox anyone can use. Another world is possible. Armed with this book, we can start building it, together.

  11. troutcor

    The question raised by the Economist article (now an apology has been inserted) is why The Economist felt the need to serve as defense attorney for 1860s global capitalism and its essential component, slavery, to begin with?
    The whole debate arose over the question of how the slave economy created so much more wealth in 1860 than it did in 1800. The author being reviewed ascribed it to greater systemization of exploitation; The Economist wanted to put it down to a valuable commodity (slaves) being treated better and thus becoming more productive.
    Perhaps herein lies the answer to why this debate hit a nerve for the Bible of the Global Plutocrats: The similarities between what underlay yesterday’s globalized economy and what underlies today’s Globalization 2.0 are just a little too close for comfort. How are the rich to treat the slaves: as valuable, productive commodities, or as basic commodities to be exploited to the max?
    Also, in today’s Global Business World, you need a squeaky clean BMW iPhone Bill Gates Democrat Voting image. You can be all for being a greedy bast… , but you have to keep up that liberal veneer.
    Quick! An Apology!

    1. Ed

      That is a good summary of the overall Economist worldview. Keep the slaves but treat them as productive. valuable commodities! And much of the elite has views well to the right of that.

        1. McMike

          I think what he meant was to treat them as productive capital assets, rather than expendable input commodities. A relatively enlightened, if not still dehumanizing viewpoint.

    2. McMike

      It may feel like namby pamby political correctness that forced the apology, but it fact comes from a self-preservation tactic by the elites. Under the “soft” approach of inverted totalitarianism, the oppression must always be done with a smile. Sometimes they are too honest, and thus must walk their statements back. As the saying goes about the definition of a gaffe – it is in this case the elite accidentally revealing what they really think.

      On this question, the statement seems to be an example of neoliberalism revealing its essential anti-human, anti-social tendencies at root – whereby the leading neoliberal magazine feels the need to defend slavery, lest we realize it is an apex case study in extreme labor mazimization. This combines with the academic neoconservative technocrats tendency to treat people as mere abstractions, fungible pawns, so the story of slavery is really just an economic one to them, and human dimensions are a distraction. Added in here a dose of right-wing reactionary tantrums that manifest as blame-the-victim nitpicking any time the author feels like he might have accidentally stumbled into the light of scrutiny.

      1. McMike

        Or perhaps the Economist is feeling testy in light of the fact that 80% of British cotton consumption came from southern slaves.

        1. craazyman

          it’s another sign of the approaching Rapture. There must be something really really weird going on in the vibrational dimensions to induce a global magazine to publish something like that. Oh My that was lunacy in words. I doubt, oddly, the author is a “racist’ — whatever that is these days with everybody in the same mud puddle fornicating with each other and producing offspring — but a turgidly overwrought intellectual quivering with quasi-mathematical outrage at the abstraction of an entirety being implicitly quantified as uniform and dimensionless without a fair counting. This is a form of mental disorder — the ascension of the absolute, whereby the abstraction overwhelms the reality it’s imagined to describe and becomes, itself, a beacon for self-consistency of logic which in turn becomes the final objective unhinged from any contemplation of consequence. It’s this mental disorder that will induce the Rapture. We dont’ want the Rapture, it’s too much fun to drink beer and fck around doing nothing. So these folks who rite this sort of stuff should really be smacked around, metaphorically. The whole committee of morons who approved that article should be smacked around, mind smacked and humiliated. Holy Smokes what a debauchery of delusional dialectical discordance that was. You almost feel bad for The Economist, but not really . LOL

          1. McMike

            … speaking of fornicating with each other (metaphorically), that seems to be what the editorial board has been doing.

            It reveals their default mindset to have let that punchbowl turd pass without someone putting on the brakes – which is indeed not so much racist as elitist/classist, which is essentially colorblind in terms of exploitation – an equal opportunity exploiter – unless race figures into it as an expedient.

            I do sense a touch of right wing blame the victim spin reflex though. A verbal tic basically.

            But perhaps there’s a musical explanation:

          2. ewmayer

            “This is a form of mental disorder — the ascension of the absolute, whereby the abstraction overwhelms the reality it’s imagined to describe and becomes, itself, a beacon for self-consistency of logic which in turn becomes the final objective unhinged from any contemplation of consequence.”

            As good a description of modern “economic science” and it fetish for “modeling” as I’ve seen. Thanks, craazy!

  12. ran

    Just a few weeks ago Joan Rivers made some despicable comments about the victims (which included 500+ children) of Israel’s latest murderous rampage in Gaza “deserving it”.

    I won’t be mourning her.

    1. Banger

      One of the sad examples of how Zionism has degenerated an increasing number of American Jews. How they get away with their master race ideology in the US is beyond me–though I know the realpolitik situation that exists within the US media world.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Just say no to celebrity-hood.

        ‘Get all celebrities out of your life!’

        And you will find yourself again…hopefully (there are no guarantees in life).

        1. Skeptic

          “Just say no to celebrity-hood.”

          I’m with you on this unpopular idea. NC should adopt your position. Though ” celebrity-hood” creeps through my media defenses, I pride myself on my ignorance whenever there is reference to a celebrity I do no know. I think one could build a human consciousness model based on celebrity knowledge and recognition. The less you know, the more conscious you are.

          As for the Lady in question, sad to think of all the fats foods, fizzy drinks, booze, corporate crap she helped to sell in her lifetime.

    2. susan the other

      Remember, she was 81. That’s pretty old. I don’t remember her making obscene comments in her prime. She was a free spirit.

  13. Eureka Springs

    VIA Moon of Alabama comments… I don’t know if this is a credible source, but it’s interesting if true.

    1. Jim Haygood

      John Helmer is a Russia-based foreign correspondent. His IMF sources and document links appear solid.

      ‘Russia holds just 2.39% of the votes on the IMF board, and can exercise no veto. The US and the NATO member states control more than 40% of the board votes. [Russian deputy finance minister Sergei] Storchak noted that for the first time in its history, the IMF was lending money to one side engaged in civil war.’

      Exactly the point I made yesterday. Helmer is presenting all the early information needed for one to project that the IMF program for Ukraine is headed for ‘major clusterf**k’ status in a hurry. That $3.1 billion of the $3.2 billion inflow was promptly sent offshore is standard procedure in an exuberantly corrupt place like Ukraine, which happens to be our new best buddy and poster child for the inviolability of national borders.

      The only remaining question is when the stench grows large enough for the IMF to cut and run. Around January, when the gas is cut off and Ukraine is freezing, sounds about right.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Harvard…Payday loans.

    A few options:

    Boycott applying to Harvard (Go, the youth of America!)
    Transfer to Yale (or a more affordable alternative, Berkeley)
    Return your degree(s) and ask for a refund
    Sell your degree(s) on EBay (not a buyer’s market, I am afraid…maybe in China)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For sale: One pristine, unused (shrink wrap still intact) English literature degree (went straight to selling bonds on Wall Street) from Harvard. Ideal for interior decoration or dinner party conversation starter. Seller asking price below acquisition cost. But not a distressed sale situation. Remodeling mansion and changing décor.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Elephant That Flew.

    An idea – turn the world’s largest ghost shopping mall in Southern China into a zoo for elephants. Then, they can have lots of tusks when the elephants die of old age naturally.

    If that doesn’t satiate the demand, they can scale up the program to all Chinese ghost cities.

  16. bruno marr

    RE: Tesla in Nevada

    Some observations on the Tesla article:
    * Nevada is a “Right to Work” state (anti-union): $25/hour jobs will be few and far between (other than facility construction).

    * The ongoing maintenance cost on any new road linking the factory site with US Hwy 50 to the south will be extraordinary: that cost will be born by the locals.

    The dealer franchise exemption is a KEY feature of the agreement: It allows Tesla to sell cars online to a large California population that can pick up their new cars in either Reno or Las Vegas (a short hop from massive population centers in NorCal and SoCal). There’s a tax dodge embedded in there somewhere.

  17. bruno marr

    RE: Hirsch on Greenwald Inc.

    Is this article sour grapes or penis envy?

    A few points:
    * Nobody has had their civil rights abused? Not unless the 4th Amendment to the Constitution is ignored

    * Snowden is not a hero in the US? What polling is this guy looking at?!

    * Most of us are so “over with” the NSA revelations? Speak for yourself fool. Being busy doesn’t mean being unobservant.

    * If you think the NSA is going to make you secure from ISIS, Phuggettaboutit! Security comes from stable societies. The NSA is instability personified.

  18. Skeptic

    I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious. Post Everything

    Meanwhile in Canuckistan the RCMP use their Mr. Big scam to entrap and convict people. Here’s how it works:

    “RCMP officers pretending to be criminals had recruited Mr. Hart to transport contraband smokes. They dazzled him with cash, steak dinners, casino chips and paid trips from Montreal to Vancouver. Then, at a meeting with their purported crime boss, the eponymous Mr. Big, they pressed him about the death of his daughters and prodded him into saying he had murdered them.”

    There is even a documentary on Mr. Big:

    Woe, Canada!

  19. jfleni

    RE: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urges more broadband competition

    How is anybody supposed to find competition Tommy, if you won’t open the Internet to municipal and community comptition? Check your water bill for examples of how it works!

  20. susan the other

    Today’s antidote. That little elephant reminded me instantly of a squid. Go figure. Evolution is so accommodating. And also today in Enenews an article about how the killer whale populations in the northwest are decimated, they are sick and dying and their societies are falling apart. My heart breaks so hard for the devastation of Fukushima. I want every government on earth to step up. I want a Higgs-Boson filter behind every ship on the Pacific slowly filtering out all the radionuclides and miraculously reconstituting them back into their less dreadful elements. Where is the discussion? Where are the possibilities?

    1. psychohistorian

      The possibilities are buried by the rulers of the social organization that shall never be questioned…TINA

      Never, ever question inheritance.

  21. OIFVet

    Afghan treasure trove:

    “These resources provide the potential for Afghanistan to develop its economy, to create jobs and build infrastructure, as it goes into the future,” Medlin said.
    The mineral riches could lift Afghanistan out of poverty and fight crime and terrorism, said Said Mirzad, co-coordinator of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Afghanistan program.”

    Wanna bet that those mineral riches will only benefit the corrupt Karzai and his successors?

    1. ambrit

      When taking into consideration how murderous the Wests’ Spooks are, Mr. Karzais heirs might be more appropriate.

  22. proximity1

    On Putin, Ukraine, “the West”, and a lost and wandering political Left and what underlies these matters–

    Since I last posted, I’ve found some insight into the real character of the dispute over Putin which separates me from practically everyone else who’s ventured into the fray. The present post is the fruit of that insight and it’s a kind of good-news/bad-news post. First, as my opponents would view it, the “good news”: I ought to, with this post, be able to clarify things to an extent that allows me to drop out of further discussions of relations with Putin as Russia’s head of state. The “bad news” is that, in explaining the what and why of that, I’m going to go take a different tack, elaborate an argument and in doing that, I don’t intend to spare the feelings of those here who I believe deserve the criticisms which follow. (There, that should weed out the readers here—and there are too many of them—who won’t sit still for others’ criticisms of their failings. Good-bye to all them and good riddance.) For the rest, attend, please, when follows.
    We’ve been a peculiar loggerheads in this discussion. What superficially (in my view) seems to be about Putin’s personality and , in others’ view, about some very unpleasant “hard realities,” of geopoloitics, is really hiding other, larger, things in dispute; though I expect, if I’ve seen things correctly, my opponents will object to that assertion –because their rejection of it goes hand in hand with their other blind-spot and it’s my responsibility to point both out and show why they are related since, until quite recently, none of us were able to recognize the gist of the dispute’s character.
    Now I understand that when people who are usually allies over a broad set of policies and principles suddenly fall out over a particular case, the first place to look for what is really going on behind the disagreements is a dispute between one camp which, for various reasons of the moment, has chosen—typically unwittingly—to dispense with a former respect for the principle of “the ends must not be allowed to justify the means,” (a.k.a. “realpolitik”)—premissed on the typically unstated belief that “this time it’s different”—while the other camp (perhaps no more cognizant of the underlying character of their part in the dispute) has refused to follow them, refused to operate on the stated or unstated view that, yes, this time it really is different. That is the essence of what has been going on here between us. Mearsheimer’s cited article for Foreign Affairs has taken up a realpolitik ends-justify-the-means attitude toward the relations between Putin’s regime and the a mis-named “West, “ which is neither necessarily “Western” nor politically or philosphically coherent in form or function or aims and ambitions. It’s a misleadingly diverse collection of states and interests which only occasionally operate in concert and more often cannot agree on principled concerted action. That is a key fact which, it happens, is intimately related to current geopolitical failings and stalemates. In doing that, Mearsheimer has suddenly left behind the highly-principled case he and Stephen Walt set out in their treatment of the Israel lobby and instead has adopted a point of view by which principles must be sacrificed to geopolitical necessities—such, anyway, is the claim. There are very deep and ramified problems with his doing that and with your following him in it. For, not only “in the final analysis” but at every single step of the way, any and every principalled thing can—and so shall—eventually have to cede its place before that imperative. There is nothing that can withstand a policy course which has as its component basis some supposed necessities of realpolitik. That is why those who routinely and forthrightly promote it are so fond of it. Mearsheimer is certainly not normally in their company. Theirs is the natural home of virtually all practitioners of might-makes-right, from the fascsit Right to the most extreme Left, from Nixon, Kissinger, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Clinton, José Manuel Barroso, Obama and so many others who first, last and in between are looking for the first convenient quick fix, an unprincipled ad hoc approach to policy which is always chasing the latest crisis, the latest emergency, in international, and now, more and more, in domestic, affairs.
    No matter what the impetus for the resort to it, Realpolitik’s inevitable consequence is the reduction of everyone who is not influential to the position of helpless pawns in a completely closed and undemocratic game of power politics. The major actors themselves also become captives of logically-imposed imperatives of their Realpolitik frames, so that, at length, circumstances conspire to confine their choices into ever narrower dimensions. The results of this have been all around us ever since the formal end of World War II.
    In the process, a traditional Left has lost its place, lost its way, and has been wandering in the political wilderness throughout that time. Leftist leaders who once found easy –or at least easier—grounds for principled policy formation and execution are now the easy prey every clever practitioner of divide-and-conquer tactics. The Chinese and the Russians are extremely talented at this—as are its most natural political practitioners, arch-conservatives, for whom the-ends-justify-the-means is itself a core principle if not , indeed, the only principle in a manner of operating which is otherwise devoid of them.
    Leftists continue to fail to understand that Realpolitik, the-ends-justify-the-means, is ground on which they cannot and must not hunt. It is already fully ideologically occupied and ruled by the political Right. Despite that, Realpolitik has, since McGovern’s defeat, come to dominate practically everything—as is its nature—in the sphere of Left-wing politics. Its embrace is behind the origins and rise of the Democratic Leadership Council and its divergeance from formerly held standard Democratic party principles as found in labor organizers and activists who focused on poverty, race and voting-rights issues—all of which now seem long ago and far away. Realpolitik certainly cannot make any room for serious and genuine concern for principles of equality of opportunity, for removing structural and institutional barriers to populist progress in employment, in education, in wealth redistribution, etc. These, like so much else, are swept aside as sacrifices to other things which, by deft manipulation, the divide-and-conquer opposition can easily devise and throw up to confuse and defeat clear, concerted opposition.
    No one who cannot reconcile himself to being relegated to the role of a political pawn in the power games of others, others who play for their own reasons and their own gains, can afford to passively accept as necessary the adoption of Realpolitik as a guiding approach to poltical life. And yet, now for quite some decades, this has in effect been the only game in town. We are paying and shall continue to pay an enormous price for this and of course for our long-standing failure to understand it. It is what is really at the root of what is currently dividing me from the near-totality of the rest of you in this present dispute.
    None of you, I daresay, have been aware of these underlying factors and none of you cared enough to look for them. Instead, as has also been so long characteristic of the Left’s philosophical failings, you’ve been content to sieze upon the first convenient explanation that comes to mind. Thus, when faced with my stubborn resistance to your Realpolitik group-think about Putin and Ukraine, the first and the easiest way to dispense with that resistance was to classify and dismiss me as a troll. And that takes care of that. No further consideration is needed or due in that case. You’ve done the same thing, really, in “choosing”—or, rather, in unwittingly falling into—an acceptance of Realpolitik. It has saved you from much messy and complicated consideration and is the natural ally of the same attitude which produces comments such as, “this discussion is pointless since no one here on either side is going to change his mind.”
    Faced with that this as a de facto feature of my opponents’ attitude, and having as yet not understood the real character of our dispute, I found myself turning to the only resort open to me: the appeal to other sources of detailed information about the people and circumstances of the superficial debate—Putin and his rule in Russia. So, I recommended the best supporting sources I knew of for those facts, not understanding , at first, that my opponents were simply not interested in these. Their psychological needs and political orientation had already been determined for them by the logical imperatives of their acceptance of Realpolitik.
    Having seen these things, and , now, having tried to set them out as plainly as I can, I can withdraw from furhter participation in this particlar discussion—since it goes without saying that such efforts are, as the cited comment above states, actually futile. Indeed, you aren’t going to change your minds about these things because, under the circumstances, you really and practically cannot do that. All of that is, for me, the antithesis of what it means to practice Liberal, Leftist principles. In the end, all realpolitik practice comes to the same means-and-ends conflation, and all of it leads to one or another people’s arbitrary subjugation. All issues then turn not on any principle but only on the sole question of whose clannish interests, “ours” or “theirs” are to prevail. That is a state of affairs which any Putin-like cynic can find readily suitable to his needs and desires. It’s properly disgusting.

    1. OIFVet

      Oh you are so special that only you see things clearly, what with you having read Anna Politkovskaya. From her you learned that he is an evil dude and is hostile to Western culture and ideology. So Putin is the problem, see, and those leftists here who are so blinded by realpolitics that they “fail” to see Evil Vlad for who he is. Pat yourself on your shoulder, you deserve every bit of self-recognition you can give to yourself.

      Well, I suggest that you don’t know shit about Russian culture, because Politkovskaya certainly is not representative of it. Russians have for centuries preferred the rule of an effective strongman over that of an ineffective one. Following Yeltsin’s disaster of the 1990’s they were turned of by democracy and liberalism even more, Politkovskaya and a small and irrelevant circle of liberal elites notwithstanding. But you, Politkovskaya acolyte par excellence, presume that since your Western culture and ideology are superior to that of Russia (and dare I presume any other country that dares to stand up for itself) and thus Putin is the problem not only for the West but also for Russia. Nevermind that he is far more popular at home than any of our Western leaders, Politkovskaya told you that he is bad for Russia and for the West, that he is Evil in general, so we are gonna hate Putin for his opposition to Western “values”. Nevermind that we ourselves don’t respect these “values”.

      That you “analyze” the situation from a Western POV and then presume that it applies to Russia and the Russians should embrace your “values” is terrible enough as it is. That you assume that your “values” are necessarily superior to theirs because they are “Western” is worse. You are a prime example of a true believer in Exceptionalism, and that makes you a fellow traveler of expansionist Neocons and Marxists, but certainly not a liberal or a leftist, whatever you may say. You proclaim yourself to be the only clear-eyed observer here, but you have swallowed that Exceptionalist Cool Aide whole. You think that your “values” are the West’s gift to humanity, and to the ignorant savages of the East and the South in particular. By any other name, you might as well call yourself a latter-day Kipling, carrying on the Western White Men’s Burden on your shoulders. Me, I believe in non-interference with a people’s culture and traditions. I don’t presume that my “values” are so superior to anyone else’s that they should be universally embraced, especially not by the barrel of the gun like the US is wont to do.

Comments are closed.